4 IDP Fantasy Football Targets for Week 2
Individual Defensive Player (IDP) has to be my favorite format in fantasy football. If you’ve felt satisfaction at a job well done with just offensive players, there’s truly nothing else like getting to field a full team – offense and defense – on the virtual gridiron and watching them grind your best friends into dust. You may not realize, but IDP have been in the fantasy game since the original fantasy league was formed back in Oakland in 1962, with two defensive back/linebacker slots and two slots for defensive linemen. IDP are an institution in fantasy football, and we aim to treat them as such in this column.
Each week this season, in honor of the four-IDP requirement in the OG fantasy league, I will identify four targets widely available on waiver wires (20% or less rostership on Yahoo!) that you should be aiming for in your IDP leagues. These recommendations are based on a balanced 3:1 big play-to-tackle scoring ratio. We’ll examine their matchups and their snap count trends while helping you figure out the best fit for your IDP rosters.
It’s the Week 2 IDP waiver wire. Here are your four targets:
Leonard Williams, DL, New York Giants
vs. Carolina Panthers
Roster Percentage: 6%
Despite being a massive 300-plus pounds, Williams is not like the Vince Wilforks of yore who sat in the middle of the line and run-stuffed the A-gap on either side of center. Williams can play an interior role, but in Week 1 we saw him spend 67.9% of his snaps in a defensive end or edge rusher positions – a marked increase from last year’s 48.5%. What this means for NFL purposes is that he is spending more time rushing against offensive tackles nowadays, rather than guards and centers.
What this means for fantasy is that the powerful Williams will be spending his day wreaking havoc against tackles Ikem Ekwonu and Taylor Moton. Ekwonu (the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft) and Moton (a sixth-year veteran and former second-rounder) currently rank 65th and 57th respectively in Pro Football Focus’s blocking grades among tackles who played 20 or more snaps in Week 1.
Ekwonu, in particular, got tossed around in the season debut. On 33 drop backs, he was credited with allowing two hurries and two sacks – a pass-block efficiency rate of 90.9%, and the fourth-worst rate in the league. Moton himself also allowed two pressures, which means Williams should have a field day while getting to face the Panthers’ bookends.
Our model projects Leonard Williams for 4.4 tackles and 0.8 sacks against Carolina; his 7.1 projected fantasy points makes him our DL2 for Week 2.
T.J. Edwards, LB, Philadelphia Eagles
vs. Minnesota Vikings
Roster Percentage: 9%
There’s no reason T.J. Edwards’ rostership should still be in single digits.
Despite going under our expectation in Week 1, the Philadelphia Eagles’ middle linebacker racked up a solid seven total tackles while adding a pass defended. Those 7.0 fantasy points may not have registered with the general public, but Edwards could have hit double-digits fairly easily if he wrapped up a pair of missed tackles a little better. He was in on 100% of the Eagles' defensive snaps and nothing looks likely to change in the near future on his opportunity for playing time.
In Week 2, Edwards and the Birds will take on the new-look Minnesota Vikings. In Week 1, in a neutral game script, Minnesota called 14 pass plays and 10 rush plays, for a 1.40 pass-to-run ratio. This is a reasonable upward tick from last year (1.34) but remains the 11th-lowest in the league (1.53 league average). The Vikings are still plowing ahead with running backs Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, who took 50% of their carries straight up the middle (through the A- or B-gaps) – i.e., right into Edwards’ lap.
In addition, quarterback Kirk Cousins attempted 20 of his 26 passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, with 10 of those tossed to the middle zone. Both phases of the Vikings’ offense should flow right through Edwards and his area of the field.
Our model projects Edwards for 10.8 tackles and 0.4 passes defended against Minnesota in Week 2, as well as 12.0 total fantasy points. We project him as the LB2 for fantasy this week.
Kamu Grugier-Hill, LB, Houston Texans
at Denver Broncos
Roster Percentage: 10%
Defensive snaps are there for the taking in the Houston Texans’ raggedy unit, and longtime “Just A Guy” Kamu Grugier-Hill seems to be seizing a fair portion of those snaps – and, better, doing something with them.
KGH, as the kids are calling him, played 92 Houston defensive snaps in Week 1 and earned himself 18 combined tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a pass defended. The raw totals are impressive, yes, but even more so are the rates: a 100% defensive snap share and a 21.7% tackle opportunity rate would still be impressive even if he’d played a less mind-bending 50-60 snaps (10-13 tackle chances).
Those peripherals are great indicators of his value on a team that should be in good position to funnel IDP points to Grugier-Hill all year. In spite of forcing an overtime tie in Week 1, the Texans will still likely have their defense on the field a lot while trailing big in 2022. That means more short passes to KGH’s zone and rushes to kill the clock than the average team. We’ve already seen Grugier-Hill’s fantasy potential demonstrated thanks to this outburst; the opportunity underlying it is real too.
Grugier-Hill and his Texans travel to the Denver Broncos in Week 2, in a likely game script that can only be described as “positive as hell”. That’s exactly what we want for KGH’s fantasy value this week, in addition to the fact that quarterback Russell Wilson targeted two-thirds of his passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage – right in KGH’s wheelhouse.
Our model projects Grugier-Hill for 9.1 tackles, 0.3 sacks, and 0.3 passes defended, for a total of 10.6 fantasy points. He’s Week 2’s LB9 by our projections.
Jalen Thompson, DB, Arizona Cardinals
at Las Vegas Raiders
Roster Percentage: 16%
There’s good news and bad news for Arizona Cardinals fans here in this recommendation. The bad news is that your defense is not – in a word – good.
The cornerbacks got ravaged in Week 1, with Byron Murphy and Marco Wilson being forced to play island coverage while essentially everyone else did their best Leeroy Jenkins impression. The linebackers got bowled over, with Isaiah Simmons, Zaven Collins, and Nick Vigil combining for a 27.8% missed tackle rate in this game as well.
The good news: that gives safety Jalen Thompson a lot of cleanup potential for IDP purposes. Thompson earned nine tackles in Week 1, largely because a ton of ball carriers slipped through two levels of the defense and made it to him. That said, Thompson played 54.3% of his snaps in the box, which is something we love to see for fantasy upside (remember: the closer a player lines up to the line of scrimmage, the more production stability they tend to have).
The team that Thompson’s Cardinals will face in Week 2 actually threw at a second-highest neutral game script rate in Week 1, while attempting a fairly balanced 54% of their passes in the short area and 46% beyond 10 yards. That means that wherever quarterback Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders tosses the rock, Thompson has a good chance to be around the play in this contest.
Our model projects Thompson for 7.7 tackles, a 12% chance of an interception, and 0.5 passes defended, giving him 8.8 fantasy points. By our projections, that makes Thompson the DB3 for fantasy purposes in Week 2.