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IDP Nerds Man Coverage: Week 1

@Glosser13 is back with your IDP start/Sit options for Week 1 of the NFL season


Welcome back IDP Nerds. It’s officially that time again. We have waited so long for football to return, and we are finally here. I’m excited to continue the IDP man coverage series with you for the 2023 season. This series aims to give you all the information you need to help make those tough IDP lineup decisions a little bit easier every week.

The weekly recommendations are based on our balanced Dynasty Nerds IDP scoring. Players will be broken down into three prominent positions (DL, LB, DB), with one defensive player per game. It’s common knowledge that you start your studs every week, which doesn’t change on the defensive side of the ball.

As we’ve done over the last four seasons, we preach accountability and never want to lose sight of that. Every week, we will discuss the previous week’s results briefly before we get started. I have settled on a ‘hit’ as a 10-point week and a ‘miss’ as anything under double-digit points. I’m excited to bring you this content every week and look forward to another successful season discussing IDP fantasy football with you all.

Check out the teams putting together the start/sit columns this season. Follow us, friend us, and tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons


Richie Grant, DB, Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons continue their rebuild and look to compete for the NFC South Division title this year. The Falcons have shifted their focus to offense, adding young, dynamic playmakers. One of the bright spots for them last season was Richie Grant. The Falcons defensive back was very consistent last season, finishing with double-digit fantasy points in all but one game. Grant posted his first 100-tackle season in 2022 and is a key member of a talented Atlanta secondary.

Richie Grant has a plus matchup this week against the Carolina Panthers. Grant averaged 14 fantasy points per game against Carolina last season. The Falcons defensive back played 279 box snaps last season, adding another 466 snaps at deep safety. Adding Jessie Bates to the Atlanta secondary should allow Grant to be in the box more and continue his productive play. Bates has not played under 600 snaps at deep safety over a season since coming into the NFL in 2018. Richie Grant has a very good opportunity to repeat as a top-12 DB this season.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns


Anthony Walker Jr., LB, Cleveland Browns

It was an unfortunate season for Anthony Walker and the entire Cleveland Brown linebacker group. This unit battled through injuries and inconsistent play in 2022, and the team suffered because of it. The Browns had three linebackers average more than 10 points per game in 2022. It was an issue keeping them on the field together was a huge challenge.

Anthony Walker enters the 2023 season as one of the most slept-on linebackers in the IDP community. Before last year’s injury, he averaged 107 tackles per season in the previous four years. Walker has averaged 22.5 fantasy points per game in his last two games against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals. I like his chances to continue that production to start the 2023 season.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts


Travon Walker, DL, Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FL – AUGUST 12: Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (44) during the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 12, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

The Jacksonville Jaguars are the team to watch in the AFC South after an exciting season in 2022, which saw them make it to the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The resurgence in Jacksonville is largely focused on Trevor Lawrence and the offense. The Jaguars’ defense also deserves some credit, finishing 12th in points per game and finishing third in the NFL in pressures (168). Unfortunately, the Jaguars’ defense could only convert those pressures into 35 sacks, which was 25th in the NFL last season.

There’s hope for a solid matchup this week for last year’s top pick in the NFL Draft, Travon Walker. The former Georgia Bulldog finished as the DL46 last season but showed some bright spots. He draws a great matchup in Week 1 with the Indianapolis Colts, who allowed the second most sacks (60) in 2022. However, Walker struggled against this team despite playing over 84% of snaps in those meetings last season. I would not fade Travon Walker, but there’s more depth at defensive line this season than in recent years. I’d look elsewhere this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings 


Brian Asamoah, LB, Minnesota Vikings

It’s a good time to take my shot early on this one. Brian Asamoah enters his second season with the Minnesota Vikings and finds himself as the starting MIKE linebacker. The 2022 third-round linebacker from Oklahoma only managed to play 21% of snaps last season but will be a huge part of the Vikings’ defense this season. He starts opposite veteran LB Jordan Hicks, but Asamoah can potentially be a top-12 dynasty LB by season’s end. I would have Brian Asamoah in your lineup this week before his buzz makes him a plug-and-play starter every week.

