Packer linebacker Desmond Bishop ruptured his right hamstring and suffered a knee sprain in the team's opening preseason game against the Chargers. He is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the hamstring and will likely miss the remainder of the season. 2nd year linebacker D.J. Smith will take over Bishop's "mack" linebacker role, likely in an every down capacity. Smith is a solid impact run defender and filled in nicely for Bishop late last season when the latter went down with a leg injury. Owners should look at Smith as a high floor LB2 option and should flock to the waiver wire to snatch him up if he's still available. In redraft leagues, he should be one of the top 25-35 linebackers taken off the board in balanced and tackle heavy leagues.
Pat Angerer broke his foot in the Colts' season opener on Sunday and will miss at least 6 weeks. This means he will likely miss 3-4 regular season games. The Indy coaching staff mentioned several players as possible fill-ins for Angerer while he's out, but the one to focus on is Jerrell Freeman. Initial reports on Freeman have been quite good so far this off-season. He was working in nickel packages yesterday before stepping in on base downs for the injured Angerer. He could be a VERY sneaky LB3 play for the first few games of the season if he can establish himself as the every down starter.
Please note that Freeman is not in the MFL database yet and therefore you may have troubles grabbing him off the waiver wire or bringing him up in drafts in that specific league management system.
The Bengals defense suffered a multitude of injuries during their first preseason game. Emerging defensive end Carlos Dunlap suffered a knee sprain and will likely miss the regular season opener against the Ravens. Nonetheless, Dunlap should remain on your watch list as a potential DL1 breakout candidate. Rey Maualuga also suffered a sprained knee, however it was less severe than Dunlap's and he will only miss a couple days of practice. Lastly, safety Taylor Mays was dealt a "possible" concussion after laying a hit on rookie Jets WR Stephen Hill. He has no previous history with concussions and should still be the leading candidate for the starting strong safety position come opening day.
As expected, Kelvin Sheppard did NOT play in subpackages. As I've stated all off-season, Sheppard is an up and coming talent and should be rostered in all moderate to deep dynasty leagues. However, he's currently being overvalued in redraft leagues. He just won't see enough tackle opportunity in a two down role to live up to his current ADP.
Donald Butler was playing every down and is primed for a breakout season. I would not be surprised at all if he finished as a top 10 linebacker this season. In a related note, Demorrio Williams was taking over for the veteran Takeo Spikes in the nickel which is a shift from last season.
Akeem Dent was featured only as a two down linebacker with Sean Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas staying in on passing situations. With this said, Nicholas is shaping up to be a very nice LB5 value pick in deeper redraft leagues. He performed well for the Falcons the last couple of years and should see a nice uptick in production with the increased snap count.
Joe Mays played in the majority of the Broncos' subpackages along with Wesley Woodyard. Both players are solid LB3 options (especially Woodyard) for the first 6 weeks of the season while D.J. Williams is serving his suspension.
Justin Durant was present in nickel packages more so than DeAndre Levy. However, the Lions have used these two in subpackages interchangeably dating back to last year. Outside of Stephen Tulloch, I tend to avoid the Detroit linebackers for fantasy purposes.
Jerod Mayo was the only linebacker on the field in subpackages last Thursday as the Patriots utilized a lot of dime subpackages against the Saints' spread sets. It's hard to say if this was a spot occurance or if it will be something New England employs heavily in the regular season.
2nd year player Mason Foster and veteran Quincy Black took all of the first team nickel snaps for the Bucs. However it's likely that as the preseason wears on, Lavonte David will take over those responsibilities from Black. Definitely a situation to monitor though as David's immediate value will be stifled if this situation sticks.
Mychal Kendricks took every nickel snap ahead of Brian Rolle, however Jamar Chaney did not play and could be a threat to take away those nickel snaps from Kendricks when he returns to action.
Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson were the Vikings three down linebackers. Jasper Brinkley left the field in passing situations.
K.J. Wright was the team's only every down linebacker. The Seahawks opted to go with Leroy Hill over Bobby Wagner in nickel packages which has to be concerning to Wagner owners. I'd still bet on Wagner being the every down guy there in the middle, but it's a must-watch situation moving forward.
Rookie Chandler Jones looked outstanding in his first NFL action with 5 QB pressures in 14 dropbacks to go along with two stuffed runs. He's been drawing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul from opposing offensive tackles and seems to already have a firm grip on the fantasy lucrative, starting RDE position in New England. Jones is flying up my rankings and is a great risk/reward play as your DL3/4.
Quintin Coples, another rookie defensive end, had an outstanding game as well amassing 5 stops, a sack, and a forced fumble. I've admittedly not been Coples' biggest advocate from a fantasy perspective as the scheme and personal consistency issues concern me a bit. I still wouldn't expect anything more than DL4+ production out of Coples in 2012, but he's a rookie to keep an eye on.
Luke Kuechly, the 9th overall pick in this year's draft, has been performing amazingly well so far in camp and that carried over into his 1st NFL preseason game as he seemed very comfortable within the defense scheme. He's a natural tackling machine and should be a nice, low risk LB2 play this year for IDP owners.
According to Rotoworld, Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger has been a "standout" performer in the early stages of training camp. He will be replacing Terrell Suggs as the starting rush linebacker and is actually still classified as a DL in CBS and MFL fantasy leagues. In those leagues, Kruger is a nice value as your DL4/5*.
That's all the tidbits I have for this week. Be on the lookout next week for a similar report that will cover off on all the important highlights from week 2 of the NFL preseason.
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Last Updated: August 13, 2012 Related Posts: