Welcome to the IDP Weekend Preview. Each week we’ll take a close look at each matchup based on a number of factors, such as roles, where offenses are giving up FP, and snap counts.
Car @ Atl
Yetur Gross-Matos had 3 solos and a sack, but on just 21 of 57 snaps. Hopeful we see the rookie’s snaps and production climb going forward. It was a slow game for Shaq Thompson (97%), who had just 5 tackles (3 solo). Tahir Whitehead didn't fare much better, posting only 4 tackles. Their Week 4 matchup with Arizona was not friendly to LBs. 30 of the 53 tackles recorded were awarded to DBs. Sadly, they have a similar matchup this week against the Falcons. Jeremy Chinn leads the Panthers DBs in tackles with 35, with Tre Boston (21) and Juston Burris (17) a few rungs behind him. Chinn plays OLB too, so his tackle floor remains comfortably high.
Both Grady Jarrett and Steven Means continue to be busy on this defense. They both posted 3/1/0, but Grady had 1.5 TFL. They’ll have their work cut out for them this week though, in terms of tackle opportunity. The Panthers give up nearly the lowest tackles per game to DLs (9.3), but no team gives up more tackles to LB than the Panthers (26.8), so look for these Falcons LBs to have good games. With Foyesade Oluokun (97%) healthy, Mykal Walker (51%) took a backseat. Oluokun posted 8 tackles (5 solo), as did Deion Jones (100% - 6/2). A tale as old as time is back on the shelves! Fire up your DBs against Aaron Rodgers. Five Falcons DBs posted at least 4 tackles in Week 4 vs. Green Bay. We can’t expect that this week against Teddy Bridgewater, though. Jaylinn Hawkins is Out (concussion), so this will be a busy week for Keanu Nea.
Cin @ Bal
Though he didn't have a big play, I'll take Sam Hubbard's 4 tackles (3 solo) as long as this is close to his floor. Carlos Dunlap is reportedly going to be relegated to 3rd down duties while Carl Lawson will be the starting LDE on early downs. The LDE spot has been Dunlap’s for years, so this is a huge development. Given how run-heavy Baltimore is, Dunlap can’t be trusted in balanced or tackle-heavy leagues. Vonn Bell had another disappointing 5 tackles (3 solo). 5 tackles is fine, but Bell was drafted as a DB1, and has fewer FPG than Jamel Dean and Bryce Callahan.
Calais Campbell just won't stop. The vet had another 4 tackles and has a great matchup against this weak Cincy O-line. The Bengals are #1 for opposing DLs, giving up over 3 sacks per game. Matthew Judon had 2 sacks and 4 tackles on a 59% snap share. That's his first productive game of the season. Patrick Queen had a nice bounceback game, with 12 tackles (9 solo) and a healthy 80% snap share. Ignore that “benching” from two weeks ago. L.J. Fort (49%) continues to play over Malik Harrison (13%). Neither is useful for fantasy. Ignoring his Week One 1-tackle effort, Marlon Humphrey has 7, 6, and 9 tackles in the last three weeks. He's been the #2 DB since Week 2, and has 0.5 sacks, 3 PD, and 2 forced fumbles to go with those 22 tackles. Chuck Clark keeps humming along as a DB2/DB3. Clark’s weekly tackle totals: 6, 6, 10, and 6.
Jax @ Hou
Josh Allen (77%) racked up his 2nd sack in as many games, so hopefully he's starting to heat up. He continues to play a ton, so usage isn't an issue. Usage may be an issue this week, however, as Allen (Questionable) has a knee issue that has kept him out of practice this week. Who HAS been practicing is Myles Jack. That’s a great sign, as Jack (Questionable - ankle) was off to another strong start before injuring his ankle. He had 4 tackles and a TD-saving INT on just 43 snaps before going down. Dakota Allen took over for Jack and posted 6 tackles (2 solo), and a TFL. Joe Schobert (99%) had 7 tackles (3 solo). This MIKE spot in Jacksonville seems to be a buzzkill. Schobert is a backend LB2 this season after being a mid-LB1 last season in Cleveland. Jack suffered a similar fate when they moved him to MLB. Now he’s back to doing Myles Jack things as an OLB. Both Josh Jones (11 tackles) and Andrew Wingard (10 tackles) had big games in Week 4. Jarrod Wilson should be back soon, and he should get his starting job back from Wingard.
