• IDP Rundown Preseason Week 1 2023: Reaction and Analysis

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    Welcome to the IDP Rundown Pre-season Week 1! These are instant reactions and analyses to help you best see what your teams are doing.


    Thanks for coming back to the IDP Rundown preseason Week 1! Let’s take a look at who performed well and who didn’t, so you can get a better feel for what is going on in IDP land.

    Green Bay Packers @Cincinnati Bengals

    The Packers defeated the Bengals 36 to 19.

    What we learned in week one:

    A closer look at the Bengals' 4-2-5 and what's going on with the Packer safety rotation.

    What to look for:

    This is the Bengals' safety position battle I want to see! 

    In Cincinnati, the focus of interest regarding safety is one to take a huge interest in. As the teams develop their schemes and identify roles for players, none are effectively more important than rookies.

    An interesting development revolves around the safety situation. With the departure of both Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell in free agency, the preseason serves as an opportunity to bring clarity to who will assume these roles come Week 1.

    Historically, a distinct contrast has existed between these two positions, notably with Bell favoring a closer-to-the-line role with a higher frequency, resulting in increased tackling opportunities. So I wanted to keep a close eye on how this shapes up.

    Daxton Hill came in the second quarter and played 100% (21 snaps) 1DL/ 7 box/ 2 slot/ 1 wide CB/ 10 deep.

    Jordan Battle (played in the 3rd Quarter) had 49 snaps 2DL/4 slot/ 10 box/ 33 Deep

    If these roles stay as is, then it is looking like it will be Battle and Hill for the season. Nick Scott will be the odd man out.

    Still, it is just one game. Given Nick Scott's inactivity in this game, it remains challenging to disregard his candidacy for the starting competition. This is despite Daxton Hill and Jordan Battle taking up starting positions, with Hill currently assuming a role more reminiscent of Bell's responsibilities, at least in the interim.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    The linebacker positions for the Packers were filled by De'Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker, with Walker taking charge as the play-caller by wearing the green dot. This decision seems to be motivated by Walker's extended presence beyond the initial drive, while Campbell's participation was curtailed after just three defensive snaps in the first drive.

    As for the safety positions for the Packers, Darnell Savage and Jonathan Owens took up the starting roles. However, Savage's appearance was limited to the first drive, whereas Owens continued to play into the second quarter. As the current roster configuration suggests, both players are expected to commence the season as starters.

    INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ BUFFALO BILLS

    The Bills defeated the Colts 23 to 19.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Both teams have intriguing linebacker position units. For the Colts it's the health status of Leonard; for the Bills, it's how the LB2 role gets filled

    What to look for:

    Let's talk linebacker.

    The Colts got positive news out of their linebacking corps. It was encoring to see Shaquille Leonard on the field, considering he had been sidelined for a significant duration last season due to various injuries and surgeries. During the initial two drives, Leonard participated in all six defensive snaps alongside Zaire Franklin, suggesting a promising outlook for his resurgence into an every-down role throughout 2023.

    In the Bills' case, the uncertainty surrounding the second starting linebacker position beside Matt Milano had been a focal point during the offseason, given the presence of numerous contenders competing for the role. However, due to Terrel Bernard's absence from the game due to injury, Tyrel Dodson commenced as the starter alongside Milano. Dodson effectively manned the position, participating in every defensive snap during the first two drives. He then continued to stay in the game beyond that point, while Milano was given the remainder of the night off.

    As things stand, Tyrel Dodson can be considered the leading candidate for Buffalo's LB2 position until further developments indicate otherwise. It also helps that the coach is giving his endorsement as well.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    No other standout in this game.

    KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

    The Saints defeated the Chiefs 26 to 24.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    What's the Chiefs' LB rotation look like

    What to look for:

    Whether Trent McDuffie is the real deal

    The Chiefs fielded most of their defensive starters during the initial two drives, with the exception of Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed. In place of Sneed's absence, Trent McDuffie primarily occupied the slot position, although it remains uncertain whether this role will persist once Sneed is back in the lineup. It's worth noting that McDuffie did take over the slot corner role towards the end of the previous season.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    The linebacker corps on the first drive was led by Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr., while Leo Chenal joined them for a few snaps in base packages. Chenal's involvement in base personnel continued into the second quarter.

