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  • The IDP Guys’ NFL Week 2 Start/Sit List: IDP

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    Here we go again! IDP Start/Sit advice for Week 2


    Week 1 was worth the wait. From the Thursday night game between the Cowboys and Buccaneers, right through to and including the Monday night game between the Ravens and the Raiders, we were not left feeling disappointed. There were blowouts, there were close games, and everything in between. Drama and excitement were not in short supply. With what feels like barely a moment to reflect on the much anticipated opening week of the season, our attention already turns to week 2. I’m here again to help with your weekly IDP start/sit advice.

    Last Week’s Results

    I made a total of 299 IDP start/sit recommendations in week 1. 76% of my starts were correct, 24% were not. Of the correct starts, 68% were in the correct tier, 21% were within a tier of being correct, and 11% were within two tiers. Not bad, considering week 1 presents more surprises than any other during the season.

    Disclaimers

    This is the boring but necessary bit that I need to include to protect me from what I know is the minority. If you’ve read and understood these before, please skip over and get stuck straight into the IDP start/sit advice.

    These are only suggestions; your team and line-up are your responsibility and yours alone. With that said, I will track and publish IDP start/sit advice results from the previous week to show how many I get right and wrong each week. All season long, I will share results weekly to maintain accountability and transparency. If you don’t like my success or failure rate, please feel free to ignore my advice.

    I do not work for the NFL. I do not sit in on defensive team meetings for all 32 teams. As much as I would love to, I do not have inside information. Based on what I see and read, I’m just a guy who absorbs as much information as possible. The advice I give here is the same advice I am following in my own fantasy leagues.

    I will get things wrong. This isn’t an exact science; dumb luck plays a part in fantasy football. I am firmly in the camp of those who believe that if every writer held themselves accountable, many of us would be horribly wrong at times. Offering IDP advice is fun, but it isn’t easy.

    This doesn’t mean you can’t give me feedback. I encourage all feedback, even criticism, especially if it’s constructive, and I can learn from it. Just bear in mind the points above. As I say, I will already hold myself accountable from one week to the next. And if you think you can do better, please do show me the evidence, and I’ll bow to your superiority. As I say, I am modest; I can and will admit when I’ve failed.

    Article Key

    Tier 1 Starts

    These players have the best outlook based on their opportunity, past production, talent level, and matchup. They have a solid floor and an excellent ceiling. These guys are the nearest to guaranteed production you will find.

    I strongly considered not including Tier 1 guys in this article. Everyone knows to start Myles Garrett and Darius Leonard every week, right? Well, apparently not. There is a general feeling among the community that articles are written with other analysts in mind.

    I hate that sentiment, especially within IDP circles. I want to encourage everyone to dip their toe in the IDP water. For that reason, I decided to include Tier 1 guys here. If it helps just one IDP newbie all season, it was worth it.

    Tier 2 Starts

    These players will typically get you a reasonable amount of points but are not in the elite tier of players at their position. This could be a lack of opportunity, talent, or matchup. These players are usually a good option in deeper leagues and/or with large rosters.

    Tier 3 Starts

    These players are a gamble. You will likely only start them in larger leagues with huge rosters, perhaps as either bye week or injury replacements. The chances of them scoring well are slim. This tier is as close to “sit” as you can get while still retaining some value.

    Sits

    Pretty easy, sit them this week. For any number of reasons, you should not start these players. I will occasionally get these wrong, but at the time of publishing, the players in this category are far more likely to bust and get you nothing rather than have a good week.

    They aren’t necessarily bad players. I just don’t predict them to be scoring well this game week. In the case of rookies, for example, they may simply need time to earn more playing time and, therefore, our trust as fantasy starters.

    Any player not listed in any of these four categories should probably be considered a “sit.” If they become IDP relevant on a week-to-week basis, they will likely end up in one of the categories above.

    No Cornerbacks?

    Johnny writes a separate article for CBs.

    True Position Designations (DL and EDGE)

    Many IDP leagues designate DL, EDGE, and ILB positions in place of DT, DE, and LB positions. I firmly believe that true position is the way to go, so I’ll use true position designations in this article.

    Players with EDGE designations in such leagues can vary in value from leagues that still use traditional DE and OLB positions. Please bear that in mind when reading this article. The same is true of DL vs. DT designations. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to value translation, much depends on the scoring settings you use in your leagues.

    If I can help adjust IDP start/sit advice for your league’s scoring system, please get in touch in the comments or my Twitter DMs, and I’ll do my best to help.

    I’ll create an article on True Position in the coming weeks to help anyone who wants a better understanding of its meaning and why it’s important.

    Sorry for the lengthy preamble, but it is week 1, so I figured I needed to get some things straight before we get into this. Once you’ve read this, you can gloss over it in the following weeks. With that said, I’m boring myself with all this talk, and I’m sure you’re beginning to glaze over too. So without further ado, here are is my IDP start/sit advice for week 1:

    Thursday Night Football

    New York Giants at Washington Football Team

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    Giants
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Leonard Williams, DL. Blake Martinez, ILB.

    Williams only had three tackles in week 1 and six total pressures, including two hits and four hurries. The interior of Washington’s offensive line is decent, but Williams could take advantage if he finds himself matched up with Ereck Flowers or rookie Samuel Cosmi. Martinez has always been a great source of tackles, and that won’t change with the Giants. He racked up seven last week.

    Tier 2

    Dexter Lawrence, DL.

    Lawrence missed his only tackle attempt but did earn four hurries.

    Tier 3

    Lorenzo Carter, EDGE. Azeez Ojulari, EDGE. Logan Ryan, S.

    Ojulari earned the only sack among the Giants edge rushers last week, but Carter led the team in hurries with four and pass-rush snaps with 25. Carter is the safest play of any Giants edge rusher but is still no higher than tier-three. Ojulari and Ximines aren’t too far apart right now. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to start Ojulari until he starts earning more than the 19 pass-rush snaps he played in week 1.

    Ryan earned nine total tackles, a forced fumble, and two pressures, including a sack. It could be his highest-scoring fantasy week of the season.

    Sits

    Oshane Ximines, EDGE. Reggie Ragland, ILB.

    Ojulari only played five more snaps than Ximines, but Ojulari earned three pressures, whereas Ximines earned zero. Ragland made seven tackles on only 25 snaps, a tackle efficiency that is probably unsustainable.

    Washington
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Chase Young, EDGE. Montez Sweat, EDGE.

    Young had a quiet week by his standards, but you’re not going to drop him, right? The Giants’ offensive line faced a tough test vs. the Broncos in week 1, and they performed well, but Washington’s defensive line may be the best in football. Young won’t be kept quiet for long this season.

    Tier 2

    Jonathan Allen, DL. Daron Payne, DL. Landon Collins, S. Cole Holcomb, ILB.

    Allen was probably Washington’s most active pass rusher in week 1. He registered three pressures, including a sack, a hit, and a hurry. Collins’ fantasy managers were understandably concerned he might concede box snaps to Kamren Curl after what we saw in pre-season, but 32 of Collins’ 65 snaps were in the box. Holcomb had an excellent game, earning 11 total tackles and two pressures.

    Tier 3

    Jon Bostic, ILB. Bobby McCain, S.

    Bostic played 84% of the defensive snaps vs. the Chargers and managed seven total tackles. Many assume he will concede snaps to Jamin Davis at some point, but Bostic will remain a fringe fantasy starter until we see it happen. McCain actually paced Washington in tackles with nine, but he plays the deep safety role, so unless he pads his stats with pass breakups (which he hasn’t shown a propensity for in his career so far), this may be nearer his weekly ceiling rather than his floor.

    Sits

    Kamren Curl, S. Jamin Davis, ILB.

    Curl played only 37 snaps compared to Collins’ 65 and McCain’s 69. Only nine of those were in the box. Washington seems to be placing more faith in Holcomb and Bostic at present, especially in coverage. It saddens those of us who hoped Davis would be an impact player from day one, but it’s way too soon to be panicking. He still managed 45 defensive snaps.

    Sunday Early Afternoon Slate

    New England Patriots at New York Jets

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    Patriots
    Starts

    Tier 1

    None.

    Tier 2

    Matt Judon, EDGE.

    The Jets’ offensive line surrendered 18 pressures and gave up seven sacks in week 1. They have also lost Left Tackle Mekhi Becton for several weeks to a dislocated knee. Judon played primarily on the left edge vs. the Dolphins in week 1 but has regularly moved from left to right in the past. He did so for the Ravens and did the same for the Pats in the preseason. Judon will be put in the best position to take advantage of Becton’s absence.

    Tier 3

    Davon Godchaux, DL. Kyle Dugger, S.

    Dugger played 28 of 50 snaps in the box. 11 at slot corner, seven at the wide corner, and three on the D line. He is fun to watch and is an up-and-comer. He registered seven tackles vs. the Dolphins and played well enough to garner increased looks going forward.

