Week 3 IDP Rankings: Sack Heavy

IDP Rankings

Everson Griffen is off to a hot start after two games

 

    We’re through two weeks of the NFL season, and it seems as if the injury bug has made its rounds throughout the league. Although every week is filled with injuries in the NFL, it always seems like it happens more often earlier in the year, as players are still getting used to the rigors and tolls that the game takes on their body. More than enough defensive players went down with injury this week, and if you managed to escape this weekend without someone on your team getting hurt, then consider yourself lucky.

Among those bitten by the injury bug this weekend include a torn hamstring by Vic Beasley (LB, ATL), who finished first among all players in sacks last season, and Kwon Alexander (LB, TB), who left the field with a hamstring injury as well. Early reports on the severity of injuries seem to be very different for these star linebackers, as Beasley is reported to have suffered a full tear, estimated to miss at least a month, while Alexander says he will be playing week 3 against Minnesota.

Other players who also left this weekend’s games with injuries include: Jamie Collins (LB, CLE) who is in concussion protocol, T.J. Watt (LB, PIT) injured his groin but hopes to play week 3, Nick Kwiatkoski (LB, CHI) suffered a pectoral injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the season, Eric Reid (S, SF) suffered a PCL injury and is expected to miss several weeks, Mike Daniels (DL, GB) left Sunday night’s blowout loss with a hamstring injury, which is said to be minor, and Jarrad Davis (LB, DET) left Monday night’s game against the Giants after suffering a hit to the head. Davis enters concussion protocol to start week 3 while opposing linebacker B.J. Goodson (LB, NYG) never got the chance to take the field Monday night after suffering an injury late last week in practice. Goodson expects to make it back to the field this week.

 

Below are our IDP rankings for week 3, remember that two games in the NFL is a small sample size, so don’t forget to start your studs, even if they might have had a low output the first couple weeks of the season. If a player is on the field for close to 100% of snaps, the opportunity is there and there is no need to freak out yet.

 

 

**Note: IDP scoring format vary greatly from league to league, the rankings below will be listed based upon the following scoring format.**

 

  • Solo tackle: 1.5 points
  • Assisted tackle: 0.75 points
  • Tackle for loss: 1.5 points
  • Quarterback Hit: 1 Point
  • Sack: 6 points
  • Interception: 6 points
  • Forced fumble: 4 points
  • Fumble recovery: 4 points
  • Defensive TD: 6 points
  • Safety: 2 points

 

IDP Rankings

Khalil Mack has asserted himself into the top tier of defensive lineman

 

 

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN:

1: Khalil Mack (DE, OAK) @ WAS

Khalil Mack was able to record his first sack of the season last Sunday against the Jets and the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year looks to be firing on all cylinders early into this season. Arguably the best edge rusher in the entire league, Mack is a must-start player every week in your lineup.

2: Joey Bosa (DE, LAC) vs. KC

Last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa, comes in next on this week’s rankings. The Chargers edge rushing duo of Bosa and Melvin Ingram face off at home against the Kansas City Chiefs this week. Chiefs offensive linemen allowed 4 sacks last week to the Eagles and you can expect there to be plenty of opportunities for the Chargers front four to bring Alex Smith to the ground this Sunday. Bosa is my prediction to lead the NFL in sacks this year, after recording 10.5 sacks in 12 appearances last season.

3: J.J. Watt (DE, HOU) @ NE

While Houston superstar J.J. did suffer an injury to his hand in week 1, playing hurt was unable to stop him from performing at an MVP level in primetime on Thursday night. Watt’s presence was felt in the backfield all night, and although he never was able to bring down Andy Dalton, expect Watt to find his first sack of the season soon.

4: Brandon Graham (DE, PHI) vs. NYG

Eagles veteran pass rusher Brandon Graham has been electric so far through two games this season, and his fantasy owners have to be salivating over this upcoming matchup against the Giants. After week 3, you will be able to add Graham’s name to the list of Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah as players who have dominated the Giants offensive line full of turnstiles.