Tennessee Titans @ New Orleans Saints


Jack Gibbens, LB, Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans announced a training camp battle between Jack Gibbens and Monty Rice for the starting LB job opposite Azeez Al-Shaair this off-season. There are reports of both Rice and Gibbens getting the start this week. This has been a tough one to follow, with some hype for both players, which has led to DraftKings taking down tackle prop bets for Monty Rice, which was at 7.5 at the time.

I’m fading this situation until I see how it plays out. I have little faith that even Mike Vrabel knows who he wants in that role. Both of the Titans young linebackers struggled last year and posted poor PFF grades, as well as not playing more than 65% of snaps for the team last season. I’m hesitant to start either for fear of a ride-the-hot-hand approach from the Titans’ defensive coaching staff.

San Francisco 49ers @ Pittsburgh Steelers


Drake Jackson, DL, San Francisco 49ers

Drake Jackson had a successful rookie season as a rotational player for the San Francisco defense. The former USC Trojan posted a 64.1 PFF grade on just over 300 snaps last season. He was competing as a rookie for snaps but did have an effective stretch with three sacks in four games, scoring over 10 fantasy points in each of those games.

This isn’t a great matchup, but the Steelers’ offensive line will focus on the new highest-paid NFL defensive player, Nick Bosa. This should help create more favorable matchups for second-year player Drake Jackson. Although the Steelers’ offensive line was a strong pass-blocking unit in 2022, they will be tested against a strong 49ers defense. The 49ers defense finished 9th in pressures (152) and 10th in sacks (44) last season.

Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Commanders


Cody Barton, LB, Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders didn’t take very long to find a replacement for Cole Holcomb after he left in free agency. The fourth-year LB from Utah is coming off his best NFL season, where he recorded 133 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions. Cody Barton played 77% of snaps last season and finished the season as LB20 overall.

The Arizona Cardinals are starting journeyman quarterback Josh Dobbs, and it’s clear they are one of the worst rosters in football. I expect a heavy dose of James Conner in this Week 1 matchup, and with a strong Commanders defensive line, it could free up Cody Barton and Jamin Davis to roam around and make tackles all game. There should be zero hesitation in starting Barton in this Week 1 matchup.

Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens 


Marcus Williams, DB, Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens are looking to claim their spot at the top of the AFC North. The Ravens defense has a strong secondary led by Marcus Williams and young star Kyle Hamilton. Williams played in only 10 games last season, affecting Baltimore’s ability to cover. Marcus Williams is an impactful leader deep in the Ravens’ secondary and allows the team to match up more effectively defensively. Marcus Williams will likely spend 80% of his snaps as a deep safety, and with a Texans offense that will likely lean heavily on a solid run game, it could limit his ability to produce. It’s rare to have consistent scoring from coverage safeties in IDP leagues.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears


Yannick Ngakoue, DL, Chicago Bears

Yannick Ngakoue joined the Chicago Bears late in the off-season, which is a great fit for the player and the team. Ngakoue will be playing for his fifth team since 2020 but has continues to be a productive EDGE rusher. The former Maryland Terrapin has recorded at least 8 sacks every season since entering the NFL in 2016.

The Chicago Bears had a huge need for a true EDGE presence, and Yannick Ngakoue fits that mold. I am cautious of how effective he can be in week one against the Green Bay Packers, who allowed the 7th fewest sacks in 2022. I have hope Ngakoue will be the top option for Chicago this season, but I will look to fade him this week based on the matchup.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Denver Broncos


Alex Singleton, LB, Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 06: Denver Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton (49) celebrates during an NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on October 06, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire)

The combo of Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell is IDP gold for dynasty managers. These two are effectively the NFL’s version of the Smash Brothers. Singleton has been the healthier of the two in recent years, collecting 397 tackles over the past three seasons. The Broncos LB has averaged 10 tackles per game in his last two starts against the Raiders. Alex Singleton’s consistency as a tackler gives him an excellent chance to repeat as a top 12 LB in 2023.

Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots


Reed Blankenship, DB, Philadelphia Eagles

Reed Blankenship steps into the role played by Chauncey Gardner-Johnson last season. He stepped in in spot starts and finished with three double-digit performances. It’s no secret the Philadelphia defense has crazy depth and youth at all three levels of their defense.

The Eagles have Blankenship slotted in starting, but the addition of rookie Sydney Brown will likely push him for snaps based on draft capital alone. IDP managers should temper expectations that the Eagles will have a repeat producer at DB this season. The New England offense will likely continue to be effective as a running team and short passing offense. This doesn’t bode well for Blankenship, who will likely man the deep safety role.

Miami Dolphins @ Los Angeles Chargers


Khalil Mack, DL, Los Angeles Chargers

Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa are one of the more underrated EDGE combos in the NFL. This tandem has struggled to stay on the field together in their short time as teammates. I love the matchup for both players this week against a vastly overrated Miami Dolphins offensive line who are without their best player in Terron Armstead. Mack had a bounce-back season with 50 tackles and eight sacks in 2022. The presence of Joey Bosa should make Khalil Mack’s job much easier and give him a chance to finish as a top-24 DL this week.

Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks 


Julian Love, DB, Seattle Seahawks

The Jamal Adams injury saga continues after recovering from a nasty injury a season ago. Julian Love steps in as the starter for Week 1 coming off a career year with 116 tackles and a DB overall finish behind only Jalen Pitre. If Love is as effective with Seattle it’s going to make things complicated if and when Jamal Adams suits up again. Julian Love posted his highest PFF coverage grade (71.5) of his career. I’m not banking on Julian Love being a top 5 DB this season but given his current situation he should be a must-start for the opening game of the season. 

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants


Bobby Okereke, LB, New York Giants

It’s felt like forever since we had a reliable starter at LB for the New York Giants in terms of IDP production. Adding Bobby Okereke to the Giants’ defense has given them a proven high-volume tackler at the LB position. The former Indianapolis Colts’ LB has collected 280 stops over the past two seasons, including posting his best PFF run defense grade (79.3) in 2022.

Bobby Okereke posted five games of 10+ tackles last season. He should continue to produce playing behind a strong defensive front. Okereke played 85% of defensive snaps last season, including five games of 100% defensive snap share. Bobby Okereke has a strong chance with a healthy season to finish as a top 12 LB.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets 


Taron Johnson, DB, Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have been committed to playing Nickel defense nearly every snap for most of the last two seasons. A huge piece in them being effective with that is the strong play of the safeties and slot cornerback Taron Johnson. The former Weber State DB has posted 75+ tackles in the past three seasons. The Buffalo defense will be more dependent on the secondary this season after the departure of LB Tremaine Edmunds in free agency. The Buffalo defense did not try to find a suitable replacement at LB and is looking to get by with what they have on their roster.

Taron Johnson has been a top 36 DB in the past three seasons. He has a plus matchup this week against the New York Jets, who he has had solid success against over his career. Johnson has averaged 11.55 fantasy points per game over eight career games against the Jets. The addition of Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets will likely increase defensive opportunities for Johnson, and he has a chance to finish as a top 12 DB in Week 1.

The Wrap-up

That will do it for this week, Nerds. I know you all are as excited as I am that the NFL season is back, and we can finally start to see the results of the off-season work. We truly appreciate all your support of the content at Dynasty Nerds, and we love providing you with as much information as possible so you can crush your league mates each year.

I’m looking forward to providing you with more data every week to help you put yourself in the best position to win your weekly matchups.

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