    Godchaux managed three tackles and a hurry. He just led his position group in snaps and has a nice matchup against the Jets in week 2.

    Sits

    Lawrence Guy, DL. Kyle Van Noy, EDGE (injury – out). Donta Hightower, ILB. Adrian Phillips, S.

    None of these players lack the talent to be relevant in fantasy. They simply rotated a lot. Phillips is a trendy pick in IDP circles, and his name came up in the IDP Slack subscribers chat just last week. Unfortunately, he played only 61% of the Pats defensive snaps last week. 12 snaps in the box. It’s just not enough to make him a reliable weekly starter. If that number increases, so will his tier rating here.

    Van Noy did not practice with a throat injury and will not play this weekend.

    Jets
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Quinnen Williams, DL

    Williams only had three tackles, but he did earn four pressures, including two hits and two hurries. The sacks will come for the talented young lineman. The Patriots’ pass blocking wasn’t stellar in week 1.

    Tier 2

    John Franklin-Myers, EDGE. Marcus Maye, S.

    Franklin-Myers has been gathering steam in IDP for longer than most realize. How he managed to earn 51 pressures in 2020 and still fly under the radar coming into 2021 is beyond me. He has wasted no time in 2021, starting strongly with four pressures, including a sack, a hit, and two hurries.

    Maye had 8 tackles, and, as I said in the tweet below, he earned the third most box snaps of any NFL safety in week 1. Should that continue, he could be in for a solid year.

    Tier 3

    C.J. Mosley, ILB.

    I wonder if we’ve seen the best of Mosley already, but I’ll remain open-minded until we see more. He played almost every defensive snap, which is a positive. Unfortunately, the Jets lost Jamien Sherwood, so they need all the linebacker help they can get. Mosley recorded four total tackles.

    Sits

    Del’Shawn Phillips, ILB. Hamsah Nasirildeen, ILB. Bryce Huff, EDGE. Blake Cashman, ILB (IR – hamstring). Jamien Sherwood, ILB (injury – ankle)

    Phillips benefited from Sherwood’s injury. He seemingly came from nowhere, and I’m unsure if he holds off Nasirildeen until Sherwood returns. What I am sure of is that I wouldn’t be starting either player unless I’m desperate. The Jets hinted Sherwood could return this week, but I’ll leave him here until we know for sure. He is currently listed as doubtful.

    Huff had a reasonable game as a pass rusher. Three pressures, including two hits and one hurry on only 21 pass-rush snaps. I still don’t quite trust him as a starter, but if your fantasy team has been bitten by the injury bug and/or in preparation for bye weeks, you could do worse.

    Cashman already had limited fantasy appeal. He drops off the radar completely now he is on IR.

    Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Broncos
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Von Miller, EDGE. Justin Simmons, S.

    Von justified his immediate return to tier-one in this article last week. He registered one tackle, five pressures, including two sacks, two hurries, and a hit. Simmons was quiet by his standards, recording a modest five tackles. He played 45 of his 61 snaps at free safety, a number he exceeded in only three games in 2020. Hopefully, it was an anomaly, but it is something we should keep an eye on.

    Tier 2

    Bradley Chubb, EDGE (injury – questionable). Alexander Johnson, ILB.

    Chubb was limited in practice with an ankle injury last week and missed the Giants game. He was limited again this week and is listed as questionable. If he returns vs. the Jags, I’ll place him in tier-two, but as always, keep an eye on his availability before kick-off. The Jags A.J. Cann surrendered seven pressures against an unremarkable Texans pass rush, Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor gave up five more between them. Chubb could make some noise if he’s healthy enough to play.

    Johnson was very quiet and is on the tier 2/3 border.

    Tier 3

    Dre’Mont Jones, DL. Shelby Harris, DL. Josey Jewell, ILB. Kareem Jackson, S.

    Jones and Harris had two hurries and three solo tackles each last week. They were efficient, particularly Harris, as he only played 32 of 61 defensive snaps. If that snap count doesn’t increase for Harris, then it becomes a concern going forward.

    Harris was limited in practice earlier in the week but has since logged a full practice. He should be good to go.

    Jewell paced all linebackers, playing 100% of the 61 defensive snaps. He managed four tackles, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup. If he plays 100% of snaps going forward, he could be a borderline tier-two player in future articles.

    Sits

    Justin Strnad, ILB. Malik Reed, EDGE.

    Reed did very little in Chubb’s absence. He may get another shot in a favorable matchup, if Chubb can’t play again. Strnad only played on special teams, which I found mildly surprising.

    Jaguars
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Myles Jack, ILB.

    Jack had a busy game and, if he remains healthy, will have a busy season. He led all Jags linebackers with 71 snaps and paced all Jags defensive players with nine tackles.

    Tier 2

    Josh Allen, EDGE. Rayshawn Jenkins, S.

    Jenkins played 100% of the 78 defensive snaps and was second only to Vonn Bell for box snaps among all NFL safeties. He managed 7 tackles, a pass breakup, and a QB hit. If this opportunity level continues, he will be flirting with tier-one before long.

    Allen was impressive. three tackles, four pressures, including a sack, two hits, and one hurry. Bolles will be a tough matchup, but if he can get isolated against Bobby Massie on the right-hand side of the Broncos offensive line, then he could definitely take advantage.

    Tier 3

    Malcolm Brown, DL. Roy Robertson-Harris, DL. Damien Wilson, ILB.

    Brown had eight total tackles, Robertson-Harris had seven tackles and earned three pressures too. The Broncos’ offensive line is better than the Texans, but these are excellent tackle numbers for DL players. Sadly, I don’t think it will continue at this pace, as they are rotating quite a bit with Davon Hamilton and Tavon Bryan.

    Wilson had eight tackles and a hurry last week. He played 60 snaps – only nine less than Myles Jack. He is benefitting from Schobert’s departure.

    Sits

    Taven Bryan, DL. Davon Hamilton, DI. Jihad Ward, EDGE. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE. Dawuane Smoot, EDGE. Andre Cisco, S.

    Bryan is the fourth choice in the DL rotation. Forget him. Cisco played only 23 total snaps. Ward and Smoot had an impact, but the edge rushers rotate so much that they limit each other’s ability to be consistently good each week. I think all three edge guys will be streaky.

    Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

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    Bills
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Jordan Poyer, S.

    One of very few safeties who is almost an automatic tier-one player. He produced five tackles and a sack vs. the Steelers. Josh Allen attempted 51 passes last week. Poyer could be kept busy in week 2.

    Tier 2

    Tremaine Edmunds, ILB

    Edmunds earned four tackles and batted a pass in week 1.

    I stand by what I said last week. “He’s likely a starter on your fantasy team, and as an every-down off-ball LB there is nothing wrong with that. Is he as good as his reputation? I have my reservations. But I’m willing to give him another season, given he played through injury last season. I hope he proves me and any other doubters wrong.”

    Tier 3

    Ed Oliver, DL. Matt Milano, ILB. Micah Hyde, S.

    The same three players as last week. Oliver managed four tackles and a QB hit but played in only 61% of the available 58 snaps. He is close to being a sit candidate but benefits from position scarcity at the DL spot.

    Milano managed five tackles and a pass breakup. He has the talent to become a tier-two player again and played 100% of available defensive snaps. He was limited in practice with an ankle injury earlier in the week but has since logged a full practice.

    Hyde also played 100% of the defensive snaps and was second on the team with six total tackles. He wasn’t too far behind Poyer for box snaps, either. He had a neck injury and was limited in practice but is expected to be available for the game.

    Sits

    Star Lotulelei, DL (injury – questionable). Gregory Rousseau, EDGE. A.J. Epenesa, EDGE. Jerry Hughes, EDGE. Carlos Basham, EDGE

    I’m repeating myself from last week here too. The Bills have some great depth along the edge, but there are too many mouths to feed on a team that rotates their pass rushers as much as the Bills do. Rousseau has bags of potential, Hughes has been an underrated player for far too long, but I can’t recommend any of these guys. Hughes played 33 snaps, or 57% of defensive snaps, and led the group in doing so. It’s a mess for fantasy purposes.

    Lotulelei appears to be recovering from a calf injury and logged a full practice this week.

    Dolphins
    Starts

    Tier 1

    None.

    Tier 2

    Jerome Baker, ILB.

    Baker put up tier 1 numbers after playing 74/75 snaps, producing 11 tackles and a hurry in week 1. If he can do this consistently, he’ll warrant tier-one inclusion. I have him as a mid-range tier-two linebacker in my season projections, and he only misses out on tier one by only 16 points.

    Tier 3

    Eric Rowe, S. Christian Wilkins, DL. Emmanuel Ogbah, EDGE

    I said last week that I didn’t trust any Dolphins safety to be fantasy-relevant consistently. Rowe played 22 of his 65 defensive snaps in the box vs. the Patriots. A decent number. He was second on the team with ten tackles, and he also forced a fumble.

