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IDP Improvements: Moves to Make Before Week One

We pick out some IDP moves for you to make to improve your rosters before the season kicks off.

Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Week one of the NFL season looms large. Some of the most impactful fantasy moves are made in this short window between the final preseason game and the season opener. Here are some IDP transactions to consider.

Zach Cunningham and Christian Elliss, LBs PHI – ADD

Astute fantasy managers in leagues with large rosters should have made moves to acquire Cunningham and Elliss weeks ago.

The Philadelphia Eagles signed Cunningham and Myles Jack on August 7 despite having Nakobe Dean, Nicholas Morrow, and Christian Elliss on the roster. With Dean presumed to be a starter, the signing of two veterans signaled that Morrow’s job was far from safe.

Following Jack’s retirement, the smart money was on the remaining four players to make the final 53. However, in a move that surprised many, Morrow was released on NFL cut day.

New defensive coordinator Sean Desai will likely use two full-time off-ball linebackers less frequently than his predecessor, Jonathan Gannon. However, when Desai was the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears in 2021, he used two linebackers at a rate of 77%, slightly above the league average.

It’s possible that Cunningham and Ellis may eat into each other’s snap share behind Dean to a certain extent. Hopefully, you can afford the roster space to carry both players long enough until a clear picture emerges of who is the favored option.

Denzel Perryman and Christian Harris, LBs HOU – START

Veteran Christian Kirksey was a casualty of the Houston Texans’ efforts to get down to 53 players, providing a clearer picture of the two linebackers who will start for the team in week one and beyond.

Perryman offers veteran leadership and a steady, if unspectacular, presence. He has struggled with injuries throughout his career but has proven capable of racking up solid tackle volume in his one season as a true starter.

Image courtesy of DLF’s Player Profile page

Harris played poorly in 2022, but new head coach DeMeco Ryans appears enamored with the sophomore. In Ryans’ tenure as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, he oversaw significant improvement in Dre Greenlaw, and the hope is that his presence and tutelage can inspire similar development in Christian Harris.

Ryans favors utilizing two full-time off-ball linebackers in his scheme, and while he had more talent at his disposal with Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw in San Francisco, Harris and Perryman should see every opportunity to deliver solid fantasy production.

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San Francisco 49ers’ linebacker usage in 2022 under DeMeco Ryans.

Image courtesy of Tom Kislingbury’s 2022 Defensive Handbook

Shaquil Barrett, EDGE TB – START

Barrett was incredibly productive for three years before suffering an Achilles injury last season. Understandably, that injury has severely impacted his draft ADP in all league formats.

However, the veteran has looked good in practice and during preseason games, providing optimism that he could return to form earlier than expected. Barrett earned the top Pro Football Focus grade on his team in their week three game against the Baltimore Ravens, registering a QB hurry and a tackle despite playing only nine snaps.

It may take time before Barrett fully rediscovers his explosiveness, and at 30 years old, he isn’t your long-term answer at the position. Still, considering his ADP places him in EDGE3 territory, Barrett could be a sound investment for competing teams seeking depth at the position.

Jeremy Chinn, S CAR – EXPLORE TRADES

Chinn remains one of the first safeties off the board in fantasy drafts despite never quite reaching the dizzy heights of his rookie year.

The Carolina Panthers’ safety usage in preseason has been concerning for Chinn’s fantasy managers. He has rotated in and out with the first team unit, while Xavier Woods and new arrival Vonn Bell have played every snap with the starters.

This utilization is unexpected; Chinn was expected to be integral to the Panthers’ defense this year. There’s still every chance Ejiro Evero may flip the script and employ a different approach once the real games get underway.

However, the safety position is devalued because the top performers struggle to repeat year after year compared with other positions. So, if you can find a buyer still besotted with Chinn, now might be the opportune time to flip him for a top-tier player at another position.

CONCLUSION

It’s too early to draw anything conclusive from what we have seen during the preseason, so it pays to tread carefully. However, that doesn’t mean you should sit on your hands. Monitor snap counts closely, and remain active on waivers, especially during the first few weeks of the season.

IDP Improvements: Moves to Make Before Week One
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