Week 2 of Joe Walker sharing with Haason Reddick found Reddick playing 75% of the snaps against the Buccaneers and Walker taking just 28%. Why? Probably at least in part because Tampa Bay had 59 pass plays compared with just 24 rushing.
The week before found the 49ers running on 30 plays and passing on 40. The game before that found New Orleans running 29 times and dropping back 45. Walker played a little more than 50% when the opponents ran on 39.2% and 42.9% of plays. He played about half that when the Bucs run on 29%.
We’ll see what Week 11 looks like. Both Cardinals LBs look risky for IDP use, though we should see plenty of running from the Niners.
The Falcons delivered a shocking 6 sacks in beating Drew Brees on Sunday. They had collected 7 -- TOTAL -- over their first 8 games.
DE Takk McKinley failed to get in on the action, though (again). The guy remains stuck on half a sack for the season, despite registering at least 1 QB hit in 7 of his 9 games. No other player in the league has at least 9 hits but fewer than 2 sacks. Only Dolphins OLB Vince Beigel and Titans OLB Cameron Wake sport fewer than 3 sacks within that 44-player group.
It’s getting a little late in the season for us to expect McKinley to start converting more sacks. But keep in mind going forward that he produced 13 sacks over his 1st 2 years and just turned 24 on Nov. 2.
We can no longer use ILB Patrick Onwuasor, at least until/unless something changes. His role already has.
Before his injury, Onwuasor passed off play-calling duties to safeties Tony Jefferson. The green-dot helmet stayed with his replacement, Chuck Clark. Onwuasor, meanwhile, shifted from MLB to weak-side LB, a spot that blitzes more.
Unfortunately, he has spent just 42% and 29% of snaps in the field since his return from the high-ankle sprain. Josh Bynes played more against the Bengals. One more such game, and Onwuasor’s droppable everywhere.
DT Jordan Phillips set a season-high in playing 71% of the snaps vs. Cleveland on Sunday. No. 1 pick Ed Oliver, meanwhile, played just a third of the snaps for the 2nd straight game. You should still believe in Oliver long term, but his rookie season’s a dud.
Rookie EDGE Brian Burns was down to just 11 snaps in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay. Bruce Irvin, meanwhile, played a season-high 84%. If you hadn’t done so already, go ahead and remove Burns from your remaining 2019 IDP plans. He remains a high-ceiling dynasty option but might need to add significant bulk to become more than a situation rusher.
ILB Nick Kwiatkoski started for Roquan Smith in Week 4. He delivered 9 tackles (8 solo), a sack and a forced fumble. Last Sunday, he took over for an injured Danny Travathan for the final 78% of the defensive snaps. Kwiatkoski delivered 9 tackles (8 solo), a sack and an INT.
We don’t yet know whether Trevathan is done for the season, but that seems likely. At the least, Kwiatkoski looks like a strong option against the Rams this week. He could be a starter for you the rest of the way.
Rookie LB Germaine Pratt passed LB Preston Brown in playing time for the 1st time against the Ravens, and then Cincinnati dumped Brown on Monday. Pratt still needs to climb beyond the 49% he played against Baltimore before he’s IDP relevant, but that door just opened wider.
DE Chad Thomas filled in for Olivier Vernon (knee) in Week 10 and figures to do so again tonight against the Steelers. A 3rd-round pick out of Miami in 2018, Thomas delivered a sack against Buffalo but faces a much tougher pass-rushing matchup with Pittsburgh.
LB Leighton Vander Esch returned to full playing time (97%) in Sunday night’s loss to the Vikings after missing Week 9 with a neck injury. That actually marked his 2nd-largest snap share of the season and just his 3rd game of more than 90%. We’ll see if that level continues, but LVE at least looks fine vs. Detroit in Week 11.
Want confirmation beyond his fantasy stats that new starting LB Alexander Johnson is playing well? Pro Football Focus grades him as the top-performing off-the-ball LB in the league so far this season. Plug him in.
MLB Jarrad Davis played a season-low 77% of the snaps in the loss to the Bears, while rookie Jahlani Tavai continued his larger role.
Tavai has played 59% or more in 4 of 5 games since the Week 5 bye and played 67%+ in 2 straight and 3 of his past 4. LB Christian Jones has also topped 65% in 4 straight and played more than 70% in 3 of his past 4.
There’s room for any of these guys to pop in the tackle categories any week, but good luck predicting them. This is a LB situation to avoid in IDP lineups if you can.
Green Bay Packers
After CB Kevin King dropped to a season-low 28% snap share for injury management in Week 9, he rebounded to play all 73 defensive snaps in Sunday’s win over the Panthers. A Week 11 bye should only help.
