There’s been a lot that has happened in Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues since the season began.
Some of it was expected, like Cleveland defense end Myles Garrett piling up 10 sacks over the first nine games of the season to be the No.1 defensive lineman in fantasy football. But just as much (if not more) has not been — like Miami defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah already setting a career-high with eight sacks to rank third in fantasy points at the position.
There have been injuries at all three positions that have felled big-name players. Surprise stars like Ogbah. Disappointments like Las Vegas linebacker Cory Littleton. But now is no time to look back at what has happened over the first 10 weeks of the season. It’s time to look forward to what is to come. It’s time for the tough to get going.
It’s time for the fantasy playoffs stretch run.
Whether you are 7-3 and have your eye on a first-round bye, 5-5 and fighting for a postseason berth or 3-7 and looking to take as many teams down with you as possible (misery, as they say, loves company), this time of year every lineup decision is that much more important. Every single fantasy point counts.
And as you try to scratch and claw your way to the end of the line, 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). I also tend to avoid obvious start recommendations — I would hope you don’t need me to tell you that Myles Garrett is a “go” in Week 10 against Houston.
Week 11 is another four-team bye week — Buffalo, Chicago, the New York Giants and San Francisco are all sitting the week out. Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Blake Martinez, and Fred Warner are all off this week — and that’s just at linebacker.
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
Robert Spillane, ILB, Pittsburgh (at Jacksonville) (2)
Spillane has quickly ascended from practice squad and scout-team player to special teams to every-down player after Devin Bush got hurt. As Matthew Marczi reported for Steelers Depot, Spillane said he’s just trying to best take advantage of the opportunity that has presented itself in 2020.
“When I was able to get my call on special teams, I knew that this was my second opportunity in the NFL and I didn’t want to let it slip through the cracks,” he said, “so I made sure when I was running down on kickoffs or doing my punts that I was going 120 miles an hour, getting as fast as I could to speed, showing them that I could run and make plays for the team.”
Last week against Cincinnati, it was Spillane who played the most snaps of any Pittsburgh inside linebacker, recording five total tackles. That number isn’t great, and the presence of Avery Williamson adds at least some risk to trusting Spillane or Vince Williams in a must-win week. But Jacksonville is a plus matchup for linebackers — no team in the AFC has allowed more fantasy points to the position.
WEEK 11 IDP STUDS
Frank Clark, DE, Kansas City (at Las Vegas) (5): Clark’s numbers are down a bit in 2020 — just four sacks over his first nine games. But this week’s big AFC West tilt against a Las Vegas team giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to defensive linemen sets up well for the 27-year-old.
Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Minnesota (vs. Dallas) (2): Odenigbo is the top defensive lineman for a Minnesota front that looks a lot different now that it did in Week 1 heading into a matchup with a Dallas team that has been much friendlier to defensive linemen than we expected this year.
Chase Young, DE, Washington (vs. Cincinnati) (6): Young came out of the gate red-hot but cooled way off after injuring his groin. Sunday’s home date with Cincinnati should offer him a chance to get back on track in earnest — no team in the AFC has allowed more sacks than Cincinnati.
Jon Bostic, ILB, Washington (vs. Cincinnati) (5): Bostic’s production is down relative to earlier in the 2020 season, but this week’s plus IDP matchup with Cincinnati offers a solid chance for Bostic’s tackle numbers to get a boost.
Jayon Brown, ILB, Tennessee (at Baltimore) (3): It has happened relatively quietly, but Brown has climbed his way into the Top 10 among fantasy linebackers ahead of a matchup with a run-heavy Baltimore team that has been kind to linebackers again this season.
Josh Bynes, ILB, Cincinnati (at Washington) (1): Bynes isn’t a full-time player, but he plays the most snaps of any Cincinnati linebacker. That’s an important distinction headed into a tilt with a Washington team that has surrendered the most fantasy points to linebackers this year.
Kamren Curl, S, Washington (vs. Cincinnati) (2): All Curl has done in two games as a starter is pile up 19 total tackles while adding two sacks — numbers that slot him second among all defensive backs in fantasy points over that span ahead of another favorable matchup.
Ronnie Harrison, S, Cleveland (vs. Philadelphia) (4): Harrison has been solid the past few weeks as a full-time starter at safety for Cleveland. This week he faces a Philadelphia team that has been prone to turning the ball over most of this season.
Eric Rowe, S, Miami (at Denver) (1): Rowe has been an important part of arguably the most surprising defense in the NFL this year, and in Week 11 he travels to face a Denver team that leads the NFL in giveaways and fantasy points allowed to defensive backs.