Win. Your. League.

Receive 3 Free Downloads More Details

Reading the Defense: Week 9

A weekly look at IDP trends with a mix of metrics, film study and matchup strategy

quick injury notes

Derrick Shelby could pick up where Cameron Wake, whose Achilles tear was a devastating injury for a player hitting his stride once again, left off in Miami's more aggressive philosophy since Dan Campbell took over. Wake will have a tough road to recovery, but he wouldn't be the first veteran pass rusher to put up double digit sacks after an Achilles tear. Greg Ellis and Terrell Suggs and Derrick Burgess were all successful off the edge after an Achilles surgery.

Pictures finally confirmed the full extent of Jason Pierre-Paul's hand injury last week. Though he didn't have the extensive amputation suggested initially, Pierre-Paul is missing his entire index finger, the top joint of his thumb, part of his middle finger and has extensive skin grafts to his ring finger. While it's true the index finger isn't critical to grip strength, the missing thumb and middle finger joints will limit him as will the loss of other muscle tissue around the hand and palm. The Giants will line Pierre-Paul up in such a way to limit the amount of contact he'll have. We'll see if he can develop a counter move to the edge rush he'll have to rely heavily on in the early stages of his return.

Kiko Alonso will reportedly return this week. I think we'll see him in very limited situations for now, with Jordan Hicks more likely to lose rotational snaps than Mychal Kendricks. It won't surprise to see this become a four man rotation when everyone is healthy enough to play. Cross your fingers Alonso lasts the season. He's at extreme risk of further ACL injury.

Vontaze Burfict was back last week. It was an extremely quick return and implied strongly that Burfict had been conditioning at full speed for some time while on PUP. Burfict played only in the base defense, but it's only a matter of time until he regains an every-down role.

lb TIERS

I'm going to work through some midseason tiers over the next few weeks. Time limitations will prevent me from providing the same amount of context as I do in the offseason, but this should provide a snapshot of where I feel these players are currently. During the season, I approach my lineups and roster with three categories in mind -- matchup independent every week starter / matchup play / too much upside to cut. Everyone else is on the watch list.

I'm going to roll through these team-by-team.

TEAM EVERY-WEEK STARTER MATCHUP PLAY UPSIDE TO HOLD
ARIZONA   KEVIN MINTER ALEX OKAFOR (BIG PLAY ONLY)
ATLANTA PAUL WORRILOW, JUSTIN DURANT    
BALTIMORE DARYL SMITH, C.J. MOSLEY    
BUFFALO PRESTON BROWN NIGEL BRADHAM  
CAROLINA LUKE KUECHLY, THOMAS DAVIS   SHAQ THOMPSON (DYN ONLY)
CHICAGO   CHRISTIAN JONES, PERNELL MCPHEE (BIG PLAY)  
CINCINNATI VINNY REY, VONTAZE BURFICT   PAUL DAWSON (DEEP DYN ONLY)
CLEVELAND KARLOS DANSBY    
DALLAS SEAN LEE ROLANDO MCCLAIN  
DENVER BRANDON MARSHALL VON MILLER (BIG PLAY), DEMARCUS WARE (BIG PLAY) DANNY TREVATHAN, SHANE RAY (DEEP BIG PLAY DYN)
DETROIT   STEPHEN TULLOCH, JOSH BYNES DEANDRE LEVY (DYN)
GREEN BAY CLAY MATTHEWS NATE PALMER JAKE RYAN (DEEP DYN ONLY)
HOUSTON   BRIAN CUSHING BENARDRICK MCKINNEY, JADEVEON CLOWNEY (DEEP BIG PLAY DYN)
INDIANAPOLIS D'QWELL JACKSON, JERRELL FREEMAN    
JACKSONVILLE PAUL POSLUSZNY, TELVIN SMITH    
KANSAS CITY DERRICK JOHNSON JUSTIN HOUSTON RAMIK WILSON
MIAMI JELANI JENKINS KOA MISI  
MINNESOTA ERIC KENDRICKS   ANTHONY BARR
NEW ENGLAND JAMIE COLLINS, DONT'A HIGHTOWER    
NEW ORLEANS STEPHONE ANTHONY DANNELL ELLERBE, HAU'OLI KIKAHA   
NEW YORK GIANTS      
NEW YORK JETS DAVID HARRIS DEMARIO DAVIS  
OAKLAND  MALCOLM SMITH KHALIL MACK CURTIS LOFTON, ALDON SMITH
PHILADELPHIA MYCHAL KENDRICKS, JORDAN HICKS   KIKO ALONSO
PITTSBURGH LAWRENCE TIMMONS, RYAN SHAZIER   BUD DUPREE (BIG PLAY DYN)
ST. LOUIS JAMES LAURINAITIS   ALEC OGLETREE
SAN DIEGO MANTI TE'O  MELVIN INGRAM, JEREMIAH ATTAOCHU DENZEL PERRYMAN
SAN FRANCISCO NAVORRO BOWMAN, MICHAEL WILHOITE AARON LYNCH (BIG PLAY)  
SEATTLE BOBBY WAGNER K.J. WRIGHT  
TAMPA BAY LAVONTE DAVID, KWON ALEXANDER    
TENNESSEE   AVERY WILLIAMSON, ZACH BROWN, WESLEY WOODYARD  
WASHINGTON   KEENAN ROBINSON PRESTON SMITH (DEEP BIG PLAY DYN)