It's only four weeks, but J.J. Watt only has a sack in one game. Luckily he got 2 sacks that game, and his 3-4 tackle floor has kept us afloat. Still, I hope he gets going with a regime change now in Houston. Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney continue to produce near double-digit tackles. This is the most prolific tackling duo in the game right now. Justin Reid had a solid matchup last week, and he posted 5 tackles (3 solo). His matchup this week is better, as the Jaguars give up 7 more tackles per game to opposing DBs than the Vikings (Reid’s Week 4 opponent).
LV @ KC
This Raiders D-line rotation continues to kill any fantasy value for any of them. No DL had more than 2 tackles in Week 4, which has been the norm so far for these DLs. With Nick Kwiatkoski (88%) working his way back from a pectoral injury, it was Cory Littleton who led the Raiders LBs with 7 tackles in Week 4. Littleton continues to be a 5-8 tackle guy, which is disappointing. Johnathan Abram (95%) is battling through several injuries, and his lack of production is injuring our chances of winning. Fellow safety Erik Harris has been the more reliable of the two so far, with 4, 5, 6, and 9 tackles. While the Chiefs have produced a middle-of-the-road amount of tackles to DBs, Patrick Mahomes has yet to throw an INT, so big plays might be hard to come by for the Raiders secondary.
Frank Clark (81%) now has 3 sacks on the season and seems to have put his slow (and injured) 2019 behind him. He started heating up during their Super Bowl run last year as he got healthier. The Chiefs are sticking with this messy LB rotation, but Anthony Hitchens (75%) is consistently leading the way. He had 6 tackles (3 solo) which is about his average so far. Rookie LB Willie Gay, Jr. (33%) started and saw a bump in usage, so he's someone to keep an eye on in dynasty leagues. This week won’t be any help, as the Raiders produce a brutally-low number of tackles per game (16.6) to LBs. After a slow Week 1, Daniel Sorensen has 4, 5, and 6 tackles in his last three games. He's settling in as a solid DB2/DB3 in tackle-heavy leagues. Sorensen and Tyrann Mathieu (along with the rest of the KC secondary) have a great matchup this week, as the Raiders are second only to Dallas in giving up tackles to DBs (33.3 per game).
Ari @ NYJ
Chandler Jones posted 4 tackles (1 solo) but is still coming up short in the big play department. He did have 1 PD, but that's not enough for our DL1. I mentioned last week that it was a great matchup for the Arizona LBs, and they came through for us. Jordan Hicks posted 12 tackles (8 solo) and 3.5 TFL. Can he keep doing it? The Jets produce 5 fewer tackles to LBs than the Panthers, so it would be a good sign if Hicks can post 9-10 tackles here. De’Vondre Campbell has settled in nicely as an LB2, with another 9 tackles (4 solo), playing every snap in Week 4. Deionte Thompson had a big day filling in for Budda Baker, with 9 tackles (4 solo) on 59 of 77 snaps, but Baker is back this week. Baker had minor surgery on his thumb and is ready to roll, but will wear a brace on his hand for a while. Tackles? Yes. INTs? Tough with a brace, but this is the highest-paid safety in the league, so I’m not counting him out.
Neville Hewitt continues to be the top LB IDP for the Jets. Hewitt took every snap in Week 4 and led the team in tackles (9 - 5 solo). I’m not sure why they took Avery Williamson out and replaced him with Alec Ogletree in the 4th quarter last week. He’s not on the injury report, so my only hope now is exhaustion from not playing much in the last 365 days. Marcus Maye posted 7 tackles in Week 4, but just 3 of them were solos. The Cardinals are one of the best matchups for DBs (30.3 tackles and 1 INT per game), so look for Maye to have a strong game this week.
