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Week 9 IDP Start Em, Sit Em - Streamers and Fades for Fantasy Football Defensive Players

As I promised in my rankings article earlier this week, today is the day I dive deeper into the NFL’s trade deadline. Below we will discuss the IDP stock of several players impacted by this trade extravaganza. We won't hammer on every player possibly impacted because including the farthest-reaching effects can be arduous and irrelevant. However, we will briefly touch on fantasy-relevant defenders whose stock is up or down after trade day.

As we touch on these players, keep in mind there are a lot of factors to consider with these deals. Specifically, we must be mindful of how quickly players can adapt to a new team and scheme with just a few days to prepare. Some players traded mid-week adapt quickly. More often, they see limited snaps in their first week while being eased in over the course of a month. Which category a player falls into often depends on the player himself, their position, the coaching staff, and the scheme.

A great example of how the even best players need time to acclimate to new surroundings is Christian McCaffrey. Arguably the most gifted all-around RB since LaDainian Tomlinson and a Stanford grad, CMC saw just 29% of the 49ers’ snaps in his first game with a coach who babysat him as a child (Kyle Shanahan). However, by his second week, CMC was back to his old self, if not better. It was one week of pain and then glory. We can't expect all fantasy defenders to transition so quickly, though.

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Trade Deadline Stock Report

Stock Down: Roquan Smith, LB, Baltimore Ravens

Considering Roquan Smith was the top tackler in the NFL and the perennial top-overall LB in fantasy every week this season, it’s hard to imagine his stock going up any further. While anything is possible, Smith was an established leader with an established role in Chicago, and now he's changing schemes and teammates, mid-week. That's concerning for his short-term value, even if he's too talented to drop from our top five.

Another concern is Jim Harbaugh's history with fantasy LBs. As a Raven, C.J. Mosley never crossed the 134-tackle threshold. Although Mosley was incredibly effective in the Baltimore scheme and collected plenty of fantasy stats, he averaged just 6.9 tackles per game in three of his final four seasons there. In his first two healthy seasons with the Jets, Mosley is averaging 10.4 tackles per game, which is a vast improvement for fantasy.

Patrick Queen serves as another cautionary tale. As a former first-round pick, Queen has averaged just 6.2 tackles per game with Baltimore. Like Mosley, Queen has supplemented his low tackle totals with sacks, turnovers, and PDs. However, that profile made Mosley and Queen a bit big play dependent as fantasy LBs in Baltimore.

Of course, Roquan Smith's pedigree and profile are richer than those of Mosley and Queen. He may even continue to lead the NFL in tackles as a Raven. However, the possibility is strong that fans will see a decrease in consistent tackle rates and an increase in big plays. Keeping Smith atop our LB rankings every week will be tough if that happens. That's why we have him as a loser. When you've reached the pinnacle, there's no higher to climb.


Stock Up: Nicholas Morrow, LB, Chicago Bears

The role of Morrow shouldn't change with Smith gone, as all accounts point towards him maintaining his MIKE position. Morrow has an elite usage rate, so that should also remain the same. However, if you subscribe to the philosophy of "vacated tackles," Morrow could be a winner.

Although we can't expect Morrow to inherit every tackle Smith would have made, there is merit to the notion that Morrow will be given more freedom to roam as the new leader of that unit. Spaces that Smith may have filled more quickly may now be filled by Morrow, for example. As a player with two double-digit tackle games already, this Greenville alum should see more consistency from now on.


Stock Up: Jack Sanborn, LB, Chicago Bears

We have yet to determine who will take over the roaming WILL position that Roquan Smith once inhabited, but initial reports by Bears beat writers suggest it could be Sanborn. The rookie out of Wisconsin saw his first playing time on Sunday, and he's reportedly been taking the second-team snaps at Smith's WILL spot in practice. Many also point out that A.J. Klein has historically been a SAM, which Chicago uses less often.

Whoever replaces Smith as the every-down ‘backer next to Morrow will see their stock rise, possibly into the LB4 or LB3 range. That could be Klein, but reports suggest Sanborn will get the first crack at it. He’s worth a stash in very deep IDP leagues.


