Between the Lines: Week 11 Snap Count Analysis

Right now there are a lot of messy situations that we hope can be sorted out before the fantasy football playoffs. What can snap counts tell as about potential playing time trends?

In fantasy football, one way to gain an edge over opponents is to look beyond the box score and examine player snap counts. While a quick scan of player stats 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, opportunities breed fantasy points, and snap counts are one of the more predictive metrics for fantasy football performance. This makes sense, intuitively, as the more a player is on the field, the more opportunities he'll have to touch the ball, and the more opportunities he'll have to score fantasy points.

In each of these weekly articles, I'll evaluate each position by looking at snap count, opportunity, and efficiency trends. All data, unless otherwise noted, comes from numberFire's Snap Count page, where you can find more in-depth details about player snap usage.

Running Back

- Unfortunately, we haven't seen Chris Carson since Week 7, which has opened up some opportunities for the other guys in the Seattle Seahawks' backfield. Before this week, Carlos Hyde also hadn't played since Week 7 but came back to a workhorse role. Hyde's 70 percent snap share was easily his highest of the season after failing to top 50 percent in the other four games that he had played this year. The only other two backs to receive a snap this week were Bo Scarbrough and DeeJay Dallas. Dallas had seen his role improve with Carson and Hyde out, though he immediately took a back seat to the tune of an 11 percent snap share. Meanwhile, Scarbrough got an 18 percent snap share, but Hyde is the man as long as Carson continues to miss time.

- The Green Bay Packers came up short in a big game against the Indianapolis Colts, but that wasn't the biggest disappointment of the game. Though Aaron Jones out-touched Jamaal Williams 14 to 6, it came on a rather limited snap count (at least by Jones' standards). Jones and Williams split snaps evenly, each getting a 50 percent snap share in the game. However, the meaning of that 50 percent snap share is different for each player. For Jones, it was his second-lowest snap share in a game that he's played this season. Conversely, the 50 percent snap share for Williams was the third-highest snap share in a game in which Jones played fully. This will remain a committee as long as both are healthy -- neither back has topped 65 percent more than once in games that they both played.

- Nick Chubb has now been back for two games, and he's looked as good as he has in his entire career. That said, he's been eased back into being the primary ball carrier in the offense. Despite handling 19 and 20 carries in each of the past two weeks, Chubb has only played on 48 percent and 45 percent of snaps. That's an exceptionally nice utilization rate of 69 percent, but his friend Kareem Hunt is definitely limiting his ceiling. Since Chubb's first missed game, Hunt hasn't fallen below a 50 percent snap share in a single game. Hunt has also handled double-digit carries in every single game this season. As long as the game script favors the Cleveland Browns (which it most certainly will against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week), then both of these running backs are viable fantasy options, but choosing the right one to have a ceiling game might be a fool's errand.

Wide Receiver

- The Baltimore Ravens are nothing like they were last year, which may be a massive understatement. This extends to Marquise Brown, who has been one of the bigger fantasy football disappointments on the season. Currently sitting at WR52 in half-PPR (point per reception) leagues, Brown has only one game with double-digit targets despite a remarkably high snap share. Over the past five games, Brown had never played on fewer than 85 percent of snaps, but that came falling down with a 72 percent snap share this week, his lowest since Week 2. Willie Snead, on the other hand, has become a reliable option for Lamar Jackson, getting seven targets in three of the last four games. Snead totaled a 74 percent snap share on Sunday, his second-highest of the season, and this could be a sign of what's to come. Finally, Dez Bryant caught it for the first time since 2017 and played on a healthy 52 percent of snaps. With his stature and Nick Boyle being lost for the season, Bryant could be a role player near the goal line as a pseudo-tight end.

- The New England Patriots passing attack hasn't been what it used to be this year with Cam Newton under center, but a couple of wide receivers have shown to be useful fantasy assets in recent week. Most notably, Jakobi Meyers, a former member of #TeamPreseason, has come on strong with 20 receptions and 266 yards in his last three games while playing on at least 98 percent of snaps in each of those games. Damiere Byrd was the big winner this week, though, topping 100 receiving yards for the first time all season. Byrd has been incredibly active this season, hitting an 86 percent snap share or better in all but one game, and he was finally able to turn it into major production this week. Finally, N'Keal Harry remains an afterthought. Following three of five games above an 80 percent snap share to start the season, Harry hasn't hit that mark since Week 6.

- Believe it or not, Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders have been a plucky team this year, and Derek Carr isn't completely sinking the value of his pass-catching options. Nelson Agholor has been the biggest surprise of this offense, appearing to become Carr's second-favorite option behind tight end Darren Waller. With snap shares of 78, 84, 60, and 75 percent, Agholor is getting close to being a consistent fantasy football option. Meanwhile, Henry Ruggs has seemingly been on the outside looking in this entire season. Even with snap shares above 60 percent in all but two of the games that he's played, he is only averaging a mere 3.3 targets per game. Lastly, Hunter Renfrow's snap share has been all over the place, with a low of 21 percent and a high of 68 percent. Oddly enough, the PPR threat has become one of the least consistent options and shouldn't be played except in potential blow-up spots for the Raiders.

Tight End

- The wide receivers have been in the spotlight for the majority of the season for the Arizona Cardinals, but this week I'll take a deeper look at their tight end group after Dan Arnold scored his first touchdown of the season. Arnold had played as the primary tight end for the majority of the season while Maxx Williams missed Weeks 2 through 7 with an ankle injury. During that span, Arnold averaged about a 46 percent snap share. That has since dropped to a 24 percent average over the past three weeks as Williams has resumed his role as the primary tight end, securing a snap share above 50 percent in three of the four games he's played in.

- Tight end has been a bit of a mess this year, and that extends to the group of Colts tight ends. Entering the season, Jack Doyle was expected to be the starter and has often been treated as such from a snap share perspective, playing on fewer than 50 percent of snaps just once. But, Trey Burton and Mo Alie-Cox have both taken plenty of opportunities away. Burton's snap share has remained fairly consistent, hovering between 45 percent and 55 percent the past several weeks, but that dipped to a season-low 29 percent on Sunday. Burton was also the biggest beneficiary this week from a fantasy football perspective, hauling in a touchdown late in the game. Alie-Cox started off the season strong with a touchdown or 100 yards receiving in three of his first four games but hasn't topped 50 yards in five straight games, with his snap share fluctuating all the while. None of these players can be trusted as more than a desperation dart throw.