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Week 3 IDP Start Em, Sit Em - Streamers and Fades for Fantasy Football Defensive Players

As always, we will use this column to address players who can hopefully help people in any number of IDP formats. We traditionally do this by addressing players worth adding for the rest of the season and just this week. However, we will also use some columns to address offensive and defensive units that are particularly relevant to IDP managers’ plans. We will start this practice by briefly addressing the Tennessee Titans' offensive line.

As of this writing, Titans starting left tackle Taylor Lewan is expected to miss the rest of this season. That’s terrible news for a line that struggled even with Lewan playing 58% of their passing downs and allowing zero pressures. With Lewan this line has allowed 20 pressures and earned PFF’s worst pass blocking grade in 2022. Things should only get worse if Lewan is out and the Music City continues to let opponents run through it. Opposing pass rushers should be elevated against the Titans for the foreseeable future.

With that addressed, fans can always contact me on Twitter if they have questions or concerns. Otherwise, let's get to it!

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Risers Who Are Real

Frankie Luvu, LB, Carolina Panthers

Make it two weeks in a row that Luvu has played more snaps than his more heralded teammate, Shaq Thompson. In both those contests, Luvu totaled more fantasy points than Thompson, taking on a clear thumper role in this system. The Washington State product is already halfway towards his TFL total from last year, and he was particularly strong against the Giants’ rushing attack last week.

While the next two games are not ideally suited for Luvu's skillset, as the Saints and Cardinals sit third and ninth in pass rate, he does have long term value this year. The Panthers play a 49ers offense that should play into Luvu's wheelhouse in Week 5, and the Saints could be a better matchup than they appear if they return to their formerly run-oriented roots this week. We like Luvu as a sleeper LB3 who could rise to the level of LB2 this year, if his play remains strong.


Aidan Hutchinson, DL, Detroit Lions

Hutchinson is a name too prominent to qualify as a “sleeper” in most leagues. That said, he was one of our pre-season fades, and I correctly called him a Fold for Week 1. I also correctly called him a lottery ticket with massive boom potential against a leaky Commanders line last week, and now he’s got two more strong matchups ahead in Weeks 3 and 4.

Look for the Lions to begin scheming ways for Hutchinson to get pressure, including rotating him inside when matchups dictate. However, even if he stays on the outside, he has tremendous fantasy matchups the next two weeks against the Vikings and Seahawks, who have combined to allow 19 pressures through Week 2. Hutchinson also gets the Cowboys in Week 7 and the Bears in Week 10, both of whom also offer upside. Hutchinson has DL1 upside in five of the next eight weeks.



Casual Scoring Streamers and Fades for This Week

Stream: Carl Lawson & Jermaine Johnson, DL, New York Jets

Carl Lawson plays his former team this week, and it's a terrific matchup. Not only is Cincinnati the twelfth most pass-happy offense, but they are averaging the most offensive plays per game in the NFL. They also sport the second-worst Adjusted Sack Rate in the league and have allowed the most sacks. This is the ideal matchup for a pass rusher, so we are elevating Lawson and (to a lesser degree) Jermaine Johnson in Week 3.


Stream: Quay Walker, LB, Green Bay Packers

Walker’s snap rate is on the rise, which is typical for a rookie joining an already strong defense. He should see his participation continue on its upward trajectory with the Buccaneers on tap this week. That should translate to serviceable, if not very good, fantasy totals.

Tampa Bay is league average in offensive plays per game, but they currently rank seventh in rushing percentage. Those factors combine to offer a relatively solid fantasy floor for an interior defender like Walker. It also helps that Tampa's offensive line is in tatters.


Fade: Nate Hobbs, DB, Las Vegas Raiders

We are not telling you to bench Hobbs, especially in deeper IDP formats and ones requiring you to start a CB. We are saying you should fade fantasy expectations for him this week, though. Hobbs has a stingy matchup against a Titans offense with no clear #1 receiver for him to shadow. Rather, this run-first offense averages the fifth fewest plays in the NFL and spreads the ball around in the passing game. Hobbs is still startable, but we don’t expect double-digit tackles in this one.


Fade: Christian Kirksey, LB, Houston Texans

The Chicago Bears have faced Fred Warner, De’Vondre Campbell, Dre Greenlaw, and Quay Walker over the past two weeks. Each of those players is a quality fantasy option. Yet, those four thumpers accrued just 20 total tackles, zero forced turnovers, zero sacks, and one PD combined against the Bears.

The limited fantasy production that Chicago is surrendering to opposing LBs isn’t a fluke, either. The Bears run the second-fewest offensive plays in the NFL, and they hold the mark for the fewest offensive plays in a game this season with 41 against Green Bay. It also doesn’t help that the Bears rarely target their RBs or TEs, sending seven total targets towards David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, and Cole Kmet in eight quarters of play.