CB Johnathan Joseph opened Week 11 off the injury report for the 1st time since Week 5. (He actually opened Week 6 off the report but then joined it with a late-week practice injury.) That should make him a good bet to return to full playing time and a weekly option for IDP lineups.
It’s now officially time to quit on S Clayton Geathers -- if you hadn’t done so already. Khari Willis started over him against the Dolphins last Sunday and played 91% of the snaps. That marked a big boost from 58% and 30% over his previous 2 games. Geathers played all of 6 snaps.
Jacksonville’s low tackle volume on defense hasn’t helped MLB Myles Jack this year, but he’s been hurting himself much more. Jack hits Week 11 ranking just 89th in the league in solo-tackle share. He checks in right behind Texans CB Johnathan Joseph, who has missed 2 games and left 2 others early.
Jack’s just 24, so it’s probably too early to give up on him. But he sure doesn’t seem cut out for this MLB role. Let’s hope something changes before the 2020 season begins.
Kansas City Chiefs
With DE Emmanuel Ogbah done for the season (pectoral tear), DE Alex Okafor should be in for more playing time. He’ll be a weak bet for Monday night in Mexico, though, after failing to practice at all last week on his sprained ankle.
DE Tanoh Kpassagnoh benefited from Okafor missing and Ogbah leaving in Week 10, cracking 75% playing time for the 4th straight week. Kpassagnoh has tallied sacks in just 2 games this season and collected just 4 total tackles over the past 4 weeks. But he does have 5 QB hits over his past 3 outings.
Los Angeles Chargers
With LB Denzel Perryman active but not playing against Oakland, rookie LB Drue Tranquill started and played every snap -- 1 more than Thomas Davis. We’ll keep an eye on Perryman’s practice participation leading up to Monday night this week. He’ll need to remain out of the lineup for Tranquill to be a consideration. Of course, trusting playing time among Chargers LBs at all has proved a foolish pursuit in recent seasons.
Los Angeles Rams
Clay Matthews returned for a season high in playing time at Pittsburgh last week (78%) after 3 weeks (plus the bye) off for a broken jaw. He has yet to finish a game as a Ram without a sack.
ILB Troy Reeder “started” next to Cory Littleton but played only 9 snaps.
DE Taco Charlton has seen his playing time rebound past 2 weeks. He hasn’t reflected that in his stats, but Pro Football Focus did credit Charlton with 4 and 3 total pressures in those games, his 2 largest totals since joining the Dolphins.
Behind Charlton, the PFF grades suggest that LB Jerome Baker might be improving. He stunk against the Colts, but the weekly numbers point to an upward trend in multiple spots:
Baker will turn 23 on Christmas.
With no DT Linval Joseph against the Cowboys, Jaleel Johnson stepped in to play 61% of the snaps and lead Minnesota at the position. It was the 1st game north of 37% playing time all season for Johnson.
It wasn’t reported until Monday, but Joseph missed that game for meniscus operation in his right knee. That figures to keep him out for at least this week as well. We’ll see if Joseph is ready after the Week 12 bye.
New England Patriots
After 4 games of sub-50% playing time -- 3 of those under 40% -- DE John Simon played 61% of the snaps in the Week 9 loss to Baltimore. Will he stay at that level this Sunday against the Eagles? We’re all guessing here.
Simon has been much more of a pass defender than a run piece. According to Pro Football Focus, he has spent 154 of his 253 snaps for the season in pass D. And even that split is inflated on the run side after he played 27 rush snaps against the Ravens.
Perhaps New England wanted Simon’s speed over a bigger edge vs. Lamar Jackson? (Didn’t work.) But Simon’s playing time could be in trouble vs. a run-leaning Eagles offense that now might go without lead WR Alshon Jeffery.
New Orleans Saints
If you -- like I -- were hoping for rookie DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to stay in the lineup through slot CB P.J. Williams’ return … then you should be disappointed. Williams played 86% of the snaps in the loss to the Falcons. Gardner-Johnson played just 47%. We obviously can’t use the rookie at that level of involvement.
New York Giants
In case you didn’t notice, rookie CB Corey Ballentine has taken over the slot job from Grant Haley over the past 2 games. He played 77% of the snaps in the Monday night loss to the Cowboys and then 68% against the Giants last week.
Those 2 games saw slot WRs Randall Cobb catch 6 of 8 targets (albeit for just 35 yards) and Jamison Crowder go 5-81-1.
