Welcome back IDP Nerds. We have officially wrapped up the first quarter of the dynasty fantasy football season. The lineup decisions become more important each week as wins and losses at this point become more important. Last week’s results were 57% accuracy, bringing the season total to 58.75%. We have some work to do to improve our accuracy this week. Let’s look at what the NFL has in store for us in Week 5.
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.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills
Chad Muma LB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Let’s start our Sunday with a stress-free linebacker over your favorite breakfast. The Buffalo Bills will travel to London to play a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has been there for two weeks. The Buffalo offense has been firing on all cylinders after losing in Week 1 to the Jets. Since the start of the season, the Buffalo Bills have allowed 5 top 12 LB weeks, and I expect that total to go up in Week 5. Foyesade Oluokun is a must-start, but I also like LB Chad Muma in this matchup. The former Wyoming product started his first game of the season last week and recorded seven tackles. The Bills are sixth in the NFL, allowing 19.5 LB tackles per game. Chad Muma looks to keep his starting role even when Devin Lloyd returns to full health. This game could be a step in the right direction.
Houston Texans @ Atlanta Falcons
Will Anderson DL, Houston Texans
Will Anderson and the young Houston defense have a plus matchup this week against the struggling Atlanta Falcons offense. He has double-digit performances in two of his four starts. The Atlanta offensive line is one of six teams currently allowing four sacks or more per game. The Alabama pass rusher has averaged over 40 snaps per game this season and has a 67% snap share through his first four games. He has at least two pressures in every game and has a chance to record his second sack of the season against the Falcons, who have allowed three DL1 finishes through four games, that’s tied for most in the NFL.
Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions
Tracy Walker DB, Detroit Lions
The injuries keep piling up for the Detroit Lions secondary, with their top rookie, Brian Branch, being ruled out for Week 5. Tracy Walker has already seen an increase in snaps over the past two weeks, with C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Kerby Joseph missing time. Walker has averaged 12.5 fantasy points per game while playing 100% of the snaps in those games.
The Carolina Panthers have allowed the eight most tackles to the safety position this season. They have also allowed the second most DB1 weeks (3) over the first month of the season. The veteran defensive back carries a safe enough tackle floor to produce guaranteed fantasy points to your lineup this week. I’m starting Walker with confidence in this matchup.
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
Grover Stewart DL, Indianapolis Colts
Grover Stewart was a monster last season, finishing with a career-high in sacks (4) and fantasy points. He’s found a home playing next to DeForest Buckner, and the two have been one of the most efficient interior defensive lineman tandems in the NFL. The two both finished in the top 10 of DTs scoring last season.
As always, we show the DT-premium leagues some love every week, and Stewart is this week’s featured player. He’s coming in averaging 10.35 fantasy points per game against the Tennessee Titans over his last eight games. The Colts big man collected 15 tackles and one sack in two matchups with the Titans last season. This one is a numbers game, and the Titans are bottom five in the NFL, allowing four sacks per game. They also have allowed 15.8 tackles per game to the defensive line position, which is 16th in the NFL through the first four games.
New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins
Micah McFadden LB, New York Giants
The New York Giants find themselves in a tough position, staring at a potential 1-5 start after a brutal schedule. Their offense has been awful, and their defense hasn’t been much better. One of the team’s bright spots from an IDP perspective has been Micah McFadden. The second-year linebacker is currently a top-20 scorer at his position. Unfortunately, this week’s matchup, combined with a nagging injury forcing him to carry a questionable tag, makes him a fade for me this week. The Miami Dolphins have allowed the second-fewest tackles and fantasy points to the LB position this season. The Dolphins offense forces you to get more speed on the field, which could limit McFadden’s opportunities this week. IDP managers would benefit from him sitting this week out with a plus matchup against the Bills, who have allowed the most LB1 weeks coming up next week in primetime.
New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots
Jabrill Peppers DB, New England Patriots
Jabrill Peppers is having a great start to this season, ranking as the DB27. Peppers has always had a solid upside as an IDP fantasy scorer; it’s always been his health that remained the biggest question mark. He’s earned the trust of the coaching staff, which is evident with his 96% snap share through four games. His 19 solo tackles are tied for 25th among qualified safeties, according to PFF. Peppers has also seen at least three targets in every game this season while playing on average, 17 box snaps in each of those games.
The New Orleans Saints have allowed the 12th most tackles per game (14) to safeties this season while allowing an average of 41.5 points overall to the position every week. Kyle Dugger and Jabrill Peppers are the only safeties playing over 90% of snaps for New England. This is a plus matchup for them both to finish with double-digit performances this week.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Alex Highsmith DL, Pittsburgh Steelers
This one is painful because I’m a big fan of the player and the talent. This matchup is not favorable, and a lingering groin injury makes this a complete fade for me. Alex Highsmith has been designated as questionable ahead of a division matchup against the division-leading Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers pass rusher started the season red-hot with 56 points over his first two games; he has just eight fantasy points over his last two games.
