Looking for a leg up on your competition? We break down each game and suggest which IDP players are worth starting or keeping on your bench.
In part one of this article, we covered the Thursday night game and a few of the early games this Sunday. In part two we’ll have a look at some of the afternoon games, the Sunday night game and both Monday night games for week one. We’ll be looking at which IDP players in those games have the best matchups and should score the most points for you this opening week of the 2018-19 NFL season. Let’s get going.
4pm Sunday Games
Chiefs @ Chargers
Chiefs: The Chargers offense is well-balanced with the threat of Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates & company. I expect a mix of both run and pass with a relatively high scoring affair between these two teams eventually resulting in a Chargers win. I think they take advantage of turnovers and sacks that force KC drives to end in punts. For the Chiefs, I’ll be starting Anthony Hitchens (ILB) and staying away from Reggie Ragland (ILB). Hitchens has been talked up as the far more talented of the two. There is talk that Ragland may only be on the field for rushing downs. You should get a three-down linebacker out of Hitchens. He will be involved in run stopping Gordon and breaking up or tackling short to medium range passes to Antonio Gates & company.
I would also start Eric Berry (S) as I think he will get some easy run-stuffing tackles and be involved in pass breakups. He might even get an interception or sack. If you need a flier at DE then Chris Jones (DE) may be a decent play this week. I think that both sides will be passing often in a high scoring affair. Justin Houston (OLB/EDGE) may also end up with a sack or two this game so start him if you have an Edge designation or OLB slot in your league.
Chargers: Despite this essentially being Patrick Mahomes rookie year, we have seen enough of him to know he can toss a bomb to Tyreek Hill fairly confidently. He should be able to keep the Chiefs in this game for the majority of the contest. In the end, though I think the Chargers defense has too much talent. Certainly far more talent than the Chiefs. The Chargers will cause enough turnovers and sacks to stall Kansas City’s offense sufficiently to win this game. There should be a good mix of passes to Kelce, Hill and Watkins and short passes and runs to Hunt. There should be plenty of production to be had from the Chargers defense as well in this game.
I am starting Joey Bosa (DE), Melvin Ingram (DE), Derwin James (S) and Desmond King (CBS). The linebackers have been a question all offseason and not one I’m willing to answer week one without risking advising a move that may lose you your week. If you have a Chargers linebacker and you’re forced to play him this week that’s one thing. I for one am waiting until week two to see what their linebacker production looks like before starting any of them. Bosa and Ingram are automatic starts every week this season as long as they are healthy and are Tier one defensive ends who should have awesome production all year. ***Writers note: Joey Bosa unlikely to play week one so plan accordingly.
Derwin James looks to run stop Kareem Hunt and break up passes all game. He should be highly involved in this defense and particularly in this game that looks to be a shootout. Desmond King could play some safety and will definitely play a lot of corner this game. Due to offseason injuries to the Chargers corners, he should be playing the majority of the game and has a great chance to put up solid points in this weeks matchup.
EDITORS NOTE: (Joey Bosa has been officially ruled out. Do not start him!)
Seahawks @ Broncos
Seahawks: The Broncos, for the first time in several years, have a competent quarterback again. They look to finally have a somewhat balanced offense now too. They will run the ball with Freeman and Booker and pass to Sanders/Thomas. Denver will play defense while minimizing mistakes and not beating themselves. In other words, they’ll be back to playing Broncos football. For the Seahawks IDP players, this means a whole lot of run stopping and some chances to rush the quarterback so long as they keep the game close.
I’m starting Bobby Wagner (MLB), Shaq Griffin (WLB), Bradley McDougald (SS) and Frank Clark (DE). Linebacker (and personal favorite) KJ Wright is beaten up and will miss week one, Shaq Griffin looks to start in his place and will be a sneaky one or two-week play if you have injury or depth issues and need a couple-week fill in at linebacker who should have decent production. Bobby Wagner is a never sit unless he’s hurt. Bradley McDougald had great numbers filling in for Kam Chancellor last season and was excellent in run support and should help out with that this week. Frank Clark is the only defensive line player left from the legion of boom and is a solid DL 2 or 3 for this week. He should have a good amount of opportunity to sack Case Keenum as long as Seattle’s offense does its part and keeps this game close.
