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  • The IDP Guys’ NFL Week 3 Start/Sit List: IDP

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    I hope you dominated your fantasy match-ups in Week 2. Here is your NFL Week 3 IDP Start/Sit advice.


    I started last week’s article by explaining how fantastic Week 1 was. The same can be said for Week 2. I only hope this is indicative of what we can expect all season. Damn, I love the NFL.

    Whether your NFL team was successful or not, I want to try to help your fantasy teams win on the defensive side of the ball. To that end, here is my weekly article with all the IDP start/sit advice you can stomach for Week 3.

    Last Week’s Results

    I made a total of 318 IDP start/sit recommendations in Week 2. 71% of my starts were correct, 29% were not. I’m okay with that. There were some interesting surprises. Not least of all, certain star players putting up consecutive duds. Chase Young, where are you?!

    Disclaimers

    In Weeks 1 and 2, I had a list of disclaimers here that explained how my advice is only a suggestion, how your team is your responsibility, and that I will get things wrong. It got too wordy, and I think most reasonable people understand all of this by now.

    So I’ll say this. If you’re the sort of person who feels the need to complain when (not if) I get something wrong and it costs you points, please read the disclaimers from previous weeks first. I encourage all feedback — even criticism when it’s constructive — but not mindless rants. I do this for fun. It’s a game. Let’s keep it light.

    Article Key

    Tier One Starts

    These players have the best outlook based on their opportunity, past production, talent level, and match-up. They usually have a solid floor and an excellent ceiling. These guys should be the nearest to guaranteed production you can find.

    Tier Two Starts

    These players should earn a reasonable amount of points. Their opportunity, talent, or match-up is typically not on a par with a tier one player. Tier two players are usually a good option in deep leagues that start multiple players at each position.

    Tier Three Starts

    These players are a bit of a gamble. You should probably only start them in larger leagues and those which start many players at each position. Tier three players can be serviceable as either bye week or injury replacements, but the chances of scoring well are slim. This tier is as close to “sit” as you can get while still retaining some value as a starter.

    Sits

    As the name implies, sit these players. You should not start these players for any number of reasons. 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 that drops on Fridays, so keep an eye out for that tomorrow!

    True Position Designations

    In some IDP leagues, certain positions are grouped in a suboptimal way, primarily because of outdated interpretations of what players at each position do. Many IDP leagues are turning towards True Position in an effort to address that problem.

    In true position scoring, outside linebackers and defensive ends (ends who predominantly line up outside of the tackle) are grouped together as ‘Edge’ (rushers). Defensive tackles and defensive ends who play on the interior are grouped together as DI (defensive interior linemen). This leaves all remaining linebackers as off-ball linebackers (I’ve called them ILBs in this article to help with clarification).

    The result of these changes is that scoring is able to be more fairly distributed between groups of players who, in modern defenses, essentially perform near-identical roles.

    Players with EDGE designations in such leagues, and in this article, can vary in value from leagues that still use traditional DE and OLB positions. The same is true of DI vs. DT designations and is complicated further by platforms that simply use DL positions to lump all defensive linemen together (the worst!). There is no easy way I can cater to all of these leagues here. Whatever I choose to do, someone would be missing out.

    While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to value translation between these different designations, I can at least offer to help adjust the IDP start/sit advice mentioned here for your league’s scoring system. If you find yourself in need of help in that sense, or if you find all of this just too complicated, please send me a Twitter DM. I answer every message I receive.

    Let’s get into it.

    Thursday Night Football

    Carolina Panthers (2-0) at Houston Texans (1-1)

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    Panthers
    Starts

    Tier One

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

    After a monster Week 1, Thompson and Chinn had quieter games against the Saints last week. Thompson played every snap for the second week in a row, Chinn also played every down in week two, but the Panthers defense only played 44 snaps compared with 65 in Week 1, which accounts for the decrease in statistical outputs.

    Thompson managed four tackles and a QB hit. Chinn recorded three tackles, a QB hit, and a hurry. In more positive news for Chinn fantasy managers, he did play 26 of his 44 snaps in the box, compared with 31 of 64 a week earlier.

    The reduced snap count for the Panthers defense didn’t stop Burns. He earned three tackles, five total pressures, including a sack, a hit, and three hurries, all on only 22 pass-rush attempts.

    Burns and company now face rookie QB, Davis Mills, in a prime-time game. Mills may surprise but my money is on the Panthers defense having a good night. Burns is looking for his third straight game with a sack.

    Continue to start all three as tier one players this week.

    Tier Two

    Derrick Brown, DI. Haason Reddick, EDGE.

    Brown didn’t do a lot in Week 2. One tackle, one hurry. Stat lines like these will happen for DI linemen. If it becomes a trend he could slip a tier but I’m being bullish and keeping him here for now. He led all Panthers DI linemen in snaps by some margin which helps buoy his value.

    Reddick had his second consecutive two-sack performance and is now tied for third in the league for sacks. It’s impressive, no doubt about it. It is possible he could keep this up; he had 13 sacks last year on 56 pressures after all. But bear in mind that 30 players in the league have more total pressures so far this season. And pressures are a better indicator of future sack numbers than sacks. Let’s wait and see what happens.

    Tier Three

    Morgan Fox, EDGE.

    Fox had a career game last week. A tackle, seven pressures, including a sack, two hits, and four hurries. He gave Saints guard Andrus Peat nightmares.

    Fox played less in Week 2 than he did in Week 1, but remember, the whole defense did. He actually played 59% of snaps in Week 2 compared with only 51% in Week 1, and was a close third on the team in pass-rushing snaps, earning more than Reddick. This, despite limping off at one point to be looked at on the sidelines before returning.

    He could be a bit of a trap. It’s very, very unlikely he will come close to a 47.1% win rate again this season. He was also limited in practice on Tuesday. Don’t start him unless you’re desperate. I was close to listing him as a sit for another week until I saw his snap count details relative to other Panthers players and his own in Week 1.

    Sits

    DaQuan Jones, DI. Jermaine Carter, ILB. Juston Burris, S

    Carter’s usage last week was maddening. In Week 1 he was on the field for almost every snap and earned five tackles. In Week 2 against the Saints, he managed only 13 defensive snaps. The Panthers changed their defensive alignments quite drastically, opting for an extra DB in place of a second off-ball linebacker. Sean Chandler benefitted.

    Until a clearer picture emerges of how, or even whether the Panthers intend to use Carter, he drops from tier three to the sit tier. It’s a shame as he looked like he could be a cheap pick-up candidate. If you did pick him up, try not to drop him from rosters quite yet.

    Burris played almost every snap in Week 2 and recorded four tackles and an interception. 15 of his 43 defensive snaps were spent in the box or on the defensive line. I want his tackle numbers to improve before recommending him as a tier-three starter.

    Jones, like Burris, had decent output as a fantasy player last week, recording two tackles, a sack, and a hurry. It will be hard for him to perform on that level regularly while he is playing as little as he does. He played 21 snaps, only 13 snaps rushing the passer. It isn’t a recipe for continued fantasy success.

    Texans
    Starts

    Tier One

    Zach Cunningham, ILB.

    In a concerning move, the Texans held Cunningham out of the entire first quarter of the Browns game. When asked for an explanation, Head coach David Culley cited “disciplinary reasons.”

    Once he returned to the game, Cunningham was his usual self. A tackling machine. He earned eight tackles in three quarters. Continue to start him as a tier-one linebacker this week.

    Tier Two

    Christian Kirksey, ILB.

    Kirksey wasn’t as busy in Week 2 as he was in Week 1. He had five total tackles to his credit and was the sole Texans player to play every defensive snap. That was the case in Week 1, too. If that continues, he should have more productive weeks ahead.

    Tier Three

    Justin Reid, S. Eric Murray, S.

    Reid had a good fantasy week. He produced four tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. I still view him as a solid NFL player but one I’m reluctant to start in fantasy. He doesn’t play close enough to the line of scrimmage. Reid played in the box on only eight of 72 snaps in Week 1 and 11 of 37 in Week 2. His game status is questionable, he was unable to practice with a knee injury.

    Reid is a better player than Murray, but the gap isn’t huge in fantasy terms simply because Murray plays in the box a little more. Murray played 50 snaps of a possible 61 and had five tackles. Unfortunately, he missed a further three tackle attempts.

    Sits

    Maliek Collins, DI. Kamu Grugier-Hill, ILB. Whitney Mercilus, EDGE. Charles Omenihu, EDGE. Jacob Martin, EDGE.

    The Panthers’ offensive line has not been very good. The left-hand side of the offensive line has been particularly weak with Cam Erving and Pat Elflein. Ordinarily, this would be a nice match-up for a team with a good pass rush, but I’m not overly confident the Texans can take advantage.

    Collins earned a decent pass-rush grade in Week 1, recording four hurries. Unfortunately, he had a dud in Week 2. He played 38 snaps, more than any other Texans DI lineman, but earned only one tackle and missed another.