    Wilkins and Ogbah didn’t do a huge amount, and we hope to see more from them vs. a Bill offensive line that gave up 23 total pressures last week.

    Sits

    Jaelan Phillips, EDGE. Andrew Van Ginkel, EDGE. Sam Eguavoen, EDGE. Jason McCourty, S. Brandon Jones, S. Jevon Holland, S. Raekwon Davis, DL (IR)

    Phillips was quiet, but it was to be expected of a rookie in his debut. Eguavoen was productive, he earned four pressures on only 14 pass-rush snaps, which is extremely efficient, but it’s a rate he won’t maintain. Nobody can. Van Ginkel’s three pressures on 15 pass-rush snaps tell a similar story.

    Davis was injured in the first quarter and has now been placed on IR.

    San Franciso 49’ers at Philadelphia Eagles

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    49’ers
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Nick Bosa, EDGE. Fred Warner, ILB.

    Bosa immediately returned to 2019 form with 3 tackles, 5 pressures, including 1 sack, 2 hits, and 2 hurries vs. the Lions. He should be a top-five edge rusher all season. Lane Johnson won’t be an easy matchup in week 2. In fact, the Eagles’ offensive line as a whole is better than the Lions, so the 49ers’ pass rush may take a step back this week. Bosa remains a tier-one player regardless.

    Warner was his productive self, as usual. 11 total tackles.

    Tier 2

    Javon Kinlaw, DL (injury – questionable). Arik Armstead, EDGE (injury – questionable). Azeez Al-Shaair, ILB.

    Kinlaw did not practice last week due to a knee injury and did not play. Monitor reports on his health as the week progresses and be ready to sit him if he’s out again. He logged a limited practice in recent days and is questionable for the game.

    Armstead had a great game against the Lions, but it didn’t show up in box scores or fantasy. He recorded nine total pressures, including one hit and eight hurries. He did not practice earlier in the week with an adductor injury but has since logged a limited practice. He is questionable for the game.

    I have bumped up Al-Shaair as Greenlaw is out. He filled in for Greenlaw well in week 1, playing 72 snaps and managing seven tackles, even though he missed two tackles in the process. He broke up two passes.

    Tier 3

    Dee Ford, EDGE.  Jaquiski Tartt, S. Kentavius Street, DL (if Kinlaw can’t go). Dre Greenlaw, ILB.

    Tartt had a solid game, earning seven tackles and playing 72 defensive snaps of a possible 92.

    Street also filled in admirably, earning two total tackles, five pressures, including a sack, a hit, and three hurries. Kinlaw is currently questionable. If Kinlaw plays, sit Street. If Kinlaw is out, Street is a tier 3 player this weekend.

    Greenlaw produced 6 tackles and a pick-six before he left with a groin injury. He will not play this weekend.

    Like many of the 49ers pass rushers, Ford had a nice game in week 1. He registered only 29 pass-rush snaps but earned five pressures, including a sack and four hurries. He earned the second-highest pass-rush win rate among all NFL edge rushers. Ford was limited in practice earlier in the week but has since logged a full practice.

    Sits

    Talanoa Hufanga, S.

    Eagles
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Tier 2

    Fletcher Cox, DL. Javon Hargrave, DL.

    Cox didn’t register a tackle, but he did produce four hurries. Hargrave moves up a tier after a stellar performance in week 1. He earned 6 pressures, including 2 sacks, a QB hit, 3 hurries, and 4 stops. He played only 39 of 71 total snaps, but Cox only managed 40 too. Milton Williams ate into the playing time of both guys and is likely to continue to do so. As good as Hargrave’s week was, he is another player that benefits from position scarcity at DL.

    The 49ers’ offensive line surrendered very little in week 1. But they were not really tested.

    Tier 3

    Alex Singleton, LB. Eric Wilson, ILB.

    Singleton moves down a tier. He still earned seven tackles but was out-snapped by Eric Wilson, who earned 60 snaps to Singleton’s 43. T.J. Edwards also played 28, which hurts Singleton further. I try to avoid overreacting after 1 week, but I must admit I was probably a tier too high on Singleton last week.

    Sits

    Derek Barnett, EDGE, Brandon Graham, EDGE. Josh Sweat, EDGE. Hassan Ridgeway, DL.

    I’ve made no secret of the fact I am a fan of Josh Sweat. He earned the second-highest PFF grade of any Eagles defender last week. But while Sweat, Barnett, Graham, and Kerrigan rotate as much as they do, it’s difficult to trust any of them to be consistent fantasy producers. Each will occasionally put together a tier-two or even tier-one worthy week, but not with enough regularity to trust them over other, more reliable edge rushers who play more snaps. It’s almost a shame.

    Some IDP fantasy managers may be tempted to pick up Hassan Ridgeway after a 4 pressure, 1 sack performance. Let it be someone else. He’s currently 4th choice in the DL rotation.

    Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts

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    Rams
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Aaron Donald, DL.

    Easy. If he’s playing, never sit Donald. The Colts have Ryan Kelly and Quentin Nelson playing on the inside. Between them, they have only ever given up only seven sacks. Even so, don’t bet against Donald.

    Tier 2

    Jordan Fuller, S. Taylor Rapp, S. Kenny Young, ILB. Leonard Floyd, EDGE.

    Both Fuller and Rapp played 100% of the 69 defensive snaps possible. Fuller registered 11 tackles, Rapp managed eight. Fuller played slightly more snaps at free safety, Rapp played slightly more snaps in the box and slot corner.

    Young played every defensive snap possible, producing ten tackles and a pass breakup.

    Floyd didn’t do a huge amount in week 1. He has a better matchup in week 2 vs. Colts Offensive Tackles Braden Smith and Julien Davenport, who relinquished 12 pressures and three sacks between them last week.

    Tier 3

    Justin Hollins, EDGE. Sebastian Joseph-Day, DL.

    Hollins earned a surprisingly high 51 snaps in week 1 and made the most of them, putting up six tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. The next nearest edge rusher, Terrel Lewis, played only 17 snaps. Like Floyd, Hollins could take advantage of a favorable matchup against the Colts’ OTs in week 2.

    Sits

    Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE (IR). Terrell Lewis, EDGE. Troy Reeder, ILB. Ernest Young, ILB. Travin Howard, ILB. Terrell Burgess, S.

    As mentioned above, Lewis barely played. Reeder played only 19 snaps too. Ernest Young, Howard, and Burgess didn’t play at all.

    Colts
    Starts

    Tier 1

    DeForest Buckner, DL. Darius Leonard, ILB (injury – questionable).

    Buckner is as matchup-proof as any DL not named Donald. He earned four tackles, three pressures, including a sack, a hit, and a hurry.

    Leonard managed five tackles, two hurries, and a forced fumble. He was limited in practice with an ankle injury on Wednesday, the potential long-term implications of which are concerning. Monitor for more updates on his status before game time.

    Tier 2

    Khari Willis, S.

    Willis earned seven tackles and a sack. He played every down on defense, and 22 of his 54 snaps were down in the box. He struggled with an illness this week but logged a full practice. He is still listed as questionable for the weekend.

    Tier 3

    Bobby Okereke, ILB. Kwity Paye, EDGE (injury – questionable)

    Okereke played 100% of the defensive snaps and produced six tackles, missing two more tackles.

    Paye led all Colts edge rushers with 41 snaps. He wasn’t too productive, but, well, he’s a rookie. Give him time. The mere fact he’s already leading his position group in playtime is notable. He was limited in practice with a hamstring injury this week, and is listed as questionable. Keep an eye on his status ahead of kick-off.

    Sits

    Grover Stuart, DL. Kemoko Turay, EDGE (injury – groin)

    Stewart earned almost as many snaps (44) as Buckner (47), playing much more than the nearest Colts DL. He didn’t set the world on fire, but three tackles and three pressures are reasonable for a DL. He could become a tier three player if this continues.

    Until he returns to health and we know what his snap count looks like, Turay remains a sit. Hopefully, this is not yet another season where he’s tantalized us with what he could be, only for health to get in the way. He logged a limited practice this week.

    Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers

    Embed from Getty Images
    Raiders
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Jonathan Abram, S.

    Nine total tackles, a pass breakup, and 68 of a possible 68 snaps. Abram is off to a fine start. Start him with confidence.

    Tier 2

    Maxx Crosby, EDGE.

    Crosby had one of the finest games of his young career. four tackles, 13(!) total pressures, including two sacks, three hits, and eight hurries. Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue, and Carl Nassib caused Ronnie Stanley and Alejandro Villanueva headaches. In just one game, Crosby earned more than 25% of the total pressures he managed in either 2019 or 2020. Incredible statistic. The story of his journey to sobriety is inspiring.

