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Tre Mason, Bryce Brown to see uptick in playing time?

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Around The NFL has been churning out snap reports each week to highlight surprising trends in playing time.

Below is a list of players catching our eye for telling snap counts. Some suggest breakouts over the next few weeks, while others bode poorly for established starters.

1. Bryce Brown / Anthony Dixon, Bills: Buffalo's backfield is wide open with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both sidelined. Primarily a special teamer, Anthony Dixon has played 66 offensive snaps to zero for Brown. We don't know the Bills' immediate plans, but we do suspect they traded a mid-round draft pick for the opportunity to see if Brown is reliable enough to replace impending free agent Spiller in 2015. The time for that opportunity is now.

2. Tre Mason, Rams: The rookie led St. Louis' backfield with 26 snaps compared to 17 for Benny Cunningham and just one for Zac Stacy last week. Although Mason has been the most productive back in each of the past two weeks -- showing an impressive burst -- coach Jeff Fisher said this week his backfield breakdown will be a "week-to-week" approach depending on matchups and momentum.

3. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Packers: Coming off his best performance of the season at Miami, Clinton-Dix earned his first start in Week 7. He played every down in the blowout victory over the Panthers. With help from their first-round draft pick, Green Bay's improved secondary is leading the NFL in opponent's passer rating.

4. Odell Beckham, Giants: The No. 12 overall pick in the NFL Draft played every offensive snap in the Giants' first game since Victor Cruz's season-ending injury. He could be Eli Manning's No. 1 receiver the rest of the way.

5. Martavis Bryant, Steelers: The Steelers turned to Bryant after the Ben Roethlisberger-to-Markus Wheaton connection fizzled out in Week 6. The rookie size-speed prospect was targeted three times on shot plays, resulting in a 35-yard touchdown. The pecking order behind Antonio Brown is up in the air, as Wheaton (31 snaps), Lance Moore (23), Bryant (22) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (20) all saw significant action.

6. Paul Richardson, Seahawks: It's no coincidence that the second-round draft pick's snap percentage skyrocketed from under 15 percent to 60 percent in the first game after the Percy Harvin trade. Richardson is now locked in as the No. 3 receiver behind Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse.

7. Gavin Escobar, Cowboys: Let's credit general manager Jerry Jones for building a dominant, homegrown offensive line and setting up the makings of an effective two-tight end offense. Drafted in the second round last year, Escobar had his best game as a pro in the win over the Giants, hauling in three passes for 65 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His playing time is inching toward 50 percent of the snaps as the Cowboys use fewer three-wide receiver sets.

8. Stevie Johnson, 49ers: It's time to expand Johnson's role. He's been Colin Kaepernick's most effective receiver over the past month despite playing just 20 percent of the snaps. For comparison's sake, Brandon Lloyd is playing over 40 percent. Per Pro Football Focus, Kaepernick has generated a passer rating of 127.8 on passes to Johnson as opposed to 87.8 to Lloyd.

9. Allen Robinson, Jaguars: Robinson has ascended to the top of the depth chart in Jacksonville, playing 90 percent of the snaps over the past three weeks. He's well ahead of fellow second-round draft pick Marqise Lee in the wide receiver pecking order.

10. Jonotthan Harrison, Colts: The Colts' pass protection has gelled since the undrafted rookie replaced A.Q. Shipley at center. Bolstered by Harrison and second-round left guard Jack Mewhort, the offensive line is holding up its end of the bargain for the first time in Andrew Luck's career.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 8 game, and breaks down the Broncos' win over the Chargers. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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