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IDP Hits: Week 8

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Sat, 28 Oct 2023 . 12:31 PM EDT

On the Lookout for Hidden Sack Potential

Rashan Gary’s tough.

And I’m not talking about his return from last year’s ACL tear. Sure, that comeback is looking pretty impressive.

He has built back up to a season-high 68% playing time his last game and is working on career-high pass-rushing productivity (pressure on 25.6% of his pass-rush chances).

But even at his best, Gary’s a tough player for IDP managers to assess. And this week he’ll lead us into a challenging group.

Better in Real Life Than Fantasy

Gary exploded for 3 sacks in a Week 3 win over the Saints. Even though he has been an effective pass rusher outside of that game, his other five outings have produced just 1.5 total sacks.

His playing time has been trending upward all season and finally got into a good range in Week 7. So that’s bound to help the sack numbers going forward. But it might not make Gary a strong fantasy play.

Gary’s been a strong pass rusher before. 

He tallied a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2021, his last full season. That tied for 18th in the league. But he tied for just 43rd among D-linemen in fantasy points per game that season.

Gary was trending toward even more sacks last season, delivering 6 across his first eight games before tearing his right ACL in Week 9. But he tied for just 26th among D-linemen in fantasy points per game.

Part of Gary’s issue is that he rushes the passer much better than he plays the run. That’s not a problem in real life, because the strong pass rushing offers Green Bay much more value than the relative deficiency (he’s not terrible) in run D. 

But it hurts his tackle numbers. And Green Bay has incentive to play him a little less than some other top edge guys. Gary ranked just 38th among edge players in total snaps in 2021.

Know What You’re Getting

That makes Gary’s fantasy football value depend heavily on your format. If you don’t get points for categories such as QB hits and pressures, then he’s going to be a boom/bust scorer at best.

And the more your format counts tackles relative to sack scoring, the less attractive it’ll be to chase those “booms.”

Edge players with similar profiles include:

  • Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Leonard Floyd, Buffalo Bills (though he’s not as good as Gary or Hendrickson)
  • Dennis Gardeck, Arizona Cardinals

More Sacks Ahead?

If, however, you play in a scoring format that discounts tackles vs. sack production and/or counts hits, pressures, etc., then Gary and others could present more sack upside than they’ve delivered to date.

Here are some other edge players who have produced much more pressure than their sack totals reveal (“Rank” represents where they rank among edge players in total pressures):

Player Pressures Rank Sacks
Cameron Jordan 27 T-16th 0.5
John Franklin-Myers 26 T-19th 1.0
Alex Highsmith 26 T-19th 2.0
Will Anderson24T-23rd1.0
Demarcus Lawrence21T-27th2.0
Za'Darius Smith20T-32nd1.0

Jordan is 34 and in his 13th NFL season. He’s a declining player. But he’s also likely to be more productive the rest of the way.

Franklin-Myers ranks just 52nd among edge players in total snaps, so his upside (and value) is limited by role.

Highsmith has no age or playing-time issues and seems most likely among this group to rebound in production.

Anderson is a rookie. We’ll see what the rest of his first season holds. Just don’t assume his mere 1 sack means he’s not ready to make an impact.

Lawrence’s playing time has dipped to its lowest level (53.6% for the season) since his rookie year. He’s also a post-30 veteran likely in decline and hasn’t reached 10 sacks in a season since 2018. So don’t expect a big rebound.

Smith has settled into similar playing time to Gary (66.1% for the season), which is likely to lower his scoring floor and make him a boom/bust type.

 

Week 8 IDP Injuries to Watch

  • De’Vondre Campbell, LB, Green Bay Packers (ankle)
  • Jevon Holland, S, Miami Dolphins (concussion)
  • Jalen Thompson, S, Arizona Cardinals (hamstring)
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, New York Giants (knee)
  • Jaquan Brisker, S, Chicago Bears (illness)
  • Eddie Jackson, S, Chicago Bears (foot)
  • Andre Cisco, S, Jacksonville Jaguars (hamstring)
  • Tyson Campbell, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars (hamstring)
  • Nate Hobbs, CB, Las Vegas Raiders (ankle)
  • Jakorian Bennett, CB, Las Vegas Raiders (shoulder, knee)
  • Alohi Gilman, S, Los Angeles Chargers (heel)
  • Jalen Ramsey, CB, Miami Dolphins (knee)
  • Levi Wallace, CB, PIttsburgh Steelers (foot)
  • Xavier Woods, S, Carolina Panthers (hamstring)
  • Adoree’ Jackson, CB, New York Giants (neck)
  • Josh Uche, Edge, New England Patriots (ankle, toe)
  • Deatrich Wise, Edge, New England Patriots (shoulder)
  • Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins (groin)
  • Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay Packers (back)

 

Team Notes

Arizona Cardinals

Zaven Collins registered a career-high 5 pressures in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks, hassling Geno Smith on 33.3% of Collins’ mere 15 total pass-rush chances.

