Sunday, December 9, 2012
Fantasy Watch: Playing-time trends in West
By Mike Sando
Our weekly look at playing-time trends in the NFC West, with an eye toward the fantasy leagues you routinely dominate:
- Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald continues to play all or nearly all the offensive snaps for Arizona. His stats should only benefit with John Skelton's return to the lineup. He was a non-factor with Ryan Lindley playing. It's still tough to bank on much, however. Skelton completed 2 of 7 passes for 26 yards and an interception when targeting Fitzgerald in the regular-season opener. The two connected nine times for 149 yards and six first downs against Seattle in Week 17 last season, however. Rookie receiver Michael Floyd played a career-high 94.4 percent of the snaps last week as Arizona played without injured starter Andre Roberts. Roberts is listed as questionable this week. Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling played more than 75 percent of the snaps three times in a four-week period ending in Week 9. He has played less than 20 percent of the snaps over the past two weeks. Beanie Wells' return accounts for much of the difference. Wells has played about 40 percent of the snaps since returning.
- St. Louis Rams: Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens each played 90.7 percent of the snaps against San Francisco as the Rams played without the injured Danny Amendola. It's unclear whether or how much Amendola might play against Buffalo. It's also unclear how much playing time Givens has earned regardless. Givens ranks fifth among NFL players in receptions (16) and receiving yards (207) over the past two weeks, all with Amendola either out of the lineup or playing sparingly. Sam Bradford has completed 16 of 20 passes to Givens over that span. He has targeted Givens on a wider range of throws after previously looking for Givens mostly on deep ones. Running back Steven Jackson has played better than 70 percent of the snaps in three of the Rams' last four games. He had played that much only twice previously.
- San Francisco 49ers: Injuries are affecting the 49ers to a degree they have not in the recent past. Receiver Mario Manningham is not expected to play against Miami. Receiver Kyle Williams is out for the season. Running back Kendall Hunter is out for the season. Receiver A.J. Jenkins and running back LaMichael James, both rookies, could now begin factoring in meaningful ways. Frank Gore has played better than 80 percent of the snaps in three of the 49ers' past four games after playing less than 70 percent for the season previously. Fullback Bruce Miller's snaps are up. Randy Moss' snaps have been up. Running back Brandon Jacobs played a season-high 10.4 percent against the Rams. James' expected activation in the near future threatens Jacobs' playing time.
- Seattle Seahawks: Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Zach Miller all played about 95 percent of the snaps at Chicago last week. Tate did not play against Arizona in Week 1. He and Rice now lead the NFC West with seven touchdown receptions apiece. Braylon Edwards, released during the week, had been playing between about 15 percent and 30 percent of the snaps over the previous three weeks. Doug Baldwin's improved health contributed to Edwards' release. Baldwin played 50 percent of the snaps at Chicago, his highest total since the opener. Anthony McCoy's snaps fell some against the Bears, but he has earned a role in the offense. Fullback Michael Robinson played season-low snaps against Chicago (17.6 percent), Miami (20.0 percent) and Arizona the first time (21 percent). He is at 35 percent in other games
That is all for now. I'll be heading over to CenturyLink Field in a bit.
Note: ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this item.