IDP Start/Sit: Week 17

Updated: December 28th 2023

 

This is it. Championship week. Or third-place game. Or consolation bracket time. It doesn’t matter! You’re here and you are excited to chop it up on IDP thoughts and lineups, so you are doing it right! Let’s dive into Week 17!

Week 16 Recap

DL:

Start: Jonathan Allen (2 solos, 2 assists, 3 QB hits) 👎 – So close to getting home for the sack(s) 

Sit: Kayvon Thibodeaux (QB hit) 👍

LB:

Start: Dvin Lloyd (2 solos, 3 assist, TFL) 👎 

Sit: Nicholas Morrow (Ended up inactive, hopefully you pivoted in time to have someone) 

DB:

Start: Trenton Thompson (Ended up inactive, hopefully you pivoted in time to have someone) 

Sit: Rayshawn Jenkins (3 solos, 4 assists) 👎

Week 17 Starts & Sits

START: Michael Hoecht, Los Angeles Rams, DL53 (ED39)

Michael Hoecht game into this season as one of the few players from last year with any significant playing experience. He was able to parlay that in a starting role and he took advantage of that delivering a strong year here in 2023. We have seen this all year with a respectable 10.28% pass rush rate. He has shown increased success over the past 5 weeks as well with a good 14.5% win rate and a really good 19.4% pass rush win rate. While this hasn’t given us the sack production we would like to see, this week’s matchup against the Giants can be a nice salve for that drought. The Giants have one of the best matchups with their 30% pressure rate allowed as well as a 17% sack conversion rate, too. This wonderful cross-section of recent strong play and an ideal matchup have Hoecht as a strong play in championship week.

SIT: Justin Madubuike, Baltimore Ravens, DL33 (DT08)

Justin Madubuike has had a transcendent season and saying his name in a sit, or more specifically fade, the situation seems blasphemous entirely. He has delivered 11 straight weeks with a sack, which is insane, but we did finally see this streak come to an end against the 49ers this last week. Additionally, his production has been outpacing expectations. Based on his pressures and rate, I would see him at 10 sacks versus 13, so a bit of negative regressions seems in order at this point. Also, his production has come primarily as a pass-rusher and his tackle floor leaves a bit to be desired (38 combined tackles over 15 games). With a limited floor, if he is not able to deliver in the sack department, he becomes a little more risky of a play. This week against the Dolphins, he is trying to bring down Tua who is one of the least sacked QBs this season. The Dolphins seem able to stay in rhythm and get the ball out quickly consistently limiting pass rush upside for their opponents. Madubuike is still relevant because of his talent, but in the final week, be wary of his upside.

START: Khaleke Hudson, Washington Commanders, LB38

Khaleke Hudson has been an absolute tackling machine at any point this year when he has been giving the starting nod. While this is still a relatively small sample size at this point (226 snaps), he has been absolutely efficient at delivering. He has 43 tackles for an unbelievable 19.0% tackle efficiency! While he is limited in his big plays delivered over this time, his tackle production more than makes up for it, and their matchup against a hyper-efficient 49ers offense, should only offer up further opportunities for him to pile up the tackles, It is as simple as that here in Week 17.

SIT: Nick Bolton, Kansas City Chiefs, LB30

Nick Bolton is starting to experience the wonders of the Steve Spagnuolo LB rotation we have always feared. Now, the question is, is this from injury limitations? Performance? The play of others? A combination of this and more? Either way, Bolton is not playing 100% of snaps, he is closer to 90%. While that is still great, the 100% we came to expect and appreciate is seemingly gone. And since his return from injury over the last two weeks, Bolton has yet to log a play beyond just tackles. This severely limits the upside we have been able to account for with him and the Bengals as an opponent this week is not the matchup we thought we had in Week 1. And Browning seems to be turning back into a pumpkin after his game against the Steelers. A hamstrung Bengals offense and a limited Bolton don’t bode well for a great Week 17 performance.

