Pittsburgh Steelers’ LB Ryan Shazier is just one of the guys you should be starting this week in your IDP leagues. Find out who else is ready for a big score in as week 2 gets underway with the Steelers and the Ravens facing off on Thursday Night Football.
Week 2 is on the horizon, but let’s hope that it isn’t the massacre that Week 1 turned out to be. Did your IDP studs underwhelm in Week 1? It’s still early in the season, so continue to start your early picks. If you have two similar defenders, play the match-ups. Is an LB facing a run-friendly team? Is your DE facing a turnstile of an offensive line? As we head into a full slate of games, I offer my IDP Week 2 facts and analysis.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
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–Ryan Shazier was in on 61 of 68 of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps in Week 1. He notched 6 tackles (5 solos) on the day, grading positive overall. Most importantly, he didn’t miss on any attempts. He looks to be a solid tackler next to Lawrence Timmons and is an LB2 against the Ravens and I’m expecting between 6-8 tackles..
–Cortez Allen inked a new long-term deal, however, he didn’t see many balls thrown his way. On his lone target, he did defend the pass that was thrown. He also threw in 6 solo tackles. If he can make the solo stops, he’ll have CB2/3 value in corner leagues and has a nice draw of the Smiths; Steve or Torrey.
–Troy Polamalu turned in a solid game against Cleveland, racking up 11 tackles in 68 defensive snaps. He makes for a decent stream play against the Ravens, as he’s recorded 104 tackles in 16 career games.
–Lawrence Timmons missed out on points for his owners in Week 1. Timmons recorded 6 tackles but missed on 3 attempts. I still like Timmons as a low-end LB1 on a short-week. Timmons has recorded 94 tackles in 12 career games against Baltimore, including 4 sacks.
–Cameron Heyward got his 2014 season off on the right foot. The 3-4 end recorded 4 tackles (3 solo) and a sack. He also hurried Brian Hoyer on 2 other occasions. He’s stout on the line and facing a Ravens line that gave up 8 total QB pressures against the Bengals (including 3 sacks).
–C.J. Mosley appears to have the vote of confidence from the coaches, as he appeared in all 67 defensive snaps. Mosley recorded 5 solo stops and 7 tackles total, while also defending a pass. He’s playing next to Daryl Smith, who seems to swallow up tackle attempts. Mosley is an LB3 against Pittsburgh and Le’Veon Bell.
-Owners of Arthur Brown in dynasty leagues might want to be on notice that he’s been the subject of trade rumors. He was a healthy scratch in Week 1. Possible destinations? Dallas, Kansas City and Miami are certainly possibilities. At this point, they are just rumors.
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–Jimmy Smith was in on 24 run defense snaps, but didn’t turn in any rush snaps. He turned in a solid effort, allowing just 17 yards on the 3 receptions he allowed. He recorded 5 tackles and defended a pass. Even though Lardarius Webb is expected to play, he’s a high-upside CB2, especially if he draws AJ Green on some snaps.
-If you’re looking for DB help, Darian Stewart might be a decent match-up play until Will Hill returns from suspension. Stewart appeared in all 67 snaps and recorded 9 tackles, 4 of which were solo, but if you look at him in tackle heavy formats, he put up 13 points. He was thrown at 3 times, but wasn’t able to make any plays. A DB3 this week in tackle-heavy formats.
-The Ravens are going to need more from Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw (especially Suggs). The two combined for just 1 QB hurry on the day. Upshaw isn’t anyone to count on IDP leagues and don’t push the panic button on Suggs. Suggs was in on 51 of the 67 defensive snaps. Suggs is a high-upside play in big play formats, as he’s notched 15 sacks and 79 tackles in 21 career games against Pittsburgh.
-Keep an eye on the injury report this week, but Lardarius Webb should return against the Steelers. Webb’s presence would be welcome in the defensive backfield. Webb carries CB2 upside against a Steeler team, where he’s made a play on the ball 18% of the time he’s been thrown at (7 defended passes). Surprisingly, no INTs. He’s also recorded 31 tackles in those 7 career games.
Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
–Koa Misi will hopefully be out a few weeks with his ankle sprain. This leaves the LB group extremely thin, especially with the loss of Dannell Ellerbe for the year. Philip Wheeler is dealing with a thumb injury of his own. So, who’s manning MIKE? It looks like Coach Philbin trusts Jason Trusnik. Consider a waiver claim on him in deeper, all-IDP leagues.
