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Snaps, Pace, & Stats: How Week 13 shapes up for fantasy

Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Week 13 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 football soil.

Up in pace

Rank Week 12 Snaps 2018 Snaps/Game Opponent Wk 12 Snaps 2018 Opp Snaps/Gm
1 Pittsburgh (76) Baltimore (71.2) Denver (76) Cleveland (71.8)
2 Tampa Bay (70) Tampa Bay (68.5) San Francisco (70) Cincinnati (70.9)
3 Atlanta (69) Cleveland (67.5) Green Bay (69) Kansas City (69.5)
4 Baltimore (69) Pittsburgh (67.2) New Orleans (69) Arizona (67.5)
5 DAL / MIN (69) New England (66.7) OAK / WAS (69) N.Y. Jets (66.9)

Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots

The NFL’s game of the week also stands a strong chance of being the highest-scoring fantasy matchup – assuming the quarterbacks remain upright. A suspect Patriots pass rush faces an even more suspect Vikings pass-blocking unit, while their more respectable counterparts duel to keep Tom Brady from his (and every other quarterback’s) kryptonite: blitz-free pressure. Other than pass pressure worries, everything lines up for a back-and-forth, high-play-volume affair. The Vikings rank fourth in situation-neutral pass rate (64.4%), while the Patriots’ pass-funnel defense is thrown on at the second-highest rate (63.9%). New England deploys the eighth-highest-graded run defense and Minnesota’s ranks second best. More passing usually means more plays.

Patriots games average the third-most combined snaps, both for the season and during the last month. Each offense operates at a top-10-quickest seconds-per-snap pace, with New England ranking third-fastest. The Vikings have a narrow touch distribution, making it easier to pinpoint who will earn outsized opportunity. Nowhere is this better illustrated than their top two wideouts, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, leading the league in targets per game (11.5). The Patriots spread things out more, but with expected play volume elevated, all of their usual suspects are in play for one of Week 13’s most stackable fantasy matchups.

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals

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