Welcome back IDP Nerds. The NFL season is off to a red-hot start. I hope you are all enjoying it as much as I am. The ups and downs of being an IDP manager for an entire season can be taxing on you, so make sure you enjoy the highs and embrace the struggle of the lows. Unfortunately, last week was not our best showing. We had a tough week, which is expected this early in the season, coming in at just 33.3% accuracy. In total, 5 out of the 15 recommendations from our start/sit column were correct. We will take this as a learning experience in an effort to bounce back strong this week. Let’s look at what we have in store for Week 2.
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!
- QB: Mike Hicks (@DroptheMikeFF) – Changing the Call
- RB: Jake Oliver (@DarthDbacks) – The Cutback
- WR: Tristan Cook (@THEtristancook) – Slant Pattern
- TE: Steven Pintado (@CoachStevenP) – 12 Formation
- FLEX: Evan Brown (@FFEVanlution) – Let’s Talk About Flex
- IDP: Jon Glosser (@Glosser13) – IDP Start/Sit
NOTE: Rankings are based on a 12-team PPR league. So, saying WR2 means top 24, or TE1 means top 12, etc., and are pulled from Fantasy Pros consensus expert rankings.
Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons
Kenny Clark DL, Green Bay Packers
Kenny Clark is often the forgotten-about player in DT-premium leagues. The 7th year pro for the Packers defense has been an underrated IDP over his career. He has posted at least 40 tackles and 2 sacks in six straight seasons. Clark only played 51% of snaps in Week 1 in a blowout win against the Chicago Bears.
The Green Bay defense started the season with a 25% pressure rate. Clark was credited with four of the team’s twelve pressures, including two hurries and one QB hit. The Packers’ defense will have a plus matchup this week against the Atlanta Falcons, who allowed two top-12 DL finishes in Week 1. Kenny Clark has a chance to put together a strong week in a very good matchup.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Buffalo Bills
Robert Spillane LB, Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a big division win to start the season. The team will head to Buffalo, New York, to play one of the top teams in the conference, the Buffalo Bills. The Buffalo offense allowed 70 tackles in Week 1, with 17 of those being credited to the starting LB position. Robert Spillane played 100% of the team’s defensive snaps in Week 1 and turned in a seven-tackle performance. I expect the Bills’ offense to be on the field for a large portion of this game, and if Spillane can keep up these tackling numbers, he will be a solid starter all season long for dynasty managers.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
Dax Hill DB, Cincinnati Bengals
IDP dynasty managers who invested in the Bengals’ newest safety combo came away happy after Week 1. Dax Hill and Nick Scott scored over 15 points in Week 1, and losing Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates from an IDP perspective became an afterthought. Dax Hill played 97% of the defensive snaps in the team’s opening week. The University of Michigan product played 14 box snaps and posted a 74.5 coverage grade from PFF. Hill looks every bit as good as we thought he would be when he became a full-time starter.
The Bengals secondary will have another key matchup in Week 2 with a divisional matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. Hill is coming off a six-tackle and one-interception performance. The Baltimore offense has already allowed one top-12 DB performance this season. I’m all in on Dax Hill with another repeat top DB performance in Week 2.
Seattle Seahawks @ Detroit Lions
Jack Campbell LB, Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions’ defense looks to be a much-improved unit just one game into the 2023 season. However, dynasty managers were frustrated with the lack of usage from the team’s top rookies, Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell. The top LB in the 2023 NFL draft only played 25 snaps in Week 1. It appears Dan Campbell still trusts Alex Anzalone as the top LB option for the Lions.
