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IDP Hits: Week 9

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Sat, 04 Nov 2023 . 3:19 PM EDT

Cole Holcomb Injury Fallout

Steelers LB Cole Holcomb is done for the season.

(And if you caught the replay, it looked bad. I won’t link it here.)

So what now? Let’s look at just how much fantasy impact he was making and whether there’s a production void to target.

LB4?

Holcomb currently sits 33rd among LBs in total fantasy points and just 48th in points per game in the balanced-scoring format I use as the primary default. Odds are he doesn’t rank much higher in your IDP league unless your format leans especially toward tackles.

Even in that category, he hasn’t been particularly strong. Holcomb sits tied for 35th in the NFL in total tackles. S Minkah Fitzpatrick has matched him for the team lead in total tackles and beaten him by 6 solos in one fewer game, 44 fewer snaps.

Holcomb also has lagged in big plays. Through eight games, he tallied:

  • 2 passes defensed
  • 2 forced fumbles
  • 1 fumble recovery

No sacks (2 QB hits) despite a fair amount of opportunity. According to Pro Football Focus, Holcomb sits tied for 24th-most pass rushes at the moment among off-ball LBs.

He’s tied for 47th in total pressures.

More Upside in the Replacements?

The point here is obviously not to be mean to a guy who just suffered a serious knee injury. I’ve set all that up because it might actually point to some sleeper LB value in Pittsburgh going forward.

Here are the season snap shares among the Steelers’ top three non-edge LBs to date:

  • Holcomb 76.9%
  • Kwon Alexander 60.8%
  • Elandon Roberts 39.8%

And here are their efficiency rates across tackle categories (percentage = share of snaps including such a play for that player) …

Player Snaps Tckl rate Solo RateAst RateTFL rate
Holcomb 447 12.1% 6.9%5.1%0.89%
Alexander 353 11.6% 9.1%2.6%1.42%
Roberts 231 20.8% 13.0%7.8%2.16%

Holcomb’s only edge over Alexander and Roberts lies in assists. (That category drives his edge over Alexander in total tackles.) That’s the category least reliant on talent/performance.

Obviously, not every solo tackle is a “good play.” And tackle assignments can vary quite a bit by stadium scorer. But more solos vs. more assists is generally the difference between often being first to the ball and regularly being near the ball.

And a tackle for loss, of course, means you made a play behind the line.

Alexander and Roberts have 5 of those apiece this season to Holcomb’s 4, each on less playing time.

PFF grades Roberts the top overall performer among the trio, with Holcomb second. Alexander has lagged way behind in rushing grade. But both Alexander and Roberts grade out significantly better than Holcomb in coverage. Both grade out higher in pass rushing as well.

Looking Ahead

Alexander’s position-leading play – among this trio – in coverage has likely keyed his significant playing-time lead over Roberts to date. But that playing time has also fluctuated quite a bit.

Check out the weekly snap shares for both players:

Week Alexander Roberts
1 69% 43%
2 60% 31%
3 65% 24%
438%59%
544%41%
769%28%
854%44%
986%50%

Alexander isn’t a lock to lead LB playing time the rest of the way. But he looks like the better bet.

As the first table showed, though, Roberts has been the most efficient tackle producer. So he’s capable of delivering worthwhile IDP scoring (depending on your format) even on less playing time if that continues.

And each has displayed more big-play upside in his career than Holcomb.

Both Alexander and Roberts are worth a look on waiver wires ahead of Week 10.

Don’t be surprised if both score fantasy points the rest of the way at a higher rate than Holcomb has been.

 

Week 9 IDP Injuries to Watch

Fortunately a low-impact group this week, overall.

  • Robert Spillane, LB, Las Vegas Raiders (hand)
  • Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, New England Patriots (hamstring)
  • Rudy Ford, S, Green Bay Packers (calf)
  • Marcus Williams, S, Baltimore Ravens (hamstring)
  • Willie Gay Jr., LB, Kansas City Chiefs (tailbone)
  • Deatrich Wise, DL, New England Patriots (shoulder)
  • Josh Uche, Edge, New England Patriots (ankle/toe)
  • Jonathan Jones, CB, New England Patriots (knee)
  • Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins (groin))
  • Percy Butler, S, Washington Commanders (calf)
  • Vita Vea, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (groin)

TIP

See where all these guys sit in our Week 9 IDP rankings ... and check back for updates right up until kickoff.

 

Team Notes

Arizona Cardinals

Remember the Week 1 starting Cardinals secondary?

  • S Budda Baker – 100% playing time
  • CB Kei’Trel Clark – 100%
  • CB Marco Wilson – 100%
  • S Jalen Thompson (also slot CB) – 99%
  • S K’Von Wallace – 71%

Wallace jumped to full playing time in Week 2, after Budda Baker went down. Andre Chachere entered the mix at 93% snap share that week.

