This was a low-volume week. Only 1,727 defensive snaps were played in total. The average for the season so far had been slightly over 2,000. Some of this is due to bye weeks, but in general, it was just a bit low. Be aware!
Arizona Cardinals – 59 snaps
Lineman Zach Allen (47) was a popular waiver add last week with J.J. Watt hurt. Allen is certainly an interesting player, and he did continue to play more, but he’s also not an impact pass-rusher. So, temper expectations.
Atlanta Falcons – 76 snaps
It’s shocking how stable this defense has been this season. There are very few weekly moves or changes personnel-wise. Given they’re really bad (this is one of the two or three worst pass rushes in the NFL), you’d think they’d at least try and change something.
The closest they got this week was giving OLBs Brandon Copeland (21) and James Vaughters (30) a bit of extra playing time with Steven Means (38) and Adetokunbo Ogundeji (52) seeing slightly less. None of these players are good pass-rushers.
The linebackers Deon Jones and Foye Oluokun (both 76) continue to be weekly starters, but they’re really the only IDP value here.
Carolina Panthers – 62 snaps
LB Shaq Thompson (48) led the unit in playing time, but remains long short of a full-time job. The last time he played 60 or more snaps was week one. Remember the average NFL game is 66-67 defensive snaps long. Jermaine Carter (43) remains an annoying part of this defense.
Interestingly Stephon Gilmore (16) has played only 33 snaps in his two games as a Panther. He had an interception this week which will tempt people, but he’s not really a viable IDP right now.
Chicago Bears – 72 snaps
LB Roquan Smith (72) had another big game. He’s currently second among all LBs in playing time (behind Bobby Wagner) and right up there at the top in scoring. Danny Trevathan (28) and Christian Jones (17) also played this week but it’s very clear that the Bears defense does not feature a second LB playing IDP-relevant snaps. Roquan Smith is on 586 snaps for the season. Trevathan, Jones and Alec Ogletree have combined to play just 466.
Robert Quinn (56) recorded another sack. He has at least one sack in five of his eight games this season. Given he’s only on 23 pressures, this is very impressive, and he could feasibly keep this form up for the rest of the season. Beyond that seems shaky so he’s probably a sell, but this is proving a very good season for him. Trevis Gipson (40), Sam Kamara (24) and Cassius Marsh (22) filled out the rest of the edge corps with Khalil Mack out.
Dallas Cowboys – 78 snaps
Micah Parsons (67) got to the QB two more times this week as well as piling up solid tackle numbers. His numbers are obviously being boosted by big plays as a pass-rusher, but he’s scoring very well and at this stage, he’s pretty certain to be the defensive rookie of the year.
In longer-term, dynasty terms, his value is going to be inflated for the next season or two. After a very productive rookie season, he is almost certainly going to be valued as someone who will “only get better” – just like Leighton Vander Esch (51) was a couple of years ago.
Vander Esch hit 11 tackles this game which was great – but he benefitted massively from the Cowboys playing 78 snaps, comfortably their highest total of the season so far. Vander Esch had averaged under 35 snaps per game this season before this game, so don’t treat this as the new normal.
The Lions enjoyed their bye week.
Green Bay Packers – 65 snaps
Rashan Gary (46) continued his development with another sack. He’s become a really good pass-rusher. He’s not really an all-around player yet, but he’s so much better than he used to be. Preston Smith (48) is a clearly inferior player at this stage.
Los Angeles Rams – 58 snaps
Another week, another LB shuffle. Troy Reeder (48) led the way with Ernest Jones (36) behind. When you start Rams LBs, you have to be ready for them to play low volume and not perform. It’s just part of the deal.
Let’s talk about Aaron Donald (55). He’s still an All-Pro player, but he has not hit the incredible play we’ve come to expect of him in 2021.
He’s second in snaps (two behind the lead) among interior linemen, just one pressure off the top, and jointly leads the position in sacks. So, it’s not as though he’s playing badly. But Donald is one of a pack of leading linemen right now – not the far-and-away leader out on his own.
Given that IDP still values him that way, and he’s into his 30s, there’s a non-zero chance that now is the time to be selling Donald. That does not mean he does not have multiple seasons of elite play left in him. He’s a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer and those guys are built different, but it’s worth seeing if you can still get a Godfather offer.
Minnesota Vikings – 98 snaps
The Vikings played an incredible amount of defense in their overtime game against Baltimore. So, it should not surprise you that they racked up so many tackles.
Safety Camryn Bynum (98) was one of those players. He was only playing with Harrison Smith out hurt, but Bynum made it count with an exceptional performance. But don’t think this makes him any kind of must-start. He’s still just one of 40-50 safeties who have a good chance each week of scoring well.
New Orleans Saints – 59 snaps
New York Giants – 69 snaps
There were no major changes this week for the Giants.
Tae Crowder (69) is the LB you want. Reggie Ragland (32) is absolutely not.
Leonard Williams (61) is an elite IDP option as an interior lineman (which he is in True Position) but just an average one at DE. It can be argued compellingly that he belongs in either pot, but fantasy is supposed to be fun. Having more, better options at DT makes for a more fun game.
Philadelphia Eagles – 69 snaps
Alex Singleton’s benching last week was slightly unclear. We now have clarity. He played just ten snaps this week. T.J. Edwards (66) and Davion Taylor (49) were the clear clubhouse leaders. That doesn’t mean it can’t change again, but right now Singleton is unstartable.
The Seahawks enjoyed their bye week.
San Francisco 49ers – 70 snaps
LB Azeez Al-Shaair returned from his concussion to play 69 snaps. Fred Warner (70) played next to him as usual. Both were productive.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers enjoyed their bye week.
Washington Football Team
The Football Team enjoyed their bye week.
Thanks for reading and good luck with waivers.
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