In the majority of IDP leagues, we’ve reached the end of the road. The final showdown. The last hurrah of 2018.
It’s championship week.
Only teams are still playing for something that doesn’t involve the word “consolation.” At the end of this week, one team will stand above all others in their league as champion. Trophies will be awarded. Prize money will be distributed. There will be fantasy glory and smack talk and all the things that make life worth living.
There may even be dancing.
That never gets old … or good.
In this one-week, winner-takes-all scenario, there are those who believe fervently that matchups reign supreme. There are those who are equally dedicated to the notion that you “always start your studs,” that you dance with the individual defensive players (IDPs) who got you this far.
Both are correct — to an extent.
Do your research. Collect the opinions and judgments from a number of pundits — guys and gals you trust have done the legwork and crunched the numbers. And then make the call you think gives your team the best chance to win.
Whether it’s the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, the emotions that come with the culmination of this week’s action in your league will be yours to bear.
And regardless of what happens, don’t let it spoil the week that comes after. Spend time with the people you love. Have a few laughs. And a have a joyous and safe holiday season.
Here we go, with the jolly-est edition of IDP “Studs and Duds” ever!
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 Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Danny Trevathan, ILB, Chicago (at San Francisco) (4)
As JJ Stankevitz reported for NBC Sports Chicago, Trevathan gave Chicago a pep talk before its division-clinching win over Green Bay last week.
“It was just me feeling like this is our opportunity to showcase we’re for real on this defense,” Trevathan said. “We can put away games. And I wanted them to know that this is a statement game. This could be legendary, man. Let’s keep writing our story. We’re writing a story right now that’s not done yet, and let’s never let it be done until we feel like it’s done.”
For most of this season, Trevathan has taken a back seat to rookie Roquan Smith, and the veteran’s been quiet each of the past two weeks. However, there’s a good chance Trevathan will get the eight stops Sunday he needs to top 100 for the season Sunday against a San Francisco team that ranks fourth in fantasy points given up to linebackers this season.
WEEK 16 IDP STUDS
Michael Bennett, DE, Philadelphia (vs. Houston) (2): Cast off the shackles of Bennett’s Week 15 goose-egg and live in the now. Houston has consistently ranked toward the top of the league in sacks allowed and fantasy points given up to defensive linemen this year.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Tampa Bay (at Dallas) (3): This is not the Dallas offensive line of years past. As a matter of fact, no team in the NFC has allowed more sacks than the 51 that Dallas has allowed in 2018.
Jabaal Sheard, DE, Indianapolis (vs. New York Giants) (6): The Giants have gotten a bit better over the second half of the 2018 season, but they’re still not good. That’s especially true for an offensive line that has surrendered 46 sacks — tied for second-most in the NFC.
Kiko Alonso, OLB, Miami (vs. Jacksonville) (2): I’ve been asked a few times on social media this week whether Alonso’s recent slump is cause for concern in championship week. I expect him to answer that for me in a great matchup Sunday.
Anthony Hitchens, ILB, Kansas City (at Seattle) (3): It’s hard not to love a matchup with run-heavy Seattle for Hitchens. The only worry here is that the Seattle stat crew turns 12 tackles into five solo-seven assisted or four solo-eight assisted line. But you have to roll those dice.
Kyle Van Noy, ILB, New England (vs. Buffalo): Van Noy’s been known to occasionally go off when the matchup’s right. Playing a Buffalo team that leads the NFL in fantasy points allowed to linebackers is as right as matchups get.
Vonn Bell, S, New Orleans (vs. Pittsburgh) (1): Bell played all but three snaps last week against Carolina. If he sees a similar snap count against Pittsburgh he’s going to out-point Marcus Williams by a sizable margin.
Jeff Heath, S, Dallas (vs. Tampa Bay) (2): Heath’s not an elite talent by any stretch, but he has a history of occasionally coming up big in favorable matchups. This week’s tilt with pass-happy Tampa Bay certainly qualifies.
Adrian Phillips, S, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Baltimore) (15): Baltimore is just a middling matchup for defensive backs, but Phillips isn’t really playing safety. Last week against Kansas City, he was a three-down linebacker.