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Jene BramelMember Since 11 Apr 2003
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14 December 2014 - 06:25 AM
Good luck everybody!
Cincinnati at Cleveland
Vontaze Burfict was placed on injured reserve this week. That locks Vinny Rey into a starting job. I've been speculating all week we could see either Rey or Emmanuel Lamur moved out of the nickel package for Rey Maualuga due to poor play and cumulative durability questions. There has been no indication that will happen today, but keep it in the back of your mind for next week.
Karlos Dansby is a game time decision after another week of limited practice. I think he'll play today, but I'm not certain he's healthy enough to play every down and could be part of a three way rotation. Craig Robertson would drop a tier in expectation if Dansby is active, but should still be safe to trust as a LB3 with some upside. The home stat crew is favorable and will help Robertson's floor.
Green Bay at Buffalo
The Packers used a rotation of Sam Barrington on base downs and Brad Jones in the dime last week, with A.J. Hawk playing sparingly. Barrington has some upside today, with the Buffalo stat crew among the most favorable in the league, but isn't more than a low ceiling LB3.
Da'Norris Searcy is out this week with a hamstring injury. He'll be replaced by Duke Williams, who isn't a bad desperation DB play in deeper leagues. Aaron Rodgers has been very good in the pocket behind an improving offensive line. While the pass rush matchup isn't as bad as last week's Denver matchup, it's still worth thinking about using other options than Jerry Hughes or Mario Williams if you have them.
Houston at Indianapolis
There's too much rotation in Houston to trust anyone in the back seven right now. D.J. Swearinger played more last week with Kendrick Lewis out, but the secondary is healthy today. I'd avoid everyone other than Watt today, unless Swearinger or Lewis are among your best DB options.
The Colts are healthy. LaRon Landry has yet to play full time and was limited by illness until Friday. He's not likely to earn more snaps this week.
Jacksonville at Baltimore
Jeremiah George was active last week but did not play a defensive snap. J.T. Thomas is on the injury report with an ankle injury but fully practiced all week and should continue in his every-down middle linebacker role.
The Ravens are healthy and have no expected depth chart changes today.
Miami at New England
Both Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi are doubtful. I expect Philip Wheeler and Kelvin Sheppard to start outside and Jason Trusnik in the middle. Wheeler and Trusnik are likely your every-down linebackers. Wheeler is the most trustworthy of the group and I'd tier him as a high variance LB2. Trusnik is a LB3 with upside in deeper, tackle-heavy leagues. Both players get a small bump in expectation with the favorable New England stat crew.
Dont'a Hightower, Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich are all questionable and game time decisions today. Jones seems optimistic he'll play, but check the inactive list for all three before game time. Previously, I felt Jones would be a situational player only. With Dominique Easley on injured reserve and Ninkovich's status unknown, the two extra weeks of conditioning Jones has had may be enough to convince the Patriots to play him extensively.
Oakland at Kansas City
Sio Moore was ruled out late this week with a hip injury. That's a surprise to those following the team. Moore had played through the injury for two weeks and there had been no reports of a setback. With luck, it'll be a minor issue and Moore will return next week. But we're close to the end of the season, and any setback may shut Moore down until 2015. It's not clear who the Raiders will use in Moore's place. There are only two options on the depth chart. Neither have any experience and neither would play every down.
Phillip Gaines is doubtful with a concussion. Tamba Hali was limited again by his chronic knee issues, but will play. Joe Mays replaced James-Michael Johnson in the base defense last week and should be the starter again today.
Pittsburgh at Atlanta
Ryan Shazier was active last week but did not play a defensive snap. He's off the injury report entirely today. Mike Tomlin said he'll have to earn snaps back as the Steelers like what they're getting from Vince Williams and Sean Spence. Avoid the situation entirely. James Harrison could be back today and would rotate with Jarvis Jones.
William Moore is questionable and likely a game time decision at best after not practicing this week. Kemal Ishmael left the game briefly last week but is not on the injury report and would be a solid play if Moore is inactive.
Tampa Bay at Carolina
Lavonte David was cleared to play after last week's concussion and will start. Mason Foster was able to practice some this week, but the tone of the beat writers is that he won't play today. I expect Danny Lansanah to play every down whether Foster is active or not. Lansanah will play middle linebacker if Foster can't go. Clinton McDonald is listed questionable but still hasn't returned to practice. The Panthers are a solid pass rushing matchup and Jacquies Smith is a strong lineup play.
