Let's start things off by going through some IDP news, notes, and commentary from Week 1 of the NFL season.
In a complete surprise, all-universe linebacker Patrick Willis found himself on the sidelines for quite a few plays against Green Bay this past Sunday. The 49ers opted to use a lot of dime packages against the Packers' pass-heavy attack and Willis rotated with Navorro Bowman as the lone linebacker. I wouldn't expect this to be a common occurance. Rather, the 49ers will likely only use dime packages this heavily a couple of times throughout the year.
DeMeco Ryans was in the nickel packages with rookie Mychal Kendricks despite reports earlier the week that he would be replaced by Jamar Chaney. If this trend continues, Ryans returns to LB3+ status.
Colin McCarthy exited the game early with an apparent ankle injury and was seen wearing a walking boot after the game. He insisted that he was fine and that he just "tweaked" his ankle. Nevertheless, this is definitely a situation to monitor. If he's a go for Week 2, hold on to him. I still believe he has top 10, if not top 5 value.
Luke Kuechly subbed out on the majority of nickel downs and seemed like a fish out of water for a majority of the game. His value may be diminished for the early part of the season until he finds his feet and the coaching staff entrusts him with subpackage snaps. Bump up James Anderson and Jon Beason on your boards.
Falcons placed CB Brent Grimes on injured reserve with an Achilles' injury, ending his season.
Bears CB Charles Tillman was forced from Sunday's Week 1 game versus the Colts with a lower-leg injury. We should know more about the severity of his injury later on in the week.
Brian Urlacher sat out most of the second half of Sunday's Week 1 win over the Colts as the team attempted to manage his knee injury. I'd avoid starting Urlacher in the majority of leagues.
Dwight Freeney will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the ankle injury that knocked him out of Sunday's game at Chicago.
Before we get into my waiver wire recommendations, I just want to make a couple comments concerning Week 1 underperforming studs. DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is especially the case when it comes to defensive linemen. Yes, Jared Allen put up a big fat goose egg. It sucks, but it would be extremely near-sighted to drop him. He actually had a sack in the game, but he was called for a controversial offsides penalty which negated the play. If that flag didn't happen, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. We shouldn't be having this discussion anyway. He has the Colts next week where he should get back on track.
Here are some other IDP studs not to panic on yet: Trent Cole, Chris Long, George Wilson, Eric Berry, D'Qwell Jackson, Justin Tuck, Cliff Avril, Elvis Dumervil
Now onto The Guru's IDP waiver wire selections for Week 2!
(Please note that a majority of these pickups are long-term, rest of season pickups as opposed to matchup-type recommendations. As the season progresses and the waiver wire becomes more thin and matchup information becomes more reliable, the focus of this article will shift more towards recommendations based on weekly matchup.)
RDE Chandler Jones (NE) - This guy has been pimped as a "sleeper" by a plethora of IDP writers this year, so it's unlikely that he's available in a majority of fantasy leagues. However, if he is, pick him up. This kid is a freakish athlete in a very productive role within the Pats' scheme and could be this year's version of JPP.
RDE Derrick Morgan (TEN) - I've liked Morgan since he entered the league in 2010. He has the talent to be a DL2+ but injuries have derailed his progress for the 1st two years of his career. He finally looks healthy and should receive 50-60 snaps a game this year. Although he didn't register a sack last week, he had a solid 7 tackles and is a player who's value I believe will only trend upward as the season wears on.
LDE Derrick Wolfe (DEN) - Wolfe was a late add to my draft guide and screamed up my rankings very quickly. He had a great camp and preseason and a season-ending injury to Jason Hatcher and ineffective play of Robert Ayers led to Wolfe being named the starting LDE. He will face constant one-on-one matchups playing opposite Elvis Dumervil and should see a very healthy does of snaps between DE/DT. The matchup isn't quite as good this week, but he should be a nice DL4+/DL3- pickup in deeper leagues for the rest of the season.
LDE Greg Hardy (CAR) - Hardy is a stout run defender and added on extra weight in the offseason in order to ensure he doesn't wear down late in the year like he did in 2011. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I wouldn't be surprised at all if he finishes with more points than teammate Charles Johnson. His strength of schedule isn't great, but he should produce strong enough numbers in the tackle column for DL3+ consideration even if he only generates 6-7 sacks.
LDT Randy Starks (MIA) - This pickup is for those in DT-required leagues. Starks was a DT1 back in 2009 (the year before the Dolphins switched to a 3-4) with 56 total tackles and 7 sacks. Starks was miscast in the 3-4 the last two seasons and his numbers dipped dramatically as a result. The Dolphins transitioned back to a 4-3 this year and you can already see the positive effect it's had on Starks. Definitely worth a pickup in leagues that require defensive tackles.
