There are some interesting happenings in the IDP world this week. Some of them are shockers, and some not so much. But many of them have ripple effects that will create some opportunity for managers to improve, or at least supplement, rosters.
Kyzir White suffered a torn biceps against the Texans, so the Cardinals will be without their leading tackler for the rest of the season. Josh Woods took over the lead role after White left, finishing 6-1 on an 82% (55 snap) play share. White is the leading candidate for the every-down linebacker job the rest of the way, but managers should not overlook Krys Barnes. He logged just 22 snaps in week eleven but managed 2-1 and a pick in the limited playing time. We already know that Barnes puts up numbers when he gets on the field. If he sees 70% of the playing time, he could have decent value for us the rest of the way. Woods was seeing 70+ percent of the action on most weeks as the second linebacker, so it is reasonable to expect the same for Barnes.
If we look at the entire season, Los Angeles is the worst matchup for linebackers, but if we look at the numbers since week five, they are not all that bad. The Chargers are still struggling to get their ground game going, but the matchup for linebackers improved once Austin Ekler returned.
The game was an easy win for Buffalo, but their secondary took a beating versus the Jets. Dane Jackson and Taron Johnson are both in concussion protocol, and Taylor Rapp left the field in an ambulance with a neck injury. Rapp's injury turned out to be relatively minor, but chances are, the Bills will be without all three players when they face a big test versus the Eagles this week.
With Rapp out, either Siran Neal or Damar Hamlin will serve as the third safety. The corner situation, however, is a much bigger problem. Rasul Douglas and Christian Benford should be the starters, with Cam Lewis as the nickel. Lewis has been on the field for 81 snaps all year, and 34 of those came after Johnson was injured last week. At best, the Bills are paper thin at corner. If you are looking for a stream option at the position, Douglas could be your guy. He has at least 12 fantasy points in each of his two starts since joining the Bills three weeks ago, including a 26-point outburst last week when he picked off Jets quarterbacks twice.
Vonn Bell looked much better after knocking the rust off. He turned in a solid 6-1 against the Cowboys, but think twice before plugging him into your lineup this week. Only the Broncos have allowed fewer points to safeties this year than Tennessee.
Deion Jones has seen his playing time increase steadily over the last few weeks. Against Dallas, he exceeded half of the snaps for the second time this year and the first time since week three. The Titans are a poor matchup for linebackers, so there is nothing to get excited about here, at least not yet. The Panthers have a strong string of matchups for linebackers from week 13 to 17, though. If Jones's playing time gets up to 75% in the next game or two, we might have to take another look.
The chances of Jones seeing more action going forward got a big boost when the Steelers plucked Blake Martinez off Carolina's practice squad on Tuesday.
Tremaine Edmunds returned to action against the Lions but did not handle a full workload. He was 4-4 with a pick on 66% of the snaps. Edmunds came through without any setbacks and should be back in his normal, every-snap role this week. That means we can put Jack Sanborn back on the shelf for now. He logged less than half of the snaps last week and is likely to be down around 30% against the Vikings this week.
We knew it was coming, and it should have happened in August. Jordan Battle appears to have finally moved past Nick Scott into the starting strong safety job. The results were impressive as Battle piled up ten solo stops and a pair of assists. Granted, the big numbers had a lot to do with the matchup, but Battle has some good matchups remaining on the schedule as well, including the Jaguars, Colts, Vikings, Steelers twice, and the Chiefs in week 17.
B.J. Hill went down early in Thursday's game and grabbed the back of his leg/ankle in the area of the Achilles. He returned after a few plays and looked fine, but keep an eye on the injury reports if he is your guy.
Cam Taylor-Britt had another of those games with less than a 60% share of the snaps, but this time we know why. He was playing full-time before exiting with a quad injury. Taylor-Britt is day-to-day leading up to week 12. If he is not able to go, look for rookie DJ Turner to get the start opposite Chidobe Awuzie.
Despite the great matchup, it was a slow day for Germaine Pratt on the stat sheet. There is nothing to see here beyond the strangely low numbers. Pratt was in his usual role, logging 85% of the snaps.
Anthony Walker Jr. has been a huge disappointment, but at least he has an excuse for the week eleven goose egg. Walker lasted just eight snaps before leaving with a hamstring injury. Sione Takitaki inherited the extra snaps, logging a season-high 88%, but he was not able to do much with them.
Juan Thornhill missed week eleven with a sore calf, and Rodney McLeod left the game with a biceps injury. That put Ronnie Hickman in the lineup to finish the game. Hickman is in line to start against the Broncos this week, but there is no reason for grand expectations for either him or Grant Delpit. Denver has been a horrible matchup for safeties.
Markquese Bell is a perfect example of why we should not overreact to one week in the NFL. He gave us three solid outings while logging 53%, 73%, and 94% of the snaps at linebacker before having his time cut to 39% in week ten. A lot of managers took that as a sign the team was going in a different direction. In week eleven, however, Bell was back to almost 90% of the snaps with a solid 6-4 to show for it. The week ten hiccup is enough to impact the trust factor, but matchups with Washington this week, followed by Seattle, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Miami over the next five weeks, could make him a quality start for the rest of the season.
Managers looking for Rashaan Evans to make some noise will have to wait at least one more game. Damone Clark was 2-4 with a pass breakup on 79% of the snaps versus the Panthers. Evans played seven defensive snaps.
Continue reading this content with a ELITE subscription.
An ELITE subscription is required to access content for IDP (individual defensive players) leagues. If this league is not a IDP (individual defensive players) league, you can edit your leagues here.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE