Fantasy Football Fades: Hope For Mike Williams Will Have To Wait

Yet another development in the NFL’s COVID drama occurred this week, with the league again changing its position on when COVID positive players are eligible to play. It is a development that looks great on paper, as both vaccinated and unvaccinated players can get back on the field faster. Still, it's also a change that will cause uncertainty for those tinkering with their championship rosters.

Now, you may be wondering, how could accelerating the availability of COVID players possibly be a problem for fantasy managers? Well, that's a fine question, and we are glad I asked it for you. To answer that brilliant pondering, we would simply tell you to think about all of the COVID losses from last week (i.e. Dalvin Cook, Mike Williams, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, Darius Leonard, etc.), and how those losses impacted many managers. It’s important to remember that fantasy managers got very early notice that each of these players would be out last week, and managers were able to make waiver claims to cover those losses. For example, many who had Beasley and Davis knew they would be out, and that knowledge gave them the confidence to drop Beasley and add players like Justin Jackson or Isaiah McKenzie. Had there been question marks surrounding Beasley or Davis’ availability, managers may have been inclined to hang onto them and hope they played. That would’ve been a risky proposition, and it would’ve been the wrong one if it meant you missed out on Jackson.

Of course, this is a small problem in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately it is good news for fantasy managers that you can get players back faster. We simply want to warn you about the uncertainty that comes with this new timetable, and the risks you may be taking if you choose to wait on a COVID player past waivers and into Saturday evening…. And with that said, let's get to our IDP rankings, shall we?

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Top-30 Fantasy Defensive Linemen of the Week

Rank

Player

Team

Opponent

1 T.J. Watt Steelers Browns
2 Nick Bosa 49ers Texans
3 Micah Parsons Cowboys Cardinals
4 Aaron Donald Rams Ravens
5 Harold Landry III (Q) Titans Dolphins
6 Myles Garrett (Q) Browns Steelers
7 Haason Reddick (Q) Panthers Saints
8 Robert Quinn Bears Giants
9 Joey Bosa Chargers Broncos
10 Matthew Judon (Q) Patriots Jaguars
11 Leonard Floyd Rams Ravens
12 Charles Harris Lions Seahawks
13 Trey Hendrickson Bengals Chiefs
14 Alex Highsmith Steelers Browns
15 Brian Burns (Q) Panthers Saints
16 Marcus Davenport (Q) Saints Panthers
17 Cameron Heyward Steelers Browns
18 Jaelen Phillips Dolphins Titans
19 Sam Hubbard Bengals Chiefs
20 Von Miller Rams Ravens
21 Demarcus Lawrence Cowboys Cardinals
22 Jeffery Simmons Titans Dolphins
23 Chandler Jones Cardinals Cowboys
24 Josh Allen Jaguars Patriots
25 Samson Ebukam 49ers Texans
26 Andrew Van Ginkel Dolphins Titans
27 Javon Hargrave Eagles WFT
28 Montez Sweat WFT Eagles
29 Deforest Buckner Colts Raiders
30 Kyle Van Noy Patriots Jaguars
31 Randy Gregory Cowboys Cardinals
32 Joe Tryon-Shoyinka Buccaneers Jets
33 Cameron Jordan Saints Panthers
34 Darrell Taylor Seahawks Lions
35 Uchenna Nwosu Chargers Broncos
36 Rashan Gary Packers Vikings
37 Chris Wormley (Q) Steelers Browns
38 Odafe Oweh (Q) Ravens Rams
39 Arden Key 49ers Texans
40 Bradley Chubb (Q) Broncos Chargers

 

DL Streamer of the Week: Samson Ebukam, San Francisco 49ers

Let's try this again, shall we? Last week we nominated Arden Key as our Streamer of the Week because we loved his matchup against the Titans, and we liked his recent sack production. Unfortunately, our Key pick didn’t pan out, due in large part to the growing role of Samson Ebukam in San Francisco’s defensive front.

With Ebukam offering a better-rounded skillset than Key and more than twice the snaps, the former Ram has surpassed the LSU product as San Francisco’s #2 pass rusher right now. That new role couldn’t come at a better time either, as the 49ers now face a Houston Texans team that sits in the bottom-ten of the NFL in both sacks allowed and Adjusted Sack Rate this season. That matchup and Ebukam’s recent trends should combine for a high-end DL3 fantasy week.