EVERY-DOWN LINEBACKER PROJECTION


 

TEAMEVERY-DOWN LBs75-100% SNAPSINJ | SUSPNOTES
ARIZONA Kevin Minter : Deone Bucannon Markus Golden Alex Okafor : Daryl Washington  
ATLANTA Justin Durant : Paul Worrilow     Falcons resting Durant rarely 
BALTIMORE C.J. Mosley : Daryl Smith Elvis Dumervil : Courtney Upshaw Terrell Suggs (IR)  
BUFFALO Preston Brown : Nigel Bradham      
CAROLINA Luke Kuechly : Thomas Davis      
CHICAGO Christian Jones Pernell McPhee : Sam Acho Shea McClellin  
CINCINNATI Vinny Rey     Burfict back and base only for now
CLEVELAND Karlos Dansby     Robertson returned, rotation continues
DALLAS Sean Lee Rolando McClain    
DENVER Brandon Marshall Von Miller : Danny Trevathan    
DETROIT   Josh Bynes : Stephen Tulloch DeAndre Levy  
GREEN BAY Clay Matthews Julius Peppers : Nate Palmer Sam Barrington (IR)  
HOUSTON Brian Cushing      
INDIANAPOLIS D'Qwell Jackson : Jerrell Freeman Erik Walden : Robert Mathis   Freeman played every down last week
JACKSONVILLE Paul Posluszny : Telvin Smith      
KANSAS CITY Derrick Johnson : Justin Houston Tamba Hali    
MIAMI Jelani Jenkins Koa Misi    
MINNESOTA Anthony Barr : Eric Kendricks      
NEW ENGLAND Jamie Collins : Dont'a Hightower      
NEW ORLEANS Stephone Anthony Hau'oli Kikaha    
NEW YORK GIANTS     Jon Beason Kennard 80% in W8 w/ Beason out
NEW YORK JETS David Harris : Demario Davis      
OAKLAND Malcolm Smith Aldon Smith : Khalil Mack    
PHILADELPHIA   Mychal Kendricks : Connor Barwin : Brandon Graham   Alonso may return, expect three man ILB rotation
PITTSBURGH Lawrence Timmons : Ryan Shazier      
ST. LOUIS James Laurinaitis : Mark Barron   Alec Ogletree (IR-R)  
SAN DIEGO Melvin Ingram Donald Butler : Kavell Conner Manti Te'o : Denzel Perryman  
SAN FRANCISCO   NaVorro Bowman : Aaron Lynch : Michael Wilhoite : Ahmad Brooks    
SEATTLE Bobby Wagner : K.J. Wright Bruce Irvin    
TAMPA BAY Lavonte David : Kwon Alexander      
TENNESSEE Avery Williamson Derrick Morgan : Brian Orakpo   Brown and Woodyard rotating
WASHINGTON     Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley, Ryan Kerrigan Awaiting health updates on ILBs 

I'll update this table every week between now and Week 17.

WAIVER WIRE PRIORITIES

I'm checking the waiver wire in a mix of my most and least competitive leagues, including expanded lineups. If there's someone on your list who hasn't made mine, shoot me a note and I'll add them here. There were, thankfully, no major injuries to shake things up this week. So you'll be looking at matchups and recent trends to decide whether to make roster adjustments. I'm going to include players who may have been recently cut on the defensive line to give a sense of relative value there.

It is an extremely light week for waiver bodies this week.

Prioritize Derrick Shelby and Jaquiski Tartt (if still available). You might also consider adding Jared Crick, Jared Allen, and Mario Edwards. Shallow redraft leaguers should look to add Vontaze Burfict over Kiko Alonso. Will Compton may also be a smart add if the Washington inside linebacker aren't practicing mid-week. Ibraheim Campbell could be in line for a big Week 9 with multiple Cleveland DBs out. Big play leaguers who haven't added Aaron Lynch or Elvis Dumervil or a San Diego OLB should think about moving on Whitney Mercilus again.

Subscribe to The Audible on iTunes or download our weekly IDP podcast here every Thursday for injury updates, player analysis and matchup discussion. Follow and ask questions on Twitter @JeneBramel.