Time for the weekly early-season talk-down off the ledge.
In fantasy football, there’s a fine line between prudence and panic.
There comes a time when under-producing players have to be shown the door. The problem is knowing when to say when—the only thing worse than hanging on to a guy too long is panic-dropping a player who turns it around and winds up a star…for your opponent.
We’re just two weeks into the 2018 season, and already some IDP owners are freaking…out. It’s understandable—after a long offseason of anticipation no one wants their season to spiral into the sewer before the end of September.
No one wants to be a tomato can.
However, at this early juncture in the season patience is a virtue. Sure, in shallower leagues players like Deone Bucannon and Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals are “droppable”. Bucannon’s been relegated to a sub-package role, and Baker’s playing more slot corner than strong safety. As things stand right now, the big things expected of them in 2018 aren’t happening.
But if you’re in a deeper format and can spare the spot, don’t throw in the towel just yet. There’s a long way to go this season. A lot can change between now and Halloween. Halloween and Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Staple under-performers to the bench. The time will soon come (when the byes arrive) when some will have to be let go. But we aren’t there yet. Situations like these are why you have depth, after all.
Now, it’s just a matter of figuring out which player(s) you drafted as reserves can step up and do the job as a starter in Week 3.
That’s where IDP Studs and Duds comes in.
Each week during the 2018 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 Scoring32.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Jaylon Smith – ILB, Dallas Cowboys (at SEA) (1)
Per John Owning of the Dallas Morning News, Smith is finally playing like the difference-maker the Cowboys hoped to be getting when they gambled a second-round pick on him in 2016. “When the Cowboys drafted Smith at the top of the second round in 2016,” he wrote, “this is the player the front office was envisioning — a game-changing talent who improves the quality of the entire defense. It’s not a coincidence Dallas is playing its best defense in years at the same time Smith finally becomes fully healthy.”
Smith’s performance is showing up in the box score as well—he has tallied 14 total tackles and a sack in two games, including 10 total stops in last week’s win over the Giants. With Sean Lee looking iffy to play Sunday with a bad hammy (yes, Sean Lee is hurt…stunner), Smith could be on the verge of his best game yet in a plus matchup with the Seahawks.
WEEK 3 IDP STUDS
Randy Gregory – DE, Dallas Cowboys (at SEA) (32): Pay no attention to the fact that the Seahawks haven’t given up many fantasy points to D-linemen. They’ve given up a TON of fantasy points to edge-rushers, complements of the teams’ league-leading 12 sacks allowed.
Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. PIT) (8): Pierre-Paul had a good game in Week 2, picking up his first sack as a member of the Buccaneers. The good times keep rolling on Monday night against a struggling Steelers offensive line.
J.J. Watt – DE, Houston Texans (vs. NYG) (4): Watt’s last sack(s) came over two full calendar years ago in a Week 2 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. That long dry spell ends on Sunday against a Giants team averaging four sacks allowed per game in 2018.
Anthony Hitchens – ILB, Kansas City Chiefs (vs SFO) (7): Hitchens has been piling up the tackles this year—he’s second in the NFL with 26 through two games. He should do so a third week in a row in a favorable fantasy matchup with the 49ers.
Cory Littleton – ILB, Los Angeles Rams (vs. LAC) (8): After a huge Week 1, Littleton’s numbers cratered in Week 2 against a miserable Cardinals team. Now that the level of opposition is improved, his production will be as well.
Benardrick McKinney – ILB, Houston Texans (vs. NYG) (3): McKinney didn’t have great numbers in Week 2, but he was on the field for 100 percent of the defensive snaps. That bodes well Sunday against the Giants—Saquon Barkley‘s about all that’s working for Big Blue right now.
Ricardo Allen – S, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NOS) (1): It’s Allen who took over at strong safety in Atlanta for the injured Keanu Neal, and he’s set up for a good game in this NFC South showdown with the Drew Brees and the Saints. Shootout, anyone?
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