Week 1 is in the books, and we saw some breakout performances from unlikely sources. If you play in IDP leagues, it’s not likely that you’re a novice in fantasy football. We’re here to give you that edge over your competition with key roster decisions.
DE Leonard Williams, New York Giants
Often labeled a bust, the former No. 6 overall pick in 2015 has just 18.5 sacks in his five-year career. Williams was able to notch 63 and 68 total tackles in his first two years, which lends hope that his five tackles (four solo) and a sack in Week 1 were repeatable. He did this against a decent Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line — albeit banged up at guard — and he’s still just 26. Williams could develop into a late bloomer, and he’s worth the DL2 spot.
DE Montez Sweat, Washington Football Team
The second-year man’s stat line won’t wow you, with two tackles and a sack, but he was constantly in the backfield against the Philadelphia Eagles. No. 2 overall pick Chase Young received all the flair, but Sweat had his name called quite a bit. Washington had eight sacks Sunday, and it Sweat was in the area on a lot of them. Sweat had 50 tackles and seven sacks as a rookie last year, and he looks poised to improve on those. Grab him and stash him if you can.
DT Christian Wilkins, Miami Dolphins
Wilkins stuffed the stat sheet in Week 1, but it was kind of fluky. He had six tackles (five solo), one sack and two passes batted down. He had two sacks and two passes defended in 16 games last season. He’s sure to be picked up after likely posting double-digits in your league, but we need to see more before getting too excited. Perhaps all it took was a year of learning the ropes.
OLB Aldon Smith, Dallas Cowboys
The 30-year-old pass rusher provided a feel-good story in Week 1 as he returned from a five-year absence due to off-the-field trouble. In his first three years, he tallied 42 sacks in 43 games with freakish athletic ability. He hasn’t appeared to have lost much in his layoff. Smith tallied 11 tackles (six solo) and a sack against the Los Angeles Rams. He would have tremendous value in leagues that place him as a defensive end. However, as a linebacker, he’ll have to keep up the pace with tackles, which he has never done before. He’s an average pickup for depth as a linebacker.
OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Denver Broncos
Filling in for All-Pro LB Von Miller (ankle), Attaochu had four tackles (three solo) and a sack in Week 1. He had 3.5 sacks in limited action last season, and he has a chance for extensive work with Miller potentially lost for the season. The 27-year-old journeyman is worth a look as a flex option.
ILB Joe Thomas, Dallas Cowboys
The team lost LB Leighton Vander Esch (collarbone) for six to eight weeks, and Thomas pitched in five tackles (two solo). His role has been limited the last few years, but he had 70 tackles with the Green Bay Packers in 2016. If the team doesn’t look outside for help, Thomas could be a sneaky LB2 pickup with plenty of tackle potential.
FS Marcus Maye, New York Jets
Former Jet FS Jamal Adams made a lot of noise in his Seattle Seahawks debut, but his replacement had the biggest fantasy day among DBs in a lot of leagues. Maye finished Week 1 with 10 tackles (seven solo), two sacks, a forced fumble and two pass defenses. He should be targeted with potential DB1 luster.
SS Adrian Phillips, New England Patriots
Phillips spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers before joining the Pats in 2020. He got off to a fast start Sunday with nine tackles (eight solo) and an interception. Strong safeties have always had big roles with head coach Bill Belichick’s defense, and the 28-year-old looks ready to challenge his career-high 94 tackles in 2018.
CB Janoris Jenkins, New Orleans Saints
Jenkins had a highlight play with his pick-six of Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady in Week 1, but we’re marveling over his nine tackles (eight solo) from the game. Jenkins has always been a ballhawk, but it’s the 70-tackle potential that kept him relevant in fantasy in his younger years. He’s worth the pickup as depth.