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 league-mates 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.
Week one was very tough to decipher for Baltimore given how easily they handled Buffalo. Week two gave us a much better idea of how they want to line up. Patrick Onwuasor is still clearly the second starter at inside linebacker next to C.J. Moseley with Kenny Young just coming in as a replacement. Admittedly, with Mosley going down hurt this week, Young will have plenty of opportunity coming.
On the edge, the three older players are going to be on the field most. Za’Darius Smith led the unit with 55 snaps in week two with Terrell Suggs and Matt Judon (both played 46) close behind. Tim Williams (ten) and Tyus Bowser (nine) played minimal roles.
Tremaine Edmunds led all LBs on this team again with 57 snaps. He has nine solos, five assists and a sack from his first two games in the NFL which is a fine start.
Vontae Davis’ (29) sudden retirement opens up some time at corner. Lafayette Pitts seemed to step up in the second half with 27 snaps. Bear in mind that when healthy, Tre’Davious White (57) and Phillip Gaines (eight) are the top players here.
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Defensive end Michael Johnson went down injured early for the Bengals which opened the door for rookie Sam Hubbard to play fifty snaps. Carlos Dunlap (65 snaps), Carl Lawson (51) and Jordan Willis (49) all saw heavy volume time too.
At linebacker, Nick Vigil again led the team with 85 snaps. He’s clearly the top option right now and may even keep his job when Vontaze Burfict returns. Preston Brown was injured this week and missed out entirely. In his absence, Hardy Nickerson was the second linebacker this week. He’s unlikely to keep this job long but he was an OK emergency start this week.
Shawn Williams started again at strong safety this week after his week one ejection. Everyone who had faith in him was rewarded with a huge game from his 70 snaps. Waiver darling Clayton Fejedelem played just 16 snaps. If you read this column last week, you knew that was coming. Jessie Bates played all 84 snaps and already has more snaps (with 166) than all but three rookie Bengals defenders since 2013.
Larry Ogunjobi continues to be the top man up front. He had a huge game on the back of 58 snaps. He’s played 137 snaps in two games now which leads the NFL.
In great news, Myles Garrett is also playing heavily. He managed 65 snaps this week which was 27 more than any other Browns end. Chris Smith was second with 38. Chad Thomas (ten) and Anthony Zettel (nine) also saw time.
With Christian Kirksey out injured, James Burgess (40) started at inside linebacker next to Joe Schobert (66). Jamie Collins played his normal outside role and also managed 66 snaps. Genard Avery chipped in with 21 snaps on the edge.
Todd Davis actually played 88% (57 of 65) of snaps this week but 40 other inside linebackers have played more than him over two weeks. Even though Davis out-snapped Brandon Marshall (53) this week he’s an LB4 at best.
D.J. Reader (49 snaps) and J.J. Watt (59) were the only two linemen close to full-time players this week. Reader is nominally the nose tackle but don’t think of him as a pure Vince Wilfork type. The Texans run a lot of four-man fronts.
At linebacker, Zach Cunningham (42 snaps) continues to share time with Dylan Cole (23). Neither is a good start for now with that going on.
With Kevin Johnson out for the season, Kareem Jackson moved back to corner and played all 59 snaps opposite Johnathan Joseph (57). Replacing Jackson at safety was Justin Reid with his first start. Reid played all 59 snaps next to Tyrann Mathieu (59).
Denico Autry missed this game hurt which meant last week’s hero Margus Hunt (67) played more inside. On the edge, Jabaal Sheard (56) got his first sack of the season with Al-Quadin Muhammad (46) and Kemoko Turay (41) also seeing plenty of time.
Rookie LB Darius Leonard was the story of the day with a monstrous performance. He played 74 snaps which almost doubled Anthony Walker (38). The discrepancy was made up with Clayton Geathers (74) and Matthias Farley (29) seeing some time in the box.