–Kelvin Sheppard was signed this week and looks to be back-up at the WILL. He’ll need to learn the system, but with their depth, it wouldn’t be surprising if gets playing time. At this point, only those in deeper all-IDP leagues should consider him.
–Jelani Jenkins has the most upside, IMO, of the group at this point. Jenkins appeared in 59 defensive snaps, notching 6 tackles (5 solo). At this point, I’d use my waiver priority on Jenkins of the possible Dolphin LBs. Could be one of those winning lottery tickets.
–Cortland Finnegan turned in a solid game in Week 1. Producing 4 tackles and defending a pass. He also was involved in 2 QB hurries. He could have CB2 upside this week.
–Louis Delmas has had bouts with injuries, but he appeared in all 86 of the defensive snaps. He recorded 4 solos and recovered a fumble. If he can string together multiple games without injuries, he’ll be someone to watch.
–Preston Brown led all rookies in IDP scoring this week. Brown, filling in for Nigel Bradham, recorded 7 tackles (5 solo) and recovered a fumble which led to a 0.24pts/snap rate. Even with Bradham returning, Brown has placed himself on the IDP radar and should get snaps now that Keith Rivers is out for the next few games.
–Leodis McKelvin saw an astounding 14 targets in week 1. This led to 13 solo tackles and a forced fumble. In tackle heavy formats, he finished as 2nd ranked DB scorer, producing 0.40 pts/snap. Temper expectations against a lower octane offense in Miami, but he does carry CB2 value this week.
–Mario Williams got off to a nice start to his 2014 season with a sack. Williams is on the DE1 radar against Miami, as he’s recorded 8.5 career sacks in 8 games. The Dolphins offensive line held up against NE in Week 1, giving up 10 total QB pressures. You can’t bench Super Mario though.
–Jerry Hughes could be an inconsistent DE this year. Hughes just missed out on a few sacks, as he finished with 4 QB hurries in 36 rush snaps. He’s streaky, so just make sure to have him in your lineup as a DE2 and take the good with the bad.
New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns
–Justin Gilbert is going to have his snaps limited so he can get used to the speed. In 60 snaps, he was targeted 7 times, giving up 6 key receptions. From an IDP standpoint, he had a decent game, notching 7 tackles. If his snaps are limited, his value, outside of dynasty leagues, will start slipping.
–Christian Kirksey appeared in 60 defensive snaps, while Craig Robertson saw just 12. It’s safe to pick him up if he’s available. Even though he had just the solo tackle, he had a sack and his upside is huge.
–Donte Whitner was all over the field in week 1, recording 12 solos (13 total tackles), leading to a 0.35 points/snap rate. He’s going to have another busy day against the high octane Saints in Week 2.
-Of the 14 missed tackles, Barkevious Mingo led the way with 3. Surprisingly, of his 57 snaps, only 19 were rush snaps. He didn’t generate any pressure, so for now, leave him on your IDP waiver wire.
–Cameron Jordan was responsible for 26% of the pressures generated for the Saints. He’s a DL1 this week, as he should see Mitchell Schwartz, who gave up a sack last week to Cameron Heyward and has been a turnstile at RT.
–Kenny Vacarro owners could be in for an up and down season, as he’s looking like Malcom Jenkins Part 2. Vacarro missed more tackles than he made (4 solos/6 misses) and was responsible for 26% of the total misses. He still has DB1 upside against the Browns, who should need to pass a lot to keep up.
-Coming off his extension, Junior Galette generated 5 total QB pressures and notched 4 solo tackles. I would only consider Galette in deeper big play scoring formats as his production is difficult to project weekly.
–Curtis Lofton recorded 10 tackles and produced a 0.25 points/snap rate in his 68 snaps. Lofton is about as dependable of an LB1 as you can get.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Cincinnati Bengals
–Paul Worrilow continues to rack up the tackles. Any thoughts of a sophomore slump were quelled in Week 1. Worrilow finished among the top LBs in scoring this week, notching 15 tackles (7 solo) and a 20% tackle rate. Worrilow already has 6 games of 10+ tackles in his short career.
