I could hear you. Probably because I was wondering the same thing.
What’s up with Kyle Hamilton, we both wondered, after two annoyingly quiet weeks to open the season. Did Draft Sharks (me, specifically) just way overrate him?
Then came the Week 3 explosion:
Did we just need to be patient and count on the talent showing through? Maybe. But there’s more to it than that.
Week 1 found Hamilton playing 31.6% of his snaps in the box vs. 56.6% at FS, according to Pro Football Focus, plus just 8 total snaps at slot CB.
That number grew in Week 2, when Hamilton spent 21.7% of his time in the slot – and just 46.7% in a deep position.
Then CB Ar’Darius Washington landed on IR with a chest injury. That pushed Hamilton almost completely into the slot for Week 3.
He spent just four of 84 defensive snaps (another booster for his production) at FS against the Colts. Hamilton lined up at slot CB on 70.2% of his snaps, with another 25% inside the box.
Those are the two most-efficient positions a DB can land in for fantasy production. Hamilton entered the season with that kind of role versatility, but also the question of just how much time he’d spend at each spot.
Baltimore boosted that scoring potential further by rushing Hamilton 12 times against the Colts. That’s three times the pass-rushing opportunities he totaled over the first two games.
We can’t expect quite that much pass rushing most weeks. Though the Ravens will go without key edge players Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo this week. That should incentivize more Hamilton rushes.
And with Washington out at least three more games, Hamilton should remain primarily in the same role he played in Week 3.
It’s not yet clear how long Washington will remain out. And Baltimore is about to get S Marcus Williams back from injury. So the team might decide Hamilton fits better in his current role even after Washington gets healthy.
For now, let’s enjoy this investment starting to pay off.
We’ll have to check Hamilton’s status when the early Sunday inactives come out. He’s questionable with a back issue. But he got back to full participation Friday and looks like a good bet to play.
We’ll be tracking these players as inactives come out across the Sunday and Monday games.
Keep in mind that the early kickoff in London means you’ll need to decide earlier on any Jaguars or Falcons. Fortunately, none of either lands on this list.
(You will find one Jaguars note worth checking out below, though.)
Check Shark Bites for inactives reports and all the fantasy football news you need.
Cardinals CB Kei’Trel Clark has proved so far that you don’t need to play in the slot to produce.
He followed a quiet Week 1 (3 tackles) with:
What’s going on here? Another upside archetype.
This sixth-round rookie starter is allowing 70.8% completions and 13.2 yards per catch through three games, according to PFF. He’s tied for third-most coverage snaps and has seen the fifth-most targets.
Expect opponents to keep throwing his way, and his defense to stay on the field plenty.
If Jeremy Chinn doesn’t get a playing-time boost this week, then it’s a very bad sign for his development.
Carolina has lost FS Xavier Woods for 4-6 weeks. It looks like Sam Franklin will primarily take over that spot. That makes sense. If Chinn were better in coverage, he’d already be playing more snaps.
If might be better news for Chinn if LB Frankie Luvu doesn’t play. He’s questionable after managing just two limited practices following a Week 3 hip injury.
Chinn’s playing time has gone 35%, 73%, and 77% so far. We’ll see how Week 4 goes. He’s not worth much in IDP leagues right now.
LB playing time remains frustrating in Cleveland.
After Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah led the way at 77% in Week 1, he has dipped to 61% and 67% the past two weeks. Anthony Walker, meanwhile, climbed from 59% in Week 1 to a unit leading 74% and 77% the past two games.
Cleveland used the speedy JOK as a Lamar Jackson spy in Week 7 last year, boosting his playing time in that game. And it stayed up for the four more games he played after that. But his snap shares have slipped back down early this year.
I’m keeping Owusu-Koramoah ahead of Walker in the Week 4 LB rankings for that Baltimore matchup. But the way they’re both being used keeps either from being an attractive option.
Sione Takitaki has checked in third each week in playing time, at 41%, 57%, and 56%.
LB Damone Clark racked up a team-high 9 tackles (6 solo) in last week’s surprising loss to the Cardinals. That tripled Leighton Vander Esch’s 3 tackles for the game. But it didn’t mark any shift in roles.
Clark played just 69% of snaps. That marked a big jump from his 36% playing time in Week 2. But Clark played 66% in the opener.
Given the vastly different game flow among those three contests, we can’t really know just how much playing time to expect from Clark in a given week. But he’s not yet to a point at which we can trust him in IDP lineups in most cases.
