IDP Watch: Week 2

Steve Wyremski

IDP leagues can be won with some preemptive in-season pickups or trading for players who are on the rise, but whom the masses have not yet picked up on. Each week, we’ll detail a handful of IDP players or trends essential for dynasty players to be aware of.

Often, things like quarterback hurries, quarterback knockdowns, or snap counts don’t appear in the box scores. These are huge indicators of potential value changes that may be forthcoming as they show a particular player is getting after the quarterback and a string of sacks may be on the horizon or a linebacker may be coming off of the field more than originally expected.

The goal is to largely avoid stellar IDP players since many of those guys are already heavily in the eyes of IDP owners. Instead, here are some players to keep an eye on based on week two performances.

Joplo Bartu, WLB, ATL

With Sean Weatherspoon on short-term injured reserve, Bartu becomes an every week starter on the weakside. He’s extremely athletic and fantastic in coverage. While he didn’t see any snaps in week one, which was supposedly due to the fact that the coaching staff didn’t want to expose him to a hostile environment in New Orleans, he started in week two and played 82 percent of the team’s snaps. He was effective posting six tackles. Don’t be fooled with Bartu seeing increased opportunities due to injury. He saw time with the Falcon’s first team defense in preseason and has the ability to be a consistent starter going forward. He’s worth an add in a majority of formats.

Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, ATL

jonathan_massaquoiSticking with the Falcons and injuries, with Kroy Biermann out for the season with a torn Achillies, there are snaps for the taking at defensive end. After Biermann went out, Massaquoi received the majority of snaps. He finished with two tackles, one quarterback hit, and three hurries ­- a decent showing for the second year player. It looks like Massaquoi will get the first shot at this spot, but keep an eye on Mallicah Goodman who played 33 percent of the team’s snaps in week two.

As the Falcons 2013 fourth round pick, Goodman possesses tremendous pass-rushing potential and will now see more snaps than originally planned. He struggled with a handful of snaps in week two, but should still be watched and potentially stashed in deep leagues. He has starter potential.

Andre Branch, DE, JAX

He’s included this week as nothing more than a reminder that he’s a bust. After an atrocious rookie season, he’s continued to disappoint. Many thought he’d be a great fit for the ‘Leo’ role in the Jaguars’ new defensive scheme, but he’s struggled and is not getting to the quarterback. He’s played roughly 40 to 50 percent of the team’s snaps in the two games to date and made no impact at all. If not done already, it’s time to drop Branch. He’s a roster clogger.

Vince Williams, ILB, PIT

Williams didn’t start Monday night against the Bengals, but played little over 50 percent of team’s snaps. Kion Wilson started inside next to Lawrence Timmons, but only played 25 percent of snaps. With four tackles and three assists to go along with an overall solid showing in his first NFL game, expect Williams to continue to see time for the remainder of the season. Coach Tomlin was non-committal when discussing Wilson and Williams noting that both had their moments, can improve, and have potential. Personally, I’m on the Williams train and am stashing him where possible given his week two showing and potential for snaps.

Willie Young, DE, DET

So far in 2013, Young has played 61 percent of the team’s total snaps. While much of the focus has been on rookie Ezekiel Ansah, who looks fantastic in his own right, Young is getting on the field and to the quarterback. After two games, he has nine hurries, two quarterback hits, and a sack. Some may shrug this off given that Ansah and free agent acquisition Jason Jones are the starters, but he shouldn’t be ignored. Jones has struggled a bit in 2013, which may lead to a full rotation with the three of these players. That already started in week two where both Ansah and Young saw more snaps than Jones. Simply, it’ll be difficult to keep Young on the sidelines with this kind of pass-rushing and his run defending ability.

Perry Riley, ILB, WAS

Riley started off the year positively in week one, but don’t get too discouraged by last week’s performance. Last week was a function of the offensive scheme the Redskins were up against with the Packers. The focus was very much on the outside linebackers and the secondary. Expect week one production to be the norm where Riley will be a top tackler in Redskins’ box score. Riley is one of the more underrated linebackers in the IDP world. The home scorekeepers in Washington can hurt his numbers if your league doesn’t give assist points, but he’s a stellar linebacker option and should be for a number of years.

Spencer Paysinger, MLB, NYG

Paysinger has played 94 percent of the team’s snaps, but wasn’t great in week one with only four tackles. That spiked in week two with eight tackles. Given the volume of snaps and the fact that he’s clearly playing in passing situations, Paysigner represents an underrated short-term option at linebacker for those in moderate depth to deeper leagues. He may not be a sexy pick with upside, but he’ll get the job done in 2013 with limited options at linebacker for the Giants.

Dion Jordan / Olivier Vernon, DE, MIA

Many thought Jordan would be thrust into the Dolphins’ lineup immediately. The opposite has occurred and some owners are already disappointed. In fact, he’s only played a total of 26 snaps or 17 percent total. Instead of Jordan, Vernon is starting and manning the right side of the Dolphins’ line. The snaps will come and patience is needed with Vernon struggling across the board thus far. It’s a matter of time before Jordan starts stealing snaps as the Dolphins give their blue chip player some experience as an NFL down lineman. This may be a perfect buy low opportunity on Jordan.

Dont’a Hightower, SLB, NE

In week one, Hightower played 72 percent of the team’s snaps. That spiked in week two against the Jets where he played almost every down and 96 percent of the Patriot snaps and led the team in tackles. Hightower is stuck at the strongside linebacker spot right now with Brandon Spikes around, but come 2014 when Spikes is gone, expect Hightower to slide into the middle or the weakside and be a premier IDP linebacker option. He’s someone who should be acquired this season with the expectation of a latter 2013 or 2014 breakout.

Deep Dynasty Look:

Michael Buchanan, DE, NE


While the starters are entrenched in New England at defensive end, Buchanan may be establishing himself as a situational pass-rusher. That was evident in week two against the Jets where he posted a sack and a hurry. His snaps were also exclusively in a pass rushing role. With the rookie working as a pass-rushing specialist on the outside, Chandler Jones has kicked inside in passing situations with Rob Ninkovich on the other side. While he appears destined for a situational role in 2013, it’s possible Buchanan bulks up and develops into something more.

Brandian Ross, SS, OAK

With Tyvon Branch out indefinitely with a broken leg, there is an opportunity at the strong safety position in Oakland. A favorite of general manager Reggie McKenzie, Ross was recently brought over from the Packers in free agency and transitioned from the cornerback role to safety this spring. Usama Young is in the mix to replace Branch in the short-term, as well, but with Ross playing close to 90% of snaps last week, it seems the young favorite may be the one to target for the short-term.

Kawann Short, DT, CAR

This is a deep defensive tackle required league option only. Short hasn’t shown up in the box score yet, but he’s played 50 percent of the team’s snaps to date. What is most notable in that time is his week two performance. He excelled in the pass rushing with one quarterback hit and two hurries. Clearly Star Lotulelei is the top defensive tackle on the Panthers’ defense, but Short could end up being in a similar role to Nick Fairley who greatly benefits from double teams that his fellow dominant tackle commands. That could mean nice fantasy production for Short. At this point, I’d only stash Short in deeper leagues, but otherwise he’s worth monitoring given his natural ability and potential in this defense.

 Follow Steve on Twitter at @SteveWyremski.