Week 3 IDP Rankings: Tackle Heavy

IDP Rankings

Bobby Wagner has been among the most consistent linebacker options the last few seasons.


    In today’s article, we’ll break down the top ten IDP rankings for week 3 at each defensive position according to a tackle-heavy format. It is always important to note what type of scoring format your league uses when determining which players to start, and which to sit when making your IDP decisions. In today’s tackle-heavy rankings, there will be a heavier focus on players who can constantly be found near the ball carrier, whether it’s a tackle near the line of scrimmage, or one a few yards downfield. In tackle-heavy scoring, sometimes players who hold less value in the NFL can produce fantasy numbers worth starting as an IDP, such as a linebacker who is weak in coverage, therefore being targeted in the passing game resulting in many tackle opportunities. There will be a larger focus on linebackers playing MLB and WLB in a 4-3 system, safeties who play closer to the line of scrimmage, and even run-stuffing defensive tackles, who may not see as much value in sack-heavy scoring.


We’re just one day before NFL Sunday of week 3 kicks off, and there have been lots of interesting twists and surprises in the IDP world where injuries are concerned. Players previously believed to be good to go for tomorrow’s action have had setbacks in their recoveries, many players have already been ruled out of action this week, as will be reflected in the rankings below, and some players’ statuses are still up in the air, as we are just a day before kickoff.

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A quick reminder that this week features the first international game of the year, as the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars are set to kickoff at 9:30 EST Sunday morning live from London. Make sure to wake up in time Sunday morning and set your lineups, in case there are any surprise inactives added at short notice.


On to more injury news, players who have officially been ruled OUT this weekend include: week 1 standout B.J. Goodson (LB, NYG), Kwon Alexander (LB, TB), Jarrad Davis (LB, DET), Johnathan Cyprien (DB, JAX), and Tavon Wilson (DB, DET). Make sure that your lineups are adjusted accordingly


Replacement players and/or teammates who will receive additional snaps and could possibly be worth a start in deeper leagues are respectively: Calvin Munson (LB, NYG), Kendell Beckwith (LB, TB), Tahir Whitehead (LB, DET), Barry Church (DB, JAX), and Miles Killebrew (DB, DET)


Below are 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

Joey Bosa is once again off to another great start, backing up his rookie of the year honors.


Defensive Lineman:

1: Khalil Mack (DE, OAK) @ WAS

Mack is among the top tier of defensive lineman no matter what scoring format your league may have. Whether you think he should be assigned as a defensive end or outside linebacker is subjective, his talent is not.

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

While J.J. Watt may not fully be at 100% yet after his second back surgery in as many years, he is still a force of nature on the field. Watt and the Texans head to New England to square off with the Patriots, in what will be no easy task. The Patriots offensive line has looked vulnerable at times this year, Watt and company hope they can take advantage.

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

Reigning defensive rookie of the year Joey Bosa is off to a great start in his sophomore campaign. With 11 total tackles, including 1.5 sacks, Bosa looks to be improving after an already impressive rookie year.

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

Vikings veteran lineman Everson Griffen is off to a torrid start through two games thus far into the season. Minnesota’s matchup this weekend against the Buccaneers is expected to be a tight game and Griffen, who leads all Vikings linemen in snaps so far this year, will have the most opportunity to capitalize on Tampa Bay’s offense.

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

Although Danielle Hunter has been a rare sighting on stat sheets through the first two games, it is only a matter of time until he has his first of many tier-one performances. Hunter is ranked just behind his linemate Griffen, but it’s really a coin toss between the two on who will have a better week 3.

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

Graham and teammate Vinny Curry have possibly the best possible matchup in the league this week, hosting a depleted Giants line at home in Philadelphia. An already bad New York offensive line might look even worse than usual this week if that’s even possible. Starting right tackle Bobby Hart has been ruled out heading into this weekend’s matchup, and if the starter playing that poorly, I can only imagine how bad his backup must be.

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

While Ingram flourishes more off of big-play opportunity, the fact that he or Bosa can change the course of a Chargers game on any snap makes each of them a must play in any scoring format. This Sunday, the Chiefs will be tasked with trying to stop possibly the league’s most dangerous edge rushing duo.

