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 picked up on. Each week, we’ll detail a handful of IDP players or trends essential for dynasty players to monitor.
Often, things like quarterback hurries, quarterback knockdowns or snap counts don’t appear in the box scores – these are key 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 individuals are already heavily in the eyes of IDP owners. Instead, here are some players to keep an eye on based on week two performances:
Jordan Hicks, ILB PHI
Kiko Alonso left Sunday’s game against the Cowboys with a knee injury. MRI results are pending, but there is concern Alonso suffered a major injury and may miss the remainder of the year, but he’ll be out two-to-four weeks at the very least. With Alonso out for much of the game and Mychal Kendricks also injured against the Cowboys, rookie Jordan Hicks saw a significant amount of playing time. He finished the game with seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble on 65% of the team’s snaps. It was a stellar inaugural performance for Hicks, who remains a top dynasty prospect. With DeMeco Ryans aging and Alonso’s injury combined with the struggles from both, Hicks made a case for increased snaps regardless of who is back in the rotation in week three.
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Aaron Donald, DT STL
Donald is an absolute beast. He’s destroying offensive lines and lighting up box scores on a weekly basis. Thus far he’s accumulated seven tackles, seven assists, two and a half sacks, four quarterback hurries and a quarterback hit across two games. Having Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers and Chris Long demanding attention on the defensive line certainly helps, but it’s clear Donald is a blue chip option in defensive tackle required leagues. Unfortunately, Quinn, Long and Brockers are both a blessing and a curse since he’ll also have to ‘fight’ with them for tackles. Still, there aren’t many defensive tackles I prefer to Donald.
Christian Kirksey, ILB CLE
Kirksey was once viewed as a top IDP prospect with many hoping he’d be Coach Mike Pettine’s Cleveland version of Kiko Alonso (2013). However, Kirksey hasn’t earned snaps and struggled when presented with the opportunity. Thus far in 2015, he’s played 32% of the team’s snaps and has only accumulated five tackles and three assists. Karlos Dansby is playing every down and Kirksey can’t quite get past Craig Robertson. If I could get anything worth value for Kirksey at this point, I’d consider cashing in for more promising potential.
Bradley McDougald, SS/FS TB
McDougald played more than 80% of the team’s snaps over the last two weeks as one of the Buccaneers’ starting safeties. Many speculated DJ Swearinger would be the starting strong safety and see a chunk of snaps, but he’s played a reserve role this far. It’s McDougald who’s won the snap share war among all safeties due to his versatility. This past Sunday against the Saints, he accumulated four tackles and two assists – that’s not stellar production since he’s playing behind some tackle hungry men in Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander. They don’t leave much in the way of leftovers. After a strong finish to 2014, McDougald looks to be someone who will continue to see snaps because his range and physicality to play in a variety of situations.
Trent Robinson, SS WAS
With Duke Ihenacho out in week two, Robinson played every down leading the team with five tackles and an assist. He’ll maintain this role over the next couple of weeks with Ihenacho out and could potentially hold the spot if he continues to perform at this level. Let this sink in – Robinson is the Redskins leading tackler through two weeks. Not too shabby.
Sean Lee, WLB DAL
Lee’s start to the 2015 season will put him in the discussion for Comeback Player of the Year. Through two weeks, he’s played 100% of the team’s snaps and finished with nine tackles, five assists and an interception. Most impressive is the Cowboys only saw 41 tackle opportunities, so these stats aren’t propped up by a high volume of opportunities. If Lee stays healthy, there’s a good chance he finishes as an LB1.
Kenny Vaccaro, NO SS
Another bounce-back candidate, Vaccaro has played 100% of the team’s snaps through the first two weeks. While he was very quiet in week one finishing with just two tackles, he tallied six tackles, three assists and a pass defended in week two. With the Saints struggling offensively, more teams should be running the ball with leads leaving Vaccaro where he plays best – in the box.
Avery Williamson / Da’Norris Searcy, TEN
Don’t be discouraged with week two’s performance from these two as the team only saw 40 tackle opportunities in total – that’s a very low total which greatly impacted their production. The biggest trend to watch is Williamson’s snaps as Zach Brown again saw more (100% vs. 88%). While Williamson’s percentage is up, after two weeks, it seems the Titans prefer to pull him in favor of Wesley Woodyard in certain passing situations.
Henry Anderson, DE IND
Some wondered if Anderson was a one-week wonder following a solid performance in week one. The rookie continued the upward trajectory against the Jets finishing with three tackles, two assists and a sack. He’s extremely disruptive with the ability to shed blocks and make plays both defending the run and rushing the passer. He’s showing signs of the ability to be a rare 3-4 defensive end with the potential to be consistently productive for IDP purposes. He’s climbing the rankings quickly.
Uani Unga, MLB NYG
With Jon Beason still out, Unga again played 100% of the team’s snaps, which was surprising given his struggles in coverage in week one. Those struggles continued in week two as Matt Ryan posted a quarterback rating greater than 100. While that trend continued, the production trend didn’t as Unga wasn’t as active in defending the run finishing with one tackle, four assists and a pass defended. He continues to be a function of the short-term opportunity exhibiting mediocre talent.
Jake Ryan, ILB GB – Despite the loss of Sam Barrington for the year, Ryan didn’t see any defensive snaps in week two. Clay Matthews played almost exclusively inside on Sunday alongside Nate Palmer, who again struggled, but still played 77% of the team’s snaps.
Benardrick McKinney, HOU ILB – While McKinney didn’t play a defensive snap in week one, he played seven in week two. He was active in the limited time finishing with two tackles, which is an encouraging sign. I still don’t believe he’ll play every down, but this production is encouraging.
Manti Te’o, ILB SD – Te’o again played 100% of the team’s snaps in week two and finished with five tackles, five assists and a pass defended. He appears to be the Chargers’ linebacker to own right now purely on snap volume. He just needs to pick up his play to hold on to the role.
Marcus Peters, CB KC – With Sean Smith still out, Peters started against the Broncos and put together another solid showing finishing with five tackles, four passes defended, an interception and a touchdown on 97% of the team’s snaps. It’s going to be difficult to keep him off the field when Smith returns. He’s an ideal rookie corner option who should be targeted throughout the season.
Curtis Lofton, ILB OAK – He only played 60% of the team’s snaps in week one, but played 99% in week two finishing with seven tackles and six assists. He outsnapped Ray-Ray Armstrong. Malcolm Smith owns the largest share of snaps of all linebackers at 98% – even higher than Kahlil Mack.
Bashaud Breeland, CB WAS– After missing week one due to suspension, Breeland returned in week two and played every down. He wasn’t terribly active in the box score this week with one tackle, but against pass heavy teams, he should see a lot of action across from DeAngelo Hall. If you need a streamer in corner-required leagues, he’s a nice option to consider over the next few weeks as the Redskins face the Giants, Eagles and Falcons.
DeSean Shead, SS SEA – With Kam Chancellor prolonging his hold out, Shead started in week two and held his own against the Packers. He played 100% of the team’s snaps and finished with five tackles and three assists. He’s only worth an add if you’re looking for a stop-gap player in a deeper format.
Hau’oli Kikaha, SLB NO – Kikaha is shaping up to be a nice player, especially in big play leagues. He’s played roughly 88% of the team’s snaps to date and has eight tackles, four assists, two forced fumbles and a sack through two games. His upside is limited as a strongisde linebacker, but he’s been extremely active thus far. He’s someone to keep an eye on in moderately deep leagues.