We’ve made it through the first week of football, and now it’s time to focus on your week two IDP fantasy football matchups.
Well football is back and we have one week in the books. The only real duds from last weeks matchup articles were the guys who were injured and didn’t play. (Joey Bosa, Malcolm Smith, Mark Barron, Avery Williamson, etc.)
I touched on Williamson’s situation in the weekly IDP Guys podcast but the short version is that game went the exact opposite of how everyone thought it would. The Jets dominated time of possession and got out to a huge lead. The Lions were never able to establish their run game and had to pass the ball far more than they wanted to.
I’m not worried about Williamson and you shouldn’t be either, he played 91% of defensive snaps for the Jets and should bounce back nicely in this weeks division matchup against the Dolphins.
The other notable dud from last week was C.J. Mosley who still led the team with five combined tackles and only played 73% of defensive snaps in a game that was over by halftime, he’ll be fine as well.
For this week there are a few matchups that stick out for some potential massive IDP point totals and we’ll cover those between this article and a part two coming out Saturday most likely. In this part we’ll cover the Thursday night game and some early Sunday games.
Week Two: Thursday Night Game
Baltimore @ Cincinnati
This is a divisional game between two teams that look to run the ball first and foremost. This is always great for IDP purposes as it leads to easy run stopping tackles for the linebackers involved. I expect this to be a close game and for time of possession to be split pretty evenly. This game has a one point spread so Vegas agrees that this one should be close.
Cincinnati: The Ravens will look to establish the run and this should lead to some easy run stopping tackles. For the Bengals I’m starting Nick Vigil (SLB), Preston Brown (MLB), Geno Atkins (DT), Carlos Dunlap (DE).
Nick Vigil is one of only three Bengals who played 100% of defensive snaps in their first game and he put up double digit tackles, I feel the safest about starting him here for some easy run stopping tackles and tackles on short to medium passing attempts. Preston Brown only played 56% of defensive snaps in the Bengals first game so this is a roll of the dice. However I think gamescript-wise he could be a solid play in a game where I see neither team really getting out to a huge lead and thereby negating the run game.
Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap played 68% and 79% of defensive snaps last week and both put up solid games. They’ve always been reliable and good producers so I’m comfortable starting them this week. C Fejedelem came in for Shawn Williams after he was ejected last week and had a great game, but he is not the listed starter so tread carefully there. ***Updated with info about Williams\Fejedelem 9/13/18.
Ravens: The Bengals will try and get their run game going as well with Mixon but can air it out with A.J. Green and John Ross just as easily. For the Ravens IDP I’m starting CJ Mosley (ILB) and Tony Jefferson (S) and that’s about it as far as my comfort level.
Mosley, who is without a doubt one of the best linebackers in the NFL, only played 73% of defensive snaps in the blowout win over the Bills in week one. Some of that was due to the game being over by halftime but a closer look at the snap count breakdown from the Ravens in week one shows me that Mosley (73%) and Jefferson (100%) are the most talented guys who play the most so far.
The remaining linebackers all played below 56% of defensive snaps and Eric Weddle put up a goose egg and only played 73% of defensive snaps. The stats for the defensive line are even worse. Talent plus opportunity is the equation I use to come up with who has the best shot of scoring IDP points and the result I’m getting is start Mosley and Jefferson.
There will, without a doubt, be other players on this Ravens defense who have awesome production in this game. The problem is it’s damned near impossible to figure out who they will be with the limited data I have available. So those two should be a lock, anything else is a roll of the dice.
Sunday Afternoon: One O’Clock Games
Chargers @ Bills
If this game goes how most of us think it will the LA Chargers will dominate time of possession and have their way with a struggling Bills team who will be starting rookie Josh Allen at quarterback this week. Even without Joey Bosa (foot) the Chargers should be able to generate enough pass rush to fluster the rookie QB and force turnovers.
Defensively all they really need to do is shut down LeSean McCoy and this one should be money in the bank. The Bills IDP players should be huge producers again this week. I expect some production out of the Chargers defensive line and secondary but am personally staying clear of their linebackers and I’ll tell you why below.
Chargers: With the Bills starting a rookie at QB I expect the Chargers defensive line to feast and sack opportunities to be plentiful. This should also be a great game for the Chargers secondary as a rookie QB in his first NFL start will be sure to make mistakes that could result in easy interceptions.
For me I’m starting Melvin Iingram (DE), Derwin James (S), Casey Hayward (CB) and Desmond King (CB). Mevlin Ingram should be able to cause havoc in the Bills backfield and I think the chances of a sack or two for him this game are solid plus he played 95% of snaps for the Chargers last week so the opportunity is there.
