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Week 4 Snap Report: Khalil Herbert Leads Chicago

All season long, I’ll be looking back at the week to see how we can best leverage what took place on the field at the running back position to our advantage. This weekly article will hone in on weekly snap shares and highlight a few players who could benefit from their team putting them on the field more in the coming weeks.

As the title suggests, we have a lot to talk about regarding Khalil Herbert and his Week 4 snap share, along with an increasing trend that has stood out in Kansas City’s backfield.

And one flashy rookie could be on the verge of drawing a Week 5 start if the veteran running back ahead of him is unable to suit up this week. A lot of exciting things happened in Week 4, so let’s get ready to dive in.

As always, below are some players whose performances and situations stood out this past week, and at the end of the article is a table of every player to see 30 percent or more of their team’s snaps in Week 4.

NOTE: Snaps and route data courtesy of FantasyPoints.com and PFF.com.

James Cook (BUF)

Bills running back James Cook has gotten off to a dynamite start. He’s averaging a solid 14.5 fantasy points per game, ranks seventh in YCO/ATT (3.29), and has 11 receptions for a very solid 115 receiving yards. He found the end zone for the first time in Week 4 against the Dolphins and finished the day with 14.7 fantasy points, but that score also saved Cook from an otherwise disappointing week.

Cook is one of the most explosive running backs in the league and plays in one of the most explosive offenses. We should be starting him in Week 5 against the Jaguars and continue to start him for the foreseeable future. However, a few things from Week 4 gave me a little cause for concern.

Because this is a snaps article, it can’t go without saying that Cook saw a season-low 40 percent snap share in Week 4’s win over the Dolphins. It was a steep drop-off for Cook, who never saw fewer than a 59 percent snap share in any of his first three games.

In addition to the decline in snaps, Cook has also seen a steady decline in targets in his last three games. He managed just one target in Week 4.

Snap Share

Targets

Week 1

59%

6

Week 2

59%

4

Week 3

62%

3

Week 4

40%

1

It should come as no surprise that Cook’s target decline directly correlates with the rate at which Josh Allen checks down on his dropbacks. Through the Bills’ first two games, Allen was checking it down on 15.4 percent of his passes — the fifth-highest rate of any quarterback in the league (min. 50 dropbacks). Over the last two weeks, Allen has checked it down at an 8.8 percent rate — which isn’t all that surprising when you consider Bills running backs have ranked 21st in targets since 2021, averaging a mere 5.8 targets per game.

I would expect only a few one-target games from Cook, but Week 4 offered a glimpse of how bleak things can get for Cook when the passing game isn’t boosting his fantasy floor. Of the 58.1 fantasy points Cook has scored this season, 38.1 percent of those points have come by way of the passing game. As a back who could lose out on goal-line touches to Allen, Damien Harris, or Latavius Murray, fantasy managers were always going to be somewhat reliant on Cook’s pass-catching to salvage bad weeks. He’s handled just three of the Bills’ 11 rush attempts from inside the opponent’s five-yard line.

Again, there’s no reason to be scared off Cook, but the lack of snaps and targets in Week 4 was mildly concerning.

Khalil Herbert (CHI)

As somebody who carried the water for Khalil Herbert for much of 2022, it pained me to prioritize Roschon Johnson over Herbert in drafts this offseason.

The argument, for me, was simple.

The Bears never fully committed to Herbert despite league-leading efficiency last season. Then, after they let David Montgomery walk in free agency, they signed D’Onta Foreman, who was fresh off a 203-914-5 season with the Panthers, to a one-year deal.

Moving on from Herbert in exchange for Johnson was easy, as Johnson had long been one of my favorite running back prospects of the 2023 class.

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After months of stashing Johnson throughout the offseason and three weeks of regular season action waiting for him to seize the majority of the Bears’ running back opportunities, head coach Matt Eberflus effectively planted his flag on Herbert in Week 4.

Rumors of Johnson earning more of the workload were quickly debunked, as Herbert saw a season-high 23 opportunities on the week while totaling 122 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. Johnson, on the other hand, managed just six opportunities.

In addition to Herbert’s opportunities, he also appeared on a season-high 78 percent of the Bears’ offensive snaps. While this isn’t a fatal blow to Johnson’s fantasy stock for the remainder of the season, it’s far from encouraging. Herbert not only saw elite snaps and touches in Week 4 but through four games, he’s once again looking like one of the most efficient backs in the leagues.

Among running backs averaging 10 rush attempts per game, Herbert ranks

  • 1st in Missed Tackles Forced Rate (31.7 percent)

  • 5th in PFF Elusiveness Rating (108.9)

  • 8th in YCO/ATT (3.27)

  • 17th in Breakaway Rush Yards Percent (23.0 percent)

Another interesting note on Herbert, who has caught 10-of-15 targets for 83 yards this season and leads the Bears’ backfield in routes run (61). Through four weeks, no quarterback in the league has a higher checkdown rate than Justin Fields (22.0 percent), and Bears running backs are tied for the sixth most targets at the position with 30. This latest string of usage could put Herbert in a position for a strong PPR floor if he continues to be the runaway leader in the backfield.

