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 one performances:
Brandon Marshall / Danny Trevathan ILB, DEN
As a starter in 2014, Marshall virtually played every down and emerged as a viable IDP linebacker across all formats. The trend continued in week one of 2015 as he put forth a solid performance on 93% of team’s snaps. Marshall finished the day with six tackles, an assist and a sack. He is still a bit of an underappreciated IDP asset, but the continuation of his 2014 performance warrants recognition.
Sticking with the Broncos, interestingly enough, Danny Trevathan accumulated six tackles and three assists against the Ravens. Hearing his name called frequently or glancing at the box score, it’s an auto-acknowledgement of a solid game. Interestingly, he only played 55% of team’s snaps. Not a great statistic, but his production on a per snap basis is notable.
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Zach Brown, ILB TEN
Brown outsnaped and outperformed Avery Williamson on the stat sheet in week one against the Buccaneers playing 72% of the team’s snaps (versus Williamson’s 61%). He finished the day with six tackles and an assist. I wouldn’t expect this trend to continue, but it shows Brown’s capabilities. He’s an excellent subpackage player who should continue to play a high percentage of snaps. With the Titans jumping out to a big lead, the low snap share for both linebackers is also likely to be an anomaly. That said, Brown continues to be underrated and his value is trending up.
Manti Te’o, ILB SD
Te’o played every down week one, not Donald Butler or Denzel Perryman. In fact, Perryman didn’t play one defensive snap. Te’o finished the day with three tackles, two assists and a quarterback hurry. On its face, it doesn’t seem like an impressive game, but considering the Chargers saw a below average volume of tackle opportunities, it actually is. Te’o may be the linebacker to own in San Diego this year.
Chris Smith, JAX DE
Chris Clemons was the Jaguars’ starting LEO this week and recorded a sack, but Smith actually played more snaps. Smith finished with four tackles, a quarterback hit and a quarterback hurry on 56% of the team’s snaps. With Dante Fowler out for the year with the torn ACL and Andre Branch out with a sprained MCL, the Jaguars are expected to use a rotation at LEO. Early indications from week one suggest the Jaguars may rely quite a bit on Smith. The ideal plan for the Jaguars is to save Clemons for passing situations, which could mean more tackle opportunities for Smith. He’s a deep option at this point, but someone to monitor with the apparent progress throughout the off-season, his performance down the stretch in 2014 and the immediate opportunity due to injuries.
Marcus Peters, CB KC
With Sean Smith suspended, Peters drew the start against the Texans. He accumulated five tackles, two assists, three passes defended and an interception on 85% of the team’s snaps. Smith is suspended another two games during which the Chiefs play the Broncos and Packers. Expect a lot of action for Peters over the next two weeks making him a top option in corner-required leagues. If he continues to perform well, he may push Phillip Gaines to a sub-package role and continue to be a top option through the rest of the season.
Henry Anderson, DE IND
Anderson started against the Bills in week one, played 83% of the team’s snaps and looked very good defending the run. He was extremely disruptive spending a lot of time in the Bills’ backfield. While he’s a 3-4 defensive end, Anderson flashed the potential to be a option. Coach Chuck Pagano was reportedly ‘thrilled’ with the rookie’s performance. I wouldn’t overpay for Anderson, but he should be rostered and/or targeted in tackle heavy leagues. He’s not the most athletic, but he’s a high effort player with a Justin Smith type ceiling.
Sam Barrington, ILB GB
Barrington came into Sunday’s game against the Bears with a nagging ankle injury. He started, but only lasted 16 snaps after he appeared to re-aggravate the injury. According to a local Green Bay paper, Barrington left the game on crutches in a walking boot – not good news for a defense already razor thin at inside linebacker. Nate Palmer was the immediate replacement and finished with six tackles and an assist, but he struggled defending the run. Matt Forte had a field day as the Packers’ defense was shredded for 198 yards on the ground. It appears Palmer will get an initial shot in place of Barrington, but Jake Ryan may ultimately get a shot depending on how long Barrington is out and if Palmer continues to struggle against the run. Pick up Palmer if you’re in a pinch, but he’s difficult to rely on beyond the upcoming week given the uncertainty there.
