Welcome to the Week 2 edition of your 2023 IDP Football Matchups.
Defensive linemen dominated the IDP scoring in Week 1. T.J. Watt, Josh Allen, and DeForest Buckner filled the top three spots on Fantasy Pros' leaderboard. Brian Burns, Montez Sweat, Drake Jackson, Derrick Brown, and Dorance Armstrong Jr. also had big games.
Two out of three of my defensive line matchups hit. Browns DE Myles Garrett made a sack again against the Bengals, and the Saints defensive line made three sacks, including 1.5 for Carl Granderson and half a sack for Cam Jordan.
Now in Week 2, I predict there will be multiple positive defensive back matchups to exploit to win fantasy matchups in IDP leagues. I posted the full chart that I am using for my matchup predictions at my website Mitch's Picks, and I will highlight seven of them here with explanation and analysis.
2023 IDP Football Week 2 Matchups
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Best Defensive Line Matchups
49ers vs. Rams
The 49ers defensive line features two top-five NFL Draft picks as ends. You know Nick Bosa, reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but you probably don't know Clelin Ferrell, the No. 4 pick in the 2019 draft. He had four disappointing years with the Raiders to begin his career, but he could turn his career around in San Francisco.
In Week 1, Ferrell already made two hits on Steelers QB Kenny Pickett. Overall, the 49ers combined for five sacks, with rotational edge rusher Drake Jackson making 3.0 and Kerry Hyder Jr and former Eagle Javon Hargrave both making 1.0. That Nick Bosa only made two tackles and one QB hit shows the weekly variability in fantasy football.
The Rams, meanwhile, have one of the worst couple of offensive lines in the league. They didn't look bad in Week 1, as they were going up against a Seahawks defensive line that is also one of the worst in the league. Matthew Stafford was not sacked once, and he threw for 334 yards. The Seahawks had the second-worst pass rush of Week 1, per PFF's grading, and the fifth-worst pass rush of 2022. The 49ers will be a much more difficult challenge.
Must Start: Nick Bosa
Streaming Considerations: Drake Jackson, Clelin Ferrell
Quality Starts in DT Leagues: Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead
Chargers vs. Titans
One rule of fantasy football is, "Don't overreact to Week 1." Don't overreact to the last week any time. Last week, the Chargers defensive line looked terrible. Despite Tua Tagovailoa dropping back 46 times, the Chargers whole team only put hits on him twice and did not sack him once.
Khalil Mack failed to live up to expectations last season, too, and Joey Bosa missed most of the season and then only made 2.5 sacks in five games. So the Chargers' poor Week 1 showing is concerning, but it's too early to pull the plug on them.
The Titans' offensive line is the single worst unit in almost everyone's rankings--including those of PFF, Pro Football Network, and Sharp Football. The game total is expected to be 45, which is slightly above average, indicating the teams are expected to throw the ball at least at an average rate. Let's roll the dice with the Chargers against a terrible Titans offensive line that allowed three sacks last week.
Quality Starts: Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack
Streamer in DT Leagues: Sebastian Joseph-Day
Lions vs. Seahawks
The Seahawks' offensive line grades at 3/10, and they are outmatched by the 7/10 Lions defensive line, a unit that stars second-year DE Aidan Hutchinson and features second-year rotational pass rusher James Houston. Houston was only on the field for slightly more than 20 snaps in Week 1, so IDP analysts will continue to watch how he is deployed--with a hope that he could become a more regular presence.
Must Start: Aidan Hutchinson
Streamers in Deep Leagues: James Houston, John Cominsky
Best Defensive Back Matchups
Chiefs vs. Jaguars
The Chiefs-Jaguars game has the highest over/under number of the week. The Jaguars are going to have to throw the ball a lot to compete with the Chiefs. Many people expected that the Lions would throw the ball a lot in their Week 1 win over the Chiefs, and Goff did end up with 35 pass attempts, more than his per game average last season, but a little bit less than expected. Travis Kelce's absense short-circuited the Chiefs' passing game, so it did not become a shootout.
Now Kelce is reportedly going to be back, so the Chiefs offense should look better, which would cause the Jags to have to throw the ball more, too. In their two matchups last season, Trevor Lawrence threw 40 passes and 39 passes. L'Jarius Sneed and Justin Reid made at least six tackles in both games.
Quality Starts: CB L'Jarius Sneed, CB Trent McDuffie, S Justin Reid
Cowboys Safeties vs. Jets
The Jets will have to run the ball a lot now that Zach Wilson is their starting quarterback. New York running backs have an advantage over Dallas linebackers and interior defenders. Breece Hall will likely get past the linebackers on multiple plays. In Week 1, against a quality Bills defense, Hall forced five missed tackles and ran for two breakaway runs of 15 yards or more. So Jets safeties Jordan Whitehead and Tony Amos will have to clean up.
Quality Start: S Jordan Whitehead
Streaming Option: S Tony Amos
Seahawks vs. Lions and Lions vs. Seahawks
The Seahawks-Lions game has the third-highest projected total, and everything points to both teams throwing the ball around. Both teams were pass heavy last season. Both quarterbacks looked good last year. (We are still waiting for a reply letter from Geno Smith this season.) Both teams have strong young receiving groups.
The Seahawks defensive line is only ranked as 2/10 in my grades. They didn't get to Matt Stafford last week, and they probably won't get to Jared Goff this week. That means it will be up to the Seahawks defensive backs to make plays and make tackles after completions.
Quality Starts: SEA CB Tariq Woolen, DET S C.J. Gardner-Johnson
Linebacker Matchups to Target
Packers vs. Falcons
The Falcons are the most run-heavy team in the NFL. In Week 1, Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson combined for almost 60% of team touches. Packers linebackers will be tasked with stopping those tough-to-bring-down running backs and covering them in the flats. Quay Walker and De'Vondre Campbell would both be good additions and Week 2 starts in shallow IDP leagues.
Other teams whose linebackers should face a lot of rushing plays include: the Cowboys, the Chargers, the Steelers, and the Giants.
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