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 key trends based on week three performances:
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- Denzel Perryman, LB played 97% of snaps after Manti Te’o went down with a torn Achilles early in the first quarter. Perryman finished with eight tackles, two assists and a sack.
- As expected, the Raiders started Cory James, LB in favor of Ben Heeney, LB next to Malcolm Smith. James played 96% of the team’s snaps amassing six tackles and an assist.
- For the third week in a row, Vinny Curry, DE was outsnapped by Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin – roughly 50% more snaps than Curry.
- Karl Joseph, SS started for the first time playing 90% of the team’s snaps leading the team with six tackles and four assists.
- Kevin Minter, LB has played 94% of the team’s snaps through three games, but is only averaging four tackles per game.
- Myles Jack, LB again played no defensive snaps in week three. That’s two of three weeks where he hasn’t played a defensive snap. He’s now, reportedly, learning the OTTO position.
- With Ray-Ray Armstrong, LB out for the season, Gerald Hodges started next to Navarro Bowman and played 88% of snaps. He finished with one tackle, five assists and a fumble recovery.
- Justin March, LB played 35% of snaps against the Jets, finishing with no tackles or assists and a pass defended. It’s now two straight weeks where he played less than 45% of the team’s snaps. He’s not yet a subpackage player making him a risky weekly play.
- Su’a Cravens, LB continues to see a rise in snap share as the season progresses. After playing 26% of the team’s snaps in week one, he was up to 43% in week three.
There may be concern about Denzel Perryman’s ability to play every down, but he should be in the role for the foreseeable future with Manti Te’o out for the year. Perryman will see a high volume of tackle opportunities because of it. He was a borderline LB1 after the bye last year as a rookie and should produce at the same pace through the end of the season. As alluded to last week, Jatavis Brown is also a nice stash in deeper league. He will also see an increase in snaps, but it doesn’t appear he’ll see high enough volume to be more than a match up play in the short term. He’s a must stash in deeper leagues considering how productive he’s been in limited snaps, thus far, and his long-term potential.
Kevin Minter, LB hasn’t ever been terribly active in the box score on a consistent basis, but he is seeing a nice chunk of snaps playing close to every down in the first three weeks of 2016. He still appears to be a lowly matchup play due to the lack of reliability in his output, but he’s someone worth monitoring to see how he performs with a consistent high level of snaps.
Gerald Hodges dismissed any questions about how he’ll be used without Ray-Ray Armstrong. It’s clear there’s no platoon between he and Michael Wilhoite making Hodges a sneaky play for the rest of the season.
Finally, it’s unclear what Gus Bradley is doing with Myles Jack. He’s having him learn all linebacker positions, but it’s keeping him off the field. Jack’s time will come, but it’s just taking a bit longer than most expected.
News to Follow
- The Dolphins Jelani Jenkins, LB is doubtful for week four with a knee and groin injury. Neville Hewitt, LB would get the start if he’s out.
- Lawrence Timmons, LB left early in last week’s game with a puncture wound and headed to the hospital, but all indications suggest he’ll play against Kansas City. Vince Williams will see snaps if Timmons suffers a setback and can’t play.
- With DeAngelo Hall, FS out for the season, Will Blackmon should assume his starting spot. He’s not a worthy IDP option unless you’re in an extremely deep league. To provide some perspective, he only had one tackle in 44 snaps last week and has never consistently accumulated tackles throughout his career regardless of his snap volume.
- Vontaze Burfict, LB returns from suspension in week four providing a much-needed lift to the Bengals’ run defense. Vincent Rey will head back to the bench. Burfict is a risky play his first week back despite the appealing matchup.
He doesn’t offer much long-term value, but Neville Hewitt is an interesting target as a stopgap in deeper leagues. In relief of Jenkins in week three, he played 26 snaps and accumulated five tackles and an assist. He was extremely active.
