Welcome to my newest weekly article fellow IDP fantasy owners. Each week I am going to recap on the top performances of a handful of IDP rookies. Not only will we look at how they did the past week, but also what it means going forward and most importantly the impact in the fantasy world. Hope this will help your fantasy rosters. So let’s jump right into the first installment of this series.
LB, Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo Bills
Just as we all thought, Edmunds is going to be a fantasy stud. He’s playing on a team that will struggle on offense and that will mean a ton of opportunities for the defense. Edmunds plays middle linebacker, which is one of the top scoring positions in fantasy. If his week 1 performance is any indication of what we can expect, then he’s going to be a must-start in any IDP fantasy format.
In his first professional game, versus the Ravens, he recorded seven total tackles, three solo, one sack, and a forced fumble. I expect those numbers to be his floor as he becomes more experienced. Next week the Bills will be at home and hosting the Chargers and I see Edmunds having another big game. The Chargers will likely play with the lead and will look to feed RB Melvin Gordon. This should result in a ton of tackle opportunities for Edmunds. He will be a mid-to-low LB1 fantasy option for week two. He should be owned in all leagues.
LB, Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers
If you have been following our stuff here at dynasty football factory, then you know a number of us were high on Warner. He did very well during the preseason and seems to be carrying that over to the season. When news broke that Reuben Foster would be suspended for first two games, I stated that this would be a huge two-game showcase for Warner and he didn’t disappoint in week one. All he would do in his first pro game, on the road versus the Vikings, is record twelve total tackles, eleven solo’s and forced a fumble.
He was all over the field making plays, both against the run and pass. This type of performance won’t go unnoticed and will make it hard for the coaching staff to take him off the field when Foster returns. Foster won’t lose his job but the other linebackers are in danger. The 49ers will be at home next week and will host the Lions. This will be another huge showcase game for Warner and I expect more of what we saw from him this week. In fantasy, he’s an LB1 for next week at least and then we’ll need to see what role he has when Foster returns. He’s a must-own dynasty or deep league option.
CB, Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns
There was some, myself included, that didn’t agree with the Browns decision to draft Ward with the 4th overall pick of this year’s draft. Well after week one, it looks like Cleveland was correct on their assessment of him. In their home game versus the Steelers, Ward would have himself a game. He would tally six total tackles (two solos) and two key interceptions. Those are good numbers for anyone, let alone a rookie in his first professional game. This is exactly what the Browns and fantasy owners, hoped they would get. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, if this becomes the norm for Ward, then teams will begin to target him less, which will mean fewer opportunities to make these big plays.
The good news is they play the high powered Saints offense next week, who will be looking to atone for their loss to Tampa Bay. Drew Brees and company aren’t afraid to go at anyone, so Ward should see a decent share of targets come his way. What he does with these, is to be determined. In fantasy cornerbacks generally aren’t top IDP plays, unless your league requires you too. With that said, I see him being a low end CB2 with the potential for more. If you play in position specific leagues, then I would grade him as a CB1 for next week. Beyond that, the amount of success he has will determine his ranking. He is a must-own in dynasty or position specific leagues.
LB, Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts lack of talent on defense has been well documented, but they drafted some really good players in this past draft, that will help this team. One of those players is linebacker Darius Leonard, who impressed coaches so much during the preseason, that they made him a week one starter. He wouldn’t make them regret that decision, as he would record nine total tackles (six solos) versus the Bengals, to the lead the team.
Next week he should get plenty of chances to rack up those tackles, as they head to Washington to take on the Redskins and their new power running back Adrian Peterson. They will look to feed him the ball and Leonard will be counted on heavily to stop as many of those as he can. I think it’s safe to expect the same numbers again this week. He should be owned in all dynasty or deep leagues. He’ll be ranked as an LB2 for week 2.
CB, Mike Hughes, Minnesota Vikings
A few weeks ago I mentioned on a podcast, IDPEdgeCrushers, that I co-host, that Mike Hughes was one of my sleeper picks for this season. A very talented player, but it’s how the Vikings were using him during the preseason that really caught my eye. If you have followed me, then you know my affinity for the Chargers Desmond King and this is a similar situation. The Vikings are using Hughes just like the Chargers do King, at the slot corner position and as a Blitzer from there. He’ does a little bit of everything, including returning kicks.
Today versus the 49ers, he had a big performance, three tackles, all solo’s and an interception. He would pick off Jimmy Garoppolo and return it 28 yards for a touchdown. He became the first Vikings rookie to accomplish that, in a season opener. He will get another chance next week versus the Green Bay Packers, to continue to impress. The Packers with a healthy Aaron Rodgers like to throw it around the yard and Hughes will likely be targeted by the savvy veteran QB. As I mentioned with Ward above, corners don’t carry a lot of value unless you play in leagues that require you to do so. In those leagues, he’s a CB2/3 option. One of my must stash picks for this season.