-Very surprised to see Jonathan Massaquoi receive just 4 pass rush snaps. Mass is an under-rated rusher, as he generated pressure 10% of his rush snaps last season. Massaquoi and the rest of the Falcon pass-rushers will have a tough go against Cinci’s offensive line; 2 QB hurries allowed.
–Dwight Lowery burst out of the gate in Week 1. He’s on IDP radar, as he was on the field for every snap at FS and saw 6 targets. He recorded 11 tackles and is worth monitoring in tackle-heavy formats.
–Joplo Bartu is another LB to keep on your radar. Bartu received 54 of the 76 snaps, but produced 10 tackles (4 solo) and was in on a fumble recovery. If depth is an issue, he’s looking like an LB4 but could be awarded more assists than solos.
–Vontaze Burfict has entered the NFL’s concussion protocol. Burfict was on his way to a monster game; 4 solos (1 for loss) and 1 forced fumble that he recovered. His points/snap rate was an insane 0.70!
-Keep an eye on Emmanuel Lamur. I saw on Twitter that he had suffered an injury, but it might’ve been minor. In his first start, he appeared in all 87 defensive snaps and led the team in tackles with 11 and had an INT. If he’s okay, he’s well worth claiming from your waiver wire and carries LB3 upside.
–Rey Maualuga owners might want to grab Vincent Rey. Maualua saw 31 snaps compared to Rey’s 62. Even if you aren’t a Maualuga owner, grab him to prevent anyone else from getting him.
–Wallace Gilberry and Carlos Dunlap are decent plays this week against a Falcons offensive line that allowed 13 QB pressures, including a sack. Gilberry and Dunlap combined for 2.5 sacks in Week 1.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Tennessee Titans
–Justin Durant left early due to a groin injury. At this point, it looks like he’ll miss 3-4 weeks. At this point, Bruce Carter could receive a three-down role. Cowboys may have to turn to rookie Anthony Hitchens, as well. Going forward, the Cowboys starters look to be McClain, Carter and Kyle Wilber.
-For not having played ball since 2012, Rolando McClain received the start in turned in a decent game. He finished with an 18.2% tackle rate, which led to 8 total tackles, and in tackle heavy formats, produced double-digit fantasy points. At this point, he’s worth adding, but let him prove he can produce the digits.
-The Cowboys kicking the tires on Jeremy Mincey might pay off for their pass rush. Mincey contributed 4 total QB pressures on 22 rush snaps. If looking for DL help, he’ll be a sneaky early-season add.
–Zach Brown is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle. He only got in 4 snaps before doing down with the injury. If you’re looking for his backup, I’d go with Zaviar Gooden, as he filled the “The Next Man Up” role nicely. He finished with 4 solos in his 22 defensive snaps. He’ll be a nice sleeper the remainder of the year next to Wesley Woodyard.
-I guess we know how Jurrell Casey is going to be used in their 3-4. Casey, though, he didn’t get a sack, generated pressure on nearly 20% of his rush snaps which is a positive sign that he’s getting to the QB, but was just unlucky. I really like Casey as a borderline DL1 against a Cowboys team that gave up 3 sacks, while allowing Tony Romo to get hurried 10 times.
–Derrick Morgan also had a solid game, though it didn’t show up in the stat sheet. Morgan generated 6 pressures on his 31 rush snaps. He was able to record 3 solos and bat down 2 passes. He’s going to be a boom or bust big play OLB this week.
–Jason McCourty saw 10 targets in Week 1 and put together a huge IDP week. On 40% of his targets, he made a play on the ball with 2 INTs/2 PDs. He also threw in 3 solos, resulting in near 0.28 points/snap rate. He checks in as rock-solid CB1 against the INT-prone Tony Romo this week.
New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings
-Minnesota’s offensive line held up against a stout St. Louis defense. It’s not getting easier with Chandler Jones on the docket. Jones had a rough Week 1, playing 2-tech in a new 3-4 look. He wasn’t able generate any type of pass-rush. He’ll look to bounce back in Week 2.
–Damon Huron’s IDP sleeper potential is going to be capped with Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung manning the safety spots. Tavon Wilson got more snaps than Huron (22 to 5). Chung isn’t guaranteed to hold up health wise.
–Jamie Collins followed-up his break out post-season, with 8 solo tackles and played in virtually every snap (just missed one). However, you’re going to want to get him out of your lineups this week, as he’s been ruled. It’s been a rough go for IDPs and injuries and we’re only Week 2.
