Week 4 IDP Rankings: Tackle Heavy

IDP Rankings

Vontaze Burfict, one of the league’s most controversial players, makes his season debut Sunday.

 

    After three weeks of the NFL season, we are finally getting a glimpse at which early-season trends are turning out to be just single week flukes, and which trends can be expected to progress throughout the course of the entire season. Many unexpected names can be found atop the list of most productive IDP players, as well as many stars who take some deeper digging into stat sheets to find. Before we jump into IDP Rankings for week 4, let’s take a look at some players’ stats, as well as figuring out if their pace can be sustained over the next 14 weeks.

 

Demarcus Lawrence (DE, DAL): 16 tackles, 6.5 sacks, (85 tackles, 35 sacks in a 16-game season)

It’s no shocker to say that the NFL’s current sack leader won’t be able to sustain his current rate of production over the course of the season, but if Lawrence manages to stay healthy for 16 games, recording a total around 15 sacks on the year is not out of the question.

Projection: 60 tackles, 15 sacks.

 

Jatavis Brown (WLB, LAC): 23 solo tackles, 13 assists (122/69 pace)

While Brown, a second-year player who missed four games due to injury last season, is off to a hot start, his first three games may not be just smoke and mirrors. Brown showed flashes of brilliance last year, and a Chargers change in defensive scheme from 3-4 to 4-3 base defense seems to have helped Brown’s fantasy value even more.

Projection: 110 solo tackles, 45 assists.

 

Ramon Humber (WLB, BUF) 25 solo tackles, 6 assists (133/32 pace)

Ramon Humber, a nine-year veteran in the league, is finally getting his first opportunity to start the season as an every down linebacker, and he is not disappointing. He leads the league in solo tackles thus far, but is unlikely to keep his current pace throughout 16 games, as tackles will eventually be allocated more evenly throughout the Bills defense to players such as Preston Brown. Humber still remains a good fantasy option at the weakside linebacker position.

Projection: 85 solo tackles, 30 assists

 

Von Miller (OLB, DEN) 12 tackles, 3 sacks (64 tackles, 16 sack pace)

Averaging a sack per game over the course of an NFL season is a very tough thing to do, but one of the only active players in the league to already accomplish that feat is Von Miller. What may be an extraordinary season to any other edge rusher is just another year for Miller, one of the most talented defenders in the league.

Projection: 60 tackles, 14 sacks

 

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Brief injury news this week, Lavonte David (LB, TB) was carted off the field in the Buccaneers loss to the Vikings and expects to be week-to-week with a medial ankle sprain. Pick up Kendell Beckwith (LB, TB) as his replacement while he recovers. Buccaneers linemen Noah Spence (DL, TB) and Gerald McCoy (DL, TB) both left Tampa Bay’s game as well, status is uncertain for this week against the Giants, but early news is not looking promising. Finally moving on from Tampa injuries, Oliver Vernon (DL, NYG) suffered an ankle injury against the Eagles, and his status is unknown for this week, follow closely leading up to Sunday.

Now let’s jump into this week’s top ten IDP players at each position, according to tackle-heavy scoring formats, enjoy.

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

 

  • Solo tackle: 2 points
  • Assisted tackle: 1 point
  • Tackle for loss: 1 point
  • Sack: 3 points
  • Interception: 3 points
  • Forced fumble: 3 points
  • Fumble recovery: 3 points
  • Defensive TD: 6 points
  • Safety: 2 points

IDP Rankings

Is this the week J.J. Watt records his first sack of the year?

 

Defensive Lineman:

 

1: Joey Bosa (DE, LAC) vs. PHI

While his sack numbers so far this season have been lower than some of the other big-name defensive lineman, no other lineman currently has more tackles than Joey Bosa. Heading to Philadelphia this week, Bosa and teammate Melvin Ingram look to continue their season of terrorizing opposing quarterbacks.
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2: Khalil Mack (DE, OAK) @ DEN

Another week in the books, and another great performance by Khalil Mack last Sunday night in Washington DC. Mack recorded nine total tackles, including a sack of Kirk Cousins in Oakland’s Week 3 loss to the Redskins. This week, Mack and the Raiders head to Denver, with a matchup against a below average offensive line.

