Stealing Signals Week 12: NFC Advanced Stats

Stealing Signals is your Week 12 look at snaps, touches, game flow, efficiency, and everything in between. As always, check the archives for more information on teams or players not covered here.  

Minnesota Vikings

Snap Notes: Jerick McKinnon – 58%; Latavius Murray – 42% (right in line with averages since Dalvin Cook’s injury) Key Stat: Latavius Murray – three carries inside the 10 (Jerick McKinnon – zero) Jerick McKinnon handled the majority of the RB snaps and touches, especially after the early part of the game, while Latavius Murray got the start and all three carries inside the 10, leading to two touchdowns. Nothing particularly new there, as we discussed that structure last week.1 MIN Week 11 McKinnon continues to get substantially more receiving work — he has multiple catches in each of six games since Dalvin Cook‘s injury compared to five total for Murray — while Murray is the preferred goal-line back.2  They have different ranges of outcomes, but I still prefer McKinnon. Stefon Diggs played a season-low 68 percent of snaps, but he ran just three fewer routes than Adam Thielen,3 who himself had a snap rate in the nineties for the seventh straight game (and shredded the Rams). Diggs’ targets have been down for over a month now, but he went from getting hurt in Week 5 to missing time to playing hurt in Week 8 to facing and at times beating Josh Norman in Week 10 (after a Week 9 bye). Outside injury, Week 11 was the first major disappointment relative to expectations during the stretch. Meanwhile, we assumed Thielen would see elevated volume for a period, and we’ve been on Team Both Are Great all year so it makes sense Thielen has crushed, yet the reaction always goes a little far. Thielen’s now $1,300 more on DraftKings for the Thanksgiving DFS slate, an overcorrection that makes Diggs the preferred play. Laquon Treadwell played a season-low 21 percent of the snaps in Week 11, his third straight game under 40 percent after being above that mark in each of the season’s first seven games. The Turkey Day slate is fun in part because you look for under-the-radar gems, but Treadwell isn’t that guy, regardless of cornerback matchup. Signal: Latavius Murray – preferred goal-line option Noise: Stefon Diggs – recent target volume  

Los Angeles Rams

Snap Notes: Cooper Kupp – 93% (season high) Key Stat: Team – 254 total yards (season average – 375)
  1. And how game flow factors like overall play volume and drive lengths conspired to give Murray a little more Week 10 work than usual.  (back)
  2. While many expected that after Cook’s injury, given Murray scored 11 rushing TDs on 25 attempts inside the 10 for Oakland last year, McKinnon’s short TDs in Weeks 6 and 8 had at least called it into question. Both of McKinnon’s TDs came on drives where Murray had multiple touches, suggesting it was a matter of timing and a breather for Murray. On the first, Murray actually got a carry from the two and lost a yard before McKinnon came in and scored from the three. Two weeks later, Murray had touched the ball four times on the drive, McKinnon entered, and a defensive pass interference in the end zone set Minnesota up on the one for McKinnon to punch it in. Contrast those with the two Week 11 TDs – Murray got the first touch on both drives, McKinnon came in and handled at least one touch, and Murray came back in to take the 10-zone carries. Or even Murray’s Week 10 score, which came on a quick, five-play drive where Minnesota had it down to the two after three snaps, and Murray then got back-to-back carries. Murray’s the preferred option, but it’s not exclusive.  (back)
  3. Per PFF.  (back)

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By Ben Gretch | @YardsPerGretch | Archive