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FANTASY FOOTBALL NEWS

Brian Branch plays limited role in return

By Jared Smola | Updated on Mon, 23 Oct 2023, 4:30 PM EDT
Brian Branch Headshot

Lions rookie DB Brian Branch returned Sunday after missing two games with a sprained ankle. But returned to a smaller role than what he left. The second-round pick played 68% and 69% of snaps the first two games. That grew to 100% in Week 3, after the team lost S C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Branch again started in Week 4 and appeared headed for similar use but left that game early with the ankle injury. But in his return game against the Ravens, the rookie played just 50% of snaps. He closed the practice week with a full Friday workout and carried no injury designation into the game. So we're not betting the ankle limited his time. Instead, it appears the Lions preferred to keep more LBs on the field and run fewer alignments of 5+ DBs. That left Branch, the nickel CB, less involved. Based on how Detroit has run its defense otherwise, we're guessing it was a specific shift for Lamar Jackson. It did not work. Branch's usage will make him tough to trust in Week 8 IDP lineups for an upside Raiders matchup. We'll watch for some indication that his playing time will increase.

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Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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