Elsewhere on the Dallas defense: S Donovan Wilson played just 52% of snaps in his first game back from a lengthy calf injury. Expect that to increase going forward, though it’d be good to leave him on the bench until it does, if that makes sense for your roster.
Rookie DB Brian Branch became a full-time player in Week 3, the first game after the Lions lost S C.J. Gardner-Johnson (perhaps for the season).
Branch appeared on track for the same thing in Thursday night’s win over the Packers, before he injured an ankle. We’ll see about his outlook for Week 5 and beyond.
Branch has remained primarily a slot CB the past two weeks while adding snaps as a box safety – high-upside positions, as mentioned with Kyle Hamilton above.
Those 3 sacks for Edge Rashan Gary in Week 3 were fun, weren’t they?
Unfortunately, he still played just 23 snaps in that game. That 38% snap share marked his highest of the season. And it still does after Gary dipped back down to 27% on Thursday night.
He might well deliver some more splash games this season. But as long as Green Bay keeps limiting Gary’s playing time to that degree, we can’t really trust him in most IDP lineups.
The Texans get S Jalen Pitre back this week for the first time since a bruised lung knocked him out of Week 1. But they’ll still miss some other key guys.
A second straight missed game for Denzel Perryman (hand, wrist) should keep rookie Henry To’oTo’o leading the LB playing time. He racked up 10 tackles in Week 3. LB Christian Harris trailed at 62%, a level that makes him unusable for most IDP leagues.
CB Shaquill Griffin matched those 10 tackles in Week 3 and should continue to start in place of CB Derek Stingley Jr.
Edge Kwity Paye’s off to a strong start, with a sack in each of his three games so far. That likely lands him among the top 10 DL scorers in your IDP league. But has he been that good?
PFF grades Paye just 64th in pass rushing among all edge players. His 9 total pressures tie for 32nd, while Paye sits tied for 22nd in pass-rush snaps.
He’s also just 26th among D-linemen in total tackles, and tied for 39th among edge players in PFF run-defense grade.
Does that all mean he’s about to crash? No. But it does mean he’s probably not the weekly DL1-level performer he might seem – at least not yet.
LB Drue Tranquill posted a team-high 8 tackles (4 solo) in last week’s win over the Bears, starting in place of Nick Bolton.
He’ll get another shot to do that this week against the Jets, with Bolton out once again.
Edge Michael Danna, meanwhile, has delivered at least a half-sack in each game. He’s no stud, tied for 32nd among edge players in total pressures. But matchups with the Jets this week and Broncos in Week 6 present significant upside.
LB David Long’s 8 tackles tied for the team lead in last week’s win over the Broncos. But he played just 58% of the defensive snaps.
That number’s tough to read, because the extreme blowout conditions altered everyone’s playing time. Only CB Justin Bethel exceeded 76%. Jerome Baker led the LBs at 76%.
We know Long’s duty will be variable, though. And more DB-leaning packages seem likely this week against the pass-favoring Bills.
DB Josh Metellus might be listed as a safety in your league, but that seems almost like calling Taysom Hill a TE.
Through 3 games, Metellus has spent just 5.1% of his defensive snaps in a deep-coverage position, per PFF. He has spent 44.3% at slot CB and 49.4% in the box.
That’s an attractive combo that has moved Metellus way up our Rest of Way DB rankings.
He looks like a solid-to-strong weekly option until something changes.
CB Alontae Taylor got full-time duty with CB Paulson Adebo out last week. And he capitalized:
Taylor has worked almost completely in the slot all three games, which keeps him closer to the action. And he should see full playing time again in Week 4, with Adebo still out.
We’ll see about that playing time when Adebo returns.
LB Jack Gibbens’ playing time jumped to 80% in the Week 3 loss to the Titans. That followed shares of 65% and 66% the previous two weeks.
Azeez Al-Shaair remained the position leader at 92%. We’ll see whether that slight dip from 98% and 99% the first two weeks meant anything.
But it’s worth noting that Gibbens has been Tennessee’s highest-graded defender by PFF so far. He trails Al-Shaair slightly in run-defense grade but holds big leads in coverage and overall grades.
Those grades often don’t lineup with real-life coach decisions on playing time. But there’s at least some potential for Gibbens’ role to continue growing.
He’s stashable for now. Though Gibbens' 20 tackles through three games make him playable in some leagues.
Want to hear about some key offensive players for Week 4 fantasy football? Check out our Week 4 preview podcast.