START: Jordan Battle, Cincinnati Bengals, DB19 (S18)

On the other side of the defensive matchup in the Chiefs vs. Bengals, we have Jordan Battle. And since Jordan Battle stepped in for the injured Nick Scott in week 11, the lowest tackles production we have seen from Battle was 3, but every other game we saw a minimum of 6 tackles with 3 games at 9 or more tackles! His alignment has been very good too as he is getting at least 18 box snaps every game and more like 25+ box snaps per game. But the kicker for this week is actually Patrick Mahomes who has been uncharacteristically presenting more turnover-worthy plays this season and has the 5th most up to this point in the season. While this number is slightly inflated due to the higher number of pass-play runs, this is still a volume that Battle will be seeing all day in their matchup and offers him a very nice upside in a key week for us all.

SIT: Jordan Fuller, Los Angeles Rams, DB32 (S28)

Jordan Fuller is only a few years removed from being an IDP darling (in 2021 he piled up 106 total tackles!). He is currently pacing out for 93 total tackles this season (17 games played) so he is far from a disappointment. However, his recent utilization is a bit concerning. In 2 of his last 3 weeks, he has 7 and 5 box snaps and 2 of 3 games with 4 or fewer tackles as well. He is also a product of volume this season with a below-average 8.0% tackle efficiency and having to rely on a big play to save his week, while the big plays are few and far between. His matchup against the Giants does not help his case this week with their offense struggling and switching QBs. Tyrod Taylor might provide some jolt to the offense, but there is a reason he is a backup and this offense will likely struggle against a strong Rams unit, limited by the sheer volume that Fuller will have this week.

 

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IDP Start/Sit: Week 16

Updated: December 20th 2023

 

Hello and welcome to all you first-round bye people and champions of the first round. With only two weeks left in the fantasy football playoffs, things are sure to be intense, stressful, and hopefully, in the end, very successful for you. So let’s find those IDPs we want in a lineup, and those, we might not, for week 16.

Week 15 Recap

DL:

Start: Greg Rousseau (1 solo, 1 assist, TFL, 0.5 sack, 2 QB hits) 👍 

Sit: Boye Mafe (1 solo, 1 PD) 👍

LB:

Start: Josey Jewell (7 solos, 2 assists) 👍 – Good tackle performance, nothing in the pass rush department though

Sit: David Mayo (Did not get the anticipated start) 👎

DB:

Start: Vonn Bell (1 solo, 1 assist) 👎

Sit: Trevon Moehrig (1 assist) 👍

Week 16 Starts & Sits

START: Jonathan Allen, Washington Commanders, DL42 (DT10)

Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne are the core of this line after Montez Sweat and Chase Young were shipped off at the trade deadline earlier this year. He has not let that slow him as he has been a strong contributor all season. This shows in his analytics so far this season, with his 15.5% win rate which is 7th among all interior defenders while also delivering 9.13% pressure rate, which is very impressive from an interior defender. While the Commanders have been known for their lack of offensive line play and sacks allowed, there is another team that is right there with them and it is the New York Jets, whom the Commanders happen to play! The Jets have allowed 63 sacks over the 14 games with the majority coming through the interior of that offensive line, meaning fire up Jonathan Allen this week.

SIT: Kayvon Thibadeaux, New York Giants, DL40 (ED31)

Kayvon Thibadeux has really delivered in his sophomore campaign with 13 total sacks already this season. However, his production has been a significant over production, based on the number of pressures he has produced. With only 37 pressures on the season, I would anticipate his sack total to be close to 6.5, not 13. And this has shown in some of his weekly production as well, with 4 games this season with zero pressures compiled while still getting at least 18 pass rush snaps in each of those games. His ability to disappear from games so far this year, combined with a matchup against an Eagles offensive line that has allowed some of the lowest sack conversion rate, Thibadeux is likely in for another one of those low output weeks.

START: Devin Lloyd, Jacksonville Jaguars, LB23

Devin Lloyd has taken a rough end to his rookie season where he lost starts and snaps to Chad Muma. Now, he has had a very strong sophomore season and the last 5 games of his have been amazing! 54 total tackles over the last 5 games with 32 coming in run defense and the other 22 in coverage. This amazing tackle floor will be reinforced with Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their strong usage of their backfield, specifically Rachaad White. White has 66 carries and 9 targets over the last 3 weeks and they will not slow down in their usage of the backfield, and Lloyd will be able to take advantage of this with his play-making.

