Every week of the NFL season winds up producing more IDP nuggets than I know what to do with.
I started last season posting team-by-team notes each Monday morning under the #IDPHits hashtag as I go through the playing time and game stats from the previous day. But that doesn't cover the other stats and info I come across while digging into trends and matchups for the week ahead.
So I decided to start up this new weekly series to pass along some IDP nugget for every team, items that may or may not have made it into my week-opening IDP Free Agent Focus and may or may not appear in the player blurbs that accompany the weekly rankings.
Here goes ...
LB Haason Reddick climbed from 57% playing time in Week 1 to 85% against the Ravens on Sunday. That’s good to see for a guy we projected among the top 40 LBs preseason, and it makes sense. Reddick missed nearly all of training camp and the preseason following a knee procedure, and the playing time suggests Arizona was easing him back in.
Reddick delivered a usable 7 tackles (5 solo) and a pass breakup at Baltimore after tallying 5 against Detroit in the opener. The Cardinals’ hectic pace on offense should keep the play totals up on both sides of the ball and help tackle numbers around the defense.
MLB Deion Jones’ mere 62% snap share in Week 1 was worrisome. But then he played 93% against the Eagles on Sunday night to kill those worries. Return him comfortably to every-week starter status.
CBs Anthony Averett and Brandon Carr both played 100% in Week 2 with Jimmy Smith out. Carr played just 59% of the Week 1 snaps, with Averett at 90%. Pro Football Focus has Averett seeing the league’s most targets in coverage through 2 games, a number boosted by his Week 2 matchup with the Cardinals (94 pass attempts so far).
CB Levi Wallace has played every snap through the first 2 games, supplying 13 tackles and 3 pass breakups. Only MLB Tremaine Edmunds has more total tackles, and no one in Buffalo has more solos than Wallace.
Playing across from Tre’Davious White should remain a valuable spot. According to Pro Football Focus, the 19 targets Wallace has seen in coverage so far rank 2nd highest in the league. His 93 snaps in coverage trail only 3 CBs who played in the Week 1 Detroit-Arizona OT game.
Rookie EDGE Brian Burns tallied 4 total pressures against the Bucs in Week 2, according to Pro Football Focus: 1 sack, 1 hit, 2 hurries. Burns gets an upside spot against the Cardinals in Week 3. Kyler Murray has taken 8 sacks through 2 games.
OLB Leonard Floyd followed his 2-sack opener with a quiet Week 2. He did manage a QB hit vs. Joe Flacco, at least.
The Bengals are basically going with a 2-LB alignment so far, with Nick Vigil and Preston Brown each playing enough to generate solid tackle numbers.
Week 1: Vigil 90%, Brown 76%
Week 2: Vigil 99%, Brown 86%
Another run-favoring matchup with the Bills lies ahead in Week 3, which keeps both players in lineup consideration. I’ll continue to favor Vigil over Brown, despite the latter’s 14 total tackles against the 49ers.
After both lost time to injuries in 2018, LBs Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey appear to be back to their usual roles. Schobert has yet to miss a snap this season. Kirksey played 100% in the opener but then just 84% against the Jets. I haven’t seen any report of an injury, but he was reportedly working on the side during Wednesday’s practice. We’ll see what’s up here.
DE DeMarcus Lawrence played a normal (for him) 74% of the snaps in the Week 2 win at Washington. That marked a significant rise from his 46% rate in Week 1, a particularly encouraging sign after Lawrence had late-spring shoulder surgery.
On a separate note, DE Robert Quinn comes off his 2-game suspension this week to face the team that traded him to Dallas. Let’s see how much Quinn plays, but the upside is obvious.
The Broncos tied for 8th in the league with 44 sacks last season. Through 2 weeks of 2019, they’re the only defense with 0.
Von Miller has notched just 2 total pressures (both hurries vs. Oakland), according to Pro Football Focus. Bradley Chubb had 2 hits against the Bears and 1 hurry against the Raiders. Both need to step it up.
DT Damon Harrison climbed from 29.5% of the snaps in Week 1 to 51% against the Chargers in Week 2. That still would have ranked among his smaller shares with Detroit last season, though. Here’s how his 10 games as a Lion went (according to Pro Football Reference), along with his total tackles for each contest:
61.9% -- 7
67.3% -- 7
59.6% -- 6
67.2% -- 3
51.7% -- 3
53.6% -- 7
51.4% -- 4
76.5% -- 6
63.9% -- 5
32.1% -- 2
Playing time always matters, but it’s especially important for Harrison, whose fantasy value depends heavily on his tackle totals.
