The Week 15 schedule didn't look exciting on paper with just one matchup between teams with winning records. But Thursday Night Football started things off right with an overtime thriller, and then the early slate on Sunday gave us several more close, high-scoring games.
The story of the day was running backs, and Tony Pollard went from the waiver wire to a potential league-winner over the course of hours. Several other running backs put up big numbers to help their fantasy managers reach championship games.
As always, this collection of fantasy reactions will include snap counts for skill players on each team, along with notes on players who saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall during the action — and how we should react to anything new.
|Houston Texans||Indianapolis Colts|
|Brandin Cooks – 68 snaps||Zach Pascal – 47 snaps|
|Chad Hansen – 63 snaps||Michael Pittman Jr. – 46 snaps|
|Keke Coutee – 55 snaps||T.Y. Hilton – 35 snaps|
|Steven Mitchell Jr. – 1 snap||Ashton Dulin – 3 snaps|
|Jordan Akins – 40 snaps||Jack Doyle – 41 snaps|
|Darren Fells – 18 snaps||Mo Alie-Cox – 25 snaps|
|Pharaoh Brown – 17 snaps||Trey Burton – 19 snaps|
|Kahale Warring -12 snaps|
|David Johnson – 55 snaps||Jonathan Taylor – 38 snaps|
|Buddy Howell – 10 snaps||Nyheim Hines – 16 snaps|
|Scottie Phillips – 4 snaps|
|Total – 69 snaps||Total – 54 snaps|
The Colts’ presumed No. 1 receiver has changed several times this season, and Pascal assumed the role this week. Indianapolis spread the ball around, with eight different players seeing between two and six targets. Pascal had six and led the team in catches (5), receiving yards (79) and TDs (2). T.Y. Hilton wasn’t far behind with 71 yards on four catches. It will be hard to trust any of the wide receivers on this roster next week against the Steelers.
Johnson missed last week with a neck injury. His top two backups, Duke Johnson Jr. and C.J. Prosise, were both inactive for this game with their own injuries. This allowed David to play an every-down role similar to what he had back in September. He didn’t get many opportunities in the run game with 27 yards on eight carries.
Johnson instead made his mark in the pass game. He caught all 11 passes thrown his way for 106 yards. This was especially surprising considering he didn’t have a catch in either of his last two games. His receiving total was a career-high for him and the most for a Texans player today. Johnson has an attractive matchup next week against the Bengals, and he will have even more upside if his backups remain out.
Cooks also missed the Texans last game with a neck injury and returned to the top of the Texans wide receiver depth chart this week. He led the Texans wide receivers in snaps (68), targets (7), catches (6) and yards (59). Unfortunately, he didn’t lead the group in touchdowns. Chad Hansen and Keke Coutee both found the end zone. Cooks can still be trusted next week in fantasy starting lineups.
|Detroit Lions||Tennessee Titans|
|Marvin Jones Jr. – 59 snaps||A.J. Brown – 57 snaps|
|Mohamed Sanu – 43 snaps||Corey Davis – 53 snaps|
|Quintez Cephus – 29 snaps||Cameron Batson – 21 snaps|
|Danny Amendola – 28 snaps||Nick Westbrook – 9 snaps|
|Jamal Agnew – 10 snaps|
|T.J. Hockenson – 52 snaps||Jonnu Smith – 63 snaps|
|Jesse James – 32 snaps||MyCole Pruitt – 38 snaps|
|Hunter Bryant – 8 snaps||Anthony Firkser – 17 snaps|
|D'Andre Swift – 42 snaps||Derrick Henry – 43 snaps|
|Adrian Peterson – 16 snaps||Darrynton Evans – 13 snaps|
|Kerryon Johnson – 8 snaps||Jeremy McNichols – 8 snaps|
|Total – 66 snaps||Total – 65 snaps|
Tannehill played a large role in the Titans victory, racking up 273 passing yards and three touchdowns with another two TDs on the ground. This game was high-scoring, and anyone who started players from this game was likely happy with the outcome. Both starting running backs scored, and the top three wide receivers in the game also put up touchdowns.