8: Demarcus Lawrence (DE, DAL) @ ARI

The Cowboys and Cardinals face off on Monday night in Arizona, and since David Johnson has been sidelined after wrist surgery, the Cardinals offense has spat and sputtered, to say the least. If Dallas can get out to a lead early, expect Carson Palmer to have to throw the ball to catch up to the Cowboys. If that’s the case, Demarcus Lawrence will be first in line for sack opportunities.  

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

Houston’s offensive line has been among the worst in the league after facing Jacksonville and Cincinnati in weeks 1 and 2. Allowing a league-high 13 sacks, Deshaun Watson will be scrambling all night against Bill Belichick’s defense. Flowers is primed for a big game and teammate Deatrich Wise is a great sleeper play for deep leagues this week.

10: Damon Harrison (DT, NYG) @ PHI

One of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles in the league, “Snacks” Harrison is always a guarantee to be first in line for tackles on opposing run plays.  Harrison accrued 86 total tackles last season, no other lineman had more than 80.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, NYG), Geno Atkins (DT, CIN), Ndamukong Suh (DT, MIA)



IDP Rankings

Luke Kuechly leads a talented Panthers defense, only allowing six points through two games.



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

After Kuechly’s concussion scare last year, Panthers fans and dynasty owners were worried if the perennial Pro-Bowl linebacker would be able to return to playing at 100% form in the 2017 season. After two weeks, it seems like all worries should be silenced, as Kuechly is playing like the player we have all become accustomed to.  

2: Bobby Wagner (MLB, SEA) @ TEN

Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is a staple to anyone who has played IDP over the last few seasons. Owners know that Wagner has one of the highest floors in the league, as he always seems to find himself near the tackle on almost every play. Couple that with his nose for the football on big plays, such as his week 2 interception, and Wagner is among the top tier of fantasy football linebackers.

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

The NFL’s leading tackler after two games is none other than second-year Akron product Jatavis Brown. With Kansas City gaining most of their yards through short-yardage and low-risk plays, Brown has the best opportunity to rack up tackles on Chiefs ball carriers Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. Brown has the possibility to finish first among all linebackers in week 3.

4: Benardrick McKinney (ILB, HOU) @ NE

Hybrid linebacker Benardrick McKinney is used in many different roles for the Texans defense. While showing good coverage ability, McKinney is able to make his fantasy presence known on his blitzing plays, whether he is able to bring down the quarterback or stop runs in the backfield for a loss.

5: Zach Brown (ILB, WAS) vs. OAK

Washington linebacker Mason Foster is reported out for the Redskins week 3 home game this Sunday against Oakland, which leaves Zach Brown as the inside linebacker to start in this expected shootout between two talented offenses. Will Compton figures to start next to Brown, but with 149 tackles just a season ago, Brown is hoping to continue the success he had in Buffalo into his years in DC.

6: Telvin Smith (WLB, JAX) vs. BAL

After playing 100% of snaps in week 1 and only coming away with a solo tackle and assist to show for it, Telvin Smith rebounded with an impressive week 2, with an interception and eight total tackles against the Titans. This week, the Florida State product leads the Jaguars against Baltimore, as he hopes to string together two great performances.

7: Sean Lee (WLB, DAL) @ ARI

When on the field, the talent that Sean Lee possesses is unquestionable. In a season where it seems like star players are going down left and right every week, can this Cowboys linebacker, whose name we are so accustomed to seeing on the injury report, avoid injury on Monday night?

8: Lavonte David (MLB, TB) @ MIN

Even after Kwon Alexander had to leave last Sunday’s game against Chicago with a hamstring injury, it was thought that he would be ready to suit up for this weekend’s upcoming game against the Vikings. But according to recent reports, Alexander will be sitting for Sunday’s contest, which should leave Lavonte David as the linebacker to start for the Buccaneers. David, once a tier 1 linebacker before Alexander overtook him for the role of middle linebacker, will be joined by rookie Kendell Beckwith, who recorded five solo tackles last weekend in relief and could possibly be a sneaky starting play in deeper leagues.

9: Christian Kirksey (WLB, CLE) @ IND

The Browns might opt to spread out their defense more this week, playing more two-linebacker sets against an awful Colts offense, led by newly acquired QB Jacoby Brissett. With linebacker Jamie Collins sidelined due to injury, it’s a possibility Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert both receive a lion’s share of tackles. I would have no problem starting either of them this Sunday.

