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49ers snap count vs. Cowboys: How 'bout them 3-WR sets?

The San Francisco 49ers Week 1 snap count reflects that it appears they used three wide receivers a bit more frequently.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the regular season, one of the questions 49ers fans were considering was how many 3-WR sets we might see from the team. The 49ers added Brandon Lloyd, Stevie Johnson, and Bruce Ellington this offseason, giving them tremendous depth at the wide receiver position. After one game, we don't have final answers, but we do have some interesting results.

The 49ers snap count shows the 49ers using their extra receivers more than their second tight end, and combined, more than their fullback. Bruce Miller had 23 snaps, Brandon Lloyd had 22 snaps, Stevie Johnson had 19 snaps, and Vance McDonald had 17 snaps. Oh, and third tight end Derek Carrier had no offensive snaps. The 49ers mixed in some extra guars for heavy formations, but we saw a lot less of that on Sunday.

The folks at have some interesting information I thought I'd share. They run through lineup details, figuring out every lineup combination, and then assessing how much they were together during the game, and the result of their plays. Unfortunately, they do it on a cumulative basis, so rather than have a page for each game, they will have just update the combinations in total. Here is what it looked like for the offense in Week 1:

I'm going to try and track the lineup combinations in terms of how many plays they have, but I will not be able to break down average gain for each lineup combination. This might not work out, but hopefully I'll at least be able to break it out each week. We'll see.

As it stands, the 49ers most used formation in Week 1 was a 3-WR set with Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, and Brandon Lloyd. The 49ers used that 10 times in their 58 offensive plays. The second most used set saw Lloyd replaced by Bruce Miller in a 2-WR set for nine plays. The third most used set saw Lloyd replaced by Johnson in another 3-WR set. It is worth noting plays nullified by penalty are excluded.

Player Offense Defense ST
Joe Staley 58 5
Mike Iupati 58 5
Daniel Kilgore 58 5
Jonathan Martin 58 5
Joe Looney 58 5
Colin Kaepernick 58
Vernon Davis 57
Anquan Boldin 49 2
Frank Gore 42
Michael Crabtree 37
Bruce Miller 23 7
Brandon Lloyd 22
Stevie Johnson 19 2
Vance McDonald 17 7
Carlos Hyde 15 4
Alex Boone 4 5
Bruce Ellington 3 6
LaMichael James 2 2
Eric Reid 69 4
Patrick Willis 69 3
Antoine Bethea 69
Michael Wilhoite 68 6
Perrish Cox 61 9
Ray McDonald 60
Ahmad Brooks 48 3
Jimmie Ward 46 12
Dontae Johnson 45 10
Justin Smith 45 4
Corey Lemonier 37 13
Dan Skuta 32 11
Chris Culliver 24
Ian Williams 21 3
Aaron Lynch 20 2
Tony Jerod-Eddie 18 5
Demarcus Dobbs 16 11
Tramaine Brock 10 1
Craig Dahl 1 19
Derek Carrier 17
L.J. McCray 16
Chris Borland 16
Phil Dawson 11
Nick Moody 10
Kyle Nelson 9
Andy Lee 9