If you want to transfer snaps to a CSV, click and copy button is right above the grid. NFL snap counts are an important part of gauging where a player’s role stands within a team, and how often he sees the field. They show the total number of offensive or defensive plays a player was on the field in a single week. Quarterbacks are generally straight forward, but other skill positions can get a bit muddled, especially in those split backfields. With teams using committee backs, we tend to see 60/40, 70/30, or 50/50 splits. This can be a problem for fantasy at times, but we have also seen a few teams support two backs, I am looking at you, New Orleans. Higher snap counts go hand-in-hand with opportunity on the field, whether that is for fantasy purposes or general interest.
Snap counts are broken down on a week-to-week basis for easy viewing and are broken up by position. This is the preferred method as you can view all running backs within a team, or just simply over the league if you want to find the highest and lowest snap count backs. Much like any other volume stat, injuries can derail snaps. A starting running back goes down, then the backup is going to jump into a massive amount of snaps. We have seen that a few times of late, with guys like David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell going down. Teams will sometimes use a committee, which is going to easy to identify here. You can also view prior years’ snap counts if you want to dig into the past. Keep tabs on your favorite players, fantasy players, or teams by searching through our sortable table. Figuring out who is getting the most snaps can give you an edge on your competition. If you want to transfer snaps to a CSV, click and copy button is right above the grid.
How To Read Snap Counts
You might be a bit overwhelmed with a big chart of numbers in front of you and wonder what it all means. To start, each number within a week is the number of snaps a player plays. You can see any position player on the offense and defensive side. Our page defaults to the number of snaps played, but you can toggle the percentage sign, and that will show you the percentage of snaps a player has played of their team snaps for that week. If you are looking for multiple weeks, you can see the total amount of snaps to the right of the page, as well as the average snaps they play per week.
If you are looking to find a specific team, you can narrow down and make things a bit easier to understand. Snap counts can be used to view who saw more time on the field filling in for an injury, or possibly what third wide receiver is getting the most run. Overall this is the best area to view trends and see who is on the field the most. Snap counts are updated a day after the previous week is completed and will reflect those numbers.
Now you can’t just blindly look at this page on a week to week basis early in the season because there is certainly more to the story. You will need to understand why there are certain trends and why snaps were higher and lower for those players within a game. Visiting the injury news page, checking in on player analysis, and how games played out will be a good helping hand to understand why snaps were the way they were.
Why Do Snap Counts Change?
Flipping through columns or sorting by week, you might see a running back play 52 snaps and then all of a sudden play 28 the next. We can run through multiple scenarios for why snap counts will change throughout the season. Football is a bruising game, and injuries are the first scenario that can change the way snap counts occur. Each position is going to have a different way of handling injuries. A quarterback goes down; the backup will easily step into the same amount of snaps. Other skill position players go down, we might see a few names chip away at the snap count, as it is no guarantee to see those same amounts of snaps.
Coaches can make changes on the fly throughout the year, and if a player is struggling, they might see diminished snaps over time. The same can be said for players that are playing well. We often see this in committees. If a team uses two-to-three running backs regularly, then the snaps are going to fluctuate most weeks. Sometimes we can get a 60/40 or 50/50 split, but we could also see it variate quite a bit. The 49ers were notorious for this, as they often rode the hot hand, and that meant snaps and touches were all over the place.
Within a singular week, a game that gets out of hand can change how a game is played. A team that wants to be run-heavy and use more two wide receiver sets could have to adjust and use that third wide receiver more because they are playing from behind most of the game. Game scripts can change the number of times a player is on the field. If a team is pass-heavy for a week when usually they are not, that third-down passing back might see the field more often than he does throughout the year.
Snaps By Position
Looking on the offensive side, quarterbacks and offensive linemen will see the most stable amount of snaps throughout the season. For one, they are not dealing with rotating guys behind them unless there is an injury. With this being said, you will generally find them at the top of the snap counts for most weeks. If you see an unusually high set of snaps for these positions, there is a good chance that the game went to overtime. Running backs can have quite a bit of variance. Sorting by average can help you narrow down those workhorse backs, but as you get lower and lower, you might see how more backfields are split. Anything over 40 snaps per game for a running back is a pretty strong number.
Wide receivers and tight ends can vary weekly, but your top end wide receiver is going to see a majority of the snaps and be one of the leading snap getters within the receiving core. The same goes for those tight ends that are consistently out there because they are elite receiving and blocking options. Tight ends that lack in one of those departments might not see a full workload because there is usually a balance within the depth chart of tight ends who can block and receive. Secondary wide receivers and tight ends will often need a closer look, as they can fluctuate more than the true starters at the position.
Players in the defensive secondary will usually see the highest amount of snaps among defenders. On occasion, linebackers that play every down will as well, but for the most part, we see a lot of rotations to keep guys fresh on the defensive side. Defenses that also have to play in more nickel and dime formations because of the game flow will see higher snaps among secondaries and less among the front seven. The same can be said for teams that load up. Defensive schemes like a 3-4 defense and a 4-3 defense will also dictate how snaps are used among the defenders. Like any position, you might have an edge rusher who is brought in on third down and is on the sideline for other plays.
