Welcome to 2019 everyone. It’s going to be a great year. As always. this column will go into detail on the most important bit of data for any IDP owner – how much players are on the field. Efficiency is great, but sheer snap volume does more to determine production than anything else.
It looks like the Cardinals might be a high-volume defense. Since their first game lasted five quarters it’s a bit misleading, but this seems like a team that will deliver volume on both sides anyway.
Byron Murphy (88) and Tramaine Brock (72) manned the corner spots with Budda Baker (88) playing deep and D.J. Swearinger (88) more in the box.
At linebacker, Haason Reddick was limited to just 52 snaps with Joe Walker (36) stepping in.
As expected De’Vondre Campbell (53) remains the second starting LB behind Deion Jones. Foye Oluokun (22) is a productive player but he’s not going to be reliable until he earns a starting spot.
There are just three edge players in the rotation as of now. Vic Beasley (48) and Takkarist McKinley (47) led the way with Allen Bailey (43) just behind.
Nickel DB Damontae Kazee played just 12 snaps against the Vikings’ massively run-heavy offense.
We saw a distorted view of the Ravens in week one given they played their opponent. The Dolphins simply cannot sustain drives, and that’s likely going to mean opponents play low snaps all year long.
Brandon Carr (30) looks set to play slot DB which will limit his snaps. Anthony Averett (45) won the outside corner start opposite Marlon Humphrey (46).
Patrick Onwuasor (49) was the only full-time inside linebacker. Kenny Young (21) and Chris Board (13) shared the other spot.
Jerry Hughes (50) remains the best edge player in Buffalo but Trent Murphy (58) is the second starter.
Rookie Ed Oliver (47) led all interior players in playing time ahead of Star Lotulelei (30), Jordan Phillips (25) and Harrison Phillips (24).
The Panthers look to be a very versatile defense this year. Defining them as just a 3-4 or a 4-3 is missing the point.
Mario Addison (48) and Brian Burns (44) led edge players in snaps with Marquis Haynes (29) and Londoner Efe Obada (29) also getting significant time.
Shaq Green-Thompson finally made the splash we’ve been hoping for as he played 75 snaps alongside Luke Kuechly (77).
At safety Eric Reid and Tre Boston (both 77) started ahead of Rashaan Gaulden (18).
The Bears were fairly predictable in terms of personnel.
The line was Akiem Hicks (50) with Eddie Goldman (33), Bilal Nichols (32) and Roy Robertson-Harris (26) all playing a little less.
Roquan Smith (63) and Danny Trevathan (64) played inside linebacker with Khalil Mack (58) and Leonard Floyd (55) on the edge.
Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara (both 64) played outside corner with Buster Skrine (32) manning the slot.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (60) and Eddie Jackson (64) played at safety. Both were primarily deep. There is no dedicated strong safety here.
The Bengals disappointingly seem committed to playing Sum Hubbard (41) more than Carl Lawson (22). Lawson is coming back from injury so maybe it changes. Either way they’re sharing snaps while Carlos Dunlap (47) remains the top edge player on the team.
At linebacker Preston Brown (39) and Nick Vigil (46) might be the least exciting pair in the league. Jordan Evans did not play a single defensive snap.
At corner the Bengals started Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson (both 49) outside with B.W. Webb in the slot.
Morgan Burnett dropped off the radar a little over the last couple of years but he’s very much back. He played 65 defensive snaps and was heavily used in the box with Damarious Randall (60) deep. Jermaine Whitehead played third safety and his 35 snaps saw him all over the defense.
At linebacker, veterans Chris Kirksey and Joe Schobert retain their stranglehold on the position, playing 61 snaps each. Mack Wilson did not feature on defense.
As expected, this is a very deep rotation on the edge. Superstar Demarcus Lawrence played just 32 snaps with Dorance Armstrong (30), Tyrone Crawford (30) and Joe Jackson (26) all just behind.
At linebacker Jaylon Smith (69) and Leighton Vander Esch (65) seized control from Sean Lee (16).