10: Vincent Rey (WLB, CIN) @ GB

With Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension set to come to an end next week, this could possibly be the last week of the season that Vincent Rey is fantasy relevant, but if you have him on your team, now is the time to play him. Playing against a Green Bay offense that is always favorable to opposing defensive players, there are few under the radar plays that I like more than Rey this week.

Honorable Mentions: C.J. Mosley (ILB, BAL), Eric Kendricks (MLB, MIN), Ryan Shazier (ILB, PIT)



IDP Rankings

Keanu Neal leads a star-studded Falcons defense this week against the Lions.


Defensive Backs:

1: Landon Collins (SS, NYG) @ PHI

With recent news coming out that B.J. Goodson will be sitting the Giants week 3 game against the Eagles, Landon Collins becomes a clear-cut DB1 this week above all others. Goodson recorded 18 total tackles in week 1, and with him not in the picture this week, expect Collins to record a stat line similar to what he averaged in 2016.

2: Keanu Neal (FS, ATL) @ DET

As a rookie, Neal finished fourth among all defensive backs in tackles last season. Now in his second year, he and the rest of the Falcons talented defense hope to build off an impressive breakout season. Neal will have the fortune of playing for one of the league’s best teams this season, meaning most opposing offenses will have to be throwing the ball in the air a majority of the game, giving him lots of opportunities to make plays.

3: Reshad Jones (SS, MIA) @ NYJ

Dolphins veteran Reshad Jones is back on the field and picking up right where he left off before an injury sidelined him for the entire last half of the 2016 season. The NFL’s top tackling safety of 2015 looks to be in prime form and is a must-start across all formats.

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

Burnett is one of many safeties in the top 10 this week who play a majority of their snaps closer to the line of scrimmage, at a traditional linebacker position. Doing so provides more tackle opportunities for Burnett than most other traditional safeties, and makes him a lock for the fourth spot on this week’s top ten.

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

One of the only players receiving a lot of buzz for the Colts thus far into the season has been first-time starter Matthias Farley.  After recording only four tackles in his rookie season, Farley has started both games at strong safety to begin the season and hopes to hold the position throughout the year. While on the field, Farley has been producing well, and looks like a must-play, at least while Andrew Luck sits out and the Colts offense struggles to keep their defense off the field.

6: Karl Joseph (SS, OAK) @ WAS

The top ten this week seems to be loaded with second-year talent, and in the sixth spot comes Karl Joseph, a first-round pick from a year ago. The Raiders strong safety is looking to breakout this year after only starting nine games last season, and a high-scoring shootout with lots of downfield throws against the Redskins seems like a good place to do so.

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

Another safety who has the ability to be lined up anywhere on the field, Kevin Byard leads the Titans defense into a tough matchup against the Seahawks this Sunday. Facing off against Russell Wilson is no easy task for a defense, but if the Titans front-seven can force enough pressure on the Seattle quarterback, Byard may be able to benefit from a Wilson mistake and record a turnover or two this weekend.

8: Harrison Smith (FS, MIN) vs. TB

Harrison Smith has been a staple of the Vikings defensive backfield for years, and this season is no different from all the others in his career. Fantasy owners know that this high-floor DB can be counted on week in and week out to provide a reliable output from the DB slot in their lineup.

9: Daniel Sorensen (SS, KC) @ LAC

Daniel Sorensen is another safety in our top ten who will play a majority of their snaps lined up at a linebacker position. Andy Reid loved utilizing Sorensen last year as a nickel linebacker, and with Eric Berry out for the year, Sorensen adds Berry’s starting strong safety duties to his nickel linebacker snaps. Sorensen has as much opportunity as anyone this week to lead defensive backs in tackles.

10: Jahleel Addae (SS, LAC) vs KC

Addae, who was most notable in week 1 for a low-hit to Devante Parker that started a frenzy against the Dolphins, rounds out the top ten defensive back options this week as the Chargers take on the Chiefs at home. Addae produced well last week after a disappointing week 1 and is primed for another game with many tackle opportunities, for the same reasons as teammate Jatavis Brown.  

Honorable Mentions: Devin McCourty (FS, NE), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (FS, GB), Jordan Poyer (FS, BUF)

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