Back in Week 10, Swift played a career-high 73% of offensive snaps but then missed the next three weeks with a concussion. The rookie returned to the lineup last week in a decreased role. Swift was the clear lead back for Detroit this week, returning to a role similar to Week 10. He ran 15 times for 67 yards and two touchdowns, adding four catches for 15 yards to help his PPR totals. Swift was off the field for most third downs, with Kerryon Johnson taking those snaps. Swift will be highly drafted in 2021, and his stock could rise even higher if he can take those third-down snaps back.
The third-round rookie has spent most of the 2020 season on injured reserve. Evans has been on the 53 man roster for a few weeks, but this was his first week active on game day since early in the season. He ran eight times for 30 yards as Henry’s backup. He added two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown through the air.
D’Onta Foreman had been the primary backup for Tennessee in run situations but was inactive today. If something were to happen to Derrick Henry over the rest of the regular season or the playoffs, Evans would have the most upside among the rest of the RBs in Tennessee.
|Chicago Bears||Minnesota Vikings|
|Allen Robinson II – 57 snaps||Justin Jefferson – 66 snaps|
|Darnell Mooney – 53 snaps||Adam Thielen – 64 snaps|
|Javon Wims – 21 snaps||Chad Beebe – 20 snaps|
|Anthony Miller – 16 snaps||Olabisi Johnson – 9 snaps|
|Riley Ridley – 3 snaps|
|Cole Kmet – 64 snaps||Irv Smith Jr. – 56 snaps|
|Jimmy Graham – 34 snaps||Tyler Conklin – 45 snaps|
|J.P. Holtz – 7 snaps|
|Demetrius Harris – 1 snap|
|David Montgomery – 56 snaps||Dalvin Cook – 52 snaps|
|Cordarrelle Patterson – 6 snaps||Alexander Mattison – 6 snaps|
|Ryan Nall – 2 snaps||Ameer Abdullah – 1 snap|
|Total – 64 snaps||Total – 68 snaps|
Montgomery’s fantasy stock has been on the rise in recent weeks. He put together the best game of his career today, rushing 32 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Those were career highs in both carries and rushing yards, and it was his third two-touchdown game of his NFL career.
Cordarrelle Patterson left this game in the middle of the second quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return, leading to an even bigger role than usual for Montgomery. He returned to the game for one snap in the fourth quarter, so he has good odds of playing in Week 16. Patterson only managed one 3-yard carry and a 4-yard catch before his early exit. Montgomery will still have top-10 potential with Patterson back next week.
The Vikings have dealt with a lot of tight end injuries over the second half of the season. This week is the closest we’ve seen to what the Vikings offense would look like with a healthy Smith but no Kyle Rudolph. Smith took all but one snap for the Vikings in 11 personnel, while splitting snaps with Tyler Conklin when the Vikings were in 21 personnel. The Vikings spent nearly half the game with both tight ends on the field.
Smith caught three of four passes thrown his way for 37 yards. Conklin overshadowed him by gaining 57 yards on his three catches and scoring a touchdown. Smith will have more potential in 2021 if Rudolph isn’t on the team, but his combination of talent and opportunity will probably keep him from being a TE1 in drafts.
Harris left with an ankle injury after one snap and didn’t return. Cole Kmet had already taken most of Harris’ snaps over the last two months. Harris has mostly been used in three tight end sets over the last few weeks. His absence led to an increased role for J.P. Holtz. If Harris misses next week’s game, it would have no impact on Kmet or Jimmy Graham’s fantasy value for that game.
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Atlanta Falcons|
|Chris Godwin – 60 snaps||Russell Gage – 59 snaps|
|Mike Evans – 55 snaps||Calvin Ridley – 58 snaps|
|Antonio Brown – 32 snaps||Brandon Powell – 28 snaps|
|Scotty Miller – 13 snaps||Christian Blake – 15 snaps|
|Tyler Johnson – 11 snaps||Laquon Treadwell – 5 snaps|
|Rob Gronkowski – 62 snaps||Hayden Hurst – 43 snaps|
|Cameron Brate – 23 snaps||Luke Stocker – 32 snaps|
|Tanner Hudson – 7 snaps||Jaeden Graham – 9 snaps|
|Leonard Fournette – 45 snaps||Ito Smith – 31 snaps|
|LeSean McCoy – 12 snaps||Todd Gurley II – 16 snaps|
|Ke'Shawn Vaughn – 10 snaps||Brian Hill – 15 snaps|
|Kenjon Barner – 1 snap|
|Total – 68 snaps||Total – 65 snaps|
Ridley was the main source of offense for the Falcons with Julio Jones inactive for another week. Ridley caught 10 of 14 passes thrown his way for 163 yards and a touchdown. His reception and yards totals were both career-highs. Ridley started the season with three-straight 100-yard games, and now he’s put together another three-game stretch with 100 yards. Russell Gage put up decent numbers with five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Eleven different skill players ended up with catches for Atlanta today.
