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  • IDP Rundown Preseason Week 2 2023: Reaction and Analysis

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    Welcome to the IDP Rundown preseason Week 2! These are instant reactions and analyses to help you best see what your teams are doing.


    Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants

    The Giants defeated the Panthers 21-19

    What we learned in week two:

    The safety position is clearer now for the Panthers, and the Giants' LB2 has emerged.

    What to look for:

    Quite a few rotational subs might tell us the team's plan for their usage. It could be nothing and it is only week 2, or it could be foreshadowing. Your call.

    Look closely. That safety rotation is starting to shake out. It looks like Jeremy Chinn is due for a reduced role, as he appears only in sub packages. This would be great news for Xavier Woods and Vonn Bell as they are proving to be all-down players in this pre-season early on. Let’s just hope this was only one game, especially if you drafted Chinn at his high ADP,  but it is starting to shape and look this way so needs to be mentioned here.

    At linebacker as we could expect its two players to mostly watch for here. Both Frankie Luvu and Shaq Thompson are your starting linebackers, and the latter is my choice as Thompson could be had cheaper in ADP most drafts. It needs to be mentioned there is a little bit of scare in owning Luvu, only because he achieved so much last season so doubt he could repeat those stats but is still a decent player. This defense in Denver is a one-LB scheme, as evident by this game as we saw Luvu was the player who came off the field a few times. If I have to choose between these two linebackers, it's Thompson for me.

    For the New York Giants, Bobby Okereke as we all assumed was the only linebacker playing every down during the first two drives with the starting defensive unit, participating in all 21 defensive snaps. He should have a monster season if he stays healthy by default.

    Another spotlight here is Micah McFadden as your other linebacker, but his playing time was limited to just 61 percent of the defensive snaps. While McFadden appears to be the leading candidate for the team's secondary linebacker role, still you want your LB2 to be around 75% usage or greater so I would not be surprised if the Giants pick up somebody before the season starts. As it stands right now, it is McFadden.

    *update: McFadden was nice to see out there but the Giants just traded for Isaiah Simmons. So that's the clear LB2 hybrid role that they will need.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    In terms of the safeties, Xavier McKinney and Jason Pinnock held down the starting positions in the game. Both guys we active in deep coverage, but at least the team seems committed to them and will get the playing time.

    Buffalo Bills @Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Steelers defeated the Bills 27-15

    What we learned in week two:

    The search for the Bills LB2 is not over.

    What to look for:

    Both teams rotated their linebackers and shifted around the depth chart for different reasons.

    The Bills are actively experimenting with various linebacker combinations alongside Matt Milano in their quest to identify the optimal starter for the upcoming season. In the most recent game, Tyrel Dodson was given his second consecutive start. However, the team also provided A.J. Klein an opportunity to play alongside Milano during the latter part of the first quarter and into the second quarter.

    Notably, Tyrel Dodson, A.J. Klein, and Dorian Williams all continued to participate in the game even after Milano's playing time had concluded. The Bills seem to be employing a mix-and-match approach, likely indicating their intention to thoroughly assess the linebacker position.

    In contrast, the Steelers took a noticeable approach in their linebacker rotation. Cole Holcomb was on the field for every defensive snap during the first drive, alongside Elandon Roberts, who shared the field with Kwon Alexander on third downs.

    This was more of the same as last week until the second half happened. Holcomb saw only a single defensive snap during the second drive, as Alexander assumed an every-down role, and Roberts continued to rotate in and out. I wouldn't be too alarmed as the pre-season is the time to try out new things/new rotations and fits. Especially for the case of Holcomb, as he did remain in the game for three more defensive drives.

    Throughout those last three drives, Holcomb resumed the primary linebacker role alongside Alexander, while Roberts maintained a rotational role. While this usage pattern isn't overly concerning for Holcomb, it does merit monitoring during the season. The Steelers appear to avoid relying exclusively on one linebacker for every-down duty, instead opting to rotate them based on situational needs, similar to their approach last year.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Shifting to the safety position, Minkah Fitzpatrick started alongside Damontae Kazee. However, Kazee's role wasn't an every-down one, as Keanu Neal also entered the game for specific packages, leading to Kazee leaving the field for a handful of snaps.

    Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks

    The Seahawks win 22-14

    What we learned in week two: Both teams with unexpected starters due to injury.

    What to look for: Cowboys LB2 and Seahawks secondary

    The Cowboys got the worst possible news as their rookie linebacker Demarvion Overshown sustained a season-ending torn ACL during this game. Watching the game it seems that Damone Clark is the leading candidate for the LB2 position alongside Leighton Vander Esch.

