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 $
Bills linebacker A.J. Klein has played much better later into the season. Filling in for injured Matt Milano, he played 100% of Sundays snaps and put up a whopping 14 tackles to go with 1.5 sacks on the day. As long as he continues to play for Milano, he is startable.
We had hoped for more clarity on the linebacker situation in Tennessee following Jayon Brown’s season-ending injury, but we got very little confirmation this week. Will Compton and David Long Jr virtually split snaps while Rashaan Evans remained at about 80% of the snaps. Will this be how it is going forward or will David Long Jr’s time increase as he reconditions after his bout with COVID? It is hard to know. General managers should avoid using either option unless absolutely desperate. Increasing COVID cases across the NFL could push one to have to start Compton or Long. At least the matchup this week with Cleveland is good for linebackers.
This column discussed Texans linebacker Tyrell Adams a few weeks ago. The perfect storm of a Benardrick McKinney injury and increased playing time over Zach Cunningham have made Adams a hot commodity in IDP leagues. Will it last into next year? It is tough to say how much of it is the coaching staff trying to get a better look at some of the younger talent on the roster and how much of it is Adams potentially outplaying Cunningham. The writer is betting on the former and not expecting it to last into next year with a new regime incoming. However, general managers can take advantage of it this year.
Raiders’ linebacker Cory Littleton came off the COVID list and was able to start Sunday. While his snaps were at only 58%, it is presumably because he is being eased back into action. Do not start him until you see a game of full-time work, but this is a promising development if you are his general manager.
$ INJURY SETTLEMENTS $
Giants’ pass rusher Kyler Fackrell hurt his calf.
Chargers’ linebacker Denzel Perryman hurt his back and did not return.
Chiefs’ linebacker Dorian O’Daniel was banged up on Sunday night. He twisted his ankle during play and did not return.
Freshly returned from injury, it was not long before Jets’ linebacker Blake Cashman injured his hamstring and exited the lineup once again.
49ers’ cornerback Jamar Taylor was carted off with a knee injury.
Saints’ cornerback Janoris Jenkins also hurt his knee and did not return.
Browns’ safety Ronnie Harrison injured his shoulder on the first play of the game.
$ MONEY IN THE BANK $
New Orleans Saints Pass Rushers versus Atlanta Falcons Offensive Line
The Falcons are definitely looking like a team that is mailing it in. Nowhere is that more true than along the offensive line where they have slipped to allowing 2.5 sacks per contest. Expect Matt Ryan to once again be dragged down by the likes of Cameron Jordan, Trey Hendrickson, and Marcus Davenport.