On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
And IDP championship trophy!
(Be thankful you can’t hear me singing that).
It’s that time of year. In the majority of IDP leagues, Week 16 brings with it the championship game. Only two teams remain alive in Week 16, and by the time the dust settles after Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, one of those teams will have been crowned champion for 2020.
If anyone can actually “win” 2020, that is.
This is the week to leave it all out there. If you fashion yourself a favorite, high-floor defensive backs and linemen could be a wise choice. If you feel like an underdog, then rolling the dice on big-play-dependent IDP options could pay off with a huge score.
It’s a week filled with grueling decisions. Mistakes in Week 16 can haunt you all offseason long like the Ghosts of Christmas in “A Christmas Carol.”
But fortunately, IDP Studs and Duds 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 Seattle Seahawks.
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2020 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Tremaine Edmunds – ILB, Buffalo Bills (at NEP) (2)
The Bills are enjoying their best season in over two decades, in part because of the play of Tremaine Edmunds and the defense. The third-year pro was just named to his second straight Pro Bowl, and he told Jourdon LaBarber of the team’s website that for him a successful season is also an enjoyable one.
“I think the biggest thing is just I’m having fun out there,” he said. “I honestly take my hat off just to the whole, you know, the team, just the people I have around me. I can’t do it all by myself. I think just us as a team, we are having fun. And any time you have fun, I think those (big) plays just kind of show up.”
Edmunds has 105 total tackles and a sack so far this season—numbers that leave the 22-year-old (yes. he’s still only 22) just inside the top-25 linebackers in terms of fantasy points per game. An LB2 finish is closer to his floor than his ceiling in Week 16—no team in the AFC has allowed more points to fantasy linebackers this year than the Patriots.
WEEK 16 IDP STUDS
Brandon Graham – DE, Philadelphia Eagles (at DAL) (2): Even after a multi-week slump, Graham is still a top-15 fantasy option for the season. Sunday’s NFC Least showdown with the Cowboys should offer the veteran edge-rusher a chance to finish the fantasy season strong.
Chris Jones – DT, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. ATL) (6): Both Frank Clark and Jones haven’t had the statistical output that IDP managers had hoped for, but the Falcons have been kind to defensive linemen in 2020—sixth in fantasy points per game allowed to the position.
Demarcus Lawrence – DE, Dallas Cowboys (vs. PHI) (1): Lawrence has quietly moved to the outskirts of DL1 territory in 12-team IDP leagues, and this week’s primo matchup with an Eagles team leading the league in sacks allowed could push him into the top 10.
Demario Davis – OLB, New Orleans Saints (vs. MIN): Davis has been his usual Steady Eddie, IDP LB2 self in 2020, and this week he should easily be able to post top-20 numbers (at least) in a top-five matchup for the position with the Minnesota Vikings.
Shaq Thompson – OLB, Carolina Panthers (at WAS) (1): Thompson has been an underwhelming IDP option most of this season, barely slotting inside LB3 territory. But the sixth-year veteran draws an excellent matchup for linebackers this week in the nation’s capital.
Danny Trevathan – ILB, Chicago Bears (at JAX) (3): Trevathan has spent most of the 2020 season in Roquan Smith‘s shadow. But both linebackers could have an opportunity to shine Sunday against a Jaguars team surrendering the third-most fantasy points to linebackers this year.
Adrian Phillips – S, New England Patriots (vs. BUF) (5): Phillips has been solid for IDP managers this year as a hybrid safety/linebacker for the Patriots, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue ion Monday night against the Bills.
Khari Willis – S, Indianapolis Colts (at PIT) (6): Willis has been productive since getting back into the lineup a few weeks ago, and now the young safety gets a Pittsburgh Steelers team allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to defensive backs in 2020.
Jarrod Wilson – S, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. CHI) (4): Wilson has a huge game last week, with 10 solos against the Baltimore Ravens. Now the young safety gets a top-five fantasy matchup to close out the IDP season against the Chicago Bears.