The Panthers are healthy and have no expected depth chart changes.
Washington at New York Giants
Keenan Robinson will not play today. He'll be replaced by Will Compton. It's a great matchup and a very favorable stat crew. Both Compton and Perry Riley have LB3 floors with LB1 upside today. Brandon Meriweather will again be replaced by Philip Thomas.
Jameel McClain had a veteran day of rest on Wednesday before returning to two consecutive full practices. He's good to go. Stevie Brown continues to play full time over Quintin Demps, but there may be lots of dime snaps again this week with Jacquian Williams out. Mark Herzlich and Devon Kennard will be the base outside linebackers, but are very unlikely to see any subpackage snaps.
Denver at San Diego
The Broncos have a few minor injuries to the defensive line rotation, but are healthy. Danny Trevathan was activated on Saturday and will play today. It's likely Trevathan will play only in nickel situations, as the consensus from writers close to the team has always been the Broncos want to ease him back. Brandon Marshall remains a strong start today. Roster Trevathan, but keep him on your bench for now.
The Chargers are a mess for fantasy purposes. 19 defenders saw 20 or more snaps last week, with only the starting corners and Eric Weddle playing every down. Other than Weddle (and possibly Shareece Wright today), this group should be avoided.
Minnesota at Detroit
Anthony Barr is out again this week, putting Gerald Hodges in a solid fantasy position as an every-down outside linebacker. Robert Blanton was also ruled out after not practicing with knee and ankle injuries all week. Andrew Sendejo will probably start for Blanton, which could give Harrison Smith more snaps around the box. Sharrif Floyd is also out with his nagging knee injury.
Tahir Whitehead was added to the injury report on Thursday with a shoulder injury, was limited on Friday and is questionable. He's expected to play, but Josh Bynes will continue to replace him in the nickel. The Lions have no expected depth chart changes today.
New York Jets at Tennessee
Muhammad Wilkerson was ruled out late this week. Hopefully, that means he's close but not quite ready and there were no Friday setbacks. Jason Babin played nearly every down last week with Wilkerson out and Quinton Coples seeing time as a defensive end. That should continue in a very good matchup today. Consider him a high upside bet if you're a big underdog in a sack-heavy league.
Michael Griffin seems indestructible. He's questionable with a back injury and is already playing with a harness on his dislocated shoulder. He fully practiced Friday, however, and seems more probable than questionable. Avery Williamson's recent trend isn't good, but this is a solid matchup and he can be started with confidence today.
San Francisco at Seattle
The Niners moved NaVorro Bowman to injured reserve this week. Anything else would've been a surprise. Glenn Dorsey remains out as well. Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver are questionable but your primary IDP options are all good to go today. The Seattle stat crew is painful for defensive numbers. Though not a reason to bench Chris Borland, lower your expectation a bit today unless you get the same number of points for assists as solos.
The Seahawks are healthy and have no expected depth chart changes.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Dallas at Philadelphia
Rolando McClain is fully practicing and the Cowboys are healthy with no expected depth chart changes. I think we'll see McClain play nearly every down, with Dallas using a small number of dime packages against the Eagles.
The Eagles are healthy with no expected depth chart changes.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
New Orleans at Chicago
David Hawthorne is on the injury report with a new hip injury, but fully practiced on Saturday and should play every down. Kenny Vaccaro was reportedly benched this week, but both Sean Payton and Rob Ryan laughed off the report. It's too risky to trust Vaccaro this week, but despite his poor play at times this year, it never made sense the Saints would sit Vaccaro in favor of their other options.
D.J. Williams was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury this week. That accelerates the timetable for Christian Jones, who was already seeing nickel snaps and will now almost assuredly be an every-down player. I think we'll see Jon Bostic move inside, with Jones taking Bostic's base defensive position. Both players are LB3 with upside on Monday night. Chris Conte is doubtful with a back injury. Jay Ratliff was looking good for a return, then didn't practice on Saturday. I'd avoid Ratliff and look at other options in DT-required leagues this week.
07 December 2014 - 06:41 AM
Good luck with your playoff games, everyone.
