This is the first of our season-long IDP Stream-Line articles. The goal is to illustrate players with great match-ups who can help your team when setting your weekly IDP lineups. Realizing most of the star defensive players will already be rostered in your league, we’ll do our best to mix in a few “under the radar” players you may still be able to find on the waiver wire to avoid putting up the dreaded “d0nut” in the scoring column.
Setting your IDP lineup is an entirely different animal than setting your conventional offensive starters. Player value is completely dependent on your league’s scoring system. You must be able to identify match-ups against teams, units and players on the offensive side who give your IDPs the best chance of scoring points that week. While we all know how wildly unpredictable the outcome of NFL games can be, by focusing on certain cues and tells we give ourselves the best possibility to have success on any given Sunday.
So without further delay, we bring you…DLF’s week one IDP stream-liners.
Defensive Back Targets
The Jets vs. Browns game has tremendous potential for fireworks on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the secondary. While many acknowledge the Jets improvement in the defensive backfield, the Browns secondary and defense as a whole is still rather underappreciated. When we consider the quarterbacks throwing the ball under duress from two formidable front sevens, look out!
Buster Skrine, CB NYJ
Picture Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown, with a career touchdown to interception ratio just a hair over 1:1, throwing to Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline, who are being checked by Darrell Revis and Antonio Cromartie – advantage Jets. With his two top receivers completely overmatched dealing with the Jets top two corners, expect embattled slot corner Buster Skrine to see more than his fair share of targets. He’ll likely be asked to cover speedy Andrew Hawkins in the slot, a match-up McCown should find much more to his liking than the pairings on the outside. Skrine could have a healthy amount of opportunities to tally passes defended and tackles for your squad, as he’s targeted by the Browns offense. The Jets are thin at cornerback, giving owners’ peace of mind that Skrine will remain the chink in the Jets armor and target of opposing passing games for a few weeks, making him a good target in leagues requiring you to start a cornerback.
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Tashon Gipson, S CLE
Browns safety Tashon Gipson lead the NFL in interceptions prior to having his season ended prematurely in 2014. As he begins playing out his restricted free agent contract, he’ll be right back in prove it mode, looking to continue his strong play from last year. Strong Safety Donta Whitner is a must own, as he’s sure to have a few face-to-face encounters with Jets running back Chris Ivory. While Ryan Fitzpatrick looked efficient this preseason, it’s not difficult to envision a scenario where Danny Shelton is driving Jets guard Willie Colon into Fitz’s face, forcing him into a few ill-advised throws which Browns corners Joe Haden and Tramon Williams are more than happy to pick off. If you’re looking for secondary help this week, check the waiver wire for any member of these two secondaries.
Other Notable Defensive Backs to target:
Robert Blanton, S MIN
Recently pegged to start at strong safety for the Vikings, Blanton will be called upon to help defend against the 49ers ground game this Sunday. He had a handful of solid performances in 2014 and could fill in well for owners in a pinch.
Antrelle Rolle, S CHI
John Fox may not fix this defense in one year. Antrelle Rolle will be asked to clean up a lot of messes in 2015. Game one brings Eddie Lacy and Aaron Rodgers to town. If Rolle is not owned in your league, you should be all over him. Chicago has questions at inside linebacker and a rookie, converted cornerback across from Rolle at free safety. He’ll be a good pick up for week one and beyond.
Paul Worrilow, ILB ATL
For some strange reason, there’s been a ton of doubt thrown at Paul Worrilow all off-season. Many thought his job was in jeopardy with a new defensive minded coach in town. It wasn’t. He’s still the man in the middle of a bad defense, which should improve under Dan Quinn. He will maintain a 3-down role, and push double digit tackles weekly. Expect Worrilow to face a ton of plays this week as the Falcons play the Eagles’ no huddle attack and look to run on a shaky Falcons run defense. And if you’re in a league where Worrilow is still available, grab him now.