    In a strategic move, the Seahawks integrated some of their starting players into the game, including safety Julian Love. This likely is to suggest that Jamal Adams might now be ready and likely Love might take on a more substantial role if Jamal Adams doesn't recover in time for the season's start. Granted this is more important than actually documented, but it appears to be a scenario that is increasingly manifesting itself into a reality. Love has been a favorite best ball stash of mine this off-season and will continue to be so as more news on this topic arrives.

    Cleveland Browns @ Philadelphia Eagles

    The game was tied at 18-18

    What we learned in week two: 

    The Eagles cleared things up a bit at linebacker.

    What to look for:

    The Eagles have some interesting developments going on in the secondary.

    For the Cleveland Browns, no starter played or significant IDP but that was not the same for the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Nakobe Dean and Zach Cunningham were on the field for every defensive snap at linebacker during the initial two drives, providing a strong hint about who might be starting in Week 1. Dean has solidified his spot as a starter, but the competition for the LB2 role appears wide open, given the rotations involving Cunningham, Nicholas Morrow, and also Christian Elliss to some degree as a backup late-quarters role. Cunningham's starting position is a positive sign for his chances of winning the job, making him a worthy addition to your roster, however, do not discount Morrow just yet.

    Additionally, Myles Jack's retirement gives us a clearer picture of what to expect in the linebacker rotation, there still is some wiggle room among the depth roles.

    Interesting note but Terrell Edmunds and K'Von Wallace as their starting safeties, deep into later in the game. Wallace played all the way into the 4th quarter. In addition to the LB2-3 rooms, I believe the Eagles are still trying to get continuity with this secondary until sleeper rookie Sydney Brown is able to start for them. There could be early growing pains within these two units, which likely means we could have some weekly streams on our IDP teams first few weeks of the season.

    Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals

    The game was tied at 38-10

    What we learned in week two: 

    The Cardinals tried some new players out and gave us a glimpse at what to expect from the defense

    What to look for:

    Josh Woods and Zaven Collins

    The Chiefs' defense stayed exactly the same as it did last week so we could expect continuity with this unit. The only thing that needs to be repeated here is that Nick Bolton and Willie Gay as your two main linebackers. Leo Chenal and Drue Tranquill appear to rotate out. Nothing to see here that we did not already know.

    The Cardinal's defense needs to be looked at under a microscope. We keep seeing Kyzir White as the main linebacker, and as predicting could be the steal of this year's draft. The LB2 has been Josh Woods, who literally played every single snap with the starters, then came back in to get late-quarter reps with Krys Barnes, I would consider Woods in IDP only in deeper leagues, as he is not considered a full-time starter yet. This team is just trying to figure things out. As we have seen in the last game too, Zaven Collins remains a full-time edge rusher.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Woods may be in for some good usage due to the recent trade news.

    *update: The Cardinals just traded Isaiah Simmons to the Giants so we could assume he fills that hybrid LB2 role.

    New England Patriots @ Green Bay Packers

    The Patriots defeated the Packers 21-17

    What we learned in week two: 

    Safety rooms for both teams

    What to look for:

    The camp battle of the Packers' safety room is shaping up, Rudy Ford appears to solidify as the starter.

    One of the funner camp battles has been the Packers' safety situation. It does appear that Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford are the likely starters. They commenced the game, and Jonathan Owens entered after Savage completed the first defensive drive. Owens continued to play even after Ford finished his stint on the field.

    The Packers also got some interesting development in their linebacker corps deciding who is the true LB1 to own. In this game, Quay Walker saw action while De'Vondre Campbell did not participate. Nevertheless, Walker and Campbell remain the expected starters for Week 1, with Campbell potentially assuming the primary every-down role. I keep going back and forth on this, but what a great problem for a team to have. Given the size of the contract, Campbell re-signed for I think Campbell will continue those play-call duties for at least one more season.

    The Patriots use their safeties historically a little differently than most schemes. For many years, Devin McCourty was the green dot defender, but his retirement has left a huge hole in and big shoes to fill. If Duggar were to win this job, expect huge snaps and playing time to go with it and could be a sleeper at his current ADP. We saw Kyle Dugger for just the first drive, but during that time, he was on the field for all five defensive snaps, alongside Jabrill Peppers. With Devin McCourty's retirement leaving a significant void at safety, Dugger is poised to shoulder a substantial increase in playing time, especially as he can help fill the deep coverage responsibilities previously handled by McCourty, as demonstrated in this game.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    none

    Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans

    The Dolphins defeated the Texans 28-3

    What we learned in Week 2: Both teams' linebacker utility

    What to look for: The way the Texans will line up

    Miami played all their first string in this game. In this one, both Jerome Baker and David Long played but Long did come off for a couple of snaps, which we might make the assumption that Baker is thought to be the starter. Long projects better as the inside guy and has worn the green dot before so this update may not be the case. Still, we need to monster this one.