The big question was who would play LB next to Josey Jewell (58) with Todd Davis out. The answer was Corey Nelson (49).
The secondary was exceptionally flexible. All three corners played 57 snaps with Isaac Yiadom at outside corner, and Kareem Jackson and Chris Harris splitting time outside and inside. Jackson also spent some time at safety. Justin Hollins (58) and Will Parks (29) were more orthodox safeties but orthodox means versatile in today’s game.
We saw crazy volume here in an overtime game against the Cardinals. As a result, a lot of Lions’ players had inflated numbers.
Safeties Tracy Walker (88) and Quandre Diggs (86) played a huge amount in particular.
At LB Jahlani Tavai (62), Jalen Reeves-Maybin (51) and Christian Jones (64) shared the load. With Jarrad Davis to return sooner than anticipated, this is a tough unit to be confident in.
Green Bay Packers
Mike Pettine and the investment in defensive personnel appears to have made real strides. This is an exciting defense.
Kenny Clark (56) and Dean Lowry (47) were the only high-snap players on the line.
Blake Martinez remains a full-time ILB with Za’Darius Smith (67) and Preston Smith (72) playing well on the edge. Raven Greene (55) manned the nickel LB role. It’s interesting as he’s a safety on MFL but he needs to play more.
Jaire Alexander and Tramon Williams (both 73) were the top corners, with Kevin King playing 42. Williams played a lot in the slot so be aware.
At safety Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage are both full-time players. Amos is playing mostly deep with the rookie Savage spending a lot of time in the slot (which may have been because the Bears used a lot of spread formations).
This is such a tough team to talk about. The fact that one edge player lines up in a three-point stance and the other in a two-point stance really confuses people. Calling them a DE and an OLB is a little silly. Anyway . . . .
J.J. Watt (60) and Whitney Mercilus (60) are the two top edge players.
Brennan Scarlett (18) was far behind them.
At LB Benardrick McKinney (62) and Zach Cunningham (62) are the starters.
At safety Justin Reid (66) and Tashaun Gipson (66) led the way, with Jahleel Addae (19) playing more of a specialist box role.
At corner, Kenny Moore and Pierre Desir (both 64) led the way. Moore split his time outside and in the slot. Rookie Rock Ya-Sin (43) played outside in nickel and dime situations.
Justin Houston (51) is the top edge player with Al-Quadin Muhammad (39) Ben Banogu (28) and Kemoko Turay (24) all behind him.
Denico Autry (50) split time inside and outside as he did last year.
Darius Leonard (63) remains the only full-time LB with Anthony Walker (36) still a distant second.
Wanting large edge players to “kick inside” is a trope that often comes up. When the Jags drafted Josh Allen lots of people thought it would mean Calais Campbell playing more inside. Campbell has always been used very much on the edge by the Jaguars but this time there was truth behind the rumors. Campbell played 56 snaps on the day and 49 of them were on the inside. That left Allen (49) and Yannick Ngakoue (53) more snaps on the edge.
At LB the early Myles Jack expulsion left the team without him or Telvin Smith. In their absence Quincy Wilson (51) and Najee Goode (48) stepped up.
Ronnie Harrison played 62 snaps at strong safety with Jarrod Wilson (68) playing deep.
Kansas City Chiefs
Anthony Hitchens (61) and Damien Wilson (48) seem to be the every-down linebackers for the Chiefs with Reggie Ragland not even dressing and Darron Lee (10) used sparingly.
New DE Frank Clark managed 45 snaps with Alex Okafor (37), Tanoh Kpassagnon (35) and Emmanuel Ogbah (21) behind him.
Kendall Fuller (48) basically played just in the slot with Charvarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland (58) at outside corner.
Tyrann Mathieu (57) played strong safety with rookie Juan Thornhill (58) deep and in the slot.
Los Angeles Chargers
It seems that Gus Bradley may actually have made a decision on which linebackers he wants to play! Thomas Davis (63) and Kyzir White (54) dominated snaps but it’s important to realise this may change when Denzel Perryman and Derwin James are fit again.
