IDP Strong/Weak Plays - Week 1

  Posted 9/4 by Anthony Borbely, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

This will be a weekly feature for IDP owners out there who are having some troubles deciding who to start on Sundays. I'm going to analyze the statistics in a few different ways to find favorable matchups and unfavorable matchups and then point out some players who are most likely to be affected by those matchups. I'll provide the reasoning behind these selections so you can think about it and decide for yourselves. I will also review my picks from the week before so you can see how accurate the picks have been. As most people know, predicting performance on a game by game basis can be difficult for offensive players, but that difficulty is often exaggerated with IDPs. A big play or two can drastically change the fantasy points of an IDP, which makes them tougher to predict than offensive players.

Matchups are important, but there are so many other variables that come into play that sometimes you have to just stick with your best players and hope they come through with just one or two big plays. In general, I advise playing your studs, and then mixing in some other players to put your lineup together. Hopefully some of the players listed below can help you with some tough lineup decisions.

One thing that I expect to be a common theme in the selections will be the inconsistent sack totals of the defensive linemen. In FBG scoring, if a player gets a sack, it amounts to 5.5 points (1 sack, 1 solo tackle). With the cutoff at 7.5 points, if a lineman gets a sack, he has a very good chance to make the cutoff. I expect the DL hits and misses to be the toughest to predict all year, because of the difficulty in predicting sacks, and the weight that one sack carries in the point totals.

A brief note about the hit rates: To provide an objective standard to evaluate these selections, 7.5 fantasy points will be used as the cutoff for DL, ten fantasy points will be used as the cutoff for LB, and nine fantasy points will be used as the cutoff for DB. Thus, when a player is listed as a strong start, that means I think he has a good chance to hit the cutoff point based on his matchup, and when I say a player is a weak start, that means I think he has a good chance to be below the cutoff point. I will evaluate my success throughout the season to try and provide you with the information you need to make your starting decisions. I will not pick Patrick Willis as a strong play because we all know he is. I will not pick a scrub as a weak play either. I will try to pick the players in the middle, who are tough choices. For that reason, I believe a 60% hit rate is very good, 55% acceptable, and below 50% not acceptable.

NOTE: As the year goes on, the statistics become more relevant than they will be early in the year, due to the early part of the year having a small sample size of statistics. Please take that into account when analyzing any statistics during the early part of the year.

Best of luck with your starting lineup decisions this week. Feel free to e-mail me at borbely@footballguys.com with any feedback or suggestions regarding this article.

This Week's Strong Plays

  • DL Detroit Lions (@ Atlanta Falcons) - DE Dewayne White
    White has a great matchup against Atlanta, a team with a rookie QB making his first NFL start in Matt Ryan, and a questionable offensive line. Start him with confidence.

  • DL Cincinnati Bengals (@ Baltimore Ravens) - DE Robert Geathers
    Like White, Geathers plays against a rookie QB, Joe Flacco, and a Raven's offensive line that had health concerns in the preseason. Flacco is not the most mobile QB and Geathers should have a good chance to rack up some sacks.

  • LB San Diego Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers) - ILB Matt Wilhelm
    The Panthers are likely to run the ball a lot with DeAngelo Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart. With Stephen Cooper suspended, Wilhelm is expected to be a 3-down LB and should have a ton of tackle opportunities.

  • LB New Orleans Saints (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - MLB Jonathan Vilma
    There are some who are still unsure about Vilma after a lackluster preseason. I am not one of them. Tampa likes to run the ball a lot and mix in short passes to the RBs and WRs. Put Vilma in your lineups this week.

  • DB Kansas City Chiefs (@ New England Patriots) - CB Brandon Flowers
    Flowers makes his NFL debut against the high-powered New England passing game. Expect Bill Belichick to welcome the rookie to the NFL by sending a lot of passes his way.

  • DB Baltimore Ravens (vs. Cincinnati Bengals) - SS Dawan Landry
    Landry should get plenty of chances to make plays in both run defense and coverage and makes for a solid start this week. He should see a lot of RB Chris Perry.

This Week's Weak Plays

  • DL Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ New Orleans Saints) - DE Gaines Adams
    Drew Brees is one of the toughest QBs to sack and Adams is not a great run defender. Look for a better option this week.

  • DL Chicago Bears (@ Indianapolis Colts) - DE Adewale Ogunleye
    Ogunleye is tough to bench, but Peyton Manning is not easy to sack and I would rather start a DE who has a better chance of getting to the QB.

  • LB Minnesota Vikings (@ Green Bay Packers) - MLB E.J. Henderson
    The Vikings have the best run defense in football and Green Bay RB Ryan Grant did not play in preseason and is battling an injury. Henderson may not have many opportunities in run defense and with Jared Allen at DE now, he may not be asked to blitz as much as last year. I would look for a safer option.

  • LB Indianapolis Colts (vs. Chicago Bears) - MLB Gary Brackett
    The Bears' offensive line is in shambles and combined with the Colt's high-powered offense, it could reduce the time Brackett spends on the field. He is a risky play in week one.

  • DB Jacksonville Jaguars (@ Tennessee Titans) - FS Reggie Nelson
    Vince Young did not have a good preseason and the Tennessee passing game rarely throws deep, which makes Nelson a poor play this week.

  • DB New York Giants (vs. Washington Redskins) - FS Kenny Phillips
    Phillips is not expected to start and it is anyone's guess how many snaps he will play. I realize he had a great preseason, but if his snaps are limited, he is not a good start. If the Giants happen to start him, then this decision is a bit tougher, but I would just find someone else to start this week.

FBG IDP Scoring

  • Solo/Asst = 1.5 pts / 0.75 pts
  • Sacks = 4 pts
  • INT = 5 pts
  • FF/FR = 4 pts
  • PD = 1.5 pts