As someone with plenty of Roschon Johnson picks hanging around, it (somewhat) pains me to say that if Eberflus is smart, he will lean into the hyper-efficient play of Herbert that he ignored for roughly half of last season.

Chuba Hubbard (CAR)

In last week’s loss to the Vikings, the Panthers told Miles Sanders he could no longer be allowed to get away with his underwhelming start to the season.

Through four games, Sanders is averaging 3.5 yards per touch, 2.9 yards per carry, and has primarily carried fantasy managers with his pass-catching upside. I touched on this in last week’s expected points article. If, at any point in time, the Panthers decided to end the Miles Sanders Experience, it would be due to his inefficient play.

Well, folks, things may have officially come to a head in Week 4.

After out-snapping Hubbard in each of the first three games of the season, Sanders took a backseat to Hubbard against the Vikings, getting narrowly out-snapped 37-29 by the third-year back. Hubbard and Sanders both saw 16 opportunities in the outing, but Hubbard did more (albeit not much) with his opportunities, out-gaining Sanders 53 to 32. Hubbard also ran one more route than Sanders in the game.

The Panthers play a stout Detroit Lions defense that pummeled the Packers in Week 4, holding them to 27 rushing yards in a 34-20 win. On the season, the Lions rank 15th in rush yards allowed per game and the second-fewest yards per carry (2.0).

While I have no interest in starting Hubbard or Sanders this week, I’m very interested to see how their snap shares shake out in Week 5.

Looking for more fantasy football content? Rotoworld has you covered. Watch Fantasy Football Happy Hour with Matthew Berry weekdays at noon ET LIVE on Peacock and the Rotoworld Football Show on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, wherever you get your podcasts.

Alexander Mattison (MIN)

In his first week sharing a backfield with Cam Akers, Alexander Mattison was just good enough to hold on to the lead job for at least one more week.

Mattison out-snapped Akers 29-14 on the day and handled 17-of-22 running back carries, rushing for 95 scoreless yards in a win over the Panthers.

After a slow two-week start on the ground (19-62-0), Mattison has totaled 188 yards on 37 carries (5.1 YPC) over the last two weeks, playing on 74.6 percent of the snaps while earning 40.2 percent opportunity share.

Despite a decent two weeks, Mattison’s status as the Vikings’ RB1 should be treated as a week-by-week situation. As long as he looks like a serviceable lead back, he may continue to see the lion’s share of the snaps/touches. However, one bad week could spell an opportunity for Akers — who was efficient in his debut (5-40-0) — to pounce and eat into Mattison’s workload.

Mattison should have some volume-based RB2 upside in Week 5 against a Chiefs defense that ranks 22nd in EPA per rush (-0.043).

Isiah Pacheco (KC)

Things have been slowly building for Isiah Pacheco. The second-year back averages 14.5 fantasy points per game and has finished as an RB1 in each of his last two games. Pacheco has slowly seen an increase in snaps and opportunities every week and is approaching high-end RB2 status if things continue to progress, as we’ve seen.

Snap Share

ruATTS

Week 1

46.8%

8

Week 2

51.6%

12

Week 3

42.7%

15

Week 4

65.2%

20

The 42.7 percent snap share Pacheco saw in Week 3 can be struck from the record, as the Chiefs sat most of their starters for the fourth quarter in a blowout win over the Bears. If you look at Pacheco’s 55.2 percent snap share through the first three quarters of that game, we can see a continued increase in snaps every week of the season.

Pacheco has been excellent with his opportunities thus far, ranking second in YCO/ATT (3.75) and third in breakaway rush yard percentage (41.8%). His 29.1 percent missed tackles forced rate is only four spots behind Khalil Herbert.

He hasn’t dominated in the passing game, catching just 10-of-12 targets for 90 scoreless yards, but he still leads all Chiefs running backs in receiving, and his 68 routes run are 13 more than Jerick McKinnon.

If you have Pacheco in your lineups, you’re likely starting him. But if you’re not starting him, it’s high time you get on board. It’s safe to assume the 20.3 points per game he’s averaged over the last two weeks better reflects what we can expect from Pacheco than the 8.7 points he averaged through the first two weeks.

Jaleel McLaughlin (DEN)

Broncos rookie running back Jaleel McLaughlin will be hard to trust if Javonte Williams (hip) can go in Week 5 against the Jets. Head coach Sean Payton has already said he won’t comment on Williams’ status until practices get underway, which is later on Wednesday, so all we can do right now is speculate.

Williams left in the first quarter of Week 4’s win over the Bears with a hip injury and didn’t return to the field, leaving Samaje Perine and McLaughlin to split up the snaps and touches.

As far as snaps and opportunities go, Perine drastically out-paced McLaughlin in snaps, earning a 45.8 percent snap share. However, McLaughlin (10) had slightly more opportunities than Perine (8) and was far more efficient, totaling 104 yards and a touchdown, while Perine rumbled for 35 scoreless yards.

