• IDP Rundown Preseason Week 3 2023: Reactions and Analysis

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    Welcome to the IDP Rundown preseason Week 3! These are instant reactions and analyses to help you best see what your teams are doing.

    New York Jets @ New York Giants

    The Jets win here by a score of 32-24

    What we learned in week three:

    Isaiah Simmons played as a linebacker.

    What to look for:

    Jets safety Ashtyn Davis

    The poor New York Football Jets can't even get a home game in their own stadium. As the away team, the Jets opted to play both Jordan Whitehead and Tony Adams as their primary safeties, supported by Ashtyn Davis and Adrian Amos on the bench. Whitehead and Adams seem to have secured their roles as starting safeties after this one. Ashtyn Davis flew around the football, and yet again, survives the 53-man roster and maintains a bubble spot something that has been much talked about last few preseasons but he survives again with strong plays in this one. The Giants did not play their starters in the secondary.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Darian Beavers was the other off-ball linebacker, who played in this one on the first drive for five plays with the other starters.

    Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints

    The Texans defeated the Saints 17-13

    What we learned in week three:

    Christian Kirksey released and the Texans linebacker room is shaping up.

    What to look for:

    The Texans' secondary broke up a bunch of targets.

    In this game, the Texans utilized several key members of their starting defensive lineup, featuring Denzel Perryman and Christian Harris as linebackers. Perryman's appearance was brief, limited to the initial three defensive plays, while Harris remained on the field until the second quarter.

    Although Perryman and Harris evidently stand out as the primary linebacker choices, it's worth noting Perryman's early departure could signal a deliberate strategy to provide him with a favorable rest period typically reserved for established starters. We also got to see several players get released, including Christain Kirksey. This news means more than ever, that Perryman is the guy to own here. He should rack up a ton of tackles on this defense. Try to trade for him before the news fully breaks out.

    The Saints did not play any of their first-team starters.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    The Texans' defense could not have played any better in the first three drives. As I mentioned they had some good deflection but also gave up a bunch of plays too, Had it not been for a back-to-form performance ou of Jimmy Graham it would have deserved praise. Graham had this insane catch despite behind well-covered by Christain Harris. For the Texans, there was more good than bad in the pass coverage but leave the field with things to work on.

    New England Patriots @Tennesee Titans

    Titans win 23-7 over the Patriots

    What we learned in week three:

    Marte Mapu could flat-out play.

    What to look for:

    The Titans' defense played all its starters.

    Patriots' rookie "safety" Marte Mapu, finally made his preseason debut and lived up to the hype. In his first appearance, Mapu was on the field for 33 out of 36 defensive snaps during the initial half of the game. He showcased his diverse skill set by assuming various positions on the field, including 15 snaps in deep coverage, 10 in the box, 5 in the slot, 2 on the edge, and 1 out wide. While Mapu could be intriguing, the rotation in Belichick's defense might hinder him from becoming a consistent or dependable IDP starter at first so temper expectations.

    The Titans introduced many of their defensive starters to the preseason action for the first time, and this included linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who occupied an every-down role during the initial three drives.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Jack Gibbens seems to have cemented his position as the Titans' LB2, although this role doesn't guarantee him being on the field for every down in Mike Vrabel's defensive scheme. Consequently, expectations for his IDP value this season should lean more toward that of an LB3-type fantasy play.

    Chicago Bears @ Buffalo Bills

    Bills 24-21 over the Bears

    What we learned in week three:

    A clear picture of the Bills' linebacker room

    What to look for:

    The Bear's usage of LB

    It seems that Tyrel Dodson is solidifying his position as the Bills' second linebacker (LB2) going into Week 1. He maintained a consistent presence by being on the field for every play during the initial two drives of this game, mirroring his performance in previous preseason matches alongside Matt Milano.