- Zach Orr, LB is a top 20 linebacker through three weeks. He’s played 100% of the team’s snaps in each of the last two weeks. Every bit of the offseason buzz was warranted, as Orr is playing well and routinely active in the box score.
- Benardrick McKinney, LB is reaping the benefits of Brian Cushing’s absence. He posted six tackles and ten assists in week three against the Patriots.
- With De’Vondre Campbell, LB on the shelf, Sean Weatherspoon is playing like it’s 2011. He’s averaging eight tackles over the last two games. He’s a viable option as long as Campbell is out. Once Campbell returns, it’s unclear what the snap share will be considering Weatherspoon’s struggles in tight end coverage. They may cannibalize each other’s IDP value in a snap share.
- Yannick Ngakoue, DE continues to lead the Jaguars in defensive end snaps. He now has a strip sack in two straight weeks.
- Darron Lee, LB played quite well against the Chiefs in week three. His speed is evident and he’s making plays in space and behind the line of scrimmage. With Erin Henderson injured, Lee’s been presented with an early opportunity and taken advantage.
- Jason Pierre-Paul is a top five defensive end after three weeks and, while he’s unlikely to fully recover to his ‘old self’, he is migrating in the right direction.
Benardrick McKinney posted a nice stat line in week three, but Brian Cushing is back practicing and could return to the lineup this week. When Cushing returns, there’s no certainty McKinney retains subpackage snaps. The absence of JJ Watt should mean ample tackle opportunities for Houston’s linebackers, but McKinney’s snap count is uncertain with a healthy Cushing and his coverage struggles.
There were questions this preseason about Darron Lee’s growth and whether he’d develop into the linebacker the Jets hoped, but he appears to be assimilating quickly. He played 100% of the team’s snaps last week, compared to 77% the week prior, tallying five tackles (two for a loss) and a half a sack. David Harris is slowing down as he ages, so there should be ample opportunities for Lee as the season progresses.
- Khalil Mack, DE has no sacks through three weeks and only seven tackles and six assists.
- Calais Campbell, DE is performing at a DE2 level with only eight tackles and two assists through three weeks.
- David Harris, LB appears to be fading. He’s still a leader of the Jets’ defense, but he is becoming less and less active in the box score. He’s not someone to rely on now or in the near future.
It’s easy to get frustrated and impatient with Khalil Mack’s slow start, but as we’ve seen in the past, when Mack gets going, he can get on a tear and quickly accumulate sacks. However, the absence of Mario Edwards or a strong physical presence on the defensive line seems to be hindering Mack in the early part of 2016. Edwards’ presence in 2015 helped Mack quite a bite.
There’s also the question as to whether Mack is struggling as the LEO compared to a 3-4 SAM role. While we were all thrilled with Mack’s position designation change to defensive end, he may be better suited for a 3-4 OLB role. The slow start is frustrating, but Mack’s production should come, or the staff should put him in situations to succeed like he did mid-to-late 2015.
Deeper Targets to Watch/Add
- Maliek Collins, DT played 63% of the team’ snaps in week three and finished with a tackle and an assist. He’s not yet reliable, but he’s impressed the staff in a short time. After breaking his foot earlier in the offseason and missing time, he’s already cracked the starting lineup. With plus athleticism and a high ceiling, early indications are positive.
- Micah Hyde, SS started with Morgan Burnett out and finished with eight tackles and three assists. He’s always produced in limited duty, so if Burnett’s injury lingers, Hyde could continue to be viable.
- Ken Crawley, CB led the decimated Saints corners in snaps and finished with four tackles and two passes defended. He’s a viable short-term solution with the potential for a high volume of tackle opportunities as a result of the Saints’ high-powered offense.
- Will Parks, SS is a name to keep an eye on. Justin Simmons fractured his wrist creating an opportunity for Parks last week. He played 37% of the team’s snaps and tallied two tackles, an interception and a pass defended. He’s a long shot, but is physical enough to be compelling if Simmons struggles with his wrist injury as the Broncos have been using Simmons/Parks in subpackages.