With Week 3 of the NFL season officially underway (or at least it will be by the time this article is posted), the IDP landscape has begun to take on a little more shape.
Injuries continue to mount for linebackers as Kiko Alonso suffered yet another ACL injury and joins Luke Kuechly on the sidelines (as of Thursday Kuechly is still unable to practice due to a concussion).
After only two weeks, it’s still a bit early to feel like we have a solid grip on how favorable matchups will be consistently but there have been some trends developing. We know Washington loves to run the ball and that the Philadelphia Eagles offense is a hot mess.
Enough of my rambling and let’s take a deep look down rosters to find some IDP sleepers to help our teams in Week 3.
Justin Durant, ILB, ATLANTA FALCONS at Dallas: Paul Worrilow is iffy to be able to go this week with a calf injury. His replacement would likely be Allen Bradford but we like Durant to gobble up the tackles. Durant is averaging 67 snaps per game and is a three down player. The Cowboys are allowing 58 tackle opportunities per game and Durant will get his this week.
James Laurinaitis, ILB, ST. LOUIS RAMS vs. Pittsburgh: How the mighty have fallen. Laurinaitis is ranked 45th this week in the Fantasy Pros Consensus Rankings. This is a vote that he will have a return to form against the Steelers and the returning Le’Veon Bell. Laurinaitis did put up 9 total tackles last week and could hit double digits in week three.
Manti Te’o, ILB, SAN DIEGO CHARGERS at Minnesota: Te’o reached double-digit tackles last week against the Bengals while playing a healthy 66 defensive snaps. This week he has another favorable matchup against a Minnesota offense that gave their running backs 35 carries last week. Look for another productive fantasy week for the former ‘Golden Domer.’
Brian Cushing, ILB, HOUSTON TEXANS vs. Tampa Bay:
A healthy Cushing is a productive fantasy linebacker and so far so good. He has played an average of 70 snaps per game and racked up 17 total tackles in the first two games. The Buccaneers give up a bit of everything to linebackers having allowed 48 tackles; four sacks, an interception and a forced fumble to the position.
Christian Jones, ILB, CHICAGO BEARS at Seattle: The Bears are circling the drain after just two weeks and will have Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. That means their defense will be on the field a lot from here on out. The Seahawks need a win badly and will lean on Marshawn Lynch this week. Look for Jones to significantly add to the 11 total tackles he has through two games.
Brian Robison, DE, MINNESOTA VIKINGS vs. San Diego: Anyone who has read this column over the past three years can attest to my unhealthy man crush on Robison. Here we go again after his strong showing last week against Detroit. While he failed to register a sack he did put up five solo tackles and was credited with five QB hurries and one hit. This week he turns that pressure into production against a Chargers offense that has given up six sacks to defensive linemen to date.
Kyle Williams, DT, BUFFALO BILLS at Miami: Williams is off to a very slow start this year having put up only four total tackles. Look for his numbers to get healthy this week as in his last four games against the Dolphins he has posted 15 total tackles with three sacks and a fumble recovered. Williams is averaging 66 snaps per game and is simply too good to throw up three clunkers in a row.