IDP Hits: Week 3
Any IDP Starters Actually Healthy This Week?
If you think RB has been brutalized by injuries, then you probably haven’t followed the defensive injury reports this week.
That’s OK. They don’t get nearly as much coverage.
But it’s bad. So we’re going to spend most of this space rounding up the most significant IDP injuries and talking through some of the replacements.
We just might uncover a few Week 3 IDP sleepers along the way.
Who Might Play?
First, here are the “questionable” players we’ll be tracking and updating ahead of this weekend’s games. They’re listed in approximate order of IDP relevance. And any linked player will jump to more info on his situation below.
- Josh Allen, Edge, Jacksonville Jaguars (shoulder)
- Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami Dolphins (back)
- Joey Bosa, Edge, Los Angeles Chargers (hamstring)
- Julian Love, S, Seattle Seahawks (hamstring)
- Kenny Moore, CB, Indianapolis Colts (knee)
- Willie Gay Jr., LB, Kansas City Chiefs (quad)
- Denico Autry, DL, Tennessee Titans (foot)
- Quandre Diggs, S, Seattle Seahawks (hamstring)
- Dallis Flowers, CB, Indianapolis Colts (ankle)
- John Franklin-Myers, Edge, New York Jets (hip)
- Jamal Adams, S, Seattle Seahawks (knee)
- Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay Packers (back)
- Paulson Adebo, CB, New Orleans Saints (hamstring)
- Jeff Okudah, CB, Atlanta Falcons (foot)
- Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Green Bay Packers (elbow)
- Justin Houston, Edge, Carolina Panthers (calf)
Of course, a bunch more potential IDP starters have been knocked completely out by injuries. We’ll get to all the relevant guys in the team notes section.
The Cardinals already went without S Budda Baker last week, and will for the next three games as well. He’s on IR with a hamstring injury. K’Von Wallace took over full-time reps in his place. Wallace looks like merely a decent tackle collector.
Arizona will also miss LB Josh Woods for the second straight game. He started next to Kyzir White in Week 1 before missing the second game. That left Krys Barnes as the No. 2 LB in Week 2. And his playing time there (82%) equaled the combined playing time of Barnes and Woods in Week 1.
So expect a similar role for Barnes against Dallas this Sunday. That makes him a LB4-5 level option in our Week 3 LB rankings.
S Geno Stone tallied a team-high 9 tackles (7 solo) and grabbed an INT last week in his first start since S Marcus Williams’ pec injury.
Williams’ return timeline has since shortened, and he’s not even hitting IR (at least yet). But Stone remains the starter this week against the Colts.
Baltimore’s defense will also miss CB Marlon Humphrey (foot) for the third straight game, as well as Edge Odafe Oweh.
The Bears will likely miss S Eddie Jackson against the Chiefs. He’s doubtful with a foot injury that cost him three quarters of last week’s game.
Second-year S Elijah Hicks filled in there and looks poised to start Sunday. He has joined the Week 3 DB rankings but sits low. Hicks will need to load up on tackles to present any upside here.
S Jaquan Brisker also left last week’s game for a stretch. But HC Matt Eberflus said afterward that the safety was getting treated for dehydration and that the coach was happy with the way Brisker played after he returned.
The big news here is obviously the ACL tear that ended CB Trevon Diggs’ season during the practice week.
That’s expected to shift nickel CB DaRon Bland outside to fill Diggs’ spot, with Jourdan Lewis stepping into the slot.
According to Pro Football Focus, Diggs played the ninth-most coverage snaps among all CBs last season and tied for 15th in targets faced. That’s plenty of opportunity for Bland, who could get tested even more by opponents than Diggs would have been.
Elsewhere on D
The Cowboys will get S Donovan Wilson back this week. How much will he play? That’s not yet clear.
It’s tough to expect full time after he spent the past month getting over a calf injury. Stashing Wilson now is a solid plan. Trusting him this week is risky.
The Broncos already faced a big challenge in the Dolphins’ passing game this week. It’ll be even harder without S Justin Simmons, who is out with a hip injury.
That leaves Delarrin Turner-Yell likely to make his first pro start. The fifth-round pick from 2022 did start for three years at Oklahoma and grab 3 INTs as a senior. But he also defensed just six passes for his career – according to Sports Reference. And he’s likely the third option. Denver already lost backup S Caden Sterns to a season-ending injury.
Miami has supplied the second-most solo tackles to DBs through two weeks. I don’t see why they wouldn’t test the Denver secondary this week. So Delarrin-Yell sits fairly high in the DB rankings. And S Kareem Jackson has also moved up.
Edge Jonathon Cooper is off to a good start. His Week 2 blowup – 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble against Washington – brought that into focus. But Cooper’s playing time might be more noteworthy.
He has seen 64% and 71% snap shares. Injuries to Baron Browning (PUP list) and Frank Clark (out this week) have helped. And their returns could slash Cooper’s playing time going forward. But he’s an option this week.
S C.J. Gardner-Johnson is out for a while – perhaps the season – after tearing a pectoral muscle. That returns Tracy Walker to the starting lineup this week.
Walker opened last year as the team’s FS before suffering an Achilles’ tear in Week 3. He was physically ready for the start of this season, but lost out to the combo of Gardner-Johnson and rookie Brian Branch (nickel CB) coming out of camp.
