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This week's edition of the article brings more linebacker usage trends and a few adjustments to calls I made earlier in the season.
LB Tremaine Edmunds played 36% of defensive snaps for Buffalo in Week 10.
Edmunds suffered a groin injury earlier in the game, which kept him out for the remainder of the contest. This trend is important for two reasons. First, I made an error in last week’s article. I mentioned that Terell Bernard filled in for both starting linebackers. Bernard has only filled in as a replacement for Matt Milano. In games where Edmunds has missed time, Tyrel Dodson has replaced him. This was the case in Week 10 as well. Given this note, managers might consider adding Dodson if Edmunds misses any time. This also means that Bernard is a less valuable stash since he only becomes relevant with an injury to Milano.
LB Devin Lloyd played a season-low 60% of defensive snaps for Jacksonville.
Lloyd sat on the bench for a large portion of the Jaguars’ loss to the Chiefs in place of fellow rookie Chad Muma, who played a season-high 40% of defensive snaps. When asked about the choice, head coach Doug Pederson said there was no injury, and they just wanted to get Muma some snaps. Since Week 4, Lloyd has allowed 37 completions on 41 targets for an NFL passer rating of 122, which, fun fact, would be the highest passer rating for any quarterback in the league. While it’s unclear if this usage change will be permanent, managers should have some concerns regarding Lloyd until there is more certainty about the situation.
LB Sione Takitaki played 96% of defensive snaps for Cleveland in Week 10.
Takitaki followed up his season-high 85% of defensive snaps in Week 8 with an even higher usage rate this week. This snap volume is because Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has missed the team’s last two games with a knee injury. Not only has the playtime been there, but Takitaki has been a tackling machine in his two games without Owusu-Koramoah, putting up 23 tackles over two games. He is a must-start if Owusu-Koramoah continues to miss time, but will be downgraded to a bench play once he returns to backup duties.
LB Jack Sanborn played 90% of defensive snaps for Chicago in Week 10.
This trend is partly to brag that I mentioned Sanborn last week. That being said, he earned two sacks on only five pass-rush snaps. This is not a repeatable conversion rate. On top of that, he earned 12 tackles on only 56 snaps for an absurd 21% tackle rate. Both of these statistics should regress to lower numbers. Managers rostering Sanborn should try to sell him if they're able, and managers looking to buy him should temper their expectations for future production.
LB Robert Spillane played 100% of defensive snaps for Pittsburgh in Week 10.
Managers were understandably upset by Myles Jack after he was cleared to play but failed to see a single snap. After the game, coach Mike Tomlin stated that Jack was held out as a precaution. Spillane played every snap for the Steelers as his replacement and recorded seven tackles. While it seems unlikely that Jack misses next week, the notable usage trend here is that Devin Bush saw no significant increase in snap rate. Should Jack miss more time, expect Spillane to continue being the snap leader at the position.
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