5: Melvin Ingram (DE, LAC) vs. KC

As written above about Joey Bosa, the Chargers pass rush will be attacking Alex Smith and the Chiefs all game long. Kansas City’s linemen have allowed seven sacks so far this year, showing there will be plenty of scoring opportunities for both of the Los Angeles pass rushers. With the Chargers switching from a 3-4 to 4-3 base defense this past offseason, Ingram has shown tremendous value at his new DE designation.

6: Danielle Hunter (DE, MIN) vs. TB

After leading all defensive lineman last season with 12.5 sacks, fantasy owners may be frustrated with Danielle Hunter’s lack of production so far this season. Fear not though, for the opportunities are there for Hunter. After being used as a rotational lineman and only playing in 58% of snaps last season, Hunter is now starting opposite of Everson Griffen and playing in 76% of snaps so far for the Vikings this year. Start Hunter with faith in all your leagues against Jameis Winston and the Bucs.

7: Trey Flowers (DE, NE) vs. HOU

We have already seen what kind of dominance the Jaguars and Bengals defensive lineman have had over the Texans in the trenches this season, and Trey Flowers hopes to be the next beneficiary of possibly the worst offensive line in football. Houston has allowed 13 sacks in only two games this season, three more than the next-highest team. Rookie Deatrich Wise may also be worth a look in deeper leagues after bringing down the quarterback in both games of his career so far.

8: Everson Griffen (DE, MIN) vs. TB

Hunter’s linemate, veteran Everson Griffen, has been the Viking garnering all attention in the early parts of the season so far, and for a good reason too. The eight-year veteran out of USC has recorded three sacks already this year, and with Minnesota’s upcoming schedule, (vs. TB, vs. DET, @ CHI), Griffen could possibly be off to the best start of his career.

9: Demarcus Lawrence (DE, DAL) @ ARI

After another two-sack performance in Denver, Demarcus Lawrence could be in the midst of his breakout season. It’s coming at a good time for the Cowboys end, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. If Lawrence is able to keep abusing lineman at the rate he has so far this year, expect a lot of teams to be offering him big money this offseason.

10: Geno Atkins (DT, CIN) @ GB

The best interior pass rusher in the league makes an appearance as the only DT in this week’s top ten. The Cincinnati veteran was able to give rookie QB Deshaun Watson a warm welcome into the league last Thursday night, bulldozing through the line and knocking the Clemson product to the ground in a hit so hard it’s a shock that Watson was able to hold onto the ball. Atkins has led all defensive tackles in sacks each of the past two seasons, and already has three to his credit so far this year.

Honorable Mentions: Jerry Hughes (DE, BUF), Aaron Donald (DT, LAR), Olivier Vernon (DE, NYG)

 

IDP Rankings

Robert Quinn is making the most out of his new role in the Rams defense

 

LINEBACKERS:

1: Von Miller (OLB, DEN) @ BUF

Von Miller and the Broncos head to Buffalo this week in another favorable matchup for Denver’s star pass rusher. Although Miller only made two tackles last week against Dallas, he sure did make both of them count, bringing Dak Prescott down twice in the backfield. The Broncos should be leading for most of the game this week, forcing many passing situations for Tyrod Taylor and the Bills.

2: Luke Kuechly (MLB, CAR) vs. NO

Carolina star MLB Luke Kuechly is most valuable in fantasy in tackle-heavy scoring formats, where he is the standalone LB1, but even in sack-heavy scoring, Kuechly is among the best options on a week to week basis at the linebacker position.

3: Brian Orakpo (OLB, TEN) vs. SEA

Orakpo’s matchup this week against the Seahawks is tailored for him to have plenty of opportunities for big plays. Seattle’s line has looked worse than ever so far this season, after finishing in the top ten in sacks allowed the last two seasons. Orakpo has been eating up offensive tackles this year, forcing two turnovers, as well as bringing down Blake Bortles last week.

4: Justin Houston (OLB, KC) vs. LAC

Justin Houston has been one of the premier pass rushers in the league over the course of his career, and now that he is healthy and fully recovered from an injury last season, he is a must-start in sack-heavy scoring formats. Since recording 22 sacks in 2014 and coming within inches of breaking Michael Strahan’s sack record, Houston has battled injuries and struggled to stay on the field. With three sacks in his first two games back in action, Houston hopes he is in the midst of another season just like 2014.

