Well, this is it—the final weekly fantasy column of my ninth season here at Fantasy Sharks.
I’ll try to not get weepy.
It’s Week 17, and that means two things. The first is the reason why most leagues don’t hold their title games this week—some teams will likely rest players. The Baltimore Ravens have already stated they will—the Ravens are locked into the AFC’s No. 1 seed. The Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings both have nothing on the line Sunday against the Jets and Bears respectively. By the time the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans kick off Sunday afternoon, the Texans will probably be locked into the AFC’s No. 4 seed.
It’s certainly something to consider—and a theme in this article.
The second thing is that this week’s Studs and Duds is abbreviated. There are only two teams in a small percentage of IDP Leagues playing, and it’s been a long season. It never fails that I’m relieved when this time of year arrives—and then bored to tears two weeks later.
For the final time in 2019, let’s get after it.
Each week during the 2019 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).
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2019 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Austin Calitro – OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND) (11)
Two weeks ago, Calitro set a career high with 11 total tackles and a sack in a win over the Oakland Raiders. One week later, the second-year pro set another one, piling up 12 total stops in a 24-12 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The cold, hard reality is that the Jaguars current three-down starters at linebacker (Calitro and Donald Payne) are liabilities from an NFL perspective—the Jags are giving up 500-plus yards of offense with regularity. But the pair is cleaning up on the stat sheet, and that’s all that really matters to IDP owners.
WEEK 17 IDP STUDS
Trey Hendrickson – DE, New Orleans Saints (at CAR) (2): As spot-starters go, Hendrickson’s the best of the lot in Week 17. The Panthers are tied for the league lead in sacks allowed in 2019 with 56.
Jerry Hughes – DE, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ) (3): Snaps might be an issue for Hughes in Week 17, but this matchup’s so good it’s worth rolling the dice Hughes will play at least close to a full complement.
Demario Davis – OLB, New Orleans Saints (at CAR) (1): Davis is a very good NFL player who will be a great fantasy option in Week 17 thanks to an ideal matchup for linebackers with the Panthers.
Germaine Pratt – ILB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CLE) (4): Pratt appears to be figuring things out as his rookie season winds down. That means good things in Part 2 of the Battle of Ohio.
Malcolm Jenkins – S, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG) (6): Jenkins has long been a very good NFL player but a matchup-dependent IDP option. This week’s must-win in New York is a good one.
Damarious Randall – S, Cleveland Browns (at CIN) (5): Randall’s on quite a roll the past two weeks and draws a top-five fantasy matchup Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jordan Whitehead – S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. ATL) (2): Just about every DB looks good in this matchup between the top-two teams in terms of fantasy points allowed to defensive backs.