-Looking for a sneaky DT play this week? Dominique Easley. Only played 27 snaps, but should see an increased role this week.
–Donta Hightower played every snap, but he didn’t make much of an impression on the stat sheet. He was involved more in the pass rush, rushing the QB on 18 snaps and generating 5 pressures, as he played OLB in their 3-4. With this role, his IDP upside is limited.
-I don’t like panicking after a week, but if Rob Ninkovich is going to play OLB in 3-4 fronts, that could really impact his chances at IDP digits. At this point, he’ll retain DE eligibility, but his production is going to be inconsistent at best.
-Don’t panic on Chad Greenway. Sure he only had 2 solos, but Minnesota forced St. Louis to throw, which limited Greenway’s tackle attempts. I look for him to bounce back this week.
-If you didn’t take a flier on Robert Blanton last week, you might not get your chance this week. Blanton produced 7 solos without a miss and was the every-down SS for the Vikes. He carries DB2 upside this week against the Pats.
-You wouldn’t have thought Linval Joseph was shot the way he played Week 1. Joseph was among the top DL scorers in tackle-heavy formats, producing 0.38 points/snap. He finished with 5 solo tackles and a sack in just 37 defensive snaps. He’ll be back on the DT1 radar in those leagues requiring defensive tackles.
-Sure, Jasper Brinkley’s 10.3% tackle frequency looks like nice, but it came in 29 defensive snaps. Brinkley is a liability in coverage and he’s not going to get the subpackage snaps to make him rosterable. At this point, it’s safe to cut bait on him.
–Anthony Barr was as advertised for the Vikes. Barr appeared in 62 of the 70 snaps, producing 7 tackles and generating 2 pressures on his 13 rush snaps.
–Everson Griffen has DL1 upside this week against a New England offensive line that got abused against Miami. The Pats line gave up 26 total QB pressures, including 4 sacks. Griffen beat the Rams line for 2 sacks and got to the QB on 17% of his rush snaps in Week 1. Griffen had a nice snap count, appearing in 50 of the 70 snaps.
–Harrison Smith made the big plays for his IDP owners. Even though he notched just 2 tackles, he had a pick six and added a sack in 62 defensive snaps. He produced a points/snap rate of 0.31. His owners will hope he picks up the tackles in the next week.
Arizona Cardinals vs. New York Giants
–Larry Foote’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. Foote posted 8 solo tackles, including 1 for a loss. His 12.9% tackle frequency is going to put him into the weekly starter conversation as it seems that any LB can come into the system and be productive.
–Kevin Minter didn’t have the same success, however. It’s a cause for concern that Minter received just 24 defensive snaps. He’s going to make a weak LB play, and you might want to keep him parked on your bench this week.
–Tony Jefferson and Rashad Johnson each saw ample playing time in Week 1 in the place of the injured Tyrann Mathieu. Johnson had the better game of the two, recoding 7 solos in 57 defensive snaps. Their waiver wire appeal rests on Mathieu’s health.
-Even though Deone Bucannon saw just 38 defensive snaps, he was deployed at LB during certain packages. He notched 5 solos, but it would be nice to see an increase in snaps.
-It was a bit of a concern that Damontre Moore appeared in just 9 defensive snaps. Robert Ayers even saw more, receiving 32. It might be tough for Moore to see consistent snaps, so for now, keep him benched.
-For those that drafted Jacquain Williams as a late-round sleeper could be rewarded. He was in on all 68 defensive snaps, recoding 7 tackles (5 solo). He’s an upside LB3 against the Cards.
–Jon Beason was eased back in on Monday night, playing in just 65% of the total defensive snaps. At this point, he’s dealing with a sore foot, and with his snap volume, he’s a shaky LB3 this week.
–Prince Amukamara had a solid game in coverage and against the run. 4 of his tackles came stopping the run and he finished with 8 total. Though he didn’t have an INT, he saw 4 targets and defended 2 of those passes away. He looks to be a high-upside CB1 heading into Sunday’s tilt.
–Stevie Brown was an impressive IDP producer in his first game since 2012. Brown appeared in all 68 snaps and produced a solid 13.2% tackle rate, finishing with 9 tackles. Nearly 50% of his run snaps came near the line of scrimmage, so he’s going to be called on to aid their run defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Washington Redskins
–Paul Posluszny’s 12 tackle effort in Week 1 was the 36th time in his career that he’s notched 10+ tackles in a game. It was also the 13th time that he’s registered 10+ solos. When you think of tackle machine, Poz is usually one of the first names you think of.