    Ronnie Stanley missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury. If he cannot play, Crosby becomes a tier 1 starter for the week.

    Tier 3

    Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE (injury – questionable). Cory Littleton, ILB. Denzel Perryman, ILB.

    Some of you may think this is harsh. If your league highly rewards sacks, consider Ngakoue a borderline tier 2/3 player. If tackles matter in your league scoring system, he is a tier-three player. He has been a boom or bust type player in that sense and may always be. He earned five tackles and six hurries on just 33 snaps, 22 of which were spent rushing the passer.

    Ngakoue was limited in practice with a hamstring injury and is listed as questionable. Monitor his status nearer kick-off.

    Both Littleton and Perryman racked up the tackles. Both earned nine apiece. Perryman played 52 snaps, Littleton managed 57. Solid work for both in fantasy terms. Perryman was limited in practice this week.

    Sits

    K.J. Wright, ILB. Carl Nassib, EDGE (injury – questionable). Trevon Moehrig, S. Divine Deablo, S.

    Wright played 37 of a possible 68 defensive snaps. While both Littleton and Perryman continue to play ahead of him, he remains a sit for me.

    Nassib earned a sack and four pressures last week, so fantasy managers may feel aggrieved to find him in the sit tier. He played only 30 snaps, less than half of those available, and spent only 15 rushing the passer. That level of efficiency is to be applauded, sure, but it’s unlikely to be sustainable. He was limited in practice with pectoral and toe injuries and is listed as questionable.

    Moehrig played all 68 snaps possible and spent every one of those snaps in the free safety role. He earned three tackles.

    Deablo didn’t play.

    Steelers
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Cam Heyward, DL. T.J. Watt, EDGE

    Chandler Jones earned all the plaudits after his five sack performance. However, Cam Heyward’s performance was every bit as impactful. He only managed one sack but earned 12 total pressures. He batted two passes and forced a fumble. At 32 years old, this performance was awe-inspiring.

    T.J. Watt has more than earned the contract he just signed. Against the Bills, he produced seven total pressures, including two sacks, three hits, and two hurries. He also forced a fumble.

    You should start both players every week regardless of the opposition. The Raiders gave up 17 pressures last week. Rookie OT Alex Leatherwood surrendered five alone, including two sacks, so look for the Steelers pass rushers to feast once again.

    Tier 2

    Alex Highsmith, EDGE. Devin Bush, ILB (injury – groin). Melvin Ingram, EDGE.

    Highsmith had a mediocre game, producing four tackles and two pressures, including a hit and hurry. He has shown enough promise to justify maintaining tier-two status going into the favorable matchup with the Raiders. But he must earn staying here.

    Bush led the team with nine total tackles and a forced fumble. He paced all linebackers with 73 of 85 total snaps. He was limited in practice with a groin injury and is questionable for the game, so check on his status nearer kick-off.

    Ingram vaults into this tier but not at the expense of Highsmith. It’s probably not sustainable to regularly have three Steelers edge rushers in the top-two tiers, but he actually played more snaps and pass-rush snaps (54/35) than Highsmith (46/31).

    Tier 3

    Joe Schobert, ILB. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S. Terrell Edmunds, S.

    All three players remain in this tier. Schobert played 66 snaps and managed only five total tackles, three of which were assists. I’ll keep him here while his snap count is so high. Let’s see what he does in subsequent weeks.

    Fitzpatrick remains in this tier, although his value has increased slightly, not only due to the eight total tackles, rather the 13 box snaps. A number he has surpassed only once since joining the Steelers in 2019.

    Like Fitzpatrick, Edmunds played every defensive snap available. He earned five total tackles.

    Sits

    Stephon Tuitt, DL (IR). Tyson Alualu, DL. Robert Spillane, ILB.

    Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears

    Embed from Getty Images
    Bengals
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Vonn Bell, S.

    Bell played in the box more than any other safety in 2020, and he led all safeties in the same category in week one. He earned eight total tackles and a QB hurry last week.

    Tier 2

    Larry Ogunjobi, DL. Trey Hendrickson, EDGE. Sam Hubbard, EDGE. Jessie Bates, S.

    The Bears gave up three sacks vs. the Rams last week. The Bengals may lack the star that the Rams have in Aaron Donald, but they don’t lack depth and could capitalize.

    Ogunjobi led all Bengals DI players with 59 of a possible 83 defensive snaps last week. He registered four tackles and two pressures, including a sack and a QB hit.

    Hendrickson played better than the box score suggests. He hurried Cousins four times and got a QB hit too. His five total pressures led all Bengals players.

    Hubbard managed four tackles and two hurries. He will be hoping to improve his pressure rate this week. Both Hendrickson and Hubbard dominated edge snaps for the Bengals.

    Bates played 82 of a possible 83 snaps. He led the team with nine tackles, one of very few safeties to do so consistently from a predominantly deep alignment.

    Tier 3

    Logan Wilson, ILB

    Wilson played 72 snaps, almost double the amount of the next nearest Bengals ILB. He was productive, managing 8 tackles and a QB hit. He could be a productive, cheap ILB option in IDP leagues. If he plays this many snaps regularly, then he could become a borderline tier 2/3 type start.

    Sits

    D.J. Reader, DI. Germaine Pratt, ILB, Akeem Davis-Gaither, ILB. B.J. Hill, DI.

    Reader earned three tackles and one hurry and played only 57% of the Bengals defensive snaps.

    Pratt will be a popular waiver pickup after earning eight tackles, and a QB hit, but he played only 45% of the available defensive snaps. He will struggle to maintain that efficiency level and needs his snap count to increase before he becomes a suggested fantasy starter.

    ADG barely played at all. 16 snaps in total. Easy sit.

    Don’t overreach for Hill on waivers. He earned two sacks, but they were the only pressures he earned, and, more importantly, three other DL players earned more snaps than he did in week 1. He played in only 29% of the total defensive snaps in total.

    Bears
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Khalil Mack, EDGE. Roquan Smith, ILB.

    Tier-one remains the same for the Bears going into week 2. Mack wasn’t himself last week but barely practiced last week and was questionable going into the game. He gets a pass for week 1. However, the Bengals’ Riley Reiff and Jonah Williams gave up zero pressures in week 1.

    Smith had ten total tackles and a QB hurry. He’s an easy tier-one starter each week.

    Tier 2

    Akiem Hicks, DL

    Hicks played 40 of a possible 52 defensive snaps, earning a tackle and three total pressures, including a sack, hit, and a hurry. At a position where fantasy production drops off quite quickly beyond the elite few, Hicks remains a tier-two player.

    Tier 3

    Eddie Jackson, S. Tashaun Gipson, S.

    Both Jackson and Gipson played all 52 of the available defensive snaps, and they had similar roles, too. They both spent time in the box, lined up deep, and in the slot. Jackson played in the slot slightly more, whereas Gipson played the free safety role a little more. Jackson managed five tackles, whereas Gipson only produced three.

    Neither player is a solid fantasy starter.

    Sits

    Bilal Nichols, DL. Robert Quinn, EDGE (injury – back). Danny Trevathan, ILB (IR). Alec Ogletree, ILB.

    Nichols will swap between the tier-three and the sit column this season. He has shown some ability to get after the passer in the past, earning 32 pressures and 6 sacks last season, but it’s not quite enough to make him reliable in fantasy terms. He is a decent DL backup or bye week replacement at this point. Nichols is still young at 25, so that could change.

    Quinn played 33 snaps, rushed the passer 17 times, and got a QB hit and two hurries. He was limited in practice with a back injury, and is listed as questionable, so keep an eye on developments.

    Ogletree failed to capitalize on the absence of Trevathan. He played quite a lot, 41 snaps in total, but earned only four tackles and missed one.

    Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns

    Embed from Getty Images
    Texans
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Zach Cunningham, ILB.

    Cunningham spent a lot of time in coverage against the Jags. He was targeted 13 times in total. He earned seven total tackles and a pass breakup. Start him every week.

    Tier 2

    Christian Kirksey, ILB.

    Kirksey played well last week. Like Cunningham, he played every defensive snap available. He produced six tackles, a pass breakup, and an interception. He’s one of the biggest risers on my list this week.

    Tier 3

    Justin Reid, S. Eric Murray, S. Maliek Collins, DI. Whitney Mercilus, EDGE.

    Murray played every snap and played 19% of his snaps in the box. Reid played almost every snap and was in a deep role the vast majority of the time. Murray earned five tackles to Reid’s four, but Reid notched an interception. The Jags aren’t afraid of passing the ball even with a rookie QB under center, as they showed last week. Reid and Murray will be asked to help cover those deep routes vs. Chark and company.

    The Texans rotated their four DL players, with each earning a minimum of 20 snaps. Collins earned the most with 46 and was moderately productive when rushing the passer, registering four hurries and a tackle.