Another Underrated Matchup for Thursday: As we mentioned in our IDP Waivers column this week, we like Joe Tryon-Shoyinka’s playing time to increase with Shaquil Barrett out. The Jets are a plus matchup for edge rushers too, so the rookie from Washington is a worthwhile flier in deeper formats.

 

DL Fade of the Week: Baltimore Ravens Pass Rushers

Last week the Ravens faced the third-worst offensive line in the NFL, in terms of Adjusted Sack Rate. Opponents had been knocking Joe Burrow around with ease for weeks, and yet the Ravens couldn’t seem to lay a hand on the second-year passer. Instead, Burrow stayed clean and picked Baltimore apart on the way to setting a team record for passing yards.

This week, Baltimore faces a far better blocking unit than the one in Cincinnati. The Rams have allowed the third-fewest sacks in the league, in fact. If Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser couldn’t beat up on a weak Bengals offensive line, why should we expect them to do any better against a good one?

 

Top-30 Fantasy Linebackers of the Week

Rank

Player

Team

Opponent

1 Roquan Smith Bears Giants
2 Denzel Perryman (Q) Raiders Colts
3 Darius Leonard (Q) Colts Raiders
4 Foyesade Oluokun Falcons Bills
5 De’Vondre Campbell Packers Vikings
6 Bobby Wagner Seahawks Lions
7 T.J. Edwards Eagles WFT
8 Jordyn Brooks Seahawks Lions
9 Devin White Buccaneers Jets
10 C.J. Mosley Jets Buccaneers
11 Eric Kendricks Vikings Packers
12 Cole Holcomb WFT Eagles
13 Deion Jones Falcons Bills
14 Fred Warner 49ers Texans
15 Quincy Williams Jets Buccaneers
16 T.J. Watt Steelers Browns
17 Micah Parsons Cowboys Cardinals
18 Troy Reeder Rams Ravens
19 Shaq Thompson Panthers Saints
20 Kamu Grugier-Hill (Q) Texans 49ers
21 Bobby Okereke Colts Raiders
22 Alex Singleton Eagles WFT
23 Joe Schobert Steelers Browns
24 Kyzir White Chargers Broncos
25 Jordan Hicks Cardinals Cowboys
26 Logan Wilson (Q) Bengals Chiefs
27 Zach Cunningham Titans Dolphins
28 Tae Crowder Giants Bears
29 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Browns Steelers
30 Matt Milano Bills Falcons
31 Demario Davis Saints Panthers
32 Tremaine Edmunds Bills Falcons
33 Baron Browning Broncos Chargers
34 Isaiah Simmons Cardinals Cowboys
35 Jerome Baker Dolphins Titans
36 Kevin Minter Buccaneers Jets
37 Anthony Walker Jr. Browns Steelers
38 Germaine Pratt (Q) Bengals Chiefs
39 Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Q) Lions Seahawks
40 Patrick Queen Ravens Rams

 

LB Streamer of the Week: Kevin Minter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Lavonte David on IR and Shaquil Barrett out with a knee sprain, the Buccaneers have to dig deep into their linebacker rotation this week. Minter appeared to be one of the answers to this issue last week when he played 70% of the team's snaps while logging five tackles and a sack. That type of playing time and production should come again against the Jets.

The Jets showed a renewed interest in their ground game in Week 16, running the ball 36 times against the Jaguars. While that game script may not be possible against the Bucs, Zach Wilson and company will pepper the short-middle field with lots of screens and slot targets when they have to throw. It also helps that Wilson is scrambling more now than he did earlier in the season, allowing Minter and the Bucs’ pass rushers more chances at a sack.

 

LB Fade of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals Linebackers

This week’s nitpicking will be aimed at the Cincinnati Bengals’ LB corps, largely because that group is the definition of uncertainty going into Week 17. The first concern you have to have is Cincy’s opponent, an efficient Chiefs offense that may be without its starting running back. There shouldn’t be many opportunities for turnovers in this one, and the tackle volume could be low.

Beyond the Bengals’ opponent, you have to worry about who will be starting in this unit and what kind of snap rates you'll get from them. Logan Wilson is being called doubtful by some beat writers, while Coach Zac Taylor said he was "a little more optimistic" than last week that Wilson will play. That is slight praise when you consider Wilson didn't actually play last week… but you do have to like Wilson logging a full practice on Wednesday.