    Subsequently, new addition Drue Tranquill has been spotted in OTAs practicing with the green dot. This is to ensure that if any of the starters go down, he could play inside or outside. He entered the game after the starters and delivered an impactful performance with five tackles and a sack. Given his entrance post-starters, he's positioned further down the depth chart, making it less probable for him to accumulate significant IDP-relevant snaps however expect him to be a sneaky valuable piece as the Chiefs are known to figure out ways to get playmakers on the field.

    The Saints, meanwhile, predominantly featured their defensive starters, with the exception of Demario Davis. With Davis sidelined, Pete Werner and Nephi Sewell held the roles of every-down linebackers. Zack Baun, on the other hand, participated in only three out of nine snaps with the starters, entering during sub-packages.

    NEW YORK GIANTS @ DETROIT LIONS

    The Lions defeated the Giants 21-16.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    All eyes are on the linebacker.

    What to look for:

    This team got gashed last season against the run, so the Lions did have some interesting developments. The alleged starter, Alex Anzalone was unavailable for the Lions, so Derrick Barnes and Malcolm Rodriguez assumed starting positions at linebacker.  The opportunity was there for Jack Campbell and he delivered with 1 forced incompletion and 2 stops on just  25 snaps. If Campbell can maintain the level of play he exhibited in his debut, he might not remain excluded from the starting lineup for an extended period. His impressive performance could prompt a change quickly as it will be hard to keep him out of lineups very long.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    The Giants did not play their starters so we won't focus here.

    MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

    The Seahawks defeated the Vikings 24-13.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Ivan Pace can play

    What to look for:

    In this match, the Vikings opted not to field many of their anticipated main players, but we got a good look at the prospect Ivan Pace Jr. In this one, he was also wearing the communication device ("green dot")

    Flores's defenses use a “Tiles system,” which is usually used on high school/college football fields. You could see a breakdown of that below, but generally involves controlling the center of the field and pushing everything to the outside of the field. It's worth highlighting that Brian Flores' defensive schemes were evident and his fingerprints were all over in this game just not with the usual players. Troy Reeder, the other initial linebacker, frequently left the field during third-down situations, instead focusing predominantly on the edge. He participated in 78% of the total defensive plays. During these instances, Troy Dye took over for Reeder and played alongside Pace for the following three defensive series, but only managed to partake in 60% of the total defensive plays. Look for Dye to have a role here as a pass defender, while Reeder is the run thumper. 

    The allocation of playing time is poised to be a significant concern for whoever establishes themselves as the Vikings' LB2 in the 2023 season. Unless we see the emergence of Brian Asamoah, don’t expect the LB2 or LB3 to be significant in this defensive scheme.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    No other significant players played in this one.

    PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

    The Steelers defeated the Buccaneers 27-17.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Newly signed Kwon Alexander will have a role.

    What to look for:

    The newly rebuilt and healthy Pittsburgh Steeler defense.

    This one is exciting! The Steeler's defense is all back healthy and ready to go. It is projected to be much better and has an overhauled linebacker corps. This team is loaded again with Cole Holcomb, who managed to feature in every single defensive play during the initial two drives. This is encouraging, as he was seen this entire off-season wearing the green dot in OTAS so expecting to have an important part.

     On the first defensive drive, Elandon Roberts only participated in two snaps before being substituted by Kwon Alexander on third down. Remarkably, Roberts did not re-enter the game, allowing Alexander to complete the full set of snaps alongside Holcomb during the second defensive drive. It’s too early to tell but getting a feel for the game the Steelers may be thinking they prefer the Veteran and trust him on the roles.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    Another intriguing one to keep your eyes on is Pittsburgh is the partner who will join Minkah Fitzpatrick. However, with the primary contenders, Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee, missing from this game, there were no distinct indications available.