WLB Wesley Woodyard (DEN) - I've been preaching about the underratedness of Woodyard all off-season. In the three games he started last season, he compiled an impressive 29 total tackles. That production has carried over to this season with 12 solo tackles (2 for a loss) and a sack against the Steelers on SNF. He will continue to start as an every down linebacker for as long as D.J. Williams is out (at least until Week 7 and likely longer) and should be a nice high floor, low risk LB2 option during that time span.
SILB Larry Foote (PIT) - Foote is probably the least exciting name on this, list but he shouldn't be overlooked. Both of the Pittsburgh inside linebacker positions have been productive over the last several seasons. James Farrior was putting up fantasy starter numbers in this position in his mid-30s, so it's not that much of a stretch to consider Foote as a low-end LB3 starter in deep leagues (he's 32). He actually outplayed Timmons last week with 7 solo tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack, and 1 PD. Expect steady production with a good mix of tackles and sacks from the 11 year veteran this season.
SILB Jerrell Freeman (IND) - I've mentioned Freeman as a deep sleeper on the site several times over the last few weeks and although his tackle numbers were average (5 solos), he did intercept a pass for a touchdown and should see an increase in production next week against Adrian Peterson and the Vikings. The coaching staff has been impressed with his play and has rewarded him with an every down role. Sneaky pickup in those super deep, 16 team leagues.
SLB Stephen Nicholas (ATL) - Nicholas is one of the more underrated linebackers in the league and now with Curtis Lofton out of the picture in Atlanta, he has assumed an every down role. He's not gonna put up 12 tackles every week, but I think 7-8 tackles a week is a reasonable expectation from the strong side.
SILB Paris Lenon (ARI) - Lenon is in a similar situation to Farrior (see above): an aging, veteran SLB who is overshadowed by an up-and-coming WILB. If readers remember, Paris "Don't Call Me London" Lenon was an IDP stud back in 2010 where he racked up 124 total tackles along with 3 sacks. Make no mistake, Washington is still the linebacker to own on this defense, but Lenon should be a high upside, matchup play for us this season. With this said, the Patriots matchup has not typically been a great one for linebackers as they tend to throw the ball a lot, but Lenon will likely spend some time covering one or both of Beantown's tight ends, so solid production should be a likely result.
SS T.J. Ward (CLE) - I was higher than most others on Ward heading into this season. After a 95 solo rookie season, Ward wasn't nearly as effective during the 1st half of the season in 2011 and missed the entire 2nd half due to injury. The Browns currently have significant injury issues at outside linebacker which means Ward will be seeing a significant amount of time in the box and consequently his tackle opportunities will increase. Add in his blitzing ability and you have a nice high floor DB2 option. His 7 solo tackles, 2 assists, 2 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 FF show you that he is a complete player and should be owned in the majority of leagues.
SS Craig Dahl (STL) - With Darian Stewart inactive on Sunday, Dahl started at strong safety and provided his owners with a stout 8 solo tackles. Dahl and Stewart were in a fierce position battle all throughout the preseason; however, I have to believe Dahl in the frontrunner for the position now. It's a situation to watch closely once Stewart returns to full health, but until then, Dahl is an excellent filler especially in tackle-heavy leagues.
SS William Moore (ATL) - I've been waiting for Moore to breakout for the past two seasons. He struggled in coverage last season and was benched for a while as a result. He played really well against the Chiefs last week and with Curtis Lofton gone to New Orleans, Moore should have more tackle opportunity than he's ever had. The Falcons like to use him aggressively and he's worth a flier as your DB3/4 in 12 team or deeper leagues.
RCB Alterraun Verner (TEN)- Verner is another guy I've pimping all off-season. In his first full season as a starter back in 2010, he racked up an impressive 85 solo tackles. He took advantage of a nice matchup against the Patriots in Week 1 with 9 total tackles. He gets another great matchup this week against the Chargers. Expect similar production to Week 1 and for his CB1 production to continue. I'd rather own him over McCourty.
RCB Tracy Porter (DEN) - Porter will likely be one of this week's hot waiver wire pickups. However, I'd be careful not to use too high of a waiver priority/too much bid money on him. Cornerbacks are inconsistent and typically heavily reliant on big plays and matchups. With that said, Porter has a nice matchup this week against the Falcons and should see plenty of balls thrown his way opposite Champ Bailey. I think 6-8 solos is a reasonable expection in Week 2. I'd still rather have Verner or Ward rest of the season though.
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Last Updated: September 11, 2012 Related Posts: