Yes, I know it says "32" up top and I haven't gotten to every team like I usually do. I choose to blame a kid who spent 2 days home sick from school this week.
I'll still try to get to the remaining 9 teams, but I also have to shift gears to get Thursday's Week 12 preview podcast. But rather than keep these potentially useful "Things" hidden away until that time, I figured I'd go ahead and post them in hopes they can help your IDP lineups for Week 12.
S Deionte Thompson left his knee injury completely behind last week, putting in full practices every day and coming off the week’s final injury report. He also played nary a defensive snap in the loss to the 49ers, though.
Instead, S Jalen Thompson played 76 of 77 defensive snaps. He collected 5 solo tackles and an INT and could be in the fantasy mix for a Week 13 date with the Rams.
What happened to the Atlanta defense over the bye? Honestly, I don’t have nearly enough knowledge of scheme nor enough available time to be able to break that down in full. Up top, though, the play-calling has changed. Instead of HC/DC Dan Quinn making the calls, it’s now LBs coach Jeff Ulbrich and DBs coach Raheem Morris (shifted from the offensive staff over the bye). As IDP folks, though, we care more about the personnel.
We haven’t seen sweeping changes on that front, but there are some differences -- especially up front. DE Adrian Clayborn has seen his snaps increase significantly. Clayborn played 55% and 53% the past 2 games, coming out of the bye. He topped out at 43% before the bye, and even that came all the way back in Week 2. Clayborn played 29% and 37% in the 2 games before the bye and finished half of the first 8 games shy of 30% playing time. He has 3 sacks since the bye after delivering just 1 (and 3 total QB hits) across his first 8 contests.
His snaps seem to be coming primarily at the expense of Allen Bailey. He has played just 20% and 37% the past 2 weeks after topping 60% in 6 of his first 8 contests. This is a good swap for IDP purposes. Bailey has offered next to nothing on the stat front.
DT Tyeler Davison has also seen his 2 smallest playing-time shares of the season the past 2 weeks. It’s tough to say, though, whether that merely came with fewer run-D situations in games Atlanta led by a lot. That never happened through the first 8 games. Davison’s pass-rushing exposures have remained the same coming out of the bye.
DE Vic Beasley has delivered 2.5 sacks in the past 2 games after tallying just 1.5 through the first 8 games. The biggest change there, though, seems like sheer opportunity. His playing time has been right in line with where it’s been all season. The past 2 games, however, have produced his most and 3rd-most pass-rushing opportunities of the year, according to Pro Football Focus. Beasley has hit 30 pass-rushing snaps 4 times: Week 2 vs. Philly (37), Week 6 at Arizona (30), Week 10 at New Orleans (32) and Week 11 at Carolina (38). Those contests have produced 6 of his 8 QB hits for the season, with Arizona the only among those 4 without a hit.
This week’s matchup with Tampa presents more upside on the passing-volume front, as well as another opportunity for the D to impress. If the whole unit continues to perform better, then Beasley and Clayborn should continue to get more shots at opposing QBs.
I wouldn’t bet on the Week 13 rematch with the Saints being quite so friendly to the defense as Week 10 was. But the following week’s rematch with the Panthers looks like another high-upside spot.
LB Patrick Onwuasor dropped all the way down to just 9 snaps in Sunday’s win over the Bengals. He doesn’t belong on redraft rosters anymore. L.J. Fort and Josh Bynes started, but neither topped 48%. Avoid Baltimore’s ILB situation.
OLB Tyus Bowser, meanwhile, flashed for 2 sacks on a season-high 52% snap share. That doubled his season sack total and jumped his total QB hits from 3 to 5. It’s too early to call Bowser intriguing for fantasy purposes, but the Ravens have clearly worked to get more edge types on the field at the expense of their ILBs. OLB Jaylon Ferguson has topped 60% playing time in 4 straight weeks (but notched just his 1st sack and 2nd QB hit against Cincinnati).
The Bills’ top 2 LBs have seen boosts in pass-rushing opportunities over the past 2 weeks.
MLB Tremaine Edmunds got a season-high 13 such reps in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins, according to Pro Football Focus. That followed 6 in Week 11, which itself beat Edmunds’ combined total from the previous 4 games.
OLB Matt Milano has seen 10 and 12 pass-rushing chances over the past 2 weeks. He had averaged 3.8 opportunities over his previous 6 contests.
Run-leaning matchups with Denver, Baltimore and Pittsburgh over the next 4 weeks might challenge that plan. But if the LBs continue to blitz more, each would add sack upside to already solid fantasy profiles.
DE Mario Addison has been an effective sack producer over his 3.5 seasons of starter-level play (as well as in his situational role the 2 years before that). He has also been a boom/bust fantasy contributor. Outside of big games (3 and 2 sacks) against the Cardinals and Texans early in the season, Addison has just 3 other sacks on the year. That included 1 last week against a Falcons offense weak in pass protection. To this point, only his half-sack against Green Bay seems to have come in a non-positive pass-rushing matchup.
