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The top storyline from Week 2 is the plague of injuries that washed through the league on both sides of the ball. Attrition is always a big part of the game, but it usually takes a little longer to become such a factor. How we navigate injury losses and the opportunities they often present will go a long way toward the outcome of our seasons. Let's hope that Week 2's casualty list does not signal the start of a trend.
The injuries in Arizona started before the games kicked off. Budda Baker was an early scratch with a hamstring injury that landed him on IR early this week. To compensate, the Cardinals moved K'Von Wallace into the starting safety slot and promoted corner Andre Chachere to the starting lineup as the fifth defensive back. Wallace played pretty well, recording a respectable eight tackles, including five solo. His upside is lower than that of Baker, but Wallace should give us decent production for the next few weeks.
Chachere was short on stat sheet production, but he looked good in coverage, knocking down a couple of passes. With the Cardinals in nickel over 90% of the time, he is worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues.
Dennis Gardeck has another good game at 4-0-1, but the fact he hasn't reached 60 snaps in two games combined makes me too nervous to consider him.
With Josh Woods sidelined by an ankle injury, Krys Barnes got the start at inside linebacker. As usual, he made the most of the opportunity, putting up a solid 6-1 with a pass breakup on 82% of the snaps. During his time with the Packers, Barnes displayed a knack for making a bunch of tackles, even without playing full-time. The question now becomes, how long will Woods be out? He did not practice at all last week. Keep an eye on the practice reports later this week. If Woods is out, Barnes could turn a strong matchup with the Cowboys into a great streaming option for us.
Jessie Bates landed with a big thud when he came down from Week 1's big numbers. While his three-tackle outing was a disappointment for those of us who started him, keep in mind that only Kaden Ellis put up more solos for the Falcons. The bottom line is that Bates will be just fine.
The injury bug hit early for the Falcons as Troy Andersen did not clear concussion protocol in time to play. Nate Landman got the start in his place. Landman was quiet statistically at 3-1 on the day, but he did play 49 of a possible 50 snaps.
Patrick Queen missed a handful of snaps while having his shoulder looked at but returned to finish with eight tackles (5 solo) against the Bengals. Such injuries are often worse a day or two later, so if Queen is your guy, keep an eye on him.
It was not a shock to see Jadeveon Clowney put up four tackles, a sack, and a pass breakup against the Bengals, there is no doubt he is capable on any given week. What was somewhat of a surprise, however, was his 78% play share. This probably had more to do with Baltimore's lack of depth on the edge than a philosophical change in their approach. Tyus Bowser was already on the shelf, and Odafe Oweh left the game with an ankle injury in the first half. David Ojabo opened the game as the third man in the rotation and ended up seeing 70% of the action.
Kyle Hamilton was supposed to break out in year two. So far, he is a meager 5-2 on 136 snaps over two games. Some, if not most, of the problem is how he is being deployed. With Marcus Williams missing time due to a pectoral injury, Hamilton has seen more time as the deep safety than planned. The good news is that Williams has decided against surgery in the hope of returning in a few weeks. The bad news is that we may not get much from Hamilton over the next several weeks.
Geno Stone was in the strong safety role for most of the game against Cincinnati. He turned that opportunity into a team-high nine total tackles (seven solo) and an interception. Don't expect that kind of production from him often, but Stone could be a decent addition for a while.
Ar'Darius Washington has been working as the third safety in the nickel base defense. That came to an end when he landed on IR Tuesday with a chest injury. It's getting really thin in the Ravens secondary these days.
The lopsided win over Las Vegas led to minimal tackle opportunities for Bills defenders. Considering the Raiders had just 30 offensive plays that resulted in a tackle being made, Terrell Bernard's 3-3 and Matt Milano's 3-1 were not all that bad. Fortunately, both players bailed out an otherwise dismal fantasy week with interceptions. The Commanders are not exactly an offensive juggernaut, but they are good enough to help both linebackers rebound.
Leonard Floyd is nursing an ankle injury suffered during the game. Shaq Lawson would likely get the start if Floyd is out. Narrowing the playing field to a three-man rotation, including A.J. Epenesa, might be enough to give Greg Rosseau the snaps he needs to be productive. Rosseau played 35 snaps in Week 1 and 24 in Week 2, although he would have played 10-12 more last week had the game been close.
Shaq Thompson landed on IR Tuesday with a fractured fibula. He is not expected to return this season, leaving Kamu Grugier-Hill to start next to Frankie Luvu. Grugier-Hill is not a great linebacker in NFL terms, but he is a good NFL backup who should be able to take advantage of his situation and make a lot of tackles. If the limited look we got on Monday Night Football is any example, he will be at least as productive for us as Thompson has been. Grugier-Hill logged 60 snaps against the Saints, going 5-1-1.