The Jaguars had a great performance and knocked off the Patriots this week. As it was in 2017, this was fuelled in large by their performances at defensive end. Calais Campbell (42) led the way with Yannick Ngakoue (40) and Dante Fowler Jr. (19) also menaces. When you include Lerentee McCray (12) and rookie Taven Bryan (16), this is a frighteningly deep unit.
Notably, the Jaguars ramped up their use of safety Ronnie Harrison (32) this week over slot corner D.J. Hayden (29). It seems this was a specific game-planning response to the Patriots and Rob Gronkowski. Barry Church (58) remains the starter at strong safety.
Kansas City Chiefs
After a promising week one where he saw 42 snaps, Reggie Ragland dropped back to just 25 snaps this week. Anthony Hitchens (77) is the only inside LB to own in Kansas City. Terrance Smith also played 43 snaps but is really not very good.
At corner, Steven Nelson (81) and Orlando Scandrick (64) remain the starters with Kendall Fuller (77) mostly in the slot. The outside players here are just not good enough to hold their end of the bargain up with Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek looking pretty amazing offensively. This should mean plenty of shootouts at least with all the targets and plays we IDP degenerates can handle.
Los Angeles Chargers
At linebacker, they’re acting very similarly to early in 2017 when they chopped and changed seemingly at random. This week Kyzir White (38) and Denzel Perryman (37) were again the main options but Jatavis Brown (23) and Adrian Phillips (27) played enough of the 62 snaps that White and Perryman look less attractive.
Uchenna Nwosu played just 16 snaps but managed to produce a sack and two hurries.
At safety, Derwin James (59) and Jahleel Addae (62) remain the starters but this week they switched positions. Addae played deep with James as the strong safety. This is highly unorthodox. Both had good games on the stat sheet but they’re risky starts at the moment.
The Dolphins continue to use a nightmare defensive end rotation with all five players playing between 22 and 33 snaps. Robert Quin managed a sack this week but it could be anyone on any given week. This is a situation to avoid.
Minkah Fitzpatrick played just 42 snaps this week. He saw 44 in week one. As a slot DB, he’s simply not on the field all the time. After two weeks 62 other safeties have more playing time than Fitzpatrick. That’s a bad situation for him to be in.
New England Patriots
Trey Flowers was concussed early in this game and managed just seven snaps. In his absence, Deatrich Wise Jr. led the team with 54 snaps. Keionta Davis played 53 on the other side with Adrian Clayborn way back on just 22.
New York Jets
It was great to see DE Henry Anderson get a sack this week after all he’s been through. He played 29 snaps and remains in a timeshare with rookie Nathan Shepherd (22). It seems like the best situation for both of them but makes them poor IDPs. Leonard Williams is holding down the other end spot. He played 49 snaps this week.
With Justin Ellis on IR, the Raiders handed significant playing time to Clinton McDonald (52) and Johnathan Hankins (18). Nether is really on the IDP radar. Maurice Hurst, however, played another 38 snaps and leads all rookie tackles in snaps so far. He’s an enticing prospect.
End is a little clearer this week with Brice Irvin (49) and Arden Key (42) out in front of Frostee Rucker (28) and Tank Carradine (24). Irvin was suspiciously casual but Rucker and Carradine are limited players.
After their tie against the Browns in week one, all Steelers played a lot less this week.
Vince Williams dropped from 88 snaps to just 58 at linebacker with Jonathan Bostic managing just 31. Terrell Edmunds took an even bigger hit and played just 32 snaps this week (down from 74). Morgan Burnett actually played more this week (52 from 40) as he picked up some of Edmunds snaps at strong safety.
Rashaan Evans did make his debut as a pro this week. He played one single snap on special teams. William Compton (24) and Jayon Brown (48) continued to share the second linebacker spot next to Wesley Woodyard (63).
That’s it for this week. Remember when the season is this young you have an opportunity to see the players who are in positions to help you before it’s obvious. But you need to act boldly.
Good luck and thanks for reading.