Shark Bites

5 months ago

The Titans signed LB Wesley Woodyard to a 4-year, $16 million deal Friday.  The contract appears to position him as an inside starter in what's expected to be a 3-4 front under new DC Ray Horton.  SI.com's Doug Farrar deems Woodyard an "estimable chip" for the defense.  Indeed, the versatility that helped Woodyard rack up 117 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 3 INTs for the Broncos in 2012 makes him a nice fit for Horton's scheme.  Woodyard lost his job in Denver over the 2nd half of last year, but that came after he suffered a neck stinger in October.  We expect Woodyard to emerge as an ILB starter alongside Zach Brown this summer and carry sleeper value in the 2014 IDP rankings.

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Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard has officially lost his starting job.  Veteran LB Paris Lenon started at his middle spot Sunday against Tennessee and then again Thursday night vs. the Chargers.  Woodyard began the season looking like a top 20 fantasy LB after finishing 14th at the position in a breakout 2012.  But he has failed to impress this year while also losing 2 games to injury.  We're not interested in Lenon as an IDP option over these final few weeks.

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Mike Klis of The Denver Post reports that Broncos MLB Stewart Bradley will miss several weeks following wrist surgery.  LB Wesley Woodyard will reportedly slide over from the weak side to play the middle in Bradley's place.  Nickel LB Danny Trevathan will slide into Woodyard's starting role while Bradley is out.  That means 3rd-year LB Nate Irving is locked in as a strong-side fill-in whenever Von Miller's suspension comes about.  IDP owners can forget about Irving's potential for another year -- and perhaps for good at this point.  He's expected to split Miller's reps with Shaun Phillips.  Woodyard only gains fantasy value, if anything, by moving to the middle for a while.  No other Denver LB is worth a look in your draft.

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Broncos WLB Wesley Woodyard sat out today's practice because of the ankle sprain he suffered in Sunday's win over the Bucs. Woodyard looks highly unlikely to be ready for Thursday night. That should mean more playing time for both MLB Keith Brooking and WLB fill-in D.J. Williams against the Raiders. According to Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post, Brooking stayed on the field in nickel situations after Woodyard's injury Sunday. Rookie Danny Trevathan was the other LB at times. Williams reportedly saw some of those snaps as well and played as the lone LB in dime packages. All of that indicates the Broncos weren't really sure what they should do with passing-down LBs. There figures to be a clearer plan against Oakland, but it'll be tough for us to know that plan ahead of time. None of the 3 will be a strong play. Williams probably carries a bit more upside than Brooking.

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ESPN.com AFC West blogger Bill Williamson points out that Darren McFadden ran particularly well to the outside against Denver last year. He shares that McFadden tallied 12.2 yards per carry on 13 rushes to the left, 10.5 per carry on 8 runs to the right and just 2.9 yards per rush on 15 tries up the middle. With Wesley Woodyard filling in for injured WLB D.J. Williams, that tact will be even more inviting. Look for the Broncos to test Woodyard's side often and for the veteran backup to produce a surprisingly strong tackle total. He'll only be a temporary factor, but Woodyard is worth a Week 1 shot.

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