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Years ago, when Deone Bucannon introduced himself as a “money linebacker” on Sunday Night Football, the audience had a good laugh. The term was a reference to his defensive responsibilities but conjured images in viewers' minds of the huge game checks that Bucannon was earning at that time. Memes popped up in the following days of Bucannon on top of piles of money and gold coins. Hopefully, following the guidance given in this column will have your rosters overflowing with a wealth of IDP riches. We will primarily focus on edge rushers but will also hit some of the other players and situations that will likely impact teams in big play leagues. We will cover risers and fallers in the format, injury situations about which fantasy general managers need to know, and upcoming matchups to target.
Note: The defensive player injuries covered in this column are not an exhaustive list but an attempt to cover the situations most likely to impact big play IDP squads. For more extensive coverage of injury situations, see Jene Bramel’s latest Injury Rounds column.
$ STOCK UP AND BANKRUPT $
There's little in the way of updates on playing time or unexpected IDP developments this week. Here are few items worth mentioning.
After Blake Martinez left Sunday’s contest, Giants linebacker Tae Crowder played 98% of the snaps. With Martinez out for the year, Crowder becomes the hottest linebacker pickup in the 2021 fantasy season to date.
Broncos linebacker Justin Strnad played only 76% of the snaps next to A.J. Johnson on Sunday, far less than what previous running mate Josey Jewell had managed. Is this just easing Strnad into a full-time role or is this the new normal? We will likely need to bench Strnad in the upcoming weeks and watch carefully to find out.
Titans linebacker Jayon Brown has been ailing and it has been David Long Jr wearing the dot and filling in admirably. There is speculation that when Brown comes back, Long may demand more playing time at Rashaan Evans’ expense. That will be a situation to watch. The actionable advice from this tidbit is to pick up Long in deeper formats to see if this indeed pans out.
$ INJURY SETTLEMENTS $
It was another week of widespread injuries on the defensive side of the ball, but this list is perhaps not as bad as last week’s list.
49ers corner Josh Norman was hospitalized after suffering a chest injury in the Sunday Night Football tilt against the Packers.
Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack’s status needs to be monitored in the upcoming week. He left the game with a foot injury but returned to play the remainder of the game. Often, foot and ankle injuries can swell and worsen in the days following their occurrence.
Buccaneers corner Jamel Dean hurt his knee in the first quarter and did not return to action.
Chargers’ safety Derwin James hurt his shoulder, but he returned to finish the game. Make sure he is able to fully practice this week before inserting him confidently into your lineup.
Falcons edge rusher Marlon Davidson hurt his ankle.
Giants linebacker Blake Martinez injured his knee and did not return to his contest. It was later reported that he suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
Green Bay’s linebacker Krys Barnes suffered a concussion during Sunday Night Football.
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