IDP Corner: Week 1

You have got to love this time of year, it’s still summer, but fall has started its march into our lives (here in New England leaves are just barely starting to turn), and football has returned. This week the IDP Corner will just be touching on players who I will be watching, once we get into week 2 and have some real data to pull from this season I’ll transition back to my normal mix of statistical trends, matchup analysis, and still some of who I’m watching. Also, the 15 players this week is a little outside of my norm, but it’s week 1, I’m all kinds of hyped up, and I have a whole offseason worth of thoughts to unload. Speaking of which, let’s get to it!

Defensive Linemen:

Davon Godchaux, DT MIA – Currently sitting behind Jordan Phillips on the depth chart for Miami, the Dolphins will be rotating the starter at Tackle until they can find someone who can replace Ndamukong Suh. Godchaux produced 40 tackles on 504 snaps last year (a full 100 more snaps than Phillips), I expect that Godchaux will be consistently starting in the second half of the year. If you have DT spots in your league and are feeling a little bold I would add Godchaux today. If your league just has the general DL spots, feel free to put him on a deep bench, otherwise, keep him on your radar until you hear that he is starting.

Rasheem Green, DE SEA – The defensive line in Seattle has seen some better days. Besides Frank Clark, everything is basically one big rotation at the moment. Seattle will likely rotate some DTs out to the DE spot opposite of Clark for starters and then Green will share backup duties with Dion Jordan, who played in 5 games last year. I think if Green can prove himself when he rotates in, he’ll be given plenty of chances to play this year. For now Green is just on my radar, I’m not adding him anywhere yet.

Henry Anderson, DE NYJ – Admittedly my Margus Hunt man-crush moved over to Anderson for like 2 games last year, but with Anderson being shipped to NYJ in the offseason Margus is back in my heart. I know you were worried. Anderson should get plenty of looks now that the Jets no longer have Muhammad Wilkerson, and before his injury last year it looked like Anderson was poised for an uptick in production. I currently have Anderson on one of my teams as a backup DE with the hopes he’ll be able to recover into that trend from last year.

Defensive Backs:

Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, CB GB – Combining for 3 interceptions in the preseason these two rookies have lit a bit of a fire in Green Bay. Most depth charts have these two around the 3rd/4th spots, but GB loves playing with more than just 4 total DBs on the field, last year they were heavily using a 3 Safety setup and between turnover and injuries, I think you might see a 1 Safety, 4 Cornerbacks formation more than once this week. Another reason to go out and at least put these two on your bench is that historically speaking rookie CBs are often the rookies that make it into the top 10 of their IDP positions, something I’ll have to fully deep dive into in an offseason article. Having a second year QB to play against this week won’t hurt either.

Damarious Randall, FS CLE – One of my first offseason notes this year was that “Randall was playing out of position last year in Green Bay, what happens in Cleveland.” And wouldn’t you know it he’s slated to be their starting FS since about halfway through the preseason? Given how crowded this defense is with talented players even after the release of Mychal Kendricks, I’m not expecting elite tier production from Randall. He will have plenty of chances to be a ball hawk, so if your league values interceptions higher than standard scoring, adding Randall will give you some sneaky depth.

Jessie Bates, FS CIN – The Cincinnati Bengals dropped George Iloka because Bates looked that good this preseason. 992 snaps have been freed up to let Bates chew on, Iloka had a good year last year, clearly, CIN sees something good in Bates and there is very little chatter around him in the fantasy world. If you’re looking for someone to add as a backup for your DBs and you feel like the talent is thin, go add Bates.

Armani Watts, FS KC – I know that I’m 1) bringing up a good number of rookies on the list this week and 2) almost all of the DBs I’m highlighting are FSs or CBs which typically are not the positions you want in a DB slot, but at this time in the league most of the SSs are pretty well set in stone and known to most of your league mates. When they look left we must look right! Watts will be starting the season as a backup in KC, a team who has had so much turnover in their DBs that they’ve actually resigned Ron Parker (who KC had cut in February). He’s been playing very well this preseason, but clearly has some growing to do. Right now Watts is a deep bench stash at best in my mind. He is someone on my radar and the reason for highlighting him this week is to see how much field time he’s going to get off of the bat.