Karlos Dansby and Chris Kirksey, ILBs CLE
Back to the Jets vs. Browns game. We know New York will look to run Ivory a ton and throw a lot of underneath routes to Brandon Marshall, along with their backs and tight ends. Look for Dansby to see some man matchups across the middle and both linebackers to do a lot tackling against the run and in zone. This is a great matchup for the pair, as I truly expect the Jets to limit the amount of shots they take downfield, leaving the inside linebackers in the middle of the action all day.
Hau’oli Kikaha, OLB NO
This could be a coming out party for Kikaha. Hardcore fans know how relentless and effective he was as a pass rusher during his college years at Washington. Soon, Carson Palmer will, too. The Cardinals offensive line leaves much to be desired. Right Tackle Earl Watford has received a decent amount of praise this preseason, but remains largely untested. Look for Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan to move Kikaha around and find mismatches for him to exploit. Owners in sack heavy leagues should be all over Kikaha, who has the potential to provide numerous multi-sack games throughout the season, and his career.
Brandon Marshall, ILB DEN
The self-proclaimed, “Best Cover Linebacker in the NFL” will get his chance to prove it this weekend when his Broncos face the Ravens. We’ve all been expecting Justin Forsett to see a massive increase in usage as a receiver this year. Combine that with the Ravens tendency to feed the ball to their tight ends and you start to see a major opportunity for Marshall to put in work in pass coverage on Sunday. He was a top ten linebacker last season prior to suffering a lis franc injury. Look for him to return to form in week one and post good IDP numbers.
Week One Bonus Play
Elvis Dumervil, DE BAL
The Broncos are starting a rookie at left tackle and a journeyman on the right side. While the conventional wisdom is that Denver will run the ball heavily this year under Gary Kubiak, they will still have to rely on their offensive line to keep Peyton Manning clean. As long as the Ravens aren’t using a fax machine to send in the defensive play calls, Dumervil is an excellent bet to record a sack or two this week.
Danny Shelton, DT CLE
Another rookie throwing a coming out party this week, Shelton has been nothing short of impressive this preseason. The Jets guards offer little reason to think they can contain him. Even veteran Nick Mangold will need assistance to slow Shelton down. Look for the rookie to make his presence felt in run defense and possibly throw a sack on top for good measure as he makes his debut on Sunday.
MIA DL vs. WAS
No reason to whittle this down to one man. If you can get your hands on Olivier Vernon, Cameron Wake or Ndamukong Suh for this contest against an awful Redskins O-line, do it. Odds are Kirk Cousins will spend a considerable amount of time on his back.
Bennie Logan, NT PHI
Yes, my love for Logan borders on the unnatural. But that’s beside the point. Atlanta recently traded for struggling guard Andy Levitre and his massive contract. The Titans were willing to let Levitre go because they’re looking to utilize bigger offensive lineman to improve their run blocking. While Levitre may prove to be a better fit with the Falcons, so much of offensive line success is communication and cohesion. It’s difficult to imagine the team having much of a chance to work on either during a few days of non-contact practices. Meanwhile, Logan appears hell-bent on proving he’s an elite defensive lineman. He’ held up well at the nose despite being smaller than the typical 3-4 prototype. His power and quickness become apparent in the backfield, as he tracks backs in short areas and regularly makes one armed stops. He’ll be a good add whether your league demands you play a defensive tackle or not.
Demarcus Lawrence, DE DAL
A decimated Giants offensive line will do their best to contain Lawrence as he looks to establish himself as a premier pass rusher in the NFL. The Giants are operating with a patchwork offensive line, which as recently as last Thursday was practicing with only one of their projected five starters. Rookie Randy Gregory will see some snaps opposite Lawrence in pass rush situations, and could help Lawrence increase the pressure on the o-line and quarterback Eli Manning. This is a great chance for the Cowboys to cut Lawrence loose and let the second end show what he can do.
Looking for advice on who to Start or Sit? Have IDP questions? Post your question in the comments section below, or ask on Twitter @smashmouth_mo