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.
One month into the 2023 season, we're getting a pretty good idea which IDPs are living up to their summertime billing. Which are not. And which have been surprises—pleasant or otherwise.
Every year, we learn the same lesson. That for everything we know, there are two we do not.
Just as they do every week, the Guru and the Godfather have gathered again, this time to look at which players might be good "buy low" and "sell high" candidates, who have been the biggest surprises (and disappointments) of the season's first month, and which IDP plays are going to blow up (or just blow) in Week 5.
After one month of action, we have at least some idea of player values for 2023, and plenty of IDP managers are looking to play Let's Make a Deal. Identify one player you believe is a good buy low who will rebound from a slow start, as well as a sell high whose value has already hit its zenith.
GURU: There are a slew of underperforming guys to choose from. My target to trade for would be the current LB34, Pete Werner of the New Orleans Saints. So far this year, he has six or more solo stops once, with single-digit scores in three of four games and an average below ten. This guy is the future of the linebacker position in New Orleans. We saw it last year when he averaged nearly 13 points per game before he was injured in week nine. During that run, Werner had six or more solo stops in six of eight games, with at least seven combined stops in all of them and a low score of nine points. I fully expect that he will get back to that kind of production in short order.
If you picked up Andrew Van Ginkel of the Miami Dolphins and can find a manager in need of a defensive lineman, move him. Van Ginkel currently ranks seventh among linemen and edge defenders, but he is not going to keep up that pace. We have seen him go on streaks in the past. They will last a few games and then fade. Right now he is seeing an increased workload because Jaelan Phillips is missing time. That is not going to last much longer.
Honorable mention to current LB21, Kenneth Murray of the Los Angeles Chargers, who put up strong numbers with Eric Kendricks out.
GODFATHER: I'm actually going to kick this off by disagreeing with my colleague on both Van Ginkel (who has played both inside and on the edge and been arguably Miami's best defensive player) and Murray (who retained play-calling duties last week even with Kendricks back). This isn't to say I wouldn't deal away both—I'll trade anyone for the right price. But I don't know that they can't continue producing at the level they did over the season's first month.
With that said, since Norton is also my home skillet, I'll follow that up by agreeing with him 100 percent on Luvu. Yes, Luvu's tackle numbers leave much to be desired—he's averaging less than six stops a game. But he's already got 2.5 sacks (after seven in 2022), and he's played a full-time role for the Panthers. Carolina is having trouble sustaining drives, and that's not a problem that is going away any time soon. All the ingredients are there for a "turnaround." He also happens to be a favorite player of mine—and why play fantasy football if you can't go get your guys?
My "sell high" may raise some eyebrows. After exploding for 17 tackles and two sacks against the Giants last week, Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks ranks second in fantasy points among linebackers. But over the first three weeks of the season, Wagner was LB14, and over half that production came in Week 1. Don't get me wrong, Wagner is a great player who will likely one day be considered for Canton. But he's become something of a hit-or-miss IDP option. However, he's everything you want in a "sell high"—a big name coming off a bigger game. I dealt Wagner in a league last year after a big outing for Luvu and Denzel Perryman. That move helped propel me to a championship.
As we enter the second month of the 2023 IDP campaign, which players at each position are going to go ballistic, post big scores, and help fantasy managers to a win in Week 5?
GURU: For the record, my first choice for the defensive line this week was Montez Sweat of the Washington Commanders against the Bears. Since that game will be over by the time this is posted, I'll go with Jonathan Greenard of the Houston Texans against the Falcons. The Texans are playing a better brand of defense under their new coaching staff and are getting better each week. Greenard is coming off a great game with a pair of sacks against the Steelers and is a much better player than most realize. Add in the Falcons, who are tied with the fourth most sacks allowed, and you have the recipe for a big game.
Azeez Al-Shaair of the Tennessee Titans has been rock solid for us this year, but we are still waiting on that first monster game from him. I think that could come this week against the Colts. Indianapolis has been a plus matchup for linebackers every week, so Al-Shaair has an especially high floor in this one. Call it a gut feeling if you like, but I think he is a top-ten linebacker this week.
Some safeties have had great production against the Dolphins. Others have been mediocre. I see Xavier McKinney of the New York Giants with one of those big ones this week. The Miami offense is very good, and the Giants defense is…not. Neither is New York's offense, which means the defense is going to be on the field a lot, and their secondary is going to be busy. We have seen that Jason Pinnock is hit or miss, and I think McKinney will turn the situation into a big game.
GODFATHER: This is usually where I'd make a crack about Norton stealing my guys like he stole Matthew Judon of the New England Patriots in the King's Classic Butkus Division draft. But Judon tore his bicep, so that's not funny anymore.
Up front, I'm going back to a guy we've already mentioned—and disagreed on. What you can't disagree on is that the offensive line for the New York Giants is hot garbage after it allowed 11 sacks last week. If Jaelan Phillips returns and the Dolphins move Van Ginkel back inside, it helps his tackle production—never mind that Wagner and Jordy Brooks each had two sacks last week. If he stays outside, then (again), the Giants' line is poo. Either way, the long-haired fireball has played too well to take off the field.
At linebacker, Kaden Elliss of the Atlanta Falcons has been OK but not great, ranking just inside the top 30 linebackers for the year. He's also coming off a Week 4 dud against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. Sunday, Elliss and the Falcons face a surprisingly competitive Houston Texans team that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to linebackers this season. Elliss will rebound in Week 5—and make his way into the top 20 for the season.
Might as well go with a defensive back who has gotten off to a slow start, too. Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans hasn't come close to meeting expectations a month into the 2023 season. But Byard has 100-plus tackles in two of the past three years and 10 interceptions over that span. He'll get his first of 2023 Sunday against Anthony Richardson and an Indianapolis Colts team surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to safeties in 2023.
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