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It feels like the injury bug is biting extremely hard early in this fantasy season. This article will discuss several injury replacements, especially at the linebacker position. I did my best to sift 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.
Micah McFadden, New York Giants
Week 3 Stats: 10 tackles (9 solos), 4 tackles for loss
Micah McFadden’s role as the other linebacker in New York isn't quite a full-time gig, but it has been steady. McFadden has a 73.7% snap share through the first three games while recording two double-digit tackle games in Week 1 and Week 3. McFadden seemed to have a nose for the ball against San Francisco this past Thursday night, racking up a team-high 10 tackles (9 solos) and four tackles for loss.
While McFadden has had a steady role, newly acquired Isaiah Simmons has had a minimal one. Simmons has yet to crack a 30% snap share in the first three games to start the year. McFadden has been prone to miss a few tackles (22.6% missed tackle rate), so let’s hope he cleans that up a bit. However, with all the injuries hitting the linebacker position this year, McFadden is worth a waiver wire pickup if you need some help.
Drue Tranquill, Kansas City Chiefs
Week 3 Stats: 8 tackles (4 solos), ½ sack, 4 tackles for loss
With Nick Bolton (ankle) out for Week 3, Drue Tranquill stepped into his vacant lead role. Tranquill had been used sparingly for the first two weeks before leading the Chiefs’ linebackers in defensive snaps in Week 3 with 42 (82%). Leo Chenal was next with 34 snaps (67%), while Willie Gay Jr trailed both with 21 (41%). With the game against Chicago firmly in hand, the Chiefs gave most of their defensive starters a break at the end.
Tranquill’s appeal is tied to Bolton’s availability for Week 4. If Bolton is unable to go again, Tranquill is a solid option. However, if Bolton can make it back this week, Tranquill will be tough to trust. Tranquill is a nice waiver add for Bolton managers looking for insurance and is also worth a look in deeper roster leagues as we see how this situation shakes out.
Isaiah McDuffie, Green Bay Packers
Week 3 Stats: 6 tackles (5 solos)
A banged-up Packers team took another hit in the first half of this week’s game when De’Vondre Campbell was forced out with an ankle injury. Isaiah McDuffie was tasked with filling in for Campbell, seeing 37 defensive snaps (61%) against New Orleans. Eric Wilson also rotated in but only logged eight defensive snaps on the day.
Green Bay has a short week as they take on rival Detroit at home this Thursday night—not ideal for Campbell’s availability. If Campbell isn’t ready, McDuffie looks primed to inherit the bulk of his workload. McDuffie is on spot start alert in deeper leagues and makes for nice Campbell insurance where other options are scarce. Just make sure to monitor Campbell’s status before putting him in your lineup.
Drew Sanders, Denver Broncos
Week 3 Stats: 1 assisted tackle
Highly touted IDP rookie Drew Sanders finally saw meaningful snaps this Sunday. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of teammate Josey Jewell, who suffered a groin injury against Miami. Sanders played 44 defensive snaps (60%) in Week 3 after only playing four total defensive snaps over the first two games.
Alex Singleton stepped into the lead role after Jewell exited, with Sanders assuming the other spot alongside him. While Sanders saw a vastly increased workload, it didn’t lead to much in the production column. However, he has plenty of talent to turn that around should he continue to see more snaps in Jewell’s absence. Sanders is worth a preemptive pickup in redraft leagues where you have the room while we await more news on the severity of Jewell’s injury.
Deion Jones / Kamu Grugier-Hill, Carolina Panthers
Jones Week 3 Stats: 4 tackles (3 solos), 1 interception, 1 pass defended
Grugier-Hill Week 3 Stats: 10 tackles (7 solos)
Unfortunately, the Panthers lost Shaq Thompson for the season in Week 2 to a leg injury. After Thompson left the game against New Orleans last Monday night, it was Kamu Grugier-Hill who stepped in. Grugier-Hill played 60 defensive snaps (78%), compiling six tackles (5 solos) and a sack on the day. It was assumed he would step into Thompson’s now vacated role.
Naturally, Deion Jones was in the starting lineup with Frankie Luvu for Week 3 and not Grugier-Hill like we expected. Even worse, Luvu was forced out of this week’s game early due to a hip injury. Jones played 52 snaps (69%), while Grugier-Hill logged 50 snaps (67%). Neither saw a full-time workload, but both had productive days.
Carolina is running low on healthy options at the linebacker position. If Luvu misses any time, both Jones and Grugier-Hill will be leaned on. Jones is likely more widely available after last week’s events and might have a slight upper hand after drawing the start this week. However, if you can scoop both off the waiver wire, it might not be a bad idea as we sort this all out.
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