Derwin James only had a few tackles last week and his day was saved by a sack but he also played 100% of defensive snaps as a rookie. That goes to show you how talented the guy is. I won’t lie it’s a roll of the dice with him and probably will be every week but with his level of talent and sheer playing time there will be weeks where he explodes and could win you a matchup single handedly.
Hayward played 100% of defensive snaps last week and as a cornerback it doesn’t get much better then that. It’s always a dice roll with corners but the opportunity is there and with the Bills starting a rookie QB Hayward could grab a interception if lucky.
Desmond King follows the same line of thinking but he only played 77% of snaps so his chances of a great game are slightly less than Haywards. Kyzir White led all Chargers linebackers in snap count with 79% of defensive snaps played last week, next was Perryman at 75% then it falls off a cliff after those two.
So while I don’t recommend starting ANY Chargers linebackers this week if you do have to then I would go White, then Perryman, then the rest of them in no particular order, flip a coin and bend over at the point because you’re screwed.
Bills: This is another great week to own the Bills IDP players. The Chargers will pound the rock with Melvin Gordon along with short passes to Austin Ekeler and deep shots to Keenan Allen & company. For the Bills IDP I’m starting Tremaine Edmunds (MLB), Matt Milano (WLB), Jordan Poyer (S), Micah Hyde (S) and Kyle Williams (DT).
Edmunds played 100% of defensive snaps last week and had a monster game. He is, still, a living, breathing, functioning human being playing middle linebacker for the Bills, there should never be a scenario where you don’t start him.
Milano played 95% of snaps against the Ravens and had a great game himself, the weakside LB slot in a 4 defense can produce quite a bit as well if it’s the right team (bad offense, lots of defensive snaps). The Bills are the right team, start Milano all year.
Some of you may ask “What about Lorenzo Alexander? He had a great game last week also!” And you would be right about the great game part, however he only played 55% of defensive snaps and is the SLB, a position that’s not usually IDP relevent.
I think last weeks game was an anomaly and if the Bills can get literally any kind of offense going at all 55% of defensive snaps just isn’t going to be enough playing time to get you the production you want out of a linebacker you’re starting.
Poyer had a great game last week and played 96% of defensive snaps so that’s a green light. Hyde didn’t have such a great game but still played 95% of snaps so the opportunity was there. From what I remember last year Hyde is a bit of a boom or bust guy so if that’s not your cup of tea then start another safety there are plenty out there but he has the right ingredients to get you solid points every week (opportunity and availability).
Kyle Williams should be in position to try and stop Melvin Gordon for some run stopping tackles and maybe a tackle for loss or two and he played 56% of snaps in game one which is pretty good for DT.
Cleveland @ New Orleans
This game looks to be a relatively high scoring affair that I think the Saints eventually win. But really who the hell knows after last weeks circus at home against Tampa Bay. There should be a good amount of offense happening here especially since the game will be inside on the turf where the elements can’t screw things up. I think this game will produce a solid amount of IDP points on both sides.
Cleveland: The Saints are going to use Alvin Kamara as much if not more than they did in their first game where he put up ungodly numbers. They can also air it out with Brees & company. I expect time of possession to be slightly in New Orleans favor so the Browns IDP production should be solid.
For me I’m starting Joe Schobert (MLB), Christian Kirksey (WLB), Myles Garrett (DE), Denzel Ward (CB) and Larry Ogunjobi (DT). Schobert no longer has Mychal Kendricks breathing down his neck and played 100% of snaps at MLB in a 4 on a team with a questionable offense. That’s the perfect recipe for IDP success.
Even though his numbers were boosted by the 15 extra minutes of football last week in the tie against Pittsburgh and the Browns offense is clearly light years better than last years version he should still get enough time on defense to be effective for your IDP purposes.
Kirksey played 73% of defensive snaps and has always been reliable. He should have plenty to do with Kamara running around all day so I feel good about starting him as well. Myles Garrett had a great first game, played 100% of defensive snaps and should have plenty of opportunity with a Saints team that loves to throw as much as run. ***Writers note: Kirksey is OUT this week against the Saints. James Burgess has been talked about as his replacement but there’s a chance that Genard Avery gets some snaps as well. If possible just streer clear of this whole mess and start someone else.
Denzel Ward also had an outstanding first game and should have a Tra’Davious White type season for the Browns. He played 100% of defensive snaps as well so all signs point to another solid game against the Saints. Ogunjobi played 94% of snaps at DT and had a nice first game as well. He should have plenty of opportunity to make plays with this prolific Saints offense on tap.