Phi @ Pit
With T.J. Edwards (hamstring-IR) out, Alex Singleton stepped in taking 21% of snaps and posting 4 tackles (2 solo) and a pick-six. Nathan Gerry had another solid game, with 8 tackles (5 solo) and 1 TFL. The Steelers are producing the 2nd-most tackles per game (26.3) to LBs, so Gerry should be in another solid spot. Rodney McLeod continues to be a nice surprise for a late-round DB. McLeod posted his 2nd 8-tackle game last week.
The Steelers IDPs have some great matchups this week. The Eagles give up the 2nd-most FPG to DLs, surrendering 3 sacks per game, and almost 1 PD and 1 FF per game as well. Fire up your Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt shares (obviously you’re firing up EDGEs T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree). The secondary is also in a great spot. According to our man Thomas Simons, the Eagles have run 107 times and passed 160 times with 24 rushes being a QB, so this matchup will favor the Pitt secondary. Terrell Edmunds has been their TE-killer so far, and he’ll see a lot of Zach Ertz. Mike Hilton has been rotating to strong safety when Edmunds moves to the slot to cover TEs. Both of these DBs are in great spots this week. Don’t worry about the overall low scoring from your PIT IDPs in Week 3. The Steelers D just saw 47 snaps in Week 3. That’s about 20 snaps lower than the average.
Buf @ Ten
Ed Oliver (53%) turned in a solid game, with 3 solos and 2 TFL. Tremaine Edmunds posted 12 tackles (8 solo) on every snap. This should be the guy we see going forward now that he's healthy enough to play every snap. Speaking of health, Matt Milano had 6 tackles (3 solo) before going down with a pectoral injury. Milano is highly Doubtful this week, so Tyler Dodson should start. Dodson has effectively climbed over A.J. Klein. Jordan Poyer continues his dominant season, with another 9 tackles (5 solo) and a TFL. He's the #1 fantasy DB.
The Titans will be missing Jeffery Simmons, DaQuan Jones, Kristian Fulton, and Kamalei Correa to Covid-19. If the Titans actually play, you’re gonna see a lot of Jack Crawford and Jadeveon Clowney. Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans might be in for a slow day. So far, Buffalo has allowed the fewest tackles per game to LBs (16.3).
LAR @ Was
Aaron Donald (85%) had another one of his "he was soooo close" games. He did get a half-sack and 2 assists. I mentioned last week that I wasn't sold on Micah Kiser. In Week 4, he played just 65% and had 6 tackles. However, he did suffer a groin injury, so I’m not counting this one against him. Hopefully he can play this week (he’s officially Questionable), as Washington does give up the most FPG to LBs this season, with a great mix of tackles (23.6) and big plays (over 5 per game), so Kiser will have his best chance yet for a big game. Taylor Rapp (100%) was productive replacing the injured Jordan Fuller. Fuller is back this week. If Kiser doesn't play, look for Fuller, Rapp, and John Johnson III to have big games. They should all see the field a ton, and there will LB responsibilities involved.
With Matt Ioannidis out for the year, Jonathan Allen and DaRon Payne should continue to get tons of tackle opportunity. They’re playing near 80%. I mentioned these two last week and they both came through, posting 8 tackles between them.Chase Young may return this week. He’s Questionable. We’re officially giving up on Thomas Davis, who took just 14% of the snaps and had no stats. The only LB here I want to start is Jon Bostic. He had 14 tackles last week (6 solo) but he’s usually more of a 7-10 tackle guy.
Mia @ SF
Last week, I mentioned that Seattle still runs enough and gives enough big-play production to DLs to be a great matchup for Christian Wilkins, Davon Godchaux and the entire Miami DL group. That crew had 17 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 TFL. This week, however, they have a tougher assignment, as the 49ers give up 5 fewer tackles per game to DLs. They will also be without Shaq Lawson, who is Out (shoulder). Jerome Baker did not start. He took 70% of the snaps but posted just 2 tackles (1 solo). This is another multiple-LB rotation, and I want nothing to do with them. This is why I hammered away this summer about not waiting on LB like you used to be able to. The number of reliable LBs has gone from 30-40 to 20-30. We could continue trending in this direction. Look for Eric Rowe, Noah Igbinoghene, and the rest of the Miami secondary to be busy. San Francisco produces a top-5 amount of tackles per game (30.8) to DBs.
