This season’s IDP preview is a streamlined view of the many different factors that go into the players on these lists. Each of the categories will consider the impact of the player, the matchup, the stadium, and even factors such as weather, injuries, or whatever else we think could impact a player positively or negatively.

 

Noteworthy IDPs Out or Doubtful This Week

Ezekiel Ansah (DE, Det) – Ansah (ankle) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

DeAndre Levy (OLB, Det) – Levy (quad) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

Carl Nassib (DE, Cle) – Nassib (hand) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

DeMarcus Ware (OLB, Den) – Ware (forearm) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

Bashaud Breeland (CB, Was) – Breeland (ankle) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

Brandon Flowers (CB, SD) – Flowers (concussion) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

Robert Ayers (DE, TB) – Ayers (ankle) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

J.J. Watt (DE, Hou) – Watt was placed on Injured Reserve.

Ryan Shazier (ILB, Pit) – Shazier (knee) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

Danny Trevathan (ILB, Chi) – Trevathan (thumb) is listed as Doubtful for Week Four.

Jahleel Addae (SS, SD) – Addae (Clavicle) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

DeVondre Campbell (LB, Atl) – Campbell (ankle) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

DaNorris Searcy (S, Ten) – Searcy (ankle) has been ruled OUT for Week Four.

William Hayes (DE, LA) – Hayes is listed as Doubtful for Week Four.

 

Teams on Bye

Green Bay

Philadelphia

 

Set em and Forget em

These players should be in your lineup regardless of matchup, stadium, etc. If you have one of these players, dont be fooled into benching them because of a tough matchup or some other bit of analysis you may have read this week. These players are talented enough to bust out each week, regardless of opponent or situation.
If a player is missing from this list on a given week, well tell you why.

Defensive Ends

Khalil Mack (Oak) @ Bal

Calais Campbell (Ari) vs. LA

Muhammad Wilkerson (NYJ) vs. Sea

Carlos Dunlap (Cin) – already played

Cameron Jordan (NO) @ SD

Jerry Hughes (Buf) @ NE

Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG) @ Min

Everson Griffen (Min) vs. NYG

 

Defensive Tackles

(for DT-required leagues especially, but most of these are safe plays in the DL slot as well)

Aaron Donald (LA) @ Ari

Gerald McCoy (TB) vs. Den

Linval Joseph (Min) vs. NYG

Ndamukong Suh (Mia) – already played

Geno Atkins (Cin) – already played

Damon Harrison (NYG) @ Min

Leonard Williams (NYJ) vs. Sea

 

Linebackers

NaVorro Bowman (SF) vs. Dal

Luke Kuechly (Car) @ Atl

Lavonte David (TB) vs. Den

Alec Ogletree (LA) @ Ari

Derrick Johnson (KC) @ Pit

Bobby Wagner (Sea) vs. NYJ

Jamie Collins (NE) vs. Buf

Sean Lee (Dal) @ SF

Jerrell Freeman (Chi) vs. Det

Ryan Shazier (Pit) vs. KC

Craig Robertson (NO) @ SD

Paul Posluszny (Jac) vs. Ind

 

Safeties

Reshad Jones (Mia) – already played

Landon Collins (NYG) @ Min

Reggie Nelson (Oak) @ Bal

Harrison Smith (Min) vs. NYG

Barry Church (Dal) @ SF

Johnathan Cyprien (Jac) vs. Ind

Tony Jefferson (Ari) vs. LA

Chris Conte (TB) vs. Den

Eric Weddle (Bal) vs. Oak

 

Cornerbacks

(for CB-required leagues especially, but most of these are safe plays in the DB slot as well)

David Amerson (Oak) @ Bal

Marcus Peters (KC) @ Pit

Josh Norman (Was) vs. Cle

Adam Jones (Cin) – already played

 

Solid Plays

These players are 2s/3s but should put up good numbers this week based on their talent, plus a favorable matchup or other factors that give them a little extra boost this week.

Defensive Ends

Danielle Hunter (Min) vs. NYG – Hunter just will not be denied. He has a sack in each of his first three games, along with 12 tackles (7 solo), 1 FR, 1 FF, and a TD. Not bad for a part-time player. Hunter is in a heavy rotation on a crowded and talented line, but none of that seems to affect Hunter’s ability to put up 6.5 FPG. He may eventually bowl a dud, but he’s just been too productive to not keep in your lineup.

William Gholston (TB) vs. Den – Gholston got things going in Week Three, with 6 solos against the Rams. He’s got an excellent matchup this week as not only does he get to play at home in front of his friendly stat crew, but LT Russell Okung has been limited by a back injury.

 

Defensive Tackles

(for DT-required leagues)

Danny Shelton (Cle) @ Was – Shelton is off to a fast start, posting 16 tackles (9 solo) over the first three weeks. He’s got a nice matchup this week as Washington has been the 6th best team for giving up opposing DL production. Shelton’s streak of at least 4 tackles in every game should continue.

