But there's a lot of other stuff going on -- beyond the injury report -- that doesn't fit into those features. So here's a quick roundup of some items I picked up during the past week of IDP research:
Jerod Mayo's season-ending knee injury rocked plenty of IDP rosters last week. Thursday night gave us our 1st look at the post-Mayo LB corps, and fantasy folks shouldn't complain.
Pro Football Focus still credited the Patriots with running primarily a 3-4 front, listing Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower as the ILB starters. Each guy played 100% of the snaps, with almost identical breakdowns. Hightower garnered 2 more pass-rushing chances (7-5), while Collins spent those 2 snaps in coverage.
Don't be surprised if that continues. The team lauded Collins' coverage ability after drafting him last year, despite the fact that he began college as a DE. But both figure to make some plays as rushers and cover guys along the way. And each racked up 13 tackles in a friendly matchup with a run-heavy Jets offense.
Both Collins and Hightower belong on IDP rosters in leagues of any depth going forward.
Chad Greenway, OLB, Vikings
Minnesota's veteran weak-side starter appears ready to return from his rib injury this week. And fill-in Gerald Hodges has been kind enough to miss the 1st 2 practice days with a hamstring injury. That should make it easy for Greenway to immediately reclaim his every-down role, joining rookie Anthony Barr as the 3-down guys. The Buffalo matchup hasn't been terrific for LB scoring so far, but Greenway should quickly become a factor again in tackle-heavy formats.
Tony Jefferson, S, Cardinals
From top-10 fantasy DB to out of the Rest of the Way rankings? How the hell does that happen?
Simple. A guy starts the year as a strong tackle producer at a volatile position and plays 100% of the Week 5 snaps ... and then trots out for just 23.1% the next game. Afterward, Cardinals coaches basically said, "Expect more of that."
A healthier Tyrann Mathieu is growing his role and brings a lot more in coverage than Jefferson, who will apparently still take part in "base" sets. Well, "base" defenses are becoming a lot like newspapers: You still see them around, but with increasing scarcity because they just don't fit as well these days.
Jefferson enjoyed a nice fantasy start, but he plays in a crowded secondary with a bunch of talented guys. Drop him anywhere.
Wesley Woodyard, LB, Titans
Like Jefferson, Woodyard's finding himself phased out in Tennessee. After missing just 1 total snap through the 1st 4 weeks, he has played 73.1% and 62.8% of the Titans' defensive snaps the past 2 weeks. Rookie LB Avery Williamson has taken over play-calling duties and is now the Titans LB to own. Don't chase after him in shallow (3 IDPs or fewer, 1-2 LB starters) leagues, though, as even Williamson isn't a 100% player yet.
Khalil Mack, OLB, Raiders
Mack might not be ready at any point this season to turn into the pass-rushing beast he was at University of Buffalo. But a breakthrough of some degree seems to be coming.
The #5 overall pick has registered at least 2 QB disruptions -- sacks, hits and hurries -- in 4 of his 5 games. That has included 4 total QB hits and 10 hurries (7 in Week 6 alone).
Those aren't huge numbers by any means, especially when you consider that he's had at least 20 pass-rushing chances in every game. But let them remind you that just because a guy doesn't have any sacks doesn't mean he's completely failing to pressure the QB.
Let's just hope that he breaks through before Week 12 so that IDP owners in sack-friendly leagues can get Mack ready for a final stretch that includes 2 matchups with the Chiefs and 1 each with the Rams and Bills.
Who to Sack
Speaking of pass-rushing matchups ... I got a request this week to start posting the most favorable sack matchups. Done (and will continue to do). Here are the 5 teams that have allowed the most sacks, and the 5 stingiest. You can find more depth on the positional and individual matchups and recent trends every week in the weekly rankings.
Sack Me (most sacks per game)
St. Louis: 3.2
Go Away (fewest)
New Orleans: 1