Jack Campbell played 19 coverage snaps of his 25 total. Unfortunately, he posted just a 49.6 PFF coverage grade against the Chiefs. The ability of the Detroit defense to play more nickel and dime may limit Campbell’s snaps early in his career. It’s hard to justify starting Campbell when both Alex Anzalone and Derrick Barnes played more snaps in the opening game. It’s no time to panic. Just be patient with expectations for the rookie LB.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Tennessee Titans
Kenneth Murray LB, Los Angeles Chargers
Kenneth Murray has been a bust overall for IDP managers who spent high draft capital on him in the 2020 rookie drafts. Murray has been a poorly graded player but has had some bright spots of production from a fantasy perspective. He suits up this week for a Chargers team already being hit with injuries on both sides of the ball. He played 90% of snaps in Week 1 but graded poorly and only managed three stops.
The volume alone should see Murray be a mid to high-end LB2. The Tennessee Titans were one of just two teams to give up an LB1 and DB1 performance last week. Eric Kendricks and rookie LB Daiyan Henley are listed as doubtful this week. This is the perfect opportunity to have Murray in your lineups this week.
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ryan Neal DB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ryan Neal was one of the more underrated off-season signings for IDP leagues. The former Seattle Seahawks safety is coming off the best season of his career. He played 100% of the defensive snaps in an upset road win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1. He should be able to produce solid numbers starting alongside Antoine Winfield in the Tampa Bay secondary. Last week, the Chicago offense gave up 7 tackles or more to three different DBs. Neal should be locked in for a top-15 performance this week.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Chris Jones DL, Kansas City Chiefs
The return of Chris Jones was imminent after an opening game loss for the Super Bowl Champions. Jones signed a one-year deal to stay with the Chiefs for this season. Kansas City’s defense is very young, and Jones will surely open up things for everyone else. Although he had a huge game against the Jaguars last season, this isn’t an ideal matchup. The Jaguars offensive line gave up the fifth fewest sacks last season. Jones also struggled against them in the playoffs, collecting just one tackle.
In non-DT premium formats, I’m nervous that Jones won’t finish as a top DL in his first game back. The heart of the Chiefs defensive line has missed all of training camp and preseason. Given his position, it would be surprising to see him step in and play a majority of snaps in his first game since last year’s Super Bowl. I would be cautious about his usage this week and fade him if you have the depth on your roster.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
M.J. Stewart DB, Houston Texans
IDP managers were dealt a big blow with the loss of Jalen Pitre just one week into the season. Pitre was widely regarded as the DB1 in all formats heading into the 2023 season, and a scary injury forced him out of action before halftime. Houston Texans veteran safety M.J. Stewart stepped in and played every snap at strong safety in his absence. Stewart recorded five tackles and had many opportunities while playing 12 box snaps of his 35 snaps.
IDP managers should take advantage of their waiver wires this week and pick up Pitre’s replacement as he sits out this matchup. M.J. Stewart should essentially be treated as a direct handcuff, much like we do with running backs on the offensive side. Stewart has a chance to be a solid replacement at the cost of free until we get Jalen Pitre back on the field.
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams
Derion Kendrick DB, Los Angeles Rams
The cornerbacks deserve some love, too. Derion Kendrick is one of my sleepers to have a solid performance in Week 2. The Rams and 49ers defenses had an easy opening weekend of football, with both of their offenses scoring 30 points. This week should be much different for the Rams, and I expect their defense to be tested against a high-powered Kyle Shanahan offense.
Derion Kendrick averaged 9.5 fantasy points per game against the San Francisco 49ers last season. In two games, he registered nine stops and was targeted 11 times. The opportunities will be there for him to be a formidable starter in CB-required leagues. The Rams defense will have their hands full this weekend, and the opportunities on the defensive side will be plentiful. Derion Kendrick is a streamable CB this week that can give you those fantasy points to swing a matchup in your favor.
New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals
Jason Pinnock DB, New York Giants
The New York Giants were embarrassed at home on the opening weekend. They will look to take that frustration out on one of the NFL’s worst rosters, the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals held their own on the road in Week 1 against Washington but face a much stiffer test with the New York Giants this week. The Giants’ defense didn’t have much of a chance in Week 1 as they saw their offense and special teams give up 13 points.
