NFL Playing Time Watch
I’m revisiting playing time for Week 7 games to help us find good targets for Week 8.
- Shane Vereen played a career high 80% of snaps in the game against the Jets Thursday night. The Patriots threw the ball an uncharacteristic 67% of the time, way above their season average. I think using Vereen almost exclusively was probably a matchup based strategy, as the Jets run defense is the best in the league and the Patriots thought they’d do best with a passing down specialist Vereen playing the most. My guess is next week they employ a more heavy workload for Jonas Gray or Brandon Bolden, but I think above 55% of snaps is a reasonable estimate for Vereen. But I don’t think we can expect to see 80% again until the next Jets matchup.
- In more Patriots news, Rob Gronkowski played 55/60 snaps, which means Gronk is at full workload.
- Anthony Dixon saw every snap after C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson both left yesterdays game with big injuries. We should see more of a mix next week with whoever the Bills sign at RB or promote from the practice squad. Dixon is a big guy who was used occasionally in goal line situations in his career with the 49ers, so we should expect him to get regular and goal line work for the Bills. If his price stays reasonable, he seems like a solid play for the rest of the year.
- The Saints are going with a RB by committee with Mark Ingram’s return, with Mark Ingram getting the most rushes and Pierre Thomas and Travis Cadet getting most of the passing down work. Ingram could be solid in a game where we can expect the Saints to run the ball a ton but otherwise just stay away from this backfield.
- Joique Bell got a 75% workload against the Saints, working on running and passing downs alike. It doesn’t look like the Lions are too in love with Reggie Bush anymore, and we may see Bell continue to get most of the work at RB. Oddly, he got more snaps this week than last week when Bush was out.
- The Panthers have an extremely injured backfield, but Jonathan Stewart has emerged as the clear RB1, with 56/71 snaps yesterday. When Deangelo Williams and Mike Tolbert return we should see a more committee approach, but until then, Stewart’s near min salary on both FanDuel and Draftkings will be hard to pass up. If it wasn’t for a Packers blowout, we may have saw an extremely good game from Stewart.
- We may have one seen one target to Davante Adams which thankfully went for a TD, but it looks like we continued to see a lot of 3 WR sets from the Packers, as Adams got nearly the same workload as Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. I still like Adams upside, and I think it’s possible we see a James Jones like emergence.
- Dwayne Allen may have been the better fantasy TE last week, but Coby Fleener ran 8 more pass routes and scored the higher grade on ProFootballFocus. I like Fleener as a <1% GPP play, as he is a complete after thought in the fantasy community, but is getting playing time similar to T.Y. Hilton.
- Despite an awful game, Jordan Cameron is running the most pass routes on the Browns, as they continue to utilize one or no WR sets.
- Denard Robinson has emerged as the RB1 of the Jaguars, getting 46/74 snaps. The workload is not massive, but given how great a game he had last week, we should see Robinson at least continue that workload into next week.
- Tre Mason came out of nowhere to get RB1 duties for the Rams. Zac Stacy only was used on 1 play, so this is really the Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham show for now. Use Mason versus good run matchups, and Cunningham versus good pass matchups. Mason’s 27/51 snaps doesn’t seem like enough to get too excited about though, especially for a guy who does no work on passing downs.
- Bishop Sankey played a career high 63% of snaps with Shonn Greene still out. Sankey has not been particularly good in the opportunities he has gotten, so we probably should expect that workload to go down when Greene returns. Teammate Dexter McCluster saw only a handful of snaps, and should fluctuate moving forward.
- Coach Jay Gruden benched a lot of Redskins starters yesterday against the Titans, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that for the first time since Alfred Morris joined the team, Roy Helu got a larger workload. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Helu get more work moving forward, as Gruden has not been able to be as effective running with Morris has Mike Shanahan was. This is especially true next week against the Cowboys, as the Redskins are 9.5 point underdogs, and Helu works mostly on passing downs.
- As expected, first round pick Odell Beckham Jr. got WR1 snaps, playing 100% of the game. The Giants WR had 2 TDs in the red zone, and I imagine as he builds rapport with Eli Manning could be a real fantasy force. Teammate Andre Williams lost some work to Peyton Hillis last week, which may be irrelevant with Rashad Jennings expected return after the bye.