IDP Hits: Week 1
Where Snaps Might Matter More than Stats
You’re probably already thinking about picking up Brian Branch in your IDP league, aren’t you?
Well, you probably shouldn’t.
The Lions rookie DB got plenty of buzz during Thursday night’s opening win at Kansas City. And he delivered the biggest play of the game: a 50-yard INT return for a TD that tied the score early in the third quarter.
That play alone makes Branch a potential difference-maker for Week 1 if he happens to be in your fantasy football lineup.
But you probably didn’t use him if you’re going by our Week 1 IDP rankings.
Don’t Ignore the Playing Time
I didn’t even project Branch for Week 1. It’s not because I didn’t expect him to play. I just didn’t know exactly what his role would look like.
And rather than make a total guess, I’d prefer to not use such a player his first time out and then judge thereafter.
Branch’s TD and buzz from Cris Collinsworth overshadowed that the rookie only played 68% of Detroit’s defensive snaps.
That ranked him eighth among Lions defenders; fifth among the DBs.
The rookie looks like the team’s nickel DB (third CB), and that might mean more playing time other weeks. He’ll need to increase that snap share to be worth starting in most IDP leagues.
Six other Lions defenders collected more tackles, and three others matched Branch’s three total stops.
He might well get picked up in your league’s Week 2 waiver run. But I’d let someone else have him.
Disappointing Start for Another Rookie
Everyone in fantasy football has a take on RB Jahmyr Gibbs’ disappointing Week 1 playing time. The Lions’ first-round pick on defense quietly had the same issue.
LB Jack Campbell played just 25 snaps against the Chiefs, 38% of the team total and third-most among non-edge LBs.
Alex Anzalone easily led the group at 94% playing time and will be the corps’ top IDP option until that changes.
Derrick Barnes checked in second but played just two more total snaps than Campbell.
This isn’t a Gibbs-David Montgomery situation.
Expect Campbell to quickly pass Barnes, who still doesn’t own a full-time role in his third season with the team.
Can Campbell ascend to full-time duty next to Anzalone, or perhaps eclipse Anzalone if Detroit wants just one full-timer at LB?
We’ll see. But Campbell belongs on fantasy benches until there’s a dramatic increase in his playing time. He doesn’t need to be rostered in shallower IDP leagues.
Other Notes from Thursday Night
- Lions Edge Aidan Hutchinson looked strong in the opener. His 91% playing time ranked fifth among all Detroit defenders, a particularly high rate for a D-lineman. Hutchinson didn’t register a sack but collected 7 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
- Teammate James Houston played just 32% of the snaps in the opener. Houston is interesting after exploding for 8 sacks in seven games as a sixth-round rookie. But he’ll need to get on the field a lot more to be an IDP option.
- LB Malcolm Rodriguez officially sits fourth among Lions non-edge LBs. I still believe there’s long-term NFL-starter potential. But it’ll probably have to come with a new team – or at least after Anzalone’s gone.
- Chiefs Edge George Karlaftis played a career high in both total snaps and snap share in the opener. He closed last season in the 50-60% range of playing time but jumped to 84% against the Lions. The second-year player racked up 7 tackles (3 solo), 1 tackle for loss and a pass deflection. Expect him to climb our Rest of Season rankings.
- Edge Mike Danna started opposite Karlaftis and also set a career high in snap share (86%). He delivered 6 tackles (4 solo), 1 sack, and a pass deflection. Danna will also climb the rankings.
- LB Willie Gay Jr. opened the year in the same role as last year, playing 67% of snaps. That’s the primary issue with his IDP outlook. Gay managed just 3 total tackles against the Lions (2 solo). He’ll do better plenty of other weeks, but he’ll also have that kind of downside risk. That makes Gay an option only for deeper IDP leagues, at least unless/until Nick Bolton goes down.
What to Expect
We’ll use this space to assess playing time, roles, and performance around the league, now that we’re getting real-game data on all the players.
We’ll also look at key injury situations to monitor for the week. Fortunately, we don’t have much on that front to worry about with Week 1 IDPs.
Looking for help with your IDP start or sit questions? Click the Team Intel button from your My Leagues page. That will take your league’s scoring and lineup requirements into account and personalize the recommendations.
Got any questions about IDP basics or strategy heading into Week 1? Check out this video for answers.