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The season-opening waiver rush is over, but that does not mean there will be no more opportunities to improve our teams. Players will emerge as they earn bigger roles, and injuries will continue to happen. Opportunities will be there. They will just be fewer and, in many cases, more difficult to identify ahead of the competition. Now it is time to settle in for the grind and micro-manage our teams to squeeze out every possible point each week.
At 8-6-0 with an interception, Kyzir White's week three was the most fantasy-productive of his career to date. He might not eclipse it in week four, but he has a great opportunity with a matchup against San Francisco. Over the first three games, five linebackers have produced at least six solo or ten combined tackles against them.
Among those five linebackers were Elandon Roberts (6-1), Kwon Alexander (8-1), and Micah McFadden (9-1), who all played less than 80% of the snaps in their matchup. That bodes well for sneaking Krys Barnes into your lineup. However, Barnes came out of last week's game with a hand injury, so keep an eye on the practice reports later in the week.
Early in the game against Dallas, Zaven Collins landed his first full sack of the year. It is starting to look like the move to Edge will be a good one. Unfortunately, he left the game after being poked in the eye. San Francisco is not a particularly good matchup for pass rushers, but if he is available, Collins will be a decent option to start.
Rookie corner Kei'Trel Clark didn't stand out in week one, but he has 13 solo stops, a pair of assists, and four passes defended over the last two games.
Troy Andersen suffered a torn pectoral in week three and will miss the rest of the season. Nate Landman stepped in when Andersen missed week two and played 49 of 50 snaps. Landman's marginal production of 3-1 in that game is not exactly a major confidence builder, but at least he was on the field so the numbers could come.
Jeff Okudah suited up against the Lions but played sparingly (11 snaps). His playing time should increase quickly as he works back into game shape. Okudah has been a solid IDP option when healthy in the past. If he gets back to a near full-time role this week, he could be a nice addition ahead of the week five matchup with Houston.
Jessie Bates bounced back strong from his poor week two production. The loss of Andersen could be a big plus for the safeties going forward.
There's Kyle Hamilton! After two dismal IDP performances, he exploded for 7-2-3 with a forced fumble and a pass breakup. I've not yet had a chance to watch more than a few plays from Baltimore's week three contest, but that glimpse and the numbers are enough to suggest he was back in the strong safety role. A lot of managers had already cut Hamilton loose. Check your waivers to see if he's available, and grab him if he is. The fact that Baltimore is not putting Marcus Williams on IR is a pretty good sign that Hamilton will be in the box safety role down the road, even if he is a little inconsistent over the next few games.
Injuries are taking a toll on the Ravens pass rush. Tavius Robinson got most of the work opposite Clowney in week three after David Ojabo left with an ankle injury just a few snaps into the game. With Tyus Bowser and Odafe Oweh already on the shelf, Jeremiah Moon also saw action in the edge rotation.
Brandon Stephens has gone large in two of three games and has another strong matchup with the Browns on tap for week four. The Ravens are unsettled at their other corner position, though. After playing four snaps over the first two games, Daryl Worley got the start in week three with Ronald Darby working over the slot in nickel situations.
The Bills racked up ten sacks versus Washington, with eight of them compliments of the defensive line. The problem is that none of the five linemen who recorded sacks had more than two solo stops. This is a direct result of their mass rotation approach that saw nine players with at least 12 snaps and no one with more than 34.
Is it too early to say that Terrell Bernard is a big upgrade over Tremaine Edmunds? I don't think so, at least not in IDP terms. It was a glaring lack of playmaking ability that always held Edmunds back. Three games into his career as a starter, Bernard already has two sacks and three turnovers. It's early, but I'm sold.
The time may have come to move on from Jordan Poyer. Granted, the matchups have not been favorable, but Poyer was not his normal, highly productive self in 2022, either. An average of six points per game is not going to get it done. At best, he goes to the bench this week in the hope that the Dolphins offense can revive his production.
Deion Jones could be the waiver add of the week. Frankie Luvu left Sunday's game with a hip injury and was not able to return. As of Wednesday afternoon, there has been no update on the severity of the injury beyond the fact that he is not practicing.