Broncos: For the Broncos IDP players, they will have some run game to deal with in the first half. However, I think Denver takes the lead here and eventually Seattle is forced to throw the ball often to try and keep up or stay in this game. For me, that means I’m starting Justin Simmons (S), Von Miller (OLB/EDGE) and Bradley Chubb (OLB/EDGE/DE). I’m not really sold on Denver’s linebackers this week but would be comfortable starting Brandon Marshall (ILB). He could see some run stopping tackles early and is talented enough to break up some passes and get some tackles in pass coverage later in the game thereby securing a decent game for you.
Just in general though this matchup doesn’t scream linebacker production for Denver, I feel like Seattle will be done running the ball by the middle of the second quarter. Justin Simmons should be involved highly in the pass game defense and may grab an early tackle or two in run support. Von Miller will have plenty of chances to rush Russel Wilson and grab a sack or two. The same thing goes for Bradley Chubb. I do not have an issue with starting Brandon Marshall here, but if you have a better linebacker matchup elsewhere that’s where I would pull the trigger.
Sunday Night Game
Bears @ Packers
Bears: The Bears spent the offseason adding pieces that have turned them from perennial joke to actual contender in just a few short months. The Packers offense will be the usual Aaron Rodgers show I’m sure. They’ll sprinkle in the occasional run or two to keep the Bears defense honest, but I expect this to be a typical Rodgers game with him passing for 300 plus yards and a few touchdowns when it’s all said and done.
For me, that means I’m starting Khalil Mack (OLB/DE/EDGE), Akiem Hicks (DE), Kyle Fuller (CB) and Adrian Amos (S). It should be noted that Roquan Smith (ILB) is NOT listed as a starter this week and was weeks late getting to training camp due to a contract dispute over language. So while when it’s all said and done this year I’m sure the former Butkus award-winning linebacker will be in the discussion for defensive rookie of the year, you may want to hit the brakes for week one. I know I am.
Mack and Hicks will have all kinds of opportunities to rush Aaron Rodgers and get sacks. Kyle Fuller will be targeted early and often and will put up great IDP numbers as a cornerback like he has every year. Adrian Amos will also be involved in defending the passing game and may get some easy run stopping tackles as well. I expect the Packers to dominate time of possession so the Bears are a good team to field IDP points from this week.
Packers: While the Bears made a huge move on defense with the Mack signing it should be noted that they made significant moves offensively as well in the offseason. They brought in Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel and drafted Anthony Miller. All three look to improve this Bears offense immensely. The Bears should run the ball quite a bit to start. However, as this game progresses they will be forced to air it out to keep up with the Packers and Rodgers. (EDITORS NOTE: No Trey Burton love? – resident Bears fan!)
For me, that means starting Blake Martinez (ILB), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S) and Kevin King (CB). Martinez should have a good game, especially with ILB Oren Burks injured and out this week. Martinez should get some easy run stopping tackles early and some pass defenses and tackles on short and intermediate routes later in the game. Clinton-Dix will probably get a run stop tackle or two early but later on has a chance to really disrupt the Bears passing game with pass defenses and maybe an interception.
Kevin King looks to be a corner that is targeted often and is in a good position to score decent points as an IDP cornerback. Time of possession will almost certainly be in the Packers favor however so besides Martinez I’m hesitant to play anyone unless you are forced into it. Look for better matchups elsewhere.
Monday Night Game One
Jets @ Lions
Jets: The Lions drafted Kerryon Johnson this offseason and acquired LaGarette Blount as well. They have made it clear that they are dead set on improving their run game this year. The Jets are the perfect opponent to try it out on. With a rookie QB at the helm and questionable offensive weapons, the Lions should be able to win this game fairly easily and will be able to run the ball early and often. For the Jets IDP players, this is terrific.