    Mercilus had two tackles and a sack. Both he and Omenihu earned 47 snaps, and both spent 34 of those rushing the passer too. In redraft formats, the two are close. In dynasty, I much prefer Omenihu.

    Sits

    Charles Omenihu, EDGE.

    Omenihu managed two tackles and three total pressures, including a hit and two hurries. I think he can build on that, but I recommend playing the waiting game in fantasy.

    Browns
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Myles Garrett, EDGE.

    Duh. four tackles, eight total pressures, including a sack, two QB hits, and five hurries. He’s my no.1 EDGE.

    The Texans gave up ten pressures last week. Tunsil surrendered three alone. Garrett and Clowney could take advantage.

    Tier 2

    Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE. Anthony Walker, ILB. Malik Jackson, DL.

    Clowney equaled Garrett’s snap count. Both played 50 snaps. Clowney spent 31 of those rushing the passer. He earned five total tackles, four pressures, including a sack, and three hurries. He now has more sacks than he did in all of 2020.

    Walker played 62 of 65 snaps. The next nearest ILB, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, played only 25 snaps. Walker notched up ten total tackles in the process and is a solid starter in IDP leagues.

    Jackson had a decent game. He managed three tackles and registered four pressures, including a hit and three hurries. He didn’t quite lead the Browns DL players in snaps. Malik McDowell did.

    Tier 3

    Malik McDowell, DL. John Johnson, S.

    In somewhat of a surprise to many, McDowell led all Browns DL players in snaps in week 1 (45), playing ahead of Andrew Billings and Jordan Elliott. He’s a player you should be looking to on waivers if you need DL help. McDowell’s journey is unusual and full of drama, but he put everything behind him last week. He earned five tackles and a QB hurry.

    Johnson played 60 of 65 snaps, registered five total tackles and a pass breakup. He sits nicely on the fence between a tier-two and tier-three fantasy player for me. He played in the free safety role 77% of the time in week 1, more than is ideal for fantasy purposes.

    Sits

    Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB. Andrew Billings, DL. Jordan Elliott, DL. Takk McKinley, EDGE. Grant Delpit, S. Ronnie Harrison, S.

    It pains me to include JOK here as I love watching him on the field, but he just didn’t play enough in week 1 to warrant consideration as a starter in week 2. Billings was a distant fourth in snaps behind Malik Jackson, Malik McDowell, and Jordan Elliott. McKinley was third in the edge rotation and was far behind Garrett and Clowney. Delpit didn’t play. He was questionable in the build-up to the game. He missed practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury but has logged a full practice since then. Harrison was ejected after only five snaps.

    New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

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    Saints
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Demario Davis, ILB.

    Davis graded well in every facet of the game. He only managed four tackles and a QB hit but don’t panic yet. He led all Saints’ ILBs in snaps with 42.

    Tier 2

    Cameron Jordan, EDGE.

    Sorry, Saints fans. This is less about Jordan’s talent level and more about the edge rotation that the Saints have employed since week 15 of the 2020 season. Jordan’s last four games have represented some of the lowest snap count totals he has had in years. In week 1, four edge players registered at least 26 snaps, and none surpassed 33. It places a ceiling on Jordan’s weekly value. He could see a mini resurgence in value with Marcus Davenport out with a pectoral injury.

    Jordan produced four pressures, two hits, and two hurries in week 1. There is hope for week 2. The Panthers gave up 14 pressures against the Jets.

    Tier 3

    Malcolm Jenkins, S. Marcus Williams, S.

    Jenkins could bounce back to tier-two soon enough. That’s where he usually belongs. Davenport registered two tackles, a sack, and a hurry, but he’ll need more than 26 snaps each week to maintain consistent production in fantasy terms. Williams managed only two tackles but did record an interception.

    Sits

    Kwon Alexander, ILB (injury – out). Zach Baun, ILB. Tanoh Kpassagnon, EDGE (injury, questionable). Marcus Davenport, EDGE (injury – out)

    Kwon recorded only two tackles and missed one. He played 34 of 57 snaps. He did not practice with an elbow injury and will not play this weekend.

    Baun will be a popular target on waivers after recording five tackles in week 1. However, he had to be efficient in doing so as he only registered 23 snaps.

    Davenport has a shoulder injury and will not play.

    Kpassagnon earned a sack, a hit, and a hurry in week 1 but was caught up in the edge rotation I spoke about above, playing only 29 snaps in total. He didn’t practice on Weds with a calf injury and is listed as questionable. If he plays he could benefit from Davenport’s absence. You probably have better options to start.

    Panthers
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Shaq Thompson, ILB. Brian Burns, EDGE. Jeremy Chinn, S.

    All three players justified their tier-one status from week 1. The Panthers will look to stymie Winston’s efficient passing in week 1, throwing five TDs on only 14 completed passes. These three players will be relied upon to help do so.

    Thompson played every defensive snap and produced eight tackles, a sack, an interception, and a pass breakup.

    Burns recorded a tackle (missed two), three pressures, including a sack, and two hurries.

    Chinn registered 64/65 snaps and managed four tackles, three pressures, including two QB hits and a hurry, and one pass breakup. He spent 31 of his 64 defensive snaps in a box role.

    Tier 2

    Derrick Brown, DL. Haason Reddick, EDGE.

    I went on record last week in saying that I was too low on Brown until recently. He justified his tier-two status in week 1 with a performance that saw him earn three tackles, two total pressures, including a sack and a hurry, and he also batted one pass. The Saints have two good offensive tackles in Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk, but they are weaker on the interior. Brown has a nice matchup this week.

    Reddick went off in week 1. He played 49 snaps of an available 65, which led all Panthers edge rushers, and he recorded three tackles (missing a further two), five total pressures, including two sacks, and three hurries.

    Tier 3

    Jermaine Carter, ILB.

    Carter played almost every snap and managed five total tackles, and a QB hit.

    Sits

    Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE. Juston Burris, S. Daviyon Nixon, DL. Marquis Haynes, EDGE.

    Gross-Matos had a tackle and a promising four QB hurries but had to do so on only 19 snaps, only 12 of which were spent rushing the passer. He needs to play more to warrant being a fantasy starter.

    Burris played every snap and earned three tackles and a hurry. He spent more time in the slot than at any other position. His numbers should improve, but until they do, you should have better starting options.

    Nixon and Haynes each recorded a sack, but they barely played. Nixon rushed the passer on eight of his 12 snaps, Haynes on ten of his 15. Nowhere near enough to justify consideration as fantasy starters.

    Sunday Mid Afternoon Games

    Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals

    Embed from Getty Images
    Vikings
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Danielle Hunter, EDGE. Eric Kendricks, ILB (injury – questionable). Harrison Smith, S.

    The Vikings lost to the Bengals in OT following a controversial fumble by Dalvin Cook. They will be looking to avenge the loss against the dynamic Cardinals offense in week 2.

    All three of these players produced like tier-one players in week 1. They will likely be in this tier all season.

    Hunter earned four tackles, two pressures, including a sack and a hurry. It was great to see him playing again. The Cardinals’ offensive line only gave up two pressures in total vs. the Cardinals, so Hunter and the rest of the Vikings’ pass rush won’t have it easy.

    Kendricks played every snap, earning 16(!) tackles (missing a further three) and a QB hurry. He was limited in practice with a quad injury and is currently listed as questionable. Keep a close eye on changes to his status.

    Smith also played every snap and had seven tackles and a sack.

    Tier 2

    Dalvin Tomlinson, DL.

    Tomlinson paced all Vikings DI players with 47 snaps. He had four tackles, and a QB hit. He’s a steady performer at a position where steady fantasy performers are relatively scarce.

    Tier 3

    Nick Vigil, ILB. Michael Pierce, DL. Xavier Woods, S.

    Vigil replaced the injured Anthony Barr and had a productive game against his former team. He played every snap, earned 11 total tackles, eight stops(1), and a sack. Barr practiced last week for the first time since early August, so there was hope he could return but he is out again. Vigil could be a nice temporary starter again. He falls somewhere between tier-two and three vs. the Cards for me.

    Vigil was limited in practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury.

    Pierce had a big game with two sacks and three tackles. It is unlikely many started him last week or even rostered him, and it’s likely fantasy owners will be scrabbling to pick him up from waivers. I doubt that he can continue in this rich vein of form. He has never recorded more than two sacks in a season, hence why he remains in tier-three for me. I think last week will be an anomaly.

    Woods had a nice game with six solo tackles and a pass breakup. He also played every down. If this continues, he could become a tier-two safety, but his usage concerns me. He played 44 of his 69 snaps at free safety.

    Sits

    Anthony Barr, ILB (injury – out). D.J. Wonnum, EDGE. Stephen Weatherly, EDGE.