    The rest of these Texans edge rushers rotate too much to be consistent fantasy performers. Each of them will occasionally pop up with a sack but not with any consistency. If you think you can predict which it will be from one week to the next, go for it. I can’t. Omenihu has the most upside in dynasty formats but needs to begin separating himself from the rest.

    Grugier-Hill filled in admirably for Cunningham last week. Six tackles, two pressures, including a sack, a hurry, and a forced fumble. He could have earned himself additional snaps in the future. But at the expense of who? Cunningham? Kirksey? And will it be enough snaps to make him relevant in fantasy? I can’t see it happening anytime soon. Let’s see how this plays out when all three linebackers are available for an entire game before starting Grugier-Hill based on one productive week.

    Sunday Early Afternoon Slate

    Indianapolis Colts (0-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)

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    Colts
    Starts

    Tier One

    DeForest Buckner, DI. Darius Leonard, ILB.

    Buckner didn’t record a sack in Week 2, but he did have six total tackles, three pressures, including two hits, and a hurry. Start him as a tier-one DI lineman with confidence against a Titans offensive line that is struggling with injuries.

    Leonard managed six tackles and a pass breakup. Not a poor output, but he will have better weeks.

    Both players were on the field for all but one of the available defensive snaps.

    Tier Two

    Khari Willis, S.

    Willis has made a terrific start to the fantasy season. In Week 1, he earned seven tackles and a sack. In Week 2, he had seven tackles and an interception of Matthew Stafford. The Colts used Willis in a near identical manner in both weeks. He spent 40% of his snaps in the box or on the defensive line in Week 1. He spent 44% in similar alignments in Week 2.

    I want to move him up a tier, but I’m quite stubborn about tier-one safeties. If Willis keeps producing like this, he will leave me with no choice.

    Tier Three

    Bobby Okereke, ILB.

    Okereke was on the field for 59 of a possible 60 defensive snaps. He earned 5 tackles.

    Sits

    Grover Stewart, DI. Kemoko Turay, EDGE (injury – groin), Julian Blackmon, S. Tyquan Lewis, EDGE. Kwity Paye, EDGE (injury)

    Stewart is on the field enough to be a tier-three player on occasion. He hasn’t been far behind Buckner in snap counts so far this season. But you hopefully have more impactful players at the DI lineman spot. I see Stewart as a reasonable bye/injury week replacement.

    Blackmon plays a lot but is lined up deep on almost every play. His tackle count will, therefore, be limited.

    Lewis is just not starter material in my humble opinion. He is earning a modest amount of playing time, 29 snaps in Week 1 and 32 in Week 2, but still shouldn’t be rostered in all but the deepest of leagues.

    Paye is out this week. He led all Colts edge rushers in snaps for a second successive week. He was more productive in Week 2, but not as a pass rusher.

    Titans
    Starts

    Tier One

    Jeffery Simmons, DI

    Simmons didn’t tackle very well in Week 2, he missed all three of his opportunities. He was, however, very active as a pass rusher. Simmons earned four total pressures, including a sack and three hurries. He now has two sacks through two games.

    Predictably, Simmons led all Titans DI linemen in snaps, recording 45 of a possible 54 snaps.

    The Colts offensive line was very poor in Week 1 and abysmal in Week 2. If they play similarly in Week 3, Simmons should be very disruptive.

    Tier Two

    Jayon Brown, ILB. Harold Landry, EDGE

    Brown missed Week 2 with a hamstring injury. He was a pregame decision so was presumably close to playing, so I’m optimistic he will play this weekend. Monitor his status.

    Landry was busy last week. He had seven tackles, six of which were stops, and, for the second consecutive game, he earned five total pressures. Those pressures were all QB hurries in Week 2. Like Simmons, Landry could stand to benefit from a makeshift, porous, Colts offensive line.

    Tier Three

    Rashaan Evans, ILB. Bud Dupree, EDGE. Denico Autry, EDGE. Kevin Byard, S.

    After a solid outing in Week 1, Evans had a quiet Week 2. He played 31 of a possible 54 snaps and recorded 4 total tackles.

    Dupree has been poor to start the season. In two games, 87 total snaps, including 56 snaps spent rushing the passer, he has two tackles and three total pressures. He needs a good week. In his defense, he has been struggling with a knee injury.

    Autry had a productive day in Week 2. He earned a tackle and seven total pressures, including two sacks and five hurries. He was joint-second with Simmons for pass-rush snaps with 31, behind only Landry with 33.

    Byard had three tackles and a QB hit. It is still very early in the season, but he will struggle to match his tackle total from 2020 at this rate.

    Sits

    Rashad Weaver, EDGE. Monty Rice, ILB. David Long, ILB. Amani Hooker, S (IR). Bradley McDougald (released)

    Long actually led all ILBs with 53 snaps. He managed 6 total tackles. Unfortunately, Long may be left out again if/when Brown returns to the line-up.

    Weaver played only one snap. Hooker is on IR. McDougald was released earlier this week.

    Atlanta Falcons (0-2) at New York Giants (0-2)

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    Atlanta Falcons
    Starts

    Tier One

    Grady Jarrett, DI.

    Jarrett wasn’t as quiet in Week 2 as he was in Week 1, but he didn’t generate any pressures. He had four total tackles and missed one.

    It is too early to panic about a player who is still in his prime. The Falcons have faced two of the better offensive lines of the young 2021 season. The Bucs rank first in pass blocking, the Eagles seventh. It is good news for Jarrett that the Giants rank 27th.

    Tier Two

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

    Fowler had a solid game, earning two tackles, three pressures — including a sack, a hit, and a hurry — and forced a fumble. Like Jarrett, he could benefit from playing this Giants offensive line.

    Jones hasn’t come off the field for a single defensive snap this season. In Week 2, he recorded three tackles, a sack, and a hurry.

    Oluokun was promoted to tier two status last week and justified the promotion in Week 2. Like Jones, he has also played every defensive snap possible through two weeks. Last week he earned 10 tackles, and he forced a fumble.

    Tier Three

    Duron Harmon, S.

    Harmon followed up a seven-tackle performance in Week 1, with a six-tackle outing in Week 2. He plays a slightly higher percentage of his snaps in the box than Erik Harris, but the difference in their fantasy relevance is negligible while Harris plays more snaps.

    If I had a tier 3.5, Harmon would be in it.

    Sits

    Steven Means, EDGE. Erik Harris, S. Tyeler Davison, DI. Richie Grant, S. Marlon Davidson, DI.

    Means is playing more than I anticipated and is doing nothing with that opportunity. He has played 106 total snaps, rushed the passer 37 times, and has four tackles and two hurries to show for it.

    Harris had four tackles in Week 2. He played 38 of his 56 snaps lined up deep, and that limits his fantasy ceiling.

    Tyeler Davison had four tackles for the second consecutive week. Last week, three of these were assisted tackles. He isn’t a player that excites me.

    I still include Grant here as he was a warm topic in IDP circles in the preseason. There is no indication yet that he will be playing anytime soon. I’ll remove him from this article until anything changes.

    I keep seeing Marlon Davidson’s name come up and I’m not sure why. The 2020 second-round pick earned his first career sack last week. It was his only pressure on only 13 pass rush attempts and he is still a distant third for playing time on the interior of the line.

    Giants
    Starts

    Tier One

    Leonard Williams, DI. Blake Martinez, ILB.

    Williams earned six tackles and two hurries in week two against Washington. He is yet to put up a really strong fantasy performance but has been active in both games.

    The Falcons offensive line has graded in the bottom five for pass blocking through two games. Chris Lindstrom and Jake Matthews have been OK. The rest have been poor. This obviously works in Williams’ favor.

    Martinez had seven tackles in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2. He is a rock-solid tier-one linebacker.

    Tier Two

    Dexter Lawrence, DI.

    Lawrence earned 51 two tackles in the 2020 season. He is off to a very slow start in 2021, recording only one assisted tackle in two games. He has five hurries in total but it was his tackle numbers, not his pass-rushing prowess, that provided a solid floor for him as a DI last year.

    Consider him a shaky tier-two DI lineman until he returns to form. I like his chances to do so, he faces a weak Falcons offensive line. And he continues to earn playing opportunities. He played 46 of 71 defensive snaps last week.

    Tier Three

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

    Ryan is playing very well. In Week 1 he had nine total tackles, a forced fumble, and two pressures, including a sack. In Week 2 he had seven total tackles and a QB hurry. He is still playing the vast majority of his snaps in a deep alignment, only 10 of his 71 snaps were in the box. It isn’t hurting his production.

    Ojulari had another sack last week to increase his tally to two. It was one of three total pressures he had for the second consecutive week. He is unlikely to be a reliable source of tackles but that may not matter in your scoring format. The Giants continue to rotate Ojulari, Carter, and Ximines.

    Carter recorded four tackles and a QB hit in Week 2. I considered listing him as a sit this week but didn’t for two reasons. The Falcons offensive line, primarily. But I also feel that Ojulari and Carter will perform fairly similarly from week to week.

