A look at the IDP Fantasy Football matchups for week 1 of the NFL season, and who should be on your radar for possible roster moves.
We are just a little while away from kickoff of week one with the Thursday night matchup between the Super Bowl champion Eagles and the always explosive Falcons. If you listened to the podcast this week you know we had Gary (@HBogart27) on the show to talk about some of the favorable matchups this week for IDP purposes.
The ones we mentioned were obviously among the most likely to produce some great IDP points for the players we talked about. This article will go a little deeper into some of those we mentioned and a couple others that intrigued me.
Eagles vs Falcons
Eagles: When you look at the Falcons offense the first thing you think of (besides Julio Jones) is the two headed monster of Freeman and Coleman at running back. Last season was a down year for the Falcons offense as they adjusted to life without a Shanahan led offense, they scored significantly fewer points than they did during their Super Bowl run the previous year.
I am of the opinion, and I’m far from the only one, that the Falcons offense will recover somewhat this year and have much better overall production. The addition of Ridley will help free up Julio and Sanu for some easier outings.
This team still loves to run though and for the Eagles defense I would be looking to play Jordan Hicks (MLB) or Kamu Gruger-Hill (WLB) and possibly safety Malcolm Jenkins (S). There will be a lot of running plays, short passes and deep shots to Julio so the two linebackers have decent run stopping matchups and Jenkins at safety may find himself also involved in run stopping as well as breaking up passes.
On the defensive line I would take Micheal Bennett (DE) or Brandon Graham (DE) if you don’t have any better DE options, and for defensive tackle this is a good matchup for Fletcher Cox (DT), he’ll have plenty of opportunity to stuff the run and get tackles for loss. This is not the best game for defensive ends by a longshot so if you have better options then Bennett, Graham or Barnett I wouldn’t hesitate to use them.
Falcons: The Eagles offense is somewhat of a question mark so far as their air attack is concerned for week one. With Carson Wentz still banged up and Alshon Jeffrey most likely not playing until week three, their passing attack will be somewhat diminished if Foles is out there with just Aghalor and Ertz to pass to. That’s not to say they can’t still be effective through the air, if anyone’s proved they can step up and get it done it’s long pole Foles.
I just see their game plan being more run-oriented so I would expect a heavy dose of Jay Ajayi and shorter drive-sustaining passes to Ertz & company. This is a recipe for lots of IDP points for Grady Jarrett (DT), Deion Jones (MLB) and Keanu Neal (S). Jarrett is in great position for run stuffing and tackles for loss, the “sacks” of the defensive tackle world, while Jones should be in perfect position for run stopping and tackles on short passes. ***Writers note: Keanu Neal tore his ACL and will be out for the season. Some low-owned good options to pick up in his place are Clayton Geathers (Colts), Bradley McDougald (Seahawks), John Johnson (Rams) and Jaquiski Tartt (49ers). Tweet us or me directly if you need lineup help finding a replacement safety.
Neal will also play run support and should break up some shorter passes with the opportunity there for some big plays. I’m not high on Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley this week I feel like the Eagles have a solid offensive line and Foles gameplan will be short and quick passes and fewer deep balls with Alshon Jeffrey banged up and out week one.
Bills @ Ravens
Bills: This could be an excellent game for the Bills IDP squad to start the season. With Nathan Peterman being named starting QB and the lack of offensive weapons besides LeSean McCoy there is a strong possibility the Ravens dominate time of possession this game and the Bills are on defense the majority of the game.
More time on defense equals more time to make plays and score IDP points. We all know the Ravens love to run the ball and take the occasional playaction shot down the field along with shorter passes to maintain their drives, but they run first and run often. This is a great game for Tremaine Edmunds (MLB), Matt Milano (WLB), Jordan Poyer (FS) and Micah Hyde (SS) as well as Kyle Williams (DT).
Edmunds and to a lesser extent Milano will be highly active in run stopping all game and should be involved in tackling and breaking up shorter passes as well. Poyer and Hyde will also be helping out with run stopping and pass breakups and may have their hands full covering for the extremely raw and inexperienced linebackers corps in front of them.
