Hi everyone. Welcome back to the season. Week one was amazing just to have real football back but as the pigskin high wears off, this is a great time to be nabbing the IDPs your leaguemates haven’t figured out yet.
As always, the single biggest driving factor for IDP production is playing time. So after one week, we can scoop up the players who were on the field a ton and ignore those who produced big numbers from limited snaps. Every week, I’ll be trying to find those hidden gems for you.
The Ravens blew the Bills away and as a result, spent the second half giving playing time to many deeper options. In particular, all the outside linebackers managed to get on the field. Za’Darius Smith (36), Matt Judon (36), Terrell Suggs (31), Tim Williams (23) and Tyus Bowser (20) did nothing at all to tell us who is the man to own. We’ll need to wait another week.
Journeyman defensive back Rafael Bush will get some hype with a good statistical day but he played just 31 snaps – mostly in the slot. He’s one to leave alone for now.
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At DE, Carlos Dunlap played 65 snaps and is clearly still a top player. Michael Johnson (46), Carl Lawson (42) and Jordan Willis (39) are all battling for time. Lawson owners in particular need to know he’s a part-time player at this stage.
Safety Clayton Fejedelem made the most of his opportunity that came when Shawn Williams was ejected for a helmet hit. Fejedelem managed 69 snaps to Williams’ 13 but will likely be benched again next week.
At linebacker, Joe Schobert (84) and Christian Kirksey (61) remain the top options but it was a bit more muddled than we’ve generally seen from Gregg Williams, with Jamie Collins managing 51 and Genard Avery playing 43 snaps on his debut.
Larry Ogunjobi played a ludicrous 79 snaps at tackle. That ability to play huge volumes is very valuable at tackle.
On the inside, Brandon Marshall played 50 snaps with Todd Davis on just 37. Davis had a good day on the stat sheet but continues to make way for Will Parks (23) on obvious passing downs. Davis is one to avoid for now.
J.J. Watt managed 70 snaps on his return. He lined up across the line and looked impressive if not as irresistible as he was in his peak. Jadeveon Clowney played 71 snaps too and was more versatile than Watt. He really is the player that enables the Texans to be so multiple. Few teams show as many fronts as they do. Whitney Mercilus also managed 63 snaps. This Texans’ defense is going to be tough.
At inside linebacker, Benardrick McKinney (57) played most of the game opposite Zach Cunningham (47) but Dylan Cole (33) also got some playing time in sub packages. This is not a great situation for any of the players involved.
At corner, Johnathan Joseph (72) really was a full-time starter still across from Kevin Joseph (65). Joseph got concussed and will miss multiple weeks. His replacement is a good IDP target. Aaron Colvin (41) could play more on the outside or Johnson Bademosi could be pressed into more time. Neither of them are good options.
Tyrann Mathieu (71) is clearly the top man at safety, although he’s not going to have two takeaways in many weeks. He’s still not a top-level safety in this system. Kareem Jackson (75) played on the other side. Remember the Texans play a left and a right safety so it’s relatively easy for oppositions to avoid players. Rookie Justin Reid managed 24 snaps on his debut.
Clayton Geathers played 55 snaps and is clearly the safety to own on the Colts. Your writer was staunchly supporting Matthias Farley (23), so this is less than ideal. As always though, we can just react quicker than our opponents.
Darius Leonard is instantly the Mike on this defense and looks set for a good IDP career. Hopefully, you all drafted him when he was going relatively late in rookie drafts. Next to him, Anthony Walker (23) and Skai Moore (26) shared a role. Hopefully this battle will be won by one of them soon but until then, they’re both unstartable.
On the defensive line, Margus Hunt led the team with 42 snaps. His two sacks were an aberration but given his DT eligibility on MFL, he’s a priority add. In reality, he split his time inside and outside. Denico Autry was next with 40 and will have some good days on the interior.
On the edge, Jabaal Sheard played 39 snaps but was quiet on the box score. Stick with him. Kemoko Turay managed 22 snaps on his debut. He’s going to have some big days but he’s a tough start at this point in his career.
With Dante Fowler not playing, Calais Campbell (52) and Yannick Ngakoue (52) received the lion’s share of playing time with Lerentee McCray (35) backing them up. Taven Bryan played 13 snaps in his first game behind Campbell.