    Sits

    Oshane Ximines, EDGE. Jabrill Peppers, S. Xavier McKinney, S.

    Of the three edge rushers in rotation, Ximines is playing the least amount of snaps. The gap between he and Ojulari widened in Week 2.

    Peppers didn’t play as much as Ryan and McKinney in Week 1, he was on the field for only 30 of a possible 66 snaps. In Week 2, Peppers played 57 of a possible 71 snaps. 33 of those were in the slot, 11 were spent lined up deep. He earned 5 tackles and a QB hurry. It will be interesting to see how the Giants intend to use Peppers going forward. I advise you to sit him until we know more.

    McKinney’s snap count took a nosedive from Week 1 to Week 2. He played 63 snaps in Week 1 and only 39 in Week 2. When he was on the field he was utilized in a similar fashion to Week 1, predominantly lining up as a deep safety and seeing some occasional use in the slot.

    L.A. Chargers (1-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)

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    Chargers
    Starts

    Tier One

    Joey Bosa, EDGE. Derwin James, S.

    Bosa was held in check in Week 2. He earned three tackles, including two pressures, and two hurries. He is too good to be kept quiet for long. The Chiefs’ offensive line allowed only two pressures in Week 2 against the Ravens, but Bosa is better than any Ravens pass rusher. The same Chiefs offensive line allowed 15 pressures against the Browns in Week 2.

    Bosa has not practiced all week. Monitor his availability carefully, he may be a game-time decision.

    The way James is utilized will seemingly change from week to week. In Week 2 he was used in the slot a staggering 45 of 62 defensive snaps. He earned seven total tackles and a sack. He is my number one Safety in the league. Start him every week.

    Tier Two

    Kenneth Murray, ILB.

    Murray had a productive Week 1. He wasn’t quite as strong in Week 2 but was still serviceable. Murray earned 6 total tackles and a QB hurry. He played 49 of a possible 62 snaps after playing every down in Week 1. His coverage grade took a nosedive after showing signs of improvement in Week 1.

    Tier Three

    Jerry Tillery, DI. Kyzir White, ILB. Uchenna Nwosu, EDGE.

    Tillery benefitted from playing a high volume of snaps. He was on the field for 53 of a possible 62 in Week 2. He earned six total tackles, three pressures including a sack, and two hurries. His tackling grade was good but his pass rush grade was not. So was this a fluke? Possibly. I’ll place him in tier three until we have more evidence to make a call.

    White played 40 snaps and earned five tackles. Tranquill played only 11 snaps in comparison, but even that meager amount the disparity between the two has narrowed since Week 1.

    Nwosu played more than Fackrell but not by a large margin. He had one assisted tackle, one hit, and one hurry. He scraped into tier three as Bosa is questionable and may be on a snap count.

    Sits

    Christian Covington, DI. Linval Joseph, DI. Nasir Adderley, S. Kyler Fackrell, EDGE. Drue Tranquill, ILB.

    Adderley had the best Week 2 of these players. He earned 9 tackles and recorded a pass breakup. His tackle count may not be this high on a consistent basis considering how often he lines up as the deep safety. He did play in the box slightly more in Week 2, so his alignment does appear to be tied to James’ own in some small way. For that reason, he may have boom or bust weeks.

    Fackrell registered a sack and a forced fumble. Please don’t get too excited, his sack was his only pressure and he rushed the passer just nine times.

     

    Chiefs
    Starts

    Tier One

    Chris Jones, EDGE.

    I’ve got to hold my hands up – I said last week that Jones was proving to be a tier-one player irrespective of his defensive alignment. He then recorded a single tackle and a single hurry against the Ravens.

    It isn’t pure stubbornness on my part that I am leaving Jones here for Week 3. The Chargers’ right tackle, Storm Norton, had one of the worst performances of any offensive lineman in Week 2. Micah Parsons tortured him. Bizarrely, the Chargers are apparently keeping Norton there for Week 3 as they await Brian Bulaga’s return from IR.

    This is terrible, terrible news for Justin Herbert, but great news for Chris Jones and the rest of the Chiefs’ edge rushers. The ball is in your court, Jones. Prove you belong here.

    Tier Two

    Tyrann Mathieu, S. Nick Bolton, ILB. . Anthony Hitchens, ILB.

    I said last week that Mathieu must be raring to go in his season debut and that proved to be the case. The enigmatic safety played every down, earned two solo tackles, two interceptions, and a pass breakup.

    Hitchens played 65 of 76 snaps. Bolton played 63. Hitchens earned 12 total tackles and Bolton recorded 10 and a QB hurry. It feels a bit reactive on my part to place both in tier two, but I think this defense is going to be on the field a lot and these two should rack up the tackles IF they continue to play as much as they do.

    Tier Three

    Jarran Reed, DI. Daniel Sorensen, S.

    Reed doesn’t yet look like the same player as he was last season for the Seahawks. He is still playing a lot so there is still hope.

    Sorensen had a nice fantasy week with ten tackles and a sack. Unfortunately, he missed four more tackles. That is nine missed tackles on the year! If he can tidy up the missed tackles he could push for tier two on occasion.

    Sits

    Juan Thornhill, S. Frank Clark, EDGE.

    Thornhill had seven tackles, a hurry, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup in Mathieu’s absence Week 1. In Week 2 he barely found his way onto the field, recording just 11 total snaps. That lack of opportunity obviously destroys his fantasy value.

    Clark is officially doubtful for the game. He was not productive in Week 2 despite playing a lot of snaps.

    Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)

    Embed from Getty Images
    Bengals
    Starts

    Tier One

    Vonn Bell, S.

    Bell played every down in Week 2. 34 of his 65 snaps were spent either in the box or on the defensive line. He earned six tackles, he batted down a pass and he had a QB hurry. Unless his usage changes drastically, he will probably be a tier-one safety all season long.

    Tier Two

    Logan Wilson, ILB. Trey Hendrickson, EDGE. Sam Hubbard, EDGE. Jessie Bates, S.

    I said last week (and earlier in the season) that Wilson could be a productive, ILB option this season. I thought he could play and provide good IDP depth on your fantasy roster. He has surpassed those expectations so far this season. In Week 1 he had eight tackles and a QB hit. In Week 2 he had 7 tackles and an interception.

    He’s dominating snaps at linebacker for the Bengals. On current form, he’s a tier-two linebacker but we need to see consistent production for him to remain here. The season is young.

    Hendrickson has played well through two games. He followed up a five-pressure performance in Week 1 with a four-pressure performance in Week 2, including two sacks, a hit, and a hurry.

    His tackling could be improved. He has missed all four tackle attempts so far this season, three in the last game alone. In Week 3 he will be lined up opposite Dan Moore Jr., a fourth-round selection in the 2021 draft. Moore Jr. has acquitted himself reasonably well for a player taken in the middle rounds, but Ngakoue managed three pressures last week from the right edge. Hendrickson should pose a similar threat in this game.

    Hubbard had six total tackles, two pressures, including a sack, and a hurry in Week 2. Hubbard and Hendrickson continue to dominate snaps amongst the Bengals edge rushers. Hendrickson will be playing opposite Chukwuma Okorafor. On paper, this contest isn’t very even.

    Bates was active in Week 1 but dropped off slightly in Week 2. He still earned four tackles and a QB hit and remains one of the few safeties who manage to record good tackle numbers from a deep alignment.

    Tier Three

    Larry Ogunjobi, DI. D.J. Reader, DI.

    Ogunjobi had four tackles and no hurries in Week 2. He graded poorly in the game, but he at least led all Bengals in pass-rush snaps, and he paced all DI linemen in snaps with 49.

    Reader had a good game. He recorded two tackles, three total pressures, including a sack, and two hurries. He had 39 snaps and he graded well overall, much better than Ogunjobi.

    Sits

    Germaine Pratt, ILB, Akeem Davis-Gaither, ILB.

    I warned of Pratt’s efficiency in Week 1, pointing out that unless his snap count increased, he would be unlikely to maintain similar numbers. That proved to be the case in spite of the fact his snap share increased. He recorded a single tackle on 39 snaps.

    ADG played 16 snaps for the second week in a row. I’ll remove him from this article next week and he won’t feature again unless the situation changes.

    Steelers
    Starts

    Tier One

    Cam Heyward, DI. Melvin Ingram, EDGE.

    Heyward followed up his superhuman Week 1 effort with another good game, albeit not quite at the same level. He had seven tackles, two hurries, and he batted a pass. He was excellent in run defense.

    The Steelers are an elite pass-rushing team. The Bengals do not have elite pass protectors. You do the math.

    Ingram has looked good so far. In Week 2, he earned three tackles, six total pressures, including a sack, two hits, and three hurries. He now has 11 total pressures this season. There is a long season ahead, but his pass-rush grade for the year is higher than any yearly grade he has recorded since 2017.

    With Watt and Highsmith out, Ingram moves up a tier.

