Years ago, when Deone Bucannon introduced himself as a “money linebacker” on Sunday Night Football, the audience had a good laugh. The term was a reference to his defensive responsibilities but conjured images in the minds of viewers of the huge game checks that Bucannon was earning at that time. Memes popped up in the following days of Bucannon on top of piles of money and gold coins. Hopefully, following the guidance given in this column will have your rosters overflowing with a wealth of IDP riches. We’ll primarily focus on edge rushers but will also hit on some of the other players and situations that are likely to impact teams in big play leagues. We will cover risers and fallers in the format, injury situations fantasy general managers need to know, and upcoming matchups to target.
Note: The defensive player injuries covered in this column are not an exhaustive list, but an attempt to cover the situations most likely to impact big play IDP squads. For more extensive coverage of injury situations, see Jene Bramel’s latest Injury Rounds column.
$ Stock up and Bankrupt $
We had not one, but two ejections of important IDPs in week one! Kwon Alexander was ejected for a headshot to Jameis Winston and Myles Jack earned his ousting after throwing a punch at Sammy Watkins. Suspensions are unlikely for both players, which is good news for their general managers.
Those rostering Devin Bush have had a roller coaster ride the past few days. Shortly before game one, Mike Tomlin made comments to suggest Devin Bush would not have a three-down role. That is indeed how it played out. Despite getting only 76% of the snaps, Bush managed 11 combined tackles. That’s great efficiency and may force the coaching staff to revise their stance on Bush’s playing time. Either way, Bush is a solid start, especially in leagues that require three or more starting linebackers.
As expected, Alex Ogletree was the only full-time linebacker for the Giants. Tae Davis showed promise with two solos and one assist, but he was on the field for only 46% of snaps. It will be interesting to see if Davis’ opportunities increase, but for now, Davis should remain on our watch list.
Patrick Onwuasor was the only full-time defender for the Ravens. While he managed only five total tackles, there will be better days ahead for Onwuasor when he faces more competent offenses that can stay on the field.
Shaq Thompson played 98% of the time and put up seven solo stops. If he continues to play as he did against the Rams on Sunday, we will remember this as the season he finally broke out.
Thomas Davis had an impressive debut in a new uniform. He was the only linebacker who played 100% of the snaps and he made the most of them. He put up seven solo tackles and seven assists. Kyzir White was also on the field frequently, but only at 86% of the snaps. It was safety Adrian Phillips who hit 97% of the snaps. It’s looking very much like Derwin James’ absence will lead to a nearly full-time role for Phillips. He should be rostered immediately if he is not already in your leagues.
Jordan Whitehead turned out to be the safety to own in Tampa Bay. He played 100% of the snaps against San Francisco and registered eight total tackles.