The Baltimore Ravens have yet to allow a DL1 week this season. They rank 19th in the NFL in tackles allowed to the DL position. The Steelers’ pass rusher has only recorded a double-digit fantasy performance in two of his last six games against Baltimore. As much upside as Highsmith carries, this one has all the signs of a tough week for him. IDP managers should look to use their depth to find a suitable replacement for this week.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Arizona Cardinals
Zaven Collins DL, Arizona Cardinals
The Zaven Collins as a DL experiment in Arizona is not going particularly well. He’s coming off a 200+ point season at LB, and while it would seem he would be effectively a cheat code at DL, it just hasn’t been the case. Collins is the DL37 on the season, largely due to his impact plays (1.5 sacks,1 FR, 1 INT). He’s played less than 30 snaps in his past two games and only averaged 2.75 tackles per game. This matchup with the Bengals makes me nervous. They have yet to allow a DL1 week and have allowed the seventh fewest tackles to the DL position this season. If you have better options, I would look at those this week.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams
Reed Blankenship DB, Philadelphia Eagles
Reed Blankenship has been another great find for Eagles GM Howie Roseman. The 2022 undrafted free agent has been so good for IDP managers. Despite only playing three of four games, he’s the DB18 on the season. Blankenship is sixth among all DBs in scoring average at over 23 fantasy points per game. The Eagles DB ranks tied for sixth in targets (18) among qualifying safeties, according to PFF. It’s impressive he’s able to do this while only playing a total of 27 box snaps this season. The Los Angeles Rams haven’t been terrible against opposing DBs, but this week, Blankenship will keep up his 20-points-per-game pace and remain one of the most consistent DBs on the season.
New York Jets @ Denver Broncos
Josey Jewell LB, Denver Broncos
Josey Jewell returns to the Broncos lineup this week against the New York Jets. The Jets offense showed some upside last week and will likely turn to Breece Hall to help pace the offense again this week. The LB duo of Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell will probably be relied on again as high-volume tacklers in this matchup. The former Iowa Hawkeye has totaled 19 tackles in just two and a half games this season. I like his chances to keep up his high tackle numbers this week. The Jets are allowing an average of 15 tackles per game to the linebacker position but that changes this week with a positive game script that will see the Denver LBs playing a high number of snaps and hopefully they can rack up tackles to score more fantasy points.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Minnesota Vikings
Josh Metellus DB, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have used Josh Metellus as a third safety and nickel LB this season, and he’s provided consistent play. He’s been a very effective IDP scorer through the first four weeks of the season, and Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores seems to love him. The Vikings DB is averaging 6.75 tackles per game and has played at least 56 snaps in every game. He’s seen his box snaps increase over the past two weeks, and his snap share has increased with him playing over 94% of snaps in those games. This is a game where the Vikings defense will need as much versatility on the field as possible going up against the Chiefs. Josh Metellus has scored in double-digits in every game this season, averaging just under 15 points per game. He should be a safe bet against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense.
Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers
DaRon Bland DB, Dallas Cowboys
We usually show the cornerback’s love for the CB-required leagues. We have to do something different this week with a CB sit recommendation ahead of this huge Week 5 matchup. DaRon Bland has been as hot as any corner back, as he is tied for the league lead in interceptions with three. I spoke about this in the IDP quarterly report this week, but his production is so impact-play-dependent that he will fall off eventually. This is a tough matchup against Brock Purdy, who is yet to throw an interception this season, and the San Francisco 49ers, who have yet to allow a DB1 week in 2023. I’m fading the Dallas DB this week in what could be a preview of the NFC Championship game later this season.
Green Bay Packers @ Las Vegas Raiders
Robert Spillane LB, Las Vegas Raiders
Robert Spillane remains a solid, safe play at LB for IDP managers. Spillane is averaging 8.25 tackles per game and 16 fantasy points per game through his first four games with the Raiders. He’s set himself apart from teammate Divine Deablo as the only LB to play 100% of the snaps this season. He’s unlikely to give you that massive scoring week, but he has a safe tackle floor and will continue to give you the production you can count on in your lineup weekly. The Green Bay Packers have allowed two LB1 weeks this season while allowing 35.9 fantasy points per game to the LB position. IDP managers should count on another solid week from the Raiders LB in primetime.
Thanks, as always, for checking in on your weekly IDP nerd content. We are officially starting the second quarter of the season, and the pressure to collect wins is becoming more crucial. The amount of research put into each lineup decision each week is my gift back to the IDP community. I hope that all data provided in these columns can be used to your benefit. Until next week, keep building those championship teams, and we will be back next week for more of that nerdy IDP content.