In the majority of IDP leagues, we’ve hit the halfway point of the 2018 fantasy football season. If your league has a 13-week regular season, Week 7 marks the apex of the slate. If it’s a 14-game season, then Week 7 marks the culmination of the season’s first half.
Since we’re halfway there, it seems only fitting to have halftime show.
Yes folks. THAT was once the halftime show at the Super Bowl.
Of course, so was this.
Anyway, with the season half finished, some teams are clinging like grim death to hopes of making the playoffs. Maybe you drafted Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones, who didn’t make it through an entire game without getting hurt.
Or maybe you drafted Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks, who has had a sluggish start to the year complements of a triple-dip of injury, a ball-control offense and a string of bad IDP matchups. I’d love to be able to tell you that Wagner’s going to turn it around. And I do think that he’ll get better.
But I don’t know that’s he’s going to be as good (statistically speaking) as we hoped in 2018.
In any event, for teams sitting at 3-3, 2-4 or worse, every matchup is now all the more important. Every lineup decision could be the difference between a win that keeps the season going and a loss that digs the hole your team is in that much deeper.
Every call is crucial.
Sorry. That’s a lot of pressure, man.
That’s OK though. I’m ready for the pressure. Stoked to get after it. Prepared to hit the whole hard, shoot the gap and sack Week 7 for your IDP squad with another edition of IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
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).
Week 7 is the first of the four-team byes. The Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks are all off. No Blake Martinez, Tahir Whitehead, Cameron Heyward or the aforementioned Bobby Wagner.
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
Yannick Ngakoue – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. HOU) (1)
As Ben Shpigel wrote for the New York Times, Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell is blown away by the moves Ngakoue uses to get strip-sacks. “His is 10 times better than mine, and I’ve had a lot of success with it in my career,” Campbell said. “Sometimes I’ve asked him, ‘What are you seeing?’ I don’t want to give his tricks away, but it’s crazy, because I’m learning something from a guy in his third year and I’m in my 11th.”
Ngakoue certainly has a knack for knocking the rock away from quarterbacks. Of the third-year pro’s first 21 sacks, nearly half (10) resulted in forced fumbles as well. Ngakoue has a great shot at following up last week’s two-sack effort with another takedown at home Sunday—the Texans are second in the NFL in sacks allowed (25) and have surrendered the most fantasy points to defensive linemen so far this season.
WEEK 7 IDP STUDS
Demarcus Lawrence – DE, Dallas Cowboys (at WAS) (7)
Lawrence has 5.5 sacks on the season, but he’s been shut out in that regard since logging three on September 30 against the Detroit Lions. That 0-for-October will come to an end Sunday is a top-10 fantasy matchup with the rival Redskins.
Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CLE) (8)
Over the last three games, Pierre-Paul has been red-hot, with 14 total tackles and for sacks over that span. The hot streak will continue at home Sunday against the Browns, who have surrendered the most sacks (26) in the NFL.
Leonard Williams – DE, New York Jets (vs. MIN) (3)
Williams saw his own streak come to a crashing halt last week—posting the dreaded doughnut in a win over the Indianapolis Colts. Shake off that zero and roll Williams back out there this week—only two teams have given up more fantasy points to D-linemen than the Vikings.
With Joe Schobert on the shelf indefinitely with a hamstring pull, Kirksey’s going to see a boost in both responsibilities and tackle opportunities. Given that starts with a top-five IDP matchup this week in Tampa, it likely means good things for IDP owners.
Cory Littleton – ILB, Los Angeles Rams (at SFO) (3)
With Mark Barron working his way back into playing shape, Littleton’s still (at least for now) the linebacker to own for the Rams. That should mean good things on Sunday in a top-three fantasy matchup against the 49ers.
Anthony Walker – ILB, Indianapolis Colts (vs. BUF) (1)
The Bills offense is hot garbage right now, but the team continues to give up fantasy points galore to the linebacker position. That means good things Sunday for both Walker and Darius Leonard, who will probably have about 74 total tackles.
Justin Evans – S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CLE) (3)
It’s not hard to figure out why the Browns are third in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to defensive backs this season. Since taking the reins at quarterback for the Browns, Baker Mayfield has been prone to turning it over—seven in four games.
John Johnson – S, Los Angeles Rams (at SFO) (2)
Johnson’s been a top-10 fantasy option this season and came roaring out of the gate, but he cooled off a bit of late. Sunday’s trip to San Francisco presents an excellent opportunity to heat back up—the Niners are first in the NFC in fantasy points allowed on the back end.
Jordan Poyer – S, Buffalo Bills (at IND) (1)
Both Poyer and Micah Hyde have seen their production fall way off after each cracking the top-10 last season. But Week 7 sets up well for a rebound—no team in the NFL has given up more fantasy points to defensive backs than the Colts.