There are injuries everywhere. Disasters for all teams. The NFL is in chaos. Just how we IDP fiends like it.
Defensive end Markus Golden made it back on the field this week with 38 snaps. Benson Mayowa played 33 so these two are in a timeshare for now. It seems fair. Golden has struggled to stay fit and is a bit lightweight while Mayowa has played well.
Robert Nkemdiche came back at tackle with 49 snaps. He’s not a bad play in DT-premium leagues at all.
The three safeties continue to play every snap and given the Cardinals are the highest-volume defensive team in the league. Antoine Bethea leads all defenders in snaps with 458. In second place are Budda Baker and Patrick Peterson with 454 each. Josh Bynes is a few spots after with 450. Tre Boston is ninth on 450. Half of the top ten volume players in the NFL are Cardinals.
Jordan Richards (65) played strong safety for the second week in a row with Damontae Kazee playing deep (66). Kazee has been more productive so far but I want Richards due to positional advantage and tackle opportunity.
Notably, Foyesade Oluokon out-snapped Duke Riley at LB this week 40 to 28. Oloukon continues his streak of upping his playing time every single week of his career.
The Ravens played just 44 defensive snaps as the demolished the Titans. That’s the joint lowest of any team all season. It also means that the sheer number of sacks they managed was even more impressive. Za’Darius Smith managed three of them from just 21 snaps. He leads all OLBs in total playing and has been the best pass rusher even though Terrell Suggs and Matt Judon aren’t far behind.
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DE Shaq Lawson managed a sack this week and has been a waiver target. He played just 20 snaps (only 99 in 2018 so far) and isn’t very good. Let your league-mates have him. Jerry Hughes (39) is the lead dog in the unit with Trent Murphy (32) second.
Micah Hyde returned at safety to play all 61 snaps. He’s still primarily a deeper option. Rafael Bush also returned but played just 21 snaps. That’s been his normal volume all year long. He’s one to ignore.
The news no one wanted to hear: Thomas Davis played 62 snaps on his return from suspension (of 70) whilst Shaq Thompson managed just 37. Davis seems to be the option to own here. Before the season, we talked about there being a five-week window to sell Thompson. I hope you did it.
A slight oddity: for the past three Bears games, Bryce Callahan has out-snapped Prince Amukamara. Callahan still plays in the slot in three-WR sets but is playing outside in base now. Plenty of IDP owners still think Amukamara is a great option based on name recognition. Don’t be one of them.
DE Akiem Hicks proved he is fully healthy (and still a monster) by playing 64 snaps after taking a bump in his previous game.
A week after returning from suspension, Vontaze Burfict (61) led all LBs in playing time and production. Preston Brown (45), Vincent Rey (47), Jordan Evans (23) and Nick Vigil (13) just aren’t close to the player Burfict is – even with the late hits.
The edge situation is now a full-blown rotation with five players getting playing time every week. Carlos Dunlap (50) is still the number one option but Carl Lawson (22), Sam Hubbard (26), Michael Johnson (45) and Jordan Willis (27) are all playing too.
LB Joe Schobert was hurt in this game and will seemingly miss some time. James Burgess was also injured and has gone to IR. In their absence, expect Jamie Collins (54) to play every down next to Christian Kirksey (59) with Genard Avery (23) forced to play more too. Avery has played mostly on the edge so far but might have to show his versatility.
The Cowboys played 46 defensive snaps this week compared to 80 last week so many people were surprised to see drops in production.
There were no big changes for the Broncos either. Tramaine Brock returned at third CB to play 57 snaps. Brandon Marshall played a season-high 62 snaps at LB. Will parks (13) continues to be underutilized at safety.
No activity due to the bye week.
Green Bay Packers
Kevin King (57) is now back to being the top corner on the team. He’s an excellent IDP option.
Rookie Oren Burks continues to play more each week but stalled on 28 this week. The Packers are using Jermaine Whitehead (28) in a similar role.
Did you know the Texans have the most expensive defense (in terms of 2018 cap hit) in the NFL? They don’t play like it, do they?
Kareem Jackson (61) continues to play emergency corner. Texans fans will cry “injuries” but really it was a paper-thin roster at the position in the first place. Going into the season with Johnathan Joseph (58) and Kevin Johnson as starters was never likely to end well.
Great news for the Colts – after last week’s horror show, they managed to recover some real-life starting corners. Kind of.
