After three weeks of the NFL season, what we fear would happen at some point in 2020 finally did.
As Kevin Patra reported for NFL.com, after multiple players and team personnel for the Tennessee Titans tested positive for COVID-19, Sunday’s game between the Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed until later in the season—likely in Week 7.
The postponement creates additional headaches for IDP managers who already had plenty—because this season is already at something of a crossroads.
If you’ve read any of my work over the years here at Fantasy Sharks, you know that I’m a proponent of patience. Three games into a season is far too early to be freaking out that New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan doesn’t have a sack. However, the fact that Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Cory Littleton hasn’t tallied more than six tackles in a game this season is genuine cause for concern.
It’s a tightrope act—balancing not overreacting to a small sample size with taking what knowledge we can from said small sample size.
So, with my high-wire shoes on and a depleted player pool to work with, it’s time for another week of IDP Studs and Duds 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).
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
Josh Allen – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN) (1)
The Jaguars have been surprisingly good against the run in 2020, but the team has struggled rushing the passer—just three sacks in three games. One of those three sacks was Allen’s first last week against the Miami Dolphins, and he told Demetrius Harvey of Big Cat Country that he’s confident the Jags can turn their pass rush woes around.
“We all have to take that pride in just getting to the quarterback more, especially I do, so I’ve just been grinding as much as I can today and I’ve been thinking about all the missed rushes that I could’ve had,” said Allen. “[I have to] just learn from that and just move forward, just think about this week and plays I can make this week for my team.”
If ever there was a week for Allen and the Jaguars to get things going, it’s Sunday against the Bengals. Through three games Cincinnati leads the league in fantasy points allowed to defensive linemen, and the Bengals have given up a league-leading 14 sacks so far this year.
WEEK 4 IDP STUDS
Mario Addison – DE, Buffalo Bills (at LVR) (3)
Addison has had success rushing the passer over the first three games of the season, logging two sacks over his first three games of the season. Sack No. 3 is a real possibility Sunday against a Raiders offensive line that has struggled a bit.
Kerry Hyder – DE, San Francisco 49ers (vs. PHI) (2)
Hyder’s been solid for the Niners this season, notching 14 total tackles and two sacks in three games. Sunday the veteran end gets an Eagles team that has given up 11 sacks over the first three games of this season.
Yannick Ngakoue – DE, Minnesota Vikings (at HOU) (24)
There are certain constants in the NFL—and one of them is that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson gets sacked a lot. Quite a lot. He’s been taken down 13 times in three games this year.
Demario Davis – OLB, New Orleans Saints (at DET) (2)
Davis is a low-end fantasy LB1 so far this season, and that should continue at Ford Field Sunday against a Lions team allowing the second-most fantasy points to linebackers in 2020.
B.J. Goodson – ILB, Cleveland Browns (at DAL) (12)
Goodson’s put up top 20 numbers to date this season. The Cowboys are both a favorable IDP matchup and allowing the second-most tackle opportunities in the league this season. That’s a nice combination.
Patrick Queen – ILB, Baltimore Ravens (at WAS) (3)
Queen’s production has been up and down this season, but Week 4 sets up well for an “up” week. So far this year, only two teams are giving up more fantasy points to linebackers than Washington.
Johnathan Abram – S, Las Vegas Raiders (vs. BUF) (1)
Abram looks like the player the Raiders thought they were getting when they used an early pick on him in 2019. Now Abram gets a Bills team that’s throwing the rock all over the place to date this season.
Jeremy Chinn – S, Carolina Panthers (vs. ARZ) (3)
Chinn is seeing more snaps this season at weak side linebacker than at safety so far this season. Either way, he’s been cleaning up on the stat sheet ahead of this week’s home date with the Arizona Cardinals.
Julian Love – S, New York Giants (at LAR) (2)
Love is actually playing more cornerback than safety at present with the Giants. But where he’s at doesn’t matter as much as who he’s playing –the Rams lead the NFC in fantasy points given up to defensive backs I 2020.