IDP Corner: Week 1
Given it is the start of the season, we really only have the history of past seasons and coach speak to go off of when looking at how this week will go. This week I’ll be going over all of the match-ups to help establish a baseline, in the coming weeks this won’t happen as this article will focus more on trends, emerging players, and specific situations as they arise throughout the season.
Buf @ Bal
Both these defenses are well established in their structure which should lead to few surprises when it comes to IDP scoring.
Zack Brown has a chance to step into a significant role, but Preston Brown is the lead LB in Buffalo until further notice. Ronald Darby and Corey Graham should already be on your fantasy radars, and potentially starting for you this week.
The corners in Baltimore will probably stay quiet this week as Buffalo has a run-centric offense between McCoy and Taylor, which will create opportunities for Webb, Weddle, Mosley, and Orr. To a lesser extent Dumervil and Suggs, but historically speaking a Safety blitz is more likely to happen than an outside linebacker blitz when looking at a Baltimore defense.
TB @ ATL
Tampa has some big hitters, Lavonte David has been a top 5 LB since entering the league, and Kwon Alexander has shown that he is the future centerpiece of this squad, and they should be the ones who collect the majority of points this week. Verner and Conte will have the joy of covering Julio Jones when he lines up to the right of Matty Ice, so they’ll have some chances at tackles, but Jones is one of the better WRs at preventing an INT on a ball thrown his way. We could see Brent Grimes with an INT when pass progression dictates a pass to go his way because Jones is in double coverage, plus Grimes will be trying to prove his play is worth the team having to deal with his wife.
Two talented rookies were drafted by Atlanta this offseason (Keanu Neal and Dion Jones), both look like they will be starters right out of the gate. Sadly Neal is dealing with a knee issue, so Jones will be the only playing this week and he should see plenty of opportunities to grab tackles.
MIN @ TEN
We all know what to expect out of the gate from the Minnesota defense, Kendricks, Smith, and Griffen are perennial players to start, and there shouldn’t be a change from that this year. Look out for Chad Greenway and Anthony Barr, who should see some extra points thrown their way due to Tennessee claiming to go run crazy this year, either could be a great filler option if you have an injured IDP LB out this week.
With the injury to Bridgewater, expect Minnesota to run a bunch this week too, so all of the Tennessee LBs should have a chance at many tackles: Wesley Woodyard, Derrick Morgan, and Avery Williamson could all prove to be good plays this week, check for their availability in that order.
SD @ KC
Manti Te’o has come a long way since helping the world understand the concept of being catfished, he is the LB to own in San Diego. Since Kansas City’s lifeblood centers on Running Back play both on the ground and in the air, expect that Melvin Ingram and Denzel Perryman’s tackle numbers jump up a bit this week. Brandon Flowers will likely get to cover Jeremy Maclin most of the game, which will net him a couple of tackles and a few passes defended.
Marcus Peters, Eric Berry, and Ron Parker are about to have a field day thanks to a poor offensive line protecting Philip Rivers. Jaye Howard and Dontari Poe could both end up with multi sack games, which will result in Rivers putting out quick passes later in the game, which will lead to Peters, Berry, and Parker having multiple chances at interceptions, or passes defended at the least. Oh and if you have Derrick Johnson you are starting him.
OAK @ NO
I think the Raiders coaches don’t even know what position Khalil Mack plays, defensive end, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, in the end it doesn’t matter, just start him, he’ll get you points. As for the rest of the players on the Oakland defense, this game will likely end up being a bit of a shoot out, which means all of the DBs will get 2-4 tackles each and the rest of the players will be less relevant than that.
Though James Laurinaitis has a new home, his production should not drop off much from last year. Kenny Vaccaro should get plenty of work due to my shootout expectations. Cameron Jordan will see early work in the game as Latavius Murray and DeAndre Washington get some early touches.
CIN @ NYJ
Cincinnati still has three good linebackers in Karlos Dansby, Rey Maualuga, and Vincent Rey, and they will split the majority of run and short pass tackle opportunities among them. George Iloka will likely get responsibility of tackling Brandon Marshall. There isn’t too much more to expect from this squad.
David Harris is still the most exciting LB on the Jets til Darron Lee can make the jump to starter (not happening this week). Calvin Pryor has quickly become the DB to watch, as Buster Skrine fell off a little last year. And finally Muhammad Wilkerson is consistently a lineman to start if your league uses the position, and will likely have a nice week with CIN likely to flex more run than pass this year.
CLE @ PHI
Joe Haden is the only startable player on the Cleveland defense right now. Someone will step up and stand out (most likely Demario Davis), but just try to avoid this squad unless you’re in dire need for a player.
