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Snaps, Pace, & Stats: How Week 11 shapes up for fantasy

Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) and running back Alvin Kamara (41) against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Week 11 edition of Snaps, Pace, & Stats, where we examine trends in snap totals and no-huddle usage. It is meant to be a 30,000-foot view of upcoming games, with the goal of identifying which matchups will – and which will not – be played on fertile fantasy soil.

This is the second straight week without glaringly up-tempo matchups on the main slate. Of course, the Chiefs and Rams – both high-paced offenses during neutral situations – will get it going on Monday night in Mexico Los Angeles. It is not news that this will be a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair. The Vikings and Bears should also have more juice to their Sunday night matchup than is typical of the division rivals.

Those games are on islands, however, and most DFS slates leave us little choice whether to play them or skip to another matchup. So we’ll again focus on the main Sunday slate and seek diamonds in the rough. Like in Week 10, we can attempt to identify matchups with one team that’s likely to be buoyed by play volume, even if both sides won’t necessarily benefit. Let’s kick things off with a game fitting that profile.

Up in pace

Rank Week 10 Snaps 2018 Snaps/Game Opponent Wk 10 Snaps 2018 Opp Snaps/Gm
1 New Orleans (74) Baltimore (71) Cincinnati (74) Cleveland (72.3)
2 Atlanta (73) Tampa Bay (68.3) Cleveland (73) Cincinnati (71.6)
3 Buffalo (73) Cleveland (68.2) Indianapolis (73) Kansas City (69)
4 Jacksonville (73) Indianapolis (67.3) N.Y. Jets (73) Arizona (67.7)
5 Detroit (72) Philadelphia (67.1) Chicago (72) N.Y. Jets (66.9)

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

The Bengals are a mess. The 43 plays they puttered to on Sunday was their third-lowest snap total in over 20 years. They’re averaging 55.2 plays per game since Week 4, which is even worse than their league-low mark from last year (57.9). No team has fewer snaps during the last two seasons. They are, however, giving up a truckload of play volume. Only the Browns allow more snaps per game, and they’ve worked so many overtimes, Gregg Williams is putting in for time-and-a-half. During the last month, the Bengals are allowing a ridiculous 75.7 plays per game, without the help of overtime. The last time they faced the Ravens, Cincinnati surrendered 81 plays in a 34-23 win. Of course, that was at home, it was before their injury Armageddon, and Hue Jackson hadn’t yet infiltrated the organization.

Speaking of season-altering injuries, we still await word of Joe Flacco’s hip, and if Lamar Jackson will take over behind center. Under Flacco, the Ravens sport a league-high 71-snap average, and only Browns’ games produce more combined snaps. Helping to elevate their pace is Baltimore’s 64.6% pass rate during neutral situations (one-score games). It ranks third-highest, and it isn’t far behind the Bengals 65.4% rate (second-highest). If Flacco is out and the infinitely more mobile Jackson starts, we can assume fewer passes and a more quickly grinding clock. While projecting how Jackson affects Baltimore’s offensive efficiency is more tricky, he almost can’t hurt. The Ravens have sunk to 22nd in points-per-play, after ranking fifth as of Week 5. Combine a potentially more efficient offense with a snap-generating matchup against the Bengals’ 20th-graded defense, and whoever is behind center for the Ravens is in a good spot.

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