Terrell Edmunds, SS PIT – The news that Edmunds will be starting over seasoned veteran Morgan Burnett is breaking as I am writing this article. When he was drafted it was pointed out that Pittsburg may use him like the next person on this list, in a kind of “Even Stronger” Safety spot, or a deep LB type role. Even with Edmunds being named the starting SS I think the whole that Ryan Shazier left is bigger than any of the LBs currently on the PIT roster can handle. It would be smart for Edmunds to still be used as a deep LB/shallow Safety. Either way, go add Edmunds to your team now if he’s a free agent. If he’s owned see if you can get him added in on a trade.

Adrian Phillips, FS/ILB LAC – Last year Phillips played in a position similar to what I just outlined for Terrell Edmunds and he did well at it. Like in week 8 vs New England he saw only 72% of snaps that game but was still able to produce 12 tackles. Speaking of snaps, Phillips had more snaps than any of the LBs on the Chargers last year. And he saw, even more, snaps when Denzel Perryman came back from injury. I think with the addition of Derwin James, we will see more of Phillips creeping into the box before the snap confusing offenses much like he did last year. At least add him to your radar/watch list this week.

Linebackers:

Matthew Thomas, ILB PIT – After putting together some big plays in this preseason and having specific sub packages for him, I feel like you need to at least know who Thomas is. He has Vince Williams, John Bostic, and Tyler Matakevich all in front of him vying for Ryan Shazier’s empty spot. If you remember what I was writing about Terrell Edmunds, I think with any combination of those 3 starting in the 2 ILB spots, that Pittsburg will need help in the middle. Thomas has a chance to grind out this season and make a run for the job later in the year. Worst case scenario we have to wait another season for the Matthew Thomas breakout. For this year he’s a deep dynasty stash or just a name on my radar that I’ll keep an eye on all year long.

Jayon Brown, ILB TEN – With Tennessee drafting Rashaan Evans after parting ways with Avery Williamson this year, my hopes for Jayon Brown were minimal. Then every report out of Titans training camp and preseason are of glowing praise for Jayon. Brown continues to be the odd man out for the starting ILB spots in TEN to start the season but the moment they find a creative way to use him or if an injury happens, I would suggest submitting all of the waiver requests you can. For now, watch him be amazing for the 30ish snaps a game he will see.

Shaquem Griffin, WLB SEA – Just named the starter this week, Shaquem Griffin is a walking feel-good-story if there ever was one. He is certainly undersized to be an NFL LB, but after setting the 40 record in the combine and Pete Carroll practically gushing about him all off and preseason, all signs point to Griffin has EARNED, not just lucked into, starting this week. Even before K.J. Wright went in for knee surgery some beat reporters were talking about Griffin pushing Wright for snaps. If you’re looking for a bold move in week 1, start Griffin. Denver looks like it will continue to be a little more run focused so Griffin could have a chance at a good number of tackles when the Denver RBs run outside the tackles.

Shaq Thompson, SLB CAR – Potentially the most owned (if not the next player on this list) of the players I’m highlighting here, Thompson’s role each year has gotten bigger and bigger in Carolina. We’ll get a nice look in the first four games of the season of what he can really do if allowed to play a full snap load. Thomas Davis has been the block to Thompson since Thompson was drafted, now that Davis is suspended for four games, we may get to see Thompson shine. Most leagues you can still get Thompson for the cost of a backup LB in trades or out of free agent pool, you should do so.

Cory Littleton, ILB LAR – To start this off, I am just not sold on Mark Barron being the feature ILB for the Rams, he’s had his best years when he played on the outside or something similar to what Adrian Phillips played last year to compound this he had shoulder and heel surgery this offseason. Littleton has been the play caller even when Barron has been on the practice field and should see a full workload in snaps, which should provide on the cusp of starter level LB fantasy production. Not the most glowing opinion I know, but I think it’s important to realize he has the opportunity to make the best of a bad situation this year. Unless he goes HAM, I expect the Rams will work to find better ILB help next year… or Micah Kiser gets crazy better by the middle of the season. Ramik Wilson is a solid ILB backup in real life, but he’s yet to make any real noise this offseason, so while he will see snaps, I don’t expect them to impede Littleton much.

Good luck to you this week in your championship. If you have any questions of the Guru family, be sure to reach out to us through any of the ways listed below. We are in fact everywhere, so join in the fun!

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