Will Panthers S Jeremy Chinn be available for our IDP lineups this week?
And if he is … should we use him?
Chinn has been out since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 4. Carolina activated him from IR Saturday, opening the possibility for Chinn to play against the Ravens. Interim HC Steve Wilks deemed him a game-time decision. In the same Shark Bite, I mentioned that Wilks called Chinn’s return a “work in progress.”
That quote followed Wednesday’s practice, leaving 2 more days for “progress” this week. By the end of Friday, we learned that Carolina will likely be missing 2 other safeties: Juston Burris and Myles Hartsfield, who have factored heavily into the Chinn replacement plan.
We’ll need to watch to see if Chinn’s active. But if he’s ready to play, it’s not hard to imagine the team getting Chinn back to full playing time.
We’ve had Chinn in the Week 11 IDP rankings, but he doesn’t sit super high. First of all, there’s the uncertainty over his playing time. Second is the matchup. Baltimore has been the league’s 2nd-worst scoring matchup for DBs by our adjusted fantasy points allowed.
That would have mattered less for the Chinn of last year or 2020. That guy regularly spent half or more of his snaps lined up “in the box.” This year’s version started similarly – 45% of Week 1 snaps in the box, according to Pro Football Focus. But he spent more than half of his snaps at deep safety in weeks 2 and 3.
Perhaps that changes against a run-heavy Ravens team. But Carolina has also settled into playing both LBs Frankie Luvu and Shaq Thompson for a lot of snaps since then.
So maybe Chinn comes back to full playing time and spends more of Sunday in the box. Or maybe he gets full playing time but lines up primarily deep in a banged-up secondary. Or maybe he gets out there with a snap count. Or maybe he tweaks that hamstring.
At some level, it’s OK to take a shot on Chinn. But don’t go treating him like a top-6 fantasy DB right away.
Notes Around the League:
Chiefs LB Willie Gay Jr. posted a big stat line in last week’s win over the Jaguars: 8 tackles, a sack and a pass breakup. There was no significant increase to his playing time, though. He played just 67% of the snaps, Gay’s 3rd-largest share among his 5 appearances this season. That’s a risky level of playing time for LBs in general, but it’s rough to put Gay in lineup contention for leagues that play 3+ LBs. He brings big-play upside and plays for a team that builds plenty of leads, thus pressuring opponent offenses into more big-play situations. Gay, for example, has rushed the passer on a little more than 20% of his total pass-play snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He also has 3 games of 8+ tackles and 3 pass breakups. You will find Gay high in the Week 11 IDP rankings for an upside matchup with the Chargers.
Seahawks LB Cody Barton presents a similar playing-time question, but he’s less attractive than Gay. Barton did just deliver a big fantasy outing, tallying 9 tackles and an INT in the loss to the Buccaneers. A bump to 80% playing time certainly helped. But that followed games of 43% and 51%. And Seattle played a bad game on defense – and lost. We’ll see about Barton’s usage coming out of this week’s bye, but it’s tough to bet on the Week 10 upswing continuing.
Panthers LB Frankie Luvu also got a playing-time boost last Thursday, but his looks more trustworthy. Luvu opened the year with 85% playing time or more in each of the 1st 4 weeks. Then came the shoulder injury that cost him 2 games. Coming out of that, Luvu played 66%, 75% and 73% the next 3 weeks. He returned to 100% vs. the Falcons last Thursday, delivering 12 tackles and 2 sacks. Bet on Luvu continuing as a full-timer going forward. LB Shaq Thompson – who had risen to full playing time in Luvu’s absence – also remained at 100%. We’ll see if that persists, but Thompson at least looks like a good bet for this week’s matchup with Baltimore. Denver and Seattle the next 2 games also look like matchups that will allow for 2 full-time LBs.
The Raiders’ LB situation remains fluid. With Denzel Perryman out last week, Jayon Brown led the corps in playing time and tallied 8 tackles. Whether Perryman returns this week remains to be seen. He’s officially questionable once again but finished this week with a full Friday practice. That makes him look likely to play against the Broncos. We’ll confirm when inactives come out, of course. Brown, meanwhile, should remain #2. Whether that means full playing time, we’ll see. The 2nd Raiders LB has more often landed in the 70s in terms of snap rates this year. Perryman got a boost in our Week 11 IDP rankings this morning.
Bears rookie LB Jack Sanborn has graduated to full playing time the past 2 games, following the Roquan Smith trade. He racked up 12 tackles and 2 sacks in last week’s loss to the Lions, following a solid 7 solo tackles in Week 9. Sanborn isn’t likely to match his Week 10 numbers again, but he looks well set up for solid-to-good production going forward. Bears opponents pass at the 4th highest rate under expected for the season, which means more ground work and tackle opportunities for the LBs. Sanborn delivered plays behind the line of scrimmage in college: 29 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks over 3 starting seasons (including the COVID-shortened 2020). His primary tackle competition is limited LB Nicholas Morrow, whom the Raiders allowed to walk at the end of his rookie deal. Morrow has collected just 11.2% of Bears tackles this year, sitting 3rd on the team in total stops to date.
Darnell Savage has seen his role shift significantly the past 2 weeks, following the season-ending injury of CB Eric Stokes. Savage went from primarily playing the deep safety role through the 1st 9 games to splitting his time between slot CB and box safety the past 2 games. He spent 82% of his Week 10 snaps between those roles, and then 95% in Thursday night’s loss to the Titans. Savage managed only 2 tackles vs. Tennessee but a season-high 8 tackles – plus a pass breakup – vs. the Cowboys. The altered role should be better for his weekly production going forward, assuming it sticks, of course.
Rudy Ford has been the new guy in the Packers secondary. He announced himself loudly with 2 INTs against Dallas, but his 76% and 53% snap shares the past 2 weeks point to a flimsy role.
The Giants might have to navigate the rest of their season without S Xavier McKinney, following his bye-week hand injury that required surgery. The 1st game of that stretch found rookie S Dane Belton playing every snap against the Texans, tallying 4 tackles and an INT. Belton spent much more time in the box than McKinney has this season, pushing Julian Love from primary box safety to lining up deep. Love still managed a solid 7 tackles against Houston, but that role change will hurt his production outlook if it continues.