3:  J.J. Watt (DE, HOU) vs. TEN

While J.J. Watt is still in search of his first sack of the 2017 season, he has accumulated six tackles in each of his last two games. While the Titans have one of the best offensive lines in the league, if any player can get some pressure on Marcus Mariota this week, it’ll be J.J. Watt.

4: Melvin Ingram (DE, LAC) vs. PHI

What an incredible season Melvin Ingram has been having so far. Ingram has recorded at least one sack in every game this season, including three last Sunday against Alex Smith and the Chiefs. Ingram has outshined Joey Bosa on the field so far this year, but this edge-rushing tandem will be causing concerns for opposing quarterbacks every week they play.

5: Demarcus Lawrence (DE, DAL) vs. LAR

Another lineman who has been playing at an other-worldly pace this season has been Demarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys might have finally found their first reputable pass rusher since the departure of Demarcus Ware, and they just so happen to share the same name. Lawrence has been vital to the Cowboys defense this year, he is the only Cowboys lineman since the departure of Ware after the 2013 season to record more than six sacks in a year.

6: Everson Griffen (DE, MIN) vs. DET

Facing a lackluster Buccaneers offense in week 3, the Vikings defense never got many opportunities to rack up statistics in a game they dominated on the scoreboard. Nevertheless, Everson Griffen still managed to bring down Jameis Winston for a sack. This week, Griffen, Danielle Hunter, and the rest of the Vikings line host Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions, in what should be an entertaining shootout if Vikings QB Sam Bradford is back and healthy.

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

Trey Flowers turned in a good performance last week while facing off against the Houston Texans. Flowers finished the game with six total tackles, including a sack as well. This week, the Patriots stay at home in a matchup against the Panthers, who have struggled thus far in the season to keep Cam Newton upright.

8:  Brandon Graham (DE, PHI) @ LAC

In what might have been the most disappointing performance of the week, the entire Philadelphia Eagles defense failed to take advantage of the Giants sorry excuse for an offensive line. After pegging Graham for a big week last week, expectations are lowered a fair bit heading into this week’s game against the Chargers

9: Danielle Hunter (DE, MIN) vs. DET

Has anyone seen Danielle Hunter yet this season? Anyone? The breakout star of the 2016 season, who led all defensive linemen in sacks, has not only failed to record a sack in three games this year but has also barely managed to make his mark on the stat sheet at all. With only one solo tackle in addition to seven assists, owners are starting to become impatient with Hunter’s lack of production.

10: Jadeveon Clowney (DE, HOU) vs. TEN

Another star of last weekend’s action was former #1 overall NFL Draft selection, Jadeveon Clowney. The University of South Carolina product has shown that when healthy, he is one of the most productive linemen in the entire league. Clowney made six tackles against the Patriots, including two sacks, but his most impressive play might have been a fumble recovery which he took to the house for a touchdown.

Honorable Mentions: Mario Addison (DE, CAR), Cameron Jordan (DE, NO), Damon Harrison (DT, NYG)

 

IDP Rankings
Without Zach Orr in the picture, C.J. Mosley is back to being a top-ten LB

 

Linebackers:

 

1: Luke Kuechly (MLB, CAR) @ NE

Luke Kuechly has been a must-start at the linebacker position since he entered the league in 2012, and that hasn’t changed at all this year for the Panthers star middle linebacker. The Panthers head to New England this weekend and in the only other matchup Kuechly has played against the Patriots, he recorded 12 tackles.

2: Vontaze Burfict (MLB, CIN) @ CLE

Week 4 of the NFL season sees the return of one of the most controversial players in the league. Vontaze Burfict is back from another multi-game suspension and looking to pick up where he left off in an absolutely torrid 2016 season. Burfict will reclaim his middle linebacker position from Vincent Rey and immediately become an every week starter in all fantasy formats, as long as he can stay out of trouble.

