Fantasy Football

IDP Analysis for Week 3

RotoWire.com Mario Puig
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The NFL lost one of its best pass rushers for the season Sunday with Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo suffering a torn pectoral muscle. Due to his modest tackle totals, Orakpo's generally not as effective as an IDP as he is on the actual field, but it's a development that will hurt depth in leagues that reward heavily for sacks.

There's good news for Week 3 in the expected 2012 debut of Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap, one of the league's immense defensive line talents despite the inconsistent start to his career (9.5 sacks in 2010 but just 4.5 last year). Dunlap could be a significant boost to the defensive line pool and is worth owning in leagues that start two or more linemen.

Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd (foot) and Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain (concussion) are questionable for Week 3, meanwhile, and linebackers James Harrison (Pittsburgh) and Daryl Smith (groin) are both expected to remain out due to knee and groin injuries, respectively. If McClain is out it might mean a bigger snap count for promising rookie Miles Burris, while Russell Allen will continue to fill in for Smith in Jacksonville. Da'Norris Searcy would start for Buffalo if Byrd is out.

RISING

William Moore, S, ATL

It seems like he has to slow down any second now, but Moore might be the league's hottest IDP through two weeks. He has a ridiculous box score of 15 tackles (12 solo), one sack and two interceptions after two games, and his big snap count at safety makes him a good bet to sustain high production, making him a must-own and a must-start in every IDP league until he cools off. He might not cool off much, though - Moore's athletic talent is among the best in the league at safety and a reason why he was considered an elite prospect at Missouri.

J.J. Watt, (3-4) DE, HOU

If Atlanta's Moore hasn't been the top IDP so far, then Watt would be another good nomination for the distinction, which is incredible since he plays end in a 3-4. He's simply been a monster through two games for Houston, producing as the top defensive line IDP as he totaled eight tackles (six solo), three sacks, five passes defended and a fumble recovery. Obviously, those numbers make him a player who needs to be at least owned in all formats.

LaRon Landry, S, NYJ

As long as he's starting and the timebomb that is Landry's problematic Achilles' tendon stays dormant, he figures to be among the most reliable IDPs in the secondary. Both of those variables have been favorable to Landry to this point, and as a result his stats have been quite good through two weeks. He played every snap for the Jets so far, making 14 tackles (eight solo) and a forced fumble. He should be owned in most or all formats as long as he's on the field for the Jets. Teammate and fellow safety Yeremiah Bell is also a player worth owning in any league, as he has played every snap alongside Landry.

Craig Dahl, S, STL

His past demotion in favor of Darian Stewart leaves open the possibility of it occurring again once Stewart recovers from a hamstring injury, but with no concrete return date mentioned for Stewart, Dahl appears like St. Louis' starter at safety opposite Quintin Mikell for the time being. As long as that's the case, he makes for a fine starter in most leagues. He had 98 tackles (87 solo), one sack and two interceptions in 15 games in 2010, and he has 15 tackles (14 solo) through two weeks this season. He could really pay off as a short-term investment.

Bruce Carter, (3-4) ILB, DAL

Carter is no threat at all to Sean Lee for the top inside linebacker role in Dallas, but between his decent snap count in nickel formations and his high level of activity on special teams, Carter could make for decent depth in leagues that start two or more linebackers. Through two games he has 15 tackles (eight solo) and a pass defended, and Lee's long injury history leaves Carter closer to a lead role at inside linebacker than most teams' second options. With his standout athleticism and promising showing, Carter should remain relevant even if Lee stays healthy, however.

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FALLING

George Wilson, S, BUF

Wilson still needs to be owned in all leagues and is still a good bet to finish 2012 as one of the league's better IDPs in the secondary, but through two weeks his numbers have surprisingly been very ordinary with 10 tackles (six solo). What's even more concerning is that the Bills have been scaling back Wilson's snap count through two weeks, taking him off the field occasionally in favor of 2011 fourth-round pick Da'Norris Searcy, who has logged 35 costly snaps at Wilson's expense. If Jairus Byrd (foot) is out this week and Wilson has a nice game, his owners should do their best to sell him high.

Quinton Coples, (3-4) DE, NYJ

Coples showed a great deal of versatility and effectiveness in the preseason, giving the impression that he would play a big snap count right away for the Jets. Through two weeks, however, that has not been the case. He played 32 snaps in Week 1 but just 16 last week, with players like Mike DeVito (40), Sione Pouha (36), Kenrick Ellis (20) and Marcus Dixon (19) earning more playing time. The first-round pick from North Carolina might not have much upside at all in 2012, as the Jets frequently rotate their defensive linemen - even standout end Muhammad Wilkerson has a modest total of 105 plays so far.

Adrian Clayborn, DE, TB

Unfortunately for Clayborn's IDP owners, there's no stat for a touchdown-springing block like the one Clayborn had on Eli Manning in Eric Wright's interception return for a touchdown in Week 2. In the meantime, Clayborn has just one tackle and no sacks through two weeks. That weak total leaves him short of starting consideration outside of deep IDP leagues, though he is worth perhaps a DL3 designation in leagues that start two or more linemen. Clayborn does have a big snap count going in his favor, at least, as he's tied for Tampa Bay's lead snap count with 128.

Chris Long, DE, STL

Long still needs to be owned in leagues that play two or more linemen, but if the first two weeks are any indication he's in danger of falling to a distant second place behind Robert Quinn as the team's top defensive lineman. Long has a completely viable 110 snaps, but Quinn has 124. Quinn is the one following through on the stat sheet, too, with six solo stops and two sacks compared to Long's total of three tackles (two solo) and no sacks. Long has the talent to start making an impact in the sack category, particularly as offenses become more concerned with Quinn, but his weak tackle totals and only decent snap count limit his utility.

Dont'a Hightower, LB, NE

Hightower's first-round pedigree gave some the hope that he would emerge as an instant IDP factor, but it appears the rookie might not reach such status in the near future. He's third in the New England linebacker rotation, and even when he is on the field he might have trouble making many tackles with Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes taking their share of stats. Hightower has 10 tackles through two games, which is enough to get him on the radar, but probably not enough to be worth owning outside of deep formats. His value could swing upward if he starts earning some defensive end snaps when the Patriots shift to nickel and dime defenses, but in the meantime Jermaine Cunningham figures to be an obstacle.

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Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Cowboys, Raiders, Rams, Patriots, Giants, Jets, Buccaneers, Redskins, Jaguars, Eli Manning, George Wilson, LaRon Landry, Chris Long, Jairus Byrd, William Moore, Sean Lee, Darian Stewart, Adrian Clayborn, Robert Quinn, Bruce Carter, Da'Norris Searcy, Dont'a Hightower

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