It's time for my column exploring the best 2023 IDP fantasy football matchups of Week 9.
We're seeing a lot of backup quarterbacks starting due to injuries and starters being benched. Some of those matchups could pose well for defensive backs in leagues that reward interceptions heavily. But interceptions are hard to predict, so I also look at games that are set to involve a lot of pass attempts, which could lead to tackles by the defensive backs.
Besides that, we have some great matchups for defensive linemen seeking sacks. Maxx Crosby, a 90-graded edge rusher, faces one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Which other DL, LB, and DBs have good matchups in IDP fantasy football? Let's get into it!
2023 IDP Football Week 9 Matchups
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Best DL Matchups
Raiders DL vs Giants OL
The Giants' offensive line is always a good unit to start opposing defensive linemen against in IDP fantasy football. They are allowing sacks on 14.3% of their passing plays, by far the highest rate in the league, and they routinely allow the most sacks of a week. Daniel Jones is expected to be back in this Week 9 matchup, and he is even more sack-prone than Tyrod Taylor. Jones has been sacked 28 times in five games and has been sacked six or more times in a game three times.
DE Maxx Crosby is the Raiders' best (and in shallow leagues, only) pass rusher. He has made 6.5 sacks this season, but the next-best Raiders only have a single sack each. First-round DE Tyree Wilson has been a bust, having only made two QB hits and 13 combined tackles. If anything, inside linebacker Robert Spillane might be the under-the-radar streaming pick here. Spillane has the second-highest pass-rush grade on the Raiders, and he has created pressure 29.4% of the times he has blitzed.
Must-Start: DE Maxx Crosby
Quality Starts: ILB Robert Spillane
Deep League Streamer: DT John Jenkins
Chargers DL vs Jets OL
The Jets' offensive line is ranked No. 32 in PFF's latest offensive line rankings. Their regular starter at center, Connor McGovern, and important backup guard Wes Schweitzer both went down in their Week 8 loss to the New York Giants. Newly added practice squad tackle Duane Brown could play on the left side in Week 9, shifting Mekhi Becton to the right. It's a mess that they are just trying to patch with Flex TAPE.
Chargers edge rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack are still somewhat underwhelming and inconsistent. Bosa has made a sack or more (4.0 total) in each of his three games against poor-quality offensive lines, but he has made zero sacks in his three games against top-tier lines (the Chiefs, the Cowboys, and the Dolphins). Given that the Jets line is one of the worst, no matter which way you cut it, Bosa might be a good start this week.
Mack has not made a sack in either of the past two weeks and only made a single combined tackle in each of those games. His 7.0 sacks all came in Weeks 4 and 5.
Quality Start: DE Joey Bosa
Risky Streamer: DE Khalil Mack
Deep League Streamer: DT Morgan Fox
Other Favorable DL Matchups
Patriots DL vs Commanders OL
Browns DL vs Cardinals OL
Ravens DL vs Seahawks OL
Best LB Matchups
Raiders LBs vs Giants
The New York Giants can't get anything done in the passing game. They average 155.1 passing yards per game, dead last. Sure, they have Daniel Jones coming back this week, and they gained -9 yards last week in a game in which they had to use QB3 Tommy DeVito. But Jones isn't much better than Tyrod Taylor. Jones was behind center in the second-worst passing game of the Giants' season: 63 yards against the Dallas Cowboys. Saquon Barkley ran the ball 36 times last week and over 20 times in each of the two prior games.
Divine Deablo and Robert Spillane both have made over 50 combined tackles and 30 solo tackles this season and should have multiple opportunities to make tackles on Barkley and possible sacks on pass rushes.
Best Start: ILB Divine Deablo and Robert Spillane
Cowboys LBs vs Eagles
Markquese Bell and Leighton Vander Esch are the two highest-graded Cowboys linebackers at playing the run. Both have PFF grades of over 70.0, but Bell is more well-rounded, as he also has a pass rush grade of 67.0, a coverage grade of 89.7, and a defense grade of 90.0.
Bell, a 2022 undrafted free agent, is an interesting player. He came out of nowhere to take over as a starting inside linebacker in Week 6. He can be used as a cheat code in IDP fantasy football because he is still listed as a safety on some platforms, including My Fantasy League (MFL) and Sleeper. Playing as a full-time linebacker, he makes more tackles than most safeties. He made five or more solo tackles in his two games starting.
The Eagles run the ball more than all but two teams in the league, so Bell and Vander Esch should be expected to record relatively high tackle numbers.
Must Start at Safety: Markquese Bell
Quality Start at Linebacker: Markquese Bell
Quality Streamer: LB Leighton Vander Esch
Other Favorable LB Matchups
Cardinals LBs vs Browns
Giants LBs vs Raiders
Panthers LBs vs Colts
Best DB Matchups
Patriots DBs vs Commanders QB + WRs
In an under-the-radar development, the Commanders are averaging the third-most pass completions per game. They do that because their offense is built to maximize the passing game, and they are often trailing. They also rank in the top ten for interceptions thrown. This is a perfect scenario for defensive backs to accumulate tackles while also potentially snagging an interception.
Both safeties Kyle Dugger and Jabrill Peppers already have over 50 combined tackles and an interception each. Dugger has also recorded a sack on a pass rush, and, as the Commanders are one of the most sack-prone teams in the league, his chances for making a sack or a QB hit are heightened in this game, too.
Best Starts: S Kyle Dugger, S Jabrill Peppers
Best Streamer: CB Myles Bryant
Giants DBs vs Raiders QB + WRs
The Raiders are averaging 1.6 interceptions thrown per game, the most in the NFL. The Raiders' poor passing performance includes the failures of both Jimmy Garoppolo, who has been benched, and current starter Aidan O'Connell. The rookie O'Connell threw one interception in each of his two games. That translates to a 3.8% interception rate.
Safety Jason Pinnock is the biggest playmaker in the Giants' defensive backfield. He has made a 102-yard interception return touchdown, a forced fumble, and a sack, along with two pass breakups. The other safety, Xavier McKinney, is usually a big tackler, but he only has 43 combined tackles this year, less than he has had in previous years at this time. Cornerback Deonte Banks leads the team in pass defenses with seven.
Best Start: S Jason Pinnock
Best Streamer: S Xavier McKinney
Deep League Streamers: CB Deonte Banks, CB Adoree' Jackson
Chiefs DBs vs Dolphins QB + WRs
In the Germany matchup, we get to see Tyreek Hill face his former team. The Fins love to throw the ball around, and they will have to if the Chiefs come to play. (It is becoming a question whether the Chiefs will.) Chiefs cornerbacks L'Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie, quality starters in neutral matchups, are must-starts this week.
Must-Starts: CB L'Jarius Sneed, CB Trent McDuffie