The Falcons used their running backs differently today. Smith remained the primary back on early downs, similar to what he’s done in recent weeks. He gained 24 yards on six carries. Brian Hill had been the third-down back, but instead he was the primary backup to Smith on early downs. Hill lost two yards on his five carries. Todd Gurley II had been the primary backup on early downs, but today he was the third-down back. Gurley lost a yard on his only carry but gained 15 yards on his two catches.
In the short-term, Smith is the back to have on your roster. He should put up better numbers next week against Kansas City. Gurley can be dropped. In the long-term, Smith is the only back among the three who will likely be on the Falcons roster in 2021. Smith hasn’t done enough to maintain a large role for the team, so look for Atlanta to either add a free agent or draft a running back to take over.
Fournette was healthy but inactive a week ago. Ronald Jones landed on the inactive list while also dealing with a finger injury, forcing him to miss this game. Fournette not only returned to the active roster but also to the starting lineup. He was the Buccaneers’ primary back on first and second downs, with Ke’Shawn Vaughn backing him up during those situations. LeSean McCoy was the third-down back like he was last week and earlier in the season.
Fournette wasn’t very effective running except when it came to the goal line. He only gained 49 yards on 14 carries but converted two of those into touchdowns. He added three catches for 16 yards in the air. Vaughn handled two carries while McCoy added three catches. Once Jones is ready to return, Fournette could be active as the backup on early downs as well as taking goal line work, which is the job he had to start the season.
|Seattle Seahawks||Washington Football Team|
|Tyler Lockett – 52 snaps||Terry McLaurin – 78 snaps|
|D.K. Metcalf – 51 snaps||Cam Sims – 77 snaps|
|David Moore – 21 snaps||Steven Sims – 28 snaps|
|Freddie Swain – 16 snaps||Isaiah Wright – 22 snaps|
|Robert Foster – 10 snaps|
|Jacob Hollister – 40 snaps||Logan Thomas – 80 snaps|
|Will Dissly – 37 snaps||Jeremy Sprinkle – 19 snaps|
|Colby Parkinson – 8 snaps||Marcus Baugh – 3 snaps|
|Chris Carson – 40 snaps||J.D. McKissic – 70 snaps|
|Carlos Hyde – 10 snaps||Peyton Barber – 13 snaps|
|Rashaad Penny – 6 snaps|
|Total – 57 snaps||Total – 80 snaps|
McKissic remained the starter in Washington with Antonio Gibson out with a toe injury. Gibson dominated playing time in a way that no back has for Washington this season. He gained 51 yards on 13 carries, along with 56 yards on nine catches and a touchdown. Logan Thomas joined McKissic as another favorite target for Dwayne Haskins. Thomas gained 101 yards on 13 catches. McKissic remains in the RB2 conversation as long as Gibson is still out.
Washington has been an elite team at stopping wide receivers and improved their reputation against Seattle. Lockett was held to 34 yards on four catches from seven targets. Teammate D.K. Metcalf didn’t fare much better with five catches on six targets for 43 yards. Seattle’s only passing touchdown went to tight end Jacob Hollister. The Rams next week will also give these wide receivers a challenge.
In two games late last season, Penny put together two excellent performances with 203 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He then tore his ACL early in the following game. Penny missed the rest of 2019 as well as all of 2020 up to this point. He was active this week for the first time, and the Seahawks eased him into action with six snaps. Penny gained six yards on two carries. All of his playing time came on early downs, reducing Carlos Hyde’s roll to the third-down back. Penny’s role will likely expand next week, hurting the upside of Chris Carson.