New Orleans: The Browns are clearly much improved offensively this season and managed to score 21 points against a Pittsburgh team that sacked Taylor seven times and picked him off once in a rainstorm the likes of which we haven’t seen since Noahs Ark. They should have a significantly easier time moving the ball inside against a far crappier New Orleans defense.
For me that means I’m starting DeMario Davis (LB), Marcus Williams (S), Marshon Lattimore (CB) and Cameron Jordan (DE). Davis played 100% of defensive snaps in week one and should have plenty of opportunity to make plays dealing with the three-headed running back monster from Cleveland. Although I still think overall Davis will have a down year compared to last year if you own him I would definitely start him this week.
Williams played 100% of snaps and had a nice game at safety and didn’t have to deal with Kurt Coleman stealing reps like Vonn Bell did. This game should involve a good amount of passing and run stopping so I’m starting Williams without hesitation.
Lattimore played 98% of snaps in week one and the Browns should be airing it out quite a bit so the situation looks good for a solid game from Marshon. Cameron Jordan played 91% of snaps in week one and had a nice game as well, he should have plenty of opportunities to grab a sack or two in this game that looks to be another shootout.
Kansas City @ Pittsburgh
This game could be a shootout or it could be a grind it out run and play defense type affair, I have no idea which. Regardless of that I think this game sets up well for both IDP squads. I tend to think Pittsburgh recovers after that week one tie and grabs a win here.
Kansas Cities week one offense was a lot of smoke and mirrors and Tyreek Hill. If the Steelers can limit hill this game could be a slog it out affair but just as likely these two teams trade scores for the majority of the game and we get a shootout.
Kansas City: The Steelers showed everyone how worried they are about Bell not reporting last week. Not very. James Connor showed up in a huge way and had an excellent game showing everyone that this Steelers offense can still function without Leveon Bell. I expect Pittsburgh to run with Conner quite a bit and take some shots to Brown and Smith-Schuster.
For me that means I’m starting Anthony Hitchens (ILB), Kendall Fuller (CB), Justin Houston (OLB) and Chris Jones (DE). Hitchens had double digit tackles in week one and played 95% of defensive snaps. He is a lock for me this week and should have another solid week.
Even though Reggie Ragland had a decent game last week he only played 51% of defensive snaps so it’s likely that in a game where Kansas City may not own time of possession he won’t play enough to have a solid game for you, too big a risk I’ll pass.
Kendall Fuller played 100% of snaps at corner last week and will have his hands full with this explosive Steelers passing game, odds are in his favor for a good game here. Justin Houston is sack dependent but I think he’ll have a good amount of opportunities to rush the quarterback in this game and could grab a sack or two.
If you have another LB option that is less risky I would take it but if you have to play him this isn’t the worst game for it. Chris Jones played 72% of defensive snaps in week one and should also have a good shot at a sack or two this week.
Pittsburgh: The Steelers defense is going to have to deal with Andy Reids colorful offensive schemes and a potent offense loaded with talent. I think we’ll see plenty of Kareem Hunt and a good deal of passing as well.
For my Steelers IDP I want Vince Williams (ILB), Sean Davis (S), Cameron Heyward (DT/DE) and TJ Watt (OLB). What about Jon Bostic!?!? Well he only played 66% of defensive snaps last week and despite having a decent game that’s not enough playing time for me to roll the dice on him. Williams however played 99% of defensive snaps in week one and had a great game.
He should be in good position for another solid game this week with Kareem Hunt running wild and throws over the middle to Kelce.
Sean Davis played 100% of defensive snaps and had a solid week one so he should have the opportunity to do it again this week. Cameron Heyward not only has a double designation in some leagues (DE/DT) but also played 85% of defensive snaps in week one and had a great game.
He should have many chances to pass rush as well as run stuff and maybe grab a sack or a tackle for loss or two. TJ Watt is a total roll of the dice and is completely sack dependent for him to have a great week, however he did play 96% of defensive snaps last week so if you do have to roll the dice with him he’s getting more playing time then other sack dependent OLB like Justin Houston or Terrell Suggs. Buyer beware though he could just as easily get you nadda this week.
Keep an eye out for part two of this series dropping Saturday morning where I’ll cover some of the 4pm kickoff games and both the Sunday night game and the Monday night game. If you need defensive waivers check out this weeks podcast I have a section near the middle where I go over a ton of waivers for this week if you need them.
If you have any lineup questions or need advice feel free to hit me up @Orangeman3142 on Twitter or use the “Leave a Comment” box on idpguys.org and me or another writer from our team will get back to you ASAP. Good luck in all your matchups this week!