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.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings: The highly athletic third-round rookie had never played more than 50 percent of the snaps prior to his first career start in Week 6. He and Matt Asiata flipped roles against the Lions, with McKinnon handling 46 snaps compared to Asiata's 16. The Vikings realize Asiata is not NFL-starter material. This should be McKinnon's backfield going forward.
C.J. Spiller, Bills: Spiller played just 12 snaps against the Patriots, receiving fewer carries than special-teamer Anthony Dixon. After playing nearly 50 percent of the snaps in the first two weeks, Spiller's playing time has been dwindling over the past month. Whereas Chan Gailey specialized in getting Spiller the ball in space, the current coaching staff has tried to shoehorn him into a scheme that doesn't suit his talents. If the Bills aren't going to take advantage of his special game-breaking ability, they should play Bryce Brown and trade Spiller.
Jace Amaro, Jets: The former Texas Tech star was stuck between 20 and 25 snaps every game until he played 36 in the loss to the Broncos. Amaro responded by doubling his season-high in receptions and reeling in one especially impressive red-zone target. Ridiculous Rob Gronkowski comparisons notwithstanding, Amaro should be here to stay as Geno Smith's No. 2 option in the passing game, behind Eric Decker.
Andre Williams / Peyton Hillis, Giants: Williams was the primary Week 6 runner with Rashad Jennings out of the lineup -- as expected. Hillis equaled his snaps (31) versus the Eagles because the coaching staff still doesn't trust the rookie on passing downs. Jennings has been ruled out for Sunday's game at Dallas, so it should be more of the same in the Giants' backfield.
Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals: Eased back in from reconstructive knee surgery over the past month, Mathieu saw a marked increase in playing time versus the Redskins. His snaps jumped from 16 to 50, as he essentially sent strong safety Tony Jefferson to the bench. It's a bit of a surprise. Although rookie Deone Bucannon has shown flashes of late and free safety Rashad Johnson has held his own, it was Jefferson who was the team's most impressive safety early in the season.