IDP Snap Report: Week 13
We are now in the playoff hunt, and for the most part teams are set with their players. However recent injuries to Brian Urlacher, Wesley Woodyard, Derrick Johnson and Colin McCarthy have caused there teams to change how they use their linebackers. While teams are making their playoff pushes, both the Texans and Giants are still tinkering with a few players and where to put them in certain situations. While there are a lot of situations to simply avoid, there are a few players worth considering if you need a name to help get you either in the fantasy playoffs, or get you that early round fantasy victory.
Nick Roach/Geno Hayes
For the past several years, the Bears use of linebackers has been similar. Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher would play every down, while a third linebacker would play in the base defense. This year that third linebacker has been Nick Roach. Now that Urlacher is out, Nick Roach will be taking an every down role, while Geno Hayes will likely be the man to take snaps with the base defense. Lance Briggs will remain in the same role he had, so his fantasy value will likely be unchanged.
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Danny Trevathan/D.J. Williams/Keith Brooking
In the Thursday Night matchup against the Raiders, the Broncos were without every down player Wesley Woodyard. Instead of having set roles for their linebackers outside of Von Miller, they did a lot of rotating players in and out as they stayed in a nickel or dime defense most of the game while Oakland was behind. Danny Trevathan had the most snaps at 35, followed by Keith Brooking at 31 and then D.J. Williams at 30. With how many linebackers the Broncos have that they like, I would not be entirely surprised if in Week 15 that Woodyard did not play every down but also was part of a rotation. If you’re in the fantasy playoffs I would probably shy away from all Denver linebackers not named Von Miller.
Darryl Sharpton/Tim Dobbins/Barrett Ruud
Similar to Denver; the Texans inside linebacker situation is one that has been a mess since Brian Cushing went down with an injury. Bradie James missed the game, while Darryl Sharpton, Tim Dobbins, and Barrett Ruud rotated in and out of the base defense while Sharpton and Dobbins split time with the dime defense. With no one getting a high percentage of snaps, and the position getting more crowded once James returns, this is a situation that should just be avoided for the remainder of the season.
Derrick Johnson/Brandon Siler/Cory Greenwood
With the passing of Jovan Belcher, Brandon Siler started the game and played inside linebacker in the base defense. In the second half, the Chiefs began using a nickel defense rather than their usual dime in passing situations, which was likely due to injuries in the secondary. In the nickel defense, Derrick Johnson and Cory Greenwood played in the middle of the defense. At the end of the third quarter, Derrick Johnson left the game with an injury, which left both Siler and Greenwood playing in the base defense. Throughout the fourth quarter the Chiefs mostly used their base defense despite the Panthers three receiver sets. In the final 20 seconds of the game in the Chiefs prevent dime defense, it was Greenwood on the field.
This week if Johnson can’t go, then I would expect Greenwood to get the start and play every down, so he would be the man to have. If Johnson does play, then Siler would play in the base defense only, but his four tackles in 26 snaps are tempting if you are really desperate in a tackle heavy league.
Keith Rivers/Mathias Kiwanuka
Over the last two games, Kiwanuka has played almost exclusively at defensive end. In Week 12 this wasn’t too noticeable because the Giants played a nickel defense nearly the entire game against the Packers. However this past week Kiwanuka again played on the defensive line taking time from Jason Pierre-Paul. This led to Keith Rivers playing in the base defense against the Redskins next to Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley. However the Giants remaining opponents are all teams who use a decent amount of three receiver sets, making Rivers not the best fantasy option. As a defensive linemen, Kiwanuka has just two tackles over the last two games, and both of them were sacks against the Packers.
Leroy Hill/Malcolm Smith
Leroy Hill missed last week’s game for the Seahawks with an injury, and Malcolm Smith replaced him. He had six tackles against the Bears playing in 49 snaps. However if Hill misses another game with an injury, Smith is unlikely to repeat his performance. Whoever plays in this spot will only play in the base defense while K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner play every down, and against the Cardinals we should see a lot of nickel defense from the Seahawks, so not much playing time for whoever plays.
Akeem Ayers/Tim Shaw/Will Witherspoon
Colin McCarthy of the Titans missed last week with a concussion, and he is questionable for this next game. In the base defense the Titans used Zach Brown, Tim Shaw and Akeem Ayers, while in the nickel defense they used Brown and Will Witherspoon, while Ayers would at times play defensive end in the nickel. Zach Brown is the player to have from the Titans, and if McCarthy plays then he should go back to playing every down again. If McCarthy can’t play again, then Akeem Ayers is worth considering.