SIT: Nicholas Morrow, Philadelphia Eagles, LB41

Nicholas Morrow seems to be the last linebacker standing in Philadelphia. Nakobe Dean lost to injury, Zach Cunningham injured, Christian Elliss cut, and now Shaq Leonard is the new guy alongside him. Nicholas Morrow is great at getting out on to the field and making sure things are squared away from an NFL perspective, but for his IDP production, he is very average. He is a career 10% tackle efficiency and is on that exact same track this season. He has one boom performance where he compiled 3 sacks in one game and with only 5 other pressures to show for outside of that one performance. Also, the utilization of more 3 safeties as Matt Patricia is the new defensive play caller will likely limit his ability to make plays in coverage as well. And for week 16, they get division rival, the New York Giants and Tommy DeVito. And the Giants’ offense has shown its own inefficiencies and it is shows in their 31st ranked 55.3 plays ran by the offense over the last 3 games. So for Morrow, 10% efficiency over 55 plays, doesn’t give us a great tackle floor to rely on this week.

START: Trenton Thompson, Pittsburgh Steelers, DB72 (S51)

Trenton Thompson has stepped in several times throughout the season as the backup safety. However, he will be asked to permanently step up with news of Damontae Kazee’s recent suspension. Thompson has done an admirable job while filling in those times this season. In the three games where has played 40+ snaps this season, he has delivered 9.5%, 10.34%, and 11.76% tackle efficiency. Most notably, in week 15, he took 32 of his 51 snaps in the box, too. While this is a small sample and we don’t want to take away too much, this combined with his former performances when given the volume, gives me confidence for week 16 where the Steelers take on the Bengals. The Bengals offer a very average matchup in terms of safety production for IDP scoring and tackles, but the biggest benefit might come from the play of the Steelers’ offense and its recent inability to sustain drives. And the uncertainty around Kenny Pickett only adds to this at this time.

SIT: Rayshawn Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars, DB17 (S17)

Rayshawn Jenkins is coming off a huge performance in week 1 of the fantasy playoffs, but this is not something we have been able to comfortably rely on him, even with some of the best box usage of any safety (2nd with 398 box snaps). He still comes in with a slightly below-average tackle efficiency for a safety, even given his ideal usage, at 8.95%. Jenkins has also under-delivered in splash plays beyond tackles. He recorded his first sack on his 6th pressure, which is about the expected rate. He also has 5 PDs and 2 interceptions on the season whic align with what he has done most seasons, so to consistently rely on more big plays is not likely. This week Jacksonville takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they are allowing just 9 tackles to the safety position over the last 3 weeks, which leaves a very small pie from which Jenkins can pull from.

 

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IDP Start/Sit: Week 15

Updated: December 14th 2023

 

Well, congratulations. You are reading this because you have made it to your fantasy football playoffs! Or you are just a degenerate of IDP football and you always want to learn. Both deserve congratulations, one just might get you a trophy yet this year though. Let’s dive in.

Week 14 Recap

DL:

Start: Samson Ebukam (1 solo, 1 assist) 👎 

Sit: Chase Young (1 PD) 👍

LB:

Start: Mykal Walker (1 solo, 2 assists, INT, PD) 👍 – Only 44% snaps. Saved by the INT. They seem to be moving on already due to his liability in pass coverage

Sit: Nicholas Morrow (4 solos, 2 assists, 2 PDs) 👎

DB:

Start: Kyle Hamilton (4 solos, 3 assists, TFL) 👍 – Only 56% of snaps, due to injury

Sit: Jalen Pitre (7 solos, 1 assist) 👎 – Apparently this was Zach Wilson’s coming out party???