So let’s see what lies ahead for Addison:
New Orleans -- QB 2nd-best in PFF’s pressure rate among 39 qualifiers
Washington -- T-17th
Atlanta -- 34th
Seattle -- 37th
Indianapolis -- 25th
(New Orleans in Week 17)
The Saints matchup looks like the only one left without much sack upside for Addison. Washington ranks a poor 29th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, while the Colts have allowed more sacks in recent weeks than they did early in the year.
LB Nick Kwiatkoski played just 65% of the defensive snaps in Sunday night’s loss to the Rams. That was a bit surprising after he played 78% the week before in the game Danny Trevathan left with his elbow injury. Kwiatkoski also played just 57% back in Week 4, though, when he filled in for Roquan Smith.
Kwiatkoski looked like an upside tackle bet against the Rams after he delivered 9 tackles and a sack in each of his other 2 worthwhile appearances. We’ll see if the numbers -- playing time or otherwise -- can pick up against the Giants in Week 12.
With Preston Brown dumped (and signed in Oakland), rookie LB Germaine Pratt set a season high in playing time for the 2nd straight game. He played 69% of the snaps in the loss to the Raiders after playing 50% against Baltimore the week before. Pratt has managed just 5 combined solo tackles over the past 2 weeks and 10 total tackles in that span.
He’ll likely need to elevate his playing time further to have a shot at useful production. Brown reached 80% playing time just twice as the #2 LB before getting the boot, though, so don’t count on Pratt climbing much higher. He remains an intriguing long-term hold, though.
DE Myles Garrett is gone for the season (at least). DT Larry Ogunjobi is gone for Week 12. S Morgan Burnett is gone for the season (Achilles’ tear).
That should mean continued playing time for DE Chad Thomas, who supplied a sack in each of the past 2 games while filling in at left DE for Olivier Vernon (knee). Vernon still wasn’t practicing Wednesday, so we’ll see about his status for Sunday against the Dolphins.
DT Devaroe Lawrence looks like the fill-in for Ogunjobi. He’s a 27-year-old 3rd-year player with 7 career tackles who posted just 1.5 sacks or his college career (3 seasons at Auburn), so don’t bet on much here.
At safety, Eric Murray should take over for Burnett when he returns, but Murray remained out of practice Wednesday. If he can’t go Sunday, then Sheldrick Redwine looks like the next guy up.
S Jeff Heath missed last Sunday’s win at Detroit with injuries to both shoulders. He returned to a full practice Wednesday, though, and looks on track to face the Patriots this weekend in what has been an upside tackle matchup for DBs.
DE DeMarcus Walker put in full practices all last week leading up to Sunday’s game at Minnesota, but he still turned up inactive. That followed a Week 10 bye and a Week 9 deactivation for a shoulder injury. Walker had posted 3 sacks across 2 games before leaving Week 8 early. His situation bears watching, though you can just avoid it for this week while we wait to see what’s up here.
DE Trey Flowers looks like he’ll miss at least Week 12 after sustaining a concussion in last Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys. The guy behind him, Da’Shawn Hand, missed the past 2 games with an ankle injury that continued to keep him out Wednesday.
The Lions look like they’ll get DE Romeo Okwara back from a groin injury that cost him the past 2 games, and he just might be the only true DE active. Devon Kennard is listed as a LB but has really been a DE this season, which explains how off-ball LB Jahlani Tavai has seen his playing time rise in recent weeks without hurting the snap counts for Christian Jones or Jarrad Davis.
Across positions, only Vikings DEs Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen enter Week 12 with more total pressures (according to Pro Football Focus) than Packers OLB Za’Darius Smith.
Smith has delivered 57, 19 more than free-agency classmate Preston Smith. He boosted that tally with a season-high 12 in the Week 10 win over Carolina. Big sack upside lies ahead in matchups with the Giants and Washington, after this week’s trip to San Francisco.
OLB Brennan Scarlett has topped 60% playing time in 3 straight games now after falling short of 50% in every previous outing. Scarlett has popped for 3 sacks over the past 2 weeks and tallied 7 tackles in 2 of his past 3 contests.
Indianapolis might not look like a terrific sack matchup overall, but the Colts have allowed 4, 5 and 3 sacks over the past 3 games in which Jacoby Brissett has played. (The Dolphins managed just 1 in their meeting, which Brian Hoyer started and finished.)
Scarlett carries upside this week and beyond.
DL Denico Autry has tallied 5 QB hits over his 3 meetings with Houston as a Colt. That included 2 sacks in each of last season’s clashes. Watson took 6 sacks in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, the 3rd time this season he has taken that many.
I mentioned in this space 2 weeks ago the decrease in playing time for DE Josh Allen, which has continued. But it has also not been an issue.
Allen has spent 4 of the past 5 weeks between 51% and 58% playing time, after climbing to the 70+ weekly range early in the year. And he has racked up QB hits in every one of those more limited outings. That included 3 against the Jets in his Week 8 low point for snap share (45%) and another 3 against the Colts last Sunday. Overall, Allen has tallied QB hits in 6 straight games and 9 of his 10 outings for the season. He has 2+ in 4 of his past 6 contests and 8 sacks on the season.
Allen looks like a weekly starter the rest of the way, with a Week 15 trip to Oakland the only tough spot.