5: Bobby Wagner (MLB, SEA) @ TEN

Although Bobby Wagner is unquestionably more valuable in tackle-heavy scoring than in sack-heavy, the Seahawks defensive centerpiece always has the opportunity for a big play. Recording an interception last week against the 49ers, Wagner’s owners hope that Seattle’s defensive front will force Marcus Mariota into mistakes, benefitting the Seahawks MLB.

6: Benardrick McKinney (ILB, HOU) @ NE

The Texans have a rising star on their hands in young LB Benardrick McKinney, who broke out as a second-year player alongside Brian Cushing last season. After a two-sack performance in week 2, the ceiling is only rising for this LB from Mississippi State. Prior to the Texans Thursday night game, the NFL announced that Cushing would be suspended 10 games for PED use and while this may hurt the Texans from a team standpoint, McKinney could gain value from a fantasy perspective. Expect to see his role in the Texans defense change this season from primary coverage LB to a hybrid blitzing LB throughout this season. After blitzing into the backfield on only 29% of snaps in the 2016 season, the Texans blitzed McKinney on 43% of plays during week 1, and on 47% of plays against the Bengals in week 2. If this number stays this high, expect high outputs from McKinney, especially in big play scoring formats.

7: Chandler Jones (OLB, ARI) vs. DAL

After recording a sack in each of the first four games to start the 2016 season, Chandler Jones is once again off to a great start to the year. Posting two sacks in addition to forcing a fumble, Jones looks to be on his way to his third straight season with double-digit sacks. This week he hopes to make the most out of a matchup with the Cowboys, similar to Von Miller’s performance in week 2.

8: Jatavis Brown (WLB, LAC) vs. KC

Second-year linebacker Jatavis Brown was sidelined due to injury for a duration of his rookie year, but the Akron product has shown he can be ranked among the league’s best at the linebacker position. The NFL’s leading tackler after two games has also had a knack for creating big plays for the Chargers defense, recording 3.5 sacks and 3 turnovers last season in just seven starts. He is a must-start no matter what format you play.

9: Bud Dupree (OLB, PIT) @ CHI

It was T.J. Watt who shined for the Steelers defense in week 1, but a now-healthy Bud Dupree is back and ready to make a name for himself in the Steel City. In just ten career starts, Dupree has recorded 9.5 sacks for Pittsburgh, including one last week against the Vikings. With the Bears offensive line previously leaving Mike Glennon to fend for himself against the pass rush, expect Bears fans to know the name Bud Dupree very well before Sunday’s game is over.

10: Robert Quinn (OLB, LAR) @ SF

This off-season, the Los Angeles Rams switched coaching staffs, bringing in new head coach Sean McVay as well as hiring defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who brought a new 3-4 base defense to the team. The position switch from defensive end to outside linebacker for Robert Quinn has him playing more from his feet, as opposed to lining up at the line of scrimmage with his hand in the dirt. Quinn has already made a great transition to the position and has shown that he is not yet ready to slow down the pace in his veteran career.

Honorable Mentions: Myles Jack (SLB, JAX), Whitney Mercilus (OLB, HOU), Preston Smith (OLB, WAS)

IDP Rankings

The Honey Badger has the ability to change the course of a game on any play

DEFENSIVE BACKS:

1: Landon Collins (SS, NYG) @ PHI

Not only did Landon Collins finish last season second among all defensive backs in total tackles, but he was also one of the best big-play safeties in the league as well. Although Collins’ owners have only had his tackles to rely on for points so far this season, know that the big plays are coming. Four sacks with six turnovers in 2016 show that Collins should be the top-rated defensive back in all formats.

2: Reshad Jones (SS, MIA) @ NYJ

Before suffering a season-ending injury last October, Reshad Jones was once again on pace to be a high-end DB1 across all formats. In 2015, Jones’ last full season of play, he finished as the DB1, accruing six turnovers and reaching the endzone twice, to go along with over 100 tackles on the season. With the uncertainty Miami currently faces at the linebacker position after the indefinite suspension of Lawrence Timmons, Jones has the possibility to see even more action come his way in the third-level.

