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 will 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 about which 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 $
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was added to the COVID-19 list and will miss week 12’s contest. Week 13 is also in question.
Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker’s playing time slid to 31% this week. General managers have probably stopped playing him, but feel free to drop him if better options can be found on your waiver wire.
Linebacker Alex Singleton has been great for the Eagles, but it looks as if Nate Gerry might be ready to return soon. We will see if Singleton replaces Gerry in the lineup or if the coaching staff will give veteran preference to Gerry.
Could the Patriots be giving edge rusher Chase Winovich a bigger role? His playing time has increased over the past two games. While we know how variable the Patriots can be in terms of how they deploy defensive personnel from week to week, it is nice to see that Winovich may be starting to have a role that will be good for those needing to spot start him in leagues.
While Raiders linebacker Corey Littleton remains sidelined, Nicholas Morrow has been able to become a full-time player and do well with his opportunity. All bets are off when Littleton re-enters the lineup, but needy general managers can ride Morrow until Littleton is ready to come back.
Jayon Brown’s injury with the Titans opens up a great opportunity for either David Long or Will Compton. While the Titans went with Compton in Week 11, it could very well end up being Long in Week 12, for he missed the contest while on the COVID list. Long is more athletic and better suited to play the roles that Brown was being asked to fill. Whoever ends up getting the full-time nod will have lots of tackle opportunities on a defense that has a hard time getting off the field and gives up sustained drives with regularity. Furthermore, Brown’s injury will make Rashaan Evans a full-time player. He has not been stellar this year, but perhaps increased playing time will make up for his average play.
This past week’s contest gave us clarity on the Steelers linebacker situation, but it was not the answer for which we were hoping. Snap counts from last week remained virtually unchanged, with Avery Williamson doing just enough to keep Robert Spillane from being a truly full-time player. Spillane is the one to play going forward if desperate, but really he should be relied upon only if the tackle matchup is favorable.
$ INJURY SETTLEMENTS $
Sadly, there were some very significant IDP injuries across the league this past week.
Texans defensive tackle P.J. Hall injured his chest and did not return to the game.
Los Angeles Chargers edge defender Uchenna Nwosu was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. It is uncertain if he will be ready for Week 12.
The Eagles’ defensive end Derek Barnett injured his knee and did not come back into the game.
Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen left Sunday’s action with a knee injury.
The Titans’ linebacker Jayon Brown will miss the remainder of the season with an elbow fracture and dislocation.
Eagles cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc injured his ankle.
Jaguars cornerback D.J. Hayden hurt his knee and did not return to the game against the Steelers.
The Browns’ safety Ronnie Harrison injured his knee.
Jaguars safety Daniel Thomas hurt his arm.
$ MONEY IN THE BANK $
Houston Texans Pass Rushers versus Detroit Lions Offensive Line
Detroit Lions Pass Rushers versus Houston Texans Offensive Line
The Lions are giving up 2.4 sacks a game and the Texans are giving up a whopping 2.9 sacks a game. That is reason enough to believe this could be a sack fest. P.J. Hall, J.J. Watt, and Whitney Mercilus are the picks on the Texans' side to come up with a big play. Jamie Collins Sr is the only one on the Lions side that can be recommended with confidence due to variable snap counts from week to week for the other defenders.