–Jonathan Cyprien is in the concussion protocol and is out for Week 2. Cyp saw 34 snaps before checking out. Josh Evans is next man up, however, I wouldn’t consider him as someone to add.
-Camp standout, Andre Branch, had a solid opener. Branch abused Jason Peters on his lone sack that forced a fumble in the early going. Branch should be added in deeper, big play scoring formats for depth.
–Sen’Derrick Marks announced his presence with authority for his new team. Marks got under Andrew Gardner and got to Foles for the sack. He also recorded 5 tackles (4 solos) in 56 snaps. I consider him a decent DT2 in tackle-required leagues.
–Ryan Clark had 5 tackles (4 solos) but missed on 5 tackles, as well. He could’ve been credited with 6 had Arian Foster not stumbled and fell. He’s a 3-down safety, but he’s costing owners points with the missed opportunities. I still look at him as a DB3.
–DeAngelo Hall allowed all 3 of his targets to be caught, however, he put up decent IDP digits once again. He finished the game with 8 tackles (7 solos) but didn’t make any plays on the ball. He’s still an asset in tackle-heavy leagues that require CBs, as he’s averaged close to 90 tackles over the last 4 seasons.
–Keenan Robinson held up well in his work in Week 1. Robinson was in on all snaps and notched 6 solos and recovered a fumble. He’ll be a decent LB2 this week.
Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers
–Roman Harper and Charles Godfrey are doing some platooning at safety. Harper only saw 18 defensive snaps and can be dropped this week for more productive options on the wire.
–Charles Johnson was responsible for 22% of the pressure generated on the QB in Week 1. It didn’t translate to sack, but he was able to get into the backfield. The Lions offensive line allowed Matt Stafford to get hurried 10 times, but no sacks or hits. Johnson’s a DE2 this week.
–Star Lotulelei saw 22 rush snaps and generated 3 pressures (1 hit/2 hurries). His owners only saw the one tackle though. Those in DT-required leagues should start him this week.
-I thought DeAndre Levy was over-rated heading into the season because of his unsustainable big plays in 2013. Levy finished with 10 tackles (9 solos) and added an INT. 6 of his tackles came against the run, resulting in offensive failures. In tackle heavy formats, he finished among the top 3 scoring LBs, producing 0.39 points/snap and 16.1% tackle rate. He’s on the cusp of LB1 status this week.
–Ziggy Ansah took advantage of the Giants’ offensive line on Monday night. Ansah finished with a sack, while also generating pressure on 20% of his rush snaps. I’m not worried about the snap count, however, Ansah faces a stout Carolina offensive line that allowed just 6 pressures on Derek Anderson in Week 1.
–Glover Quin was an asset to the Lions on Monday and could be for your IDP squad. Quin finished with 5 tackles and was solid in pass coverage; allowing just 3 yards on the catch allowed going along with an INT and 2 defended passes. I’d consider adding him from your wire if he’s there, as he’s a DB3 with DB2 upside.
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Diego Chargers
–Cliff Avril notched 2 solo tackles and generated pressure on 25% of his rush snaps in Week 1, which led to a sack. Avril has a rough match-up against one of the better left tackles, King Dunlap, in Week 2.
–Bobby Wagner’s 14 tackles in Week 1 was the 11th time he’s reached double-digit tackles in his career. Let’s hope he records more solos in Week 2.
–Byron Maxwell is going to be the beneficiary of the Sherman effect it seems. Maxwell saw 11 targets, allowing 9 catches, finishing with 5 tackles, 2 defended passes and an INT that fell into his hands. He’s a high-upside CB2.
–KJ Wright struggled in coverage, but is still going to be on the field for the majority of the snaps. He recorded 7 tackles and graded positive against the run. He’ll have better games in pass coverage.
–Manti Te’o was in on just 49 of the 74 snaps but was productive in those snaps. He produced 6 solos, leading to a 12.2% tackle rate. He could be an up and down LB3 with this snap count, though the rate that the ‘Hawks run the ball, he could be on the field more in Week 2.