CB Kendall Fuller should be ready to play again at some point … I assume. The guy has been putting in limited practices since Friday of Week 8, but he keeps turning up questionable and ultimately remaining inactive.
No single player has taken over the full slot role in Fuller’s absence. Rookie Rashad Fenton has seen a recent playing-time boost, primarily running from the slot. But he’s playing less than half the snaps.
One starter who will likely see his role change when Fuller returns is S Tyrann Mathieu. Over the 1st 5 games -- with Fuller on the field -- Mathieu spent 26% of his playing time in the slot. From Week 6 -- which Fuller left early -- on, Mathieu has spent 48.2% of his time at slot corner, according to PFF.
The change has provided only a slight boost to his tackle numbers: Mathieu had a median of 2.8 solos per game with Fuller; 3.5 since the game Fuller left early. More time in the slot, though, does make Mathieu more susceptible to matchup-based fluctuations. He posted 8 tackles (his 2nd most this season) in Monday night’s clash with Keenan Allen and the Chargers, for example.
S Roderic Teamer was active in Mexico City on Monday night but played only 5 snaps on defense (plus 8 on special teams) against the Chargers. The fact that he played at all suggests it was coaches’ preference rather than injury management. I have yet to see confirmation, but I’d guess Chargers coaches preferred Rayshawn Jenkins and Jaylen Watkins as stronger coverage plays -- at least vs. the high-powered Kansas City passing game.
We’ll see what the Chargers’ secondary looks like after the Week 12 bye. Don’t bet on Teamer returning to prominence, though, especially with Derwin James and Adrian Phillips each apparently verging on returns to action.
DE Marcus Davenport played a season-low 34% share of the snaps in Sunday’s game at Tampa. And that followed consecutive games of 53%, previously tied for his low point. It seems the 2nd-year player might be getting a role reduction.
Davenport did notch his 1st QB hit in 4 games against the Bucs, his 13th of the season. But he has also now gone 5 straight contests without a sack.
DE Trey Hendrickson saw a coinciding jump in playing time vs. the Buccaneers. He spent 50% of the snaps on the field: his most since Week 3, the game before Hendrickson went down with a neck injury.
Before Sunday’s bump, Hendrickson played 31% and 22% of the snaps in his first 2 games back. He tallied 2 QB hits in Sunday’s win at Tampa.
Pro Football Focus credited DE Leonard Williams with 17 total pressures across 7 games with the Jets this season (2.4 per contest). He has racked up 5 and 6 in 2 outings with the Giants. His new team’s stronger pass rush -- led by Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter -- just might help Williams break into the sack category soon. There’s nothing special to matchups with Chicago, Green Bay and Philly the next 3 weeks. A home date with Miami lies in Week 15, though.
ILB Neville Hewitt returned Sunday for 100% playing time in his 1st action since Week 6. He managed just 5 tackles against a limited Washington offense, but also grabbed an INT. Hewitt now has 3 passes defensed (including 2 INTs) in 6 games this season.
As expected, James Burgess joined him at ILB. Burgess also played every snap, while former fellow fill-in Brandon Copeland sank to 15 total snaps. Burgess delivered a game-high 9 tackles.
A Week 12 matchup with the Raiders looks decent for Hewitt and Burgess.
DE Derek Barnett saw a season-high 88% snap share in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. That marked his 3rd straight game, though, of 80+%. And Barnett has played at least 66% of the snaps in every appearance this season.
The 3rd-year Eagle has just 3.5 sacks for the year, but his 14 total QB hits tie for 19th in the league -- with Colts DE Justin Houston (8 sacks).
Barnett could be a sneaky option for sack upside over the next few weeks. After Sunday’s matchup with the Seahawks, Philly gets the Dolphins, Giants and Washington in consecutive games.
Rookie LB Dre Greenlaw has registered 8 and 10 tackles in 2 games since LB Kwon Alexander went down for the season. Those numbers look particularly good when you consider that Alexander topped out at 7 tackles before his injury.
A key boost for Greenlaw has been opportunity. The 49ers have seen their 2 largest defensive snap counts since Week 1 over the past 2 games. Each number beat the previous 7 contests by a range of 11-28 snaps.
Those 2 contests: an OT loss to the Seahawks and a win over Arizona, the league’s 2nd-fastest offense in play pace (behind New England).
Don’t bet on the play-volume boost continuing. We’ll see about the numbers for Greenlaw.
With CB Vernon Hargreaves gone and slot CB M.J. Stewart out (knee), the Bucs’ secondary had a different look in Sunday’s loss to the Saints.
CB Carlton Davis returned from his 2-game hip injury to start opposite rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting on the outside. Davis’ tackle numbers have dipped lately, but there’s room for those to rebound. He has also defensed 5 passes over his past 3 games. Murphy-Bunting has been fairly non-descript as a stat producer through 4 games (including the past 3) of starter-level play.
S Mike Edwards slid into Stewart’s vacated slot role, leaving Andrew Adams to play full-time snaps alongside Jordan Whitehead at safety. Adams and Edwards split snaps evenly the game before, so we’d have to expect more of that once Stewart returns. He remained out of practice Wednesday.