Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is an inconsiderate jerk. A lazy ne’er-do-well. And some other things I can’t even print here.
Despite all the high draft picks that were used on Watt over the summer and the confidence and faith placed in the three-time Defensive Player of the Year by IDP owners far and wide, Watt couldn’t be bothered to make a single tackle in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints. Not one.
The unmitigated gall of some people.
It’s almost as bad as fantasy owners who have panic attacks based off of one week’s games.
Even the best defensive linemen (like Watt) occasionally post a doughnut in the stat column. Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams very nearly did—Donald, who has won the last two DPOY awards, had just a single solo against the Carolina Panthers.
Bad statistical outings happen in IDP leagues just like on offense. Sometimes the game flow gets weird. Sometimes it’s just bad luck. When it happens the first week of the season, it’s magnified that much more.
But it’s important not to overreact to one bad game and make a move borne of panic that will come back to bite you later on. That’s how one setback to open the year turns into the kind of skid that can sink a season before it really even gets going.
Take a breath. Have a drink. Relax. Everything’s going to be OK—probably.
Now that I’ve gotten the annual advisement against apoplexy out of the way, it’s time for another Week of IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
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 2018 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Alec Ogletree – ILB, New York Giants (vs. BUF) (2)
The Giants were shredded by the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, allowing 35 points and 494 yards of total offense. But despite that less-than-stellar effort, Ogletree told Matt Lombardo of NJ.com that he believes the Giants are capable of functioning as a top-10 defense.
“It’s a long season and this is one game, “Ogletree said. “We have the right people, we have the right scheme and everything. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. You can’t talk about it, you have to go out and do it, and we definitely are going to do that. My confidence hasn’t been shaken in our defense. I know we have a great defense here, and it’s just a matter of us doing it, and doing it on Sunday.”
Ogletree may be full of it, but the reality is that IDP owners might actually be better served if the Giants struggle to get off the field like they did against the Cowboys. Dallas threw the ball a lot more than the Buffalo Bills will, so look for an improvement on Ogletree’s six tackles in Week 1.
WEEK 2 IDP STUDS
Chris Jones – DT, Kansas City Chiefs (at OAK) (2): Jones was another big-name D-lineman who laid an egg stat-wise in his first game of 2019. A highly favorable matchup against a Raiders team that will be forced to throw a lot should help get him back on track.
Josh Allen – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU) (1): Yannick Ngakoue was originally listed here, but he’s been ruled out with a hamstring injury. That opens the door for an increased snap count for the rookie first-rounder against a Texans team that allowed 62 sacks in 2018 and six in a Week 1 loss to the Saints.
Olivier Vernon – DE, Cleveland Browns (at NYJ) (3): Unless your league awards points for roughing the passer, Vernon got you a big fat goose-egg in Week 1. He’ll get going on Monday night against a Jets team that will be starting Trevor Siemian at quarterback.
Devin Bush – ILB, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. SEA) (4): Despite talk that Bush would be eased in against the Patriots, he wound up playing more snaps than any Steelers ILB. If that continues against the run-heavy Seahawks Sunday, Bush will clean up.
Zach Cunningham – ILB, Houston Texans (vs. JAX) (3): The Jaguars leaned hard on the run game last season with Blake Bortles under center. With rookie Gardner Minshew running the show for the foreseeable future, they’ll all but certainly do the same again.
Nick Vigil – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. SF) (1): San Fran was a great IDP matchup last year largely because Jimmy G got hurt and the passing game fell apart. If last week’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is any indication, it hasn’t come back yet.
Antoine Bethea – S, New York Giants (vs. BUF) (3): Bethea and Jabrill Peppers tied for the team lead against the Cowboys with seven stops apiece. Against the run-heavy Bills, the smart money’s on the safety who will spend more time in the box.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – S, Chicago Bears (at DEN) (2): The Denver offense was pretty putrid in their loss to the Raiders, but Karl Joseph still had an OK night. Given how Joe Flacco looked, it’s not that hard to imagine Clinton-Dix notching his first interception in this one.
Bradley McDougald – S, Seattle Seahawks (at PIT) (1): The Steelers were a great matchup for defensive backs in 2018 and gave up a combined 12 tackles to Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung a week ago—in a game where the Steelers offense did next to nothing.