IDP Start/Sit: Week 1
Jake Kohlhagen, lead IDP contributor for Reality Sports Online, shares his IDP starts and sits for Week 1.
This article is presented by our friends at Reality Sports Online.
Welcome back, folks! It is time to kick off the 2023 NFL and fantasy season and I can’t think of a better way to do it than to talk Start and Sit options for some of our favorite IDPs. For some context for our newer readers, I am reviewing weekly rankings that Jase Abbey creates for The IDP Show and looking for players in that 15-40 range that we should have some greater confidence in (Start) or someone whom we have a little more concern about their output this week (Sit). These aren’t hard and fast recommendations, but hopefully, a great way for you to more thoroughly assess your lineups each week and for the season. Let’s get to it.
Week 1 Starts & Sits
START: Will Anderson Jr., Houston Texans, DL27 (EDGE 21)
The talent and draft capital for Will Anderson are undeniable. And the matchup against a strong Baltimore Ravens might not be our normal target for an edge rusher matchup. However, when looking for better values for our edge rushers, we love QBs who like to hold on to the ball and Lamar Jackson is one of the best at that. His time to throw last year was second only to Justin Fields and in his 378 dropbacks, teams converted 27 sacks in those dropbacks (7.14%). In the last two years, that conversion rate is at 7.6%. Now the Ravens are set to run more offensive, and specifically, pass plays, we have a floor of 2.5 - 3 sacks given up for the Ravens.
Who better to capitalize on a QB holding on to the ball too long and moving around the pocket, than an edge rusher with the quickness and lateral agility to bring him down behind the line? While he likely won’t play Maxx Crosby volume snaps, Anderson projects as the leader rusher and should see a healthy number of snaps in a shallower edge room. Great volume play and a strong sack upside—Will Anderson is closer to a high-end edge 1 and DL2 for me this week.
SIT: Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions, DL9 (EDGE 9)
I love Aidan Hutchinson’s year 2 growth and have plenty of him in my lineups. However, Patrick Mahomes is one of the least sacked QBs over the last 3 years. In fact only 76 times over 2,110 dropbacks for a sack rate of only 3.6%. The game should have an above-average number of plays run and still some good opportunity based on plays and snaps, but the sack ceiling should be lowered for this matchup.
Hutchinson showed he could make plays in other aspects of the game last year with 3 interceptions, but also had a limited tackle floor with 39 combined tackles. He will likely have an exciting year 2 in 2023, but his campaign is likely to get off to a rocky start. I view Hutchinson more as a mid-to-low end DL2.
START: Kaden Elliss, Atlanta Falcons, LB46
If you have heard me at any point this offseason, you have likely heard me talk about my excitement for Kaden Elliss. There is the contract this offseason, 3 years and $21.5 million. The familiarity with the defensive coordinator, Ryan Nielsen, who was his former DC for the last few years in New Orleans. The strong pass-rush production in his half-season role when Pete Werner was injured. Wearing the green dot this preseason. Needless to say, I am excited to see what Elliss can do with a full-time role.
Week 1, the Falcons and Elliss take on the Panthers. The Panthers have an average, at best, offensive line and have struggled this preseason. Atlanta has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush the last several years, Elliss could be primed for good volume, even in a lower projected matchup with a nice ceiling play too. This combination makes Elliss a high-end LB3 with an upside for even more.
SIT: Jamin Davis, Washington Commanders, LB28
Jamin Davis’s offseason was a bit of a roller coaster. The ups of becoming the clear LB1 for the Commanders and the potential leader of this defense. Then his subsequent off-the-field issues with his reckless driving case and the potential impact on his 2023 season. His case was recently slated for March 2024 and the NFL generally doesn’t pursue discipline until court cases are resolved.
Now coming into Week 1, he gets a matchup against the the Arizona Cardinals with the lowest over/under of the week, 38.5. An implied point total of 16 for the Cardinals doesn’t bode well for the offense staying on the field and the Commanders and Jamin Davis making a lot of plays. He has the talent to deliver an LB2 finish this week, but with a weaker floor this week, I am fading Jamin as a low-end LB3.
START: Jayron Kearse, Dallas Cowboys, DB27 (Safety 27)
Dan Quinn and this Cowboys defense have preferred to run three safeties (Kearse, Donovan Wilson, Malik Hooker) with one of them aligning more closely to the line of scrimmage. Kearse has been an IDP beneficiary and the alignment has helped a ton. He spent 74.11% of his snaps last season in either the DL, box, or slot alignments. Now with Wilson potentially out for Week 1, Kearse should have a stronghold of the valuable snaps.
The New York Giants matchup projects to yield an above-average amount of opportunities for the Dallas Cowboys defense and with a path with reduced resistance for Kearse with Wilson on the shelf for Week 1, Kearse has a likely outcome as a midrange DB2 this week.
SIT: Jeremy Chinn, Carolina Panthers, DB22 (Safety 22)
Jeremy Chinn has been an IDP darling since exploding on the scene in his rookie year in 2020. This season though, the final year of his rookie contract, Chinn is in a precarious situation with incumbent safety, Xavier Woods who played over 1,000 snaps the last two seasons, and big free agent signing, Vonn Bell. Bell has played over 1,000 snaps the last three seasons. Woods and Bell project to be primary safeties while Chinn is likely heavily utilized in the slot defender role. Normally slot usage isn’t a death knell for IDP, however, if it is limited and the only role, that is not ideal. And this is what we saw in Chinn’s utilization this preseason.
Pair this with a poor passing performance opponent in the Atlanta Falcons, Chinn’s potential reduced usage, and the crowded safety room, Chinn doesn’t feel like a safe play for me and I would have him as a low-end DB3.
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