    Tier Two

    Devin Bush, ILB.

    Bush missed Week 2 with a groin injury. He practiced in full this week and will play.

    Tier Three

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

    Schobert earned nine tackles in Week 2, seven of which were stops. He also recorded two pass breakups. Schobert now has 14 tackles this season. He played every snap in Week 2. I suggested last week that I would see how he performed before considering moving him up a tier, but as Bush was absent I’ve decided to keep him here for another week.

    Fitzpatrick earned 13 snaps in the box in Week 1. As I said last week, he has surpassed this number only once since joining the Steelers in 2019. He recorded 13 box snaps again in Week 2, signifying a slight chance in his usage since last season.

    He played every down and recorded six tackles in Week 2 and now has 14 through two games. His coverage grade is poorer than usual but it is a small sample size we’re working with after two games.

    Edmunds also played every down in Week 2. His usage was completely different from Week 1. In Week 1 he played just 16 of his 85 snaps in the box and played 50 snaps at free safety. In Week 2 he played 38 snaps in the box and only 13 at free safety. His fantasy output wasn’t much different, he had six tackles in Week 2, one more than he had the week before.

    Sits

    T.J. Watt, EDGE. Alex Highsmith, EDGE. Robert Spillane, ILB.

    Watt had to leave the game against the Raiders with a groin injury. He has been ruled out of the Bengals game.

    Before Watt left the game, he played only 16 snaps and rushed the passer only seven times. It is a testament to his brilliance that in that short space of time, he still earned two tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. When he’s healthy, you start him – no question.

    Highsmith was a popular sleeper choice among IDP fans coming into the season. He hasn’t been poor, he has graded well in most areas, but he hasn’t yet made the noise as the pass rusher that we hoped for. In two games, 90 snaps, and 56 pass rush attempts, he has eight tackles, three pressures, including one hit, and two hurries.

    Unfortunately Highsmith has been ruled out of the Bengals game. It is not great timing given Watt’s status.

    Spillane played 53 snaps in Bush’s absence and made the most of his opportunity. He earned 11 total tackles. Despite his best efforts, it is highly likely his role will be drastically reduced once Bush returns.

    Chicago Bears (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)

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    Bears
    Starts

    Tier One

    Khalil Mack, EDGE. Roquan Smith, ILB.

    Mack recorded a tackle, his first sack of the season, and a hurry in Week 2 against the Bengals. He hasn’t yet been his dominant self this year, but it’s Mack. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. The Browns offensive line was steadfast against the Texans in Week 2, but the Texans don’t have an edge rusher of Mack’s caliber.

    Smith has wasted no time in getting going this season. He has been red-hot so far. Smith had 10 tackles and a QB hurry in Week 1. He followed that up with seven tackles, a sack, and perhaps the defensive highlight of the week with a pick-six in Week 2.

    Tier Two

    Akiem Hicks, DI.

    Hicks had three solo tackles, three pressures, including two hits, and a hurry in Week 2. This is a good game for a DI lineman. The Browns have two very good interior linemen in J.C. Tretter and Joel Bitonio. Wyatt Teller is not quite on their level. The Bears and Hicks will be aware of this.

    Tier Three

    Eddie Jackson, S.

    In Week 2, both Jackson played deep more than he did the week prior. He had four solo tackles and a forced fumble. He will probably be slightly more productive than his fellow safety, Gipson over the course of the season.

    Sits

    Tashaun Gipson, S. Alec Ogletree, ILB. Robert Quinn, EDGE. Bilal Nichols, DI.

    Gipson is doubtful with a hamstring injury. He was going to be in the sit tier anyway.

    Ogletree has seven tackles and a QB hit in two games, despite playing 80 snaps in total.

    Quinn had two tackles and a sack. He is already halfway to equalling his sack total from last year. At this point in his career, it would be a surprise if he became someone worth starting again.

    Nichols has the most upside of this group but, as I said last week, he will drift between tier three and sit. He will earn a sack every now and again, as he did last week, but he’s difficult to trust each week.

    Browns
    Starts

    Tier One

    Myles Garrett, EDGE.

    Garrett was non-existent in Week 2. This will be a rare occurrence. He faces Jason Peters in Week 3. At 39 years old, Peters is not the same player he once was, but last week he had arguably his best game since 2019. Garrett could spoil the Peters comeback tour.

    Tier Two

    Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE. Malik Jackson, DI. Malcolm Smith, ILB.

    Clowney had three solo tackles, four total pressures, including two hits and two hurries. He played 46/61 snaps, just three behind Garrett. I am comfortable keeping him in tier two.

    Malik Jackson had four tackles and two QB hurries. Not bad for a DI lineman.

    Smith fills in for the injured Anthony Walker who was placed on IR. Smith played 58 total snaps, recorded six tackles but did miss another three. He will probably remain a tier-two player until Walker returns.

    Tier Three

    Malik McDowell, DI.  Ronnie Harrison, S.

    I like how McDowell plays. He recorded two tackles, two pressures, including a hit, and a hurry. He is a borderline sit as he only played 37/61 snaps. You will probably have more reliable starters in fantasy.

    Harrison earned six tackles and three stops on 53 snaps. He spent 23 snaps in the box and a further seven on the defensive line.

    Sits

    John Johnson, S. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB. Takk McKinley, EDGE. Grant Delpit, S.

    55 of Johnson’s 61 snaps were in a deep alignment, so his tackle count is poor. He is grading poorly too.

    JOK isn’t playing enough to warrant starting.

    McKinley is the third edge rusher on the team behind Garrett and Clowney. He had three hurries last week and will occasionally pop up with a sack, but he isn’t worth starting.

    It seems Delpit is being slowly eased in. Keep your eye on him. He only played 26 snaps but had five total tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble.

    Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at Detroit Lions (0-2)

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    Ravens
    Starts

    Tier One

    Patrick Queen, ILB.

    Queen played every snap in Week 2. He earned eight tackles and a QB hurry. He missed three tackles. While he continues to see this volume, he remains a tier-one fantasy starter at linebacker.

    Tier Two

    Chuck Clark, S.

    Clark had a quiet game but is usually a pretty solid fantasy safety. His eight snaps in the box were the least he’s managed since Week 3 of 2019. That is a bit concerning but it’s only one game so far. It could have been a result of Elliott’s concussion.

    Tier Three

    Odafe Oweh, EDGE. DeShon Elliott, S.

    Oweh led all the Ravens edge rushers in snaps with 38, and he also led the Ravens in pass-rush snaps with 22. He recorded three tackles, three pressures, including a hit, and two hurries, and also forced a fumble. He graded very well overall, especially for a rookie. It’s a great start but we can’t get carried away, not yet.

    Right tackle, Matt Nelson, and left guard, Jonah Jackson has been particularly poor in pass protection for the Lions’ offensive line. The Lions clearly think Oweh has the versatility to rush from either side. It’s possible Oweh can have another good game. I’m loathed to recommend a rookie as a tier two player after two games, especially at a position like edge which is so deep. If this form continues then I promise I’ll promote him before long.

    Elliott left the game with a concussion. If he can play in Week 3 he is a tier-three player.

    Sits

    Tyus Bowser, ILB/EDGE. Justin Houston, EDGE. Calais Campbell, DI. Brandon Williams, DI.

    Bowser has shown a little promise in the past but he has never really put it all together. He has already been surpassed by Oweh in snap numbers.

    I know Houston will grab a sack every now and again but I don’t think he’s the same player anymore.

    Campbell, Williams, and all the interior linemen rotated more in Week 2. It’s enough to concern me about relying on any of them as starters.

    Lions
    Starts

    Tier One

    None.

    Tier Two

    Romeo Okwara, EDGE.

    Okwara hasn’t registered a sack in 2021, but he has been close. He earned an assisted tackle, six total pressures, including a QB hit and five hurries in Week 2. He has 10 total pressures through two games. The sacks will come if he can keep this up.

    The Ravens’ offensive line improved immeasurably in pass protection from Week 1 to Week 2. Okwara doesn’t face an easy test, even with Ronnie Stanley missing this game with an ankle injury (Villanueva moved to LT last week).

    Tier Three

    Tracy Walker, S. Derrick Barnes, ILB.

    Walker is a tier-three safety who occasionally plays better than that. He played every down in Week 2, recording five total tackles.

    Barnes becomes a recommended starter with Collins out for the game, and possibly beyond if Collins gets traded. Campbell said earlier this week that Barnes deserves a shot to play moving forward. The rookie flashed in the preseason too.

    Sits

    Alex Anzalone, ILB. Michael Brockers, DI. Jamie Collins, ILB. Trey Flowers, EDGE.

    Flowers is out for this game. He did not practice due to shoulder and knee injuries.

    Anzalone does not look good out there. Granted, he led the Lions with nine tackles in Week 2, and he also earned some praise from Dan Campbell, but he grades very poorly and it shows up on the field to even the casual observer.

