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Week 3 IDP Hits

By Matt Schauf 11:00am EDT 9/25/22


Week 3 brings some healthy returns, some key absences and a number of situations that still need clarity ...

  • Broncos LB Josey Jewell (calf) is expected to play today for the 1st time this season. It’s tough to know for sure whether they’ll jump him right back into his full role. Once he’s all the way back, though, Jewell looks like the best bet for full playing time at the position. His return means you shouldn’t use Alex Singleton in IDP lineups. We’ll see who stays with Jewell in the lineup between Singleton and Jonas Griffith, whose playing time has been disappointing through 2 games.
  • Commanders S Kamren Curl is ready for his season debut after missing the 1st 2 weeks with a thumb injury. He reclaims the role that allowed Darrick Forrest to score as a top-10 fantasy DB through 2 weeks. As for Forrest? We’ll see whether he can maintain a significant role.
  • The Bills will miss more than half of their starting secondary today. Neck injuries have knocked out CB Dane Jackson and S Micah Hyde (for the season). S Jordan Poyer (foot) is not expected to play. Jaquan Johnson will fill 1 of the safety spots and is worth a stash in deep leagues. He topped 90 total tackles in each of his final 2 college seasons, with 6 INTs and 5 forced fumbles. Johnson landed in Round 6 of the 2019 NFL Draft after poor testing (4th percentile speed score). That’s a great reason for opponents to target Buffalo downfield, and today’s opponent – Miami – is 1 of the league’s best suited for testing that area.
  • Bears LB Roquan Smith missed practice all week with a hip injury but was still listed as questionable. Here’s what HC Matt Eberflus had to say about Smith’s chances: “We'll have to see if he's going to be up or down. He's working towards the game and we're hopeful that he'll be there." That sounds pretty risky either way.
  • Lions EDGE Aidan Hutchinson barely practiced this week with his thigh injury. But he doesn’t seem worried about the effect, and HC Dan Campbell said he’s not worried about the rookie missing the practice time. I’d use him as planned today.
  • Playing time for Panthers LB Shaq Thompson was up from 75% in Week 1 to 92% in Week 2. We’ll look for Week 3 to confirm which of those will be closer to the norm, but he’s usable against the Saints.
  • It has been Nick Scott working ahead of Jordan Fuller at safety for the Rams through 2 weeks. He has played 88% and 87% of snaps, while Fuller has gone for just 31% and 59%. Taylor Rapp went from 100% in Week 1 to 82% last week, indicating there may be some game-plan variations to the way this trio fits. But Rapp and Scott have opened the year as the clear top 2.
  • Colts S Nick Cross saw his playing time fall from 100% in the opener to just 65% in Week 2. Rather than replacing him with another safety, though, it looks like the Colts opted for more 1-safety alignments against the Jaguars. We’ll see where that goes against the Chiefs today.
  • Falcons S Jaylin Hawkins went from 98% playing time in Week 1 to just 57% in Week 2. HC Arthur Smith reportedly said afterward that it was driven more by a desire to get more players into the mix than dissatisfaction with Hawkins. That, folks, is coachspeak. If a safety is playing well and helping your defense, then you don’t sit him down just for the sake of others’ playing time – unless Smith believes this is a rec league. Dean Marlowe and Erik Harris each saw playing-time increases in Week 2. But this situation will need to settle out before we can use any of those guys.
  • Titans CB Caleb Farley – a 1st-round pick just a year ago – is running clearly behind 2nd-round rookie Roger McCreary, who has been a full-timer through 2 games.
  • If you’ve been wondering why more Cowboys D-linemen aren’t showing up in our weekly IDP rankings … then you might be paying a little too much attention to them. Really, though, it’s because only 2 members of that group have cracked 44% playing time across the 1st 2 games. EDGE Demarcus Lawrence leads the way at 63.6%, with DT Osa Odigizuwa following at 55.3%. Behind them sits EDGE Dorance Armstrong (43.9%), with no other D-lineman reaching 40% over that span. Unless you play in an impressively deep league, that’s just not a level worth visiting for an IDP option. Really, I’d guess there aren’t many leagues out there that will reward you for looking at any Cowboys front-line defender beyond Lawrence.
  • Not only has Ravens LB Patrick Queen played every snap through 2 games, no other Ravens LB is exceeding 50%. This looks like a true breakthrough season for the former 1st-rounder.
  • Dolphins S Brandon Jones dipped from 100% playing time in the opener to just 64% in Week 2. The difference might have been the healthy return of 3rd safety Eric Rowe, and the coaching staff’s desire to get him on the field to cover Ravens TE Mark Andrews. (It didn’t help.) We’ll see how the 2 are deployed against Buffalo, but Jones remains an upside (if risky) play.
  • Packers rookie LB Quay Walker played 78% of the snaps vs. the Bears in his return from a Week 1 shoulder injury. Green Bay got just 41 total snaps on defense. Only S Darnell Savage made more than 4 solos. Walker seemed on his way to good numbers before the injury in the opener. We’ll get likely our best look at the 1st-round pick today against the Bucs.
  • With Denzel Perryman out last week, Raiders LB Divine Deablo played every snap vs. the Cardinals and led team with 15 tackles. Jayon Brown added 12 tackles on 77% playing time.
  • A week after leading Cardinals LBs in playing time, Zaven Collins played every snap vs. the Raiders in Week 2. Isaiah Simmons played just 15 total snaps; Nick Vigil 26 (39%). Tanner Vallejo entered the mix as well, at 30%. The team needs Simmons to step up and help a struggling defense, but he’s obviously a bad bet until the playing time rebounds. Even a full return for Simmons shouldn’t affect Collins’ role, though. Arizona wants to be able to move Simmons around the formation. Collins is a straight LB.
  • Lions rookie LB Malcolm Rodriguez crept up from 60% playing time in the opener to 73% last week. Alex Anzalone remained #1 at the position in playing time for the team. Snaps decreased, though, for both Chris Board and Derrick Barnes – who didn’t play on defense at all. I’ll be watching for further growth in Rodriguez’s role. He reached useful status with 8 tackles and a QB hit in Week 2, though.
  • LB Kwon Alexander tied for 2nd among Jets in tackles (7) and 1st in solos (6) in Sunday's win over the Browns. But he played just 46% of the snaps. C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams continued to operate as the clear top 2.
  • Drue Tranquill took over off-ball LB playing time for Chargers in Week 2, playing 84% of snaps. Kenneth Murray (47%) and Kyle Van Noy (46%) trailed.

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