Kenny Moore (70) and Nate Hairston (71) aren’t superstars but they’re a lot better than Arthur Maulet and Lenzy Pipkins were. Quincy Wilson also played 11 snaps – his first game action since getting hurt in week two.
Someone in Jacksonville has a lucky rabbit’s foot. After going through 2017 virtually unscathed, the Jags have only suffered one defensive injury in 2018 so far. And frankly, the team might be best off without D.J. Hayden in the slot anyway. It is incredible how consistent they manage to remain on defense – in terms of personnel at least. Obviously, they got absolutely walloped by the Cowboys on the field.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs made two unusual decisions this week at linebacker.
Firstly, Breeland Speaks (all 300 lbs of him) played 76 snaps at OLB. Using him as a part-time change-of-pace I get, but this was odd. I’m shocked he wasn’t targeted more in coverage (he dropped 41 times).
Secondly, In a pass-heavy game, they used Reggie Ragland (49) much more than Terrance Smith (eight). Maybe Smith was hurt, although I didn’t see that. Ragland is atrocious in coverage although amazingly, he was not targeted in this game.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers continue to confound at linebacker. Denzel Perryman played 49 snaps which is his average for the season. ‘Safety’ Adrian Phillips came in to play 65 snaps though. Remember he played LB for the tail-end of last season. If Kyzir White and Jatavis Brown miss much more time, Phillips is a potential cheat-code.
Los Angeles Rams
Andre Branch returned at DE this week to offer some relief. Unfortunately, Charles Harris missed the game so Jonathan Woodard (12) and Cameron Malveaux (32) were again forced to play. The Dolphins have used seven DEs this season and Quinn is the only one yet to miss a game.
Rookie corner Mike Hughes (12) has been placed on IR. Hopefully, that will bring some clarity to the team. Xavier Rhodes (56), Trae Waynes (56) and Mackensie Alexander (33) should be the trio going forward.
Andrew Sendejo missed the game at safety through injury. In his absence, George Iloka (43) played his first real game for the team with Anthony Harris (15) and Jayron Kearse (five) playing minor roles.
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
No activity due to the bye week.
New York Jets
Marcus Maye took a knock in this game and only managed 43 snaps. His replacement was interesting given it was Terrence Brooks (29) and not Doug Middleton who had started the season at free safety. Middleton did play special teams so he was dressed.
New York Giants
Giants LBs are so annoying. This week Ray-Ray Armstrong played just two defensive snaps with B.J. Goodson managing 38. Armstrong had out-snapped Goodson the previous three weeks. Don’t start either of them.
On the edge, Olivier Vernon finally played his first game of the season. He saw 54 snaps with no other OLB higher than 27.
The Raiders flew in on Friday for a Sunday game apparently utterly unaware of jet lag. Hopefully, it was jet lag that caused their terrible performance. Otherwise, it was just the fact they’re really not very good.
CB Gareon Conley played three special teams snaps and not at all on defense. Rashaan Melvin saw just seven snaps. But Leon Hall (54) and Daryl Worley (62) played most of the game. They were targeted relentlessly on short, outside screens and piled up tackles as a result.
Derrick Johnson also played 17 snaps. He was cut after the game and that will likely be his last game in the NFL – a sad end after a great career. Marquel Lee (49) and Tahir Whitehead (64) are firmly the starters but are both bad players.
Vince Williams played 59 snaps after missing week five. Opposite him, Jon Bostic (33) played only about half the snaps. Various DBs spent a few snaps lined up in the box. The team needs Morgan Burnett back.
The Seahawks had this pretty easy given how bad the Raiders were and they rotated a fair amount – particularly on the line. Frank Clark did his damage from just 29 snaps.
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Beau Allen returned from two games out to play 42 snaps at tackle. This is notable because rookie Vita Vea played just 28. The wisdom of taking a nose tackle at 12th overall seems stretched these days.
The Titans played 75 defensive snaps this week as they could not get the Ravens off the field. As a result, a lot of their players had inflated volume.
Jayon Brown (75), in particular, has now played 217 snaps in the past three weeks. People are falling over themselves to say how good he’s been but really he’s just been on the field a lot.
Washington has managed to stay enormously consistent this season on defense. They’ve suffered no noteworthy injuries and have basically used the same personnel and roles each week. Mason Foster continues to be the LB to own. Their linemen continue to be underwhelming statistically and should be avoided.
Good luck everyone!
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