Arik Armstead owned the Jets last week, posting 5 tackles and 0.5 sacks, 1 TFL, and 6 QBH. He and Kerry Hyder, Jr. (4 tackles and 0.5 sacks) are the main beneficiaries of the Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas injuries. Both secondaries could be in for a lot of production. Similar to SF, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami offense allows almost 30 tackles per game to opposing secondaries, so this should be a good week for Jacquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward, and the rest of the Niners secondary.
Ind @ Cle
DeForest Buckner (87%) had 3 tackles and 1 PD but no sacks. He did have 3 QBH though, an indication that he just missed several times. Another game, another sack for Justin Houston. He has a sack in each game this year. The Browns give up over 20 tackles per game to DLs, which is most in the league. With Darius Leonard Out (groin) and Bobby Okereke (thumb - removed from injury report) banged up, Anthony Walker could be in for a huge day…but he’s also banged up. He’s officially Questionable. We will watch this situation closely and post updates on Twitter and in the Discord chat, but this could go a bunch of different ways. Kenny Moore II continues to produce for us in our CB slots. He had 5 solos in Week 4. Julian Blackmon (100%) started at safety, and although he only had 1 tackle, he did notch his first INT, and had 3 PD. The majority of the production is up front for this offense, as Cleveland gives up a league-low 24.3 tackles per game to DBs, but Baker Mayfield has thrown 2 INTs to opposing secondaries so far.
Myles Garrett is the #1 DL, with a league-leading 5 sacks. Hey, whaddayaknow? Yet another ugly LB rotation! No Larry Ogunjobi (Out - abdomen) this week. So far B.J. Goodson (78%) is leading the way with 7 tackles (5 solo) in Week 4, but Malcolm Smith (46% - 4 solos), Sione Takitaki (4 tackles), Mack Wilson (33% - 1 solo), and Jacob Phillips (21% - 2 solos) are all involved. Will Wilson reclaim his starting job as he gets back to full speed and full health? Before Terrance Mitchell’s 12 tackles (11 solo), he posted 4, 2, and 2 tackles. Nothing to see here. Teams have been picking on Tavierre Thomas, and that has produced some solid tackle games. Thomas had 8 tackles in Week 4, and 9 tackles in Week 2. Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph are the definition of interchangeable safeties. They have about equal snaps at Deep Safety, Box Safety, and Slot. They also have equal fantasy production. The two safeties are separated by just 2 assists. Joseph (Questionable) is dealing with a hamstring injury.
NYG @ Dal
Leonard Williams is a DL1 again. His 18 tackles are 5th-most and his 11 solos are 3rd-most. He also has 2 sacks and 4 TFL. Jabrill Peppers (ankle) and Adrian Colbert (neck) are both Questionable, thus Logan Ryan may start at FS again. The Cowboys produce the most tackles per game to DBs this season (33.8), so this could be a great spot for Ryan and the Giants secondary.
DeMarcus Lawrence continues to fight through some nagging injuries. He played just 51% and posted 3 solos. Everson Griffen posted 4 tackles on the same snap share. Both Jaylon Smith (7 tackles) and Joe Thomas (6 tackles) had slow games, but Cleveland's 19 tackles per game to LBs is one of the lower totals in the league. Leighton Vander Esch is close to returning, so use Thomas while you still can. Trevon Diggs continues to produce (8 tackles) as teams continue to pick on the rookie.
Donovan Wilson replaced Darian Thompson after Thompson was badly fooled on the Jarvis Landry-to-Odell Beckham, Jr. TD pass. Wilson posted 10 tackles (6 solo), 1 sack, and 1 TFL, on a 93% snap share. I’d roll with Wilson if you need to, but if nothing else stash him and wait to see what happens this week.