Week 14 Starts & Sits

START: Greg Rousseau, Buffalo Bills, DL44 (ED33)

Greg Rousseau and the Buffalo Bills have a huge matchup for the season and their playoff push this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Rousseau appears to be a strong option for our lineups this week as well as we make our push through the fantasy playoffs. Over the last 5 weeks, Rousseau has had one of his best stretches of the season with an impressive 22.6% win rate (8th best over that time). He has also produced 17 pressures that resulted in a 14.65% pass rush pressure rate. This is ideal as the Cowboys are one of the better teams in pressures allowed at 26% this season (one of the third best), but when they do allow those pressures, it is converting into a sack 14% of the time (one of third worst this season). But with Rousseau’s recent success, we can be confident in his ability to generate some pressure and that is most likely going to be converted into a sack this weekend. We are definitely chasing upside this week with a lower tackle floor from Rousseau, but the big plays are there for the taking this weekend.

SIT: Boye Mafe, Seattle Seahawks, DL35 (ED27)

Boye Mafe has had an opportunity to step up for the Seahawks this season with some key injuries and he has done a very nice job for the Seahawks (and IDP). In fact, he even had a stretch of 7 straight games with a sack! However this week, he draws a tough matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. While they are middle of the pack at 26% pressures allowed, they are only allowing those to be converted into sacks at the third best rate of 8%. And despite Mafe’s wonderful production earlier in the season, his last 5 games we have seen his overall production dip a bit. His pressures show similar to Rousseau for our start with 18 pressures produced, however, it is done so with a very average win rate of 11.1%. This tends to indicate the pressures created are more flukey or due to broken plays and less sustainable. Mafe is a fade for me this weekend.

START: Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos, LB32

Josey Jewell has had a bit of an up-and-down season. He started as the green dot and 100% snap, 3-down linebacker for the Broncos. He got hurt, missed time, and seemingly lost his role to Alex Singleton. He saw reduction in his snaps and even a week 10 “demotion” to a non-starter role. However, his last 4 games since that week 10 have been very pleasing. His tackle production has been fairly average (24 tackles on 216 snaps, 11.1% efficiency), but what is exciting is the utilization as a pass-rusher that was not there to start the season. Over that same span he has 27 pass rush opportunities (24 opportunities in his previous 8 games) and he is making the most of it. He has 8 pressures, 5 hurries, a QB hit, and 2 sacks. This week he gets the Detroit Lions who are averaging 17.7 tackles to the LB position, which is one of the better matchups for LB production and this should help bring his floor up a little bit while providing a path to big-play upside.

SIT: David Mayo, Washington Commanders, LB46

David Mayo is coming back to the lineup, this time due to Jamin Davis’ injury. Mayo is a very plain LB. He comes in, does his job. He is not overly efficient, in fact, his tackle efficiency sits below league average for LB when he is in a starting role at 11.9% tackle efficiency. This is acceptable if you are looking for just a simple tackle floor, but at this point, I want to find players for our lineups that can help us WIN our playoff matchup. Mayo brings no real upside either with his pass-rush. His 2 sack game was more of a fluke than something we want to rely on going forward. He averages less than 3 pass rush attempts a game as a starter and the Los Angeles Rams are an overall negative matchup as well for LB scoring for IDP with only 14.9 tackles average to the position and a bottom third scoring overall. Mayo may help your sandwich this week, but I don’t see him helping your lineup in the playoffs.

START: Vonn Bell, Carolina Panthers, DB55 (S42)

Vonn Bell has been an IDP darling for many years from his time in Cincinatti. 1,000+ snap seasons, 90+ tackle seasons, and plenty of other splash plays to go along with it. His first year in Carolina has been a bit of a disappointment though, the uncertainty of the role alongside Chinn and Woods, as well as injuries. However, he seems to be back into a role he is familiar with as the box safety for a defense. Since coming back in week 10, in his 3 full games, he is playing 41.83% of his snaps in the box alignment. Along that same stretch he has provided 4, 7, and 7 tackle games. Enter the Atlanta Falcons and their 4th highest run rate in the NFL. This run rate and Bell’s alignment set him up for a very nice tackle game, but with the upside comes from Desmond Ridder’s 9 interceptions and 10 fumbles this season already through 13 games. It helps provide a nice boost to Bell’s range of outcomes this week along with his steady floor.

