IDP Start em, Sit em – Week 2 (2021 Fantasy Football)
Wow. Somehow the New York Giants and Washington were able to make their Thursday Night Football appearance an exciting one. There was plenty of action on both sides of the ball with Terry McLaurin and Sterling Shepard both recording nine or more catches and with plenty of IDP goodness to go around. Jonathan Allen got home twice, with Montez Sweat also recording a sack. Giants rookie Azeez Ojulari connected with Taylor Heinicke for the second sack of his career. Blake Martinez and Landon Collins both provided the level of production expected of them, while Kamren Curl and Jabrill Peppers both nearly doubled their Week 1 snaps.
Chandler Jones (DE/LB – ARI)
Thanks, Captain Obvious. Yes, anyone who plays on a provider that allows Jones to be plugged in as an edge/DE/DL is starting Chandler Jones in Week 2. That’s a no-brainer. However, this is for those of you who may still play IDP at Yahoo or another provider who only allow the outside linebacker to be started as an LB. Jones is all the way back, and that means we are talking about a top-five pass-rushing talent who has averaged close to four tackles per game in his career. While it may be hard to trust him as an LB1 most weeks, the Minnesota Vikings are leaky enough on the offensive line that it would be an upset if Jones did not have another multi-sack game. As echoed here last week, Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt are going to be a joy to watch. Lock Jones into lineups as an LB2 with LB1 upside or as an elite DE/DL1.
Tracy Walker (S – DET)
Another one of our top pickups this week, Tracy Walker, looks to be undergoing a career resurgence under Dan Campbell. Walker regressed in a major way for the bulk of the Matt Patricia era but looks to be back to his DB1/S1 ways. Walker went bonkers in Week 1 en route to the S1 overall performance. He tallied six solos, one assist, one sack, and one tackle for loss and should have another strong outing in store for fantasy managers in Week 2. Though the sample size is obviously a small one, the Packers have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the safety position this season. Walker should be a busy man against an angry Green Bay Packers offense and appears primed for another DB1 performance.
Donovan Wilson (S – DAL)
Without context, anyone who perused the Buccaneers-Cowboys boxscore may have thought that Donovan Wilson was the third-string safety in Week 1. He tallied just, well actually; he logged nothing. In a traditional box score, all you will see is zeroes across the board while Jayron Kearse and Damontae Kazee both showed up with solos. However, Wilson was still making an impact for the Cowboys. He logged 85 percent of the snaps in Week 1 and got the green light to go after Tom Brady on two occasions, with one resulting in a pressure and knockdown. Week 1 showed us that he will be used all over the field, including in the box and as a slot corner which should lead to even more tackle opportunities than if he was playing a more traditional free safety role. For now, consider Week 1’s dud an aberration and keep rolling with Wilson where needed. Wilson is a DB2 with DB1 upside for a plus matchup against a Los Angeles Chargers offense that has relinquished the 10th most fantasy points to the safety position so far on the young season.
Azeez Al-Shaair (LB – SF)
Al-Shaair is set to start in place of the injured Dre Greenlaw and looks ready to make a sizable IDP impact. Azeez was a busy man in Week 1, racking up four solos, three assists, two tackles for loss, and two pass deflections. That performance placed him as the LB14 for the week. He saw a healthy 78 percent of the snaps against the Lions but should see an even larger role against the Philadelphia Eagles. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles present a plus matchup and should provide for plenty of tackle opportunities for the third-year pro. Al-Shaair is safe to roster and start as an upside LB2 for Week 2.
Nick Bolton (LB – KC)
Bolton is a sneaky LB2 option for Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. He logged the second-most snaps among Chiefs linebackers in Week 1, racking up four solos, three assists, and one tackle for loss. The Ravens are always an offense to target with linebackers, and the rookie linebacker is no different. He should continue to play ahead of Ben Niemann and could have an even stronger performance in Week 2. While it makes more sense to plug Bolton in as an LB3 (you did not draft him to start this early), he does have LB2 upside against a Ravens team that is always a plus matchup. Through one week of action, Baltimore has surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to the linebacker position.
Zaven Collins (LB – ARI)
Here we go again. After being listed as the starting middle linebacker on the team’s depth chart, the Cardinals, who misused Isaiah Simmons as a rookie, gave Zaven Collins just 34 percent of the snaps. Based on what we saw from the Cardinals coaching staff with Simmons last season, it will be nearly impossible to trust them to give Collins a consistent role, even if he is still listed ahead of Jordan Hicks on the team’s official depth chart. Hicks played a position high 95 percent of the snaps in Week 1 when the Cardinals were blowing out the Tennessee Titans. Keep Collins benched for Week 2 and re-evaluate his spot on your redraft roster in the coming weeks.
Jamien Sherwood (S/LB – NYJ)
Another duplicitous depth chart reared its head in Week 1. Jamien was listed as a starter in the middle for the Jets, but in Week 1, Del’Shawn Phillips saw 89 percent of the snaps while fellow rookie Hamsah Nasirldeen saw 49 percent while splitting time on the inside, outside, and in coverage in the slot. Sherwood saw just three snaps. He’s a hold in dynasty leagues but feel free to cut bait with the rookie if you haven’t already. Deep leaguers will want to keep him stashed on the bench in the hopes he seizes a role by the time the byes roll around.
Jevon Holland (S – MIA)
Holland remains an intriguing stash in deeper IDP leagues but expectations need to be adjusted from what many thought would be an immediate starting role. Holland logged just 32 percent of the snaps in Week 1, recording two solos. He is firmly behind fellow free safety Jason McCourty on the depth chart and will likely need an injury in front of him to play an IDP-relevant role.
Richie Grant (S – ATL)
Richie Grant is firmly in drop territory. He did manage two solos in his NFL debut but managed just six snaps. He has the talent to make an impact on a pitiful Falcons defense, but until they start giving him a consistent high snap role, he should remain glued to benches in deeper leagues and cut ties with altogether in shallower formats. This will be his last appearance in the sit portion of this column because he does not have a large enough role to warrant even being an option for those outside of dynasty leagues.
A.J. Epenesa (DE – BUF)
Epenesa has fallen behind Greg Rousseau on the depth chart and played just 33 percent of the snaps in Week 1. There was some hope that Epenesa would push Addison for the starting gig while the thought-to-be raw Rousseau developed behind them. However, Rousseau was a training camp star and seems to have parlayed his strong showing into a starting role alongside Jerry Hughes. The Bills rotate their defensive ends enough for three to be relevant in deeper leagues, but in Week 1, it was Rousseau with 52 percent of the snaps (second behind Jerry Hughes at 57 percent) and Mario Addison at 45 percent. Fantasy managers, and the Bills for the matter, hope that Epenesa can eventually push Addison, but it is clear that Rousseau has seized the role that many IDP managers may have thought was going to Epenesa. The talent is still there, but without more opportunities, Epenesa will be wildly inconsistent at best. Keep him benched in deeper leagues.
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