Den @ NE
Bradley Chubb finally hit paydirt in Week 4, with 2.5 sacks and 5 QB hits to go with his 5 tackles (3 solo) and a TFL. As long as Mark Barron is out of the lineup, Josey Jewell is worth starting as your LB3. Week 4 was his best game of the year. Justin Simmons had a tough matchup in Week 4, but should bounce back this week facing the Patriots, who are a much better matchup on paper.
Chase Winovich has a half-sack or more in his last three games and leads the team in sacks. Most of the production is going to the Patriots DLs. Winovich (14 tackles), John Simon (17 tackles), Lawrence Guy (14 tackles), and Deatrich Wise, Jr. (11 tackles) are outproducing every LB but Ja'Whaun Bentley (20 tackles). Derek Rivers (3 tackles), isn’t a factor. This isn’t a great matchup for the D-line, though. The Broncos produce the 2nd-fewest tackles per game to DLs (9.3). Adrian Phillips (75% - 2 tackles) and Kyle Dugger (29% - 4 tackles) are still cutting into each other’s production. Normally it’s Phillips who gets the better production, but it was Dugger in Week 4. Denver has given up the most fantasy production to DBs this season.
Min @ Sea
Yannick Ngakoue is officially entrenched as a DL1 again. Even in a bad matchup, Ngakoue came through with 5 solos and a sack. However, Ifeadi Odenigbo did suffer from the poor matchup, mustering up just 1 solo and a QBH. The Vikings D-line has a much better matchup this week. The Seahawks O-line is giving up 2.5 sacks per game, along with a healthy 17 tackles per game to DLs. Eric Kendricks is leading the league in tackles, while Eric Wilson has the other LB spot on lockdown. Todd Davis played just 12% in Week 4, and that was because Kendricks left with a foot injury. Kendricks practiced on Friday, so we’re expecting him to start. If you’re wondering why Harrison Smith disappeared in your DB slot, it’s because he disappeared from the game. Smith was ejected for leading with his helmet - a rarity for the well-respected veteran. He’ll be back this week. Rookie CB Jeff Gladney (100%) is quietly having a solid season as he posted 5 solos, 1 TFL, and 1 PD.
The Seahawks signed Damon Harrison to their practice squad. They could bring him up this week or next. This team needs DL help, and “Snacks” was a monster in the middle in his prime. We finally saw the Bobby Wagner production we’ve been waiting for: 12 tackles (10 solo). Hopefully he can keep that going. Last week, I mentioned I was hoping he’d have better luck in Miami, and he certainly did. Although he’s back home in front of his assist-heavy tackle crew, Minnesota has been an above-average option for opposing LBs. Ryan Neal (100%) started for Jamal Adams again and posted 6 tackles (5 solo), 2 PD, and his 2nd INT. Neal and the rest of the Seattle DBs are in line for some nice production in this matchup.
LAC @ NO
Joey Bosa is clearly hampered by his triceps injury. He just hasn't been the dominant presence he normally is. He posted just 1 solo, but he did have 2 QBH. The good news is that Linval Joseph is looking like his old self and had 5 tackles. The bad news is they were all assists. Both Kyzir White (8/2) and Kenneth Murray, Jr. (6/4) had 10 tackles in Week 4, and continue to be the leading tacklers on this team. My nod goes to White as to who I'd bet on for better production between the two for now. I mentioned last week that these LBs had a bad matchup. Apparently they didn’t read my article, as they went out and racked up 20 tackles between them. The LAC DBs were awfully productive in Week 4, racking up 25 tackles and a Michael Davis INT. New Orleans gives up a healthy amount of DB tackles per game (27.3), but not much else.
Cameron Jordan finally got a sack. He’s been dealing with some tough O-lines, but he still got home. This week is a better matchup. In fact, the Chargers are an IDP oasis for the whole front seven. They produce almost 20 tackles per game to opposing DLs, and allow the most tackles to LBs (27.1 per game). C.J. Gardner-Johnson and P.J. Williams both started and played a ton with two CBs out. Both could play safety when the CBs return.