It’s that time once again IDP Nerds. Your week three edition of ‘Man Coverage’ is here. It’s hard to believe we are rapidly approaching the first month of the NFL season, already coming to a close. I can’t remember a season recently when the injuries and uncertainty have been as impactful as it seems this early. You know the drill: we adapt and adjust, which is why we stack depth on our dynasty rosters. We bounced back strong last week with a 71% accuracy rate, bringing our early season total to 52% after a tough opening week. Let’s look at what we have in store for week three.
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.
Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns
Amani Hooker DB, Tennessee Titans
Amani Hooker returns to the Titans’ lineup after missing last week with a concussion. He steps into a plus matchup against the Cleveland Browns, who have allowed two DB1 weeks through the first two games. Last week, the Browns surrendered five tackles or more to four different defensive backs.
Amani Hooker was the DB2 overall in his only game this season. I’m not expecting him to post another 25+ point performance this week, but he should easily be one of the most productive defensive backs this week with a great matchup. The Titans safety played 44 of his 54 snaps aligned as a box safety or in the slot in Week 1. The opportunity should be there again this week, and you should feel safe starting him everywhere.
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions
Arnold Ebiketie DL, Atlanta Falcons
We aren’t ready yet to start Atlanta’s pass rushers in our lineups. Arnold Ebiketie earned more snaps in Week 2 with a 62% defensive snap share after seeing the field for only 23% in Week 1. The second-year pro from Penn State posted a 37.5 pressure rate last week, but it still raises concerns as a dynasty manager.
I love the upside for Ebiketie going forward, but as encouraging as last week was, he draws a tough matchup with the Detroit Lions, who have not allowed a top 12 defensive line performance through two games. The Lions also have only allowed 1.5 sacks over their first two games. Arnold Ebiketie’s tackle floor is too uncertain to risk starting him without a guarantee he will record a sack. Keep an eye on the young EDGE, as he is the most interesting player on the Atlanta front, but it’s just not time yet.
New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers
Pete Werner LB, New Orleans Saints
Pete Werner has racked up fifteen tackles and a half sack through his first two games. The Saints linebacker has been on the field for 99% of the team’s defensive snaps this season. He continues improving in Dennis Allen’s defense and is turning himself into a matchup-proof LB. The New Orleans defense plays man coverage the second most in the NFL, and Werner has been a big reason why they can. According to Pro Football Focus’s data, he’s been targeted ten times through two games while playing 70 coverage snaps.
Pete Werner draws a plus matchup this week with the Green Bay Packers, who have allowed a top-12 performance to the LB position in back-to-back weeks. I’m very confident Werner will continue his hot start to the 2023 season. Keep the former Ohio State Buckeye in your lineups this week and continue to watch him rack up the fantasy points.
Denver Broncos @ Miami Dolphins
Bradley Chubb DL, Miami Dolphins
Well, you know how much I love a good revenge game scenario. Bradley Chubb and the Miami defense host his former team, the Denver Broncos, in their home opener. Over the years, Chubb has battled injuries and inconsistent scoring in IDP leagues. However, he’s coming off his best performance since week five of 2022. Bradley Chubb is coming off a DL7 performance last week and will have some extra motivation to get after his old team. The Broncos are giving up an average of 4.5 sacks per game over their first two. The Miami defensive line has a big opportunity this week, and we could see multiple players finish in the top 12 at the DL position.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Minnesota Vikings
Kenneth Murray LB, Los Angeles Chargers
Many IDP managers left Kenneth Murray for dead, but as it always goes, one injury can change everything. The injury to veteran LB Eric Kendricks has given life back to the former 2020 first-round pick. Murray played 100% of the snaps in Week 2 and collected 10 tackles and a sack on his way to scoring over 20 fantasy points. The Chargers defense has been very average through two weeks but will feel the pressure of trying to slow down the NFL’s best WR in Justin Jefferson. Kenneth Murray should be an every-down LB again this week, and I look for him to continue his play from Week 2.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Quincy Williams LB, New York Jets
The New York Jets and New England Patriots square off this week in what is likely to be a ground-and-pound AFC East matchup. While C.J. Mosley gets most of the credit amongst the Jets linebacker group, it’s Quincy Williams who leads the group in fantasy points through two weeks. Williams has been an effective tackler and has played 97% of snaps this season. Williams has had success against the Patriots, scoring double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four against them. New England is allowing an average of 73 tackles per game and allowed their first LB1 performance in Week 2. This is a nice matchup for Williams, and he should return on your investment in him big time this week.
Buffalo Bills @ Washington Commanders
Cody Barton LB, Washington Commanders
Cody Barton bounced back in Week 2 with an LB21 performance. The former Seahawks LB looked much more comfortable in the Commanders’ system, collecting 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. Barton was one of my favorite off-season signings. He should have a chance to post a 100+ tackle season fairly easily, playing behind the Commanders’ defensive line.
The Buffalo Bills have allowed three LB1 performances this season through the first two weeks. The Bills looking to protect QB Josh Allen’s turnovers put more emphasis on the run game last week and will likely do more of the same this week. I like the chances for Barton to post another big performance and reward dynasty managers in Week 3.
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
M.J. Stewart DB, Houston Texans
As IDP managers, it’s all about taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. M.J. Stewart is set to make his second consecutive start for Jalen Pitre, who is yet to return to practice. The veteran defensive back has 15 tackles with a forced fumble and fumble recovery this season. He’s averaging 14.5 fantasy points per game with only one start under his belt.
