Week 4 IDP Hits

Let’s take a quick run through some situations to be aware of as we finalize our Week 4 IDP lineups …

Injuries to monitor

-- Giants ILB Tae Crowder sustained a hamstring injury in practice this week. He didn’t miss any of the workouts but was limited Thursday and Friday. We’ll have to check his status when the inactives come out Sunday morning. There will be some risk here even on an active Crowder, though. His role, of course, has expanded following Blake Martinez’s ACL tear in Week 3.

-- Vikings OLB Anthony Barr (knee) is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Browns. We don’t really care about him for IDP use. But if Barr is back in the lineup, it could cut down the playing time for Nick Vigil, who has been delivering us top-10 fantasy numbers in balanced and tackle-heavy scoring formats.

-- Bears EDGE Khalil Mack is questionable with a foot injury. I haven’t seen much on how significant it is, but he managed only a single limited practice this week. Mack tends to play through questionable tags, but we’ll have to check his status Sunday.

-- Buccaneers EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul is a game-time decision with the shoulder injury that kept him out last week. The most unfortunate part of that is the Sunday-night kickoff leaves you short on replacement options. You’ll probably be better off going another direction than waiting. If you need or want to wait, though, make sure there’s a replacement available from Tampa Bay, New England, Las Vegas or the L.A. Chargers.

-- Colts S Khari Willis has been ruled out for Sunday’s game, which vaulted Andrew Sendejo into our IDP rankings. He filled in as the “box” safety after Willis went down last week and carries significant tackle upside against a limited Miami pass offense.

What’s up with Jeremy Chinn?

The Panthers safety proved terrific for IDP production as a rookie. Now he sits outside the top 50 among DBs.

It would be easy to blame a “position switch” after Carolina talked about moving him from LB to safety this offseason. The truth, though, is that Chinn’s role has been nearly identical so far to what he played in 2020. And I haven’t noticed any real lag in his play.

The leading factor to his quiet start looks like a sheer lack of opportunity. The Panthers hit Week 4 seeing the league’s fewest defensive snaps, allowing the fewest yards per play and yielding the 2nd-fewest completions.

Perhaps I’m oversimplifying a bit, but it’s tough to make tackles or plays on the ball if the ball just isn’t getting to you. A Sunday matchup with Dallas carries rebound potential on the opportunity-volume front.

On a separate Carolina defensive note: LB Jermaine Carter looked like he might become an option for us in Week 1, when he played 95% of the snaps. But he has followed with games of 30% and 75%. That needs to settle out before we can know what we have in Carter.

Kenneth Murray looks unusable for now

The Chargers spent a 1st-round draft pick on this guy just last year, but there’s now a new coaching staff in town. And HC Brandon Staley conceded last week that Murray has some issues.

“I think there have been some really good moments,” Staley said. “And then, there have been some moments that we need to have him improve.”

The coach went on to tout Murray’s work ethic and say he expects the young ‘backer to improve. But Murray played just 51% of Chargers defensive snaps in Week 3. He trailed Kyzir White (70%) and barely led Drue Tranquill (43%).

We’ll have to see where this goes before tossing Murray back into lineups.

Other playing-time notes:

-- Landon Collins’ tackle numbers look decent over the past 2 weeks: totals of 7 and 8, with 6 and 5 solos. But his playing time has dipped from 80% in Week 1 to 75% and then just 58% last week. The first 2 levels are workable. The 3rd is worrisome. Washington has yet to stabilize the playing time among its top 3 safeties, so we’ll have to see whether the team will just vary that by matchup or is still figuring out its best alignment. For now, be aware of the downside risk with Collins.

-- The Cowboys placed LB Keanu Neal on the COVID list late in Week 3, leaving him out of the Monday night win over the Eagles. He has yet to come off it, which likely means he’ll miss Sunday’s game against the Panthers. Neal’s absence -- plus Micah Parsons playing DE -- left 86% playing time for Jaylon Smith and 76% for Leighton Vander Esch. Neither becomes an exciting IDP option yet, but there’s upside. (Check our LB rankings.)

-- Dolphins S Brandon Jones looks like a breakthrough performer over the past 2 weeks, with 6 tackles (5 solo) in Week 2 and then 2 sacks among 6 more tackles at Las Vegas last Sunday. But Jones played just 63% and then 43% of the defensive snaps in those 2 games. That’s nowhere close to a usable level of playing time. Other Dolphins safeties have also seen playing-time fluctuations. Eric Rowe dipped from 87% in the opener to 40% and then back up to 78%. Jason McCourty’s dip came in Week 3, down to 49%. Overall, it’s a risky situation to trust in Week 4 IDP lineups.

-- Washington LB Jon Bostic might be about to give way to 1st-round rookie Jamin Davis. Week 3 marked the 1st time that the veteran played less (49%) than the rookie (51%). That marked a 2-week downward trend for Bostic. Davis, however, still needs to claim more playing time before we can use him. For now, it’s Cole Holcomb and no one else in that corps for most IDP formats.

-- After realizing no one else wants to pay Jamie Collins either, the Lions cut the veteran LB last week. That left Derrick Barnes (48%) and Jalen Reeves-Maybin (47%) as the 2nd and 3rd at the position behind MLB Alex Anzalone. Barnes is the long-term upside guy, but it’s tough to know how much Detroit wants to give him this year. Barnes spent 1 full season and then the abbreviated 2020 as a starting LB at Purdue. In between, he spent a year starting at DE. He’s a nice dynasty stash and a potential stash for deep redraft leagues. But Anzalone is the only usable Lions LB right now. He has yet to miss a snap.