Kyle Williams will have plenty of opportunity to stuff the run and grab a tackle for loss or two however if you have a better DT I would play them, this is a nice matchup but not nice enough to make up for the skill difference if you have a better DT on your squad.
Ravens: While the Bills offense is not very good and will almost certainly lose the time of possession battle in this game there will still be some good opportunities here for the Ravens IDP squad to score some decent points.
What do we know about this Bills offense? LeSean McCoy is good, Nathan Peterman is not, Kelvin Benjamin is not who he thinks he is and Zay Jones hasn’t panned out so far. We can assume that at least for the first half, before things get out of hand score-wise, that the Bills gameplan will feature a heavy dose of Shady McCoy.
This is excellent for CJ Mosley (ILB), Micheal Pierce (DT) and Tony Jefferson (SS). Mosley will be heavily involved in stopping the run along with Pierce and Jefferson. Pierce will have some opportunities for tackles for loss and Jefferson will get some easy run stopping tackles in the first half.
After halftime, when things start to spiral out of control and Peterman has thrown a few picks, Terrel Suggs (RUSH LB) should have some good chances for a sack or two and Jefferson will be more involved in stopping the Bills attempts to pass their way back into the game.
Eric Weddle could be considered for this game but for me he is too boom or bust, this is certainly a game he could boom with an interception or two and some easy tackles but I’m just not a fan, if you do have him though this is the game to start him.
Bucs vs Saints
Bucs: Tampa Bay has their hands full even with the Saints missing Marc Ingram this week. Alvin Kamara, Micheal Thomas and new arrival Tre’Quan Smith look to put a hurting on the Bucs in week one. This is a great matchup for the Bucs IDP players.
Kwon Alexander (MLB), LaVonte David (WLB), Gerald McCoy (DT) and Jason Pierre Paul (DE) are the guys to play this week. Kwon and David will be trying to slow down Kamara and playing pass defense on some of Drew Brees shorter routes to Benjamin Watson and company. I see a lot of run stopping and short pass tackles in their future week one.
Gerald McCoy will have a good chance to grab some tackles for loss and maybe a sack or two and JPP will be in great position to grab a sack as well. As much as the Saints will run Kamara they love the short passing game with him as well and Brees loves to air it out in general, JPP will have many chances to wrap up Brees for a sack or two.
Saints: While the Bucs are undoubtedly behind the eight-ball with the Jameis Winston suspension and being forced into starting Ryan Fitzpatrick week one there is still some good IDP production to be had from the Saints defense this week. The Bucs will get behind at some point and have to try and pass their way back into it.
Queue Cameron Jordan (DE), Marcus Davenport (DE) and Marcus Williams (FS). The safety position is somewhat still up in the air but we do know that Williams will be the free safety and more involved in breaking up the pass game than either Vonn Bell or Kurt Coleman will be. Cam Jordan will be able to rush the passer for a good majority of this game I believe, the Bucs running game should be solidly in the toilet by start of the second half as they try and keep up with the efficient Saints offense.
Davenport also has a great opportunity to show what he’s got in this matchup but beware the rookie IDP success rate (4% in their first year per @HBogart27) and tread cautiously. Unfortunately I don’t think DeMario Davis or any of the linebackers corps will have an all time game this week it’s just not how I see the game going.
I don’t expect Tampa Bay to be running much after the second quarter, they’ll have to pass early and often if they have any chance of keeping up with this awesome Saints offense.
Jags @ Giants
Jags: We all know the Jags defense is loaded with stars of the NFL and IDP variety and a good portion of them should get some decent production in against a Giants offense the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite some time.
The Giants can run again. Not since Tiki Barber could I have been able to say that with confidence. But with the addition of Saquon Barkley they can most definitely run the ball once more. So in my mind that immediately brings Telvin Smith (WLB) and Myles Jack (MLB) into the fold for run stopping and short pass defense when Eli goes to Evan Ingram or Beckham or Shepard over the middle.
Barry Church (SS) could see some action in run support and pass breakups as well. Calais Campbell (DE) and Yannick Ngakoue (DE) will have plenty of opportunity to rush Eli and grab some sacks especially when Beckham is kicking over water jugs midway into the second quarter and screaming at Manning to throw him the ball.