Green Bay Packers
Neither rookie FS Darnell Savage nor free-agent import SS Adrian Amos has missed a snap for a Packers defense that looks greatly improved. Savage looks like a potential playmaker in coverage after arriving as a 2nd-round pick.
OLB Whitney Mercilus has played at least 90% of the snaps in each of the 1st 2 games. That’s a level he hasn’t reached regularly since 2016. He played 73.4% of Houston’s total defensive snaps last season, reaching 80% seven times and 90% just once. Mercilus hasn’t been terrifically efficient at generating pressure in his career, but extra play volume can help mask that. He also appears to be playing at his highest level since 2016. A Week 3 visit to the Chargers carries sack upside.
And if you’re worried about J.J. Watt, don’t be. Pro Football Focus credited him with 6 total pressures against the Jaguars: 1 hit and 5 hurries. The sacks will come -- probably this week.
MLB Darius Leonard must pass through the concussion protocol this week before he can play Sunday against the Falcons. If he’s not ready to go, then Anthony Walker looks like the best bet for full (or near-full) playing time.
Rookie E.J. Speed sits behind Leonard on the “unofficial” depth chart, but fellow rookie Bobby Okereke has worked in as the 4th LB and might factor into the replacement plan.
Rookie OLB Quincy Williams missed the entire preseason after suffering a meniscus tear in training camp. He rebounded to start the season opener but left that game for a stretch with knee trouble. Williams played every snap of the Week 2 loss at Houston, however, and tallied 9 tackles (6 solo). He’s worth a look on waivers this week ahead of the Thursday night clash with Tennessee.
Kansas City Chiefs
No Chiefs LB played more than 77% of the snaps in Sunday’s win over the Raiders. That doesn’t make it time to worry about Anthony Hitchens just yet. But I’ll be watching.
Los Angeles Chargers
CB Brandon Facyson has missed just 5 snaps through 2 games and collected 17 tackles (13 solo). We’ll have to see whether he ducks back out of the lineup once Michael Davis is healthy. Davis missed the 1st 2 games with a hamstring injury and is still listed as the starter opposite Casey Hayward on the team website’s “unofficial” depth chart.
Los Angeles Rams
OLB Dante Fowler has settled in at 80+% weekly snaps. He has reached that level in 7 of his 13 games since arriving from Jacksonville, including each of the past 5.
Pro Football Focus credited Fowler with 6 total pressures against the Panthers in Week 1 and 5 more against the Saints in Week 2. He totaled just 30 across 11 games last year (2.7 per contest) and reached 4 in a game just 3 times.
This week brings an upside matchup in Cleveland.
Through his first 4 seasons, CB Eric Rowe only cracked 50% playing time for the year once and topped out at 80% in 2016. He has played 93% through 2 games with the Dolphins and is delivering starter-level production.
Rowe spent the past 3 years in New England, along with new Miami HC Brian Flores. He’s a good bet to stick in a defensive lineup that figures to continue spending plenty of time on the field.
DE Everson Griffen racked up 11 pressures in last week’s loss to the Packers, according to Pro Football Focus: 3 hits and 8 hurries. Griffen was basically an every-week IDP starter before last year’s combo of injury and off-field issues. He could well be that again this year and is certainly worth playing against the Raiders in Week 3.
New England Patriots
DT Adam Butler jumped from 17 snaps in Week 1 to 37 and starter status in Week 2. According to Pro Football Focus, 45 of his 54 reps through 2 games have come on pass-rushing opportunities. He probably won’t have another 2-sack outing all season, as he did against the Dolphins. Butler could, however, pop up with a few more helpful IDP lines in DT-required leagues amid a loaded New England defense. DL Michael Bennett, meanwhile, dipped from 37 Week 1 snaps to 25 against the Dolphins on Sunday.
New Orleans Saints
DE Marcus Davenport notched a sack among 3 total QB hits Sunday against the Rams, typically not a positive matchup for pass-rushers. Week 3 upside awaits with Russell Wilson, who has taken 4 sacks in each game so far this year.
New York Giants
The Giants opened the year with Tae Davis as the ILB starter next to Alec Ogletree. That has already changed.
