Stealing Signals Week 6: AFC Advanced Stats

Stealing Signals is your Week 6 look at snaps, touches, game flow, efficiency, and everything in between. Also check out the NFC. We’re almost a third of the way through the season. If I don’t touch on a specific player you’re looking for information about, check the archives of this series.1

New England Patriots

Snap Notes: Chris Hogan – 100% in Week 5 (seasonal average now 93%) Key Stat: Team – five consecutive 300-yard passers against The Patriots looked a bit out of sync on Thursday night, settling for four field goals en route to posting just 19 points. It was the first time I can remember genuinely feeling like Tom Brady’s age showed in his play – or at least in his ability to get up after being knocked down – which makes sense for a 40-year-old playing his second NFL game in five days. I’m not assigning much weight to the scoring inefficiency, and I don’t even necessarily think Rob Gronkowski’s absence was the cause. The defense is still in bad shape, and Jameis Winston missed some throws that could have further exposed that. The Patriots are now 3-2 after winning both this close game and a close game two weeks ago when Brandin Cooks scored the game winner with 23 seconds left. From a real football perspective, the offense needs to continue its torrid pace. That’s great for fantasy. In the pre-Week 1 post where I highlighted what to watch for early in the season, I had this to say about the Patriots:
“It’s all about Chris Hogan. Wes Welker burst onto the scene with 112 catches for 1,175 yards and 8 TDs in 2007, after being drafted as the WR43 in the 11th roundDion Lewis was undrafted in tons of fantasy leagues in 2015 but posted 17.5 PPR points per game before being lost for the season in Week 9. An efficiency dynamo, Hogan has this type of upside if the Patriots choose to feature him heavily. It’s not likely, but there’s a precedent. If he has a big Week 1 — specifically in terms of snaps and targets, rather than a spike of efficiency — I’d be looking to buy high.”
We’ve more than arrived at this station. Hogan now leads the team in targets, and he’s played the most wide receiver snaps in each game. Danny Amendola saw an uptick in snaps to 74 percent with Gronkowski out, and Gronkowski played 100 percent of the Week 4 snaps, but Hogan was still on the field for 97 and 100 percent the last two weeks. His role is secure. He’s caught five of Brady’s 11 TD passes, which might make him a difficult acquisition target in most leagues. It’s also unlikely he finishes the season averaging a TD per game, and the scoring efficiency could be argued as a reason to sell. On the flip side, he has two traits that can often make guys acquirable – significant target competition and a dramatic change in value. I’m not selling, and if someone is willing to “sell high,” I’m happy to give WR2 value. Signal: Chris Hogan – snaps, usage Noise: Four FGs, one TD in Week 5  

Pittsburgh Steelers

Snap Notes: JuJu Smith-Schuster – 82% (season high) Key Stat: Antonio Brown – 19 targets, 275 Air Yards (both single-game NFL highs for the season)
  1. I touch on a large number of players every week. If I left a player out, his Week 5 results didn’t significantly alter my previous analysis.  (back)

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By Ben Gretch | @YardsPerGretch | Archive

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