Welcome to the 2015 NFL season folks as well as the fourth year of the 53-Deep column (wow…time certainly does fly). This little puppy remains near and dear to my heart, as it’s the first weekly gig that I was given by Fantasy Sharks.
Oh yeah…it’s also IDP football and anyone who’s read my stuff knows that Uncle Waldo loves him some IDP fantasy football.
Let’s get to the nitty gritty of just what we will be looking at on a weekly basis. This article is geared towards deep roster IDP formats as we go quite a bit down the weekly rankings to find sleeper prospects that could fill in and offer fantasy potential.
How deep, you ask? Generally speaking we will be looking at players ranked 35 or lower (lower meaning 36,37…etc.) to find these hidden gems. It’s not for leagues that start 1 LB, 1 DL, 1 DB or even 2 players at each position. This is for my IDP brethren that start 4 or so folks at the IDP positions.
Feel free to read the article (please, I insist) even if you are in a smaller league as there will be information that could be helpful but you’ll have bigger names on you waiver wire. Another tidbit of information that we need to put out there is that this article is posted on Fridays so players that are involved in the Thursday night games will be excluded.
One last quick point is that I will update my IDP weekly rankings on Fridays so make sure to check them out as well as Senior IDP Staff Writer Gary Davenport’s rankings and IDP pieces.
OK, let’s get to the new and improved streamlined week one edition of 53-Deep.
Tyrunn Walker, DT, DETROIT LIONS at San Diego Chargers: Walker flashed some nice fantasy potential on limited snaps with the Saints last season. He finished with 20 total tackles, 2 ½ sacks and a forced fumble on 306 total snaps. Walker will get the chance to start for the Lions on the interior and has solid upside.
Erik Walden, OLB, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at Buffalo: While Walden will never live up to the ridiculous contract the Colts signed him to, he did have a very nice preseason racking up 2 ½ sacks. They will need his athleticism in getting to the QB this week against the mobile Tyrod Taylor.
Chris Smith, DE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS vs. Carolina: With injuries to Dante Fowler and Andre Branch, Smith will see an expanded role in the defense. Last season from weeks 14-16, he racked up 1½ sacks and forced a fumble while playing merely 46 snaps. More playing time will equal more production.
Mario Edwards Jr., DE/OLB, OAKLAND RAIDERS vs. Cincinnati: The rookie posted 2 ½ sacks in the preseason adding three solo tackles while averaging 41 snaps per game. With Sio Moore now in Indianapolis the kid will see increased snaps starting in week one as he chases down Andy Dalton.
Brandon Graham, OLB, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at Atlanta: While I had hoped he would have signed with a 4-3 defense he stayed put with the Eagles. As always with Graham, his production will rely on usage from game to game. Against a pass happy Atlanta offense I see him playing a lot in week one.
Shaq Thompson, SLB, CAROLINA PANTHERS at Jacksonville: Impressive to see that Thompson has snagged a starting role right out of the gate. He has Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis to contend with for tackles but is athletic enough to post nice numbers.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, ILB, SEATTLE at St. Louis: With Malcolm Smith now on the Oakland Raiders the road is clear for the kid to hit the field more. Pierre-Lewis led all Seahawks linebackers in preseason snaps with 110 and can man the WLB or SLB position. He had seven solo tackles while playing only 83 snaps as a rookie.
Christian Kirksey, ILB, CLEVELAND BROWNS at New York Jets: The Jets were a top matchup in allowing fantasy points to linebackers last season and will be a juicy matchup again in 2015. Kirksey should see the field more than veteran Craig Robertson and post nice totals.
Devon Kennard, NEW YORK GIANTS at Dallas Cowboys: Kennard is versatile enough to play WLB or SLB and brings the added potential of pass rushing skills. He racked up 4 ½ sacks as a rookie. Dallas will pound the rock so tackle totals could be there this week in spades.
Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, ARIZONA CARDINALS vs. New Orleans: We need to ride the old as long as he’s healthy out in the desert. Weatherspoon has the chance to be a three-down player out of the gate and generally produces when on the field. It’s the ‘on the field’ part that has been troublesome. He’s missed 26 games over the past three seasons.
Ricardo Allen, FS, ATLANTA FALCONS vs. Philadelphia: We like defensive backs facing the up-tempo Eagles offense and the opportunities that follow. Allen is a converted corner that will be asked to help out in coverage a lot Monday night. Potential for a big play or two is absolutely there.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, TENNESSEE TITANS at Tampa Bay: Wilson will start in place of the injured Jason McCourty and be tested early as he has struggled in coverage (I am being kind here). Luckily he’ll be facing a rookie quarterback with a knack for tossing interceptions in Jameis Winston.
Ronald Darby, CB, BUFFALO BILLS vs. Indianapolis Colts: Let’s go ahead and roll out the ‘rookie corner back rule’ in week one shall we? With Leodis McKelvin out for an extended period of time Darby is in. Doe we think that Andrew Luck and his bevy of receiving options will test the kid? Yes, we do. Darby could put up huge fantasy numbers this week. * Yes, this is the same Ronald Darby that Mr. Gary Davenport suggested as a pick up in his weekly waiver wire article. There is that whole “Great minds think alike.” thing at work.
With IDP draft season in high gear, Fantasy Sharks has you covered. Whether it’s 2015 player rankings and projections, waiver wire targets, rookie analysis for dynasty leagues or strategy tips, IDP Staff Writer Walton Spurlin and IDP Senior Staff Writer Gary Davenport have all the information you need to dominate your IDP league in 2015.Also, for the latest IDP news and player updates follow IDP Sharks on Twitter.