“The Amateur Ward” Defensive Targets: D/ST, IDP, and DFS Week #2
Week One is in the books and we move along to Week Two. There are some juicy matchups to exploit, and hopefully this article will help you see where they are. Week Two will begin to separate the men from the boys and establish who will be there for the long haul and who the pretenders are. Can you make the gutsy calls, or fall back into the herd? We’ll soon find out.
Jaguars (@ TEN) FD $4300/DK $3100- True, the Titans are proving to be more competent on offense, but the Jaguars defense is for real and the Titans should take note.The Jaguars boast a solid front seven, and coming off an 11 sack performance versus the Texans in Week 1. The Titans offensive line better be ready to defend Marcus Mariota. Mariota does not have reliable receivers (Eric Decker, Corey Davis (R), so the Titans will look to run the ball with Demarco Murray. Unless Mariota can establish touch on his passes early, the Jaguars will be able to lock their defensive teeth into the offensive line and make life tough for Tennessee.
Raiders (vs. NYJ) FD $5300/DK $3500- The Raiders have a juicy matchup this week versus Josh McCown and the Jets, and they have the playmakers to make it happen. They boast a solid defensive core, led by Khalil Mack. Meanwhile, the Jets offense has allowed the third most points to opposing defenses dating back to 2016.. Look for this young core of defensive players to tee off versus the Jets this week en route to a blowout win.
Panthers (vs. BUF) FD $5100/DK $3600- This matchup plays right into the teeth of the Panthers defense as the Bills are a run-heavy team with major questions at WR and QB. Tyrod Taylor is turnover prone, and after stifling the 49ers offense last week, the Panthers will do the same to the Bills. They need to be owned in all leagues as they have Luke Kuechly back (missed six games last season, concussion) and look poised to return to prominence.
Dante Fowler Jr. (JAX) DE- Fowler Jr., is for real and if he is available on your waiver wire you need to grab him. He is a going to be a sack machine and after a sack 1 FF/FR performance last week, look for him to build upon that and contribute another sack and a couple of tackles this week versus the run-heavy Titans.
Yannick Ngakoue (JAX) DE- After last week’s two sack, two forced fumbles/recovered fumble effort, Ngakoue set the bar high for himself. Can he live up to expectations? The Titans will look to attack the secondary of the Jaguars, but the defensive line will be after Mariota all afternoon. Look for Ngakoue to be after Mariota early and often.
Star Lotuleilei (CAR) DT- The Bills will look to establish the run early versus a stout Panthers line, but Lotuleilei is an expert run stopper, and will be looking for LeSean McCoy all afternoon. What Lotuleilei brings to the Panthers defense is a stout, no-nonsense tackle who understands the game, makes plays and blows up the offensive line. He should have no problem getting into the backfield and getting to McCoy.
Thomas Davis (CAR) LB- Davis is a quality backer who will contribute no matter the matchup. This week, look for him to bring the lumber as the Panthers look to go 2-0. He plays alongside Luke Kuechly and is a savvy veteran who finished with 106 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble last season en route to his second consecutive Pro Bowl.
Darron Lee (NYJ) LB- Lee diagnoses plays quickly, heads for the ball and is an emerging stud in the league. The Jets offense is weak, but they are actually pretty solid on defense, especially up the middle. Look for Lee to pursue Derek Carr and get the ball on the turf. He is a solid play as an LB2 and should rack up the tackles versus the Raiders.
Avery Williamson (TEN) LB- Williamson continues to call plays for the defense, and while he has no one tool that stands out, his ability to rack up the tackles helps fantasy teams and the Titans alike. This week versus the Jaguars, he could be a sneaky threat for a sack (two last season) as Blake Bortles has a tendency to get ‘happy feet’ and can hold the ball too long, or make erroneous throws. Look for Williamson to capitalize if Bortles feels pressure and forces things. He is a solid LB3/low end LB2 in most leagues.
Karl Joseph (OAK) S- Joseph hits hard and will look to pick off a pass from QB Josh McCown in what could be a defensive battle. He covers, can blitz and is an all-around tremendous strong safety. Coming out of West Virginia, Joseph brings a tough mentality, plays fearlessly and is a playmaker. The Raiders defense is a solid play this week and Joseph is a big reason why.
TJ Carrie (OAK) CB- Carrie is a slot corner who is underrated Last week, he allowed 3 receptions for 19 yards playing in the slot and the Raiders will keep him there going forward. He may not be a huge playmaker, but understands the game and will contend with receivers for the ball. Against the Jets, he will likely draw Jeremy Kerley or Jermaine Kearse and is a decent play as a CB2 this week.
Defense To Avoid
I am going to go against the grain here and say avoid the Denver Broncos D/ST (FD $4,900/DK $3400) because the Dallas Cowboys offense is legit and although they do not have the best pass offense in the world, they throw looks at you, exploit your weaknesses and know how to move the ball. Ezekiel Elliot is back for now, and as long as he is on the field, the Cowboys will be potent on offense. Dak Prescott is an underrated passer, and while he has not quite gelled with Dez Bryant, he finds ways to get his receivers the ball and can run the ball as well. The Broncos do boast one of the elite secondaries in the league, but the Cowboys will game plan for that and design more underneath pass and run plays.