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John Norton ("The Guru") and Gary Davenport ("The Godfather of IDP") are two of the most experienced and knowledgeable IDP analysts in the fantasy football industry. Every week during the 2023 season here at Footballguys, The Guru and the Godfather will come together to answer five of that week's most pressing questions.
Three weeks into the 2023 season, the IDP campaign is starting to take shape. There's still a long way to go, but we're getting an idea of who will meet IDP expectations, who will soar past them and lead fantasy managers to glory, and who is on the fast track to Downtown Bustville.
Just as they do every week, the Guru and the Godfather have gathered again, this time to look at which players might be able to turn a slow start around, which preseason calls they nailed (and whiffed on), and which IDP plays are going to shine (or stink) in Week 4.
Three weeks into the season, it's officially panic button mode with quite a few IDP managers. But one manager's panic can be another's opportunity for value. Name one slumping IDP you are officially ready to throw in the towel on and one you'd put in a waiver claim for if they were dropped.
Guru: Haason Reddick would be the low-hanging fruit here, but I'll go with Kyle Dugger as the guy I'd throw in the towel on. He showed signs of life in week three, but with a lot of emerging options on the waiver wire, I'm not inclined to have much patience with him. It's hard to pinpoint what is going on with Dugger, but there seems to be a lot of change with the Patriots this year. Their edge guys are rotating less, they have a middle linebacker who has played every snap in all three games, and the secondary looks different without Devin McCourty in centerfield. Something is just different in the dynamics; so far, it has not been good for Dugger.
Cameron Jordan was 2-3-0.5 in the opener. Since that time, he has one tackle and three assists with a doughnut to show for week three. Yes, he is 34 years old, but I don't think he is suddenly out of gas. He may not be the perennial top-ten stud he was earlier in his career, but I expect Jordan to rebound and be at least a solid DL2.
Godfather: You know what? I like low-hanging fruit. It's easy to pick, and I'm rather lazy. I'm also not ready to give up on an edge rusher who has tallied at least 11 sacks in each of the past three seasons. Yes, Reddick has one assist in three games. Just one quarterback hit. And just four pressures. But Reddick's snap share has stayed over 65 percent in each game—he just hasn't played 40 snaps since Week 1. If Reddick can't get going against a Washington team that just allowed nine sacks to the Buffalo Bills, then I may have to reconsider this assessment. But dropping Reddick now still feels like a move IDP managers could easily regret in a month.
With that said, I am in lockstep with my colleague where just about any defensive back is concerned, whether it's Dugger or Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings. There are just too many defensive backs available in most leagues who are producing to abide one who isn't. It's why I advise against investing significant draft capital in the position—if you don't, it's that much easier to cut loose someone who isn't living up to expectations.
Then there's Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard. The hope was that a healthy Leonard would return to a full-time role in 2023—and IDP stardom. But Leonard's snap share has now dropped in all three games—down to 69 percent in Week 3. In three games, Leonard has eight solo tackles—total. Given the injuries that have already hit the position, he may not be droppable except in shallow IDP leagues. But he can't be started. Not for the foreseeable future.
With just one week to go in the first month of the 2023 IDP campaign, plenty of managers are desperate for a win. Which players at each position are going to smash expectations and help them do just that in Week 4?
Guru: I like Kwity Paye as my lineman of the week. He has at least three solo tackles and a sack in every game thus far and gets a Rams offense that had no answer for the Bengals pass rush last week. He will be working against the same offensive tackle that Trey Hendrickson beat like a drum.
At linebacker, I'll ride with Ja'Whaun Bentley against Dallas. He hasn't put up big numbers so far, but history tells us he is more than capable. Most importantly, Bentley has been on the field for every defensive snap in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. The Cowboys have been a plus matchup for linebackers. Micah McFadden had ten total tackles against them in the opener. In week two, Quincy Williams had seven solos and C.J. Mosley nine combined. Last week, Kyzir White turned in the best single-game production of his career at 8-6 with a pick, and his sidekick, Krys Barnes, was 6-1 with two pass breakups on about 80% of the snaps.
I like Grant Delpit a lot this week against the Ravens. He is coming off a horrible statistical performance against the Titans, but then it's hard to make plays as a safety when the ball carrier can't get past the defensive line. He had good games against the Bengals and Steelers in weeks one and two, and a matchup with the Ravens should add another double-digit score to his resume. Over the last two weeks, Dax Hill, Nick Scott, and Julian Blackmon have all produced at least nine combined tackles versus Baltimore.
Godfather: I'm going to double down here on the defensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles and go with Josh Sweat as a guy who could have a big Week 4. Sweat's not a huge tackle producer (seven in three games), but he also has 1.5 sacks. After allowing nine of those last week to the Bills, the Commanders lead the NFL in fantasy points allowed to defensive ends by a wide margin. It's going to be a long day for Sam Howell.
Might as well hang around that same game for this week's linebacker recommendation. The Eagles have been dominating time of possession and running the ball as well as any team in the league. Three games in the Eagles have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to linebackers this year, and that should mean a big game for Commanders linebacker Cody Barton. Barton may not be a great NFL player, but that doesn't mean he can't be a great IDP option.
On the back end, I'm going to highlight someone that Mr. Norton might be mentioning a bit later in Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Ryan Neal. After a bit of a slow start, Neal posted his first double-digit tackle effort of the season last week against the Eagles and draws a second straight top-five matchup for defensive backs this week in New Orleans. The breakout some predicted for Neal in 2022 may yet come, but for now, we'll settle for another big week.
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