3: Jatavis Brown (WLB, LAC) vs. PHI

As another week of play passes in the NFL, Jatavis Brown still remains the league’s leading tackler. Brown has recorded double-digit tackle performances in every game this season, one of only two players to achieve that feat, Zach Brown being the other.

4: Bobby Wagner (MLB, SEA) vs. IND

Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had another impressive game last week against the Titans which surprised no one, but Wagner drops in rankings this week due to a negative projected game flow against Jacoby Brissett and the Colts. The two teams are set to face off on Sunday night, with Seattle featured as 13 point favorites. There just might not be enough tackle opportunities for Wagner to have another great performance.

5: Zach Brown (ILB, WAS) @ KC

Zach Brown was the Redskins leading tackler once against on Sunday night in a matchup against the Raiders, something he has achieved in every game so far this season. Brown finished second in the league in tackles last year while playing for the Titans, and looks like he is fitting in just fine with his new team for the 2017 season.

6: Benardrick McKinney (ILB, HOU) vs. TEN

Divisional foes Houston and Tennessee face off this Sunday in what should be one of the tightest games of the weekend, and Benardrick McKinney is one of the top defensive players in the game to watch out for. McKinney makes use of the Texans phenomenal defensive line, which rarely allows blockers to reach the second level and stop McKinney from interfering with each play. Fellow Texans linebacker, rookie Zach Cunningham has performed well in his first two starts and could make for a good play in deeper leagues this weekend.

7: Telvin Smith (WLB, JAX) @ NYJ

In an absolute walloping of the Baltimore Ravens in London last Sunday, Telvin Smith was the only defender on the Jaguars roster who recorded a respectable amount of tackles when the game was finished. Smith made seven solo tackles, with Myles Jack second on the team with four total tackles over the span of the entire game. Jaguars defenders should see plenty more opportunities for fantasy points this week in a matchup against the Jets.

8: C.J. Mosley (ILB, BAL) vs. PIT

On the other side of the field in London, Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley turned in another good performance with eight solo tackles. Mosley has recorded at least eight total tackles in every game this year and has been one of the league’s most consistent options at linebacker without a teammate like Zachary Orr to compete against for tackles.

9: Kwon Alexander (MLB, TB) vs. NYG

Kwon Alexander went down with a hamstring injury in the Buccaneers first game of the year and Lavonte David shortly followed in Tampa Bay’s second game of the season. Alexander looks to make his return to the field this week in a matchup against the Giants, and if he suits up Alexander is always a must-play in fantasy. If both Alexander and David sit out this Sunday, Kendell Beckwith has looked serviceable with the snaps he has earned so far.

**INJURY ALERT: KWON ALEXANDER IS NOW LISTED AS OUT, JOINING BUCCANEERS LB LAVONTE DAVID ON THE LIST OF INACTIVES. KENDELL BECKWITH WILL FILL IN AND MAKES FOR A GREAT WEEKLY START WHILE ALEXANDER AND DAVID ARE OUT**

 

10:  Sean Lee (WLB, DAL) vs. LAR

Sean Lee has been very consistent in his three games this year, with tackle totals of eight, nine, and eight in his three games. The Cowboys and Rams matchup this weekend looks to be favorable to Lee and the other Cowboys defenders.

**INJURY ALERT: SEAN LEE IS NOW LISTED AS OUT. ADJUST LINEUPS ACCORDINGLY. GIANTS LINEBACKER B.J. GOODSON IS NOW FULLY HEALTHY AND WOULD TAKE LEE’S SPOT IN THE TOP 10**

Honorable Mentions: Ryan Shazier (ILB, PIT), Christian Kirksey (WLB, CLE), Alec Ogletree (ILB, LAR)

IDP Rankings

Has Morgan Burnett lost his playmaking role as the nickel linebacker in Green Bay’s defense?