McLaughlin left college as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher, racking up 8,166 rushing yards and 79 touchdowns while playing at Notre Dame College (not THAT Notre Dame) and Youngstown State.

Despite not having ideal size (5’7/187) or athleticism (3.90 RAS), McLaughlin did blaze a 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day during the pre-draft process. His speed has shown up repeatedly since he joined the Broncos as a free agent and helped him earn a solid 6.3 yards per touch early this season.

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McLaughlin has the burst that Perine lacks at this stage in his career and can also work out of the backfield as a receiver. It will be interesting to see how things unfold throughout the week with Williams, but those who add McLaughlin off waivers this week could have the chance to start him as a low-end RB3/flex against the run-funnel Jets defense.

Gus Edwards (BAL)

I’ve not touched on Gus Edwards this season, so what better time than now? Fresh off a season-high 69.1 percent snap share, Edwards led the Ravens in Week 4’s win over the Browns with 15 carries for 48 yards, averaging 3.2 YPC. But as usual, it was a relatively underwhelming outing for the veteran running back.

Prior to this season, I spent the last four years being duped into the “Gus Edwards is the Backup You Want” scheme. A torn ACL suffered before Week 1 made 2021 a wash, but I, along with every other slappy since Edwards’ 2018 rookie season, have tried time and time again to wishcast Edwards into a meaningful fantasy role.

It simply hasn’t happened, folks.

Edwards was once thought to make all the sense in the world as a volume-based play in a Ravens offense that ran at a league-high 53 percent rate under Greg Roman (2019-2022), but that volume never came to fruition. Over that span, Edwards averaged a mere 8.9 carries per game in 41 regular season contests to go with a mere 7.0 fantasy points per game. He finished as a top-24 fantasy back in exactly seven (12 percent) of those contests and needed a touchdown to get there in all but two of those games.

Edwards will probably have more top-24 fantasy weeks — he was the RB22 in Week 2 against the Bengals. However, the level of touchdown dependence he’s needed to pay off has seldom made him worth the headache. He’s managed just 14 touchdowns in 56 games and has a whopping 20 career receptions to his name.

I’m sure people reading this will still roster/start Edwards. And maybe a few of them will even find me on Twitter/X for their “I told ya so” moment, but I spent all summer being out on Edwards and refuse to be duped by his snap share from last week.

Note: Edwards finished as the RB34 in PPR leagues in Week 4 because, of course.

Player

Team

Total Snaps

Team Snaps

Snap %

Christian McCaffrey

SF

45

53

84.9%

Travis Etienne

JAX

54

64

84.4%

Zack Moss

IND

47

58

81.0%

Khalil Herbert

CHI

56

70

80.0%

Joe Mixon

CIN

40

51

78.4%

Kyren Williams

LA

59

78

75.6%

Bijan Robinson

ATL

43

57

75.4%

Alvin Kamara

NO

46

61

75.4%

Matt Breida

NYG

54

74

73.0%

Josh Jacobs

LV

49

69

71.0%

Kenneth Walker

SEA

36

51

70.6%

Rachaad White

TB

47

67

70.1%

David Montgomery

DET

51

73

69.9%

Gus Edwards

BLT

38

55

69.1%

A.J. Dillon

GB

35

53

66.0%

Alexander Mattison

MIN

29

44

65.9%

Devon Achane

MIA

38

58

65.5%

Isiah Pacheco

KC

43

66

65.2%

D’Andre Swift

PHI

43

67

64.2%

Rhamondre Stevenson

NE

35

55

63.6%

Jerome Ford

CLV

40

65

61.5%

James Conner

ARZ

41

67

61.2%

Joshua Kelley

LAC

38

63

60.3%

Derrick Henry

TEN

37

62

59.7%

Dameon Pierce

HST

40

69

58.0%

Brian Robinson

WAS

41

74

55.4%

Chuba Hubbard

CAR

37

68

54.4%

Tony Pollard

DAL

37

69

53.6%

Tyjae Spears

TEN

33

62

53.2%

Najee Harris

PIT

29

56

51.8%

Jaylen Warren

PIT

27

56

48.2%

Samaje Perine

DEN

22

48

45.8%

Breece Hall

NYJ

26

57

45.6%

Miles Sanders

CAR

29

68

42.6%

Raheem Mostert

MIA

24

58

41.4%

James Cook

BUF

23

56

41.1%

Ezekiel Elliott

NE

22

55

40.0%

Jahmyr Gibbs

DET

28

73

38.4%

Antonio Gibson

WAS

28

74

37.8%

Kenneth Gainwell

PHI

25

67

37.3%

Devin Singletary

HST

25

69

36.2%

Aaron Jones

GB

19

53

35.8%

Emari Demercado

ARZ

23

67

34.3%

Latavius Murray

BUF

19

56

33.9%

Jaleel McLaughlin

DEN

16

48

33.3%

Cam Akers

MIN

14

44

31.8%

Deuce Vaughn

DAL

21

69

30.4%

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