Barry Church was an unfashionable name all through the off-season. Hopefully, you ignored that and stocked up. He played 69 snaps at strong safety and balled out.
Kansas City Chiefs
Anthony Hitchens (78) was predictably the star linebacker we hoped he’d be. Reggie Ragland surprisingly played 42 snaps next to him. That may drop as the Chiefs tend to use more big nickel sets when everyone is healthy. Terrance Smith (37) filled in but really isn’t very good.
On the edge, Justin Houston (63) and Dee Ford (73) are the clear starters but the Chiefs really want to use Breeland Speaks (19) and Tannoh Kpassagnon (10) as monster outside linebackers. This is pretty unique and an interesting situation to watch.
Eric Murray and Ron Parker both played 82 snaps at safety. When Eric Berry (and maybe Daniel Sorenson) is healthy, this is going to change. Maybe we’ll even see a double Eric back end. That would be a treat.
Los Angeles Chargers
Denzel Perryman started at Mike and played 41 snaps. He didn’t have a huge game but he will sooner rather than later.
Jahleel Addae and Derwin James both played 56 snaps at safety. But James was deep with Addae in the box. This was what we worried about way back after the draft and is extremely worrying for James owners. It’s tough to start James (regardless of his decent day) in that role.
The Dolphins are, absurdly, going to play all five of their ends it seems. Robert Quinn (41), Cameron Wake (38), William Hayes (32), Andre Branch (29) and Charles Harris (23) all saw significant playing time in week one. This is a nightmare for IDP. The unit will be probably fairly productive but it’ll be so hard to predict who gets the stats that it’s tough to start any of them. The chances of a bad week are just too high.
In the secondary, Minkah Fitzpatrick played primarily in the slot over his 44 snaps. Bobby McCain (69) played outside corner to make way for him opposite from Xavien Howard (69). Cordrea Tankersley was benched.
At safety, Reshad Jones (63) and T.J. McDonald (69) got the start. Both played fairly deep as the Dolphins tend to use a lot of two-deep shells. It’s to both players’ credit that they produce stats anyway.
New England Patriots
With Trey Flowers in place on one side (50 snaps), Keionta Davis (35), Deatrich Wise Jr. (23) and Adrian Clayborn (22) all saw some time. Wise had the best statistical day but probably outproduced what we can expect.
At LB, Ja’Whaun Bentley led the team with 51 snaps from the all-important middle LB position on this defense. Dont’a Hightower (50) and Kyle Van Noy (49) were on the field a lot but played a lot on the edge. That is bad news. Bentley looks like the player to own on this basis.
New York Jets
Darron Lee and Avery Williamson (both 64) are locked in as inside linebackers with Brandon Copeland (51) and Jordan Jenkins (44) on the edge. The fantastically named Franki Luvu backed them up with 35 snaps.
At safety, Jamal Adams played 70 snaps. He has shown over his whole career he can play high totals. Next to him, Doug Middleton played 70 at free safety.
The Steelers played a huge workload due to their game ending in a tie after overtime. Please factor that in. It gives all your IDPs a 25% boost.
As always, they use their nose tackle very little. Javon Hargrave is the starter but played just 24 snaps. He should not be used except in the deepest of leagues.
The orthodox safeties were Terrell Edmunds (74 snaps on his debut) and Sean Davis (89). Davis leads the NFL in defensive snaps after one week but played in a very deep role. He’s a prime sell candidate based on his new role.
The linebacker situation was eerily similar to 2017. Wesley Woodyard led the way with 60 snaps. He’s the only full-time ILB here. Jayon Brown played 44 snaps but was replaced on rushing downs by Will Compton (19). Neither are good starts right now.
Kevin Byard (62) and Kenny Vaccaro (62) both played but as expected, they were a two-deep system with Byard primarily playing left and Vaccaro right. The odds are against either of them being a top safety in IDP terms.
Phew! That’s almost it for this week. Look out for the NFC later today. I promise it won’t be so long in future weeks but week one gives us the best chance to actually see the IDP landscape falling into place.
Thanks for reading.
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