    Texans had Will Anderson on the Edge starting with Jacob Martin. Previous standout Jonathan Greenard only came in from the bench.

    The Texans linebacker room saw a few new things happen this week as well. Christian Harris had a three-down role, while Denzel Perryman called the defense. It would not surprise me if Kirksey (who had a good number last year, but on film did not look good) is shown the door. Harris and Perryman are the only two linebackers I would be interested in drafting and Kirksey is suspect and remains hurt.

    Miami played all their first string in this game. In this one, both Baker and Long played but Long did come off for a couple of snaps, which we might make the assumption that Baker is thought to be the starter. Long projects better as the inside guy and has worn the green dot before so this update may not be the case. Still, we need to monster this one.

    The Texans linebacker room saw a few new things happen this week as well. Christian Harris had a three-down role, while Denzel Perryman called the defense. It would not surprise me if Christian Kirksey (who had good numbers last year, but on film did not look good) is shown the door. Harris and Perryman are the only two linebackers I would be interested in drafting and Kirksey is suspect and remains hurt.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Texans had Will Anderson on the Edge starting with Jacob Martin. Previous standout Jonathan Greenard only came in from the bench.

    Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers

    The 49ers beat the Broncos by a score of 21-20

    What we learned in week 2: Broncos linebacker usage

    What to look for: 49ers new cornerback emerged.

    The 49ers played their starters and it's about the same except maybe Deommodore Lenoir seems to be pulling ahead and becoming a starter as a nickel cover guy this season.

    The Broncos are more of the same. With Josey Jewell being every down guy and Alex Singleton only logging 9 snaps. Don’t be too concerned with Singletons usage. During his career, it is maddening how effective a tackler he is with limited snap counts so he will be just fine drafting him at his current ADP in drafts.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes: 

    none

    Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Rams

    Raiders won 34-17 versus the Rams

    What we learned in Week 2: How both teams will employ new players

    What to look for: A green dot spotted on Robert Spillane

    The Rams went again with Jake Hummel and he rewarded them with strong playing time. During the season the LB2 isn’t expecting to get heavy usage, less than 70% but he is outplaying thought to be starter Christian Rozeboom, and this game could have helped him carve out that role.

    The Raiders as predicted continue to go with Divine Deablo and Robert Spillane who was wearing the green dot now. Both are IDP-relevant but would favor Deablo in drafting.

    A deeper sleeper for the Raiders can be Marcus Epps, who is known as a hard-hitting tackler and run stuffer. He got the start in this one with Trevon Moehrig. In IDP it's always a great strategy to draft a safety from a weak defense as he will clean up and get some tackles. Epps is a late round or usually free in most drafts.

    New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Chargers

    The Saints defeated the Chargers 22-17

    Neither the Saints nor the Chargers played their starters.

    Chicago Bears @ Indianapolis Colts

    The Colts won 24-17

    The Bears and Colts did not play their starters.

    Jacksonville Jaguars @ Detroit Lions

    The Jaguars defeated the Lions 25-7

    Neither team played significant IDP starters and gave most players the night off.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @New York Jets

    The Buccaneers defeated the Jets by the score of 13-6

    The Bears and Colts did not play their starters

    Cincinnati Bengals @Atlanta Falcons

    The Game tied at 13-13

    What we learned in week two:

    Clarity on the Bengals' secondary

    What to look for:

    The story here is the hot position battle between Nick Scott and Jordan Battle as all reports hinted to one forming during OTAS. This one was even close.

    Following his absence in the previous week's game, Bengals' safety Nick Scott was back in action, taking his place alongside Daxton Hill as the starting safeties. Meanwhile, rookie Jordan Battle found himself in a backup role, this is how it's going to be for at least the first half of the season as indicative of the snap counts. Be prepared for the rookie to start slow.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    As likely assumed, the Atlanta Falcons, both Troy Andersen and Kaden Elliss assumed every-down responsibilities at linebacker during the team's initial 11 defensive snaps.

    Tennesee Titans @Minnesota Vikings

    Titans defeated the Vikings 24-16

    What we learned in week two: 

    The Viking's Ivan Pace Jr. simply is not going away

    What to look for: 

    The Titans give a clear indication of who the LB2 is going to be.

    For the Titans, it has been Jack Gibbens who has been given the opportunity to start next to Azeez Al-Shaair. I don't expect this role to be productive as it is not an every-down role.

    The Vikings did not play their starters

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Ivan Pace Jr. continued to call the plays and picked up two assisted tackles.

    Baltimore Ravens @ Washington Commanders

    Commanders won 29-28

    The Ravens did not play their starters

    The Commanders did not play significant IDP except at linebacker.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    In a game where both Jamin Davis and Cody Barton played 38% of the snaps, it was Barton who had the green dot.


    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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