SIT: Trevon Moehrig, Las Vegas Raiders, DB42 (S33)

Trevon Moehrig has had a very nice IDP season this year as he has transitioned into more optimal alignment this season. Over the last two seasons we saw him go from 61 box snaps (out of 1,214), to 210 (out of 906), and this season he already has 266 box snaps. He has seen his best tackle totals already through 13 games as well. So why would we fade Moehrig, it is primarily due to his alignment shifting a bit away from the box recently, as well as a potentially bad matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Of his last 5 games, 4 have seen 15 or fewer box snaps with the peak being 21 and during that same stretch, he is averaging 5.2 tackles per game (that is with a 1 game spike of 10 tackles, too). Then his matchup against the Chargers with Easton Stick at QB, are likely to struggle to move the ball like last week and a short week with the Thursday night game, won’t do the Chargers any favors to keep the offense on the field and Moehrig with enough opportunities to support his production. Moehrig is a great story this season, but he is a fade this week.

 

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IDP Start/Sit: Week 8

Updated: October 28th 2023

 

Week 7 was the first of the big “bye-magedon” weeks (we see you week 13 and your 6 teams on bye). However, I feel like we navigated those waters well enough to get us through to week 8 and full rosters again. Now, let’s find those best plays and matchups this week.

Week 7 Recap

DL:

Start: Dexter Lawrence (2 sacks, 2 solos, 4 assists, TFL, 4 QB hits, ) 👍

Sit: Leonard Floyd (0 sacks, 0 tackles) 👍

LB:

Start: Dorian Williams (3 solos, 2 assists) 👎- I have no idea who is going to lock in LB2 in Buffalo

Sit: Eric Kendricks (7 solos, 2 assists, TFL, FF) 👎 

DB:

Start: Grant Delpit (7 solos, 3 assists, TFL) 👍

Sit: Rudy Ford (4 solos, 3 assists) 👎

Week 8 Starts & Sits

START: Bryce Huff, New York Jets, DL37 (ED28)

Bryce Huff has been on an absolute tear this year from an analytical standpoint. It starts with a top 25 win rates out pass rush set at 25%. Even crazier, his pass-rush pressure rate of 29.8%. 1 out of 4 pass rush snaps Huff is winning his rep, he is creating a pressure. His sample is smaller than others at 147 total snaps over 6 games (114 pass rush snaps), but the numbers look too good to pass up on. There is also talk of Carl Lawson trade rumors because he is “looking for more playing time” leads me to believe, Huff has earned his spot in this rotation and it is only trending up at this point. Also, over his last 3 games he is averaging 30 snaps per game and 7.6 pressures per game. Enter the New York Giants who have been experiencing 15.5 pressures per game over the last two weeks with Tyrod Taylor under center, and he is set to start his 3rd game this Sunday. Huff may be a bit “risky” due to lower volume, but the positive matchup and the torrid levels of success, I can’t help but be excited to play Bryce Huff this week!

SIT: Jonathan Allen, Washington Commanders, DL36 (DT09)

Jonathan Allen is one of the elite interior defenders of the NFL for sure, however for IDP, this isn’t an ideal week for him. Jonathan Allen could definitely make his week based on his talent and if you don’t have a better option, I understand that, but Allen has struggled over his last 2 games, only generating 3 pressures over 80 pass rush attempts. He has had a very good pass rush win percentage on the season, 19.6%. The recent down performances are not likely to be remedied in a matchup with arguably the best offensive line in the NFL on the other side of the ball. They are tied for the 11th-lowest pressure percentage allowed this year and the 4th-best in terms of pressures converted into sacks. Allen is looking for a bounce-back performance from two down weeks, but I don’t think this is the week for it.

START: Denzel Perryman, Houston Texans, LB33

Denzel Perryman was a “healthy scratch” in week 6, however, coach Demeco Ryans said this was due to the fact it wasn’t fair to try and have Perryman play with a cast. Pair that with the fact the following week was their bye week, I believe he wanted to get Perryman back to 100%. What does 100% Perryman look like? A highly efficient 16.9% tackle efficiency, near 100% snap count, and his career tackle efficiency supports this at 15.7% too. With both teams coming off their bye weeks, the Texans and Perryman take on the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers come in with an offense that runs the 5th most plays per week at 67.3 and are running 67 over the last three weeks. Now 64% of those plays are pass plays, but 63% of those pass plays are 9 yards or less down field and the zone-heavy scheme the Texans run, should allow Perryman to deliver strong value this week.

