The NFL season eh? You wait months and months for it to arrive and then all of a sudden week five is finished already and the year is flying by. With about a third of the whole regular season done (and more of the fantasy regular season of course) we’ve got a pretty good idea of who’s good and who’s not. Let’s dive in shall we?
*Note: The Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins were all on a bye week.
Haason Reddick played just 31 snaps this week as he transitioned to OLB. He’d been averaging 46 per week previously. Deone Bucannon is back at full-time inside and should be an every-week start as long as he can stay fit.
Kamalei Correa played just a single snap this week. Patrick Onwuasor managed 37.
On the edge we’re seeing a split amongst the veterans. Terrell Suggs (44), Za’Darius Smith (37) and Matt Judon (33) all had significant time. Rookies Tyus Bowser (9) and Tim Williams (5) did not.
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With EJ Gaines out, Shareece Wright came in to play 66 snaps and had a big day. No one saw that coming. Tre White (66) held down his spot on the other side.
At DE Shaq Lawson was fit again and played 47 snaps with Eddie Yarbrough relegated to just 15.
Matt Milano did start with Ramon Humber out and played 41 snaps. He’s a good waiver wire pickup for LB needy teams.
The move we’ve al been waiting for finally happened! Shaq Thompson played all 61 snaps whilst Thomas Davis managed just 31. That’s three weeks in a row that Shaq has played more than TD and it seems pretty set. Sell Davis for what you can.
Last week I said Demetrious Cox would start at safety with Kurt Coleman out. That didn’t happen and Colin Jones received 36 snaps opposite Mike Adams (60). Jairus Byrd also saw 24 snaps. Avoid this situation.
With Danny Trevathan suspended Christian Jones (69) and John Timu (42) played at LB. Jonathan Anderson also managed 19 snaps. I want no part of any of these three. Just ignore them.
On the edge Willie Young has been put on IR which should mean an increase in playing time for Pernell McPhee. McPhee has averaged just 27 snaps per week so far although he has played more each and every week. He should be getting full-time starter time from now on.
Shawn Williams played just 48 snaps with Clayton Fejdelem filling in. Williams is clearly not fully fit unfortunately.
Geno Atkins played another big week of 49 snaps. Only five other tackles have seen more than his 244 snaps so far.
Myles Garrett managed two sacks on his debut. Amazingly he did that from just 19 snaps. It was obviously a hugely encouraging start.
At safety Derrick Kindred saw just ten snaps with injury issues. His red-hot start to the season seems a while ago now. Ibraheim Campbell continues to be his primary backup. He played 25 snaps this week.
David Irving came back into the team after his suspension and managed 45 snaps. Correspondingly Maliek Collins saw a reduction from 49 to 34 snaps from last week. Taco Charlton dropped from 22 sacks to just eight. That is worrying.
At linebacker Anthony Hitchens made his first appearance of the season with 50 snaps. Jaylon Smith played just 33. He had to play 67 the week before. Justin Durant also played 27 snaps.
The Lions are pretty healthy again at linebacker which means Jarrad Davis and Tahir Whitehead are on the field. Davis played 66 snaps after two weeks off. Whitehead managed 56. Nick Bellore dropped off with just seven snaps.
At strong safety Tavon Wilson was also fit again and saw the field for 66 snaps. Miles Killebrew still played 35 though. He’s far better as a situational weapon where he won’t be so exposed.
Green Bay Packers
Mike Daniels was fit again and walked back into 51 snaps. Dean Lowry and Ricky-Jean Francois lost significant volume and played just 29 and 7 snaps respectively.
Jake Ryan played 37 snaps this week. With 42 last week he’s seeing a decent if not full time role. Definitely one to watch.
Josh jones also plays a ton at LB of course. This week he played 38 snaps so s we suspected he’s not really a full-time option. I think he’s being overvalued at this stage.
JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus are both out for the season. This is very bad news clearly. Brennan Scarlett played 69 snaps last week and is the next in line to pick up OLB snaps.
On the inside rookie Zach Cunningham played 56 snaps last week but is consistently playing only about 80% of snaps.
Henry Anderson managed 51 snaps last week which was his highest total of the season. A little part of me still thinks he can fulfil the promise he showed as a rookie.
Jabaal Sheard and John Simon played 64 and 68 snaps at outside linebacker. They’re getting huge volume for the position and are very startable in big-play leagues.
At DE, the same hierarchy is holding up. Calais Campbell played 58 snaps last week, Yannick Ngakoue 62 and Dante Fowler 37. Fowler has done amazingly to record sacks in 80% of his games, but it can’t last.
Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Jones is now up to full speed. He and Allen Bailey are playing about the same amount. They managed 43 and 45 snaps last week. Tannoh Kpassagnon has played four total snaps.
Frank Zombo is starting about full time opposite Justin Houston. Zombo played 53 snaps to Houston’s 52 last week.