Baltimore at Miami
The Ravens have begun giving their veterans and key defensive players more rest during the week, but are getting healthier. Asa Jackson will be back today, likely in a subpackage role only. He could take the slot snaps Matt Elam had been getting over the past month. Jeromy Miles started over Darian Stewart last week, so it'll be interesting to see how the Ravens use their safety group with Jackson back. Jackson could eventually push Anthony Levine out of the starting lineup. Haloti Ngata was suspended for four games this week. Timmy Jernigan has had durability questions but will see his snap count double.
Jelani Jenkins missed time with a shoulder and back injury last Monday but fully practiced this week and should play. The Dolphins will again need to use Jimmy Wilson at corner and R.J. Stanford in the slot today. Wilson has a hamstring strain but is listed probable.
Carolina at New Orleans
Star Lotulelei will return this week. The Panthers are healthy on defense. Tre Boston is expected to replace Thomas DeCoud at free safety, but there's little fantasy value there.
David Hawthorne is off the injury report and could reclaim the every-down role today. Ramon Humber spelled Hawthorne for about 20 snaps last week. The Panthers offensive line has been struggling. Cam Jordan is a must start today and Junior Galette makes for a spot upside play in sack-heavy leagues.
Houston at Jacksonville
Jadeveon Clowney is having a second surgery on his knee. More on that in this week's RTD, but it's something we should be concerned about for the long term. Danieal Manning is questionable with a hamstring injury and tentatively expected to play. If he can't go, Kendrick Lewis and D.J. Swearinger will both see close to full time snaps.
Jeremiah George is probable this week. I doubt we'll see him bump J.T. Thomas from the lineup, but there's been no specifics from the coaching staff. Plan to use Thomas today, but I'll have any lineup changes on Twitter as soon as I see them this morning.
Indianapolis at Cleveland
Vontae Davis is out with a concussion. Josh Gordy will see more time today. This is a great spot for both D'Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman, particularly if Isaiah Crowell is active. The loss of Davis will make it easier for the Browns to convert third downs and the stat crew is much more favorable than the home Colts' crew.
Karlos Dansby is a game time decision. He had three consecutive limited practices and has a good chance to play today. He may not play every down if he goes, however, as I think a three man rotation is likely. Consider Dansby a boom-bust LB2 if he's active. Craig Robertson should be safe to use even if Dansby goes.
New York Giants at Tennessee
With Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka on injured reserve, Damontre Moore gets a big bump in opportunity. He may still rotate out on some base downs, but will get a chance to prove himself against the run again. Jacquian Williams is again out with a concussion. He tried to practice Wednesday and was shut down the rest of the week. You can now consider his absence indefinite. Mark Herzlich is also out with a concussion. Spencer Paysinger will play every down alongside Jameel McClain. Cullen Jenkins will return to the lineup.
Avery Williamson had a poor statistical week but played every down in Week 13, while Wesley Woodyard sat for about one-third of the team's snaps. Don't fear using Williamson today. His floor is better this week and the big play chances are good.
New York Jets at Minnesota
Muhammad Wilkerson is out. Otherwise the Jets are healthy. Jason Babin saw more snaps last week with Wilkerson out, playing nearly every down. He's a risky upside play in deeper leagues today.
Anthony Barr will not play today. He did not practice and is listed doubtful after aggravating a knee injury last week. Gerald Hodges will likely replace him and I think Hodges will play every down. The matchup isn't good enough to consider Hodges more than a LB3, but he's an option in deeper leagues if you're stuck.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
James Harrison is unlikely to play. He was unable to practice this week with a knee injury and is listed doubtful. That makes the timing of Jarvis Jones return from the injured reserve list near perfect. Jones may not be ready to play every down, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him play more snaps than expected. Ryan Shazier is back today and will likely rotate into the base defense, with Vince Williams continuing to work in the nickel.
Vpntaze Burfict is out and showing no signs of returning soon. Domata Peko injured his elbow last week, but will try to play with a brace today. Adam Jones will play after last week's concussion. As always, be mindful of the assist-heavy Cincinnati stat crew when making lineup decisions.
St. Louis at Washington
James Laurinaitis is listed with an ankle injury this week, rather than his usual foot. He's probable to play. Chris Long was probably sore after playing more snaps than expected last week. Washington is a strong matchup for pass rushers -- Robert Quinn is a must start today and Long isn't a bad upside bet either.
Keenan Robinson didn't practice all week and is questionable. He came back into play after the knee injury last week and Washington has allowed players to go without practice and still play. But it's looking very unlikely that Robinson will play this week. Will Compton would replace him. Brandon Meriweather will be replaced by Phillip Thomas at safety today. Thomas should put up DB3+ numbers, especially if Robinson cannot play.