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Baltimore Ravens|
|D.J. Chark Jr. – 49 snaps||Marquise Brown – 52 snaps|
|Keelan Cole – 43 snaps||Willie Snead IV – 43 snaps|
|Laviska Shenault Jr. – 43 snaps||Miles Boykin – 35 snaps|
|Chris Conley – 23 snaps||Dez Bryant – 18 snaps|
|Collin Johnson – 1 snap||Devin Duvernay – 4 snaps|
|James Proche – 3 snaps|
|Tyler Eifert – 37 snaps||Mark Andrews – 34 snaps|
|James O'Shaughnessy – 25 snaps||Eric Tomlinson – 23 snaps|
|Eric Saubert – 12 snaps|
|James Robinson – 36 snaps||J.K. Dobbins – 35 snaps|
|Dare Ogunbowale – 14 snaps||Gus Edwards – 27 snaps|
|Devine Ozigbo – 3 snaps||Justice Hill – 6 snaps|
|Total – 58 snaps||Total – 66 snaps|
The Ravens won in a blowout victory, but Jackson was the only individual to put up big numbers throughout the game. He completed 17 of 22 passes for 243 passing yards and three touchdowns. Jackson added 35 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown on the ground. All of the Ravens skill players that were in starting lineups had respectable games, but no one player had a great game.
Robinson left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, which could potentially keep him out of Week 16. Robinson was disappointing in the run game with 35 yards on 16 carries. He partially made up for it with a receiving touchdown in the third quarter. Both Dare Ogunbowale and Devine Ozigbo split playing time in the fourth quarter after Robinson left. Both backs have primarily been used in passing situations this year, so there is no guarantee that one back will get the rushing attempts over the other if Robinson misses time. Ozigbo has more experience as an early-down back in his career, so he would likely be the waiver wire target.
Bryant missed the last two weeks while on the Covid-19 list. He returned to action but only as the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart. He only caught one pass in the game, but it ended up being his first touchdown since 2017. With Marquise Brown playing well again and Miles Boykin playing ahead of Bryant, there is no reason to expect Bryant to put up big numbers over the last two weeks of the season.
The fifth-round rookie had surpassed Chris Conley for the fourth wide receiver spot on the depth chart in recent weeks. He put up 10 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown over the last three weeks. Johnson injured his hamstring after just one snap today and didn’t return to the game, and Conley took over as the fourth wide receiver. His only contribution was a catch in the last two minutes for a touchdown. Johnson will be someone to keep an eye on this offseason — he could potentially work his way into three wide receiver sets.
|New England Patriots||Miami Dolphins|
|Jakobi Meyers – 53 snaps||Mack Hollins – 69 snaps|
|Damiere Byrd – 53 snaps||Lynn Bowden Jr. – 65 snaps|
|N'Keal Harry – 26 snaps||Isaiah Ford – 53 snaps|
|Gunner Olszewski – 1 snap||Malcolm Perry – 10 snaps|
|Dalton Keene – 29 snaps||Adam Shaheen – 43 snaps|
|Devin Asias – 27 snaps||Durham Smythe – 41 snaps|
|Chris Myarick – 3 snaps|
|James White – 28 snaps||Salvon Ahmed – 44 snaps|
|Sony Michel – 23 snaps||Matt Breida – 18 snaps|
|J.J. Taylor – 5 snaps||Patrick Laird – 8 snaps|
|Total – 55 snaps||Total – 72 snaps|
Ahmed had a breakout game in Week 10 with 85 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. The next game he suffered a shoulder injury causing him to miss three games. Myles Gaskin is on the Covid-19 list, allowing Ahmed to take the starting running back spot. Ahmed ran for 122 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown. It was the best rushing performance by any back in Miami this season. Ahmed made the case to remain the starter the rest of the season even if Gaskin is ready to return.
Damien Harris missed this game with an ankle injury, allowing Michel to be the lead runner for New England. Michel impressed with 74 yards on 10 carries. Harris’ absence also allowed James White to see an extended role on early downs. White caught all four passes thrown his way for 52 yards. J.J. Taylor also saw five snaps but only gained two yards on his only carry. With the Patriots eliminated from playoff contention, Taylor could see more time in these last two weeks.
DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant were both inactive for the game, pushing several wide receivers up the depth chart. Bowden and Mack Hollins started, and Bowden was the clear favorite target with seven, though they only led to 37 yards on six catches. Isaiah Ford started the season with Miami but was traded to the Patriots before landing back with the Dolphins. He played in three wide receiver sets. Bowden is the only one of the group assured a big role in the offense regardless of who is healthy next week.
Mike Gesicki joined the long list of Dolphins skill players missing from this game. Smythe and Adam Shaheen split the passing-down work. Smythe led all Dolphins in receiving yards today with 40, catching all five passes thrown his way. Shaheen caught one pass for 15 yards. Both tight ends can stay on the waiver wire even if Gesicki misses another game.
|San Francisco 49ers||Dallas Cowboys|
|Brandon Aiyuk – 80 snaps||Amari Cooper -45 snaps|
|Richie James Jr. – 54 snaps||Michael Gallup – 38 snaps|
|Kendrick Bourne – 42 snaps||CeeDee Lamb – 33 snaps|
|River Cracraft – 12 snaps||Noah Brown – 17 snaps|
|Cedrick Wilson – 16 snaps|
|Ross Dwelley – 46 snaps||Dalton Schultz – 51 snaps|
|Jordan Reed – 42 snaps||Blake Bell – 22 snaps|
|Daniel Helm – 21 snaps||Sean McKeon – 7 snaps|
|Jeff Wilson Jr. – 39 snaps||Tony Pollard – 52 snaps|
|Raheem Mostert – 25 snaps||Rico Dowdle – 8 snaps|
|Jerick McKinnon – 14 snaps|
|Tevin Coleman – 6 snaps|
|Total – 84 snaps||Total – 58 snaps|
Ezekiel Elliott was expected to play but showed up on the inactive list an hour and a half before the game. This led fantasy managers to rush to add Pollard in the leagues he was available, with many starting the Cowboys’ backup. Those who put their trust in Pollard had their faith paid off. He ran 12 times for 69 yards and two touchdowns and also led the Cowboys in targets with nine, catching six for 63 yards. Pollard would have top-10 potential again if Elliott misses another game.
Mostert started the game as the 49ers’ lead back, as has been the case recently. Jeff Wilson Jr. also played significant time on early downs. Wilson had typically also been the third-down back, but both backs shared third downs with Jerick McKinnon today. Mostert left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return. Mostert gained 68 yards on the ground from 14 attempts before leaving the game.
Wilson took over as the early down back in the second half, playing in 73% of the snaps in those situations. McKinnon and Tevin Coleman split the other early-down snaps. McKinnon took over nearly all of the third-down work. Wilson gained 60 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Wilson would have big-game potential if Mostert were to miss next week’s game.
Deebo Samuel suffered a potentially season ending hamstring injury last week. James took all of Samuel’s snaps in two wide receiver sets and nearly all of them in three wide receiver sets. The only reason for the large gap in playing time between James and Brandon Aiyuk is that Aiyuk took all 18 snaps from 22 personnel. James caught four of seven targets thrown his way for 56 yards. Aiyuk also benefited from Samuel’s absence with a 36% target share. He caught nine passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. James will remain a big part of the 49ers offense for the rest of the season.
|New York Jets||Los Angeles Rams|
|Breshad Perriman – 63 snaps||Robert Woods – 53 snaps|
|Denzel Mims – 58 snaps||Cooper Kupp – 48 snaps|
|Jamison Crowder – 49 snaps||Josh Reynolds – 45 snaps|
|Braxton Berrios – 3 snaps||Van Jefferson – 14 snaps|
|Chris Herndon – 43 snaps||Tyler Higbee – 49 snaps|
|Ryan Griffin – 27 snaps||Gerald Everett – 27 snaps|
|Trevon Wesco – 17 snaps|
|Daniel Brown – 2 snaps|
|Frank Gore – 40 snaps||Cam Akers – 36 snaps|
|Ty Johnson – 22 snaps||Malcolm Brown – 16 snaps|
|Josh Adams – 1 snap||Darrell Henderson – 7 snaps|
|Total – 65 snaps||Total – 59 snaps|
Woods put together the best fantasy performance in a game where no one had big numbers. Woods caught six of eight passes thrown his way for 56 yards and a touchdown. Sadly, the receiving alone was enough for him to put up the most PPR points. He added a 40-yard run on his only carry, which helped push him over the top. The Rams had been doing a lot more rotating among their wide receivers in games where they were close or had a lead. With the Rams playing from behind, they did significantly less rotating than recent weeks.