We’ll have to see just how close Walker is to pre-injury form. And he still figures to handle more deep duty. Kerby Joseph -- also out this week with a hip injury -- has been the primary "box" safety through two games.
That makes Walker especially unexciting for Sunday’s matchup with the run-loving Falcons. But I’ll be watching to see if Walker can be a longer-term option.
S Ifeatu Melifonwu is expected to start in Joseph's place. The third-year safety saw primary "box" duty in his limited playing time last year.
Green Bay Packers
Pro Football Focus grades Edge Rashan Gary 10th-best in pass rushing among all edge players so far this season. That’s awesome, especially because he’s coming off an ACL tear.
The problem: Gary has played just 34 total snaps through two games. He did climb from 16% snap share in the opener to 27% last week. But he’ll have to go a lot further before we can start him in IDP lineups.
I’ll keep tracking Gary’s playing time to see if he has a shot to get there.
The Texans carry myriad injury issues on defense into Sunday’s Jacksonville visit.
S Jalen Pitre remains out with the bruised lung he suffered in the opener. We’ve already seen both Eric Murray and M.J. Stewart work as fill-ins through two weeks. But Murray looks like the preferred third safety.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to start any Houston safety. But I’m guessing Murray over Stewart if you’re in that deep a situation.
More guys go down
The secondary has also lost top CB Derek Stingley Jr. and slot CB Tavierre Thomas.
Stingley’s expected to miss multiple games after suffering a hamstring injury in Wednesday’s practice. Veteran Shaquill Griffin looks like the next man up in his spot and has been a solid-to-good stat producer in his career. Expect his old team to test him this Sunday.
Thomas had surgery this week for a hand fracture. Don’t be surprised if he’s back soon. Defensive players tend to return fairly quickly from such injuries and playing with a “club” on their casted hand.
More importantly for IDP purposes, LB Denzel Perryman (hand) will miss Sunday’s game. That should mean rookie Henry To’oTo’o and Christian Harris as the top two.
To’oTo’o passed Harris in use last week and looks like the better bet going forward.
CB Kenny Moore is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. But the “plan is for him to play,” according to Colts Wire.
Moore went limited-out-limited through the practice week. So we’ll confirm his status Sunday.
If he’s in, Moore could be busy. The Ravens targeted the slot heavily in Week 2.
Edge Josh Allen is questionable with the shoulder injury that knocked him out of last week’s game early.
He managed limited practices all three days this week, which encourages optimism. And Houston’s fast-paced, pass-leaning offense to date presents upside.
We’ll confirm his status Sunday morning.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs will go without LB Nick Bolton, who sprained an ankle last week.
Leo Chenal has been the No. 3 LB in playing time through two weeks. But HC Andy Reid called Drue Tranquill “most likely” to fill in for Bolton. And the veteran, former Charger said he’s ready to call the defensive plays.
That points to at least something near a full-time role. You’ll find Tranquill higher in the LB rankings than Willie Gay Jr., who is questionable with a quad issue.
Los Angeles Chargers
LB Eric Kendricks (hamstring) remains out this week. That should keep Kenneth Murray as the top LB for at least one more game, a role that allowed him 10 tackles in Week 2.
Nick Niemann started next to Murray last week but saw a mere 77% playing time. And this week finds third-round rookie Daiyan Henley potentially returning.
He’s questionable after missing the first two weeks with a hamstring injury. But Henley put in full practices Thursday and Friday.
He might be worth stashing in deeper leagues whether he plays or not. Murray remains not very good, and Kendricks is a short-term solution (one-year deal). I wouldn’t be surprised if Henley gets a starting shot at some point this season.
What about Bosa?
Edge Joey Bosa’s “questionable” tag would be a bigger story. But it’s the same way he entered last Sunday.
Then, he looked very iffy to play through the hamstring injury after barely practicing on Friday. Turned out he barely made it onto the game field as well, playing just 29% of snaps. But that was enough to produce 4 tackles and 2 sacks.
It’ll be tough to sit Bosa this week if he’s active.
Edge Jaelan Phillips is questionable for the second straight game. He suffered his back injury in Friday practice last week and then missed the New England game.
This time around, Phillips practiced every day. That included full participation Friday.
I’d bet he’s playing vs. Denver. But we’ll confirm Sunday.
We’ll see just what the Seattle secondary looks like on Sunday.
S Julian Love should be a good IDP bet after racking up 13 tackles (10 solo) last week. But he’s questionable with a hamstring injury.
His status is further complicated by the potential return of S Jamal Adams, who is also questionable after returning to practice last week.
Even if Adams plays, it’s tough to know what we should expect right away. He has barely played football since tearing a quad muscle in Week 1 of last season.
S Quandre Diggs is also questionable with a hamstring injury. We’ll see about the status of all three on Sunday. Trying to not use any seems like a good idea, though Love might be worth holding out for.
S Kamren Curl was initially listed as questionable with an illness. Washington removed him from the injury report Saturday, however. He’s good to go for an upside matchup with the pass-happy Bills.
At LB, Jamin Davis has no injury. But he does have a disappointing role.
The third-year, former first-round pick has seen just 62% and 65% playing time the first two games. He’s trailing Cody Barton, who arrived on a one-year deal after playing his way out of Seattle’s lineup.
Time to give up on Davis in IDP leagues.
Preview the Rest of Week 3
Jared and Matt run through some key stories and situations ahead of NFL Week 3 in this video.