–Jason Verrett had a nice debut and will be someone to monitor in CB leagues. Verrett, being a rookie, got targeted 7 times, allowed 3 receptions and recorded 4 tackles with a defended pass. He doesn’t have an ideal match-up, but keep an eye on him in CB-required leagues.
–Corey Liuget was in on 56 of the 74 defensive snaps and graded out positively according to PFF’s grading. He got to the QB in 3 of his rush snaps, which also included a sack. What was great to see what his 5 tackles. Though 3-4 ends are typically not ideal IDP scorers, he’s coming into this own. However, this week, you might want to look to other options as Liuget faces a stout Seattle offensive line.
-I’m not ready to give an endorsement to Jerry Attaochu just yet. Plus, he’s playing outside, which is not an IDP-friendly position. He took advantage of the Week 1 match-up, but with only receiving 27% of the snaps, he’s not worth adding just yet. If you’re in a deeper dynasty league, yeah take the chance.
St. Louis Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
–Chris Long is droppable in re-draft leagues. Long’s injury is going to have a domino effect for the defensive line. Even though Robert Quinn will see more attention, he’s too dominant a pass-rusher to be held back. He still generated 4 pressures in 19 rush snaps. Long owners will want to check the wire for better options than his back-up, William Hayes.
–Aaron Donald made quite the impression Week 1, especially to ADP. Michael Brockers and Donald rotated at DRT, as there was almost a 50/50 split between snaps, which doesn’t bode well for Brocker’s IDP value. The St. Louis defensive line faces a Tampa line that gave up 16 total pressures, including 3 sacks in Week 1.
–Rodney McLeod was responsible for 4 of the 18 Rams missed tackles. He did finish with a decent 6 solo tackle efforts, but it could’ve been double-digits. He’s not going to play near the line, as just 3 of his run snaps were near the line of scrimmage.
-The Buccaneers have placed defensive end, Adrian Clayborn, on IR with a biceps injury. Tough blow for the front-four. It also looks like Michael Johnson is going to miss this week, too. The Bucs will be turning to William Gholston and possibly Da’Quan Bowers this week.
–Mark Barron finished Week 1 with 7 tackles and 6 solos and saw 11 snaps near the line of scrimmage. The 7 tackle performance is a good sign, as Barron finished with just 6 tackles over his last 4 games of 2013.
–LaVonte David’s 10 tackle game in Week 1 was the 11th time he’s hit 10+ tackles in his career. He produced a 0.27 points/snap rate and has produced double-digit fantasy points in every game since Week 9 of his rookie year.
-There may not be a better defensive tackle in the game than Gerald McCoy. McCoy was in on 65 defensive snaps and produced a sack and 2 hits/hurries in his 33 rushes. He was also responsible for 8 solos. No matter the match-up, he’s a DT1 in leagues requiring defensive tackles.
–Alterraun Verner made tackles in all facets of the game. Even though he was targeted once, he still finished with 6 tackles (5 solos). 3 of his tackles came in defending the run and was in on 26 total run snaps. Verner is a CB1 against the Rams this week.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
-Unfortunately for Derrick Johnson, he won’t have a chance to record his 5th straight 100+ tackle season. It’s a blow for the KC defense and his IDP owners. Special teamers, Josh Mauga and James Michael-Johnson, will be tasked to step in and play significant snaps at ILB. If I were to pick one up, I’d favor Mauga slightly over JMJ.
–Eric Berry owners will hope he doesn’t get his foot healed. Berry finished as the top scoring DB in most tackle heavy formats, producing a 0.37 point per snap rate. He finished with 15 tackles (14 solos) and a nice 18.3% tackle rate. Excellent match-up with Broncos and in 6 career games, Berry has 34 tackles (31 solo) and 4 defended passes. He put in a full practice and he’s a DB1 this week.
-For those in CB leagues, Sean Smith is on the radar, as not only did he win the CB2 spot, but he appeared in all 82 defensive snaps. Smith finished with 4 solos and a defended pass and has CB2 upside in a favorable match-up this week.
-61 of Aqib Talib’s snaps were in coverage and only saw 13 run snaps. Talib made a play on the ball nearly 38% of the time he was thrown at (3 defended passes) and notched 4 solo tackles. He’s a borderline CB2 this week, however.
–Brandon Marshall might have secured the MIKE spot, as he appeared in all 76 defensive snaps manning the middle.