There are a good deal of viable fantasy starters in Philadelphia, I’m big on Jordan Hicks personally, but his sample size is small so some people will hold off on using him. With so much in flux in Cleveland it’s hard to guess who might stand out on this defense this week, most likely Malcolm Jenkins and Leodis McKelvin as Eagles should go up early and the Browns will need to throw to catch up.
GB @ JAX
For Green Bay a returning healthy Morgan Burnett will help not only Ha Ha Clinton-Dix but the whole defensive side of the ball. Keep Blake Martinez on your radar, though I do not expect too much from him specifically this week where this game could devolve into a passing dream.
Again, while Telvin Smith and Paul Posluszny will be week to week big time hitters, Johnathan Cyprien, Jalen Ramsey, and Tashaun Gipson should see more work than most weeks.
CHI @ HOU
Chicago will have their hands full with a Houston offense that has top tier weapons at the skill positions. Jerrell Freeman should produce plenty of points, and Danny Trevathan should eat up the rest while the DBs figure out who will actually do work each week.
The Texans will roll out J.J. Watt in the season opener, so there goes the Chicago weak side run game. Brian Cushing and Jadeveon Clowney will be the tackle monsters that they can be. Chicago’s options will get funneled into the deep ball, which is where Houston needs players to step up besides Johnathan Joseph.
MIA @ SEA
Reshad Jones should continue his reign of terror as the highest scoring IDP player from last year into this week, the Seattle defense will put the ball in the hands of the offense often, so Jones and the rest of Miami will get plenty of chances for tackles and passes defended, and Wilson while a productive QB, expect the Miami team to force an INT. Why would I expect that? Well, though Seattle has a very good o-line, the defensive line and linebackers on Miami will complicate the run game this week, so look for more passes from Seattle this week.
Miami will want to establish a passing game (to prove that Tannehill is a worthwhile passer), but doing so against 3 Pro Bowl level DBs will be a tough task. Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas will reap the most points here, followed by Bobby Wagner, no real surprises to report here.
NYG @ DAL
The Giants do not usually foster amazing linebackers, which is why Landon Collins and Jenoris Jenkins will stand out. Also, expect Jason Pierre-Paul to get back to pre-fireworks form starting in this game.
Sean Lee is the defensive standout on Dallas, the rest of them should be avoided for now.
DET @ IND
This may be the highest scoring game of the week and with that in mind, expect that Darius Slay and Glover Quin to have some high DB numbers this week. DeAndre Levy and Tahir Whitehead should also collect a good number of tackles this week and on the season.
While Detroit is on the field you’ll see Mike Adams and Clayton Geathers go the most over their weekly normal performance levels, and D’Qwell Jackson and Sio Moore will be the linebackers who do the most work this season.
PIT @ WAS
The strong point of Washington’s offense if the weakest point of Pittsburgh’s defense, the deep passing game. Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons will get plenty of tackles as Washington will try to establish the run. Robert Golden and Mike Mitchell will be the playmakers to get tackles as Washington moves away from the run and into the deep pass game.
At the end of this season we potentially could see 4 DB Pro Bowlers from Washington’s defense, in all likelihood this won’t happen, but the talent is there to support it. Expect Washington’s defense as a team to step to a higher tier this season. Josh Norman, David Bruton Jr., DeAngelo Hall, Brashaud Breeland, and Duke Ihenacho will all see boosted stats this week as Pittsburgh will rely on their passing game to catch up to Washington’s score (yes an odd thing to say about the high powered PIT offense, but look for it to happen).
LAR @ SF
Once Alec Ogletree finishes chewing on Carlos Hyde, the 49ers will try to pass the ball which is where you can watch for Trumaine Johnson and Mark Barron to get to work. Chip Kelly’s offense will have a rough game this week just due to week 1 rust, and the Rams will be able to capitalize on that.
Someone has to play defense on San Francisco, those people will be NaVorro Bowman, Antoine Bethea, and Eric Reid… and eventually this season DeForest Buckner.
NEP @ ARZ
In what looks to potentially be one of the better defensive battles of this week, the Patriots will expect their d-line to establish itself which will allow Jamie Collins to blitz, Dont’a Hightower to run amuck on short rushing attempts, and Malcolm Butler, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, and Logan Ryan to play some honest defense in the secondary.
Over in Arizona-land Chandler will be looking to extract a little pain against his former team, Deone Bucannon will work on the middle of the field plays, finally Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson will lead the DBs to make life tough for the New England passing game.