At safety Adrian Phillips (61) played strong safety as expected, with Rayshawn Jenkins (63) at free safety.
Los Angeles Rams
Cory Littleton (66) seems to be the only full-time inside linebacker. Alongside him we saw Bryce Hager (25) play the most, but no one owning the spot.
Eric Weddle took a nasty hit that knocked him out of the game, so Marqui Christian (33) and Taylor Rapp (31) played more than expected.
On the edge Dante Fowler (55), Clay Matthews (46) and Samson Ebukam (33) all saw snaps,
Jerome Baker (71) and Sam Eguavoen (67) were the Dolphins main linebackers. Raekwon McMillan (one solo and two assists) racked up numbers similar to Eguavoen (two solos and two assists), which may cause some confusion. Use the opportunity to sell any lingering McMillan shares you have.
In the secondary several players did not play the full game including Minkah Fitzpatrick (48), Reshad Jones (32) and Bobby McCain (58), while corners Xavien Howard (70) and Eric Rowe (71) were left on the field.
On the line Charles Harris is the top edge with 60 snaps. Christian Wilkins (64) is the top interior player.
This will seem slightly odd because of how easy this game was for the Vikings. They were able to give plenty of fringe players some time on defense.
Danielle Hunter (65) and Everson Griffen (65) were the starting DEs as expected with Stephen Weatherly (34) and Hercules Mata’afa (28) getting some playing time.
Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr (72 each) remain the full-time linebackers.
Mike Zimmer project Jayron Kearse continues to see playing time when possible. He managed 45 snaps this week in the slot. He’s sort of a slot specialist at this stage.
New England Patriots
Jason McCourty and Stephon Gilmore (63 each) remain the starting outside corners. Jonathan Jones (55) and J.C. Jackson (44) both move around and spend time inside and outside.
On the edge Shilique Calhoun (56) surprisingly led the unit in snaps. Rookie Chase Winovich (40), Michael Bennett (39), John Simon (31) and Deatrich Wise (20) all saw snaps too. Note that Wise had the sole sack but played the least.
At LB Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower both played 47 snaps like it was 2015 again. Off-season hype bomb Ja’Whaun Bentley (26) was a part-time player.
New Orleans Saints
Demario Davis (67) remains the top linebacker to own. A.J. Klein (50) and Alex Anzalone (31) are not full-time players. Kiko Alonso played 11 snaps on special teams but not a single snap on defense.
Trey Hendrickson stole the show at DE with two sacks, but he played just 35 snaps. Far behind Cameron Jordan (66) and Marcus Davenport (50).
Malcom Brown (51) led the way on the interior with the fabulously named Shy Tuttle (33) and Taylor Stallworth (22) behind him.
New York Jets
We know that Gregg Williams rides his starters hard and they’re very productive as a result. C.J. Mosley had an excellent day from his 46 snaps, but the second starter was Neville Hewitt (65) with rookie Blake Cashman (21) a distant third. Hewitt is a priority add.
New York Giants
B.J. Hill was the leading lineman with 46 snaps. Dalvin Tomlinson (31), Olsen Pierre, Dexter Lawrence (28) and RJ McIntosh (17) are all fighting for snaps.
At LB Alec Ogletree (68) remains the guy with rookies Tae Davis (31) and Ryan Connelly (26) both getting playing time.
On the edge Markus Golden (55) and Lorenzo Carter (50) are clearly ahead of Oshane Ximines (21) and Kareem Martin (ten).
Jabrill Peppers (67) is the strong safety with Antoine Bethea (68) playing deeper. Bethea should be sold or cut.
In a bid to fix the horrific pass rush from last year the Raiders are throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. This week we saw a smorgasbord of players.
Clelin Ferrell (47), Arden Key (30), Josh Mauro (27), Benson Mayowa (25) and Maxx Crosby (23). It worked out OK for the team but it’s tough to bet on any of them bar Ferrel.
Vontaze Burfict led the linebackers with 56 snaps. Tahir Whitehead managed just 44. Nicholas Morrow fell behind with 28. And Marquel Lee had a desultory eight.
