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.
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)|
|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
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.