We are four weeks in, and the injury bug continues to bite. Before you know it, we will have bye weeks to contend with on top of everything else. I did my best to navigate through the snaps and stats to find some potential waiver wire options for your IDP leagues. Please keep in mind there are many fun ways to play this IDP game we love, and if you ever have any league-specific questions feel free to reach out. Alright, let’s get to it.
Kwon Alexander, New York Jets
Week 4 Stats: 7 tackles (2 solos)
I mentioned Kwon Alexander in last week's article as a potential beneficiary after the unfortunate Quincy Williams ankle injury. Williams was unable to practice all week and was inevitably ruled out for Week 4. Alexander did indeed see an uptick in playing time as he logged a season-high 59 defensive snaps (93%) in Week 4. Marcel Harris subbed in for Williams last week and ended up playing 28 defensive snaps (44%) this week.
If Williams continues to miss time, Alexander looks to be the linebacker gaining an expanded role next to C.J. Mosley. If you passed on Alexander last week to see how this thing played out, I get it. However, if Alexander is sitting on your waiver wire and you have the room, he's worth a pickup. Monitoring Williams' status will be important, but Alexander looks to be significantly involved while he's out—however long that is.
Ja'Whaun Bentley, New England Patriots
Week 4 Stats: 9 tackles (3 solos)
Ja'Whaun Bentley had failed to eclipse an 80% snap share in New England's first two games (72% in Week 1 and 61% in Week 2). However, over his last two games, Bentley has seen healthy workloads of 56 defensive snaps (93%) in Week 3 and 68 snaps (93%) in Week 4. Bentley also paced the Patriots' defense with nine tackles this week, although only three were solos.
Will this snap share increase be steady and stick? It's anybody's guess, and Bill Belichick definitely wouldn't tell us even if we asked. The increased role is a positive sign for Bentley and he's worth a waiver claim if you're looking for linebacker help. There are rumblings the Patriots may sign 32-year-old Jamie Collins Sr off the couch. But I'm not sure it will affect Bentley's role as much as some of the other Patriot linebackers.
Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Week 4 Stats: DNP
Deion Jones will be eligible to return in Week 5 after being placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury to start the season. There was plenty of noise around the Falcons moving on from Jones via trade or release this offseason. They also recently restructured his contract, which is interesting. However, as things sit, Jones is still in Atlanta.
The big question is, what will his role look like in his return? Mykal Walker and Rashaan Evans have been holding down the full-time linebacker roles through the first four weeks. I wouldn't expect Jones to immediately displace one of them his first week back. Jones will likely be eased back in, and the Atlanta linebacker snap counts will be a priority on the checklist once they are all active together.
There is a chance Jones earns a starting role once again at some point, which is intriguing enough to warrant a waiver addition. However, only do so in deeper leagues where you have the room on your roster. Adding Jones will require patience and could also result in a boom/bust scenario. It's worth a mouse click, but only if your roster allows you to take the chance.
Tae Crowder, New York Giants
Week 4 Stats: 11 tackles (7 solos), 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 1 forced fumble
Tae Crowder made this article back in Week 1 as the season kicked off. We've cycled through a plethora of linebackers since then, so revisiting certain situations is inevitable. Crowder started with a seven tackle (4 solos) outing in Week 1 but only combined for seven total tackles (2 solos) through Week 2 and Week 3.
Crowder had a much better Week 4 outing (see stats above) and has back-to-back 100% snap shares with a 96% snap share on the season. Jaylon Smith was recently brought in and played 31 snaps (50%) this week, just ahead of rookie Micah McFadden's 27 snaps (44%). Crowder has his blemishes but is still the only Giants full-time linebacker. Honestly, if he gets beat out by Jaylon Smith at this point, that's all you need to know. In Week 5, the Giants head to London to take on Green Bay and its two-headed monster at running back. Crowder could be busy again this week if you're looking for a spot start and he's available.
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