Akers was helped off the field in the first quarter and was limited in playing time throughout the first half. He played in 36.7% of first half snaps with Malcolm Brown leading the way. The concerns were gone by the second half, as Akers played 88.5% of the second-half snaps and Darrell Henderson didn’t see any playing time in the half. Akers gained 63 yards on 15 attempts, as he was never able to break a long carry. Fantasy managers shouldn’t be concerned about his usage in the first half and should be comfortable treating him like a top-10 back in Week 16.
Johnson led the Jets’ three-man rotation in snaps a week ago when the Jets were forced to pass all game. The Jets focused on the run game to maintain a lead this week, allowing Frank Gore to be the lead rusher. Gore gained 59 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown. Johnson had a noteworthy performance with six catches on six targets for 39 yards and a receiving touchdown. He added 16 yards on the ground from three carries. He’s the only back for the Jets this season to reach six catches. The Jets will likely replace Gore with a new back next year, and that RB will probably be New York’s leading rusher. Johnson is making a case to be the Jets’ receiving back going forward.
|Philadelphia Eagles||Arizona Cardinals|
|Alshon Jeffery – 52 snaps||DeAndre Hopkins – 65 snaps|
|Jalen Reagor – 46 snaps||Christian Kirk – 58 snaps|
|Greg Ward – 43 snaps||Larry Fitzgerald – 46 snaps|
|Quez Watkins – 29 snaps||KeeSean Johnson – 21 snaps|
|Travis Fulgham – 26 snaps||Trent Sherfield – 2 snaps|
|Dallas Goedert – 73 snaps||Dan Arnold – 26 snaps|
|Zach Ertz – 62 snaps||Maxx Williams – 23 snaps|
|Darrell Daniels – 23 snaps|
|Miles Sanders – 69 snaps||Chase Edmonds – 36 snaps|
|Boston Scott – 15 snaps||Kenyan Drake – 34 snaps|
|Total – 83 snaps||Total – 68 snaps|
Hopkins dominated this game throughout the day with nine catches on 11 targets for 169 yards and a touchdown. No other Cardinal had more than three catches. This was his most receiving yards in a game since 2018. It was also the first time Hopkins put up back-to-back 100-yard games for the Cardinals. Hopkins’ fantasy managers must be happy that he is putting up his best numbers when they need him the most.
Reagor left late in the third quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return. He only needed three quarters to lead the Eagles in catches at five. He did that on eight targets and gained a total of 49 yards. Reagor was clearly leading the Eagles wide receivers in offensive snaps before the injury. Greg Ward and Alshon Jeffery were also seeing significant time, with Travis Fulgham and Quez Watkins also rotating in. In the fourth quarter, Fulgham and Watkins split Reagor’s playing time. Ward notably had a big game in the first half, catching two touchdowns. If Reagor misses time, Jeffery and Ward would benefit the most with a higher target share, as would the tight ends.
Zach Ertz’s role in the Eagles offense has been on the rise in recent weeks. Goedert played more than Ertz in this game, but Ertz ran more pass routes than Goedert. It was the first time Ertz ran more routes with both tight ends active since Week 3. They were near even in targets, with Goedert seeing eight and Ertz seven. Goedert had more catches (four to two), but Ertz gained more yards (69 to 39). The Eagles have a terrible cap situation, which might lead to a trade of Ertz. If not, both players will continue to hurt each other’s fantasy value.
