Week 4 Snap Count and Touches Analysis: These players can get you those 8-to-12 points you need to keep your lineup consistently competitive.
Oh my goodness, what an absolutely insane Week 3. Don’t count on that sort of nonsense on a weekly basis, folks. Sometimes, you just have a week that drops the entire fantasy community on its collective head. Factoring in this week, we’re starting to get a clearer picture on snap counts and targets across the board. While we really can’t count on this week having any sort of staying power, we can certainly average out the craziness and find some nuggets of truth. It’s time for the floor check!
JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)
This has got to be a no-brainer at this point. However, it’s worth noting that JuJu Smith-Schuster’s role has changed somewhat in the Steelers’ offense. Before the season, we saw Juju as a real boom-or-bust type, similar to Will Fuller or Martavis Bryant before him. But that’s not even close to his role now. Smith-Schuster is fourth in the league in targets, sitting pretty at 38 through Week 3. Not only can he blow up any given week and give you a crazy high ceiling, but his floor is now very high as well. Start him week in and week out.
Kenny Golladay (DAL)
FYI: There’s a new number one in Detroit. For PPR purposes, you’re still looking at Golden Tate as the main man for the Lions. Not so fast, I say. While Tate will still give you a bit of a higher floor in PPR, as he’s sitting at 37 targets so far, Kenny Golladay is sitting at 29. His usage is trending upwards as well. Tate might have the higher floor in PPR, but Golladay has the higher ceiling at this point. I’m not saying you’re starting him over Tate, but you’re definitely starting him over Marvin Jones.
Devin Funchess (CAR)
With Greg Olsen out, Devin Funchess is still functioning as Cam Newton’s security blanket. He’s now sitting at 25 targets through Week 3. As long as Olsen is out, Funchess can man anyone’s flex spot with confidence.
Sammy Watkins (KC)
After Week 1, nobody thought Sammy Watkins would be a high-floor player this year. He really had that boom-or-bust look to him. However, Patrick Mahomes has really started looking to Watkins in key situations. He is now sitting on 23 targets through Week 3. Bear in mind that includes a very slow Week 1. His usage is trending up, and he’s in the best offense in football. Fire him up.
Taylor Gabriel (CHI)
Guess who else has an upward trending usage count? That’s right, Taylor Gabriel is a thing again. He’s sitting on 24 targets through Week 3, which is only 6 less than No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson. Gabriel has field-stretching speed, so that sort of target share can always lead to monster days in addition to a reasonable floor in PPR formats. I’m comfortable with Gabriel in my flex.
Chris Thompson (WAS)
It was a down week for Chris Thompson, but he’s still commanding a high share of touches through the Redskins backfield. Nobody thought the game script against the Packers would lead to Adrian Peterson toting the rock that many times. Such is the way of the NFL in crazy weeks like Week 3. You’re still starting Thompson, particularly in PPR. He’ll bounce back from his 7-touch performance.
Derrick Henry (TEN)
I’m not sure that there’s been a single skill player that’s been more disappointing so far this year than Derrick Henry. That being said, fantasy value still revolves around opportunity. Henry has 11, 18, and 18 touches so far this season. That’s plenty of volume for a still-talented RB to make his mark. I’m not sure you can start Henry with confidence, but you can bet he gives you a reasonable floor depending on the matchup.
Alfred Morris (SF)
The loss of Jimmy Garoppolo will be felt in San Francisco for the rest of the season. I’m pretty down on a lot of the skill players for the 49ers without their star QB. That being said, Kyle Shanahan still has to find a way to win some games. With Matt Breida’s injury against the Chiefs, expect Alfred Morris to see an uptick in touches. He’s got 12, 16, and 14 so far. Breida is still the better back for the 49ers, but Morris’ share of the workload and his goal line work gives him a decent floor every week.
Alex Collins (BAL)
The year didn’t start out great for Alex Collins owners. Not great at all, actually. However, it’s starting to look like the Ravens remember that Collins is much better than Javorius Allen. Collins has jumped up each week, going from 8, to 12, to 21 total touches each game. He’s on the right track for workhorse status. Considering his talent upside over Buck Allen, start Collins with confidence.
Marshawn Lynch (OAK)
I avoided Beast Mode in just about all of my fantasy drafts this year. That turned out to be unfortunate. If you’re not starting Marshawn Lynch every week at this point, you’re either crazy stacked at RB or tanking on purpose. Lynch has 13, 20, and 22 touches so far this season. He’s an absolute must-start on volume alone, particularly in standard leagues.
James White (NE)
Nailed it. James White did you a real solid in PPR leagues this past week against the Lions. The Patriots might have lost, but having White in your flex spot worked out just fine. With Rex Burkhead on his way to IR and Sony Michel struggling a bit to adjust to life in the NFL, you can expect a sizable workload from White moving forward. He’s had 9, 11, and 7 touches so far. That’s plenty good enough considering how the Patriots use him.
Jimmy Graham (GB)
I know, Jimmy Graham hasn’t given you much this season yet. You’d think with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, it really wouldn’t be much of an issue getting those fantasy points. Stay the course, though! Jimmy is sitting 4th in TE targets this year, right at 22 through Week 3. Inevitably, those targets are going to lead to points.
Jared Cook (OAK)
Jared Cook is still sitting pretty in target shares for the Oakland Raiders. He’s got 20 so far. Considering the Raiders seem to be letting a different veteran get his due each week, this isn’t exactly a great offense to trust at the moment. That being said, targets just don’t lie. Inevitably, Cook will have his good weeks. Play him when the matchup’s right.
George Kittle (SF)
The loss of Jimmy Garoppolo should seriously hurt the stock of all 49ers players. That being said, you might want to consider holding on to or buying low on George Kittle. He’s sitting at 3rd on the season for TE targets, right at 23 through Week 3. C.J. Beathard is definitely no Jimmy G, but some players have the talent to overcome a quarterback deficit. I think Kittle is one of them.
Jordan Reed (WAS)
So far, so good for Jordan Reed, at least as far as injuries are concerned. Turns out, Alex Smith still loves throwing to his tight ends. Reed has 19 targets so far this season. Considering the giant upside presented by a healthy Reed, you’re starting him every single week.