Elite linebackers are going down left and right. This article should help to decide which players are worth adding and inserting into your lineup. The fun part is sifting through the landmines. Let’s start with the injury news and move on to the good news at the end.
IDP injuries of note:
- Calais Campbell (ARI DE): Campbell looks like he might be back sooner than later. After getting in some running this week it looks like a return in week 8 is possible.
- Chandler Jones (NE DE): Jones bounced back from his zero-tackle performance with a sack and fumble recovery while posting 4 tackles. He was in for every play and with Jerod Mayo done for the year, Jones should get more opportunities at OL, boosting his value even more.
- Armonty Bryant (CLE DE): Bryant tore his ACL and MCL and is done for the season. He was just a situational pass-rusher so probably not a big blow to anyone’s team. It may open up more opportunities for Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo.
- Michael Johnson (TB DE): Johnson tried to play with an injured ankle but has been virtually useless. He goes on the bye this week so it may be a chance for him to get healthy. If someone dropped him and you have a bench spot that you can hold for a week he might pay dividends.
- Jerod Mayo (NE LB): This is a big blow to the New England defense. Mayo went down with a knee injury and is now done for the year. Look for Dont’a Hightower to move to the middle once he is healthy. He might be a good source for tackles moving forward. Another name to keep in mind is Deontae Skinner.
- Patrick Willis (SF LB): Willis injured his toe on Monday night. You should make other plans for week 7 if you own him. Chris Borland will start in his place but he is only working on opportunity. There are better options out there.
- Danny Trevathan (DEN LB): Trevathan suffered another fracture and was placed on IR-designated to return. He is safe to drop in redraft leagues as he will be out until week 15 at the earliest. Run to go get Brandon Marshall as he will slide back into the spot he manned for the first 5 weeks where he was very effective.
- Jadeveon Clowney (HOU LB): Clowney is nearing a return to the lineup. He is really only an option for those in big play leagues but should make an impact upon his return. According to the coaching staff he has a 50% chance to play this week.
- Ryan Shazier (PIT LB): Shazier is another week closer to a return. With all these injuries I would pick him up. He is iffy to play this week but should be back the following week.
- Bobby Wagner (SEA LB): Wagner is another linebacker suffering from a toe injury. This is being deemed “turf toe” and he is currently being listed as out indefinitely. If you want to stay in Seattle for your replacement pick up Malcolm Smith or KJ Wright. At this point it’s a coin flip.
- Nick Roach (OAK LB): For those holding out hope of a return this year he has been placed on season ending IR from a concussion he suffered during the preseason. Hopefully he can return next year and this isn’t a career-ender.
- Lance Briggs (CHI CB): Briggs missed week 6 with a rib injury. No word yet on what his status is for week 7 but I would look elsewhere.
- Brandon Flowers (SD CB): Flowers has suffered a groin injury, but it doesn’t appear to be too serious. He should be listed as questionable this week but the matchup against the Chiefs isn’t great anyway. I would look somewhere else.
- Dee Milliner (NYJ CB): Torn achilles; he’s done for the year.
- Byron Maxwell (SEA CB): Maxwell injured his calf in the loss to the Cowboys. It was initially reported he had a high ankle sprain so this is better news. Unfortunately it seems bad enough that he is likely missing a couple weeks. Marcus Burley will get the start and since he is opposite Richard Sherman he should be picked on and have some opportunities.
Who’s on the wire?
- Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG DE): JPP is a big name but he has had a couple of off years and has started slowly so far in 2014. If he is available he might be worth taking a shot on as he is playing better than his numbers suggest.
- Ezekiel Ansah (DET DE): Hopefully you listed last week and picked up Ansah before the rush. If he is available still after last week’s 2.5 sack performance go get him. This should continue.
- Jurrell Casey (TEN DE): Casey had a huge week 6 with 7 solos and 2 sacks. He will probably be getting picked up in a lot of leagues after that performance. You could do worse.
- Brandon Marshall (DEN LB): If by some chance he was dropped once Danny Trevathan was back in the lineup now is the time to pounce. Trevathan is basically done for the year so Marshall will slide back into the roll that he was highly effective in to start the season.
- Tahir Whitehead (DET LB): Whitehead is making quite a contribution, especially in big play leagues. He had 6 solos and 2 interceptions last week and seems to be all over the field. He should be owned especially with the huge number of injuries that have hit the LB family.
- Connor Barwin (PHI LB): Barwin exploded against the Giants with 5 solos and 3 sacks. Don’t expect this to happen every week but in big play leagues he should be rostered.
- Bjoern Werner (IND LB): Here is another big play option that is starting to come around. He has 3 sacks over the last two weeks and is playing well. He will have a tough matchup this week against the Bengals so temper expectations. If you want to gamble, wait a week as he will probably be dropped or still on the waiver wire after facing the tough Bengals offensive line. His following games are against the Steelers, Giants, Patriots and Jaguars. That is a nice stretch for a rush linebacker.
- Reshad Jones (MIA S): Hopefully you picked him up last week when I told you too because his 9 solo tackle performance will make him a hot commodity this week.
- Marcus Burley (SEA CB): Call this a speculative add. Playing opposite Richard Sherman leads to some opportunities as opposing QB’s stay away from Sherman’s side of the field. With Byron Maxwell out I have a gut feel Burley will get lots of chances against St Louis.
- Quintin Demps (NYG S): Demps had a huge week with 9 solos against Philadelphia. Don’t expect that every week but he seems to be holding his own since taking over for Stevie Brown.
- Tyrann Mathieu (ARI S): Mathieu is nearing full health and is getting more playing time. He was up to 82% of the snaps in week 6 so that should continue. Time to pick him up.
Shane Gallimore is a fantasy football contributor for The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Gally4!