Oddly enough, this immortal quote from Clint Eastwood, a.k.a “Blondie”, in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” also applies to fantasy football. You see, in our fake little world there’s two types of people: those that play IDP and those who don’t. If you find yourself getting all warm and tingly inside when a linebacker brings down a ball carrier or when a lineman comes off the edge and takes off the opposing quarterback’s head, then you know full well of the joys that accompany playing the superior version of fake football. If that doesn’t happen to you…well, you can keep digging…
Each week, the “GBU Report” will rundown what transpired in the previous week of IDP; highlighting some of the good, bad, and you guessed it, maybe even some ugly performances from the “other” side of the ball. And then, in addition to reminiscing on what was, I will also give you a brief preview of what to possibly expect in the upcoming week.
Duke Ihenacho DB/Den: 12 total tackles: 11 solo/1 assist In addition to having one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard, this 2nd year un-drafted free agent has the look of a future IDP stud. After a camp battle with Mike Adams for the starting strong safety job, “Nacho” proved why the Denver coaches gave him the nod. With his size (6″1’/210) he’s an ideal “in-the-box” safety, and in that box is where he did a lot of his damage against Baltimore; among those 12 tackles were 5 “stops” which means Denver had him near the line of scrimmage quite a bit. This bodes well for his tackle opportunities in the future. Wesley Woodyard is really the only other major tackle threat on the Bronco defense which means Nacho should get plenty of chances to wrap up. Unless you’re in a deeper league I’m guessing he’s probably un-rostered. Now, can you expect 11 solo tackles each week? No, but at this point he’s a must-add. Each year the defensive back position has risers and fallers. Ihenacho is rising and it wouldn’t surprise me if he finishes the year as a high-end DB2. Robert Quinn DL/Stl: 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 solo tackles This just in, Robert Quinn owns the Arizona cardinal offensive line; dating back to his rookie year in 2011, he has 8 sacks in 6 career games against the #Birdgang. Based on his name and potential upside, you probably had to draft him as a DL1 and were probably starting him anyway, but the combination of a poor offensive line and a QB notorious for holding on to the ball too long made Quinn a must start in week 1. The talent is there, and since the Rams can’t play the Cards every week we have to hope this is the year he puts it all together. Next week he gets Matty “Ice” and the Falcons who surrendered 3 sacks themselves this week against the Saints. Like I said earlier, you probably don’t have a choice, but right now he’s just too talented to sit. Tyrann Mathieu DB/AZ: 7 solo tackles, 1 forced fumble Eric Reid DB/SF: 7 solo tackles, 1 INT Kiko Alonso LB/Buf: 9 total tackles: 5 solos/4 assists, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
These three get lumped together because they’re rookies, but also because they’re rookies who had very good debuts. For me the main take away for each was playing time: Mathieu did his damage while only playing 42 of a possible 71 snaps. Imagine what he’ll he’ll do when he wins the starting job, Reid played 63 out of 63 snaps, which means the team trusted him in coverage–even against the vaunted Green Bay passing attack, and Alonso played a whopping 95 out of 95 snaps. Alonso is a must start each week as he’ll see the lion share of tackle opportunities on that defense, but the other two should be monitored closely. Both have much better talent in front of them than Alonso does which means they may not be as consistent, but both are extremely talented and should eventually become fantasy starters.
Fake Pigskin Exclusive: Join Monkey Knife Fight and Get an Instant 100% Deposit Match PLUS a Free $5 Game!
Zach Brown LB/Ten: 8 solo tackles, 2 sacks
With Colin Mccarthy being demoted to 2nd string, Brown becomes the best member of the Titan linebacking core. I wouldn’t exactly count on 8 solo tackles each week, but he should have no trouble leading the team in that department most weeks either. And, being that he plays on the week side, he has more blitzing responsibilities as evidenced by his 2 sacks.
Perry Riley LB/Wash: 15 total tackles: 8 solo/7 assist, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery
In case you didn’t notice, Washington’s defense was on the field quite a bit Monday night against the new look Eagles offense. Well, Riley made the most of his time on the field with a massive, stat sheet-filling type of night. Long has London Fletcher been the leader of that defense, and while he may still be the emotional leader, Riley has usurped him as the most talented linebacker on that team. Riley is staring down an LB1 season in the face.
Sean Lee LB/Dal: 5 total tackles: 4 solo/1 assist, 1 pass defended
Okay, so that line’s not all that bad but it’s certainly not what you were expecting from one of the best middle linebackers in the game. The Cover-2 may take a little getting used to, but Lee is athletic and good enough in coverage to handle it. Be patient. The Boys head to Arrowhead next week, and that should be the perfect “bounce back” game for Lee, as he should see less dropping back in coverage and more in-the-box time.
Bobby Wagner LB/Sea: 8 total tackles: 4 solo/4 assist
*See Sean Lee* Seriously, again, not that bad but not what owners were expecting. As one of my favorite LB’s in the game, I have big aspirations for Wagner and this game did nothing to shake those. Even studs have their down games. A prime time Sunday night matchup against the 49er’s next week will be just what the doctor ordered for Wagner owners.
Greg Hardy DL/Car: 3 total tackles: 1 solo/2 assist, 1 pass defended
For someone who set a personal goal of 50 sacks this season, Hardy’s first performance didn’t go a long way to helping him achieve that goal. Seattle was a tough matchup going in with Russell Wilson scampering about, but it seemed like he was pressured a fair amount. Hardy still got a positive pass rush grade per PFF for the game, but just wasn’t able to get home. A good PFF grade means nothing to fantasy, but what it does mean is that good things are on the way. The Carolina defense will be much better this year, and Hardy will be a big reason why; he should end up a DL1 by seasons end.
J.J. Watt DL/Hou: 3 total tackles: 2 solo/1 assist, 1 pass defended
I’m a firm believer that Watt will fall well short of last year’s totals, disappointing many an owner who passed on a top LB for last year’s defensive player of the year. And if week 1 is any indication, it looks like my prediction may be spot on. One would’ve expected Watt to take advantage of a poor Chargers offensive line, but they did a great job of bottling him up. Despite my somber prediction for him, he’s still the best at his position and you’re obviously not benching him, but for week 1–bad!
Geno Atkins DL/Cin: Goose egg
As one of the preeminent defensive tackles in the game and one of the few that are fantasy relevant, big things are expected of Atkins. He is a dominant pass-rushing interior lineman on a very good defense. But surprisingly enough, the Chicago offensive line was up to the challenge, and completely shut out Mr. Atkins. Next week, against a poor Steeler offensive line devoid of Maurkice Pouncey, Atkins should be able to dominate. Stay the course…