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Reading the Defense: Week 6

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

NEWS AND NOTES

The team-by-team notes will return soon. Over the next couple of weeks, I'm working through a mid-season tier update by position.

  • Joey Bosa made his debut last week and it was a good one. The Chargers regularly put him in position to succeed. Instead of using him as a 5-technique on base downs, Bosa was aligned as a 7-technique pass rusher on nickel downs. He showed his mature technique with a mix of edge and bull rushes, as well as an ability to counter and get skinny with inside moves. It was a great start but he'll have to prove himself against better competition. He didn't recognize chip blocks at times and did not face double teams. If the Chargers continue to get him isolated on the edge 40 snaps a game, his rookie season may be more productive than most.
  • Vic Beasley gained more and more confidence and last week's game progressed. Matched against two well-below-average right tackles in Denver and a rookie quarterback, Beasley showed why the Falcons should put him on the edge and let him rush. His first step and edge rush were dominant -- as he showed at times in college. Unfortunately, the Falcons still used him to take on blocks and drop into coverage on early downs. Hopefully, his performance as an edge rusher will force the coaching staff to switch his role with Brooks Reed.
  • Elandon Roberts attracted a lot of attention this week for the Patriots, particularly for a play where he destroyed Cleveland's Joe Thomas at the point of attack and used him to tackle Isaiah Crowell behind the line of scrimmage. He has had the attention of Bill Belichick for awhile, too, and will likely continue to see time in rotation. Listed at just 223 pounds, Roberts showed an ability to dominate with leverage and good recognition in coverage and against the run. He's not going to take over for Dont'a Hightower or Jamie Collins anytime soon -- barring injury -- but he's going to make snap counts messy.
Make sure you're reading Aaron Rudnicki's upgrades and downgrades and John Norton's Eyes of the Guru for more details on last week's play. And we'll have more in our Thursday podcast, including lots of matchup and injury discussion after Wednesday's first practice participation report.

POSITIONAL TIERS

We're three weeks into the regular season and getting a much better sense of schemes, depth charts, and player production. There's still time for disappointing players to turn their season around or fairy tale trends to turn back into pumpkins. But that becomes less and less likely after 3-4 weeks of data.

These tiers will not be as extensive as my offseason tiers. During the season, I put players into three categories: Matchup Independent Starters, Matchup Dependent Plays, and Priority Watch List. Dynasty league owners should have an additional category: Stashes you must keep on your roster. In deeper leagues, the matchup dependent list will obviously need to be longer.

This week: Defensive Back

Defensive Back TIERS

Matchup Independent Every-Week Safeties
Reshad Jones, Barry Church, Tony Jefferson, Landon Collins, Karl Joseph, Antoine Bethea, Harrison Smith, Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Reggie Nelson, T.J. Ward, Keanu Neal, Tyrann Mathieu (Hold), Kenny Vaccaro, Johnathan Cyprien, Andrew Sendejo, Mike Adams, Kam Chancellor, Eric Weddle, Clayton Geathers, Rodney McLeod

Primary Streaming Options / Watch List

Kemal Ishmael (until LBs healthy), Ibraheim Campbell (may move up again soon), Duke Iheancho, Adrian Amos, D.J. Swearinger, Eric Berry, T.J. McDonald, Devin McCourty, Calvin Pryor

Every-Week Cornerbacks

Logan Ryan, Robert Alford, Casey Hayward, Lamarcus Joyner, Morris Claiborne, Trumaine Johnson (inj), E.J. Gaines

Dynasty Watch List
Vonn Bell, Jaquiski Tartt, Sean Davis, Justin Simmons


EVERY-DOWN LINEBACKER PROJECTIONs

 

Additions to the every-down column in BOLD. Injury situations to monitor this week in italics.

TEAM
EVERY-DOWN LB
75-100% SNAPS
INJ | SUSP
NOTES
ARIZONA
Markus Golden    
ATLANTA
Deion Jones
 
DeVondre Campbell, Paul WorrilowSean Weatherspoon (IR)  
BALTIMORE
C.J. Mosley : Zachary Orr
 
 
BUFFALO
 
   
CAROLINA
     
CHICAGO
Michael Floyd  
CINCINNATI
 
 
Still close to four way rotation
CLEVELAND
Demario Davis : Chris Kirksey
 
   
DALLAS
   
Durant and Hitchens continue to rotate
DENVER
   
DETROIT
  DeAndre Levy  
GREEN BAY
none
 
 
Base - dime rotation among ILBs
HOUSTON
Brian Cushing
 
 
INDIANAPOLIS
D'Qwell Jackson
 
Trent Cole (IR)  
JACKSONVILLE
     
KANSAS CITY
 
 
LOS ANGELES
     
MIAMI
 
 
MINNESOTA
     
NEW ENGLAND
     
NEW ORLEANS
Nate Stupar
Ellerbe may replace Robertson when healthy 
NEW YORK GIANTS
none
 
   
NEW YORK JETS
   
Lee and Henderson 100% if Harris out
OAKLAND
Cory James, Malcolm Smith
Ben Heeney (IR)  
PHILADELPHIA
 
Jordan Hicks : Nigel Bradham  
 
PITTSBURGH
  Ryan Shazier   
SAN DIEGO
 
Denzel Perryman, Manti Te'o (IR)  
SAN FRANCISCO
Michael Wilhoite  NaVorro Bowman (IR)   
SEATTLE
     
TAMPA BAY
     
TENNESSEE
   
WASHINGTON
   

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.