Week 8: Snaps and Targets
When Jay Cutler left Chicago's last game early in the second quarter, the Bears had a rather obvious solution: keep Forte on the field. Forte played all 55 offensive snaps, running 16 times for 91 yards and three touchdowns and adding two catches for 18 yards. With two full weeks to prepare rather than adjusting in-game, the Bears can probably formulate a gameplan that doesn't require such a reliance on Forte. But that might not be necessary. Though Forte was the first running back to play every snap in a game this season, he also held the previous high-water mark by appearing in 71 of 72 snaps in Week 4. If Cutler misses games, Chicago can probably rely on Forte even more than it usually does.
Like Matt Forte with the Bears, the Eagles relied on McCoy even more when their quarterback went down. McCoy played 75 of 80 snaps, 94 percent, a season high by a wide margin. Unlike Forte, McCoy isn't quite used to being called upon so much. McCoy averages playing 57 of 72 snaps (79 percent). If Philadelphia has to use Matt Barkley again, upgrade expectations for McCoy's production, but also upgrade his injury risk.
The Falcons had just 46 plays last week, second-fewest by any team this season, and Rodgers had a carry or target on 37 percent of them. For perspective, that would rank second behind only Jamaal Charles, who has a carry or target on 39 percent of the Chiefs' plays. With Julio Jones and Roddy White out, it seems Atlanta is more prone to looking underneath, and the running back is the beneficiary in both the passing and running game. For now, that's Rodgers. When Steven Jackson returns, it should be him.
Douglass caught passes on all seven of his targets against Tampa Bay for 149 yards, the highest yardage output by any player who caught all his targets all season. That could just be taking advantage of a favorable matchup, but considering Atlanta is still finding its way without Julio Jones and Roddy White, Douglas is a solid flex option, even against the Cardinals.
For the first time all season, Jamaal Charles didn't lead the Chiefs in targets. That honor went to Bowe, who had nine targets (five catches for 66 yards) to Charles' four (three catches for 37 yards). As teams gameplan for Kansas City's short passing game, the Chiefs' receivers could become more valuable and bear watching. Donnie Avery leads the group in yards, but more than 40 percent of them came in a since-forgotten Week 3 game. If there's a Kansas City receiver worth owning, it's Bowe.