Fast forward to the top 5 for Week 8:

  • S Budda Baker – 100%
  • S/CB Jalen Thompson – 98%
  • CB Marco Wilson – 91%
  • CB Antonio Hamilton – 83%
  • CB Garrett Williams – 55%

Wallace got benched and dumped in the same week. Baker and Thompson have each gone down with and returned from injuries. Clark got his role reduced and then got benched for the past two weeks.

Chachere dipped to barely playing (3 snaps) in Week 8, as the Cardinals played Thompson more at safety (including in the box) and less at slot corner (though still some there as well).

Who Can We Use?

Thompson looks like the best bet going forward. His time spent in the box and in the slot put him in point-scoring positions. And he comes with a history of proven production.

Expect Baker to remain a more limited producer than he was early in his career. Why? Because he’s primarily a deep-coverage player at this stage, and they simply see fewer opportunities in general.

Wilson is the clear full-timer at CB. He does OK on tackles but hasn’t defensed a pass since Week 3. He’ll make sense in some IDP leagues but is nothing special. 

He has graded poorly in coverage and allowed 80% completions, according to PFF. So the ball should keep heading his way. And his role probably isn’t guaranteed.

Hamilton? Solid tackle production through three starts. He has also played just 79-83% of snaps across those games. Clearly he’s not a lock for anything in particular.

Cincinnati Bengals

Chidobe Awuzie remained fourth among Bengals corners in Week 8, coming off the bye. And he didn’t even appear on the injury report leading up to it.

CB Cam Taylor-Britt was the only one who played more than 71% of snaps against the 49ers (97%). Rookie CB DJ Turner started and followed him, at 71%. Then came Mike Hilton at 68%. Awuzie played 46%.

We’ll see whether that changes as he moves further beyond his back injury. But Turner has been impressing his new team and teammates since the summer. He seems likely to stick in the lineup.

Cleveland Browns

I mentioned in last week’s IDP Hits that LB Anthony Walker hit 100% playing time for the first time in a while. So let’s follow up with the Week 8 LB playing time:

  • Walker 74%
  • Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah 59%
  • Sione Takitaki 38%

Walker led again. But let his playing-time dip remind you this has been a frustratingly inconsistent LB situation for several years now.

Dallas Cowboys

In two games since LB Leighton Vander Esch went down, LB Damone Clark has played 99% and 81% of the defensive snaps.

That number might have been higher Sunday but Dallas blew out the Rams. Only three defenders played more snaps than he did:

  • CB Jourdan Lewis 100%
  • CB Stephon Gilmore 95%
  • CB DaRon Bland 94%

“Safety” Markquese Bell continued to work as the No. 2 LB against L.A., playing 73% of the snaps.

He and Clark each logged a just-OK 6 total tackles against the Rams.

Green Bay Packers

S Jonathan Owens played every snap in the first game after S Darnell Savage (calf) landed on IR. He only made 3 tackles in the loss to Minnesota.

Unfortunately for his outlook, the Vikings have been the best DB-scoring matchup among the current six-game stretch.

Week 9 opponent, the Rams, arrive as the third-worst scoring matchup for DBs on the slate.

Houston Texans

Rookie LB Henry To’oTo’o saw his playing time tumble in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers. He went from four straight games at 95%+ to just 49% against Carolina.

LB Denzel Perryman’s numbers might make it look like he reclaimed a full-time role, but he played just 48% in the loss.

The veteran was active in Week 6 but didn’t play a snap. At the time, that looked like a shift to To’oTo’o and Blake Cashman as the top two at the position. But HC Demeco Ryans said they sat Perryman to protect his recently injured wrist. Perryman had played with a club on the arm in Week 5 after missing two games.

Cashman (91% against the Panthers) looks like the only Houston LB we can play in IDP lineups for now.

Los Angeles Chargers

Rookie Edge Tuli Tuipulotu has seen his playing time dip with Joey Bosa’s improved health in recent weeks. But so has Khalil Mack.

Check out their weekly snap shares:

Week Tulipulotu Bosa Mack
1 33% 87% 75%
2 77% 29% 91%
3 77% 34% 79%
486%
out86%
669%47%88%
757559%66%
855%59%61%

We should expect all three of these guys to play less than their peaks going forward, given that two are proven vets and the other a second-round pick off to an impressive start.

That’s going to lower the floor and ceiling for each player in IDP lineups.

Miami Dolphins

Edge Andrew Van Ginkel’s playing time dropped to just 14 total snaps – 26% – in Sunday’s win over the Patriots. It was just his second game all season with less than 60% snap share. The other still found him playing 30 snaps (49%) in the Week 3 win over Denver.

