• Thoughts on the Roquan Smith Trade

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    Roquan Smith swapped his fur for feathers when he was traded from the Chicago Bears to the Baltimore Ravens. What does this mean for his fantasy value?

    Earlier this week, the Ravens bolstered their defense by trading for linebacker Roquan Smith who has produced as a top-five IDP LB the past two seasons. He averages about three sacks per season, and he's had at least one interception in each of his five NFL seasons.

    From a fantasy perspective, Smith’s move to the Ravens should have no effect on his standing as an elite fantasy option. He should immediately step into a three-down role for the Ravens and provide fantasy owners with double-digit tackle numbers nearly every week. Smith has posted an elite 16% tackle rate in the past three seasons. so expect him to continue to be a tackling machine in Baltimore.

    Patrick Queen

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    On the other hand, things don't look so rosy for Patrick Queen. He is currently a top 15 IDP LB and faces major competition for tackles and a huge decrease in snaps. The Ravens only utilize one full-time LB due to their use of dime coverages on passing downs. I fully expect that Smith will be on the field for every snap, while Queen's snaps will drop into the 50% range as an early down LB.

    Queen was already an inefficient tackler, averaging a meager 10% tackle rate on the season. Now he will be playing next to Smith and in a part-time role. Queen is no longer a starting option in shallow leagues. If you roster him in dynasty, now is the time to sell him before his value takes a nose dive in the coming weeks.

    Nicholas Morrow

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    For the Bears, Nicholas Morrow gets a huge bump in fantasy value. He’s now the lead LB on one of the worst defensive units in the league. Morrow should be busy racking tackles as the Bears struggle to contain opposing offenses. Fantasy managers should temper expectations, though, as Morrow has only averaged a pedestrian 10% tackle rate in his career.

    Don’t expect LB1 numbers from Morrow, as he hasn’t shown much big play ability in his career, either. He’s only recorded four sacks and two interceptions across five NFL seasons. I’m projecting for him to be among the top 15 to 20 fantasy Linebackers for the rest of the season.

    And the Rest...

    It’s very difficult to project which Linebacker will rise up and replace Smith at weakside linebacker. The Bears will likely let A.J. Klein, Joe Thomas, and UDRFA Jack Sanborn compete for the position.

    A.J. Klein

    Klein started 11 games for the Bills back in 2020, and he racked up 75 combined tackles and 5 sacks during that season.

    It’s also notable that Bears GM Ryan Poles talked glowingly about Klein while discussing the trade. Poles advised the media that the team has a plan for Klein, and he will play an important role in mentoring the younger players. Considering that the Bears traded for Klein, he should be considered the front-runner for starting duties next to Morrow.

    Joe Thomas

    Thomas began the season starting on early downs as a strong-side linebacker. However, his snaps have sharply declined since the season's first two weeks.

    Jack Sanborn

    Sanborn had an impressive pre-season, and he flashed in pass coverage. I expect his snaps to increase later in the season as the team attempts to get a better read on what they have in their younger players. Nonetheless, Thomas, Klein, and Sanborn would only be considerations for deep leagues. They don’t have any fantasy value until we see how these players are deployed in the coming weeks.

    Thank you for reading my Roquan Smith trade article! If you are interested, catch more of my fantasy football and NFL content on Twitter at @BJack83, or find all my future IDP Guys content at IDPGuys.org. Let’s chat! I always find time to talk defensive player football.

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