|Kansas City Chiefs||New Orleans Saints|
|Tyreek Hill – 84 snaps||Juwan Johnson – 42 snaps|
|Sammy Watkins – 80 snaps||Emmanuel Sanders – 39 snaps|
|Demarcus Robinson – 50 snaps||Lil'Jordan Humphrey – 26 snaps|
|Mecole Hardman – 32 snaps||Tre'Quan Smith – 24 snaps|
|Byron Pringle – 6 snaps||Tommylee Lewis – 6 snaps|
|Travis Kelce – 78 snaps||Jared Cook – 33 snaps|
|Nick Keizer – 33 snaps||Adam Trautman – 21 snaps|
|Deon Yelder – 19 snaps||Josh Hill – 7 snaps|
|Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 45 snaps||Alvin Kamara – 40 snaps|
|Le'Veon Bell – 31 snaps||Latavius Murray – 16 snaps|
|Darrel Williams – 22 snaps|
|Total – 98 snaps||Total – 55 snaps|
This game was full of offensive superstars, but no individual skill player put up an incredible performance. Kelce was the best of the group with eight catches on 12 targets for 68 yards and a touchdown. He played well enough to help the team to victory, but not well enough to maintain his receiving yardage lead on the season. DeAndre Hopkins now leads all players in receiving yards — eight yards ahead of Kelce. Alvin Kamara also had a good game with 94 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.
Edwards-Helaire seemed to take hold of an every down role for Kansas City last week, but th RB group was back to a rotation this week. Edwards-Helaire shared early down work with Le’Veon Bell, and Darrel Williams handled third downs. Edwards-Helaire gained 79 rushing yards on 14 carries, while Bell had 62 yards and a touchdown on his 15 carries. Both backs caught one pass each.
Late in the fourth quarter, Edwards-Helaire suffered what looked to be a bad leg injury, although X-rays on his leg and hip were negative. If Edwards-Helaire were to miss next week, Bell would likely see nearly all of the first- and second-down snaps and nearly all of the carries. This would make Bell a popular waiver wire target in the leagues where he is available.
The Saints started this game down a wide receiver after Michael Thomas landed back on injured reserve earlier in the week. Smith took over as the leader in snaps and routes run in the first half. He played one snap in the third quarter before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Emmanuel Sanders stepped up with a team-leading 76 yards off of four catches. Regardless of Smith’s injury status next week, Sanders is the wide receiver to trust the rest of the regular season.
|Cleveland Browns||New York Giants|
|Rashard Higgins – 47 snaps||Darius Slayton – 47 snaps|
|Jarvis Landry – 45 snaps||Sterling Shepard – 38 snaps|
|Donovan Peoples-Jones – 36 snaps||Golden Tate – 30 snaps|
|KhaDarel Hodge – 8 snaps||Austin Mack – 7 snaps|
|C.J. Board – 1 snap|
|Austin Hooper – 45 snaps||Evan Engram – 43 snaps|
|David Njoku – 31 snaps||Kaden Smith – 24 snaps|
|Harrison Bryant – 30 snaps||Levine Toilolo – 18 snaps|
|Nick Chubb – 38 snaps||Wayne Gallman – 23 snaps|
|Kareem Hunt – 21 snaps||Dion Lewis – 18 snaps|
|D’Ernest Johnson – 5 snaps||Alfred Morris – 13 snaps|
|Total – 64 snaps||Total – 54 snaps|
Landry caught seven of the eight passes thrown his way for 61 yards and a touchdown tonight. His touchdown gave the Browns a two-score lead, which was enough to clinch the game for Cleveland. This was Landry's fourth consecutive game with at least eight targets and the third time in the last four games that he’s scored a touchdown.
The Browns' other two starting wide receivers also hit over 50 receiving yards. KhaDarel Hodge returned from injury for Cleveland after missing the last two weeks, but Donovan Peoples-Jones remained ahead of Hodge on the depth chart despite his return.
Slayton had the biggest day for a Giants offense that failed to put much together. Slayton caught four of his nine targets for 74 yards, with half of those catches occurring in the last 45 seconds of the game. The second-year wide receiver has only caught 46 of the 82 passes thrown his way this season.
New York will likely address wide receiver in free agency or early in the draft, as no one on the roster is a true No. 1 option. Golden Tate could retire or could end up being a cap casualty, allowing the Giants to add a wide receiver without Slayton seeing a significant decrease in playing time, though this would hurt his target share and ultimately hurt his dynasty value.
Hooper missed last week’s game with a neck injury but returned to the lineup tonight. He ended up putting up his best game since the middle of the season, with five catches on six targets for 41 yards and a touchdown. In general, he hasn’t lived up to his reputation this season, with less than half the catches, yards and touchdowns compared to last season, despite playing in just two fewer games. Despite the positive game, he should be avoided for the rest of this season.