Stock Down: Bradley Chubb, DL/LB, Miami Dolphins

Don’t get us wrong, Chubb will still be a DL2 in our rankings for the foreseeable future. He’s 24th in the NFL in pressures and 13th in sacks, and he’s joining a Miami defense with helpful pieces like Xavien Howard, Jevon Holland, and Jaelan Phillips. That said, Denver's secondary was arguably the best in the NFL this season, and they played behind a unit Chubb knew well. A transition period will be required before Chubb likely returns to his old usage/efficiency.


Stock Up: Robert Quinn, DL/LB, Philadelphia Eagles

We were down on Quinn this offseason, and he’s done nothing to dissuade our concerns. Despite playing a majority of the snaps for the Bears in seven of eight games, he has just one sack and eight total tackles all season. That’s abysmal production. However, the opposite of what we said about Roquan Smith could be true here.

When you’re at the absolute bottom, there may be nowhere to go but up. Let’s see if Philly offers the chance to do that. We should expect Quinn’s playing time to diminish on a deep defensive line, but he should face less attention. He should also have more time to get after the passer with superior secondary play to what he had in Chicago. That said, temper expectations because Eagles pass rushers have struggled to get home all season.


Long-Term Stock Up: Nik Bonitto, DL/LB, Denver Broncos

I loved Bonitto's potential coming out of Oklahoma and credited the Broncos with a steal when they drafted him on the second day of the NFL Draft. He's an intuitive and quick pass rusher who played with good containment discipline in college. He flashed that potential on Sunday, notching a sack in his first game with over 40% of the snaps.

With Bradley Chubb gone, a full-time pass rush role has opened in Denver. Our first instinct is to project Bonitto for a significant chunk of those snaps immediately just based on talent… but we must remember this Broncos staff doesn’t always follow talent. After all, Nathaniel Hackett gave Melvin Gordon more touches in games where Javonte Williams was fully healthy (14.7 per game) than in games without him (12 per game).

In the short term, we should expect Bonitto's stock to rise only slightly, as the coaching staff favors a rotation of veterans like Jonathan Cooper, Jacob Martin, and possibly Alex Singleton. We hope that talent will win out in the long term, though. Consider him a dynasty value and a deep league redraft stash with upside.



Casual IDP Streamers and Fades for This Week

Stream: Drue Tranquill, LB, Los Angeles Chargers

Tranquill is becoming a regular in these parts, yet he's still rostered in just 9.7% of IDP leagues. The Charger has at least seven tackles in every game since Week 3, and he plays the second most run-oriented offense in the league this week. As you know by now, tackle-oriented players typically get our stamp of approval when facing teams like the Falcons, Titans, or Browns.


Stream: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Los Angeles Rams

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers throw the ball more than any team in the NFL this year, with extreme focus given to Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Considering Ramsey's position as the Star in Los Angeles' defense, he should cover both Godwin and Evans. Who he covers will depend on the alignment and what Tampa shows them, but odds are it will be Evans more often than not.

If last year’s playoff match was any indication, Ramsey should see plenty of opportunities for tackles and PDs against the Bucs. While Brady’s ultra-efficiency should limit Ramsey’s turnover upside, the potential for tackles and PDs is high. Consider the All-Pro a low-end DB2 option in a thin week for fantasy DBs.


Fade: Jeff Okudah, DB, Detroit Lions

If the Packers don't have a clear WR they actually want to throw to, then the Lions don't have anyone worth shadowing. Green Bay could make this a relatively low-scoring affair as well, allowing Aaron Jones and Robert Tonyan to control the clock. If you must play a CB, Okudah is fine. But in more casual leagues, you can drop him for safer options like Roger McCreary.


Fade: Bobby Okereke, LB, Indianapolis Colts

As we mentioned in our rankings column, it was Bobby Okereke and not Zaire Franklin who lost snaps to Shaquille Leonard this past weekend. Franklin kept his every-down role even with Leonard back. If that trend continues, you have to worry about Okereke’s value going forward.

Last week Leonard played just 39% of the defensive snaps due to health concerns, and Okereke played 61%. However, that split could easily flip this week if the Colts are comfortable with Leonard's health. If that happens, Okereke could lose almost all fantasy value, despite being a consistent producer all year. Okereke’s fate isn’t set in stone, as he’s been a steady force for Indy, so you shouldn’t drop him yet. We are worried, though.


