LB Joe Walker replaced LB Haason Reddick in the starting lineup Thursday night against the 49ers. He racked up 10 tackles, tying for 2nd on the team with Jordan Hicks and behind only S Budda Baker.
Walker played just 57% of the snaps, though, a rate that’s not likely to deliver strong tackle numbers regularly. Reddick, meanwhile, played 45% of the snaps.
And we can’t leave the Cardinals without our weekly update on the Thompson twins (no actual relation): S Jalen Thompson played 61% of the snaps against the 49ers. S Deionte Thompson played 38%. Both remain useless to IDP owners because of the job share.
The Falcons shook up their coaching staff over the bye. That included moving Raheem Morris from the offensive side to the defense (secondary, specifically). Morris previously spent 3 years as Washington’s DBs coach (2012-14) and 9 years as a defensive coach and then HC in Tampa Bay before that.
I’m certainly not betting on Atlanta’s secondary turning around because of Morris. The change is worth monitoring, though, to see if it leads to any personnel changes in the defensive backfield.
ILB Patrick Onwuasor made a nice statistical return from his multi-game ankle injury. He tallied a season-high 8 tackles against the Patriots, including his 1st tackle since the season opener. But he also played only 42% of the snaps.
Interestingly, no other Baltimore ILB played ahead of him. Josh Bynes followed at 37% playing time, with L.J. Fort at 27%.
HC John Harbaugh called it “probably [Onwuasor’s] best game for the year so far.” For now, I’m betting that Onwuasor’s playing time will increase in Week 10. The matchup with Cincinnati makes it easier to bet on him in IDP lineups.
DE Jerry Hughes delivered a sack last week, his 1st since the opener. But he has quietly racked up 12 total pressures over the past 3 games, according to Pro Football Focus, including QB hits in weeks 7 and 8 before the Week 9 sack. Hughes carries more upside into Sunday’s meeting with the Browns than his 2 total sacks for the year suggest.
EDGE Brian Burns’ playing time bounced up to 69% in Sunday’s win over the Titans. Credit Mario Addison’s absence in the aftermath of his younger brother’s shooting death. That means you should expect Burns’ snap share to sink again when Addison returns.
DT Bilal Nichols played a season-high 76% of the snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles. That followed games of 68% and 51% after he had missed 3 weeks with a hand injury. It had to help that DT Eddie Goldman left early with a thigh injury. We’ll see how Nichols’ situation progresses.
The Bengals look like they’ll get CB Darqueze Dennard back for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. He missed Week 8 but put in a full practice Wednesday, coming out of the bye.
Dennard’s return would make the 5th straight game with a different top 3 at corner for Cincinnati. Dennard would be the best bet among the likely Week 10 top 3 to help your IDP lineup. Dre Kirkpatrick, meanwhile, remained out for Wednesday’s practice. He missed the past 2 games with a knee injury.
You might already realize that DE Olivier Vernon has notched a sack in each of his past 2 games. But Pro Football Focus credits the guy with 5, 6 and 6 total pressures in those contests and QB hits in 6 of his 8 outings on the year. Vernon looks like a must-play in DL slots right now and carries multiple-sack upside into Week 10.
DL Michael Bennett spent 59% of the snaps on the field in his 1st game since arriving from New England. He also registered a season-high 3 solos — including 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss — and doubled his season total for QB hits with 4 of those.
Bennett spent most of his time on the edges, but he did so without hurting starters Demarcus Lawrence or Robert Quinn. Lawrence did see his share dip about 10 percentage points from the previous 2 games, but he’s capable of producing at 60-65% playing time.
LB Alexander Johnson posted season highs in total snaps (72), snap share (96%) and tackles (13) against the Browns last Sunday. Hold him through the Week 10 bye, if you can.
DT Damon Harrison racked up a season-best 6 tackles in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. That matched his 6 total tackles at Philadelphia in Week 3, but Harrison’s 5 solos at Oakland beat his previous high for the year by 3 and marked just the 2nd game in which he topped 1 solo. Harrison still played just 39% of the snaps, his 3rd smallest share of the season, though, so don’t expect it to signal a return to the “Snacks” we enjoyed the past few years.
Behind Harrison, LB Christian Jones turned in a game-high 11 tackles on 75% playing time. His snap share has fluctuated between 51% and 77% most weeks — with 1 game up at 89%.
Rookie Jahlani Tavai delivered a season-high 10 tackles while playing 67% of the snaps. That marked his 2nd highest share since MLB Jarrad Davis returned from his ankle injury. Tavai’s playing time has gone 59%, 82%, 49% and 67%.
Green Bay Packers
CB Kevin King played just 28% of the defensive snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. That was his smallest share of the season by far. King had previously only dipped below 88% twice, each time because of injuries.
