It’s Week 12 of the 2020 fantasy football season, which means that only two or three weeks left in the regular season. Soon it will be playoff time — which also means the end of the road for many unfortunate Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league managers.
For some, fates are sealed. The fortunate ones have already locked up a slot in the postseason tournament — now it’s just a matter of jockeying for seeding. The unfortunate ones are toast — whether due to injuries, poor lineup decisions or just plain old bad luck it’s just a matter of playing out the string.
However, for the majority of IDP managers, nothing is certain yet. Put together a few wins to close out the regular season, and it’s on to the playoffs. Suffer a couple of losses, and the season will end in nothing but disappointment.
At this time of the season, every fantasy point matters. Every lineup decision is incredibly important. One good (or bad) call can be the difference between moving on or calling it a season.
The pressure is higher than ever before.
Luckily, you have an ace up your sleeve. A secret weapon. A resource that is 100 percent guaranteed to be accurate unless it’s totally wrong in which case oops, I guess.
You have “IDP Studs and Duds” here at Fantasy Sharks.
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 Indianapolis linebacker Darius Leonard should be in lineups Sunday against Tennessee.
There’s one thing working for IDP managers in Week 12 — no teams are on bye. There’s a full complement of players available to choose from.
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
A.J. Johnson, ILB, Denver (vs. New Orleans) (4)
Johnson played a major role in Denver’s win over Miami in Week 11, helping hold Miami under 60 rushing yards in the game. The former undrafted free agent doesn’t get the run of guys like Von Miller and Justin Simmons, but as Shelby Manning wrote for Predominantly Orange, the third-year pro has become a cornerstone of the Denver defense.
“When discussing the Broncos’ defense, Alexander Johnson is not the first name that will be brought up, but he has been one of the most vital pieces of this Broncos’ defense this season,” Manning said. “Johnson has the ability to fly around the field and hits with force. Johnson has really come into his own with this Denver Broncos team and seems to improve with each passing week.”
Johnson leads Denver with 84 tackles and ranks inside the Top 20 fantasy linebackers for the season. With a New Orleans team coming to town that has relied heavily on Alvin Kamara and the ground game in 2020, a Top 10 stat line in Week 12 is a real possibility.
WEEK 12 IDP STUDS
Mario Addison, DE, Buffalo (vs. L.A. Chargers) (4): Addison has long been capable of providing DL2 numbers for IDP managers in the right matchup. This week’s matchup with a Chargers team allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to defensive linemen qualifies as one.
Maxx Crosby, DE, Las Vegas (at Atlanta) (3): Crosby was quiet against Kansas City last week, but he had nine stops and two sacks over the two games before that. This week’s favorable matchup with Atlanta should get the second-year pro back on track.
Carlos Dunlap, DE, Seattle (at Philadelphia) (1): Dunlap has really turned it on since joining Seattle, notching nine tackles and three sacks in three games. There’s no reason to think he won’t keep rolling Monday night in a primo IDP matchup with Philadelphia.
Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Buffalo (vs. L.A. Chargers) (6): Edmunds was on a nice roll headed into Buffalo’s bye, with double-digit stops in both Week 9 and Week 10. Sunday’s tilt with the Chargers sets up well to make it three in a row.
Micah Kiser, ILB, Los Angeles Rams (vs. San Francisco) (7): Kiser missed the end of Monday’s win over Tampa Bay with a leg injury, but if he’s on the field for Sunday’s NFC West showdown with San Francisco he should post solid numbers.
Robert Spillane, ILB, Pittsburgh (vs. Baltimore) (3): Spillane disappointed in a favorable matchup with Jacksonville in Week 11, but there’s a good chance both he and Vince Williams will bounce back Sunday against rival Baltimore.
Adrian Amos, S, Green Bay (vs. Chicago) (6): Given how lousy Chicago has been offensively most of this season, one would think Chicago was a bad fantasy matchup for defensive backs. But the team actually ranks well inside the Top 10 in points per game allowed to the position.
Malcolm Jenkins, S, New Orleans (at Denver) (1): Jenkins has been a Top 10 defensive back through 11 weeks this season, and the good times should continue Sunday against a Denver team that leads the league in giveaways.
Jabrill Peppers, S, New York Giants (at Cincinnati) (2): Over the past month, only one defensive back has more fantasy points per game than Peppers, who get a Brandon Allen-led Cincinnati team in Week 11 that’s giving up the second-most fantasy points per game to defensive backs in 2020.