    While the competition for this role might persist throughout the season, currently, fantasy managers have a clear picture of the Bills' linebacker option, apart from Milano, that they should consider drafting. I don't think Dodson is very good, but he seems to keep getting playing time. We know A.J. Klein is a good run defender but not much else, Bernard has failed as well. I am expecting this to be an ongoing problem for the time being but one thing is clear: Dodson has been calling the plays and started as LB2 for three weeks of football.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Regarding the Bears, Tremaine Edmunds participated only during the initial half of the first defensive drive, totaling six snaps. He shared the field with T.J. Edwards. Both Edmunds and Edwards are still anticipated to be the primary starters for all downs in Chicago's defense.

    Cleveland Browns @Kansas City Chiefs

    Chiefs 33 over the Browns 32.

    What we learned in week three:

    Many questions on this Browns' defense heading into the season.

    What to look for:

    The mess the Browns have at linebacker

    The fact remains, that most insiders expect the Browns to have a good defense. Well, how can you have that if linebacker continues to be a concern? Last year's team could not stop the run and perhaps, they are just trying to get a look at many players it isn't exactly a vote of confidence.

    Regarding the linebacker position, there was a rotation involving Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Jordan Kunaszyk, Matthew Adams, and Tony Fields. None of these linebackers held a consistent every-down role, as their playing time varied depending on the drive. In fact, none of the Browns' linebackers were on the field for more than 72% of the snaps during the first five drives, with Adams achieving this level of participation, even though he did not start the game. All of this probably doesn't matter as journeyman La'Mical Perine rushed for 8 yards a carry.

    Regrettably, Kunaszyk sustained an injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for a while. Notably, he was the only linebacker who remained on the field for every play during the initial drive. As I look more closely at this team, and with their injured starter, I am starting to think I want nothing to do with this linebacker group. Except maybe Anthony Walker in the last round of drafts.

    The Chiefs rested their starters.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Za'Darius Smith shows in the below clip that he could still get after the quarterback despite being up against top competition.

    Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars

    Jaguars win 31-18 over the Dolphins

    What we learned in week three:

    Another team with a major mess at linebacker might be another IDP option to stay away from.

    What to look for:

    The Dolphins opted to deploy several of their starting players for the initial two drives in this game.

    Of particular note, Miami's linebacker positions experienced frequent rotation during the first half. The game began with Jerome Baker and David Long in starting roles. Long briefly left the field for just one snap.

    On the following drive, Duke Riley, and Andrew Van Ginkel mixed in with neither be much help. We then got to to see rotations of the following none of which provided any answers:

    The third drive witnessed both Riley and Long playing in every-down capacities.

    As for the fourth drive, Baker and Riley held the three-down roles, each playing three snaps.

    Ultimately, the last drive of the first half saw Riley as the sole linebacker for the entire defensive sequence. Van Ginkel also played two of his five snaps in this drive as an off-ball linebacker. In order for Fangio's defense to hum, it requires a solid linebacker over the middle. So this outing was troubling.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    Jevon Holland caused a nice fumble at the goalline on Tank Bigsby, which otherwise disguised a poor run defense.

    Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles

    The Colts won 27-13 over the Eagles

    What we learned in week three:

    Julian Blackmon is primed to be a top player

    What to look for:

    E.J. Speed and Zaire Franklin usage

    Colts' linebacker Shaquille Leonard was absent from the game due to being in concussion protocol, causing him to miss out on playing alongside the first-team defense. Zaire Franklin and E.J. Speed, on the other hand, assumed comprehensive roles on the field for the Colts, lasting until the second quarter.

    In the safety position, Julian Blackmon made a transition to the new strong safety role within Gus Bradley's defensive strategy during this offseason. This transition was clearly reflected in the game, as he was on the field for every play during the initial five drives, amounting to 35 snaps.

    Impressively, a significant 74% of these snaps saw him positioned near the line of scrimmage. This utilization is essentially optimal for IDP safety roles, presenting an ideal scenario for such fantasy usage. This player could be had super late in all IDP drafts. This is exactly why you wait in drafts on defensive backs because they can show up anywhere or at any time.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    The Eagles did not play their starters. Zach Cunningham has taken over Nicholas Morrow's linebacker job.

