Just one month into the season, many Individual Defensive Player (IDP) teams are already in desperation mode.
It’s not a fun feeling. To have drafted what you thought was a team that could compete for a playoff spot, only to see everything go sideways. Some players (like Atlanta Falcons Keanu Neal) got hurt. Others (like Kansas City defensive end Frank Clark) haven’t come close to living up to their average draft position. And here we are — at 0-4 or 1-3 and sitting on the edge of a cliff.
Suffer any more setbacks, and it’s over the edge you go.
However, all is not lost. It’s possible to right the ship after a slow start and make the postseason. I have personally won the championship in an IDP League after starting the season 1-5.
That I’m 0-4 in that same league right now is both depressing and irrelevant.
Hope may not be lost, but any margin for error just about is. There can’t be any more mistakes. No more big scorers can be left languishing on the bench. It’s only the first week in October, but every lineup decision is already critical.
Luckily, you have an ace up your sleeve. A secret weapon of sorts. The latest edition of IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
Each week during the 2019 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 2019 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Sam Hubbard, DE, Cincinnati (vs. Arizona) (8)
There haven’t been many bright spots for 0-4 Cincinnati this season, but the play of Hubbard has been one. The second-year pro told Michael LaPlaca of the team’s website that he entered the 2019 season prepared to take on a much larger role defensively.
“I really spent a lot of the offseason getting ready to hopefully earn a starting job and grow in a bigger role with the defense,” Hubbard said. “Obviously we didn’t have the record we wanted, but I knew the next year I was going to take on a bigger role. I was planning to be prepared for that physically and mentally.”
Hubbard’s held up his end of the deal and then some, piling up 27 tackles and two sacks and leading all defensive linemen in fantasy points in some scoring systems. The good times should keep rolling for him at least Sunday against Arizona — no team in the NFL has allowed more sacks over the season’s first month Arizona.
WEEK 5 IDP STUDS
Jurrell Casey, DE, Tennessee (vs. Buffalo) (5): Casey’s long been a matchup-dependent fantasy option. This week he gets a good one when Tennessee hosts Buffalo — especially if Matt Barkley winds up starting at quarterback.
Jerry Hughes, DE, Buffalo (at Tennessee) (1): Hughes has been cold of late, but Week 5 sets up well for a warm front. No team in the league has been kinder to defensive linemen in 2019 through four games than Tennessee.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Pittsburgh (vs. Baltimore) (6): Tuitt was just about the only Pittsburgh pass-rusher who didn’t get home last week against Cincinnati. He’ll get back on track this week against Lamar Jackson and rival Baltimore.
Thomas Davis, OLB, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Denver) (3): Davis has cooled off a bit of late, but the old warhorse should heat back up Sunday at home against a Denver team surrendering the third-most fantasy points to linebackers.
Shaq Thompson, ILB, Carolina (vs. Jacksonville) (2): Thompson has actually outscored Luke Kuechly so far this season. That may not hold, but both Carolina linebackers are great Week 5 bets in a highly favorable IDP matchup.
Quincy Williams, OLB, Jacksonville (at Carolina) (1): I said before the season that Williams will out-point Myles Jack in 2019. I stand by that statement a month into the season, and I expect him to have a good game Sunday against Carolina.
Devin McCourty, S, New England (at Washington) (1): McCourty’s another matchup-dependent IDP who gets a great draw in Week 5 — Washington leads the NFL in fantasy points allowed to defensive backs and is a hot mess offensively right now.
Montae Nicholson, S, Washington (vs. New England) (2): Nicholson has been surprisingly productive in 2019 playing opposite Landon Collins. There’s no reason to think that won’t continue at home this week against New England.
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Tennessee (vs. Buffalo) (4): Buffalo is a better-than-expected IDP matchup for defensive backs so far this year. Of Tennesse’s two safeties, my money in Week 5 is on Vaccaro helping out in run support close to the line of scrimmage.