It’s a scary time of year. And not just because it’s Halloween. And we have an election next week (or so I keep hearing on TV). Or that the COVID-19 pandemic is raging across America.
Some of that stuff is pretty scary—and it ain’t the Halloween part.
It’s a scary time of year because quite a few IDP managers are running low on wiggle room. It’s great if you drafted Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White and Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker—if so, your team is rolling right along.
But if you drafted New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard and Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, things probably haven’t gone according to planed.
And if your IDP squad is sitting at 3-4 or 2-5, you’re already closing in on the time of year when your next loss could be the one that seals your doom in 2020. One more defeat, and any postseason aspirations you may have had are all but toast.
Every lineup decision you make from here out could be the one that defines your entire season—and that can be terrifying.
Luckily, IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks 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).
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2020 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Jayon Brown – ILB, Tennessee Titans (at CIN) (4)
The Tennessee defense hasn’t played especially well in 2020, including in last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But as Gentry Estes wrote for the Tennessean, the team’s defensive issues can’t really be blamed on fourth-year linebacker Jayon Brown.
“There wasn’t much for the Titans to cheer about defensively, but what little they did have was usually tied to Brown,” Estes said. “He had a productive afternoon, showing great effort against the run and in coverage while also shaking off an injury at one point. Brown tied for the team-lead with eight tackles (seven of them solo) and played a role in both of the second-half interceptions. He finished with a whopping four pass break-ups, a sign of how much he played his tail off in this game.”
Week 8 marked the third time in the past four games that Jayon Brown has hit the eight-tackle mark, but the big plays he’s been known for to this point in his career have been lacking. Still, the 25-year-old is well-positioned for a good stat line in a top-five IDP matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
WEEK 8 IDP STUDS
Derek Barnett – DE, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DAL) (4): Barnett’s snap counts were up over 60 percent last week against the New York Giants, and a similar workload could mean big things Sunday night against a Dallas offensive line that has been ravaged by injuries.
Kerry Hyder – DE, San Francisco 49ers (at SEA) (6): That Hyder leads the team with 3.5 sacks this season says all you need to know about the injuries that have swept through the 49ers front in 2020, Whatever the reason, Hyder will see a full snap count this week in a favorable matchup with the rival Seahawks.
Aldon Smith – DE, Dallas Cowboys (at PHI) (1): Smith shot out of the gate like a rocket but (like the rest of the Cowboys) has fizzled of late. This is an excellent “get right” spot for the veteran edge-rusher—no team in the NFL has allowed more sacks through seven weeks this season than the Eagles.
Krys Barnes – ILB, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN) (5): There’s a possibility that Barnes will miss Week 8 with a shoulder injury, but whether it’s Barnes or Kamal Martin that draws the start they will do so in a top-five fantasy matchup with running back Dalvin Cook and the Vikings.
Tremaine Edmunds – ILB, Buffalo Bills (vs. NEP) (7): Edmunds had just five total tackles in a bad matchup with the Jets in Week 7, but the week before he amassed 12 total stops against the Chiefs. Odds are good for another double-digit effort Sunday against the rival Patriots.
Nate Gerry – OLB, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DAL) (3): Gerry missed practice early in the week with an ankle injury, but he played all but five snaps against the Giants in Week 7. If he plays Sunday against the Cowboys, he should produce a solid stat line in a top-three IDP matchup.
Kevin Byard – S, Tennessee Titans (at CIN) (2): Byard is averaging less than six tackles a game this year and has yet to record an interception. Joe Burrow has thrown five picks and the Bengals have allowed the second-most fantasy points to defensive backs. Something has to give.
Malcolm Jenkins – S, New Orleans Saints (at CHI) (8): At first glance, one might not think Chicago’s sputtering offense would be a good matchup on the back end. One would be wrong—the Bears rank well inside the top-10 in fantasy points given up to the defensive back position.
Rodney McLeod – S, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DAL) (3): McLeod is having a fine season, but to date this year he has been rather matchup-dependent. He draws a good one this week—no team in the NFC has surrendered more fantasy points per game to defensive backs in 2020 than the Cowboys.