Lamarcus Joyner played 56 snaps, most of them in the slot.
Karl Joseph (54), Johnathan Abram (49) and Curtis Riley (25) all played in the orthodox two-deep safety scheme Paul Gunether has always used.
Derek Barnett (55) led all edge players in snaps. Brandon Graham (48), Vinny Curry (23) and Josh Sweat (14) lagged behind.
Nigel Bradham (67) is the LB to own, with Zach Brown seeing just 29 snaps.
Rasul Douglas (56) and Ronald Darby (48) and Sidney Jones (34) played outside corner with Avonte Maddox (61) in the slot.
Devin Bush (53) is instantly the top LB on this team. Mark Barron (26) and Vince Williams (22) are useful players but not full-time options.
Steven Nelson (70) and Joe Haden (69) are the starting perimeter corners with Mike Hilton (48) in the slot.
Terrell Edmunds (70) played strong safety with Kameron Kelly (70) forced into action at free safety. That (predictably) did not go well for Kelly.
The defensive line was a very fluid entity. Quinton Jefferson (50) Rasheem Green (50), Jadeveon Clowney (48) and Branden Jackson (44) all saw time on the edge.
Poona Ford (43) and Al Woods (41) were the interior anchors, with Bryan Malone (26) also seeing time.
Bobby Wagner (77), K.J. Wright (69) and Mychal Kendricks (69) all saw lots of LB snaps.
San Francisco 49ers
The defensive line is a fascinating part of this team given the investment into it. From this game it seems Nick Bosa (39) will play right end, and Dee Ford (42) left end. Arik Armstead (44) played some edge, but also inside. Solomon Thomas (13) is just an afterthought.
At safety Jaquiski Tartt and Tarvarius Moore (69 each) both played a lot, but also lined up mostly deep.
At LB Kwon Alexander could only manage 21 snaps which let Dre Greenlaw (56) onto the field.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ugh. This is a bit of a mess. It seems Todd Bowles is having to get creative with the talent he has available. As such some of these definitions are a little hazy given the multiple fronts.
On the line we saw Ndamukong Suh (54) and Vita Vea (48) lead the way.
William Gholston (47) and Carl Nassib (62) played hybrid lineman/edge roles.
Shaquil Barrett (56) and Anthony Nelson (14) were true edge OLB types.
Lavonte David (65) and Devin White (68) were the expected inside LBs. Deone Bucannon played just three snaps.
In the secondary, Carlton Davis (67) and Vernon Hargreaves (66) were the starting outside corners with M.J. Stewart (28) in the slot.
Jordan Whitehead (68) played strong safety and Darian Stewart (62) free safety.
We seem to have an answer for the inside linebacker mystery. Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown (54 each) are the clear starters with Wesley Woodyard (14) the backup. Brown was not productive so there might be a buying window on him.
On the edge, we saw Cameron Wake wreak havoc from just 24 snaps with Harold Landry playing all 66. Sharif Finch (41) and Kamalei Correa (21) were also given snaps.
The linebacker situation seems complicated here. Jon Bostic led the way with 65 snaps but Shaun Dion Hamilton (31) was outshone by Cole Holcomb (49). Start neither SDH nor Holcomb until this becomes clearer.
Matt Ioannidis (65) and Da’Ron Payne (58) anchored the line, but Jonathan Allen could play just seven snaps. Tim Settle (36) stepped up in his absence.
Ryan Kerrigan (58) and Montez Sweat (51) are clearly the top OLBs.
Landon Collins (75) played strong safety, with Montae Nicholson (75) at free safety.
At corner Josh Norman remains a starter (75) with Quinton Dunbar (64) opposite him. Jimmy Moreland (56) looks like a playmaker in the slot.
This week is important. Make your waiver decisions on volume and don’t chase stats. The guy who had two sacks from twenty snaps is not as good a bet as the guy who had no sacks but played 55 snaps. Knowing this is your secret weapon.
Good luck and thanks for reading.
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