    Barr did not practice on Wednesday with a knee injury and will not play this weekend. Wonnum played 47 snaps and did very little with them, recording one tackle and zero pressures despite rushing the passer 23 times. Weatherly only played 17 snaps.

    Cardinals
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Chandler Jones, EDGE. Budda Baker, S.

    Jones single-handedly won fantasy matchups last week. seven total pressures, including five sacks, one hit, one hurry, and two forced fumbles. He more than answered any critics who wondered if he was still the same player.

    It would take an injury or a dramatic decrease in productivity for Baker to be anything but a tier-one player each week, regardless of the opposition. The interior of the Vikings offensive line gave up eight pressures, including two sacks vs. the Bengals in week one. Jones and co. could capitalize.

    Tier 2

    Isaiah Simmons, ILB. J.J.Watt, EDGE.

    I loved seeing Simmons play so much vs. the Titans. I said last week that “Simmons is still a wildcard, but I believe in the talent, and the opportunity is much improved this season. Hopefully, we can soon trust him enough to place him in that tier-two.”

    Well, he’s here in tier-two after last week, but a word of caution – he only played 29 snaps in the box. If that continues, then the nine tackles he earned in week 1 may be at the upper limit of what he manages each week. Splash plays will help, but tackles numbers often dictate the floor for off-ball linebackers, so it’s something to be mindful of.

    Watt had two tackles, three pressures, including a hit and two hurries. The sacks will come.

    Tier 3

    Jordan Hicks, ILB.

    Like a phoenix from the flames! More on the Collins/Hicks situation below.

    Sits

    Jordan Phillips, DI (IR), Zaven Collins, ILB. Corey Peters, DL. Rashard Lawrence, DL. Zach Allen, DL. Markus Golden, EDGE.

    It pains me to include Collins here. Like many, I was surprised to see Jordan Hicks earn nearly three times as many snaps as Collins. The Cardinals made it very clear Collins would be a starter from the get-go. Kliff Kingsbury famously told Collins during his draft call that “There ain’t no redshirting.” So much for that, at least for week 1. Until we see Collins play more, I’m recommending sitting him. He won’t be in this tier forever.

    Phillips, when healthy, has the potential to be startable in fantasy but needs to show he can recapture some of that 2019 form when he earned 9.5 sacks.

    Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Falcons
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Grady Jarrett, DL.

    Jarrett had a very quiet game vs. the Eagles in week 1. He missed his only tackle attempt and registered only two hurries. He looks to bounce back against Brady and the Bucs in week 2. The interior of the Buccaneers offensive line surrendered only three pressures vs. the Cowboys in week 1, but the Cowboys don’t have a presence like Jarrett on the interior.

    Tier 2

    Dante Fowler, EDGE. Deion Jones, ILB. Foyesade Oluokun, ILB.

    Fowler was on the field for 47 snaps, second to Steven Means, but he rushed the passer 28 times to Means’ 21. Fowler recorded two tackles and only one hurry against a stingy Eagles offensive line. Like Jarrett above, Fowler will also be looking to improve on his week 1 performance. Bucs OTs Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith allowed seven total pressures vs. the Cowboys in week 1, so there is some hope Fowler can bounce back.

    Jones played every snap and led the team in tackles with 11. He batted a pass and earned a hurry too. If this continues, he should return to tier-one ILB status.

    Oluokun creeps into tier-two status this week. Like Jones, Oluokun played all 71 defensive snaps. He recorded seven tackles, two pressures, including a hit and a hurry. Last season he relied on splash plays more than other ILBs, so it’s good to see him start with a decent baseline in week 1.

    Tier 3

    Duron Harmon, S. Erik Harris, S. Steven Means, EDGE.

    Harris played 65 snaps, Harmon 56. Harris managed six total tackles, and Harmon made seven. Respectable weeks from both. Most importantly, they are holding off Richie Grant and Jaylinn Hawkins, who earned only 21 snaps between them.

    Means led the team in edge snaps with 59. He didn’t do a huge amount with them, managing only three tackles and a hurry. He just isn’t someone who excites me a great deal. Means earned 24 total pressure on 388 pass-rush snaps in 2020.

    Sits

    Tyeler Davison, DL. Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, EDGE. Richie Grant, S.

    Same three players as last week. Tuioti-Mariner earned the Falcons only sack but played only 25 snaps. Davison seems the most likely of the three to become fantasy-relevant anytime soon. He played 40 snaps and earned four tackles. His next nearest competition on the DL, Marlon Davidson, played only 21 snaps and earned two tackles.

    As I mentioned above, Grant barely played. six snaps in total. It is far too early to give up on him yet, but I don’t feel nearly as smug about him as I did two months ago!

    Buccaneers
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Devin White, ILB. Lavonte David, ILB. Shaq Barrett, EDGE.

    These three make the Bucs tier-one an easy write-up for me. They each produced well vs. the Cowboys in week 1 and have a nice matchup against a poor Falcons offense in week 2. The Falcons offensive line, in particular, had a rough outing in week 1. They surrendered 19(!) pressures. The Buccaneers pass rush should feast.

    White made ten tackles and a QB hurry in week 1. He would’ve had more pressure if it wasn’t for some fine blitz pickups from Zeke.

    David had 13 tackles, a QB hit, a hurry, and a pass breakup.

    Barrett recorded three tackles and six total pressures, including one sack, one hit, and four hurries.

    Tier 2

    Jason Pierre-Paul, EDGE. Antoine Winfield, S. Vita Vea, DL. Ndamukong Suh, DL.

    I said last week that Winfield would have boom or bust weeks. Of course, he set out to prove me wrong by playing it straight down the middle with eight tackles and nothing else. He played every snap and should continue to do so.

    JPP played well. And he played a lot! 77 total snaps, 56 pass-rush snaps. He turned that into seven total tackles, three pressures, including one hit, and two hurries.

    Suh didn’t light it up. I planned on Suh and Vea swapping tiers this week until I saw the Bucs were playing the Falcons, so Suh gets another week to prove he belongs in tier-two. He had a tackle and three pressures vs. the Cowboys but should improve on that this week.

    Vea’s box score wasn’t impressive. If you started him in fantasy, he wouldn’t have helped you, but he played really well. I said last week that I was looking forward to watching him play again, and we weren’t disappointed. He straight-up bullied the Cowboys’ interior, managing four hurries, including a QB hit and three hurries.

    Tier 3

    Mike Edwards, S.

    Edwards deserves a mention, if not for his production, then at least for playing 69 snaps, 24 of which were in the box. He translated that into six total tackles.

    Sits

    Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, EDGE. William Gholston, EDGE.

    Tryon is talented but will play sparingly for the time being behind two very good, two very established pass rushers in JPP and Barrett. Hold onto him.

    Gholston played more than Tryon did and registered three hurries, but he won’t be a factor most weeks and shouldn’t be started.

    Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks

    Embed from Getty Images
    Titans
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Jeffery Simmons, DL

    The Titans faced a tough assignment against a dangerous Cardinals offense in week 1. By halftime, the game felt like it was slipping away, and they were in catchup mode the rest of the way. The Seahawks offensive line is nothing special. Duane Brown is a good Left Tackle, and Gabe Jackson isn’t a terrible Guard, but the rest were poor in week 1. It’s a nice matchup for Simmons, Landry, and co.

    Simmons was a thorn in the side of the Cards’ offense. As expected, he led all DL players for the Titans, playing 53 snaps of an available 69. He turned that into five tackles, two pressures, including a sack, and one hurry. He remains in tier-one at the DL position.

    Tier 2

    Jayon Brown, ILB (injury – questionable). Harold Landry, EDGE

    Brown led the Titans’ ILBs with 64/67 snaps, earning six total tackles. Not exactly poor production, but not great either. He will have better weeks ahead. He did not practice with a hamstring injury, and is listed as questionable. Monitor his status closely before starting him.

    Landry led the edge rushers with 54 snaps, besting Dupree by six, but he was second to Dupree in pass-rush snaps, managing 21 to Dupree’s 29. In fact, Denico Autry earned the same amount of pass rush snaps as Landry on only 30 total snaps. But Landry was by far the most productive, recording five total pressures, including a sack, a hit, three hurries, and two tackles.

    Tier 3

    Rashaan Evans, TEN. Bud Dupree, EDGE (injury – knee). Kevin Byard, S.

    Evans might deserve to be in tier-two very soon, if not already. He played 55 snaps and registered seven total tackles.

    As I mentioned above, Dupree played a fair bit relative to other Titans edge rushers, but his production was mediocre. One tackle and two hurries. He will have better weeks if he continues to play this much. He was limited in practice with a knee injury and is listed as questionable so keep an eye on developments in his availability.

    Byard had four tackles and an interception. He easily led all Titans’ safeties with 61 snaps.

    Sits

    Denico Autry, DL. Rashad Weaver, EDGE. Monty Rice, ILB. Amari Hooker, S. Bradley McDougald.