Jason Pinnock was one of the lone bright spots in limited action. Pinnock slid into the role vacated by Julian Love this off-season, and he wasted no time showing his worth with a five-tackle performance in Week 1. Arizona gave up 15 tackles to the starting safeties of the Washington Commanders last week. In what is shaping up to be a much closer game, I expect Jason Pinnock to be a consistent DB all season.
New York Jets @ Dallas Cowboys
Jordan Whitehead DB, New York Jets
The New York Jets safety benefited big time from some bad decisions by Josh Allen in week one, leading to three interceptions. In Week 1, he scored 30 fantasy points, with 18 coming off his three interceptions. The New York defense has so much talent I don’t think you can rely on Jordan Whitehead as a consistent high-volume tackler. He only registered one double-digit performance over his last five games of 2022. As deep as the DB position is, you can find a slightly better option this week.
Washington Commanders @ Denver Broncos
Chase Young DL, Washington Commanders
The former second overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft has been cleared to play his first NFL game since last season. Chase Young has just 1.5 sacks since 2021 after starting his career looking like a future premier EDGE defender. The Washington Commanders defender has physical and mental hurdles to overcome before being relied on as a plug-and-play starter in your lineups.
Adding Young to the Commander’s defense will improve that unit tremendously. I would be very cautious with his usage as the team will be looking to keep him healthy for the remainder of the season. Chase Young could be in line to have a big season, with this being the last season under contract with Washington. It’s worth waiting to see it before we confidently start him in our lineups.
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
Jevon Holland DB, Miami Dolphins
Jevon Holland is coming off a huge game in the opener. Holland collected 14 tackles while playing every snap for the newly led Dolphins defense. The former Oregon Duck DB posted an 86.4 overall PFF grade. He averaged 16.55 fantasy points per game against New England in 2022. He looks much more comfortable just one game into Vic Fangio’s defensive system. The Patriots allowed two top-12 DB performances in Week 1. This bodes well for IDP managers with Holland locked and loaded in their lineups this week.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
Jeremy Chinn DB, Carolina Panthers
The IDP community is a bit low on Jeremy Chinn, with him not having a defined safety role in the Panthers’ defense. Chinn played 73% of snaps in Week 1 and is classified as the ‘Big Nickel’ in this defense. It would be more comforting knowing he was locked in to play 100% of the snaps. I still think Chinn is a special talent and will be close to the 100+ tackle seasons he posted in 2020 and 2021 if he remains healthy.
The Panthers’ DB played 21 snaps in the box and 10 snaps as a slot defender last week. He will likely be utilized as a matchup weapon all season. This will lead to some overall frustration, but there’s no reason to keep him out of your lineup as long as he continues to post productive weeks. Chinn is a very good defender, and one injury on the back end will move him back to a guaranteed 100% snap share.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Cole Holcomb LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to spoil the Cleveland Browns’ first 2-0 start since 1993. The AFC North will be a tough division all year, and wins will be hard to come by. The Browns allowed 19 tackles to starting LBs last week, which should bode well for IDP managers this week. Cole Holcomb is coming off a pedestrian-like 10 fantasy points in a blowout loss to the 49ers last weekend.
Cole Holcomb is a solid IDP starter when he’s healthy. He should be just as effective in his first season with the Steelers and could post his third 100+ tackle season. This one is shaping up to be an old-school defensive matchup. I expect Holcomb to be able to post a high tackle number to give IDP managers some confidence in starting him for the rest of the season.
That’s going to do it for Week 2 Nerds. I’m hoping for a bounce back this week so you don’t lose faith. The hardest weeks to predict are the early weeks in the season, with coaching changes and roles still undefined. Thanks for stopping in to read this week’s column, and I look forward to watching the games this week. If you have team-specific lineup questions, feel free to hit me up on the X, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Until next week, keep building those IDP powerhouses, and let’s get them wins this week.