Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season was a real kick in the junk for many IDP owners—and the Atlanta Falcons.
By the end of the first game of the first week of the year, a pair of top-five IDP options at their respective positions had suffered what turned out to be devastating injuries. For safety Keanu Neal, it was a torn ACL. For linebacker Deion Jones, it was a foot injury that requires surgery and landed him on IR.
Those are season-killers for the IDP squads that drafted those guys. Never mind a Falcons team with aspirations of playing in a home Super Bowl next February.
Dan Quinn needs a hug.
That wasn’t all. Washington Redskins linebacker Zach Brown didn’t play 70 percent of the snaps in a game where Washington saw only 53 on defense. Detroit Lions edge-rusher Ezekiel Ansah is nicked up—again. And while it doesn’t appear to be serious, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly gave his fantasy owners a heart attack by hyper-extending his knee against the Dallas Cowboys.
Here’s the thing—whether your team is banged up or you’re trying to shake off a dud performance from players like Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee or Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde, it’s way too early in the year to start freaking out. Whether it’s cute lineup changes or panic add/drops, knee-jerk decisions after one game tend to backfire spectacularly.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to get better via trades and/or the waiver wire. Or that early stars like Nick Vigil of the Cincinnati Bengals or Cory Littleton of the Rams don’t deserve a spot as starters in IDP leagues. But don’t go giving up on slow starters just yet.
One game does not a season make.
Take a deep breath. Chill. Do a woo-sah with me.
Feel better? I know I do.
Now let’s get back into the trenches, with the Week 2 edition of IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
Each week during the 2018 season, I’ll point out some Individual Defensive Players who could be set to exceed expectations this week (Studs), as well as some that for whatever reason are riskier plays than normal (Duds).
This isn’t necessarily to say that every “Stud” is a must-start (it depends on your other options) or that every “Dud” should be glued to your bench (just that the odds of a letdown week are greater than usual).
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2017 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Tahir Whitehead – OLB, Oakland Raiders (at DEN) (5)
New Raiders head coach Jon Gruden told Luke Straub of Raiders Wire that he loves what Whitehead brings to the Oakland defense, “He’s been great,” Gruden said of Whitehead during media availability Monday. “He brings a lot of energy to our team. He’s upbeat, positive, competitive. He wants to win in a walk-through, he wants to win in practice, he wants to beat you at a game of cards on the airplane … He’s a really good player. And when your best players are your hardest workers and your most energetic people, it’s a good thing. So he’s brought us a lot.”
Whitehead paced the Raiders with seven total tackles in last week’s loss to the Rams. This week should be even better—the Broncos appear dedicated to establishing the run this year more than last, and this was already a team that allowed the fantasy points to IDPs overall in 2017 and ranked fourth in the NFL in tackle opportunities allowed.
WEEK 2 IDP STUDS
Jurrell Casey – DE, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU) (1): Casey didn’t get a sack last week, but he salvaged a decent stat line with six total tackles. Sunday, he squares off with a shaky Texans O-line that gave up the second-most sacks in the NFL a season ago.
Aaron Donald – DE, Los Angeles Rams (vs. ARZ) (3): Despite sitting out all of camp and the preseason in a contract dispute, Donald was on the field for almost 90 percent of the Rams’ snaps in Week 1. In two meetings with the Cardinals last year, Donald piled up five total tackles and three sacks.
Robert Quinn – DE, ,Miami Dolphins (at NYJ) (5): Quinn had a relatively quiet Dolphins’ debut, but this week sets up well for him—the Jets were a top-five fantasy matchup for d-linemen last year before installing a rookie quarterback. Rooks tend to hold the ball too long at times.
Zach Brown – ILB, Washington Redskins (vs. IND)(3): Assuming Hurricane Florence doesn’t cause this game to be postponed, Brown should rebound from last week’s quiet outing against the Colts. The Cardinals were just so, so bad last week.
Demario Davis – OLB, New Orleans Saints (vs. CLE) (4): If Week 1 was any indication, the Browns are going to ride Carlos Hyde and the run game in 2018. The team was already a solid IDP matchup for linebackers. That isn’t going to make it any worse.
Sean Lee – OLB, Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYG) (2): Lee’s going to serve as an object lesson in patience this week with a big game in a prime-time matchup with the division rival Giants. If he can’t make some hay with this matchup, then you can worry—a little. Woo-sah.
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