    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Atlanta Falcons

    Steelers shut out the Falcons, 24-0

    What we learned in week three:

    The teamwork of the Steelers coaching staff was on full display

    What to look for:

    Steelers linebacker corps ability to make adjustments

    The Falcons refrained from fielding any of their anticipated first-string defensive players in this particular game.

    The Steelers however employed a rotational approach for their defensive players, who were being observed by the coaching staff and making adjustments during this game.

    Cole Holcomb operated in an every-down capacity as we expected him to during his two defensive drives while working alongside the starting unit. He expected to have a big year in IDP.

    Elandon Roberts commenced the game alongside Holcomb, but his role changed during third downs, with safety Damontae Kazee taking his place.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    In the safety position, Keanu Neal was on the field for every snap during the opening drive, partnered with Minkah Fitzpatrick. Nonetheless, Damontae Kazee took over for most of the second drive after Neal participated in just one snap to start the drive.

    Interestingly, both Neal and Kazee remained in the game even after the starters were finished for the night.

    Baltimore Ravens @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Buccaneers win 26-20 over the Ravens

    What we learned in week three:

    The Ravens seem content with their current starters.

    What to look for:

    A healthy Shaquil Barrett

    The Buccaneers fielded several first-team defensive starters, with a surprise Shaquil Barrett among them. Despite his recovery from a torn Achilles last season, Barrett displayed a positive performance during his nine defensive snaps.

    The Ravens abstained from using their anticipated initial defensive lineup in the game.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    David Ojabo, the edge defender, persistently participated with the second-string defensive unit, suggesting that he won't be in a starting position at the outset of the season for Baltimore.

    Detroit Lions @Carolina Panthers

    Lions beat the Panthers by a score of 26-17.

    What we learned in week three:

    The recurring problem that is the Panthers secondary to IDP owners.

    What to look for:

    Is Jack Campbell an every-down linebacker

    We got to see Jack Campbell, as the starter in this one and he did not disappoint. Campbell was on the field for every defensive snap during the initial two drives. Meanwhile, Malcolm Rodriguez was substituted in and out of sub-packages. This development bodes well for Campbell, indicating that he may have surpassed Rodriguez on the depth chart. However, it's important to note that Derrick Barnes and Alex Anzalone, who were given the day off along with the other starters, still seem to be ahead of Campbell in the linebacker hierarchy.

    For the Panthers, the utilization of safeties and defensive backs remained consistent throughout the preseason, which raises concerns for Jeremy Chinn. Xavier Woods and Vonn Bell played every single snap, while Chinn was rotated out. At this time, Chinn would be a risky player to own in IDP, especially at the price you had to acquire him at.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:


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    Los Angeles Chargers @ SanFrancsico 49ers

    Chargers win 23-12 over 49ers

    Neither team played any of their starters

    Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings

    The Cardinals won 18-17 over the Vikings

    Neither team played any of their starters

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    The Vikings also rested Ivan Pace Jr., which could imply him having a role with the starters this season.

    Cincinnati Bengals @ Washington Commanders

    Commanders beat the Bengals 21-19

    Neither team played any of its starters

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:

    The Bengals did play Jordan Battle, so he is clearly third on the depth chart for the time being. Daxton Hill and Nick Scott are expected to be your full-time starters here.

    Los Vegas Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys

    Cowboys beat the Raiders 31-16

    Neither team played their starters

    Los Angelas Rams @ Denver Broncos

    Broncos shut out the Rams 41-0

    Neither team played their starters

    Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

    Packers win 19-15 over Seahawks

    What we learned in week three:

    Packers secondary starters identified.

    What to look for:

    Rudy Ford

    The Packers deployed several of their anticipated defensive starters for this matchup. Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford assumed the starting safety positions, with Jonathan Owens and rookie Anthony Johnson Jr. taking over after the initial two drives. It seems evident that Savage and Ford are poised to be the starting safeties for Week 1.

    The Seahawks chose not to field any of their projected first-string defensive players in this game.

    Other playing time/ Performance notes:


    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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