    It was reported on Wednesday that the Lions are exploring trade options for Collins. He will not play this weekend.

    If Brockers plays as he did in his final few seasons for the Rams, he will be a tier-three DI lineman. But I’m reticent to recommend him as a starter until I see something from him in a Lions uniform. He is playing plenty, he had 54 snaps in Week 2, rushed the passer 27 times, earned a sack and three tackles in the process. But it’s just one game.

    New Orleans Saints (1-1) at New England Patriots (1-1)

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    Saints
    Starts

    Tier One

    Demario Davis, ILB.

    Davis racked up 13 tackles and a pass breakup in Week 2 against the Panthers. He played every down. He should be a solid tier one linebacker again this season, even at the age of 32.

    Tier Two

    Cameron Jordan, EDGE.

    Jordan had five tackles and two hurries last week. He hasn’t been the pass rusher we are used to seeing, not yet. Jordan’s fantasy owners will be hoping Trent Brown (calf) can’t go in Week 3. Otherwise, Jordan will have his work cut out for him in a tough match-up. If Brown cannot play, Jordan will have a favorable matchup against Yasir Durant and/or Justin Herron. Neither player played well last week.

    Tier Three

    Malcolm Jenkins, S. Marcus Williams, S.

    Jenkins played almost every down in Week 2 and earned seven tackles. He played 44/74 snaps either in the box or on the defensive line.

    Williams also played almost every snap and had seven tackles, and a pass breakup. He played 63/75 snaps in a free safety alignment. His tackle numbers may not be as consistent as Jenkins’ from week to week.

    Sits

    Zach Baun, ILB. Pete Werner, ILB. Peyton Turner, EDGE.

    I don’t trust Baun. He earned six tackles and played 64 snaps but he was pretty dreadful. Pete Werner began practicing this week. The rookie is no sure thing but Baun hasn’t set the bar very high.

    Turner benefitted from the absence of Davenport (IR) and played well in his debut. He earned five solo tackles, four total pressures, including a sack, and three hurries. Good job, rookie! 31 snaps and 21 pass-rush snaps is a reasonable number for a rookie, but the Saints defense won’t always play in the region of 76 snaps. He should eat into Carl Granderson’s snaps if he keeps this up.

    Patriots
    Starts

    Tier One

    None.

    Tier Two

    Matt Judon, EDGE.

    Judon was disruptive when rushing the passer against the Jets in Week 2. He earned a tackle, seven pressures, including a sack, a hit, and five hurries. He led all Patriots edge rushers with 50 snaps but was third behind Deatrich Wise Jr. and Josh Uche in pass-rush snaps.

    Terron Armstead is an elite pass-blocking offensive tackle. Ryan Ramczyk is usually very good too. Neither player has played to their usual standards through two games. Judon will hope to make that three.

    Tier Three

    Kyle Dugger, S. Adrian Phillips, S. Dont’a Hightower, ILB.

    Dugger only earned four tackles on 55 snaps, but I’m encouraged by the fact he played 41 of his 55 snaps either in the box or on the defensive line. He had seven tackles in a similar role against the Dolphins in Week 1.

    I recommended Phillips as a sit last week because he only played 61% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps. He played 55/75 or 75% of the Patriots snaps in Week 2 and was in the box plenty. His tackle count wasn’t impressively high, he had only five total tackles, but I like how his usage is trending. If this continues he will solidify his status here as a tier-three starter.

    HIghtower played 60 snaps in Week 2. he registered six tackles, a QB hit, and a hurry. Hightower is versatile, everyone knows that, and some of his fantasy value comes from his pass-rush usage and ability. He rushed the passer an encouraging 13 times in Week 2, almost double the number he did so in Week 1.

    Sits

    All DI linemen. Ja’Whaun Bentley, ILB. Josh Uche, EDGE.

    Uche is out for this game. It’s a shame, as Uche was a disruptive pass rusher against the Jets. He recorded one tackle, six total pressures, including two sacks, a hit, and three hurries. He more than doubled his snap count from Week 1 to Week 2, and plenty of fantasy managers were hoping this was the beginning of a trend as we headed into Week 3.

    Christian Barmore led all DI linemen in snaps in Week 2. He had three tackles and three hurries. However, even though he led the team with 28 pass-rush snaps, I don’t trust him or Devon Godchaux as a fantasy starter at the DI spot. Carl Davis and Henry Anderson don’t play much but do leech enough snaps to limit fantasy production of Barmore and Godchaux, or at least they did in Week 2. I’ll continue to monitor the snap allocation here before recommending anyone.

    Bentley played 68 snaps. He earned eight tackles, and a QB hurry. He’s listed as a sit because I think he’s still a very limited player. Belichick and Jerod Mayo had nice things to say, and really what do I know compared to such great NFL minds, but all the same, I feel quite strongly that Bentley isn’t a player to be relied upon in fantasy. Maybe he proves me wrong.

    Arizona Cardinals (2-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

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    Cardinals
    Starts

    Tier One

    Chandler Jones, EDGE. Budda Baker, S.

    Jones was always going to be hard-pressed to follow up that five-sack Week 2 performance. In Week 2 he missed his only two tackle attempts, earned three total pressures, including two hits and a hurry. He graded very well as a pass rusher again. He remains a tier-one edge rusher.

    Neither of the Jaguars’ offensive tackles is very good. Chandler Jones can and likely will probe both sides as he seeks to take advantage of both Jawaan Taylor and Cam Robinson. It’s a good matchup for Jones.

    Baker had nine tackles, including four stops. He’s one of a handful of Safeties you never need to worry about until his bye week.

    Tier Two

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

    Simmons played very well against the Vikings in week two. He played 50/61 snaps. 46/50 of those snaps were played either on the defensive line or in the box. Thankfully, for fantasy purposes at least, his slot corner usage was much reduced. He earned eight tackles and forced a fumble.

    J.J. Watt hasn’t really got going yet. He had two tackles and two hurries. If you have a more in-form tier-two edge rusher, you may want to play them ahead of Watt for now. I’m hoping Watt shows up this week.

    Tier Three

    Markus Golden, EDGE.

    Golden had a sack and a forced fumble. He played 48 snaps and spend 21 of them rushing the passer. He doesn’t seem to earn the tackle numbers that he did while playing for the Giants, but he can still get after the QB. He’s an ideal bye/injury week replacement. If you play in extremely deep leagues he could be serviceable as a third edge player, perhaps. Be prepared for the highs and lows that come with such a player.

    Sits

    Jalen Thompson, S.  Jordan Hicks, ILB. Zaven Collins, ILB. Zach Allen, DI.

    Thompson may be a popular waiver-wire pickup this week. He earned eight tackles and a QB hit last week. He played 57/61 snaps. I don’t think he’s a reliable starter each week unless his usage changes. He lines up deep and at corner quite a bit.

    HIcks is playing a fair bit, 59/61 snaps. But he isn’t doing much with the opportunity and his overall grade is terrible. If Hicks continues playing as he is the Cardinals may turn to the rookie, Collins.

    Zach Allen is playing just over half of the available defensive snaps. He is grading very poorly, too.

    Jaguars
    Starts

    Tier One

    Myles Jack, ILB.

    Jack had five tackles and a QB hurry. He played every snap again and remains the only Jags linebacker to do so. He missed two tackles. He’s a tier-one/two tweener.

    Tier Two

    Josh Allen, EDGE. Rayshawn Jenkins, S.

    Allen played 49/69 defensive snaps which led all Jaguars edge rushers. He earned two tackles and two pressures, including a sack and a QB hit.

    The Cardinals have a decent set of offensive tackles, Allen will have better matchups. But he is on form and is a good enough tier two-player that his matchup may not matter.

    Jenkins played every snap. He was in the box or on the defensive line 48/69 snaps. He had eight tackles, a QB hurry, and a pass breakup. He’s being used in a way that really helps his fantasy value.

    Tier Three

    None.

    Sits

    Malcolm Brown, DI. Roy Robertson-Harris, DI. Damien Wilson, ILB. Andrew Wingard, S.

    I don’t trust any of these players each week. Wingard had a nice week in week two, playing 51/69 defensive snaps, earning seven total tackles, and a sack. I think it will be an anomaly. I don’t think he’s a bad player, but he played 40 of 51 snaps lined up as a deep safety.

    Washington Football Team (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)

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    Washington
    Starts

    Tier One

    Chase Young, EDGE. Montez Sweat, EDGE. Jonathan Allen, DI.

    Young is not playing up to expectations. He played 63 of a possible 69 snaps against the Giants, and rushed the passer a whopping 37 times. Despite this opportunity, he earned only three tackles and three hurries. He has four total pressures and no sacks through two games. It is a far cry from what fantasy managers wanted from such a dynamic player.

    There is a reason for optimism in Week 3. The Bills’ offensive tackles are Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams. Dawkins has been consistently good his whole career while Williams showed real improvement last season. However, neither player is in good form. Between them, they have allowed 14 pressures in two games.