SIT: Cole Holcomb, Pittsburgh Steelers, LB30

Holcomb has been the LB1 for the Steelers all season. However, he has not been the LB1 that we like to see in that his snaps have fluctuated a bit, whereas our true LB1’s tend to play close to, if not all 100% of the snaps for their defense. His efficiency with those lower snap counts are quite average as well at 12.2%. Normally we can work through a player with average efficiency and/or even less than ideal utilization. But when we pair that with positional adjusting scoring and the player is facing one of the worst possible matchups for scoring for their position, that turns into a fade for me. Cole Holcomb against the Jacksonville Jaguars is exactly that. The Jaguars allow LB scoring against them at the 8th lowest rates for IDP scoring. Let’s lower our expectations for Holcomb this week.

START: Jamal Adams, Seattle Seahawks, DB40 (S34)

Jamal Adams was back last week and he was back in such a good way for IDP. He was 100% snaps, which is just the first part of this story. He took all but 3 snaps either in the box, on the DL, or in the slot. With snaps in the box. Now his efficiency was a bit average with only 6 tackles, we would have liked to see a slightly better performance. But in really only his true second game of playtime, I think we can expect a little bit of ramp-up. With his role seemingly more set now, the Seahawks take on the Cleveland Browns who lead the NFL in plays ran at 71.2 and an average of 69 over the last 3 games. The additional upside of the pass-rushing opportunities he saw last week of 4 chances is what really rounds out Jamal Adams’ value. He has elite alignment/utilization, a favorable matchup, and the usage for some potential big-play upside, too. 

SIT: Richie Grant, Atlanta Falcons, DB38 (S33)

Richie Grant has been an average NFL safety. If you look across the board at his PFF grades, it supports this as well. This has been the case for his IDP performance up to this point for 2023 as well. 42 tackles across his 7 games for 6 tackles a game and a tackle efficiency of 9.4% is right in line of averages for safeties this season. He has provided a consistent floor for sure and can be played with that consideration, but he has provided limited upside with one splash play with an interception last week. He has played 100% of the snaps this year as well, which we can certainly appreciate. But with a fairly limited upside combined with a matchup this week against the Tennessee Titans whose offense was already the 2nd lowest plays ran this season at 55.5 plays per game. Now they are likely missing their QB1 with Tannehill out this week, the offense should likely get weaker and limit the ability of this offense even more, thus reducing Grant’s limited upside even more.

 

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IDP Start/Sit: Week 1

Updated: September 7th 2023

Welcome back, folks! It is time to kick off the 2023 NFL and fantasy season and I can’t think of a better way to do it than to talk Start and Sit options for some of our favorite IDPs. For some context for our newer readers, I am reviewing weekly rankings from Jase Abbey over at TheIDPShow.com and looking for players in that 15-40 range that we should have some greater confidence in (Start) or someone whom we have a little more concern about their output this week (Sit). These aren’t hard and fast recommendations, but hopefully, a great way for you to more thoroughly assess your lineups each week and for the season. Let’s get to it.

Week 1 Starts & Sits

START: Will Anderson Jr., Houston Texans, DL27 (Edge 21)

The talent and draft capital for Will Anderson are undeniable. And the matchup against a strong Baltimore Ravens might not be our normal target for an edge rusher matchup. However, when looking for better values for our edge rushers, we love QBs who like to hold on to the ball and Lamar Jackson is one of the best at that. His time to throw last year was second only to Justin Fields and in his 378 dropbacks, teams converted 27 sacks in those dropbacks (7.14%). In the last two years, that conversion rate is at 7.6%. Now the Ravens are set to run more offensive, and specifically, pass plays, we have a floor of 2.5 – 3 sacks given up for the Ravens.