Premium Scoring & Deep League Streamers and Fades for This Week

Stream: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, DL/LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

You don't need to consult statistics to see just how many holes there are on the Rams' offensive line. Their issues are evident just from watching one half of football, any half at all. Los Angeles has started ten different offensive linemen in eight games, and only two have earned a positive pass-blocking grade from PFF. One of those positive grades was given to Tremayne Anchrum for his one pass-blocking down all season.

While the Rams have surrendered 24 sacks (sixth worst in the NFL), they have given up a whopping 102 pressures so far. If you look at their injury report and watch the film, that problem only worsens. Thus, Tryon-Shoyinka is a fine streamer in deeper formats this week, despite earning just 18 pressures and three sacks on the season. He should be one of Tampa's primary pass rushers with Shaquil Barrett out.


Stream: Christian Wilkins, DL, Miami Dolphins

Coming off his worst game of the season, Wilkins is a low-ceiling option even in a good matchup. However, his floor feels pretty high against a Bears team that runs the ball nearly 60% of the time and has given up the most sacks in the NFL. The Bears are giving up 4.5 pressures per game up the middle, and they're averaging 16.25 rush attempts per game in Wilkins' range. Thus, he is a viable streamer if you're desperate in a tackle-premium format.


Fade: All Texans in Big Play Formats

If you play in a league that values turnovers over tackles at a rate of 4 to 1 or more, you shouldn’t value any Texans defender as a starter this week. The Eagles are the most conservative team in the NFL when it comes to giveaways, turning the ball over just two times in seven games. The next closest team is the Raiders, with six giveaways.

To make matters worse, the Eagles project to go up big early in this contest like they have several times this season. When they do that, they get particularly conservative. So, if you need a few PDs or decent tackle totals, feel free to start guys like Christian Kirksey or Jalen Pitre. But if you need turnovers to win your matchup, you can’t count on anyone here.


Fade: Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints

Assuming Lattimore returns from injury, he has a very negative matchup this week. The Ravens are seventh in the NFL in rush percentage this season, which isn’t helpful. The truly concerning part, though, is Lamar Jackson has targeted his wide receivers just 95 times all season. That means that on average, Jackson sends just 11.88 targets per game to his wide receivers. In other words, he’s splitting DeAndre Hopkins’ target share between an entire WR unit!

With the Ravens’ absurdly low receiver volume noted, things continue to get worse. The wideout averaging the most targets per game on the team (Rashod Bateman) won't even be playing against New Orleans. So, Lattimore will be up against the lowest-volume wide receiver corps in the NFL, minus their top wideout. That spells incredibly low volume.


Defensive Tackles to Consider for This Week

Matt Ioannidis, DT, Carolina Panthers

The man with an impossible-to-spell last name ranks 14th amongst all interior defenders in pressures. The Bengals are allowing five interior pressures per game and throwing the ball more than any other team in the NFL over the past three weeks. There is upside here.


Harrison Phillips, DT, Minnesota Vikings

The Commanders have allowed 67 quarterback pressures from the interior this season. Worse, their line grades the worst in the NFL in 2nd level yardage and third worst in adjusted yardage. Phillips should see a healthy snap rate against this line, allowing for a solid tackle floor and a sack opportunity.


Cornerbacks to Consider for This Week

Mike Jackson, CB, Seattle Seahawks

Many people are already starting Jackson after he joined teammate Tariq Woolen in a strong start to the Seattle secondary. However, if you aren't playing him in CB-mandated leagues, you need to this week. DeAndre Hopkins has lined up wide-left on 66% of his snaps this season. Last week that rate jumped to 85.8% with Rondale Moore back in the slot. Meanwhile, Jackson has lined up on that left side 81.6% of the time this season.

With a heavy dose of Hopkins on sleight, Jackson’s fantasy potential is higher than usual. Hopkins is averaging 11 targets per game in his two games this season, and there’s no reason for Arizona to slow that train while it’s working. Expect Jackson to see double-digit fantasy opportunities this week.


Tyson Campbell, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Rostered in just 4.9% of IDP leagues, Campbell is having a breakout season. The former Bulldog has six or more tackles in three of his past four games, and he’s registered at least one PD in five of eight contests. He also has a history of shadowing, which will come in handy against Davante Adams.

While Adams and the Raiders were off last week, flu-related issues likely impacted the receiver's play. Expect Adams' target share to bounce back to the double-digit range as Las Vegas tries to right a struggling offense that doesn't like Hunter Renfrow and could still be missing Darren Waller. That should mean plenty of chances for Campbell.


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