With the Bears on tap for Houston this week, we are managing our expectations for Texans linebackers. If you need to start Kirksey or his teammate Kamu Grugier-Hill, go ahead. The Bears are a run-oriented offense that could offer solid fantasy production if they up their snap rate. However, Kirksey’s unlikely to return many stats in coverage, and his upside is limited if Chicago keeps up its slow pace.


Premium Scoring & Deep League Streamers and Fades for This Week


Stream:  Roger McCreary, DB, Tennessee Titans

With Kristian Fulton out last week, McCreary saw a lot of Stefon Diggs, and it led to 11 solo tackles. If Fulton is out again, we imagine McCreary will see a lot of Davante Adams, who has been a vacuum for Derek Carr and the Raiders since joining them this summer. This week, McCreary is a solid DB start in deeper IDP leagues, especially if Fulton misses again. He's also a strong CB play in leagues that require you to start one.


Stream:  Yetur Gross-Matos, DL/LB, Carolina Panthers

This one is for only the deepest of IDP leagues because Gross-Matos hasn't been an effective pass rusher so far. That said, the Nittany Lion has a sneaky positive matchup against a Saints offensive line that grades positively in pass blocking while somehow ranking fourth-worst in Adjusted Sack Rate.

With Jameis Winston dealing with a back injury while leading the third heaviest pass offense in the league, Carolina pass rushers should have a better matchup than it appears on paper. Brian Burns is the most likely to take advantage of this, but Gross-Matos' volume of pass rush snaps suggests he could also have opportunities. We don't rank the Penn State product in our top-50 DLs this week, but he's a lottery ticket that could pay off if you're desperate.


Fade:  Jamel Dean, DB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Expectations could be high for Dean, coming off an impressive two-interception performance against the Saints. However, we are expecting limited big play opportunities for Dean this week against the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers is one of the worst matchups for fantasy corners, with the MVP averaging just 3.2 interceptions and a low 15% Bad Decision Rate (per Pro Football Reference) over the past three seasons. It also doesn’t help that Dean almost exclusively covers an area that Rodgers has targeted infrequently (24.6%) since 2020. While Dean will have opportunities against Green Bay’s unimpressive receivers, there is no #1 for him to shadow and big play opportunities should be limited.


Fade: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Arizona Cardinals

For those who follow IDP closely, this one is pretty obvious. For those who don't, it may not be. Either way, Simmons lost his starting job this past weekend, and he wasn't particularly productive before that. While he still has immense talent with Premium scoring upside, you can't trust him in any IDP format as long as his snap rate is below 70%... and he likely can't be trusted in casual formats, even when it is over that threshold.


Defensive Tackles to Consider for This Week


Alim McNeill, DT, Detroit Lions

So far this year, fantasy production has largely eluded McNeill. However, his snap share is solid for an interior player with his skillset, and he has a positive matchup in Week 3 against the Vikings.

This year, the starters on Minnesota's interior have allowed a combined 21 pressures between them. Their starting center has also struggled against the run. This unit can be beaten, even by a part-time player like McNeill. If you are desperate for a DT this week, this NC State product is a flyer that could nab you a sack or several tackles.


Harrison Phillips, DT, Minnesota Vikings

We really like the DTs in this Lions vs. Vikings matchup, don't we? On paper, it is just too good of a matchup for the interior defenders on both sides, though. We had to double-dip in this game, to unearth two widely available DTs with some upside this week.

As we've said before, the Lions' starting right guard (Logan Stenberg) is one of the worst pass-blocking guards in the NFL this season. He is also weak against the run. To compound that problem, starting center Frank Ragnow is questionable to play in this game, and he's underperformed when on the field this year. Between them, Harrison Phillips looks to have a solid fantasy matchup on paper, as he lines up over the right guard position nearly half the time.

Cornerbacks to Consider for This Week

Chandon Sullivan, CB, Minnesota Vikings

Chandon Sullivan handles the slot for Minnesota, where Amon-Ra St. Brown has taken 73.8% of his snaps since becoming a pro. A whopping 86.7% of ASB's targets come in that range, and he's averaged 11.37 targets over his past eight contests. Translation: Sullivan stands to get a significant opportunity share for an unknown and largely unused fantasy corner.


Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, New York Jets

Gardner was not on the Jets’ injury list as of Wednesday after getting banged up last week, and now he looks primed for a promising fantasy opportunity. Sauce should see plenty of targets against the Bengals' two-star receivers, with the Bengals averaging 80 offensive plays and 44.5 throws per contest. The Jets are also a high-volume passing offense who drove the ball surprisingly well against a tough Browns defense, so this could be a shootout.

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Ravens Defense - Fantasy Football DST Rankings, Draft Sleepers, IDP Targets

Week 3 Team Defense Rankings for Fantasy Football: Cowboys DST, Bengals DST, Ravens DST, Broncos DST, Chiefs DST, Packers DST

Every position and every point counts when setting optimal fantasy football lineups, especially team defenses. And as always we are here to guide your winning ways with our updated Week 3 fantasy football defense (D/ST) rankings, as of September 24th. Our goal is to help you set those winning lineups, so let's see where key... Read More