Update: Barrington was put on IR early Tuesday and is out for the season.
Calvin Pryor, SS NYJ
Pryor played 90% of snaps and performed like the player the Jets thought they drafted in 2014. He spent much of 2014 out of position filling in at free safety and he struggled mightily. Head Coach Todd Bowles put him back at his natural position this off-season with Marcus Gilchrist filling out the free safety spot and he’s again seeing most of his time in the box. In week one, Pryor finished with eight tackles, two assists and a forced fumble. He was extremely active. I’d expect him to be in and around the top the box score most weeks this season as he spends more time near the line of scrimmage.
Uani Unga, MLB NYG
With Jon Beason out, Unga started at middle linebacker and wore the green dot. He finished the game playing 100% of the team’s snaps accumulating nine tackles, two assists and an interception off a Jason Witten deflection. On paper, it would appear this was a stellar game. It was from a fantasy perspective, but the concern is his struggles in coverage down the stretch. Tony Romo went after Unga late and completed all four targets for 70 yards – that doesn’t bode well for Unga to maintain coverage responsibilities.
If you plan on going after Unga after this week’s performance with an eye to the future, go for it, but be cognizant of his coverage issues. It’s unclear when Beason will return, but even if he doesn’t next week, JT Thomas could steal some subpackage snaps back after only playing 40% in week one.
A number of rookies are included below. While the trends are important to be aware of, it was only one week – patience is important.
Geno Atkins, DT CIN – As surmised throughout the preseason, now two years removed from ACL surgery, Atkins is back to form. He wrecked havoc against the Raiders finishing the game with a sack, four hurries, two tackles, an assist and a forced fumble on 83% of the team’s snaps.
Benardrick McKinney, HOU ILB – McKinney didn’t play a defensive snap in week one. It was Akeem Dent who started next to Brian Cushing.
Ramik Wilson, KC ILB – Many thought Wilson would start next to Derrick Johnson since he did in the third preseason game and also saw time with the first team in training camp. However, Josh Muaga started week one playing 65% of team’s snaps and Wilson didn’t see a defensive snap in week one. Muaga isn’t more than a stop-gap, but those expecting immediate production from Wilson will have to wait.
Trenton Robinson, SS WAS – With Duke Ihenacho out for upwards of eight weeks, Robinson is likely to get first crack at the Redskins’ starting strong safety spot. He took Ihenacho’s place on Sunday finishing with six tackles and two assists. He could be a nice short-term option. Also keep an eye on Jeron Johnson should Robinson struggle.
Keenan Robinson, ILB WAS – This goes for Robinson, as well as many of the other Redskins’ top defenders – don’t be concerned with his low numbers from week one. The Redskins saw tackle opportunities well below the average.
Damontre Moore, DE NYG – Even with Jason Pierre-Paul out, Moore only played 28% of team’s snaps. Instead, Cullen Jenkins played the majority of snaps in place of Pierre-Paul. Moore can’t be relied on at this point – he needs to take advantage of this window of opportunity.
Eddie Pleasant, SS HOU – There was some preseason speculation Pleasant would start at strong safety, but he only played 21% of the team’s snaps in week one in a reserve role behind Quintin Demps.
Duron Harmon, FS NE – Harmon played 81% of the team’s snaps and Belichick appears to like him. Look for his snaps to be relatively high all season long. He’s a deep league option.
Jahleel Addae, SS SD – Addae is the Chargers starting strong safety. He played 72% of the team’s snaps and finished with four tackles. A nice performance considering the low number of tackle opportunities the Chargers saw in week one. He’s a viable roster add in moderate to deep leagues requiring two starting safeties.