Who better to capitalize on a QB holding on to the ball too long and moving around the pocket, than an edge rusher with the quickness and lateral agility to bring him down behind the line? While he likely won’t play Maxx Crosby volume snaps, Anderson projects as the leader rusher and should see a healthy number of snaps in a shallower edge room. Great volume play, a strong sack upside, Will Anderson is closer to a high-end edge 1 and DL2 for me this week.

SIT: Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions, DL9 (Edge 9)

I love Aidan Hutchinson’s year 2 growth and have plenty of him in my lineups. However, Patrick Mahomes is one of the least sacked QBs over the last 3 years. In fact only 76 times over 2,110 dropbacks for a sack rate of only 3.6%. The game should have an above-average number of plays ran and still some good opportunity based on plays and snaps, but the sack ceiling should be lowered for this matchup.

Hutchinson showed he can make plays in other aspects of the game last year with 3 interceptions, but also had a limited tackle floor with 39 combined tackles. He will likely have an exciting year 2 in 2023, but his campaign is likely to get off to a rocky start. I view Hutchinson more as a mid-to-low end DL2.

START: Kaden Elliss, Atlanta Falcons, LB46

If you have heard me at any point this offseason, you have likely heard me talk about my excitement for Kaden Elliss. There is the contract this offseason, 3 years and $21.5 million. The familiarity with the defensive coordinator, Ryan Nielsen, who was his former DC for the last few years in New Orleans. The strong pass-rush production in his half-season role when Pete Werner was injured. Wearing the green dot this preseason. Needless to say, I am excited to see what Elliss can do with a full-time role.

Week 1, the Falcons and Elliss take on the Panthers. The Panthers have an average, at best, offensive line and have struggled this preseason. Atlanta has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush the last several years, Elliss could be primed for good volume, even in a lower projected matchup with a nice ceiling play too. This combination makes Elliss a high-end LB3 with an upside for even more.

SIT: Jamin Davis, Washington Commanders, LB28

Jamin Davis’s offseason was a bit of a roller coaster. The ups of becoming the clear LB1 for the Commanders and the potential leader of this defense. Then his subsequent off-the-field issues with his reckless driving case and the potential impact to his 2023 season. His case was recently slated for March 2024 and the NFL generally doesn’t pursue until court cases are resolved.

Now coming into week 1, he gets a matchup against the the Arizona Cardinals with the lowest over/under of the week, 38.5. An implied point total of 16 for the Cardinals doesn’t bode well for the offense staying on the field and the Commanders and Jamin Davis making a lot of plays. He has the talent to deliver an LB2 finish this week, but with a weaker floor this week, I am fading Jamin as a low-end LB3.

START: Jayron Kearse, Dallas Cowboys, DB27 (Safety 27)

Dan Quinn and this Cowboys defense have preferred to run three safeties (Kearse, Donovan Wilson, Malik Hooker) with one of them aligning more closely to the line of scrimmage. Kearse has been an IDP beneficiary and the alignment has helped a ton. He spent 74.11% of his snaps last season in either the DL, Box, or Slot alignments. Now with Wilson potentially out for week 1, Kearse should have a strong hold of the valuable snaps.

The New York Giants matchup projects to yield an above-average amount of opportunities for the Dallas Cowboys defense and with a path with reduced resistance for Kearse with Wilson on the shelf for week 1, Kearse has a likely outcome as a midrange DB2 this week.

SIT: Jeremy Chinn, Carolina Panthers, DB22 (Safety 22)

Jeremy Chinn has been an IDP darling since exploding on the scene is rookie year in 2020. This season though, the final year of his rookie contract, Chinn is in a precarious situation with incumbent safety, Xavier Woods who played over 1,000 snaps the last two season and big free agent signing, Vonn Bell. Bell has played over 1,000 snaps the last three seasons. Woods and Bell project to the be primary safeties while Chinn is likely heavily utilized in the slot defender role. Normally slot usage isn’t a death knell for IDP, however, if it is limited and the only role, that is not ideal. And this is what we saw in Chinn’s utilization this preseason.

Pair this with a poor passing performance opponent in the Atlanta Falcons, Chinn’s potential reduced usage, and the crowded safety room, Chinn doesn’t feel like a safe play for me and I would have him as a low-end DB3.

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