    This is a very similar group to last week. Autry isn’t playing enough to be a fantasy starter. Weaver was inactive. Rice played only five snaps. McDougald played 54% of the defensive snaps, and Hooker played only 52%. BUT, in a twist that I found surprising, Hooker’s spent 39% of his snaps in a box role.

    Seahawks
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Bobby Wagner, ILB. Jamal Adams, S.

    Wagner didn’t disappoint. He rarely does. He put up 14 total tackles, a hurry, and a pass breakup. Leave him in your lineup all season.

    Adams recorded eight total tackles. Not poor by any stretch. What might prove to be concerning was the limited pass-rush opportunities. He had only four. He had less than four (three) in only one game last season. Sacks boosted his fantasy production greatly last season, so it’s something to monitor going forward.

    Tier 2

    Jordyn Brooks, ILB.

    Brooks was second on the team with 10 total tackles and could’ve had more but missed three. He did record a hurry. He played 68 of 76 snaps. This helps trust levels in him going forward.

    Tier 3

    Quandre Diggs, S. Rasheem Green, DL. Poona Ford, DL. Carlos Dunlap, EDGE.

    Diggs played every snap and earned eight total tackles. All but eight of his 76 defensive snaps were at free safety which gives me pause for thought.

    All of the defensive linemen mentioned in tier-three and the sit column rotated heavily. Dunlap led the edge rushers with 40 snaps, but that’s only 53% of available snaps. I will note that Dunlap and Mayowa registered four pressures each, while Robinson, Green, and Taylor earned three apiece.

    Green and Ford led the DL players in snaps, but Kerry Hyder, Bryan Mone, and Al Woods played at least 27 snaps each. Green and Ford are the most valuable of the DL bunch for now.

    The entire Seahawks defensive line situation is not one I’m keen to be too invested in unless my fantasy team is hit with injuries or I’m stuck for options during BYE weeks. If certain players begin to separate themselves from the pack, I will mention it here.

    I should note that despite the messy rotation situation, the Seahawks pass rush does have a favorable matchup in week 2. The Titans’ offensive line gave up 16 total pressures in week 1. Right Guard Nate Davis gave up five pressures, including one sack. Left Tackle Taylor Lewan gave up five pressures, including two sacks. The rest didn’t fare much better.

    Sits

    Bryan Mone, DL (injury – questionable). Kerry Hyder, DL. Al Woods, DL. Alton Robinson, EDGE. Benson Mayowa, EDGE. Darrell Taylor, EDGE.

    See above for a breakdown. This situation is messy.

    Please note that Mone was limited in practice with an elbow injury and is listed as questionable.

    Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers

    Embed from Getty Images
    Cowboys
    Starts

    Tier 1

    None.

    Tier 2

    Micah Parsons, ILB.

    Parsons is fun to watch. He recorded seven total tackles and three hurries. He has the pedigree to become a tier-one player and is beginning to earn our trust in that sense. If you have him on your fantasy roster, you are and should be starting him. He played 51 snaps of an available 65, which led all Cowboys’ ILBs. Keanu Neal recorded 50 while Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith earned 14 and 16 each.

    Tier 3

    Keanu Neal, ILB. Jayron Kearse, S. Tarell Basham, EDGE. Dorance Armstrong, EDGE.

    As I mentioned above, Neal was only one snap behind Parsons and is the only other Cowboys’ ILB worth starting. He managed six tackles.

    Kearse surprised some. He was third among Cowboys safeties with 40 snaps compared to Donovan Wilsons 55 and Damontae Kazee‘s 52, but Kearse was by far the most productive safety with eight tackles and a pass breakup.

    Kearse’s role differed from that of Wilson and Kazee. He saw time in the box, at slot, and outside corner, and at free safety. He could see increased opportunity if Wilson’s groin injury keeps him from playing. Wilson saw similar usage except for the fact he played more free safety and less in the box. Kazee was at free safety the vast majority of the time.

    Armstrong and Basham were 3rd and 4th in edge snaps in week 1. They are likely to see increased time in the absence of Lawrence and, if he is unavailable, Gregory. Armstrong managed 2 tackles and 3 hurries on 23 pass-rush snaps. Basham had 2 tackles and 0 pressures on 18 pass-rush snaps. The Chargers’ offensive line played well against better a much better defensive line in week 1, so start these guys only if you’re desperate.

    Sits

    Demarcus Lawrence, EDGE (IR). Osa Odighizuwa, DL. Randy Gregory, EDGE (COVID/IR). Donovan Wilson, S (injury – questionable). Leighton Vander Esch, ILB. Jaylon Smith, ILB.

    Lawrence broke his foot in training and will miss extended time. It’s a huge shame, he is the Cowboys best pass rusher and had a solid week 1 performance with 5 pressures. He will be sorely missed.

    Both Vander Esch and Smith were listed as sits in this article last week. Unless an injury occurs or the Cowboys have a change in heart, they simply don’t play enough to be started.

    Wilson drops to the sit tier, which is, admittedly, a bit reactionary on my part. He played 55 snaps but had a quiet game. He suffers a little due to Kearse’s ascendancy. Wilson did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday with a groin injury and is listed as questionable.

    Odighizuwa led a heavy rotation on the defensive interior with 36 snaps but was only just ahead of two others. Even the fourth played player in that rotation, Quinton Bohanna, had 20 snaps.

    Randy Gregory would have been a tier 2 player this week in the absence of Lawrence, but he is on the reserve/COVID-19 list and unlikely to play. He was second in edge snaps in week 1 with 37 and recorded one tackle, and 3 QB hurries. Monitor his availability nearer game time.

    Chargers
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Joey Bosa, EDGE. Derwin James, S.

    Bosa had three tackles, four total pressures, including a sack, a QB hit, and two hurries. He also forced a fumble. He played 45 of a possible 55 snaps, which, predictably, led all the Chargers edge rushers.

    Three of the Cowboys’ offensive line gave up 13 pressures between them. Tyler Biadasz (a name I will always pronounce as ‘badass’ in my head) surrendered five hurries and two QB hits alone. It isn’t a bad matchup for Bosa, and the rest of the Charges pass rushers.

    James played every down. He recorded seven tackles, one hurry, and a pass breakup. He played very well and showed no signs of rust after missing so much time in the last two seasons.

    James returned to full practice later in the week after missing earlier practices with a toe injury.

    Tier 2

    Kenneth Murray, ILB.

    Murray remains a tier-two starter at ILB. He played every down, led the team with nine tackles, and recorded a hurry. I have previously criticized Murray’s ability in coverage, but it is worth noting that he recorded the third-highest coverage grade of his young career in week 1. Hopefully, it signals a turnaround in that department.

    Tier 3

    Kyzir White, ILB.

    White has won the battle with Drue Tranquill for the second ILB spot. He played 38 of a possible 55 snaps in comparison with Tranquill’s three. White was productive, earning five tackles (missing two more), recording a hurry, and two forced fumbles.

    Sits

    Jerry Tillery, DL. Christian Covington, DL. Linval Joseph, DL. Uchenna Nwosu, EDGE. Nasir Adderley, S.  Kyler Fackrell, EDGE. Drue Tranquill, ILB.

    Some of these players are young and quite talented. Adderley was on the field for 40 snaps but rarely played in the box, and as such, his tackle numbers are likely to be quite low.

    The DL players rotated quite a bit and hurt each other’s values as a result. Nwosu and Fackrell suffer from the same issue. Nwosu is worth a roster spot, whereas Fackrell was very quiet and can probably be dropped in all but the deepest of leagues. Tranquill played only three snaps.

    Fackrell did not practice on Wednesday with a knee injury. Adderley missed practice with a groin injury.

     

    Sunday Night Football

    Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens

    Embed from Getty Images
    Chiefs
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Chris Jones, EDGE.

    I suggested last week that Jones is in the upper echelon of tier-two players if he really does play an EDGE role. I’m beginning to change my mind. He seems to be as effective wherever he plays along the defensive line. He played 47/60 defensive snaps in week 1, earning a tackle, three hurries, including two sacks, and a hurry.

    The Raiders pass rush tortured the Ravens Alejandro Villanueva and Ronnie Stanley in week 1. Stanley gave up nine pressures, Villanueva ten, including two sacks. Stanley’s performance was a particular surprise. He gave up only ten pressures in all of 2019 on 543 pass-blocking snaps.

    Jones must be licking his lips at the prospect of his week 2 matchup.

    Tier 2

    Tyrann Mathieu, S.

    Mathieu missed last week as he remained on the reserve/COVID-19 list following a positive test. He is expected back in week 2 and must be raring to make up for the lost time.

    Tier 3

    Jarran Reed, DL. Frank Clark, EDGE. Daniel Sorensen, S. Nick Bolton, ILB. Juan Thornhill, S. Anthony Hitchens, ILB.