    Conversely, the Buccaneers opted not to field any of their anticipated defensive starters so we will have to wait on those developments.

    WASHINGTON COMMANDERS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS

    Commanders defeated the Browns 17-15.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Chase Young has still got it.

    What to look for:

    Commanders corners/slot battle.

    Signs of life emerged out of Chase Young in this game. On just four snaps he had impressive pressure which is more of what we want to see. His future still remains unknown. 

    The slot corner battle for the Commanders was one I wanted to see but it was Benjamin St-Juste, who began the game alongside rookie first-round selection Emmanuel Forbes. Danny Johnson stepped in at the wide corner position, while St. Juste covered the slot role in the absence of Kendall Fuller during the match. I believe we will have to get more intel on this before we can correctly deduce that situation.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    Nothing but something to think about. For the Browns we have yet to see Anthony Walker and Sione Takitaki, who are still not fully healthy and are presumed the starters, Jacob Phillips suffered a torn pectoral last year so it is likely he will miss the entire season. Expecting one of these guys to play a significant role now,  Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Jordan Kunaszyk started at linebacker so we got to see them up close.

    TENNESSEE TITANS @ CHICAGO BEARS

    Bears beat the Titans 23-17.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Is Jack Gibbens a player or not?

    What to look for:

    Bears cornerbacks and Titans linebackers.

    We got what we wanted to see in Chicago, Kyler Gordon, a sleeper cb for us in the know on IDP, saw action in 10 out of the first 12 snaps. He was aligned alongside the other anticipated starting corners, Tyrique Stevenson and Jaylon Johnson. Impressively, Gordon's usage was evenly split, with 50% of his snaps in the slot and the remaining 50% in the box. This versatile deployment aligns well with fantasy expectations, even if he's slated to be off the field for a few snaps each week.

    Azeez Al-Shaair was absent from this game, leading to the starting roles being assumed by Jack Gibbens and Chance Campbell. Of the two, Gibbens took on the every-down responsibility.

    While the secondary linebacker position for the Titans might not demand an every-down presence, considering their frequent utilization of one-linebacker formations last season, Gibbens seems to be the clear frontrunner for this role as the season approaches.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    none at this time

    DENVER BRONCOS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS

    The Cardinals defeated the Cardinals 18-17.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    The mystery of Drew Sanders and Zaven Collins' usage.

    What to look for:

    The Broncos surprisingly fielded a majority of their anticipated starters, which included linebackers, Josey Jewell and Alex Singleton. Singleton, however, was absent from the field during several early downs and concluded the game with a 73% snap participation, while Jewell remained consistently on the field in an all-down capacity.

    Drew Sanders operated within the second linebacker unit and shared a rotational role similar to Singleton, alongside Justin Strnad.

    During the game, the Cardinals provided us with our initial official glimpse of how former first-round linebackers Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons will be utilized this season in Jonathan Gannon’s defensive scheme. Collins exclusively played on the edge for all seven snaps he was part of with the first team.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    Simmons was exclusively positioned as a defensive back, predominantly assuming the role of a deep safety over half of the time, with some time spent as a strong safety (36%) and a single snap played in the slot. He will be used and valuable all over the place.

    Given these developments, it seems prudent to adjust our 2023 fantasy expectations for these two linebackers, aligning them more accurately with their new roles. Collins' value should be downgraded to that of an EDGE3, at best. As for Simmons, it's advisable to exercise caution and avoid drafting him in most leagues, particularly until we have a better understanding of how the defensive back alignments will shape up with Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, and Simmons all sharing the lineup.

    ATLANTA FALCONS @ MIAMI DOLPHINS

    The Falcons defeated the Dolphins 19-3.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Neither the Dolphins nor Falcons played any IDPs of interest in this game

    LOS ANGELES CHARGERS @ LOS ANGELES RAMS

    The Chargers defeated the Rams 32-17.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Both teams sat players so no news.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    Jake Hummel played every down and served as a three-down linebacker, while Christian Rozeboom logged slightly over 60% of snaps, suggesting he may be a liability in pass coverage. If this team is running a three-safety scheme as it was presumed, then the two-linebacker sets could make this significant news. 

    SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

    The Raiders defeated the 49ers 34-7.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Neither the 49ers nor the Raiders played IDP-relevant first-team defensive players in this game.

    JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ DALLAS COWBOYS

    The Jaguars defeated the Cowboys 28-23.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    Jaguars LB2 and LB3 employment.

    What to look for:

    Sadly nothing to report here unless news of Foyesade Oluokun had the night off, this led to Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma getting every down linebacker work. Lloyd is interesting to me. He remains a LB-30 range on draft day, however, is usually not on our radars with other exciting options instead to take. Looking like he is the LB2 answer to anything outside of Oluokun so we could expect starting value in deeper set leagues.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    The Cowboys did not play and relevant IDP to mention.

    Philadelphia Eagles @ Baltimore Ravens

    The Ravens defeated the Eagles 20-19.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    The new additions to the linebacker corps.

    What to look for:

    Since Nakobe Dean was absent from the Eagles' game, this introduced a challenge in determining the leading candidate for the team's secondary linebacker position, as there wasn't a clear partner on the field next to Dean.

    During the first drive, both Nicholas Morrow and Christian Elliss took the starting positions. When Elliss remained in the game alongside Zach Cunningham for the second drive, typically indicating Morrow's break as a starter, the scenario seemed straightforward. However, the situation took a twist when Elliss exited after the second drive, and Morrow returned to play alongside Myles Jack. This added further complexity to identifying the Eagles' LB2.

    Expect this saga to be ongoing this preseason and will not know more until we see Dean play.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    The Ravens refrained from using their starters in the game. However, they did deploy edge defender David Ojabo, which might imply that he currently ranks behind Tyus Bowser and Odafe Oweh on the depth chart.

    Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

    The Texans defeated the Patriots 20-9.

    What we learned in Week 1:

    A clear picture of the Texan's Defense.

    What to look for:

    Patriots rookie Keion White.

    For just a couple of series, the Texans appeared to have their defensive starters on the field which included their rookie third-overall selection, Will Anderson. In this span, Anderson participated in 82% of his team's defensive snaps and managed to make one tackle. He was playing as a Defensive lineman, which is something he did not do in college. He is going to be amazing but temper expectations.

    Regarding the linebacker positions for Houston, it's evident that both Denzel Perryman and Christian Harris are poised to begin the season as the top two choices. They each played in every defensive snap over the course of two drives before their night came to an end. Perryman displayed notable efficiency, contributing four total tackles and securing a sack within his 11 snaps.

    In contrast, the Patriots refrained from utilizing any of their first-team defensive players during this game.

    A standout performance came from rookie defensive end Keion White, who shone in 27 defensive snaps. leading the team, thanks to three total pressures and three defensive stops.

    Other Playing Time/Performance Notes:

    Marte Mapu had an amazing practice and broke up several plays in his hybrid role. He has an injury so did not play. He did however find another role. Holding the clipboard he called in plays for Steve Belichick showcasing his intelligence and trust in such a short time. We will need to focus on him once he returns.


    Thank you for checking out my article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @TheBroNamaths and @IDPGuys (we have offense, too), and please consider becoming a subscriber!

    Steve Hungarter (IDPHunter)

    Steve is U.S Army retired Veteran who's been playing in IDP leagues since 2004. He is currently ranked #4 in IDP accuracy on Fantasy Pros and recently selected into The Fantasy Sports Writers Association for his content. In addition to being an ECR ranker on Fantasy Pros, Steve also writes articles for both Fantasy Six Pack and IDP Plus. When Steve was a kid he got in trouble a lot. He would be held after school for trading his Football cards and comic books. He spent his time in the hallways, doing his own original content. The teachers would say not to do those silly things and obide by the rules. Fortunately, Steve was not a good listener.
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