    Sweat has fared better than Young. He had two tackles and six total pressures in Week 2, including a sack, two hits, and three hurries. In two games he now has 5 tackles, seven pressures, including two sacks, and a forced fumble. He could stand to benefit from the poor form of Dawkins and Williams, too.

    Allen has been one of the best DI linemen so far in the 2021 season. He followed up a good Week 1 performance with an even better Week 2. Allen played 56 of a possible 69 snaps against the Giants in Week 2 and recorded five tackles, including 5 stops. He added six pressures, including two sacks, and four hurries.

    Tier Two

    Daron Payne, DI. Landon Collins, S. Cole Holcomb, ILB.

    Payne had two tackles, and three hurries in Week 2. He hasn’t quite played like a tier-two DI lineman so far this season, but there is plenty of time for him to rectify that.

    As I said last week, Collins had us worried in the preseason that he might surrender the box safety role to Kamren Curl. We should have realized he wouldn’t relinquish the role so easily. In Week 2, Collins played 52/69 defensive snaps, 33 of these were spent either in the box or on the defensive line. He earned six solo tackles, including two stops. He also added a QB hurry.

    Holcomb played every down and earned five tackles and a hurry. He is somewhere between a tier two and tier three player.

    Tier Three

    Kamren Curl, S.

    In Week 1, Curl played much less than Bobby McCain, but their roles were reversed in week two. Curl managed 51 snaps to McCain’s 37. Curl earned only three tackles but has some value as a fringe starter if he can continue to play as often. For now, there are tier three safeties who have more opportunities than Curl.

    Sits

    Jon Bostic, ILB. Bobby McCain, S. Jamin Davis, ILB.

    Bostic played 84% of snaps in Week 1 but only 57% in Week 2. He conceded snaps to Davis against the Giants. Davis graded well in limited opportunity so could be being eased in.

    McCain had a large role in Week 1 but was third in snaps among the three safeties in Week 2.

    Bills
    Starts

    Tier One

    Jordan Poyer, S.

    Poyer played 61 of a possible 74 snaps. It is concerning that he played only nine snaps in the box. This is far fewer in Week 1 and all but one game in 2020. He earned four tackles and a pass breakup.

    Tier Two

    Matt Milano, ILB.

    Milano had his best game in a long time and swaps tiers with Edmunds on this list. This isn’t a reactionary move. He led all Bills linebackers with 61 snaps, and recorded five tackles, seven total pressures, including a sack, a hit, and five hurries.

    Tier Three

    Tremaine Edmunds, ILB. Micah Hyde, S. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE.

    Edmunds fans may be upset with me but this has been coming. He played only 45 of a possible 74 snaps, managed two tackles, and a QB hurry.

    Hyde played 61 snaps and recorded six tackles, two total pressures, including a sack, and a QB hurry.

    Rousseau still needs time to develop and will have quiet weeks while playing in a heavy defensive line rotation, but he earned 49 snaps whereas the rest of the edge rushers had between 34 and 35. Rousseau managed three tackles, eight total pressures, including two sacks, and six hurries. He did miss three other tackle attempts.

    Rousseau will be lined up against the weaker of Washington’s tackles, 2021 2nd-round pick, Samuel Cosmi.

    Sits

    Ed Oliver, DI. Every other edge rusher.

    Oliver led the interior defensive line players in snaps with 40 but three others were not far behind.

    The Bills rotate four different edge rushers and none will be consistently productive as a result.

    Sunday Mid Afternoon Games

    New York Jets (0-2) at Denver Broncos (2-0)

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    Jets
    Starts

    Tier One

    Quinnen Williams, DI.

    I was bullish about Williams’ potential all offseason. He hasn’t started fast but it is only two games and I remain confident in his ability. He played 39 snaps for a second consecutive week and earned two tackles, including two stops and two QB pressures. Fantasy managers need more and I think they will get it.

    The Broncos have some inexperienced players on the interior of their offensive line. Graham Glasgow looks likely to return this week, which will help, but this isn’t a stellar unit and Quinnen Williams has a reasonable matchup.

    Tier Two

    John Franklin-Myers, EDGE. Marcus Maye, S. C.J. Mosley, ILB.

    Myers played well overall against the Pats. He led the Jets edge rushers with 42 snaps and recorded two tackles, two pressures, including a sack, and a hurry, and a forced fumble. He remains in tier two.

    I talked last week about Maye’s increased snaps in the box. He played deep and in the slot more in Week 2. Maye earned five tackles but missed two more. He had a pass breakup and recorded a sack, but this was his only attempt at rushing the passer.

    Mosley had a good game against the Jets. The fact that it was his best game in years is hardly surprising, given he has barely played in years. He played every defensive snap, earned 10 tackles, a QB hurry, and a pass breakup. Is he back? The signs are promising but we want to see this on a consistent basis before he truly solidifies his status as a tier two starter again.

    Tier Three

    Jamien Sherwood, ILB.

    Sherwood practiced in a limited capacity this week as he continues to recover from an ankle injury. If he plays, he should assume the Jets second off-ball linebacker spot. It is a role that can be productive.

    Sits

    Del’Shawn Phillips, ILB. Quincy Williams, ILB. Hamsah Nasirildeen, ILB. Bryce Huff, EDGE.

    I suggested you sit Phillips last week in spite of his busy role in Week 1. It proved to be the right move as Williams played 54 snaps to Williams’ two. Williams was busy but didn’t play particularly well, so irrespective of whether Sherwood can go this week, I would suggest not starting Williams.

    Nasirildeen played only 18 snaps.

    Huff barely played half of the available defensive snaps as the Jets rotated Myers, Huff, Lawson. Even Tim Ward played enough to cap the upside of others.

    Broncos
    Starts

    Tier One

    Von Miller, EDGE.

    Miller is 32 years old but he remains an elite edge rusher in the league. He recorded a tackle, six pressures, including a sack and five hurries. He now has 11 pressures and three sacks in two games.

    Miller has a reasonable matchup in Week 2. Morgan Moses is not a bad right tackle but Miller has played well against better players.

    Tier Two

    Justin Simmons, S. Alexander Johnson, ILB.

    It pains me a little to drop Simmons to tier two. This move isn’t so much about talent level or the idea that he played poorly (he did). His alignment in 2021 is different. He played 11 box snaps in Week 1 and nine in Week 2. There have been only three games in the last three seasons where he has played fewer snaps in the box.

    He was still on the field for every snap. But he earned only one assisted tackle and missed another tackle attempt. He should bounce back in statistical output but to what level, I’m unsure. This is, so far, unchartered territory for Simmons as far as his role is concerned. Let’s hope it is an anomaly.

    Johnson played 53 of a possible 56 snaps against the Jaguars in Week 2. He earned five tackles and a QB hurry. He played well overall and his value takes a slight bump with the unfortunate injury to Jewell.

    Tier Three

    Malik Reed, EDGE. Dre’Mont Jones, DI. Shelby Harris, DI. Kareem Jackson, S.

    Reed benefits from Bradley Chubb’s misfortune. He is likely to slide in as Chubb’s replacement. Reed was moderately productive in 2020 when filling in for Von Miller.

    Jones played 35 snaps in Week 2, Harris played 33. Neither player was fantasy-relevant but they will have some value as the season progresses. I like Jones’ over Harris. They remain tier-three starters in a favorable matching against a suspect Jets offensive line.

    Jackson played very well against the Jaguars. He earned seven tackles, including two stops. He also recorded an interception.

    Sits

    Bradley Chubb, EDGE (IR). Josey Jewell, ILB (IR). Micah Kiser, ILB. Justin Strnad, ILB. Baron Browning, ILB (or will it be EDGE?)

    Chubb has been placed on IR following surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle. It is a huge blow for Chubb and the Broncos. He is expected to miss between six to eight weeks.

    Jewell suffered an unfortunate pectoral injury which ends his season. He was playing some of his best football.

    For a brief moment, Strnad looked like he would be Jewell’s replacement, then the Broncos signed Kiser. Sit both players this week until we see how this shakes out.

    Baron Browning makes his first appearance in this article. Fangio has suggested he may give Browning some opportunities as an edge rusher in the absence of Chubb. This is an easy sit choice, if he plays then he will likely be behind Reed.

    Miami Dolphins (1-1) at Las Vegas Raiders (2-0)

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    Dolphins
    Starts

    Tier One

    None.

    Tier Two

    Jerome Baker, ILB.

    Baker led all Dolphins players with 63 of a possible 65 snaps against the Bills in Week 2. He only earned three tackles, but he added two QB hurries, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup.

    Tier Three

    Christian Wilkins, DI. Emmanuel Ogbah, EDGE. Andrew Van Ginkel, EDGE.

    Ogbah was disruptive in Week 2. He played 47 snaps which led all Dolphins edge rushers. He had three tackles, six pressures, including a sack, two hits, and three hurries. Ogbah faces Raiders’ right tackle, Alex Leatherwood, who has had a shaky start to his young career. It is a nice matchup for him.

