Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 2 Individual defensive players (IDP)

Some players seem primed for a great week… and some not so much. Check and see which IDP should start or sit.

IDP is harder to predict than offensive players. Changing offensive schemes designed to play on weaknesses can turn last week’s IDP leader into a forgotten entity next week. But that won’t stop me from making some educated hunches and thoughts about Week 2 IDP results. 

START THIS GUY: Brandon Graham, DL, Philadelphia (at Kansas City)

Graham comes off a two sack, two QB hit, four tackle day that included three tackles for a loss against Washington. Kansas City’s offensive line and player shifts offer a bigger challenge, but it is also likely to keep Philly’s defense on the field longer, offering more opportunity to Graham. 

SIT THIS GUY: DeMarcus Lawrence, DL Dallas (at Denver)

Lots of people were impressed by Lawrence’s second-best pass rusher status in Week 1. He had five quarterback hurries to go with his four tackles and two sacks. Against the Giants, though, those numbers don’t really make me jump on the Lawrence bandwagon. He will get his first real test this week in Denver.

START THIS GUY: BJ Goodson, LB, NY Giants (vs. Detroit)

With an eye-opening 18 total tackles, including 14 solos and one for a loss, Goodson validated the hype coming out of preseason. Detroit’s offense will move faster and pass more, which has some predicting a big downturn in Week 2. But Goodson can have a significant downturn and still have a good week. More likely, however, is that he will add some pass defense stats and a sack to this week’s double-digit tackle total. 

SIT THIS GUY: Telvin Smith, LB Jacksonville (vs. Tennessee)  

Smith was one of the few Jaguar defenders not to run up statistics in their whitewashing of Houston Sunday. Yet, he is a consensus LB12 on most cheat sheets. He graded well, but the stats went to everyone around him. While Tennessee’s offense might stay on the field longer and offer more tackle and passing game opportunity, I’m backing off on Smith for a week to see if his role on defense offers more fantasy potential or not. 

START THIS GUY: Jamal Adams, S, NY Jets (at Oakland)

Start a rookie against Derek Carr? Of course! You could also start the Jets’ other rookie safety, Marcus Maye, because Carr will go after them much more than Tyrod Taylor did. I picked Adams because he will play closer to the line, affording him a shot at Marshawn Lynch on running downs. Adams had five tackles, including one for a loss, and a pass defended in Buffalo. Those numbers will go up against a more open offense like the Raiders’. 

SIT THIS GUY: Tyvon Branch, CB, Arizona Cardinals

Branch was Arizona’s leading tackler last week and ranks as the CB-1 on most IDP sheets. I think he will find tackles harder to come by in Week 2 as Indianapolis’ offense will not be primarily played in the Cardinals’ defensive backfield. Forte and Mack will run a lot. This is purely conjectured on fewer overall defensive plays and Branch following TY Hilton away from the action this week. 

Too-easy-to-write-about top five

JJ Watt (even with a broken finger), Luke Kuechly, Kwon Alexander, Bobby Wagner and Joey Bosa.

Week 2 flash in the pan prediction

Kansas City’s offense continues to roll over opponents, but it results in Philadelphia’s Rodney McLeod leading all defensive backs with 14 tackles and two passes defended.

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Pat Opperman


Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.