Sometimes, it just isn’t your day. Or your week. Or your year.
That last one pretty much sums up my 2018.
In The WALL IDP-Only Showcase League here at Fantasy Sharks, my team (Shark-Infested Roger Waters) is the two-time defending champion—a run I took a fair amount of pride in given the level of competition in that league. Said team has scored 1,335 fantasy points on the season. The team leading my division has 1,342. A difference of seven points over 10 weeks.
That division leader is 7-3. My team? 3-7.
Now, some of the blame for my record lies squarely with me. As is the case in any season, there are plays I made that, with the benefit of hindsight, were, um, no. But I have no control over injuries. Or the fact that only one of the 24 teams in the league has had more points scored against it than mine.
Ten points one way or another, and I’m 5-5…at least. To say it’s frustrating is an understatement. I still think it’s at the very least a decent team, but three weeks from now a disappointing season will end in inglorious fashion.
I don’t bring this up to whine. Or complain—although both are fun. I do so because over those three weeks, I intend to go down swinging. To put just as much effort into winning as if I were 7-3. Partly that’s because with any luck I can take some poor SOB down with me.
Misery loves company.
But mostly I’m playing things out at 100 percent because it’s the right thing to do. It’s incredibly unfair and disrespectful to the other owners in a league to go ghost. To stop trying to field the best lineup. Quitting on a team affects more than just your squad. It impacts your opponent and every team fighting with that opponent for a playoff spot.
So don’t be that guy (or gal). You started the season. Finish it. Whether you’re 10-0 or 0-10, make every effort to win right up until the season ends.
Plus, that gives you a reason to keep reading this column—you know, besides my wit and wisdom.
Each week during the 2018 season, I’ll point out some Individual Defensive Players who could be set to exceed expectations this week (Studs), as well as some that for whatever reason are riskier plays than normal (Duds).
This isn’t necessarily to say that every “Stud” is a must-start (it depends on your other options) or that every “Dud” should be glued to your bench (just that the odds of a letdown week are greater than usual).
Week 11 is another stupid six-team bye. In addition to the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers, the entire AFC East is off. Because that’s just what we need as the fantasy playoffs approach.
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2018 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Alec Ogletree – ILB, New York Giants (vs. TBB) (2)
All the way back in April, Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher told Scott Fontana of AM New York that he was looking forward to having Ogletree anchor the Giants defense in 2018. “We always thought he was a smart player,” Bettcher said. “… [The Rams] had a bunch of talent on that defense, and for you to be a guy that’s leading a defense that’s that talented says something about you and your character.”
Yeah, about that.
For the most part, Ogletree has been a massive disappointment – both from an NFL and IDP perspective. He ranks outside the top-50 fantasy linebackers for the year, and when last we saw him, he was chasing after George Kittle after being burned in coverage—again. However, Ogletree has had his moments when the matchup was right this season, and no team in the NFC has allowed more fantasy points to linebackers this season than Tampa Bay.
WEEK 11 IDP STUDS
Markus Golden – DE, Arizona Cardinals (vs. OAK) (1)
It rather goes without saying that Chandler Jones is a high-end IDP starter this week—and every week. But fantasy owners in a pinch up front should also look to Golden. The Raiders have been very kind to defensive linemen this season, allowing lots of points and 29 sacks.
Matt Ioannidis – DE, Washington Redskins (vs. HOU) (2)
Thank god you don’t have to spell Ioannidis to plug him into IDP lineups. Both he and Jonathan Allen have spot-starter appeal against a Texans team that has given up 30 sacks and the second-most fantasy points to defensive linemen.
Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NYG) (4)
For most of the season, Pierre-Paul has been a top-10 fantasy option, but near-doughnuts the last two weeks have caused something of a drop. He’ll get back on track this week against the Giants and offensive tackle Nate “The Matador” Solder.
Alex Anzalone – OLB, New Orleans Saints (vs. PHI) (7)
This week’s “Stud” linebackers aren’t likely to be top-10 options. What they are likely to be in solid fill-ins for teams with bye-week and/or injury problems. Anzalone played a season-high 79 percent of the Saints snaps last week and is coming on strong of late.
De’Vondre Campbell – OLB, Atlanta Falcons (vs. DAL) (6)
With Deion Jones nearing a return (possibly even this week), either Campbell or Foyesade Oluokun is about to turn back into a pumpkin. But there should be one more week of LB3 numbers coming against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys.
Vince Williams – ILB, Pittsburgh Steelers (at JAX) (5)
Williams isn’t playing every down (or even close), and he had just four total tackles last week against the Panthers. But a pick-six and a sack led to a big game, and this week’s matchup with the run-heavy Jaguars should mean a bump in snaps.
Adrian Amos – S, Chicago Bears (vs. MIN) (4)
Amos hasn’t been the fantasy option I’d hoped this year (I’m wrong sometimes, hard though that may be to believe), but he’s had a few big stat lines in good matchups. Sunday night’s NFC North matchup with the Vikings is a top-five one.
Malcolm Jenkins – S, Philadelphia Eagles (at NOS) (9)
It’s start ’em if you’ve got ’em week in the Eagles secondary, whether it’s Jenkins, Corey Graham or the Eagles young (and ungood) cornerbacks in IDP leagues that require the position. As you may have heard, the Saints are rather good at moving the ball through the air.
Adrian Phillips – S, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. DEN) (2)
Phillips has already been on the field for at least 75 percent of the Chargers snaps in three of the last four games. Now, with Denzel Perryman out for the year, that playing time will only increase, starting this week in a favorable IDP matchup.