Tampa Bay at Detroit
Lavonte David is questionable. Lovie Smith was optimistic on David this week, saying he had a good week of practice. Make sure he's on the active roster, but he should be a solid fantasy start if he plays today. Mason Foster is dinged up. He may play, but I'd bet we'll see Danny Lansanah replace him in nickel packages if Foster plays. I'd keep Lansanah in lineups today.
The Lions are healthy and have no expected depth chart changes. Get Ezekiel Ansah in lineups today.
Buffalo at Denver
The Bills are heatlhy on defense. Marcell Dareus missed a series or two last week and was limited with a hip injury in practice this week. He's listed probable and should see his usual snap count. There should be no depth chart changes today. That means Nigel Bradham is more risky than usual. He'll sit in some dime packages and the Broncos could spread the Bills out if C.J. Anderson doesn't get on track early against a solid run front. Consider him a boom-bust LB3 today. And Denver is among the toughest pass rush matchups in the league. Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes have been on a two month tear, but have a low floor today. Bench them only for similarly talented options with above-average matchups, but lower your expectations.
Danny Trevathan will be back next week. That gives us one more week without any concern for Brandon Marshall, who has been a LB1. Aqib Talib has been fully practicing and is closer to full strength with his hamstring strain.
Kansas City at Arizona
The Chiefs have lots of defenders listed on the injury report. None missed practice this week and all are probable. With Ron Parker now offically back at safety, there should be no unexpected depth chart moves today.
Tyrann Mathieu will miss 2-3 weeks after thumb surgery this week. Tony Jefferson will be the primary beneficiary. He goes from a base defensive player to full time safety again. This should be another great spot for Calais Campbell. Make sure he's in lineups in all formats.
San Francisco at Oakland
There are no expected depth chart changes for the Niners. NaVorro Bowman's window to prove he's ready to practice and play is closing. Next week will be big for him. Glenn Dorsey is still out. Ray McDonald is probable and will be back in the rotation. That may cut down on the snaps Tank Carradine saw last week.
Sio Moore is questionable with a hip injury suffered during practice this week. He was limited on Thursday and Friday and there's nothing of note in the local media. Tony Sparano said it "crept up" on Moore this week but hasn't provided any meaningful status updates. Be careful before trusting him without a hedge today.
Seattle at Philadelphia
Jeremy Lane has been limited with a glute injury this week and might miss today's game. The Seahawks are otherwise healthy without expected depth chart changes.
The Eagles are also healthy and have no expected depth chart changes today. This should be a very good spot for Mychal Kendricks. Teams have been able to pressure Russell Wilson, so consider Trent Cole as a spot upside play in deeper sack-heavy leagues.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
New England at San Diego
Chandler Jones should be active tonight, but he'll likely play a situational pass rusher role only. His presence shouldn't affect the snap count or production of Dont'a Hightower or Jamie Collins.
The Chargers are healthy, including Corey Liuget who missed Wednesday practice. But they're rotating everyone at linebacker. Other than Liuget and Eric Weddle, this is a team to avoid in tackle heavy and balanced leagues.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Atlanta at Green Bay
The Falcons will still be without Robert Alford, but are otherwise healthy. William Moore returned to a full time role immediately last week. Kemal Ishmael played a big nickel role, which further cut into the rotational time of Joplo Bartu and Prince Shembo. The same is likely this week.
Sam Barrington replaced A.J. Hawk in a few packages last week. Barrington doesn't have much fantasy value but the snap count situation is one to watch for future weeks. Clay Matthews and the safeties are the lone fantasy values here.
Best of luck in your fantasy games this weekend. Reading the Defense returns on Tuesday. Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking news and analysis during the games today.