That earned the new edge player easily his best PFF grades this season in pass rushing and total defense.

Collins’ playing time also seems to be settling in. He has finished five of his seven games in the 56-65% range. The two highest (65% and 63%) have come the past two weeks.

He’s not yet usable in IDP leagues, though. Perhaps a Week 10 home date with the Falcons will push Collins up the rankings.

Buffalo Bills

Rookie LB Dorian Williams played 84% of the snaps in the first game after Matt Milano’s season-ending injury in England. Williams started again Sunday at New England but played only 35% of snaps. He also jumped back in on special teams after seeing no ST snaps in Week 6.

Things got even worse for the rookie Thursday night, when he played no defensive snaps in the win over the Bucs.

If you picked Williams up in a redraft league after his Week 6 action, then it’s OK to drop him again. LB Tyrel Dodson beat him with 52% playing time against the Patriots. He played 62% against Tampa Bay.

Of course, that’s also not a usable level for IDP lineups. So it’s only Terrel Bernard at the position for now.

Cleveland Browns

LB Anthony Walker’s stat line for Sunday’s win over the Colts looked funky:

  • 8 tackles, but just two of them solos
  • 1 pass breakup
  • 1 fumble recovery

The most important stat, though, was Walker’s 100% snap share. That tops his previous high for this season by 23 percentage points. It marks his first time north of 84% since Nov. 21, 2021. And it doubled the playing time of Sunday’s No. 2 LB, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

The only thing we’ve been able to count on with Browns LB playing time the past few years is that we can’t count on it. But this at least makes Walker the top Cleveland LB option for a Week 8 meeting with the Seahawks.

Denver Broncos

Baron Browning played 45% of snaps in his 2023 debut last week, coming off spring knee surgery.

Considering the circumstances, that’s not too far from the Week 7 roles for starters Jonathon Cooper (69%) and Nik Bonitto (62%).

Here were the snap totals for the three players:

  • Cooper 44
  • Bonitto 40
  • Browning 29

No other true edge types logged a snap, so there’s room for all three to remain relevant. But don’t be surprised if Browning’s return makes the other two less playable for IDP lineups than they had become.

The Broncos were excited about Browning heading into the season. It helps all three that Edge Randy Gregory and Edge Frank Clark are gone.

Detroit Lions

Rookie LB Jack Campbell played 90% of the defensive snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. That marked a huge jump vs. his first six games, which included a high of just 61%.

It didn’t go well, though.

A week after logging his highest PFF run-defense grade, Campbell earned his lowest by a wide margin. He has also graded consistently poorly in coverage. We’ll see how the Lions play him coming off that one.

I’ll still buy into Campbell long term. But he doesn’t appear close to helping our 2023 redraft teams.

Green Bay Packers

S Darnell Savage landed on IR after injuring his left calf in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. That left Jonathan Owens filling in and probably starting over at least the next four games. That’s interesting for fantasy.

You might remember Owens as the guy who came out of nowhere to rack up a bunch of tackles last year in Houston, where he started every game. 

Why did he go from that to landing only a backup gig on the open market? Because Owens doesn’t play very well in coverage. And that’s perfect for his IDP value.

Sorting Roles

Savage has played primarily in deep coverage this season, spending 63.7% of his snaps at “free safety,” according to PFF. So has S Rudy Ford, though: 53.7%.

Owens, on the other hand, has spent just 41.8% of his total defensive snaps deep. That checked in even lower (33.3%) in Week 7.

Expect Ford to spend even more time deep now and Owens to spend more time “in the box” than other Packers safeties have to date.

You’ll find Owens in DB3 range of our Week 8 rankings.

Los Angeles Chargers

Edge Joey Bosa continued his playing-time rebound in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. He climbed from 47% snap share in his Week 6 return from injury to 59%.

We’d still like to see further increase for the sake of his IDP production. And Bosa needs to show that his lack of pass-rushing production to date has come because of injuries and matchups.

He’ll get a good spot to rebound Sunday against the Bears.

Philadelphia Eagles

LB Nakobe Dean played a little more in his second game back from IR.

His snap share climbed from 49% in Week 6 to 61% against the Dolphins, though the snap total actually came in lower.

LB Zach Cunningham played every snap against Miami after checking in at just 75% in Week 6. LB Nicholas Morrow dipped from 63% to 39%.

That makes Cunningham most playable for Week 8. We’ll see whether Dean continues to trend up.

Want More Week 8 Fantasy Football Info?

Check out our fantasy football podcast previewing Week 8 ...

Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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