Defensive Backs:

 

1: Reshad Jones (SS, MIA) vs. NO

Reshad Jones has posted two nice games this season after recovering from a 2016 injury all offseason, and a matchup this weekend against Drew Brees and the Saints looks to have opportunity written all over it. Sean Payton loves to move the ball downfield, which should allow Jones to be near the ball carrier plenty of times, which also means an abundance of chances to make a splash with a big play.

2: Landon Collins (SS, NYG) @ TB

Landon Collins recorded his first big game of the year last weekend against the Eagles, with nine tackles and a forced fumble on the stat sheet. Collins falls to the #2 DB this week with the looming uncertainty of B.J. Goodson’s health. If Goodson does play, Collins surely will not see as many tackles as if he doesn’t have to contend with the Giants starting middle linebacker.

3:  Karl Joseph (SS, OAK) @ DEN

After missing most offseason camps and practices leading up to his rookie season, second-year safety Karl Joseph is making the most out of his first full year in the NFL. Three games into the season and Joseph has performed at a high level in all three contests. Raiders fans hope for a bright future with this rising star.

4: Harrison Smith (FS, MIN) vs. DET

Mr. Consistency was back in regular form once again last week against Tampa Bay. Harrison Smith recorded eight total tackles in addition to an interception. This week against the Lions, expect Smith to have another good game as Matt Stafford stretches the field and frequently gets plays to the third level.

5: Glover Quin (FS, DET) @ MIN

Lions safety Glover Quin is off to a great start this year, especially after his stat line against the Falcons of eight tackles and an interception which he returned for a touchdown. While the turnovers and big plays won’t always be reliable, Quin has performed at such a rate that he warrants being started off his tackling abilities alone.

6: Daniel Sorensen (SS, KC) vs. WAS

In the two games the Chiefs have played since Eric Berry was lost for the season, Daniel Sorensen has filled in very nicely for Kansas City. Sorensen has played a majority of his snaps up in the box with the linebackers, something that always warrants targeting a safety for fantasy purposes. Playing closer to the line of scrimmage results in Sorensen being closer to the ball carrier from the start of every play, and he has managed 14 total tackles over the two games since he’s filled for Berry’s absence.

7: Keanu Neal (FS, ATL) vs. BUF

Although the start of the 2017 season has been somewhat disappointing for Keanu Neal owners, there is no need to worry about Neal having a lackluster season this year. While some explanation of Neal’s drop in tackles so far may be to an increased level of Falcons linebacker play, Neal is still an every week option for me until things become more clear.

8: Morgan Burnett (SS, GB) vs. CHI

Morgan Burnett and the Packers take on the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football to start off week 4 of the NFL season, as Green Bay hopes to hold on to first place in the NFC North. Burnett saw a diminished role in Dom Capers’ “Nitro” scheme on Sunday against the Bengals, as rookie Josh Jones took over Burnett’s typical position and recorded 12 total tackles with two sacks. This is a situation to watch this week, to see if Burnett continues to play primarily at slot corner and deep safety, or if he reclaims his former linebacker role.

9: Devin McCourty (FS, NE) vs. CAR

Devin McCourty has been one of the top defensive backs in fantasy football over the course of the young season thus far, and as the Patriots get ready to take on the Panthers at home in Foxborough, McCourty hopes to churn out another top-notch performance for New England. His 26 tackles are an unsustainable pace to keep up, but his performances have shown that opportunity will be there week in and week out for the Patriots safety.

10: Tyvon Branch (SS, ARI) vs. SF

How many people saw veteran safety Tyvon Branch emerging as possibly the top defensive back in the 2017 season? Branch, in his second season with the Cardinals, has broken through from a deeply talented secondary and posted some unbelievable numbers for a safety through three games. The only reason he isn’t listed higher on rankings is the uncertainty of how the return of Deone Bucannon will affect his share of tackles.

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Byard (FS, TEN), Matthias Farley (SS, IND), Derrick Kindred (SS, CLE)

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