Normally during the season I would spend this time telling you what waiver wire IDP gems to go after and scoop up. Since we are in a spot this week with limited action after most teams not named the Chiefs did not play any of their starters such last week in the final preseason game, I am going to change it up a bit.
For today, I am going to highlight a few players flying below the radar that might deserve a start in IDP leagues while also identifying a few big names that may underperform. Make no mistake, just because I say to “sit” a guy, does not mean to plant him on your bench if you do not have a better options. Most of the guys in the “sit” area were drafted early and you drafted them for a reason. I am just suggesting that they may not perform to the level the IDP community expects them to perform at this first week.
JJ Watt (vs. IND)- The rookie has a nice matchup here. First off, he will likely be facing a brand new Indy offensive line. Joe Reitz and Anthony Castonzo will be in there on the left side and Jeff Linkenbach will be lining up at RT on the right side. Both sides of the line will need to keep an eye on Mario Williams, Brooks Reed and Conner Barwin as pass rushers. Watt has a chance to rack up tackles against the run and is a sneaky bet for a sack if the statue that is known as Kerry Collins starts for Indy as predicted.
Wesley Woodard (vs. OAK)- The WILL LB in Denver’s system is usually the one puts up big tackle numbers in the 4-3 historically. Even when they ran the 3-4, it was the WILB that produced the most. This spot is manned by DJ Williams and he finishes amongst the top-20 LBs yearly. Williams, however, is out for the first few weeks. In steps Wesley Woodyard. I always loved Woodyard’s talents, but he has never stuck as a starting LB in Denver. Now is his time to shine. He should fly around and make plays and is a good bet to lead the team in tackles while defenses focus on Von Miller’s pass rushing and Woodyard beats Joe Mays to most plays.
Donald Butler (vs. MIN)- Butler is primed for a big opening day. He has been solid in racking up tackles so far this preseason and he is likely to see less blockers on him then Takeo Spikes is (with Spikes playing SILB). Minnesota’s O-line is absolutely terrible and we know that they will still run Adrian Peterson all day. Butler has a good chance for 8+ tackles this week and is a sneaky start.
Morgan Burnett (vs. NO)- NO will throw and throw and throw some more. Burnett is off many people’s radar since he missed so much time last year. He has not been blowing it up enough this preseason to make people take notice either. He should have a great chance to help in run support and will have a lot of chances for tackles in the back end of that defense against the pas-happy Saints.
Jared Allen (vs. SD)- Allen is too good to sit in many leagues. However, this “sit” recommendation is here because I think he is going to see a ridiculous amount of attention this game. With Kevin Williams out with his StarCaps suspension, Pat Williams gone, and Ray Edwards now in Atlanta, there really isn’t anyone that SD has to worry about pestering Philip Rivers other then Allen. Expect him to see constant double- and maybe triple-teams. He should put up less than he usually does in this one.
Jonathan Velma (vs. GB)- Last year the Packers were a “middle of the pack” team in terms of points allowed to LBs. Expect more of the same this year. The Packers O-line is solid and deep and they will fling the ball around through the air a lot. For those reasons, I expect Vilma to have a less than stellar game and tally less than 6 tackles in this one.
Mason Foster (vs. DET)- Foster is expected to start out by being eased in little by little. He is unlikely to play on passing downs, and the Lions will likely throw the ball more than they will run it. For that reason, I am leaving Foster on my bench in week one until I see what he can do.
Donte Whitner (vs. Sea)- Last year, the Seahawks allowed the 31st most points to safeties. That is to say that they did not allow opposing safeties to score much against them. Expect more of the same this year. Seattle will not have the ball on offense long enough and will not sustain drives enough to allow for big tackle opportunities. Tarvaris Jackson will likely throw some interceptions, but he will not complete enough passes for big tackle numbers in the secondary. Whitner will not need to be in the box as much and even if he is he will have to fight Patrick Willis and NaVarro Bowman for tackles. I am staying away this week.