Los Angeles Chargers
Jatavis Brown took a knock last week and came out of the game. Hopefully he’s fit this week but if not Hayes Pullard should lead the team. Frankly I don’t trust him much though as the Chargers have used a committee approach at the position so far.
Los Angeles Rams
The only thing that’s changing is the safety situation. Last week Cody Davis (45) and John Johnson (68) played with Lamarcus Joyner still hurt and Maurice Alexander surprisingly cut. Feel free to pick either up if you’re in a bad place but frankly I’ll be avoiding them both as much as possible. I have very little faith in either of them.
As we always expected Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso are set as the starting LBs. Obviously that’s a fragile situation but given the offense can’t move the ball they’re both good starts for now.
At DE, four separate players are all getting time and averaging between 26 and 43 snaps per game. Andre Branch is first amongst equals but 53 other DEs have played more snaps per game than he has so far (accounting for the Dolphins missing a game).
Anthony Barr is back and doing great. He played about every snap even in his bad 2016 but this year he’s getting volume (315 snaps so far) as well as looking good. You might be able to get a deal on him.
Mike Zimmer continues to give random players a single snap for no apparent reason. This week it was safety Anthony Harris and LB Emmanuel Lamur.
New England Patriots
Cassius Marsh led the team in snaps opposite Trey Flowers this week. Marsh had 50 and has averaged 31 across the season. I have no idea why. He looks terrible to me.
Dont’a Hightower played a full load of 62 snaps and is fully healthy again but he’s still playing a lot on the edge. Elandon Roberts saw just 23 snaps. As we’ve said before he’s not really starting calibre due to low volume.
New York Jets
Freddie Bishop came up onto the main roster this week to play 42 snaps at OLB. He, Jordan Jenkins (48) and David Bass (56) are in a job share.
Marcus Williams saw 38 snaps at sot corner. He’s safely ignorable.
New York Giants
Corner is in flux as this team crashes and burns. Eli Apple is bad, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has fallen out with the coach and been suspended and even Damon Harrison has given up honey buns. Whatever they are.
At DE with Olivier Vernon out Avery Moss (29), Kerry Wynn (44) and Romeo Okwara (13) are seeing time. Ignore them all.
At LB we’re hoping it settles down but at the moment it’s a muddle. BJ Goodson and Keenan Robinson (59 snaps each) led the team last week but Devon Kennard (42) and Jonathan Casillas (35) saw good time too. Yuk.
People have been adding Darian Thompson this week after his big game. It was a classic spike week for a free safety. Ignore him.
Cory James took a knock this week and was restricted to just 34 snaps at inside linebacker. Marquel Lee played 31 and Nicholas Morrow 33.
Mario Edwards seems to have won the job at DE and has played over 40 snaps in the past three weeks straight.
With Fletcher Cox out Timmy Jernigan looked fantastic on his 46 snaps. Beau Allen (26) and Jakar Hamilton (18) shared Cox’s job.
Corey Graham randomly played 40 snaps in the secondary too. He hadn’t been seen since week two before now.
Nose tackle Javon Hargrave is a really good player and important to the team but he isn’t on the field much. He played 33 snaps last week which is actually quite high for him.
Bud Dupree (51) and TJ Watt (50) are the clear starters at OLB. James Harrison has now played a total of 7 snaps this season.
Due to injury and discipline Shaq Griffen has played a good amount of time at corner in Seattle. He’s managed 256 snaps to Richard Sherman’s 336. Jeremy Lane missed last week of course and has only played 134 so far.
Frank Clark capitalised on Cliff Avril’s absence to log 57 snaps this week. Way up on the 38 he’d been averaging per week beforehand.
San Francisco 49ers
This team lead the league in defensive snaps. Both absolute and per game. The volume is helping across the board quite frankly and some average talents have scored well. Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson at cornerback I’m looking at you!
DeForest Buckner is anything but average at DT of course and has now played over 60 snaps four games straight. A DT has played over 60 snaps in a game 12 times in 2017 and Buckner has four of those games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kendell Beckwith had another good week and Adarius Glanton also piled up some stats. But as soon as Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander are fit these two are back on the bench. I’m firmly in favour of trading them away whilst you can. They both played a huge 74 snaps last week against the Patriots.
Noah Spence led the team in snaps at DE with 60 but is enormously frustrating. He’s lightweight and abandons his run responsibilities trying to get around tackles. He reminds me of Yannick Ngakoue a bit.
It was a low-snap week for the Titans as they were both awful and played a run-first team. The only major change was DaNorris Searcy stepping into a starting role with 52 snaps. Curtis Riley was relegated to just 16. Kevin Byard (59) remains the safety to own here.
That’s it for another week. As always, keep your eyes on potential breakout players and avoid spike weeks. Chasing stats will end up in more mistakes than successes at this stage of the season.
Good luck everyone!