They say all good things must come to an end. And fantasy football seasons are no exception—Week 14 brings with it the conclusion of the regular season in most IDP leagues.
Of course, whether or not that’s a good thing can be a relative concept. For a fortunate few fantasy managers, Week 14 is a coronation. One last matchup before moving on to the playoffs. For others it’s a formality. One last matchup before the season ends.
But for quite a few IDP managers, Week 14 will define the season, One matchup for all the marbles. Win, and it’s on to the playoffs. Lose, and that’s that. Game over.
Those managers don’t just want to win. They need to. Have to.
They need the three sacks that Raiders edge-rusher Chandler Jones logged in Week 13—but not the goose-egg Bengals edge-rusher Trey Hendrickson posted. They need the 12 total tackles and a sack that Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David racked up last week. But not the three solos and two assists that teammate Devin White did. They need the 16 total stops and an interception that Texans safety Jalen Pitre logged. But not the five stops (three solo) from Seahawks safety Ryan Neal.
They need to make the right lineup decisions. Get the right players into lineups. Keep the wrong ones out. There’s precious little margin for error, lest the season come off the rails.
IDP Studs and Duds is here to help make sure it does not.
Each week during the 2022 season here at Fantasy Sharks, 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).
In their infinite wisdom, the NFL decided to schedule a six-team bye in Week 14—the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and Washington Commanders are all off. No Jonathan Allen this week. Or Zaire Franklin. Or Jaquan Brisker. Or a boatload of other guys.
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2022 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Frankie Luvu – LB, Carolina (at Seattle) (4)
The rise of Frankie Luvu has been one of the IDP highlights of 2022. Heading into the season, Luvu was a special teams ace who had played sparingly defensively, starting just eight games over his first four seasons. But after impressing in training camp, Luvu earned a bigger role defensively in his fifth season. And as Natalie Miller wrote for Panthers Wire, Luvu has made the most of it.
“It feels like every time the team needs a momentum shift from the defense, Luvu shows up and creates a big play to turn the tide,” Miller wrote. “He’s shown he can burst through gaps, make plays behind the line and drop into coverage against against both tight ends and some receivers. He has been somewhat of a heat-seeking missile in his tackling, quickly identifying a play and shooting to stop forward momentum with a unique blend of athleticism and play recognition.”
Luvu’s 74 total tackles for the season are more than he tallied in 2020 and 2021 combined. He has added a career-high four sacks. He has hit the 10-tackle mark in four separate games this year. And he’s sixth in fantasy points per game among linebackers heading into a matchup with a Seahawks team allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to linebackers this year.
WEEK 14 IDP STUDS
Zach Allen – DE, Arizona (vs. New England) (5): Allen has been solid for the Cardinals in 2022, setting a new career high in sacks ahead of a top-five fantasy matchup for defensive ends with the Patriots. He and J.J. Watt are both viable spot-starters in Week 14.
Carlos Dunlap – DE, Kansas City (at Denver) (4): Dunlap has had his moments this year with the Chiefs, logging four sacks. He’ll get No. 5 this week against a Broncos team surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points per game to defensive ends.
Josh Sweat – DE, Philadelphia (at New York Giants) (5): Sweat has been red-hot of late, racking up seven total tackles and three sacks over the last two weeks. The Giants have given up 37 sacks this season and the fifth-most fantasy points per game to defensive ends.
Lavonte David – LB, Tampa Bay (at San Francisco) (9): Davis was one of the IDP heroes of Week 13, and there’s a good chance he’ll strap on the cape once again this week against a 49ers team that will rely on the run game more than usual with Jimmy Garoppolo done for the season.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – LB, Cleveland (at Cincinnati) (2): Owusu-Koramoah is effectively the last man standing among Cleveland’s linebackers, and this week he gets a matchup with a Bengals team that has been kind to opposing linebackers all season long.
Logan Wilson – LB, Cincinnati (vs. Cleveland) (8): Given how badly Deshaun Watson struggled in his Browns debut, Cleveland may lean even more heavily than usual this week against the Bengals. That means good things for Wilson in Week 14.
Minkah Fitzpatrick – S, Pittsburgh (vs. Baltimore) (4): Fitzpatrick’s IDP production has dipped precipitously relative to last year’s top-12 finish in points per game. This week’s rivalry matchup with the hated Ravens offers an opportunity to pick up the pace.
Damar Hamlin – S, Buffalo Bills (vs. NY Jets) (3): Hamlin has been solid for IDP managers in relief of the injured Micah Hyde. He should be able to keep that going against a Jets team surrendering the third-most fantasy points per game to safeties this year.
Jonathan Owens – S, Houston (at Dallas) (2): Owens started the season on a ridiculous tear, but he has cooled off in recent weeks. Look for Owens to heat back up against a Cowboys team that has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to safeties in 2022