    Wilkins played 44/65 snaps and had four tackles and a batted pass.

    Van Ginkel had a good game, he recorded three tackles, three pressures, including a sack, a hit, and a hurry. He played 46/65 snaps and was third on the team with 25 pass-rush snaps.

    Sits

    Eric Rowe, S. Jevon Holland, S. Brandon Jones, S. Jaelan Phillips, EDGE.

    Rowe didn’t play nearly as much in Week 2. He conceded snaps to Jevon Holland. Holland was in a predominantly deep alignment which limits his fantasy appeal. He earned three tackles and two QB hits.

    Jones played more, too. He was on the defensive line or in the box for 33 of 41 snaps. If this type of usage continues he could become noteworthy. He recorded six tackles.

    Phillips played only 18 snaps. He had two tackles and a QB hurry but will need to play much more before he can become fantasy relevant.

    Raiders
    Starts

    Tier One

    Jonathan Abram, S. Maxx Crosby, EDGE.

    Crosby had a fantastic game in Week 1. He followed it up with a good game against the Steelers. It may not have helped you in fantasy terms, but he had three tackles, six total pressures, including five hits, and a hurry. He has a great match-up in Week 3.

    The Dolphins’ offensive line has been terrible so far, surrendering 42 pressures in only two games. Crosby is a tier-one player this week and possibly beyond.

    Abram had a good game for fantasy purposes in Week 1. He played every snap against the Steelers in Week 2 but didn’t play quite as well. He registered five tackles but missed three more attempts, including this one:

    Tier Two

    None.

    Tier Three

    Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE. Cory Littleton, ILB. Denzel Perryman, ILB.

    The amount of snaps Ngakoue earns wouldn’t typically justify tier-three inclusion, but when he’s on the field he spends a large proportion of his time rushing the passer. 26 of his 27 snaps in Week 2 were spent doing just that. He hasn’t recorded a sack so far this season but he is earning a respectable amount of pressures, he has 11 through two games. If he keeps doing that then the sacks will follow.

    Like Crosby, Ngakoue has an excellent matchup against the Dolphins this week. He will generally be facing left tackle, Austin Jackson. Jackson has really struggled so far.

    Littleton played 39 of a possible 56 snaps in Week 2. He had five tackles but missed three more.

    Perryman played 42 snaps and led the team with 12 tackles. He has his limitations in coverage but has found a groove so far with the Raiders. He has 21 tackles in his first two games.

    Sits

    Trevon Moehrig, S. K.J. Wright, ILB.

    As I said last week, Moehrig is playing every snap but is lined up deep on almost every play, so he’ll rarely earn good tackle numbers. He recorded two tackles in Week 2 and has five through two games.

    Wright just isn’t playing enough to consider starting in fantasy. He played only 22 snaps and had two tackles.

    Seattle Seahawks (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

    Embed from Getty Images
    Seahawks
    Starts

    Tier One

    Bobby Wagner, ILB. Jamal Adams, S.

    The Seahawks defense was on the field for 88 snaps in Week 2. Wagner took full advantage. His sack and QB hit will likely be overlooked because of his phenomenal tackle numbers. He tied for the fourth most tackles in an NFL game:

    Adams played every snap and had seven tackles, including three stops.

    Tier Two

    Jordyn Brooks, ILB.

    Brooks played 72/88 snaps. He didn’t grade particularly well overall, but he still earned eight tackles. I like him as a tier-two linebacker.

    Tier Three

    Quandre Diggs, S. Al Woods, DI. Poona Ford, DI.

    Diggs played every snap and had five solo tackles and three assists.

    Woods played 60 of 88 total snaps, he earned nine total tackles, including seven stops. He also had three total pressures, including a sack and two hurries.

    Ford led all of the Seahawks DI linemen, with 63 snaps. He didn’t pad the stat sheet quite like Woods, but he played well. He had four total tackles, a hit, and a hurry.

    The Seahawks pass rush has a good matchup against the Vikings. Outside of Brian O’Neill, none of the Vikings’ offensive linemen are particularly special. Some, like Garrett Bradbury, have graded particularly poorly.

    Sits

    Rasheem Green, DI. Carlos Dunlap, EDGE. Kerry Hyder, DI.  Benson Mayowa, EDGE. Darrell Taylor, EDGE.

    Green played 56 snaps but that represents only 64% of the available defensive snaps. He had a sack in Week 1 but has only earned five total pressures on 65 pass-rush snaps.

    The Seahawks edge rushers will each produce fantasy-relevant weeks at times, but no single player will do so with any real consistency. They rotate a lot.

    Vikings
    Starts

    Tier One

    Danielle Hunter, EDGE. Eric Kendricks, ILB. Harrison Smith, S.

    Hunter had a great game in Week 2. He led all edge rushers with 53 of 61 snaps and amassed four tackles, seven total pressures, including three sacks, and four hurries. He now has four sacks in two games.

    Kendricks shed a questionable designation to play every snap. He accrued 12 tackles, including five stops, and he also had a QB hurry. Kendricks did miss three tackles for the second week in a row but that doesn’t hurt his value in fantasy. He has 28 tackles in two games.

    Smith also played every down, recording nine tackles, and a QB hurry.

    Hunter has a tough test against Duane Brown but has an easier matchup on the opposite side of the line vs. Brandon Shell. Hunter is matchup-proof. It is difficult to imagine a time when he, Kendricks, or Smith fall out of tier one this season.

    Tier Two

    Nick Vigil, ILB.

    Vigil has filled in admirably for Anthony Barr, at least in a fantasy sense. He played every down, registered eight tackles, and had an interception. Barr was limited in practice this week and he is out for this game, so Vigil remains a recommended starter.

    Tier Three

    Xavier Woods, S.

    Woods played well in Week 2. He only earned four tackles but he did grab an interception. He plays too far from the line of scrimmage to earn good tackle numbers on a consistent basis. It limits his fantasy appeal.

    Sits

    D.J. Wonnum, EDGE. Stephen Weatherly, EDGE. Anthony Barr, ILB.

    Wonnum continues to play ahead of Weatherley but the gap in snap numbers between the two did close in Week 2. Wonnum managed 51 snaps and earned a tackle and three hurries. Weatherley played 29 snaps, and recorded three tackles, and five pressures.

    Barr has not recovered from the knee injury, and is listed as out for this game.

    Tampa Bay Buccanneers (2-0) at Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

    Embed from Getty Images
    Bucs
    Starts

    Tier One

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

    White played every snap, managed six tackles, four total pressures, including three hits, and a hurry.

    David also played every snap and earned eight tackles, including three stops.

    Barrett was on the field for 52/72 snaps. He had two tackles, and three hurries, but rewarded the faith of his fantasy managers with a rare interception, the second of his career.

    Rob Havenstein is the Rams’ right tackle, and he is a decent pass blocker. Barrett will need to be on his game in Week 3.

    Tier Two

    Antoine Winfield, S. Vita Vea, DI. Ndamukong Suh, DI.

    JPP led all edge rushers with 61 snaps but he had a quiet game compared with Week 1. He had three tackles, a QB hurry, and he batted a pass.

    Winfield played all 72 defensive snaps available. He had four tackles but missed three more tackle attempts. He had a pass breakup.

    Vea played 42, just one ahead of Suh’s 41. Vea had five tackles, a QB hit, a hurry, and a batted pass. Suh had two tackles, a sack, a hit, a hurry, and he also had a batted pass.

    Tier Three

    Jordan Whitehead, S. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, EDGE.

    Whitehead returned in Week 2. He registered five tackles, including three stops. He also had a hurry.

    Tryon becomes a starter with Jason Pierre-Paul sitting this game out. He has looked very promising in preseason, and is a player I’m looking forward to seeing play.

    Sits

    Jason Pierre-Paul, EDGE. William Gholston, EDGE. Mike Edwards, S.

    JPP is out with a hand and shoulder injury.

    Gholston doesn’t play enough to be a factor in fantasy on a consistent basis.

    I recommended Edwards as a starter last week. He had five tackles, two interceptions, and a pass breakup. So some fantasy managers may be wondering why he has been relegated to the sit tier.

    With the return of Whitehead, Edwards’ role was reduced and his usage completely changed. He played only 39 of 72 snaps and played much more in the slot, at the expense of what were box snaps in week one. If he plays a little more going forward then I’ll consider promoting him to tier three again. If week three is any indication of his future snap numbers, then a drop-off in fantasy production seems more likely.

    Rams
    Starts

    Tier One

    Aaron Donald, DI.

    Donald had the sort of game in week three that drives fantasy managers mad. He recorded eight total pressures but none of them were sacks. He did earn seven tackles, but that will be of little consolation to most.

    The Bucs have the highest graded pass-blocking offensive line in football after two weeks. Donald will have easier matchups. But you cannot drop him and nor should you even consider it.

    Tier Two

    Jordan Fuller, S. Taylor Rapp, S. Leonard Floyd, EDGE.