The Jacksonville Jaguars offense was frustrated last week against the Kansas City Chiefs defense and will likely focus on putting up some points in Week 3. The Jaguars are one of five NFL teams to surrender a top-12 performance to DL, LB, and DB this season. This is a ride the hot-hand approach, and as long as Pitre sits out, Stewart should be a strong consideration for your lineup every week.
Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens
E.J. Speed LB, Indianapolis Colts
The trap was set last week for IDP managers when E.J. Speed finished as the LB8. The veteran linebacker saw his snap share rise to 54% in Week 2, most notably his 83% third and fourth down snap share. He was used in favor of former dynasty LB1 Shaq Leonard. I’ve played this game a long time, and as much as we preach, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ it’s also important not to be too reactionary.
This looks like it will be a situational rotation from game to game. I’m not replacing Leonard in lineups in favor of Speed, but it’s also a bit safer to treat both linebackers as matchup-dependent, with Zaire Franklin being the plug-and-play starter. E.J. Speed has notched impact plays in each of his first two games. If that doesn’t continue, he will likely be a disappointing performer if you choose to start him.
Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks
Uchenna Nwosu DL, Seattle Seahawks
The return of Bobby Wagner to the Seattle defense has capped the tackle opportunities for the rest of the defense. Death, Taxes, and Bobby Wagner recording 10+ tackles are what Seahawks fans can depend on. Uchenna Nwosu had a very strong season with Seattle last year, in large part due to him posting his first career 60+ tackle season. That seems very unlikely with Wagner, Brooks, and Julian Love on the team in 2023.
The Seattle defense will match up with a Carolina offensive line that’s given up three sacks per game through two games. Nwosu will have to be treated as an impact play-dependent defensive line going forward. Unless there’s a glaring matchup advantage for him, there will likely be better options on your roster, much like this week.
Chicago Bears @ Kansas City Chiefs
George Karlaftis DL, Kansas City Chiefs
Nobody was happier to see Chris Jones back as much as second-year EDGE rusher George Karlaftis. The former Purdue Boilermaker racked up 1.5 sacks with Jones back in the lineup, even on limited snaps. Karlaftis has played over 80% of snaps in the first two games, averaging 16.5 fantasy points per game. This week, he has a plus matchup with the Chicago Bears offensive line, who are tied for the league lead in sacks allowed (5). George Karlaftis leads all Chiefs’ EDGE players in pass-down snap share (74.1%) and win rate (13.1%). He’s becoming a reliable dynasty asset at DL at half the cost of some of the top players in his position.
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals
K’Von Wallace DB, Arizona Cardinals
K’Von Wallace should have been one of the top waiver wire adds, if not after Week 1, definitely after last week. Wallace stepped up in Budda Baker’s absence and led the team in tackles. The former Philadelphia Eagle has finished in the top two in the team in tackles in the first two games this season. He led the team in box snaps (46) in week two, which will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Wallace should see consistency in his usage with Baker out for at least four games. IDP managers should take advantage of this and keep him in their lineups.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Las Vegas Raiders
Tre’von Moehrig DB, Las Vegas Raiders
Tre Moehrig has been the best DB for the Raiders, turning in back-to-back double-digit performances to start the season. He’s averaging 11.5 fantasy points per game and draws a matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have allowed one top-12 DB performance this season.
The Steelers’ offense leads the NFL in three-and-outs (14), and there are concerns about how many opportunities there will be for a deep safety to make plays. Moehrig played 30% of box snaps in Week 2, but he’s still a much more complete deep safety and spent over 50% of his snaps in that role last week. The DB position is the most readily streamable in IDP fantasy football, so finding a better option here won’t be difficult.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jalen Carter DL, Philadelphia Eagles
I can’t forget to give my DT-premium league players some love. We will get the double whammy here by showing the defensive tackle position some love, as well as the rookies. I love Jalen Carter and expect him to make life miserable for Baker Mayfield in week three. He saw a dip in snaps on a short week against the Vikings but should be well-rested and in for a big game after playing last Thursday. According to PFF, the Eagles’ rookie defender ranks 12th among interior defenders in pass rush grade and 5th in run defense grade. As an IDP manager in DT-required leagues, it’s hard not to play Carter if he’s on your roster. Just watching him play, you come away impressed every time.
Los Angeles Rams @ Cincinnati Bengals
Cam Taylor-Britt DB, Cincinnati Bengals
We know the rules. Cornerback deserves some love in this column every week. Cam Taylor-Britt gets the nod this week with a primetime rematch of Super Bowl LVI. The Bengals cornerbacks will see a heavy dose of Puka Nacua, who leads the NFL in targets and receptions through two games. Taylor-Britt led the Bengals in targets faced last week and will likely see that volume increase with Matt Stafford operating this pass-volume-heavy Sean McVay system. This is strictly a CB-required start, but there’s sneaky value here. Puka Nacua lined up out wide on 69.2% of his routes, while Cam Taylor-Britt lined up as an outside corner on 90% of his snaps last week.
That will do it this week, IDP Nerds. I hope these start/sit recommendations make the weekly decisions a bit easier on you. Every decision has logic and rationale behind it. Well, some are just gut calls, but those tend to hit more often than not.
I look forward to continuing to bring you everything you need to know about IDP to help you crush your leagues. Until next week, continue to build those IDP dynasty powerhouses and enjoy this weekend’s slate of games.