Jeremy Chinn put up so-so numbers in Week 1 but played enough for IDP managers to still have some confidence in him. After getting on the field for 27 of 77 snaps against the Saints, that confidence is seriously shaken. At the very least, we need to keep Chinn on the bench until we can figure out what is going on here. If you need a roster spot for someone who is producing, Chinn's might be the one available.
The injury bug didn't skip Chicago. The Bears lost Eddie Jackson to a foot injury early in Sunday's game. This one may have a much happier ending than the previous ones mentioned. On Tuesday, Coach Eberflus updated Jasckson's status, saying, "I'm not sure where that's going to trend to for this coming week, but I can say that it's positive." The Bears were also without Jaquan Brisker for much of the game as he battled an illness. It sounds like the Bears will have both safeties back on the field before long, but for Week 3, Elijah Hicks is likely to be the free safety.
T.J. Edwards was on the field for 87% of the snaps but lost a few to Jack Sanborn. Sanborn's playing time was up from 19 plays (32%) in Week 1 to 40 (56%) in Week 2. This is not enough to be relevant, but it is enough to be worth watching.
The Bengals avoided any season-ending injuries, but they could be without Nick Scott in Week 3. Scott was shaken up on a hard tackle in the second quarter. He came back a little later, only to leave again in the second half, and is currently in concussion protocol. The Bengals play on Monday, so if Scott is your guy, have a plan B.
The bigger question with the Bengals is what can we expect from them going forward? Right now, we are getting a ton of great production from this group. Both safeties are killing it, as are both linebackers. If they rebound and get back to being the team we've seen for the last two years, the offense will begin to dominate, and a lot of the defensive opportunities will dry up. Against Baltimore, Scott totaled nine tackles despite playing 49 of 74 snaps. Dax Hill was 9-2 with a pass breakup, Germaine Pratt went 7-2, and Logan Wilson 7-3.
Chidobe Awuzie saw his role grow to 74% in his second game back from injury. He should be back to a full workload by the beginning of October.
The Browns took a beating on Monday night. The Nick Chubb injury was devastating, but it was not the only one. Za'Darius Smith had to be helped off the field with an ankle injury. He would later return, but that doesn't necessarily mean he is good to go. Ankle injuries usually become more painful a day or two after the fact. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo could be in line to start versus Tennessee.
Both starting corners, Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome, were out of Monday's game for a while. Both were able to return but are not likely to be 100% for Week 3. Even Myles Garrett was nicked. He limped off the field late in the game, but there is no report of an injury.
The good news for those of us with Anthony Walker is that he played more snaps than any other Cleveland linebacker. The bad news is, it was still just 40 snaps or 74%. I'm going to stick with him (on my bench) for one more game. If he fails to produce quality numbers and/or see over 80% of the snaps in what should be a great matchup with the Titans, I'll find a better use for the roster spot next week.
Dallas faced a toothless Jets offense in Week 2, so there were not many tackles to go around. It is, however, noteworthy that Leighton Vander Esch stayed on the field for every defensive snap. It is the first time that has happened since Week 4 of 2019. Meanwhile, Damone Clark was the only other off-ball linebacker to see action. He logged 17 snaps. Safety Markquese Bell played less than half of the snaps but saw a good deal of his playing time at linebacker depth.
Denver is thin on the edge, so they rolled with a three-man rotation. Nik Bonitto, Jonathan Cooper, and Randy Gregory combined for 9-4-4 against the Commanders. On paper, the chances of these three sustaining a strong pass rush seem minimal, but their Week 2 production warrants a spot on the watchlist.
At 7-2 with a pass breakup, Josey Jewell bounced back nicely from a poor Week 1 boxscore. At 3-1, Alex Singleton's struggles continued. At least in Week 2, it was not hard to figure out why. Jewell was on the field for 89% of the snaps, while Singleton was limited to 64%.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson left the game on the first series with what looked like a shoulder or arm issue. He returned a series or two later and went on to post 7-1. All seemed well until Tuesday, when he was placed on IR with a torn pectoral. This injury puts Tracy Walker back in the lineup. He's not Gardner-Johnson, but Walker is capable of putting up good numbers.
Kerby Joseph missed a series or two with a hip issue but returned to go 6-1 with a pass breakup. He may prove a little inconsistent in the tackle department, but he is a significant big-play threat. Lions' free safeties have traditionally been IDP-friendly.
Jack Campbell managed four tackles and two assists. While that might not seem like much, it is really rather strong, considering he played just 23 snaps.
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