    Fuller played almost every snap and had six tackles, two of which were stops. He has 11 tackles in two games which is a reasonable number, but I’m doubting whether he should be a tier-two player based on his usage. 46 of his 65 defensive snaps were spent at free safety.

    Rapp played every snap too, but he played a bit more in the box than Fuller did. He earned eight tackles, a sack, and a pass breakup.

    Floyd played 54 snaps and was second only to Donald for pass-rush snaps. He had five total tackles, eight total pressures, including a sack, a hit, and five hurries.

    Tier Three

    Kenny Young, ILB. Troy Reeder, ILB. Sebastian Joseph-Day, DI. Justin Hollins, EDGE.

    Young played 69/69 snaps in Week 1, while Reeder only played 19. Come Week 2, Young played 43/66 and Reeder played 42.

    Young managed five tackles, and a QB hurry. Reeder managed six tackles, albeit that five of those were assists. He also had a QB hit and an interception. Reeder’s overall defensive grade was excellent, second only to Donald on the Rams in Week 2.

    Joseph-Day played 47 snaps which was second to Donald for DI linemen. He recorded eight tackles, including six stops. He also had a sack, a QB hit, a hurry.

    Hollins played 49 snaps and earned two tackles and two total pressures. He played much better in Week 1. He remains in tier three largely because he is given so much opportunity to play.

    Sits

    Greg Gaines, DI.

    Gaines earned a sack and a hurry, but he played only 25 snaps for the second consecutive week.

    Sunday Night Football

    Green Bay Packers (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (2-0)

    Embed from Getty Images
    Packers
    Starts

    Tier One

    Kenny Clark, DI.

    Clark had four tackles, including three stops. He generated five total pressures, including a QB hit, and four hurries. He is yet to earn a sack this season, but eight pressures in two games are good for a DI lineman. If he can continue bringing pressure at that rate, sacks will follow.

    Those sacks may be difficult to come by against the 49ers, however. They have surrendered only 12 total pressures in two games so far this season.

    Tier Two

    Adrian Amos, S. Rashan Gary, EDGE. De’Vondre Campbell, ILB.

    Amos played every snap and recorded 10 total tackles. He played slightly less in the box and slightly more in the slot in Week 2, but it wasn’t a huge swing. He has 17 tackles this season, 16 of them of the solo variety.

    Expectations were already high of Gary, which will only intensify with Za’Darius Smith on IR. He earned 44 tackles against the Lions in Week 2, earned two tackles, three total pressures, including two QB hits, and a hurry.

    A few weeks ago there was some debate as to which Packers ILB would emerge victorious from the camp battle. Most assumed the competition was between Krys Barnes and De’Vondre Campbell.

    Campbell won. He played every 56/62 snaps in Week 1, and every possible snap in Week 2. Campbell led the Packers in tackles last week, with 12, five of which were stops. He added an interception and a QB hurry.

    Tier Three

    Preston Smith, EDGE.

    Like Gary, more will be expected of Preston Smith in the absence of Za’Darius Smith. He recorded 46 snaps in Week 2, he was second in pass-rush snaps with 29, trailing only Kenny Clark’s 34. He didn’t set the world on fire, managing only one tackle – an assist – and added a QB hit, and a hurry.

    Sits

    Za’Darius Smith, EDGE (IR). Darnell Savage, S.

    I’ll leave Smith here one week in case this is still news to anyone.

    Savage played every snap in Week 2 but lined up deep on 44/57 snaps. He recorded a single tackle. He has two tackles and a hurry in two games. It isn’t much to show for 108 defensive snaps.

    49ers
    Starts

    Tier One

    Nick Bosa, EDGE. Fred Warner, ILB.

    Bosa played 44 of a possible 58 snaps which paced all 49ers edge rushers. He had a tackle, three total pressures, including a sack, a QB hurry, and also forced a fumble.

    Bosa would ordinarily be going up against Elgton Jenkins in Week 3. Jenkins is a good tackle. Unfortunately for the Packers, and fortunately for Bosa, Jenkins is listed as doubtful.

    Warner played every snap, had seven total tackles, a QB hurry, and a pass breakup.

    Tier Two

    Javon Kinlaw, DI. Arik Armstead, EDGE.

    Kinlaw led the DI linemen with 42 snaps. He didn’t help his fantasy managers, though. One tackle and two QB hurries will not get it done. He may have been limited by the same knee injury that limited him in practice this week.

    Armstead hasn’t recorded a sack this season, but once again he did generate plenty of pressure, six hurries to be exact. He has 15 total pressures in two games. While the lack of sacks will be frustrating to his fantasy managers, I advise sticking with him while he’s being this disruptive.

    Tier Three

    Azeez Al-Shaair, ILB. Jaquiski Tartt, S.

    Al-Shaair once again started in Greenlaw’s absence. He played 58 snaps, registered four tackles, and two QB hurries. Al-Shaair missed three further tackle attempts. He didn’t look great out there.

    Tartt played every snap. He had six total tackles, a QB hurry, and a pass breakup. He has had a decent start to the season.

    Sits

    Dee Ford, EDGE.

    Ford played only 16 snaps in Week 2. He generated two hurries on only 13 pass-rush snaps but unless he receives more volume, you can’t start him.

    Monday Night Football

    Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

    Embed from Getty Images
    Eagles
    Starts

    Tier One

    None.

    Tier Two

    Fletcher Cox, DI. Javon Hargrave, DI.

    Cox led all Eagles DI linemen with 51 of a possible 70 snaps. He recorded four tackles but no pressures. The interior of the Cowboys offensive line is a mixed bag. Zack Martin is superb, Biadasz and McGovern are not. Cox will be looking to rebound.

    Hargrave only generated two pressures in Week 2, a QB hit, and a hurry. But he did record eight total tackles, five of which were stops. He played 50 snaps.

    Tier Three

    Alex Singleton, LB. Eric Wilson, ILB.

    Singleton paced all Eagles linebackers with 57 snaps against the 49ers. He led all Eagles players with 12 tackles. It could and should have been more as he missed five tackles. He also graded poorly in coverage.

    Wilson was second among Eagles linebackers with 48 snaps. He recorded 10 tackles in total, four of which were solo. He also managed a QB hurry.

    Derek Barnett, EDGE,  Josh Sweat, EDGE. Hassan Ridgeway, DI.

    Barnett, Sweat, and Kerrigan rotated a lot. None of them did very much. Each is holding onto tier three status by a thin thread. None of them has more than three pressures through two games. If this continues they will all be sit candidates unless someone emerges. Sweat has the most upside.

    Sits

    Brandon Graham, EDGE (IR). Genard Avery, EDGE.

    Graham tore his Achilles tendon and is out for the season.

    Avery almost doubled his snap count from Week 1 to Week 2. He graded well and earned seven solo tackles. But it was one game.

    Cowboys
    Starts

    Tier One

    Micah Parsons, ILB/EDGE.

    Parsons was asked to play an edge role in Week 2 in the absence of DeMarcus Lawrence. Even his biggest of fans couldn’t have predicted he would earn eight total pressures. He had a sack, three QB hits, four hurries, and a tackle. Storm Norton of the Chargers was asked to fill in for the injured Bryan Bulaga and it wasn’t pretty, to say the least.

    Parsons earned the second-highest pass-rush grade of any NFL defender in Week 2. In his second game. As a rookie…

    Parsons would have faced Jordan Mailata this week. Mailata has been excellent through two games, but is out of the game against the Cowboys with a knee injury.

    Tier Two

    Jaylon Smith, ILB.

    Smith stepped into the off-ball linebacker role vacated by Parsons. He recorded 54 of a possible 71 snaps, earned nine total tackles and a pass breakup.

    Tier Three

    Leighton Vander Esch, ILB. Osa Odighizuwa, DI. Jayron Kearse, S. Randy Gregory, EDGE.

    LVE also benefitted from Parson’s move to an edge role. He more than doubled his snap count, earned seven total tackles, and recorded a sack.

    With Keanu Neal on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, Smith and LVE could be useful starters in Week 3.

    Odighizuwa played 43 snaps which led Cowboys DI linemen. He had three tackles, five total pressures, including four hurries, and a QB hit.

    Kearse had six tackles, two total pressures, and a pass breakup. He played 30 snaps in the box or on the defensive line. He is an interesting player to keep an eye on.

    Sits

    Keanu Neal, ILB. Tarell Basham, EDGE. Dorance Armstrong, EDGE.

    Neal is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. If he can play, start him as a tier-three player.

    Neither Basham nor Dorance did much despite playing plenty in Week 2. Give them a shot only if you’re desperate. Armstong was marginally better than Basham.

    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, it will be updated with injury news on Thursday before the Thursday game and on Sunday before the Sunday games, but I may miss some things. Game-time decisions are up to you.

    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 NFL Week 3 IDP start/sit advice. 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.

    For Week 3 offensive start/sit advice, please check out this article from the IDPGuys @FantasyLadder.

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