    Anthony Hitchens exited the week 1 matchup with the Browns in the 2nd quarter due to an arm injury but returned before the end of the first half. Nick Bolton earned additional snaps and was productive with them, earning eight total tackles, a hurry, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble. Not bad from the rookie! He played 45 of a possible 60 snaps compared with Ben Niemann‘s 40 and Hitchen’s 47. This is a situation to watch closely.

    Reed led the DI players with 40/60 snaps. He didn’t do much with them, but that should change if he earns this much playing time each week.

    Clark returned to full practice on Weds. The Chiefs could do with some pass rush help. Chris Jones cannot do it all on his own.

    Thornhill was productive in Mathieu’s absence. He earned seven tackles, a hurry, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup. Tier-one numbers. If he continues to produce anywhere close to this level, he will move up these tiers in subsequent weeks. He played 56/60 snaps.

    Sorensen is usually dependable but had a poor game in week 1. He played every defensive snap, recorded a QB hit and four tackles but missed five more! The Chiefs ordinarily play three safety alignments but did not do so in week 1. We will soon find If that was a consequence of Mathieu’s absence. If not, Sorensen will need to play better than this or may find himself in a diminished role.

    Sits

    Derek Nnadi, DL. Willie Gay, ILB (IR). Alex Okafor, EDGE. Michael Danna, EDGE.

    Nnadi played only 19 snaps and was some way behind Jarran Reed and Tershawn Wharton in playing time. Okafor and Danna are likely to concede snaps to Frank Clark when he returns. Danna did lead the Chiefs in pass-rush snaps, so it may be worth holding onto him until we see what impact Clark’s return has.

    Ravens
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Patrick Queen, ILB.

    Queen was busy vs. the Raiders in week 1. He had nine total tackles, two pressures, including a sack and a hurry. He also recorded five stops.  Queen dominated ILB snaps, playing 72 of a possible 86.

    Tier 2

    Chuck Clark, S.

    Clark had a productive game and remained a tier-two safety this week. He registered four tackles, two pressures, including two hurries. He batted a pass and recorded a pass breakup. Clark played every down and was in the box on 22 of 86 snaps.

    Tier 3

    DeShon Elliott, S. Odafe Oweh, EDGE. Justin Houston, EDGE. Calais Campbell, DL. Tyus Bowser, ILB/EDGE. Brandon Williams, DL.

    DeShon Elliott is not far behind Clark at all. He played 85/86 snaps, and his usage was similar to Clark’s. The main difference was that he didn’t align as an outside corner and played more in the free safety role. He recorded six tackles and three hurries.

    Houston, Oweh, and Pernell McPhee were in a rotation. Oweh and Houston stood out. Oweh earned two tackles, four pressures, including a sack, a hit, and two hurries. He was second in snaps with 48. It’s a strong start for the talented rookie. The Chiefs offensive tackles Lucas Niang and Orlando Brown gave up five pressures and a sack in week 1. The Ravens’ edge rushers have a decent matchup.

    Houston led the edge rushers with 56 snaps. He recorded two tackles, three pressures, including a sack, a hit, and a hurry. He has a calf injury and did not practice, so monitor his status closely. Bump Oweh and McPhee’s value slightly if Houston is out.

    Campbell is not the player he once was, but that’s more a statement about the dominant DL he once was rather than an indictment of his current ability. He led all Ravens DI players with 60 snaps, managed two tackles, four pressures, including a hit, and three hurries. Williams was second with 44 snaps and earned three tackles, a hit, and two hurries.

    Bowser played 53/86 snaps, producing one tackle (missing two more) and two hurries. His snap count keeps him in tier-three but only just.

    Sits

    Malik Harrison, ILB. Pernell McPhee, EDGE. Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE.

    All three are listed here due to a lack of opportunity. There were 86 defensive snaps on offer. Harrison played 44, McPhee 36, and Ferguson just ten. None of these numbers are enough to make these guys reliable in fantasy.

     

    Monday Night Football

    Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

    Embed from Getty Images
    Lions
    Starts

    Tier 1

    None.

    Tier 2

    Trey Flowers, EDGE. Jamie Collins, ILB. Tracy Walker, S. Romeo Okwara, EDGE.

    Flowers didn’t record a pressure despite playing 49 total snaps and 21 pass-rush snaps. He did earn five tackles which just about keep him in tier-two, but he’s on thin ice. Packers OT Elgton Jenkins is not an easy matchup, but I still think Flowers is underrated, and it will take more than two games to change that.

    Collins played 37/55 snaps, a distant second to Alex Anzalone, who played every down. Collins recorded four tackles, a QB hit, and two stops. Hopefully, he can do a little more this week. He’s not a solid tier-two player.

    Walker didn’t disappoint. He had six tackles and a sack and played 54/55 snaps. His box snap usage didn’t carry over from the final two weeks of the 2020 season, but that was to be expected. It just isn’t the type of player he is. He obviously can’t rely on sacks each week and could fall if he can’t maintain the tackle numbers.

    Okwara was the most productive Lions edge rusher in week 1. He earned four pressures, including a hit and three hurries. He lines up against Billy Turner, the weaker of the two Packers OTs. Okwara could be productive again in week 2.

    Tier 3

    Will Harris, S. Alex Anzalone, ILB.

    Will Harris played every down and earned six tackles but did miss two more. 19 of his 55 snaps were in the box. If he can tidy up the missed tackles and continues to play this much, there is a possibility that he swaps places with Walker.

    Anzalone surprised fantasy managers by playing every down. He recorded five tackles, and a QB hit.

    Sits

    Julian Okwara, EDGE. Derrick Barnes, ILB. Every DL player.

    Five players rotated heavily in week 1. Of these, only Michael Brockers is worth rostering. I’d stretch to include Alim McNeill and healthy scratch Levi Onwuzurike but only in deeper, dynasty leagues.

    Julian Okwara was a healthy scratch. Derrick Barnes only played five snaps.

    Packers
    Starts

    Tier 1

    Kenny Clark, DL. Za’Darius Smith, EDGE.

    Kenny Clark had five tackles and three hurries on 41/62 snaps. Only he and Rashan Gary generated any real pass rush vs. the Saints in week 1.

    Smith was limited due to a back injury. He played only 18 snaps and had a questionable roughing the passer penalty called against him in the third quarter. Had the play stood, Darnell Savage‘s resulting end-zone interception would have stood. If he’s healthy for week 2, he’s a tier-one player. Monitor his status nearer game time.

    The Lions’ offensive line was abysmal in week 1. They surrendered 28(!) pressures. If Smith can make it back to playing an increased number of snaps, he could easily make up for the lost time in week 1.

    Tier 2

    Adrian Amos, S. Rashan Gary, EDGE.

    Amos produced a respectable seven tackles on 60/62 snaps. It was promising that he spent 21 of those snaps in the box.

    Gary played only 37/62 snaps and didn’t record a tackle, but he was effective rushing the passer. He earned four total pressures, including two hits and two hurries. The sacks should follow, but the snap number is a minor concern considering Za’Darius Smith played so little. Regardless, he has a nice matchup vs. the porous Lions offensive line.

    Tier 3

    Krys Barnes, ILB. De’Vondre Campbell, ILB. Preston Smith, EDGE.

    Same three players in this tier as week 1.

    Barnes played 47/62 snaps and earned 8 tackles. Campbell played 56/62 snaps and registered seven tackles.

    Preston Smith produced six tackles and a QB hit. It will be interesting to see how snap counts are divided between a healthy Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, and a healthy Za’Darius Smith.

    Sits

    Dean Lowry, DL. Darnell Savage, S. Oren Burks, ILB. Kingsley Keke, DL.

    Lowry earned 38 snaps, recorded four tackles but no pressures. He could be a tier-three player on occasion.

    Savage played 51 snaps but recorded only one assisted tackle and one hurry.

    Burks played only seven snaps and should only be rostered in the deepest of leagues.

    Final Reminder

    Please remember to check inactive players before submitting your final lineups Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Players can and will suddenly become inactive after looking good to go all week.

    This IDP starts/sit advice article was published days before kick-off, and I will do my best to update it and/or tweet/retweet injury updates nearer game time, but I may miss some things.

    These are only suggestions. Your lineup is ultimately your responsibility and yours alone. Good luck this week and all season. Go and get that hardware and cash!


    Thanks for taking the time to read my IDP start/sit advice for week two. I hope you find it useful. You can find more of my work here at IDPguys.org, and you can follow me on Twitter @FFIDP_Jase. I will do my best to be available for questions or feedback. My DMs are always open.

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    4. […] person who feels the need to complain when (not if) I get something wrong, and it costs you points, please read the disclaimers from those early weeks first. I encourage all feedback — even criticism when it’s constructive — but not mindless […]

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