30 November 2014 - 06:19 AM
EARLY GAMESCarolina at MinnesotaCharles Johnson hasn't practiced since Wednesday but made the trip to Minnesota and could play. If Johnson cannot go, Mario Addison and Kony Ealy would see more snaps. Star Lotulelei is doubtful but could return next week.Sharrif Floyd managed just a limited Friday practice this week after not playing last week. He's a game time decision once again. The Vikings are otherwise healthy. The matchup should be favorable for Brian Robison should you need a high variance play in sack-heavy leagues.Cincinnati at Tampa BayVontaze Burfict still hasn't practiced since knee surgery after Week 8. He'll again be replaced by Vinny Rey today. Margus Hunt is also still out with an ankle injury but Will Clarke has yet to see an increase in snaps.Lavonte David had a limited Friday practice and is again listed questionable. He tweaked his hamstring strain late last week. David told reporters he was confident he could play today. Consider him a game time decision, however. Danny Lansanah moved to weak side linebacker last week and played every down. That's the likely plan again today if David cannot go. Michael Johnson draws a tough matchup today, but Jacquies Smith should still be safe to use as the Bengals are fighting multiple injuries at right tackle.Cleveland at BuffaloKarlos Dansby is out. Craig Robertson played every down for him last week, with Chris Kirksey playing a mostly base defensive role only. There were a few snaps for Tank Carder, but the Browns to go dime against the Falcons. That may not be possible with Tashaun Gipson out with a knee injury. I'm not sure we can fully trust Kirksey today, and the coaches haven't been specific on their plans, but the door is open for full time duty for Kirksey now.The Bills are healthy. Jerry Hughes has an unfavorable matchup against Joe Thomas today, making him a risky bet even at home as hot as he's been. Consider other options today if you have them.....
23 November 2014 - 05:59 AM
EARLY GAMESCincinnati at HoustonVontaze Burfict is still out. The Bengals appear to be targeting Week 13 as his return date, but he's not yet been seen at practice as A.J. Green and Gio Bernard were. Margus Hunt is also out, which means we'll see a larger set of reps for both Robert Geathers and Will Clarke.Jadeveon Clowney should see more snaps today, but is likely not yet ready for true every down duty. The Texans rotated Brian Cushing last week with Akeem Dent and Mike Mohammed still seeing time and will continue to do so today.Cleveland at AtlantaKarlos Dansby argued earlier this week he'd make every effort to play. With a mid grade MCL sprain, that was never a realistic expectation. He was unable to practice and is listed doubtful. I don't see any chance he plays. That puts both Craig Robertson and Chris Kirksey in near every down roles (Tank Carder may see a handful of rotational snaps). Kirksey is the slightly better play. Jabaal Sheard is also questionable, which could give Barkevious Mingo a full set of snaps today.Other than Robert Alford, who is out, the Falcons are healthy. William Moore is back at practice and reportedly on track to return next week against Arizona. Joplo Bartu and Prince Shembo split snaps last week. Shembo may see more snaps today, but both should be avoided in fantasy lineups.Detroit at New EnglandNick Fairley remains out. Tahir Whitehead (base) and Josh Bynes (nickel) rotated last week. Though the Patriots used mostly run formations against Indianapolis last week, it's tough to trust Whitehead today.Still no word on the status of Chandler Jones. He hasn't practiced since his hip injury was reported. The Patriots have been consistent with the usage of Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins over the past three weeks and both can be expected to play every down again today....
16 November 2014 - 06:31 AM
EARLY GAMESAtlanta at CarolinaPrince Shembo began seeing base defensive snaps again last week. He's now entirely off the injury report and could see a higher percentage snaps than Joplo Bartu. The Falcons are otherwise healthy.Star Lotulelei is out with an ankle sprain. Charles Johnson is questionable after not practicing with the team while away with his family. He's expected to play but it's not yet been confirmed.Cincinnati at New OrleansVontaze Burfict is out again this week. He will again be replaced by Vinny Rey. Rey Maualuga is questionable, but fully practiced on Friday and should be back in his base middle linebacker role. Terence Newman is listed questionable but did not practice this week. He's unlikely to be active. If he is, he'll have a reduced role.Curtis Lofton is fighting knee soreness but should play despite his questionable tag. David Hawthorne should be back this week, though it's unclear whether he'll play every down. Keenan Lewis was treated for a swollen knee this week and was able to take a limited practice on Friday. He's questionable but hopeful to play.Denver at St. LouisNate Irving was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Steven Johnson will continue in the middle in the base defense, but the Broncos will continue to use a Big Nickel alignment on passing downs, with T.J. Ward playing a linebacker role.Lamarcus Joyner will miss today's game with a groin injury. Mark Barron played a very aggressive in-the-box role in passing situations last week. He was a pass rusher on half of his snaps and was also tasked with zone coverage from the slot and run blitzes. If he plays the same role today, he'll be on the field for more than 40 snaps and an upside DB3....