But in all seriousness you have Odell, Shepard and Ingram of course they will be passing as much if not more than running Barkley, there will be plenty of opportunity for a successful Jacksonville pass rush. Malik Jackson (DT) has a good chance to get some tackles for loss and get involved in the pass rush as well.
Giants: The Giants defense has some well known IDP studs and those guys will feast for sure. Besides those guys though I’m not real excited for any other IDP opportunities in this game. I think Jacksonville runs early and often and establishes a lead through turning over New York and cashing in on those turnovers.
They take a strangle hold and force the Giants to be one dimensional to try and get back into the game and via that change in game script I think we only see the big three get a lot of IDP points for the Giants. Jacksonville will run often and pass only when needed to move the chains and maintain a drive and shouldn’t be far enough behind at any point that they have to throw a lot.
This is great news for run stopper Damon Harrison (DT) who will have tons of chances for tackles for loss and run support tackles. Alec Ogletree (ILB) and Landon Collins (SS) will also be heavily involved in run stopping and trying to slow down Leonard Fournette. Those are the big three for the Giants and the only guys I’m really comfortable starting on the Giants this week.
49ers @ Vikings
49ers: The Vikings offense is scary good. They can beat you pounding the rock with Dalvin Cook or they can air it out with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. This will be an all hands on deck affair for the 49ers IDP squad and a damned shame that Ruben Foster (suspension) will miss it.
The guys I’m sold on are Malcolm Smith (WLB), Jaquiski Tartt (SS), DeForest Buckner (DT) and Brock Coyle/ Fred Warner (MLB). Smith should be in excellent position to run stop and help with short passing defense. Buckner will have plenty of chances for tackles for loss and run stuffing as well. Tartt will be there to help clean up the run game and break up some of the passes and if he maintains the momentum he had from last year should be good for six or seven combined tackles easily. ***Writers note: Malcolm Smith is listed as doubtful for week one, if he can’t go it will be either Brock Coyle or Fred Warner starting in his place, either one would be a solid play this week so keep an eye on his situation and be ready to pull the trigger if he isn’t cleared to play this week.
While the MLB position for the 49ers is sure to produce in this game the question is who will be the middle linebacker. With less than a week before kickoff there is still a question of if it will be Fred Warner or Brock Coyle. So you can either keep and eye on that situation and maybe end up getting a guy no one has their eye on and getting 4 MLB production in a great matchup from them or you can steer clear. It’s a risk/ reward thing.
There’s a chance that they split time at middle linebacker and either Warner or Coyle takes run defense responsibility while the other or another linebacker entirely takes over on passing downs. It’s a risk since it’s not set in stone, personally I’m steeing clear of that mess and just starting Malcolm Smith for 49ers linebackers and patiently waiting for Ruben Foster to return from suspension.
Vikings: This game could go the way of the Giants game where San Francisco may be forced into passing more than they want to earlier than they would like, I think they’ll try and get Morris some carries early in the game but I suspect Minnesota will pull ahead before long and force the 49ers to have to throw a lot to try and get back into the game.
For the Vikings I’m starting Erik Kendricks (MLB), Harrison Smith (S), Danielle Hunter (DE), Everson Griffen (DE), Linval Joseph (DT) and Trae Waynes (CB). Kendricks has always been a solid IDP linebacker and should get some easy run stopping tackles early in the game and then add some short to medium pass coverage tackles later on. Harrison Smith will be involved in run support defense early and pass breakups late.
Hunter and Griffen will have plenty of chances to rush Jimmy G throughout the game and grab some sacks and Linval Joseph should get some run stops early and be involved in the pass rush late. Trae Waynes will get a lot of work this game with the 49ers trying to pass to keep up with or catch up to the Vikings and we all know they won’t be going after Xavier Rhodes.
Waynes has always been a great IDP producer at cornerback and this game script seems to play to his advantage I expect him to put up a good game.
Part two of this article will publish before Sunday. Enjoy the Eagles-Falcons game.