 

Linebackers

Deion Jones (Atl) vs. Car – Jones has settled into the 3-down role in Atlanta and has been steadily productive through three games. While his pick-six last week was a nice cherry on top for him, it’s the 25 tackles (20 solo) so far that have us fired up. Jones is the real deal, and has a great matchup this week. Carolina is a top-5 team for opposing LB fantasy production. The Panthers are giving up 25 tackles and almost 2 sacks per game to LBs, and Jones is set up to soak in that production this week.

Zachary Orr (Bal) vs. Oak – Orr has been logging 100% snap shares next to C.J. Mosley, and has been solid so far this season. He has 23 tackles (17 solo) through three games, with a few big plays mixed in as well. Orr is looking like a solid season-long LB2 and should find himself busy this week against a Raiders team continuing to establish their run game.

Telvin Smith (Jac) vs. Ind – With so much up in the air for the Jacksonville LBs during the preseason, Smith’s role seemed up in the air. But now that the regular season has settled in, so has Smith. He’s been rock solid as an LB2, averaging 8 tackles per game (with no fewer than 6 solos per game). Smith gets a boost this week as he travels to London to face a generous Colts team when it comes to LBs. Indy is ranked 3rd in FPG allowed to linebackers.

 

Safeties

Keanu Neal (Atl) – Neal had a strong preseason and was hailed as HC Dan Quinn’s new “Kam Chancellor.” But then Neal injured his knee in preseason, and missed the first two weeks. In Week Three, Neal finally got on the field in subpackages, but we’re expecting him to take over the full-time SS role going forward. In limited action, Neal put up 4 tackles, so expect that number to rise substantially with more playing time.

Karl Joseph (Oak) @ Bal – Joseph sat out the first two weeks, but as the Raiders needed a spark on defense, Joseph finally saw the field in Week Three. Oakland’s defense was improved last week, so Joseph is likely to be the starter at SS going forward. He had 6 tackles on 90% snaps and should be busy chasing down the renewed Dennis Pitta-Joe Flacco connection.

 

Cornerbacks

(for CB-required leagues)

Trumaine Johnson (LA) @ Ari – Johnson has delivered for fantasy, with 15 tackles (13 solo) over the last two games. Johnson has two things going for him this week: the Rams D has been consistently logging in around 80 snaps per game, and he’s going up against the Cardinals and their pass-heavy offense. This is a good opportunity for a CB to hit double-digit tackles.

 

Sneaky Plays

These players are 4s/5s who normally just live on the bench or on the waiver wire, but this week is especially good for taking a shot on them.

Defensive Ends

Yannik Ngakoue (Jac) vs. Ind – All the talk in the offseason was of the addition of DT Malik Jackson and the now-healthy DE Dante Fowler. But it’s been Ngakoue who’s been stealing the show in Jacksonville. He’s been leading the DEs in snaps and has 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a PD in three games. Trouble. Maker. His 6 tackles provide some cushion if Ngakoue misses, but he has a nice matchup this week, as Indy averages 4 big plays to DLs so far this season. He’s better in a big play league, but we like Ngakoue in standard leagues this week.

Jaye Howard (KC) @ Pit – Howard started off slow, but has turned in back-to-back solid outings. He has 7 solos and 2 PD over the last two weeks and has found his groove. That will come in handy this week as Pittsburgh is one of the friendliest teams to opposing DLs. They have been giving up 15 tackles and 2 PD per game to DLs, so Howard should get plenty of opportunity to eat this week.

 

Defensive Tackles

(for DT-required leagues)

Will Sutton (Chi) vs. Det – Sutton has been filling for DT Eddie Goldman, and was productive in Week Three. Sutton had 5 tackles (2 solo) and a PD, and should keep the starting role for the next few weeks until Goldman returns. His opponent this week hasn’t run the ball much, but Detroit is expected to lean more on the run this week, which is good news for those needing a spark at DT.

 

Linebackers

Sean Weatherspoon (Atl) vs. Car – Weatherspoon has experienced a career resurgence back in Atlanta. He looked great in the preseason, and when rookie DeVondre Campbell went down, Weatherspoon stepped in and was immediately productive. Over the last two weeks, ‘Spoon has 19 tackles (including 8 solos in each game) and it’s looking like Campbell will miss another game. Look for Weatherspoon to take advantage of a juicy matchup against the Panthers, who bleed points to opposing LBs.

Todd Davis (Den) @ TB – Davis has been a solid LB3 while playing next to Brandon Marshall, with 17 tackles and a half-sack. That steady production should continue going forward as Davis gets more comfortable working alongside Marshall. Davis is logging a high snap share, so his floor is solid. With Tampa Bay likely scheming to get the ball out quickly this week against a ferocious Denver D-line, look for Davis to see a lot of Charles Sims and Adam Humphries.

Cory James (Oak) @Bal – After Ben Heeney was benched late in Week Two, the signs pointed to a change at MLB for Oak. When Week Three rolled around, it was James who started in place of Heeney and handled all but three of the snaps. The Raiders defense played much better in Week Three, so there’s a great chance that James will again be in the middle of the action this week.

