Week 2 IDP Hits
Week 1 gave us a number of revelations at LB around the league. That included some young guys growing their roles beyond 2021 numbers, an IDP veteran taking a backseat to a journeyman and a number of nebulous situations starting to provide clarity ...
- Training camp and preseason reports made it seem as though Zaven Collins was set to work behind veteran LB Nick Vigil. Week 1 proved otherwise. Collins led Cardinals LBs with a 96% snap share in the loss to the Chiefs. Vigil spent just 51% of snaps on the field. Isaiah Simmons checked in at 87%, with less than half of that coming at LB. According to Pro Football Focus, Simmons lined up at CB or safety on 36 of his 61 defensive snaps. Arizona is dealing with multiple injuries at CB, and S Jalen Thompson (questionable) has joined the injury report for Week 2. So we’ll see whether Simmons’ role continues down the same path.
- Commanders LB Jamin Davis played 93% of snaps in the Week 1 win over the Jaguars. That’s great news for his outlook. Davis reached 90% just twice through his whole rookie season, which also found him falling short of 60% playing time in 11 games. He tallied just 3 tackles in the opener, but that should improve if his playing time stays up.
- Saints LB Pete Werner delivered big numbers in Week 1, finishing top-10 among fantasy LBs for the week. His 81% playing time suggests we should pump the brakes before moving him into every-week starter territory, though. That would be enough to keep him in regular contention, but Werner’s playing time fluctuations last year included 2 times cracking 80%. Let’s see if we can trust him to stay up there in Year 2. Demario Davis still led the position in the opener, playing every snap.
- I began this season wary of Ravens LB Patrick Queen because of his lackluster snap shares. He actually dipped from 80% playing time in his rookie season to just 76% last year. But Queen opened 2022 by hitting 100% for just the 2nd time in his career. If he and Baltimore are ready to keep him there, then Queen could be ready for a true breakthrough season. His 3 QB hits in the win over the Jets matched his 2021 season total.
- Jaguars rookie LB Devin Lloyd missed nearly all of training camp and the preseason with a hamstring injury. But that didn’t stop him from playing 90% of the snaps in the Week 1 loss to Washington and tallying a team-high 11 tackles (8 solo). I had Lloyd inside the top 24 at LB in my draft rankings, so I’m happy with that start.
- Micah Parsons draws the spotlight among Cowboys LBs – for good reason – but his split role between standup LB and edge rusher just might help Leighton Vander Esch get usable playing time. LVE stayed on the field for 85% of last Sunday night’s snaps against the Bucs, a level he reached only in Week 18 last year. Vander Esch also only reached 70% on 3 other occasions.
- With LB Deion Jones on IR, Falcons LB Mykal Walker played every snap in the Week 1 loss to the Saints. Rashaan Evans joined him for all but 1 of those. Neither guy delivered big tackle numbers (6 total apiece), but Walker supplied 2 tackles for loss and a strip-sack. We saw enough of Evans – a former 1st-round pick – disappointing in Tennessee to start out skeptical on him. Walker is the guy I’d bet on between them – and the higher-ranked of the 2 in both our Rest of Season rankings and Week 2 rankings.
- T.J. Edwards served as Philadelphia’s only every-down LB in Sunday’s win at Detroit. Kyzir White followed at 74% playing time. Third-round rookie Nakobe Dean got on the field for just 3 snaps, signaling that he’s a long way from challenging for a starting job. We’ll see whether Week 2 brings any progress.
- Alex Anzalone led Lions LBs in playing time on the other side of that matchup at 92%. Sixth-round rookie Malcolm Rodriguez joined him in the starting lineup but managed just 60% playing time. He’s the only player in that corps I’m excited about, but the snap share will have to come up significantly before we can use him in fantasy football lineups. Chris Board (40%) and Derrick Barnes (29%) factored in as well.
- The Broncos went without top LB Josey Jewell because of injury in the Week 1 loss at Seattle. He’s questionable for Week 2. In his absence, Alex Singleton played 53 of the 55 defensive snaps. Jonas Griffith joined Singleton in the starting lineup but played only 58% of the snaps. It was Griffith and Jewell as starters to open the preseason. Griffith hyperextended an elbow early in the 1st exhibition, though, and missed most of August. Mike Klis came on our podcast earlier in the summer and predicted that Griffith would emerge as the every-package player. Was his limited playing time at Seattle a matter of easing Griffith back in? We’ll see. Jewell – who re-signed in the offseason – is the best playing-time bet for now, when healthy.
- It was Frankie Luvu – not Shaq Thompson – leading Panthers LBs in Week 1 playing time at 85%. Thompson followed at just 75%, with Damien Wilson (39%) and Cory Littleton (35%) trailing. That’s enough to make Thompson cuttable in many IDP formats. We’ll see if anything changes in Week 2, though. Luvu did not play well. Pro Football Focus charged him with 4 missed tackles, 2nd most among all defenders for the week.
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