We’re almost home.
In the vast majority of IDP leagues, just two weeks remain in the regular season. By the time the dust settles on Week 15, there will be just two teams still alive and those two teams will compete next week for the championship. It’s a big week.
Win this week’s contest, and Week 16 brings a battle for the title that was every IDP manager’s goal at the outset of the season.
It is….the final countdown.
What? Did you think for one second we were going to get through a season without me inserting that video into a column? Have we met?
Of course, getting that Week 15 win won’t be easy. The four remaining teams in each IDP league have made it this far for a reason. Winning a game against a loaded team is far from a gimme—especially when you consider that injuries couldn’t care even a little bit which week of the season it is.
In the IDP semifinals, any edge you can gain over the opposition is important. Every resource you can get your hands on could be the difference between setting a lineup that moves you along to the championship game or seeing the season end just short of the goal line.
Fortunately for you, IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks is here to help.
Each week during the 2020 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). I also tend to avoid obvious start recommendations—I would hope you don’t need me to tell you that Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald should be in lineups Sunday against the New York Jets.
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2020 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Jerome Baker – OLB, Miami Dolphins (vs. NEP) (2)
The Miami Dolphins are one of the bigger surprises of the 2020 season, and the team’s defense deserves a lot of the credit for that success. Third-year linebacker Jerome Baker has been a key contributor for that defense—largely because the former Ohio State standout is willing to do just about anything the coaching staff asks of him.
“I’m asked to do a lot of things,” Baker said, via Travis Wingfield of the team’s website. “If it’s covering running backs, if it’s playing the middle of the field, if it’s pass rushing – whatever it is, I’ve been asked to do so much in my time here in Miami so I’m kind of used to it. If they throw something at me, I kind of take it as they trust me to do it and I go out there and do it.”
The Patriots have employed one of the most run-heavy offenses in the NFL this year, and that has resulted in quite a few fantasy points being allowed to linebackers this season—the most in the AFC. When the Patriots and Dolphins met at Gillette Stadium in Week 1, Baker posted a massive stat line—16 total tackles (12 solo) and a sack.
WEEK 15 IDP STUDS
Carlos Dunlap – DE, Seattle Seahawks (at WAS) (6): Dunlap missed last week’s win over the New York Jets, but early indications are that he will play in Week 15. Assuming that’s the case, he gets a great matchup against Washington’s immobile quarterbacks.
Cameron Heyward – DE, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN) (3): Heyward’s numbers are down in 2020—just three sacks through 13 games. But a Bengals team that leads the AFC in fantasy points allowed to D-linemen and sacks allowed offers a prime “get right” spot.
Kerry Hyder – DE, San Francisco 49ers (at DAL) (2): Hyder has been a rare bright spot for the Niners, and with his next sack, Hyder will set a new career-best in that category. He has a good chance to get that sack this week against the Cowboys’ banged up O-line.
B.J. Goodson – ILB, Cleveland Browns (at NYG) (4): Goodson has been Cleveland’s most productive linebacker this season, and in Week 15 he gets a Big Apple homecoming against a New York Giants team surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to linebackers.
Myles Jack – OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL) (6): Jack has taken a back seat to Joe Schobert this season, but both Jaguars linebackers could be set for big games against a Ravens team that ranks second in the NFL in rushing attempts—over 32 per game.
Patrick Queen – ILB, Baltimore Ravens (vs. JAX) (5): As rookie linebackers often are, Queen has been an up-and-down fantasy option in 2020. But the former LSU star gets an excellent IDP matchup for linebackers this week against James Robinson and the Jaguars.
Marcus Allen – S, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN) (2): Need a “Hail Mary” play? Allen has safety eligibility with most IDP providers, but he played 75 percent of the defensive snaps for the Steelers last week against the Bills as an inside linebacker.
Micah Hyde – S, Buffalo Bills (at DEN) (1): It goes without saying that Jordan Poyer is a must-start, but Hyde could be a sneaky-good play too against a Broncos team that leads the league in fantasy points allowed to defensive backs and giveaways.
Kareem Jackson – S, Denver Broncos (vs. BUF) (5): Hyde isn’t the only deep safety who could have a big game on Saturday. The Bills attack opposing defenses vertically as much as any team in the league—and it shows in the fantasy points the team allows to defensive backs.