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Free Agent Focus

Week 4 IDP Free Agent Focus

By Matt Schauf 9:35am EDT 9/27/22


Randy Gregory, EDGE, Broncos

Gregory has delivered a sack in each of the past 2 games, racking up 5 total QB hits in those contests. Almost as importantly, his playing time has risen. Gregory spent all summer on the PUP list while recovering from shoulder surgery and entered the 1st 2 games questionable, adding a knee issue. But he was off the injury report ahead of Sunday night's clash with the 49ers and has played 68% and 71% of snaps the past 2 weeks -- up from 47% in the opener.

There are bound to be scoring inconsistencies, but Gregory might be playing the best defense of his career. And running opposite a healthy Bradley Chubb can only help. Gregory carries clear double-digit sack upside.

Josh Sweat, EDGE, Eagles

We all know the Philly front isn't going to blow up regularly the way that it did (9 sacks) against Washington. So the key question is: Who has staying power?

Well, Brandon Graham is a name we've known in IDP for a long time ... and that's because he's old (in football years). Graham is 34 and delivered his big Week 3 numbers on just 35% playing time. He has come up short of 30 total snaps and 50% snap share in each game, and Philly would almost certainly like to keep it that way. Haason Reddick was the big free-agent pickup. So we already had him in roster-worthy range. The sacks will come and go for DTs and blitzing LBs.

Sweat, meanwhile, just might be ready to fully emerge in his 5th pro season and 2nd as a starter. Still just 25, Sweat might be seeing a slight uptick from his 61.6% playing time of last year. Even if that settles into the same range as 2021, that's enough exposure for the still-young pass-rusher to deliver big-game upside -- especially in a defense that looks like it's going to be a problem.

Sweat has 2.5 sacks over the past 2 weeks. Behind that, he has 8 total QB hits on the year. Only Nick Bosa and Micah Parsons have more.


Uchenna Nwosu, EDGE, Seahawks

Nwosu looked like a goofball signing this offseason by a shaky franchise, getting nearly $10 million a year on a 2-yard deal after supplying just 15 sacks across 4 seasons with the Chargers. But this is looking early like 1 Seattle got right.

The 25-year-old (until late December) supplied 61% of his season scoring so far in the opener against Denver. But he followed the 5 pressures of that game with 8 more than past 2 weeks, despite facing offenses that attempted only 24 and 20 passes.

Nwosu sits tied for 10th in the league in total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, and has topped 70% playing time in each game. He ranks 22nd among all EDGE players in total snaps.

That all combines to be a good recipe for regular production up front.


Alex Anzalone, LB, Lions

I'll admit, I keep wanting this to be Malcolm Rodriguez. And I still think there's potential for the rookie to take over the playing-time lead at some point this year. But it would be stupid to ignore that Anzalone hasn't lost any yet.

The veteran played a season-high 99% of the snaps in Sunday's loss at Minnesota, racking up 10 tackles (9 solo) and a sack among 2 QB hits.

He heads into Week 4 with the 6th-most snaps played among all LBs and 16th most fantasy points at the position (depending on your format).

That said, if you're in a deeper league where it makes sense, you can also stash Rodriguez. His snap share has gone from 60% to 73% and 76%, with 8 tackles each of the past 2 weeks.


Drue Tranquill, LB, Chargers

Tranquill has taken over the playing time lead in the LB corps the past 2 weeks. That didn’t do much for his Week 2 numbers, but he racked up 11 tackles (9 solo) and a pass breakup in Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars.

The next 3 weeks feature 2 opponents -- Houston and Denver -- that rank among the 5 friendliest to LB scoring so far. In between comes Cleveland, which has been negative for LB scoring but presents tackle upside by way of its lean on RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

Jacob Phillips, LB, Browns

Cleveland lost LB Anthony Walker for the season Thursday night. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah suffered a groin injury as well. We don’t yet know whether he’ll be available for Week 4. That all means Phillips could arrive to next Sunday’s matchup with the Falcons as lead LB. He should at least be in the lineup for a matchup that has been favorable to tackle opportunities. Phillips finished Thursday night’s game as the team’s lead tackler.


Darius Harris, LB, Chiefs

Harris can be a short-term option for deep leagues. He stepped into the starting lineup Sunday and racked up a team-high 13 tackles (1 for loss) against the Colts. Harris' opportunity came because of Willie Gay Jr.'s 4-game suspension, so we should get 3 more weeks of starter duty for Harris. Tampa Bay's short-range (so far) offense -- with heavy doses of Leonard Fournette -- presents tackle upside.


Kamren Curl, S, Commanders

In case he lingered on waivers in your league through his Week 3 return, Curl reclaimed his starting gig from S Darrick Forrest in Sunday's loss to the Eagles. He supplied 8 tackles (5 solo, 1 for loss) and played 87% of snaps in a game that saw no Washington defender play more than 91%. Curl has all the upside we saw from Forrest over the 1st 2 weeks, which had him scoring as a DB1.


Jonathan Owens, S, Texans

There’s no ignoring this guy anymore. Owens has delivered 10+ tackles in each of Houston’s 3 games, most recently leading the Texans with 11 in Sunday’s loss to the Bears. That followed outings of 15 and 11 tackles. The weakness of the team’s LBs can’t hurt his chances going forward.

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