How Rookies Fall Into Snap Counts
Every year, a fresh batch of rookies come into the league, and teams accommodate them in various ways. Now, draft stock is always going to dictate how a rookie plays out his career. Rookies that are drafted higher will have a longer leash and also more opportunity within their career to prove themselves. That isn’t always the case for players drafted towards the end of the draft or go undrafted entirely. Money is the biggest reason for this because the higher you go in the draft, the bigger your rookie contract is. Now looking at offensive lineman, they have a great chance to step into a role right away. Teams will draft for depth here, but they will also plug an immediate need for that season, especially first-round picks.
Skill position players that are rookies will have a wide range of outcomes for that first season. We have seen extreme talents that get drafted into the perfect opportunity, where they have an open slot to start right away and see all the snaps they can handle. On occasion, you might see players be used more as a gadget player, where they see snaps, but not at the rate of starters. It also depends on how they adjust to the league. Even if the talent is there, they might take longer to know the playbook, or need time to fix mistakes that keep them from being on the field. Some rookies might not even see the field at all, as they wait their turn because they were drafted by a team that has a ton of depth already at the position.
As for the defensive side, a lot of the same logic applies. If they are drafted as an immediate need by a team, they can step into a large role. Edge rushers will often get time regardless, especially if they excel at getting to the quarterback. They might be used less sparingly because they don’t have the tools to be a run defender. Because defenses rotate a bit throughout each level, rookies stand a good chance to see year one snaps no matter where they are drafted. As mentioned above, those drafted in higher rounds will have that longer leash and have more urgency by the higher-ups to see the field. Snaps are always big for rookies in year one, and they tell a lot about how the team views them already.
If you are one of the millions playing fantasy football, you might be wanting to further your knowledge and see how snap counts can apply to fantasy football. Largely we still want to tie snap counts into other stats like touches and fantasy points produced, but snaps are something to consider whether you are drafting or looking for weekly pickups. Running backs by committees can be dreadful for fantasy football. However, there will still be a running back that sees more snaps and more touches than the rest of them. It may not be by a wide margin, but it might be a noticeable difference in fantasy production. Overall committees are going to show trends, and it might be tough if teams are riding hot hands.
When injuries occur, it is not always quick to see the replacement to pick up off the waiver wire. You might see a player step right into big snaps, but it also might take a few weeks where a coach gets a look at who deserves a stronger role in the offense. If a wide receiver goes down, we can look to see who slides up. However, there might be a battle between the third and fourth wide receiver on the depth chart. A player of a similar skillset to the injured player is also important because multiple possession wide receivers on the field might not be what the coach is looking for.
Snaps are best paired with touches. Snaps give a big overlook, but touches can also tell a different story. When looking at those running backs by committee, you might want to see how touches are also divided. A player could be seeing fewer snaps, but still used quite a bit when on the field. It certainly does us no good for fantasy if a player is getting snaps but isn’t seeing enough touches to be relevant. It is also a good way to distinguish, blocking, and receiving tight ends. Those tight ends who are solely used for blocking are going to offer up very little fantasy worth.
Trying to predict how games will play out is always tough, but getting it right can give you a big edge. A team playing from behind is going to throw the ball more, and a team ahead is going to see a few extra attempts for their running back. Now finding those trends through snap counts is a way to go about viewing these numbers. A third-down back who is more involved in the passing game might see a big bump in snaps in games that their team is down. This also ties into finding the bigger picture in the snap count columns. This can also work for more receiving tight ends and also the third wide receiver who may not be on the field at all times. It can work the other way as well, where teams leading by a wide margin will try and control the clock, and use bigger offensive packages. This would bean using that lead back a bit more and having him run more plays. You would also see more blocking tight end use, and maybe not as much three-wide receiver sets.
NFL Snap Count Frequently Asked Questions
Technically they are the pre-play counts that when a quarterback is going to call for the snap, but snap counts here are used to record how many times a player is on the field. Each snap a player is on is counted as one and tallied.
Who Has Played The Most Consecutive Snaps In NFL History?
Brett Favre is the all-time leader, and also has played 297 consecutive games. If you include his playoff games, he has played over 320 games total games and has generated the most snaps of any one player in football history.
Are NFL Snap Counts Important?
Recording the number of times a player is on the field for a player can be incredibly useful. It helps track usage, how players are used, but is also used in a number of ways by team’s coaching staffs and their medical teams as well.
Why Do Snap Counts Change?
Snap counts can change due to injuries, which is usually the major one. They can also change because of a decision to play a player more or less. Snap counts can be dictated by how the game is being played too.
How Many Plays Does An Average NFL Team Play A Game?
Each team will usually average between 60 to 70 plays a game, but this can vary by season as well. Putting those together, you will see between 120-140 plays between both offenses within an NFL game. Overtime games can add a few more.
When Are Snap Counts Updated?
NFL games are played on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. Towards the end of the year, you will see a Saturday game mixed in. Thursday snap counts can begin to come in over the weekend, but the best time to see updated snap counts is Tuesday or Wednesday.
Do Special Teams Players Record Snaps?
Because special teams players might be on the field for just a few plays a game, we are not looking at the differences within their snap counts. Their attempt and production numbers will tell a better story for how they are used on special teams.
There might be a few reasons for a player having a blank week in terms of snap count. This team could be on bye, which means none of the players from those