Between the Lines: Week 8 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 five big takeaways from Week 8. For a look at all of last week's snap count data, numberFire has you covered.

1. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

We're all waiting for the day the Buffalo Bills set Devin Singletary free. It looked like it could have happened this week, despite a tough matchup on paper against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that has been mostly stout against the run this season.

Singletary's 68% snap share easily outshone Frank Gore's 29%, but it was the old man who once again got the bulk of the work on the ground, toting the ball nine times to the rookie's three. That's not to say that the rookie is going to play second-fiddle going forward.

Singletary's 6.3 yards per carry once again led the team, and his efficiency is screaming for him to get more work. His 8.6 yards per tote is an almost unbelievable 2.54 more than the next player who has seen at least 20 carries this season.

He was also involved in the passing game this week, the first time he's seen a target since Week 1. The former Florida Atlantic Owl caught four of six targets for 30 yards and a score, leading to a solid 14.9-point PPR week for those who took a chance and started him, which was probably a very low number considering the matchup and his usage heading into Week 8.

The Bills' schedule is about to get juicy, however. They play the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, and Miami Dolphins in their next three games, teams who all rank in the bottom nine against opposing RBs in both standard and PPR leagues this season. The time for Singletary's surge is now, and if you don't trade for him before Week 9 begins, his asking price could quickly rocket.

2. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, San Francisco 49ers

It didn't take long for Emmanuel Sanders to enamor himself with his new teammates. The most recent addition to the San Francisco 49ers not only led all wide receivers with an 82% snap share, but he also led them in targets and receptions, and he opened the scoring with a four-yard touchdown in what turned out to be a 51-13 slaughter over the Carolina Panthers.

The Niners are no doubt an upgrade for Sanders, but, ironically, the fact that they're playing at such a high level could actually limit Sanders' fantasy potential. The Niners passed the ball just 22 times compared to 38 rushes. On the season, they've passed the ball just 42.5% of the time, by far the lowest percentage in the league.

While Sanders is certainly an improvement to their corps, the play calling is going to limit any upside. The team's receivers cumulatively rank 31st and 32nd in standard and PPR leagues, respectively. While Sanders is absolutely deserving of being on your roster on a weekly basis, don't expect more than WR3 production from him.

3. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

Have the Cincinnati Bengals decided that Tyler Eifert can actually help keep them in games, or was his increased playing time and usage in Week 8 just trade bait?

Eifert, who had played no more than 52% of the Bengals' snaps in any previous game this season, was on the field for 72% of Cincy's offensive plays against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Using Eifert or C.J. Uzomah has been a rarity for the Bengals. Since Week 1, when the two combined for nine receptions and 93 yards, neither one had topped three receptions or 27 yards since Eifert's solid performance this week.

It would be odd if this sudden outburst would be anything but a trial for tight end-needy teams. At 0-8, the only thing the Bengals should be competing for is the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. If he's picked up by a team pushing for the playoffs, however, he may -- assuming he can stay healthy -- become usable in deeper leagues. Until then, however, leave him on the wire.

4. Tra Carson, RB, Detroit Lions

What?! Who?! I was a believer in Ty Johnson heading into the Detroit Lions' Week 8 matchup against the New York Giants, a team who had allowed at least 113 yards from scrimmage to an opposing back in each of the three previous weeks. Without Kerryon Johnson in the mix, Ty looked to at least have a stranglehold on 50-60% of the backfield work with J.D. McKissic. Right? Nope.

Instead, Tra Carson, who touched the ball for just the second time in his career, had one more carry than Ty Johnson, McKissic, and Paul Perkins combined. Johnson played 40% of the Lions' snaps compared to Carson's 30%, but he was hardly effective when he touched the ball. It was by all accounts a train wreck for those who decided to spend a huge portion of FAAB on him heading into Week 8.

At this point, the Lions' backfield looks more disjointed and chaotic than the Chiefs'. There isn't a player you can trust at this point, and if you're starting any of them, it's because you either drafted poorly, suffered some unlucky injuries, or are forced to because of a bye week. Unless something changes soon (and you never know, it might), this is a situation to run away from.

5. Josh Reynolds, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Josh Reynolds might not actually have much of a chance to make an impact this season, but his name is one worth resurfacing considering the potential use he could get should injuries occur to any of the Rams' big three receivers -- as was the case in the Rams' 24-10 win over the Bengals on Sunday.

The Rams lost wideout Brandin Cooks to a concussion, and Reynolds stepped in and played a season-high 89% of the team's offensive snaps. His eight targets and 73 yards were second only to Cooper Kupp, and he was part of the scoring, getting wide open for a 31-yard score in the second quarter.

Cooks will have extra time to heal up due to the Rams having a bye this week, but that may not be enough for a player who has already been in the concussion protocol this season. Head injuries are no joke, and the team is going to want to make sure he's fully healthy before he returns, especially given that they have a competent receiver like Reynolds to take his place in the interim.

If you have the room to pick up a player who is on a bye, Reynolds is worth a speculative add. While we all hope that Cooks recovers soon and is able to get on the field when the Rams return to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10, there's always a possibility that he's forced to sit out for longer. As crass as it sounds to bring up fantasy when injuries occur, it's part of the game, and Reynolds is the guy who's next in line to take advantage of the Rams' pass-heavy attack.