A Packers fan on Twitter pointed out to me that King said after the game he was on a snap count because of injury. That was surprising given that King was listed as a full practice participant every day last week. But he has been battling multiple injuries through most of this year.
If Green Bay doesn’t reveal anything about his status leading up to Sunday’s game against Carolina, then we’ll have to be cautious in how we handle King for Week 10. The Packers get a bye on the other side of that game.
The 1st game after J.J. Watt suffered a season-ending pectoral tear featured season-high playing time for DE Charles Omenihu and DE Carlos Watkins. Omenihu led Houston D-linemen with a 58% snap share, edging D.J. Reader by 5 snaps. Watkins tied Angelo Blackson for 3rd in the group at 42%. That basically matched his previous high (41% in the opener), but he had played just 25% and 31% the previous 2 games.
LB Anthony Walker delivered a surprising team-high 10 tackles (including 1 for loss) in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. It’s surprising because Walker has generally been merely a halftime player when Darius Leonard is healthy. But Walker has topped 70% playing time each of the past 2 weeks, despite Leonard being around.
I would guess that playing the RB-driven Broncos and Steelers helped Walker stay on the field. This week’s opponent, Miami, isn’t driven by the backfield (unless you count being driven mad). But the Dolphins also don’t sport a WR-rich, spread-and-chuck-it pass offense.
So using Walker in deeper leagues makes sense for Week 10. We’ll see if his playing time stays up there. But a Week 11 clash with Jacksonville could prove friendly as well.
I let his 4 straight games with a sack blind me to the fact that DE Josh Allen has been seeing his playing time decline. Here were his snap shares through the first 5 games:
Now the past 4:
It was good to see some rebound against Houston, but we’ll have to keep this lowered level of playing time in mind as we project him going forward. Allen has still generated 7 QB hits over those past 4 games. Only 3 players have tallied more in that span.
Kansas City Chiefs
CB Bashaud Breeland played nearly every snap of Kansas City’s first 5 games, missing just 2 of 82 in the Week 3 win over the Ravens. But he dipped to 74% in Week 6 and has played 63% or less in each of the past 3. That makes Breeland a non-entity for weekly IDP usage.
CB Morris Claiborne has been the main culprit. After serving a 4-game league suspension to open the year, Claiborne played 30% of the snaps in Week 5 and then spent the past 4 weeks between 36% and 40% playing time.
CB Charvarius Ward remains a full-timer and weekly IDP option. Slot CB Kendall Fuller has missed the past 3 games after fracturing his right thumb against Houston. He was questionable heading into Week 9 before turning up inactive again. So we should see Fuller soon. A Week 10 matchup with Tennessee doesn’t present special fantasy upside, but a Week 11 clash with Chargers WR Keenan Allen could be nice.
Los Angeles Chargers
It’s getting close to time for us to get some actual starting safeties back in the Chargers’ lineup.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday morning that S Derwin James "has been running pain free and is now poised to return to action after the bye." Are you drooling?
Adrian Phillips just might join him in Week 12. Phillips is eligible to return after Thursday night’s game against the Raiders. HC Anthony Lynn said Tuesday that Phillips still has a cast on the forearm that he fractured but also that “he’s getting close” to returning.
We'll see exactly where both players are heading into the Week 12 meeting with Denver. There's room for both in the lineup, though, as we saw for more than half of last season.
Los Angeles Rams
LB Clay Matthews will take the field with the Rams coming out of the Week 9 bye. He missed the past 3 games with a fractured jaw. Matthews delivered sacks in each of his 5 games before going down. He returns to face a Pittsburgh offense that protects the passer well, but Matthews should be owned in any league with sack-friendly scoring.
OLB Vince Biegel is already on NFL team 3 after arriving in Green Bay as a 4th-round pick in 2017. (He went to New Orleans in between.) But he might be staying at this spot.
The 26-year-old has played 60+% of the defensive snaps in 4 straight games and cracked 80% in each of the past 2. More importantly, he’s been getting after the QB.
Biegel sports 2 sacks for the season; just 1 of those since Week 2. But he has registered 8 QB hits over his past 4 games. Only Joey Bosa and T.J. Watt have more in that span.
The Week 10 matchup with Indianapolis doesn’t excite, but Buffalo and Cleveland the following 2 weeks present much more fertile sack ground.
DE Everson Griffen is clearly all the way back from last year’s issues. He hits Week 10 as a top-16 fantasy lineman, and he’s performing even better than the 5.5 sacks might indicate.
That number ties for just 22nd in the league. But Griffen sits tied for 11th in tackles for loss (8), tied for 6th in total QB hits (16) and all alone at 3rd in total pressures (49, according to Pro Football Focus).
He’s back to being the kind of player you generally keep in your lineup regardless of matchups.
New England Patriots
LB Dont’a Hightower delivered 13 tackles in Sunday night’s loss to the Ravens. That was his largest total since Week 6 of 2016. His 79% snap share was also his 2nd largest of the season and just his 2nd time over 70% this year. Chalk that up to 1 of the league’s most run-heavy offenses on the other side.
New Orleans Saints
DT David Onyemata tallied his 2nd sack of the year last time out, but he also played a season-low 41% of the snaps. That marked a significant decrease from the previous 2 games: 57% and 55%.
DT Sheldon Rankins, meanwhile, has grown his playing time for 3 straight outings. Rankins — who began the season sidelined while working back from his Achilles’ tendon tear — has gone like this since returning:
New York Giants
DE Leonard Williams played 66% of the snaps in his 1st game with the Giants on Monday night. Pro Football Focus credited him with a QB hit for the 3rd straight game (4 total over that span) and has counted 9 total pressures over those 3 contests. Could we see his 1st sack of the season against his old team this Sunday? That would be fun. Of course, the fact that he arrives with 0 sacks and just 9 solo tackles through 8 games this season makes it difficult to use Williams in an IDP lineup.
Williams has taken over the starting spot that previously belonged to B.J. Hill, though Hill’s playing time had already fallen off. He played just 30%, 45% and then 25% of the snaps over the past 3 weeks after
games of 60% and 67% the previous 2 weeks.
New York Jets
No Avery Williamson? No C.J. Mosley? No Neville Hewitt? No Blake Cashman?
OK, then James Burgess and Brandon Copeland will handle every snap, or at least they did in last Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins. Burgess totaled 6 tackles, including 4 solos and 1 for loss. Copeland delivered the better stat line: 8 tackles, 7 solos, 2 for loss.
Burgess was the guy starting next to Cashman against the Jaguars in Week 8 and playing 96% of those snaps.. We’ll see if that’s the case once Hewitt returns.
I like Maxx Crosby as an edge prospect, but I’m not sure he’s drawing a healthy share of snaps right now. The rookie topped 90% for the 2nd time in Sunday’s win over the Lions. That also marked the 3rd time in 4 games that he has cracked 89%.
That’s great for stat opportunities in our IDP lineups. But the guy is a 255-pound rookie Oakland drafted in Round 4. I’m not sure he can hold up to a playing-time level that a lot of bigger veterans don’t maintain.
Sunday marked Crosby’s first game among the past 5 with no QB hits. We’ll see about his production — and playing time — going forward.
DE/OLB Genard Avery flashed for a half-sack in his 1st game as an Eagle, following last week’s trade from Cleveland. But the guy played just 3 snaps. We’ll see if this goes anywhere meaningful.
In the 2nd game since he returned from his hamstring injury, ILB Mark Barron nudged up from 67% playing time to 75%. Vince Williams, meanwhile dipped from 57% to just 39%. I’d prefer to not bother with either, if you can help it.
San Francisco 49ers
Kwon Alexander tore a pectoral muscle in Thursday night’s win over the Cardinals. HC Kyle Shanahan has since said that rookie Dre Greenlaw will step into Alexander’s starting role. Greenlaw played 47% of the snaps against the Cards and delivered a sack among his 3 solo tackles.
S Quandre Diggs recently had blood drained from the injured hamstring that HC Pete Carroll said last week was worse than Seattle believed when it traded for him.
With Diggs out again and Tedric Thompson on IR, Marquise Blair and Bradley McDougald started and played every snap against the Buccaneers. We’ll see if Diggs’ status changes this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB Carlton Davis was active for last Sunday’s loss at Seattle, but he didn’t play a snap. The issue: a hip injury in pregame. We’ll see if he can make it back for this Sunday’s home clash with Arizona. If he does, Jamel Dean — who played 77% of the snaps against the Seahawks — figures to return to the sideline.
Over at safety, FS Andrew Adams took over 75% of the snaps from previous starter Mike Edwards, who dipped to 25%.
And what about Justin Evans? Might he come off IR any time soon? I have no idea. If you see any update on him, please let me know. I haven’t seen anything since September.
CB Logan Ryan ranks 7th among all DBs in total tackles. But he’s enjoying a tremendous fantasy season because of what he’s doing beyond that. Ryan has scored outside the tackle categories in 8 of his 9 games. That includes 3.5 sacks (most among DBs), 12 passes defensed (2 shy of his career high), 3 INTs and 3 forced fumbles (2 beyond his previous high).
Ryan’s been a consistent weekly starter at a position that spurns consistency.
ILB Cole Holcomb played less than 50% of the snaps for the 3rd time this season in Sunday’s loss at Buffalo. Importantly, though, fellow ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton played a season-high 44%.