–DeMarcus Ware made an immediate impact for his new squad. He failed to reach double-digit fantasy points, but did record 1.5 sacks and was in 40 rush snaps, generating pressure nearly 13% of the time. He appears to have put his injury-plagued 2013 season behind him. Ware vs. Eric Fisher will be a match-up to watch, as Fisher allowed Alex Smith to get hit 4 times last week.
New York Jets vs. Green Bay Packers
–AJ Hawk appeared in just 48 of the 70 defensive snaps, so he’s not getting subpackage roles. It’s hard to ignore the near 17% tackle rate. I consider him a weak LB3 in deeper leagues this week.
–Micah Hyde and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix split snaps at SS (Hyde with 52). Neither played very well and missed key tackles. I don’t consider either of them strong IDP options this week.
–Brad Jones owners that were hoping for a turnaround in Week 2 may not get it. He was a non-participant in practice due to a quad injury. Jones produced just a solo tackle and assisted on 3 others while playing every snap. At this point, the Pack aren’t tipping their hand as to who will replace him, however, my money is on Jamari Lattimore.
–Morgan Burnett is proving again to be an asset in tackle-heavy scoring. Burnett finished with 5 solos and an 11.4% tackle rate. Burnett should be busy against the Jets as he played near the line of scrimmage on nearly 62% of his run snaps.
-Sure, Sheldon Richardson didn’t show up in the stat sheet, but he did turn in a solid game and just missed out on producing points. He generated 5 total QB pressures on 31 rush snaps and will line up on David Bakhtiri’s side.
–Muhammad Wilkerson didn’t have the type of day his owners were looking for in Week 1 either. Wilkerson finished with 2 batted passes and a 1 solo tackle. I really like Wilkerson this week as a DE1, as he’ll line up on Derek Sherrod’s side. Sherrod was responsible for 2 sacks in Week 1.
-Rookie SS, Calvin Pryor, saw all 56 defensive snaps and recorded 3 solos while defending 2 passes thrown his way. I like Pryor as a potential DB2 this week against a pass-happy Packer offense.
Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders
-Anyone who thought JJ Watt would put it on cruise control was wrong. Watt is a stat-sheet stuffer and finished Week 1 with a sack, 2 tackles for a loss, fumble recovery and batted ball. He also generated pressure on nearly 21% of his rush snaps. He’s one of the most dominant defenders in the league and you don’t need me to tell you that he’s weekly DL1.
–Jadeveon Clowney is out 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his knee. Whitney Mercilus is expected to fill-in over that timeframe. Mercilus, by himself, is more than capable of generating a pass rush. He’ll be worth a look in deeper leagues that are more big play scoring heavy.
-I attribute Brian Cushing’s snap count to being eased back in. Cush was involved in 64% of the defensive snaps in Week 1. He recorded 5 tackles (2 solo) and also generated 3 QB pressures on his 3 rush snaps. I do believe he’ll get back his normal snaps and is an LB1 this week.
–Jonathan Joseph was tested early and often in Week 1. He saw 8 targets, and while he didn’t make any plays on the ball, he finished with 11 solo tackles in 61 defensive snaps, where 3 of those tackles came defending the run. Joseph is worth looking at in CB-required leagues this week against rookie Derek Carr.
–Nick Roach was limited in practice after missing last week with a concussion. Sio Moore and Miles Burris were productive IDP producers. Moore and Burris each finished within the top 10 LB scorers in tackle-heavy formats. Moore finished with 12 tackles and also pitched in a sack. He compiled points at a rate of 0.42 points/snap. Burris finished with 13 tackles, matching a career-high. If Roach is inactive, both are worth starting this week. However, if Roach goes, I might pump the brakes slightly on Burris.
-The Raiders ran more 3-4 looks with Khalil Mack and Lamar Woodley kicking outside.
–Tyvon Branch appeared in all 72 of the defensive snaps and compiled 7 tackles and a sack in his first action since Week 2 of last season. He produced a solid 0.25 points/snap rate and looks to be locked in as a DB1.
–Charles Woodson still has some gas left in the tank. Woodson hawked his first INT since Week 5 of 2012, but notched 9 tackles. Woodson has produced at least 1 INT in each of his 17 seasons.
Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49’ers
-Something to keep an eye on this week is the snap count at MLB. DJ Williams only received 22 snaps, while Jon Bostic saw 34, in Week 1. Neither are ideal IDP options this week if they are going to continue to split snaps. as they were on the field less than 60% of the time
.-Chris Conte received the start at FS in Week 1 and appeared in 47 of the 58 snaps. He struggled in the run and didn’t play the near the line of scrimmage. He was better in coverage, hawking an INT on the only ball thrown at him. I still can’t trust him as anything more than a DB4 this week, even with a 7 tackle performance in Week 1.
-Someone I do like this week is Ryan Mundy. Mundy was in on every snap and recorded 7 total tackles (6 solo). Mundy should see plenty of time in run defense, as he played half of his run snaps near the line of scrimmage in Week 1. Hopefully he can continue his 12% tackle rate.
-After appearing in just 5 games in 2013, Jay Ratliff got the start and looked like he returned to form. Ratliff saw 47 snaps and recorded 5 tackles (4 solo) and also generated 3 QB hurries on his 22 rush snaps. He graded out as one of the top defensive tackles and will look to stuff the 49’ers run game in Week 2. I like him as a DT2 in defensive tackle required leagues.
–Justin Smith, even at age 34, is still one of the most under-rated linemen in the game. He continues to produce and grade out positively. He may receive the snap count he once did, but he’s still efficient. In his 49 snaps, he produced a 0.36 points/snap rate, finishing the day with 6 tackles and 2 sacks. He should line up near Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson, who were responsible for 46% of the pressures given up to Jay Cutler.
–Chris Borland looks to be droppable in re-draft leagues as he saw 0 snaps in Week 1. Michael Wilhoite saw 72 of the 73 snaps, but didn’t have that great a game overall, grading out poorly in the run and coverage. So, how long will they continue going with Wilhoite? He was less than desirable in pass coverage, allowing 2 receptions and missing 2 tackles. Unless you’re in a deeper, all-IDP league, he’s someone I’d still let sit on the wire. He’s an LB4/5 this week.
–Antonie Bethea is going to have to improve upon his 8.2% tackle frequency to even hold DB3 value. He’s not playing near the line, and with Eric Reid, Willis and the rest of the 9’er defense, tackle opportunities could be few. Continue to hold on, especially in deeper leagues where you start multiple DBs.
–Patrick Willis recorded his 4th straight game of double-digit fantasy points going back to 2013. However, in his last 15 games, he only has 2 games of 10+ tackles.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts
–Trent Cole seems to be thriving in his role at OLB. He’s recorded 6 sacks in his last 6 games dating back to last season and has also forced at least one fumble in each of his last 10 seasons. In Wee 1, in addition to his sack, also got in 2 good QB hits. He’s still an efficient rusher and is an LB3 in big play formats against a Colts line that allowed Andrew Luck to get pressured 14 times.
-We’ll see what kind of tackle opportunities Fletcher Cox gets this week. Linebackers and defensive backs made the majority of the tackles against the Colts in Week 1. Cox recorded 6 solos against the run in Week 1, where 4 of those resulted in a failure for the offense. He’s a sketchy DL play this week against a team that doesn’t allow many points to opposing DLs.
–Nate Allen and Malcolm Jenkins received the starts at safety in Week 1. Jenkins recorded 4 solos, and most importantly, didn’t miss on any attempts.
–Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams look to be intriguing CB plays this week. Fletcher was thrown at 4 times, while Williams was thrown at 7 times. Brandon Boykin was also productive in the slot, seeing 5 targets and recording 5 solo tackles.
–Jerrell Freeman will miss this week’s game with a bad hamstring. He’s the Colts best all-around LB and solid in coverage. This will definitely bump up D’Qwell Jackson’s IDP value in Week 2. Neither of the Colts’ back-up ILB are worth looking at.
–Robert Mathis went from missing 4 games, to now the entire season. While working out, Mathis tore his Achilles’ and will be lost for the year. Erik Walden, even though he got a sack, and Bjoern Werner aren’t the answer as they generated no pressure.
–LaRon Landry’s 2014 got off to a good start with 8 tackles (7 solo), leading to an 11.7% tackle rate. He should be busy against Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense and makes a decent DB2 this week.
–Greg Toler looks to be an upside CB play this week. Toler saw 10 targets in Week 1 which led to 4 solo tackles, 3 defended passes. He allowed 5 receptions on the day.