Injuries from Week 14 leave fantasy owners still alive in the fantasy playoffs looking for answers heading into Week 15, and NFL snap counts may provide more solutions than usual, just by virtue of so many new situations this late in the season. Injuries to Mike Evans, Josh Jacobs, Mark Andrews, and DeVante Parker have opened the door for guys like Breshad Perriman, DeAndre Washington, Hayden Hurst, and Allen Hurns. It’s also more obvious that there’s a new favorite back in San Francisco, as Raheem Mostert playing and producing.
It’s never as easy as one replacement for an injured star, though. In Oakland, it’s a battle between Washington and Jalen Richard. The surprise was Washington catching more passes than Richard, but we’ll have to wait for official Jacobs news this week before knowing for sure on that competition.
In Tampa Bay, Justin Watson actually emerged out of nowhere to catch more passes than Perriman, but Perriman played a lot more, so we try to determine how much to read into that. The same is true in Baltimore, where Nick Boyle played more than Hurst, but Hurst still feels like the better fantasy option. And in Miami, Allen Hurns and Isaiah Ford had nearly identical days in a number of ways.
That’s not to mention Mostert, who, unlike the others, had another healthy player to deal with in the form of Matt Breida. That didn’t stop Mostert from backing up the reason he was in this article last week and standing out as the lead back for the Niners.
Some weeks, this article is meant to help you avoid busts and find sleepers already on your roster. This week, though, nearly all of these guys are available on the waiver wire as you look for injury replacements. Hopefully the analysis below can help you find the best choice.
Raiders Snap Counts: DeAndre Washington vs. Jalen Richard
Josh Jacobs has reportedly been dealing with a fractured shoulder since Week 7, and he wound up sitting out Week 14. Jacobs is expected to get an MRI to see if he can play any more this year. If not, it will be a Washington-Richard tandem to carry the Oakland backfield.
Washington looks to be the preferred option as a ball-carrier. He played 40 snaps to Richard’s 24 even though Oakland trailed for most of Sunday. Washington stayed in on a lot of passing downs, which was supposed to be Richard’s forte.
The carries were 14-7 in favor of Washington (including all the goal-line carries), and Washington also caught six-of-seven targets compared to Richard catching two of three. Derek Carr has never been shy about dumping down to his running backs, so if Oakland lets Washington do that, too, it’s a boost to value that he already would’ve had by virtue of the carries.
Oakland has the Jaguars and Chargers on its schedule the next two weeks, neither of which are amazing or terrible matchups for a running back. Washington should be one of the top waiver claims for this week, especially if we see that Jacobs truly is out for the year.
49ers Snap Counts: Raheem Mostert vs. Matt Breida vs. Tevin Coleman
We told ourselves that maybe Breida’s return would prove Mostert’s Week 13 backfield dominance to be a fluke. It proved nothing of the sort, though. Mostert was on the field for 40 offensive plays, compared to 12 for Breida, and 11 for Coleman.
It actually didn’t play out as drastically touch-wise as it could’ve — Mostert finished with 12 touches compared to seven for Breida and three for Coleman. Mostert did find the end zone through the air and on the ground, which is encouraging, too.
Mostert’s snap dominance really suggests he should have had more touches. If he continues to play that much, some positive regression will come his way, and he already had a productive fantasy day despite the proportionally limited touches.
If Mostert isn’t owned in your league, pick him up. Holding onto Breida because of his big-play ability might be fine, but if you need to make a move to help your team elsewhere during the fantasy playoffs, Breida and especially Coleman are droppable at this point.
Ravens Snap Counts: Hayden Hurst vs. Nick Boyle vs. Mark Andrews
Hurst and Boyle will only matter for fantasy purposes in Week 15 if Andrews’ knee injury keeps him out, but because the Ravens play on Thursday Night Football, there’s a decent chance that that happens.
Hurst caught a 61-yard touchdown Sunday, which makes him look like the preferred choice (although Boyle caught a short-yardage touchdown himself, too). Hurst is known as the more athletic of the pair, with Boyle being a better blocker. Then you turn to the snap numbers, see Boyle outdid Hurst 54-28, and you wonder if you should second guess yourself.
That’s why following these numbers all season is important. Andrews has almost always trailed Boyle in snaps (and sometimes Hurst, too) despite being wildly productive relative to his supposed backups. Since Baltimore runs so much, its snap numbers can be skewed. When the Ravens had any possible intention of throwing to Andrews, he’d be on the field. Hurst is more likely to fit that role than Boyle, who actually didn’t see much increase in playing time above normal and was no more productive than usual.
It seems counter-intuitive to say Hurst seeing less relative snaps makes us want him more, but in this weird case with the Ravens, it does. That 61-yard TD told us all we need to know about Hurst’s ability, and he’s the handcuff/replacement every Andrews owner (and Ryan Griffin owner) should grab before Thursday Night Football.
Dolphins Snap Counts: Allen Hurns vs. Isaiah Ford if DeVante Parker’s out
The Dolphins’ receiving corps thinned out in a hurry Sunday when both Parker and Albert Wilson were concussed in the first half. That meant that Hurns and Ford both got to step into the passing game and play big roles.
Numbers-wise, it was actually Ford who slightly outdid Hurns. Ford caught six-of-nine targets for 92 yards, while Hurns caught five-of-eight for 68 yards. Hurns had run ahead of Ford on the depth chart earlier in the season and outsnapped him, 57-55, on Sunday.
It’s really only season-long depth chart placement that has us thinking that Hurns is the preferred option here to Ford (along with his veteran status). Ford was a stud at Virginia Tech before being a 2017 seventh-rounder, so maybe there’s a bit of talent there, too.
Miami closes out the fantasy playoff schedule with the Giants in Week 15 and Bengals in Week 16, so if Parker is out, it’s probably worth picking up a Dolphins wideout to stream if you need someone at the position (especially if you had Parker, Mike Evans or Calvin Ridley). Hurns does hold a slight edge for us, but if you watched a lot of that game and liked what you saw from Ford, there’s plenty of Week 14 data to back up his addition, too.
Buccaneers Snap Counts: Breshad Perriman vs. Justin Watson
Bruce Arians told reporters that Mike Evans (hamstring) is “very doubtful” for Week 15, so in an offense that passes as much as Tampa Bay, there has to be value somewhere. The two options are Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson, both of whom caught Week 14 touchdowns.
Perriman has been the Bucs’ No. 3 WR for much of the year, and his snap count Sunday shows he’s still ahead of Watson, playing 65 offensive snaps compared to Watson’s 43. But Watson actually saw more targets, catching five-of-eight looks for 59 yards. Perriman showed off his big-play ability, catching three-of-five targets for 70 yards.
In the long run, those extra 22 snaps Perriman played are enough to allow his big-play ability to win out and make him a better add than Watson. With Detroit’s leaky pass defense the next opponent for Tampa Bay, though, you can’t write off Watson entirely, either. If I had the choice, I’d definitely want Perriman to be my guy in season-long leagues in the fantasy playoffs (although maybe Watson has a PPR case), while Watson could be a super-cheap, low-owned option in Week 15 DFS contests.
For snap count reactions for every team, click here.