Fantasy watch: Playing time in Week 1

The usual offseason stories about various players with the potential to command increased roles is giving way to cold realities.

The most well-intended plans are no match for game situations.

A few thoughts on how NFC West teams used various players at the skill positions:

  • Arizona: Ryan Williams started the game at running back, a mild surprise. Beanie Wells' hamstring condition surely played a role. LaRod Stephens-Howling played quite a bit and scored on a goal-line carry that might normally have gone to Wells, who scored 10 rushing touchdowns last season. Arizona has big plans for tight end Rob Housler, but he played only six snaps against Seattle. Rookie first-round pick Michael Floyd was also a spectator most of the time.

  • Seattle: Tight end Zach Miller was the only tight end getting more than one-third of the snaps. That stood out after Seattle released Kellen Winslow late last week. Winslow was close to an every-down player for Tampa Bay. Seattle seemingly would have been better off with him against the Cardinals, particularly as the Seahawks tried to score the winning touchdown after getting first-and-goal from the 6. At running back, Marshawn Lynch carried a full load despite suffering back spasms during the week.

  • San Francisco: Tight end Vernon Davis is going to play just about every snap, same as always. Delanie Walker will get significant work as the second tight end, same as always. That leaves fewer snaps for a deeper fleet of wide receivers. Michael Crabtree played about two-thirds of the snaps. That was more than any 49ers wideout and about the same as last season overall. Randy Moss made an impact in limited snaps.

The chart shows playing-time stats for selected skill players from the division.

2012 NFC West Playing Time: Week 1