Between the Lines: Week 7 Snap Count Analysis

In fantasy football, one way to gain an edge over opponents is digging into weekly snap counts. While a quick scan of box scores can tell us who actually performed and produced, snap count data can give us an indicator of guys who are seeing the field on a consistent -- or inconsistent -- basis.

After all, opportunity is the creator of fantasy points.

First, a player needs to get meaningful snaps. Then, they need meaningful opportunities. And lastly, they must actually convert that opportunity into fantasy production. This weekly article addresses the first and most critical portion of the opportunity funnel: playing time.

Today, we will look at four big takeaways from Week 7. For a look at all of last week's snap count data, numberFire has you covered.

1. Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers

His time in the spotlight may not last long given the impending return of Davante Adams, but Allen Lazard will continue to eat up as much snap share as he can until that time comes. A star at Iowa State, Lazard has had to patiently spend his time riding the bench since he moved to the Green Bay Packers.

Before Week 6, his only catch was a seven-yarder from DeShone Kizer in Week 17 last year in a 31-0 loss to the Detroit Lions. With injuries to seemingly all of his wideout teammates, Lazard's snap rate jumped from 1% to 23% in Week 6, and he came through with 65 yards and a score as the Packers eked out a win over the Lions in controversial fashion.

Lazard obviously did enough to turn heads with that performance, because his 85% snap share in Week 7 led all Packers skill players. The number was all the more impressive given that both Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling took the field, though both may have been less than fully healthy. While his three catches for 42 yards wasn't exciting -- especially given Aaron Rodgers' six-touchdown performance -- his four targets still ended up being tied for the third most on the team in a game where Rodgers was at his best and gave five players at least as many looks.

With Adams coming back soon, Lazard's time in the spotlight could quickly diminish, but if you're in a 14 or 16-team league and are weak at the position, he's worth stashing should injuries again pop up and he gets another chance to shine. If Adams isn't back for Green Bay's clash with the Kansas City Chiefs this week, then Lazard could even be a borderline flex play.

2. Bisi Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Bisi Johnson has certainly gotten a lot more press than Allen Lazard, but until Week 7, the former Colorado State player hadn't seen much involvement in the Minnesota Vikings' offense. Like many young players who are looking for their first opportunity, Bisi's came via an injury to a teammate.

Adam Thielen hurt his hamstring on a 25-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, and Bisi was the next clear option to get action. His 71% snap share was a season high and was far and away ahead of Laquon Treadwell, who was on the field for just 14% of snaps.

Johnson's increased time on the field translated into eight targets, which tied Stefon Diggs for a season high. With Thielen likely to be out until the Vikings' Week 9 matchup against the Chiefs, Johnson is in position to be an excellent spot start in fantasy this week as the team takes on a Philadelphia Eagles defense that is giving up the most fantasy points to opposing wideouts this season.

If you need help at wide receiver this week, and Bisi is available (which is almost certain given that he's available in 99.9% of ESPN leagues), give him a look. He may only be useful for another week, but that may be all you need to get a pivotal win that can help you get into the quickly approaching fantasy playoffs.

3. Ty Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

Kerryon Johnson is done for "some time", and rookie Ty Johnson is ready to step in and take advantage. The 22-year-old who had seen just 13 rushes and four receptions heading into Week 7, saw 10 and four, respectively, in the Lions' 42-30 loss to the Vikings this week. He's the odds-on favorite to be the lead back until KJ returns, and it couldn't come at a much better time.

Johnson, whose 64% snap share dwarfed J.D. McKissic's 25% on Sunday and his own previous high of 20%, gets one of the more lucrative running back matchups when the Lions take on the New York Giants this week. The Giants are giving up the fourth-most standard and sixth-most PPR points to opposing backs this season, and four backs have scored double-figure PPR points against them in the past two weeks, including Chase Edmonds, who just busted out for 126 rushing yards and three scores.

Unlike the Lions in the recent past who relied heavily on the pass, this version of Detroit is focusing much more intently on the run. The team is passing 58.52% of the time this year, good for 17th in the league. It's the first time that they've been under 60% since 2013.

If you have a decent amount of FAAB left and need help at the position, get ready to spend, even if he helps you for just a couple of weeks.

4. Mark Walton, RB, Miami Dolphins

Unless you're just tuning into the 2019 NFL season, it's pretty clear that the Miami Dolphins are in no position to win more than a couple of games this season, if that. Heck, it may be the new normal to have to go 0-16 to ensure the first pick; I know I'm looking forward to that Week 16 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. I digress.

When you know you're going to be a bad team, you have the freedom to give more looks to players who might otherwise have to wait for a year or two to see significant work. Such is the case with running back Mark Walton.

Nothing close to a fantasy asset to begin the season, Walton has had a quick ascent over the past couple of weeks. After playing no more than 25% of the teams snaps through the Dolphins' bye week in Week 5, Walton saw 42% of the snaps in Week 6 and led all Miami backs with a 52% snap share this past Sunday.

With the increased time on the field came a big increase in touches, and he's already proven that he can be an asset in the passing game, catching five of six targets thrown to him in Week 6. His 15 touches on Sunday were six more than Kenyan Drake had, and his 4.71 yards per tote were a welcome surprise for a team that has averaged just 3.23 heading into their loss against the Buffalo Bills.

There's no reason to think Walton will see anything but the bulk of backfield work going forward. While that might not be enough for him to become a regular fantasy asset given his South Florida location, it's enough to make him a speculative add in deeper leagues and, especially, dynasty leagues. If he's still healthy for that Bengals matchup in Week 16, he may even be worth a shot in the dark if you make it to the championship game and the rest of your backs are injured.

5. Danny Amendola, WR, Detroit Lions

Danny Amendola is often frustrating player to own, but when the matchup is right, the Lions have shown that they are ready to look his way early and often. He teased us in Week 1 with a seven-catch, 104-yard, one-score performance, but until his outburst in Week 7, he had largely disappeared since.

While some of that was due to a chest injury, a lot of his lack of use was because of game script. The Lions focused heavily on the run in Weeks 2 and 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, and tried to expose the Packers by attacking them with outside receivers in Week 6.

Against a team like Minnesota, however, they did not have either luxury, instead funneling the ball to the 5'11" Amendola. While their matchups against the Giants and Oakland Raiders in Weeks 8 and 9 may not call for Amendola scripts, they have a gauntlet afterwards that does.

Starting in Week 10, the Lions play the Chicago Bears twice, and the Dallas Cowboys and Vikings once each in a five-week stretch. Those are all games in which short looks to Amendola could make a major difference in giving Detroit a chance to win.

Therein lies the problem, however -- Amendola is not a plug-and-play receiver. You have to be vigilant about matchups on a weekly basis instead of just setting and forgetting. His 71% snap share this past week was a season high and an encouraging sign that his usage might increase, but it's important to remember that in many weeks, he's just going to be pyrite.