Davis played 0 defensive snaps in Week 2, only seeing the field on special teams. Rookie Ryan Connelly, meanwhile, jumped from 38% defensive participation in the opener to 84% against the Bills. I’ll be curious to see how much he plays against the Bucs.
Ogletree remains the only full-timer, but he’s not a strong run defender. Connelly has a chance to accrue more snaps than B.J. Goodson and others managed in the role last year.
New York Jets
ILB Neville Hewitt has delivered at least 1 QB hit, 1 tackle for loss and 1 pass defensed in each of the 1st 2 games. He’s worth a look in IDP leagues regardless of C.J. Mosley’s status. Both Jets ILBs gave us usable numbers through much of last year (albeit under a different coaching staff).
The IR trip for rookie DB Johnathan Abram should be good news for S Karl Joseph’s playing time, right? Well, the former 1st-round pick dropped from 85.5% of the snaps in Week 1 to just 63% in Week 2. The whole Oakland secondary appears to be worth ignoring for now.
At LB, Vontaze Burfict actually climbed from 87% playing time in the opener to 95% against the Chiefs. That bodes well for his numbers in a more favorable matchup this week with Minnesota, who probably won’t be lobbing 30+ yard completions on every snap.
LB Zach Brown went from 44% playing time in the opener to 76% against the Falcons in Week 2. Settling in at that level would give Brown some value, but we’ll need to see it happen again. In the meantime, Nigel Bradham is the only sure full-timer. We’ll see when Kamu Grugier-Hill is ready to return from his knee injury -- and just what that means for the lineup. A healthy Grugier-Hill will likely reclaim a starting job.
Rookie ILB Devin Bush has fared well on the tackle front so far (18), but he trailed Mark Barron in playing time Sunday against the Seahawks: 80% vs. 100% for the vet. Bush’s snaps did rise slightly in Week 2, so we’ll see where this goes.
San Francisco 49ers
LB Kwon Alexander had his Week 1 cut short because of an ejection. In Week 2, though, he played just 74% of the snaps. He has yet to show up on the injury report since the season started, but it’s fair to wonder whether his repaired ACL is slowing him down.
DE Nick Bosa, meanwhile, dipped from 55% playing time in the opener to 44% in the Week 2 win over the Bengals. Perhaps part of that was San Francisco winning handily at Cincinnati, and thus making it easier for coaches to rest Bosa’s bothersome ankle. But he was also far less effective in Week 2. Pro Football Focus graded Bosa at 80.5 overall, 81.2 in run D and 74.6 in pass rushing for Week 1. Those numbers fell to 53.2, 60.6 and 61.2, respectively, for Week 2.
He’s worth sitting against the Steelers in many cases.
DE Ezekiel Ansah still has yet to play for the Seahawks, as he continues to work back from offseason shoulder surgery. First-round pick L.J. Collier made his debut in Week 2, though, playing 16 snaps (28% of the team total).
DT Quinton Jefferson, meanwhile, climbed from 64% in Week 1 to 79% in Week 2 despite the added company on the line. Jefferson continued to see time on the edge (on both sides), but he increased his DT reps from 18.8% of his Week 1 playing-time total to 31.8% in Week 2.
The biggest takeaway here is that there’s room for the versatile Jefferson to stay on the field amid others’ healthy comebacks. We’ll see about his performance beyond the 2-sack Week 1 in a nice matchup with the Bengals.
Jefferson is a low-floor play this week against the Saints, though the ceiling rose when Teddy Bridgewater replaced Drew Brees. A Week 4 visit to Arizona presents intriguing upside.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If Devin White (knee) can’t go, then it looks like Kevin Minter will start in his place. Minter played all 73 of Tampa Bay’s defensive snaps last Thursday night against the Panthers after White left on the 6th play. Minter would be no more than an OK option against the Giants, though.
ILB Jayon Brown has played 90+% of the defensive snaps in each game so far. He cracked 90% just 3 times all last season. Second-year ILB Rashaan Evans played 94% against the Colts in Week 2, a career high share and up 15 percentage points from his Week 1 snap rate.
Rookie ILB Cole Holcomb saw a predictable drop in his stats from the 9 tackles (8 solo) at Philly in Week 1. But his 6 tackles (2 solo) against Dallas belied an encouraging increase in his playing time.
Holcomb went from 68% of the snaps in the opener to 90% in Week 2. That led all Washington LBs (Jon Bostic 2nd at 79%) and ranked 4th among all Washington defenders. He looks like the Washington LB to own for tackles right now -- if such a thing exists.