Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray are the cover of the 2016 NFL Snap Counts Year End Report graphic

Snap Counts 2016 Year End Report

Posted by d-Rx on 03/01/17



Aloha and welcome to my segment. Today I'm taking you to Snap City where we will break down some quick notes and observations regarding players Snap Counts. Because, let's face it fellas you can't score unless your cleats are on the playing field. By no means is this a "bible" for your draft day, however taking a sharper look at this statistic might give us some hints and thus knowledge and let's face it knowledge is power.  More and more matchups are ending on Monday nights and sometimes by a fraction of a point; you can never have too many data points. Pyromaniac hits it harder and stronger than the others...Not to mention your League buddies are Fishing, Hunting, Golfing, scouting NCAA Bracket teams and preparing for MLB Fantasy Drafts. Now is the time to continue to hit hard as the other Owners are asleep at the wheel. Pyromaniac continues to provide you with that slight advantage that only true due diligence can provide. Light fuse get away, and fire it up, because Time is Money!




It's interesting to see that the Top 20 QB's all played over 90% of their team's snaps, with Brees, Cousins, and Stafford handling 100% of their team's snaps. This to me supports the "wait to draft a QB." approach as the top 20 Quarterbacks had a variance of roughly 140 snaps, not a ton.  What adds a little pizzazz, is cross referencing with production. With variables such as Offensive style, Accuracy, Blocking, etc all at play we bring a more 3D approach to a 1D statistic.  For instance, Drew Brees had 1151 total plays on the field or 40 more than Blake Bortles' total of 1,111, yet threw for 37 TD's vs Bortles'  pinner 23 TD's. At a TD to Snap rate of a TD every 31 passes, Brees substantially outperformed Bortles' TD every 48 passes.

Another angle we can draw from total snaps is that trends support the philosophy of drafting a QB with a bad defense with the theory being your QB will have more snaps on the field, not only that but valuable snaps as they air it out playing catch up.  Brees, Cousins, Wentz, Winston, Flacco, and Dalton fit this mold leading the way in Snap Counts with a poor Defense. 

Per injuries, etc. these guys are on the rise or fall on Snap Counts:



Garoppolo - new situation

Lynch - wins keys to the car

Cutler - Waaah

Goff- trial by fire

Brady- full season, yikes

Tannenhill - potential



Stafford - team shifting to defense

Bortles - sack #20 ends his season early

Wentz- career attempts in 2016

Manning- just don't see it for old Eli



snap counts year end 2016 - QB




We hear it mentioned lately that Fantasy Football is moving away from the dominant RB towards the flashier WR position. I believe there is some truth to that opinion, but (disclaimer I'm a " lock in your RB1 first round" kind of Owner) by taking a look at last seasons Snaps on the above graph you'll see that David Johnson, DeMarco Murray, L. Bell, Elliott and Gurley had over 66% of their teams plays and also produced with massive seasons.  For the sake of argument, let's call 55% our Mendoza line (minimal output for RB) as we want our runners on the field more than half the time, only 11 RB's land above the Mendoza line. This tells me that perhaps more than ever, that stud RB1 can carry you to a championship. Imagine in a 12 team draft locking down two RB's of the top 11 that play more than 55% of their teams plays! The difference in RB2's can be substantial. Obviously a number of factors can determine a RB's Snap count such as outstanding blocking will get you playing time but are these productive plays? We'll save that for another day. For now we'll value the Snap count for what it is as it clearly has an effect on player performance.  With more and more teams falling back to a platoon or committee backfield, finding a true RB1 can be essential.  Some teams are now running an actual Snap count limit on running backs, much like a MLB players pitch count.  Paying attention to your prospective RB's projected numbers are more important now more than ever. Again, below are projected risers and fallers:



Prosise- wins key to the car

Henry- time to shine

Booker- wins job, stays healthy

McKinnon- ditto, takes RB1 job

Ivory- been held down to long

Martin- healthy

Ware- Reid likes his RB1

McCoy- healthy and chip on shoulder



D. Murray - Henry is poised

Asiata- back up time

Gore- father time catching up

Yeldon- jags stink

Blount- now a crowded backfield

C. Michael- born to be a backup



snap counts year end 2016 - RB




Upon diving into WR numbers, Owners naturally tend to drift towards Total Targets, a reasonable approach.  But again, to pop this stat out a bit into 3D, we can determine the number of Targets per Snaps and this my friends is value.  It's also very interesting to note only 5 WR's reached double digits in TD's and only 25 players broke 1,000 yards. There doesn't appear to be a sharp difference in WR's production across the board as teams are really spreading the ball out now more than ever.  This again raises the question is a RB1 more valuable than a WR1? And I say yes Brotha!


Let's take a glance at the top WR in Snaps last year, DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins of the Texans led all WR's with almost 1100 Snaps. Literally, he was at wideout for 97% of the Texan's plays, seems like a stellar choice. Not so fast, Hopkins struggled with 954 yards and a measly 4 TD's.  Being selected in the 1st round of most drafts, Hopkins was clearly a monster bust. This tells me as I evaluate players for next season that Hopkins was used often as a decoy, a blocker, a pass dropper and faced some accuracy issues at QB (cough, Osweiler).  Not a good combination in any way for Hopkins again next season. Being able to dig down, study the numbers of each prospect, and come away with the reasons "why" is the due diligence I'm talking about to gain that championship edge. Once again, some players to target and a few to look over:



M. Thomas - has established WR1 with Brees

Woods- bounce back candidate

Cobb- has to do better than 4 TD's

Hogan- great late season run 17.9 yards/catch!

Cooper- Carr's boy

Diggs- sky is the limit



Hopkins- Osweiler not going anywhere

Shepard- expect Giants to shift to run game

Robinson- what a bummer

La Fell- AJ Green back

T. Williams- a now crowded huddle at WR

Wallace- too many other targets

M. Jones- hot start, cold finish


How about this for a fact RB David Johnson of the Cardinals had 4 less receiving yards (883-879) than Allen Robinson WR1 of the Jaguars and 2 less receiving TD's (6 to 4). Wow.


snap counts year end 2016 - WR




The days of the 1,000 yard or double digit TD's among TE's are on their way out. The two consistencies, however, are that many TE's are similar in production and also see a high % of their team's plays. In fact, 22 TE's had a 60% or higher amount of their teams Snap count. Whether blocking, receiving or being used as a decoy, the big boys are seeing their share of plays. Production however, remains consistent with 12-14 players within arms reach of each other in terms of TD's and yards. In my opinion, TE's can often be interchangeable with waiver wire pick ups depending on your league's size. Playing matchups at TE can be an unsuspected advantage. For instance, Jason Witten was at the top of TE's with 1102 Snaps and on the field an astounding 96% of the Cowboys plays but only had 3 TD's and 673 yards. Hmmm.



Brate- breakout year

Ebron- should see more targets

Eifert- only played 8 games last year

Cook- full season ahead

Hooper- star in the making



Witten- natural regression

James- Heath Miller complicating things

Kendricks- Goff doesn't help much

Sims- A lot of Dolphins to feed


snap counts year end 2016 - TE


I promised to take you to Sack City: D'Brickshaw Ferguson 10,707 total snaps and Joe Thomas of the Browns 9,791 and still counting consecutive Snaps!


"E Malama I ke Kai" (Take care of the Ocean)

Charts by Stagg Party & words by Maui Wolfe Whisperer







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