3: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (FS, GB) vs. CIN

Trying to choose between Clinton-Dix and Burnett as the top fantasy option in the Packers defensive backfield is like trying to figure out which style of pizza is better: New York or Chicago. Everyone is going to have their own opinion and they’re going to adamantly stick to their side of the argument, but everyone would still gladly take either one if they were available. I’m on the Ha Ha’s side this week, with Andy Dalton and the Bengals coming into town, there will be plenty opportunity for Clinton-Dix to make another signature big play at Lambeau.

4: Keanu Neal (FS, ATL) @ DET

One of Atlanta’s many talented second-year defensive players, Keanu Neal looks to build off of a very impressive rookie year. Neal is ranked just below the top tier DBs in big-play scoring formats as he was always seen near the ball during his rookie season and had a knack for knocking the ball out of the ball-carriers hands, forcing four fumbles and recovering one more. Top that off with his ability to rack up tackles in the Falcons defense, and Neal is a must play DB across all formats.

5: Tyrann Mathieu (FS, ARI) vs. DAL

Setting: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN 4:14 pm EST

Situation: Colts and Cardinals tied at 13, first play of overtime

Scene: Arizona defensive back Tyrann Mathieu steps in front of a Jacoby Brissett pass, clinching the game for the Cardinals.

Plays like this are the reason Tyrann Mathieu is one of the best big-play defensive backs in the entire league. The Honey Badger has the ability to make a game-changing play at any time, from anywhere on the field. Against the Cowboys this weekend, expect to see Mathieu lining up from all over, playing multiple different roles for Bruce Arians and the Cardinals.

6: Tony Jefferson (SS, BAL) @ JAX

Speaking of Arizona DBs, former Cardinal Tony Jefferson has finally gotten a chance to step out of a crowded secondary in Arizona and make a name for himself in Baltimore. Now lining up alongside veteran Eric Weddle for the Ravens, Jefferson hopes he can possibly be the face of the Baltimore defense, alongside Weddle and C.J. Mosley. Jefferson faces a positive matchup this week in Jacksonville, where quarterback Blake Bortles is always favorable to opposing defensive backs.

7: Morgan Burnett (SS, GB) vs. CIN

The other half of the Packers defensive backfield duo features veteran safety Morgan Burnett. A favorite of Dom Capers on the Green Bay defense, the Packers defensive coordinator loves lining up Burnett in multiple positions on the field, including sliding him up into the second-level next to LB Blake Martinez in Green Bay’s “Nitro” package. As discussed earlier, the matchup at home against Andy Dalton should provide plenty of opportunities for the Green Bay secondary.

8: Matthias Farley (SS, IND) vs. CLE

Cleveland’s rookie starting quarterback Deshone Kizer has not looked like the most reliable option in the world after the first two games of his career. This week, Kizer and the Browns head to Indianapolis where Matthias Farley has emerged as the best fantasy option in their backfield, and possibly their whole team. Browns quarterbacks have thrown a league-high five interceptions so far this season, and also given up ten sacks, second only to Houston. The opportunities will be there for Farley this weekend, will this former Arizona Cardinal be up to the challenge?

9: Kevin Byard (FS, TEN) vs. SEA

Kevin Byard is one of the most exciting young defensive backs in the league, and after possibly getting lost in the shuffle and overlooked in a 2016 draft that featured first rounders Keanu Neal and Karl Joseph, Byard has the chance to stand out amongst his peers now that an injury has sidelined teammate Johnathan Cyprien. Da’Norris Searcy was the player who filled in for most snaps in Cyprien’s absence during week 2 and even recorded an interception, but his teammate Byard will be the main beneficiary from Cyprien’s injury.

10: Jabrill Peppers (SS, CLE) @ IND

After playing Jabrill Peppers deep in coverage the first two weeks of the season and far off the line of scrimmage, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson might think it’s time to switch up some schemes for his defensive backfield. We all have heard how much University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh loved using Peppers all over the field, in as many different ways as possible, and it might be time that Jackson starts to do the same. This week against the Colts, the Browns face off against an inexperienced quarterback in Jacoby Brissett; look out for big play opportunity from the Browns defense.

Honorable Mentions: Devin McCourty (FS, NE), Byron Jones (FS, DAL), Daniel Sorensen (SS, KC)

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