Of additional concern is the uncertainty surrounding Wilson's replacement, Germaine Pratt. The interim linebacker was placed on the COVID list today, giving him a short window to clear COVID protocols before Sunday. You can't feel great starting Pratt when you don't know if he will play or if Wilson will dig into his fantasy opportunities.

With the uncertainty surrounding the health of Pratt and Wilson, you have to be worried about this entire Bengals unit going against the Chiefs. Pratt and Wilson are green-dot signal-callers, and there's a strong possibility neither will be at full strength if they play on Sunday. There’s also the distinct possibility that neither of these ‘backers sees a full snap share given their ailments, which further compromises their fantasy floor. Be very careful if you’re counting on them in your playoff matchups.

 

 

Top-30 Fantasy Defensive Backs of the Week

Rank

Player

Team

Opponent

1 Derwin James Jr. (Q) Chargers Broncos
2 Logan Ryan Giants Bears
3 Harrison Smith Vikings Packers
4 Jordan Poyer Bills Falcons
5 Minkah Fitzpatrick Steelers Browns
6 Jeremy Chinn Panthers Saints
7 Vonn Bell Bengals Chiefs
8 Khari Willis (Q) Colts Raiders
9 Antoine Winfield Jr. (Q) Buccaneers Jets
10 Jayron Kearse Cowboys Cardinals
11 Kevin Byard Titans Dolphins
12 Kenny Moore II Colts Raiders
13 Jalen Thompson Cardinals Cowboys
14 Kamren Curl WFT Eagles
15 Jevon Holland Dolphins Titans
16 Budda Baker (Q) Cardinals Cowboys
17 Justin Simmons Broncos Chargers
18 Kyle Dugger Patriots Jaguars
19 Xavier Woods Vikings Packers
20 Jalen Ramsey Rams Ravens
21 Trevon Diggs Cowboys Cardinals
22 Tracy Walker Lions Seahawks
23 Jordan Fuller Rams Ravens
24 Jessie Bates III Bengals Chiefs
25 L’Jarius Sneed Chiefs Bengals
26 Brandon Jones Dolphins Titans
27 Chidobe Awuzie Bengals Chiefs
28 A.J. Terrell Falcons Bills
29 Jordan Whitehead Buccaneers Jets
30 Rasul Douglas Packers Vikings
31 Terrell Edmunds Steelers Browns
32 J.C. Jackson (Q) Patriots Jaguars
33 Bryce Hall (Q) Jets Buccaneers
34 Taylor Rapp Rams Ravens
35 Quandre Diggs Seahawks Lions
36 Marshon Lattimore Saints Panthers
37 Xavier McKinney Giants Bears
38 Andrew Wingard Jaguars Patriots
39 Ronnie Harrison (Q) Browns Steelers
40 Taron Johnson Bills Falcons

 

DB Streamer of the Week: Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints

Lattimore has shadowed six times this season. While it’s true Carolina wasn’t one of those six teams, it’s likely they would have been on the list had Lattimore played in the Saints’ first matchup with the Panthers.

Considering the lack of other weapons on Carolina’s offense, it would stand to reason that New Orleans will use Lattimore to shadow D.J. Moore this week. That kind of shadow role could render DB3 production or better, considering Moore has averaged a healthy 9.9 targets per game with Darnold under center.

 

DB Fade of the Week: Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Elijah Moore and Corey Davis on IR, there is no clear target for Davis to shadow in this matchup. If Davis were to follow anyone it would be Braxton Berrios, who spends half his time in the slot. Davis doesn’t follow to the slot, however. The former Auburn Tiger has spent less than 5% of his snaps inside this season.

What’s worse, the possible absence of Jamel Dean and Antoine Winfield Jr. could make it exceedingly easy for Zach Wilson to avoid Davis this week. That lack of secondary depth could also make things hard on a Bucs front seven that is missing Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett. If the Bucs struggle to get after Wilson, the potential for interceptions will drop accordingly. Altogether, this is not a high-upside or a high-volume matchup for an outside corner like Davis.

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Brennans NFL Week 17 picks: The L.A. Rams are a lock and the Cardinals upset the Cowboys

Source:Toronto Sun

Brennans NFL Week 17 picks: The L.A. Rams are a lock and the Cardinals upset the Cowboys