The first week of play saw some significant injuries on the defensive side of the ball. I will be here each week to go over any injuries and what that means to those situations while covering potential beneficiaries on the IDP front.
Let’s get to it.
First, let’s cover some injury news:
- Chris Long (STL DE): Long injured his left ankle when it got rolled early in the 3rd quarter. He wasn’t effective in the game and didn’t accrue any counting stats. William Hayes would fill in if Long is out for an extended period but he isn’t worth picking up at this point
- Mike DeVito (KC DE): DeVito ore his achilles and is out for the rest of the year. He wasn’t a great option but it may affect Dontario Poe moving forward as DeVito was able to pick up blockers. The Chiefs signed Kevin Vickerson to replace DeVito but he isn’t worth your time.
- Jadeveon Clowney (HOU LB): Clowney tore his lateral meniscus and will miss 4-6 weeks of action (maybe more). This is a disappointment for anyone in big play leagues (1 pt per tackle vs 4+ pts per sack). His replacement is most likely Whitney Mercilus who has a first round pedigree but has been mostly disappointing over the past two seasons.
- Derrick Johnson (KC LB): This is probably the biggest injury for IDP’ers in week 1. Johnson is a solid 100 tackle LB that was probably the anchor of your defense. His probable replacements are Josh Mauga and James-Michael Johnson but neither are expected to do much. Of more importance is that if your running back is playing against the Chiefs moving ahead his matchup just got a whole lot better.
- Zach Brown (TEN: LB): Brown tore his pectoral and will miss the rest of the year. This will free up Zaviar Gooden who has the speed and skills to be of some value. Gooden will get the opportunity and is worth a speculative add in case he gets the job done. He will be competing with Wesley Woodyard for tackle opportunities but he has the edge.
- Jerrell Freeman (ID LB): Freeman pulled his hammy. It’s too bad, as he was having quite the game prior to the injury. Even with D’Qwell Jackson next to Freeman in the middle he was able to rack up 7 tackles. Assuming this injury isn’t too serious Freeman should be a solid contributor.
- Robert Mathis (IND LB): Mathis tore his achilles as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mathis struggles to get back to normal. Mathis tore his achilles working out on his own last week as he was on suspension. He is done for the year.
- Dannell Ellerbe (MIA LB): Ellerbe injured his hip and was placed on injured reserve. His 2014 campaign is also over.
- Koa Misi (MIA LB): Misi injured his ankle and it sounds like a high ankle sprain. He will be out for an extended period of time. The Dolphins LB core is depleted so it’s good news for the Bills coming to town next week. The Dolphins signed Kelvin Sheppard.
- Vontaze Burfict (CIN: LB): The Bengals linebacker left early with a concussion. Everyone knows what that means by now; check the reports and see if he passes the protocol for next week. If he is out expect Vincent Rey and Emmanuel Lamur to benefit. Both players could have some fantasy impact.
Who’s on the wire?
- Justin Smith (SF DE): Just keeps chugging away and ended the game with 2 sacks and 2 tackles. He is nothing special but in deeper leagues he is a solid option
- Sen’Derrick Marks (JAC DT): Built upon his nice preseason picking up a sack. In leagues that require defensive tackles he is someone to get on your radar. Very disruptive up the middle.
- Wallace Gilberry (Cin DE): Had a nice outing opposite Carlos Dunlap while picking up 1.5 sacks. With Michael Johnson now in Tampa, Gilberry has a chance to surprise. If he can hold off Marques Hunt he could be in line for 8-10 sacks.
- Sio Moore (OAK LB): Lit up the stat sheet with 11 tackles and a sack. Some of it was helped by Nick Roach being inactive but I like Moore to keep this up. He is moving into his second year and has the potential for games like this all year long.
- Jamie Collins (NE LB): He is taking on a full time roll and should continue the strong tackle numbers.
- Emmanuel Lamur (CIN LB): Had a nice start to the year with 5 tackles, 6 assists and a pick. He received extra time with Burfict going out with a concussion but this should earn him more reps and worth a look in deep formats.
- Jarvis Jones (Pit LB): Disappointed last year and has probably been forgotten in many leagues. In big play leagues he is worth a look as he has a chance for double digit sacks if he continues to develop.
- Christian Kirksey (CLE LB): This is a speculative suggestion as he isn’t on the field much. I expect by the end of the season he will be worth a roster spot.
- Keenan Robinson (WAS LB): Picked up six tackles and a fumble recovery in his debut as London Fletcher’s replacement in the middle for Washington. If you are looking for a high floor tackle guy Robinson may be a low cost option
- Antoine Cason (CAR CB): Was busy with 9 tackles but he also picked off a pass. The Panthers DL is gonna pressure the QB and Cason may be the beneficiary with quick tackle opportunities.
- Donte Whitner (CLE S): Racked up a ton of tackles (12 solos) as he played the entire game. He should get a lot of opportunity in Cleveland and is worth picking up if available.
- Leodis McKelvin (BUF CB): Had 13 solo tackles which will probably never happen again but he is just good enough to be close to the receivers and just bad enough to be targeted. That is the recipe for a great IDP season. If your league also awards for return yardage he is the punt returner, so you get a bonus there.
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (GB S): May not have played a ton of snaps but he was all over the place when he was in there. He picked up a sack and will be in line for more of that once he starts picking up more playing time. You may want to give him another week to see if it continues but if you have the space he might be a low cost stash.
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/rc0Q1k
Shane Gallimore is a fantasy football contributor for The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Gally4!