Miami, for whatever reason, elected to keep all 11 starters on the field for more than 80% of snaps against New England. That included Jaelan Phillips (85%) and Bradley Chubb (81%) as the dominant edge leaders.

It was Chubb’s second straight game above 80% and fifth such game this season. He ranks ninth among all edge players in total snaps and has racked up 4 sacks over just the past three games.

Phillips has rebounded from some injury struggles to log 95 total snaps (shares of 69% and 85%) the past two weeks. He has tallied 15 tackles (12 solo), 3 QB hits, and 2 sacks over that span.

New England Patriots

Edge Anfernee Jennings is worth noting … even if I’m not sure yet what we do with him.

The third-year player opened the season as an apparent healthy scratch each of the first two games. Since then, though, his role has grown quite a bit. The snap shares by week, starting in Week 3:

  • 30%
  • 40%
  • 64%
  • 82%
  • 97%
  • 82%

Edge Josh Uche missed the past two games and left the previous one early. That obviously has helped. But Uche also played a season-high 50% snap share in that 64% game for Jennings. And New England has showed us it doesn’t want to play Uche 40%+ on a regular basis. He’s a light pass rusher.

Jennings isn’t huge for the position – listed 6’3, 255 pounds – but he outweighs Uche by 15 pounds. And according to PFF grades, Jennings has improved in run defense each of the past two years … while also grading out meh-to-wore as a pass rusher.

Should You Stay Interested?

His tackle numbers have been decent across the increased playing time: 5, 6, 6, and 2 total tackles. But Jennings has just 1 QB hit for the season and 6 across two-and-a-half pro campaigns. He posted a solid 13.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss in 28 games over his final two seasons at Alabama.

Ultimately, it’s tough to see Jennings climbing beyond “interesting” for IDP purposes – and even that only for deep leagues. Feel free to stash him on a dynasty roster, and we’ll see if anything develops.

If he’s going to give us any sacks, this week’s Washington matchup presents as good a shot as he’ll find.

New York Giants

LB Micah McFadden’s two smallest snap shares of the season have come the past two weeks: 62% and 58%. That’s not a level at which we can play him in most IDP leagues.

At the same time, Isaiah Simmons has logged his two largest snap shares among games that McFadden started. He played every snap in the Week 5 game McFadden missed but then plummeted to 18% in McFadden’s return.

Simmons has been a bust since arriving to the league as a first-round pick. So we’ll see whether this proves to be another failed trial. But neither player is worth clinging to in most IDP formats.

Philadelphia Eagles

Nakobe Dean racked up 12 tackles in Sunday’s win over the Commanders, including 11 solos and 2 tackles for loss. It felt like the game we’ve been waiting for since drafting Dean as a sleeper in August. But be careful.

The LB played just 69% of Philly’s defensive snaps for the game. That marked a second straight week of improvement since he returned from IR.

Week Snaps Share
6 32 49%
7 30 61%
8 50 69%

It also pulled him much closer to LB Zach Cunningham. The latter still led the position but has gone 75%, 100%, 71% over the past three games.

LB Nicholas Morrow stayed down, logging 39% and 38% playing time the past two weeks.

It’s too early to call Dean a weekly starting option for IDP lineups. But running right with Cunningham in weekly playing time would make him that – as long as Philly doesn’t keep them in that near-70% range.

Pittsburgh Steelers

S Keanu Neal got a big boost from S Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Week 8 hamstring injury against the Jaguars.

Neal had already been significantly involved over the first six games, including five “starts.” But he hadn’t exceeded 70% playing time yet and had only reached that level once.

Neal played 69 of 71 defensive snaps against Jacksonville, though, and tallied a season-high 7 solo tackles. He followed with 66 of 74 snaps against the Titans on Thursday night, supplying just 3 solos among 7 total tackles.

Neal’s merely an OK fantasy option while Fitzpatrick is out, less so in formats that downplay tackle scoring.

Washington Commanders

LB David Mayo played 87% of snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, his first turn as No. 2 LB after Cody Barton’s Week 7 injury. LB Jamin Davis played every snap for the first time this year – after missing just one snap the week before.

With Barton on IR, expect things to continue like this for at least the next three games.

Davis, of course, tallied just 4 total tackles against the Eagles and has only 5 combined solos over the past two weeks. His quest to stay irrelevant in IDP leagues continues to succeed.

Mayo, meanwhile, racked up 11 and 9 total tackles in those games, with 9 and 6 solos. He looks like the better tackle bet, even on less playing time.

 

More Week 9 Fantasy Football

Jared and Matt preview all the Week 9 fantasy football action in this video.

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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