I am starting without any hesitation Avery Williamson (ILB), Darron Lee (ILB) and Jamal Adams (SS). Both Williamson and Lee are in great position for run stopping tackles the entire game and could get a pass defense or tackles from short and medium range pass defense. Just in run tackles, I’m seeing a nice floor for both those guys. Same deal with Adams, he should be able to clean up anything the inside linebackers miss and make out with some easy run-stopping tackles. Adams will also be involved in trying to break up the passing attack that the Lions will surely use with Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.
Those three guys I am solid on. The rest not so much, Marcus Maye could be a decent DB 2 or 3 if you really need it but that’s about it.
Lions: If this game goes according to plan the Lions IDP players should spend the first half, or a good portion of it, stopping the run. Then they will have to shift to pass defense for the remainder of the game as the Jets try to keep up with and catch up to Matt Stafford and company.
For me, that means I’m starting Jarrad Davis (MLB), Ezekiel Ansah (DE), Darius Slay (CB) and Glover Quinn (S). Davis should be able to rack up some decent points on run stopping and short passing tackles early on and throughout the game. Ansah will be able to rush the QB for possible sacks for a good majority of this game. Slay should still see enough targets to get you some pass defense points and maybe an interception. Finally, Quinn will be involved in run support early and pass defense late and should be able to get you DB 2 or 3 level points this week.
The time of possession should be heavily in Detroit’s favor so if you have the choice I would be starting the Jets IDP players here if doable.
Monday Night Game Two
Rams @ Raiders
Rams: The Rams had an incredible offense last season and managed to add Brandin Cooks in the offseason. They should straight up steamroll the Raiders from the first snap to the last – no contest. The Raiders will get behind almost immediately and have to throw early and often.
For the Rams IDP players, this means I’m starting Mark Barron (ILB), John Johnson (S), Aaron Donald (DE) and N’Damakong Suh (DT). Micheal Brockers or any of the talented corners (Talib, Peters) would be fine too. However, I’m solid on those four. Barron is the most experienced and most talented linebacker they still have with the departure of Alec Ogletree. He will rack up some run stopping and short to medium passing tackles. John Johnson will help with run support and be involved in pass defense as well. He is in a great position to produce with the lack of talent linebacker-wise around Barron. Donald and Suh will have plenty of chances to tee off on Derek Carr and the chances of at least a sack apiece are pretty good.
Raiders: I fully expect the Rams to dominate time of possession. If you own any Raiders IDP this is a great game to use them. The Rams will certainly feature Todd Gurley with runs and short passes out of the backfield. They will make use of their talented wide receiver corps as well to rack up the points on this Raiders squad.
For me, that means I’m going with Bruce Irvin (OLB/EDGE/DE), Tahir Whitehead (WLB) and Karl Joseph (S). This is a good game in general for Raiders IDP, but those are the three I’m confident in. Derrick Johnson at MLB is not a done deal so far as I’ve seen and I want to wait and see what his role is before recommending him to anyone. Bruce Irvin is now the odds-on favorite to lead the Raiders in sacks this season and should have some decent shots at sacking Jarred Goff.
Whitehead will have his hands full with trying to contain Todd Gurley and should rack up quite a few IDP points trying to do so. Karl Joseph will be involved in run support and trying to break up the passing game as well. Keep an eye on Joseph though as the depth charts for Sunday come out. There has been talk that Gruden isn’t high on him so just make sure he’s a starter before pulling that trigger.
So those are some of the week one IDP matchups that look good this week. Keep checking in with us here at IDPguys.org. This will be a weekly segment during the season. It may not be on the podcast every week, but it will certainly be an article series during the season. If you have any individual questions for your IDP matchups feel free to hit me up at @Orangeman3142 on Twitter or comment on the article below. Good luck in your week one matchups!