Shane Ray (Den) @ TB – NFL, meet Shane Ray. This kid has been dying to get more playing time to show what he can do. When Demarcus Ware went down, Ray started in his place and put up 6 tackles and 3 sacks. That’s in one game. Ray should continue to benefit from the extra attention paid to Von Miller, and should also benefit from an aggressive and tricky defensive scheme. As long as Ware is sidelined, Ray is a sneaky play in big play and standard formats.

 

Safeties

Daimion Stafford (Ten) @ Hou – When DaNorris Searcy went down with a high ankle sprain, it was Stafford who replaced him, recording 3 tackles in limited duty. Stafford should get the start this week and be a sneaky option going up against the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Houston should plan to attack the backup Stafford as HC Bill OBrien takes over the offense and will likely try and put up some big time production. That plays right into the hands of Stafford’s tackle production.

Will Blackmon (Was) vs. Cle – When DeAngelo Hall was put on Injured Reserve, HC Jay Gruden tabbed Blackmon as the new starting free safety. Blackmon has a chance to be fairly productive at the back of this defense this week. With starting CB Bashaud Breeland out, Blackmon is likely going to be busy helping out Breeland’s replacement who is likely to be targeted early and often.

 

Cornerbacks

(for CB-required leagues)

Sean Davis (Pit) vs. KC – Davis saw his role increase last week, as he replaced Robert Golden and logged 92% of the defensive snaps. Golden has been ruled OUT, so Davis will move into the safety slot. Getting safety opportunity as a CB is always a good thing, particularly for a talent like Davis. He had 7 tackles (6 solo) in that role.

 

Shaky Plays

These players are normally a solid option, but this week is especially bad for them.

Defensive Ends

Timmy Jernigan (Bal) vs. Oak – Jernigan has had a nice start to the season, but he has two things working against him this week. Not only has he been battling a knee injury, but his matchup is brutal. Oakland has a strong O-Line is the stingiest against opposing D-Lines so far. The Raiders are only giving up 7.5 FPG to D-lines as a whole, so Jernigan’s expected piece of that pie won’t leave him much to chew on.

Emmanuel Ogbah (Cle) @ Was – Ogbah has been pressed into service likely more than the coaching staff would like, but did have a nice outing last week, posting 3 solos and a PD. Overall, however, Ogbah isn’t playing well, and is getting overmatched often. It’s a pretty common issue for rookie DLs, so last week’s game is likely to be closer to his ceiling than his floor.

 

Defensive Tackles

(for DT-required leagues)

Jarran Reed (Sea) vs. NYJ – Reed is struggling to make an impact early in the season. He only has 1 solo over the first three weeks as part of a rotation on Seattle’s D-line. What worries us this week especially is opportunity. He’s going to be involved in one of the slowest games of the week, in front of a stingy stat crew, and last week he only played 50% of the defensive snaps. This means less opportunity and less confidence that if he gets a hand on a ball carrier that he’ll get credit for being involved in the tackle. If you have him, you’ve already started losing confidence in him. This week isn’t likely to help that.

 

Linebackers

Willie Young/Leonard Floyd (Chi) vs. Det – When Lamarr Houston went down, the rotation at OLB seemed to favor Young and Floyd, but Sam Acho has been the fly in the fantasy ointment. Acho actually leads the OLBs in snaps, leaving Young and Floyd to around 50-60% usage. They’ll still get a handful of tackles and a big play or two, but unless this rotation changes, both Bears OLBs have lower ceilings.

Mason Foster (Was) vs. Cle – Foster has seen his usage drop since Week One. Last week he played only 38 snaps, and has dropped from 14 tackles in Week One to just 5 in Week Three. Sua Cravens has been eating into Foster’s snaps in subpackages, and we don’t see that turning around anytime soon.

Justin March-Lillard (KC) @ Pit – March-Lillard started strong in Week One but has lost playing time over the last two weeks. His snaps dropped to 35% in Week Three, making him essentially useless for fantasy. Between his poor play and the presence of Sam Barrington, he’s too risky to put in your lineups.

 

Safeties

Adrian Amos (Chi) vs. Det – Amos has had a solid start to the season, but the last two games he hasn’t had many tackles. That’s partly due to the play of Jerrell Freeman and Harold Jones-Quartey, who are soaking up tackles in front of him. We were hoping his production would increase with the loss of Danny Trevathan, and it did in the form of a fumble recovery. But DBs don’t make their living on recovering fumbles. Amos might just be too far away from the action to put up solid fantasy production.

                            

Cornerbacks

(for CB-required leagues)

Coty Sensabaugh (LA) @ Ari – After a rough start to the season, Sensabaugh was benched in Week Three, and that appears to be something that will stick as Troy Hill has been tabbed as the starter at CB. That Week One 11 FP game might be his only fantasy relevant one of the season.