With Shaq Thompson already on IR, Kamu Grugier-Hill got the start at the other ILB position. When he came on in week two, Grugier-Hill played virtually every snap for the rest of the game. His numbers were good against Seattle at seven solos and five assists, but he was limited to 67% participation. Jones came on for Luvu and played full-time after getting in the game. Jones is a proven, three-down starter, so if Luvu misses time, Jones should be the every-down guy.
Xavier Woods was sidelined by a hamstring. Sam Franklin replaced him at free safety. It was not necessarily related to Woods' injury, but Jeremy Chinn was back to a 77% play share. He is still picking splinters out of his backside from week two, so I'm not trusting him yet.
The Bears are a complete dumpster fire on both sides of the ball right now. Defensively, they have no pass rush, the secondary is devastated by injuries, and their defensive coordinator quit. What could be better than a matchup with a Denver team that is struggling offensively and just gave up 70 points to the Dolphins?
Tremaine Edmunds was limited to a 73% share of the playing time in week three. He was checked out by the medical staff and, according to Coach Eberflus, could have returned if the game were close. Instead, Eberflus elected to leave Jack Sanborn in the game to mop up. Nothing to see here.
The Bears' secondary is in shambles. Elijah Hicks got the start at free safety for Eddie Jackson. At corner, Tyrique Stevenson left with a concussion and Jaylon Johnson with a hamstring. With Kyler Gordon already down, that left Greg Stroman, Terell Smith, and Jaylon Jones as their top three corners. That is how the Bears could start against Denver.
The Bengals defense won the game on Monday night. Their big play parade won a lot of fantasy games as well, but there were not many tackles for the linebackers. Logan Wilson made up for it with a couple of picks, but those of us with Jermaine Pratt were left out. Don't let his night off scare you away from Pratt. This was a fluke situation, and nothing has changed in terms of playing time. Pratt has been on the field for at least 80% of the snaps in all three games. He should bounce back against the Titans this week, providing the Tennessee offense is not as bad as it was against Cleveland.
The Titans offense was horrible in week three. They rushed 14 times for 26 yards and had 13 completions for 104. All things considered, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah's team-leading six tackles (four solo) are not so bad. That said, nothing significant has changed here. Anthony Walker led the team's linebackers in snaps at 77%.
Don't be fooled by Damone Clark's 7-2-0. Yes, he did have a bigger role in week three, but Clark still got less than 70% of the playing time. Maybe he should get a promotion since Leighton Vander Esch played every snap and could muster just 2-2, but until that happens, stay away from this mess.
Donovan Wilson returned, but he was not in his normal role. Wilson saw action on 32 of 61 plays, finishing at 3-1 on the day. If you have him on your squad, be patient for a game or two until he gets into game shape.
I'm not sure what there is to learn from Denver's debacle. Justin Simmons did not practice at all last week, so rookie Delarrin Turner-Yell was cast into the inferno. He had a great game statistically at 10-3, but beyond the numbers, there is nothing to be excited about. The depth chart is bare behind Turner-Yell, so unless Simmons can go, he is in line for another start this week versus the Bears. As bad as Denver looked last week, even the toothless Bears offense could make Turrner-Yell a solid start for us.
Josey Jewell left Sunday's game with a groin injury. As of Wednesday evening, there has been no update on the severity other than the confirmation that Jewell did not practice. We should prepare as if he is not going to be available, and with a groin injury, he could miss some time.
The Broncos turned to rookie Drew Sanders last week and are likely to do the same in week four. So, what should we expect from Sanders? Let's just say our first look was not encouraging. Jewell went down after 19 plays. In that brief playing time, he had four combined stops. Sanders played 60 snaps and was credited with one assist. He simply looked overmatched but then so did the rest of the defense.
Alex Singleton's snap count dropped to 64% in week two. He was back up to 89% against Miami and should be close to 100% versus the Bears if Jewell is out. If there is one thing we know about Singleton, it's that when he plays a lot, he produces well. Singleton had ten combined stops against Miami.
Randy Gregory had fewer snaps (34) than Jonathan Cooper (55) and Nik Bonitto (47). Both Cooper and Bonito put up good tackle totals for edge defenders, but there was not much pass rush from them. Chicago gives up a lot of sacks, so this is their chance to step up.
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