New York Jets
With Trumaine Johnson gone and Darryl Roberts hurt, 2 dudes named Nate Hairston and Arthur Maulet started at CB for the Jets in last week’s win over the Giants. Maulet played 68 of 69 snaps, while slot CB Brian Poole checked in next at 88%. Hairston played just 32%. Perhaps a knee issue that has had him listed on the injury report since Week 9 helped limit that, but Hairston spent all last week as a full practice participant and spent Wednesday of this week at the same level. CB Blessuan Austin stepped in for 70% playing time against the Giants.
Roberts (calf) remained out of practice Wednesday, so Maulet and Poole are names to keep in mind for CB-required leagues. The matchup with Washington doesn’t present a sturdy tackle floor, but there’s nice turnover upside.
DE Benson Mayowa delivered another 1.5 sacks in last Thursday’s win over the Chargers. That gets him to 7 for the season and an improbable tie for 11th in the league. Mayowa played 43% of the snaps, his 2nd-largest share of the season, and should be a better bet for that level now that DE Arden Key is done for the season (foot fracture).
Mayowa will remain a boom/bust IDP prospect, but there’s plenty of “boom” potential in matchups with the Bengals and Jets the next 2 weeks. After a Week 13 trip to Kansas City, Oakland also gets the Titans, Jaguars and then Round 2 with the Chargers.
Another Wednesday without MLB Nigel Bradham on the practice field. This time comes off the Week 10 bye. So it looks like another week for Nate Gerry and no one else among Philly LBs in IDP consideration.
FS Rodney McLeod is the only Eagle who has amassed at least a 10% share (10.4%) of team tackles this season. SS Malcolm Jenkins checks in next at 8.4%.
Rookie ILB Devin Bush sank to just 45% playing time last week, his smallest share of the season by a wide margin. Pittsburgh seemed to remove him from many of the pass-D packages, which marked a change from the season to that point.
The Rams did go pass heavy, running on just 32% of offensive snaps. And they arrived with a much better set of pass-catchers than most opponents sport.
Bush’s top-shelf production leading up to Week 10 makes him worth believing in this week. But we’ll have to watch his usage more closely.
San Francisco 49ers
LB Fred Warner has topped 5 solo tackles in just 2 games all season: the Week 1 contest that Kwon Alexander got booted from and Monday night’s first game since Alexander landed on IR.
Alexander’s absence should help Warner’s tackle opportunities. But it’s also worth noting that those 2 games also included Warner’s 2 largest snap totals for the season. The Niners continue to rank at the bottom of the league in defensive play volume. That lowers the ceiling but doesn’t keep Warner from being a weekly starting option going forward.
MLB Bobby Wagner hasn’t delivered solo tackles this season at the same rate as he did over the past 3, but there’s nothing wrong with his production. Wagner’s 16.4% share of Seattle tackles ranks 3rd in the league. His 13.7% share of solo tackles, however, does rank just 9th. That’s down a bit. In his past two 16-game seasons, Wagner snagged 15.4% and 15.2% shares in that category. The difference there is probably significantly more playing time for Mychal Kendricks than other #3 Seahawks LBs in recent seasons.
Wagner has recently tapped back into his blitzing upside, with sacks in 2 of his past 3 games. Wagner has seen 10+ pass-rushing opportunities just 3 times all season, including those 2 contests. We’ll see if coaches give him more coming out of the Week 11 bye.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Safeties Andrew Adams and Mike Edwards split playing time exactly in half against the Cardinals on Sunday. That makes them both IDP-worthless.
The secondary could look a lot different against the Saints this week. Tampa dumped CB Vernon Hargreaves early in the week. CB Carlton Davis still has yet to return from his hip injury. And slot CB M.J. Stewart has an MCL sprain that could cost him 3-4 weeks.
So 1 of the league’s worst defensive backfield will move forward with 3 players who couldn’t initially beat out the CB trio that helped make it 1 of the worst defensive backfields. Rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting is suddenly the most-tenured corner in the lineup.
Go ahead and believe in Drew Brees this week.
The Titans hit their bye averaging the 7th most total tackles in the league on defense but sitting just 19th in solos per game. That’s worth keeping in mind if your scoring isn’t kind to assists.
The generous awarding of assists has helped ILB Rashaan Evans (as has not yet having his bye, obviously). The 2nd-year player sits tied for 6th in the league in total tackles but just 19th in tackle share: the percentage of Tennessee’s total tackles he has collected.
Washington leads the league so far in total tackles per game, at 66.4 per contest. The Rams (66.0) are the only team within 2 per game of Washington’s rate. That has helped not only LB Jon Bostic and S Landon Collins, but it raises the floor for D-linemen Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis. You’ll find them both HIGH in this week’s DL rankings.