In the vast majority of Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues, the season is over. This past weekend marked the final go-round in the weird and wild year that was 2020, and a champion has been crowned.
If you were that champion, congrats. If you were that champion and I participated in that league, scee-roo you too.
Hey. I never pretended to be mature. Or magnanimous.
However, in some IDP leagues, the title game doesn’t occur until Week 17. The WALL IDP-Only Showcase League here at Fantasy Sharks is such a league — Rage Against the Machine will battle either defending champion Shark-Infested Roger Waters or LLabLa for the championship, pending scoring corrections and maybe a tiebreak.
Ugh. Ties are the worst.
The upside to a 17-week season is simple enough — more fantasy goodness. It also sets up well schedule-wise for teams with multiple conferences. The downside is playoff teams who are locked into seeds or non-playoff teams with stars battling minor injuries resting guys and throwing lineups out of whack.
We’re pretty lucky in that regard in 2020. With so much still up for grabs, including two divisions and five of the six Wild Card spots, there’s only one team who would appear an obvious candidate to sit players — Kansas City, who is the No. 1 seed in the AFC no matter what happens in Week 17.
However, there are a few other teams (looking at you, Pittsburgh) who could choose to sit players this week, and some clubs who are out of it may sit injured veterans and/or give youngsters an extended look.
So, with that in mind, here’s an admittedly bare-bones final version of IDP Waiver Wire for the 2020 campaign.
(It’s been a long year, I’m tired, and I’ve written so much since September that my carpal tunnel has carpal tunnel. Don’t judge me.)
Arik Armstead, DE, San Francisco (vs. Seattle): Armstead has picked it up a bit of late — he has 13 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss over the past two weeks. Seattle has also allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to defensive linemen this year in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
Randy Gregory, DE, Dallas (at New York Giants): Gregory isn’t a play for the faint of heart — he is only on the field for about half of the defensive snaps. But the sixth-year veteran is coming off one of the best games of his career and gets a favorable matchup Sunday against the Giants.
Jarran Reed, DT, Seattle (at San Francisco): Reed had himself a day in Week 16, racking up two sacks in a win over the Los Angeles Rams. With the No. 1 seed still in play in the NFC, it should be all hands on deck against San Francisco.
Dawuane Smoot, DE, Jacksonville (at Indianapolis): Smoot was quiet in Week 16, but the fourth-year veteran has four sacks for Jacksonville since Week 12 and draws an Indianapolis team in Week 17 that has backslid a bit in pass protection the past few weeks.
Willie Gay, ILB, Kansas City (vs. Los Angeles Chargers): Gay wasn’t a full-time player last week against Atlanta, but he got a bump in playing time and responded with nine stops and a forced fumble. He’ll likely see the field quite a bit this week even if Kansas City sits many of its starters against the Chargers.
Bryce Hager, ILB, New York Jets (at New England): Hager saw his most extensive playing time of the season last week against Cleveland and responded with a team-high 10 tackles (five solo), a tackle for loss and a pass defensed. New England has surrendered the third-most fantasy points to linebackers through 16 weeks this season.
Cole Holcomb, ILB, Washington (at Philadelphia): Holcomb was on the field for 100 percent of the defensive snaps in Week 16, and responded with a season-high 11 total tackles and a sack. Philadelphia has leaned heavily on the run game with Jalen Hurts at quarterback.
David Long, ILB, Tennessee (at Houston): Long has been quite productive as an every-down player for Tennessee the past two weeks, tallying 21 total stops and chipping in a tackle for loss and pass defensed. Houston leads the AFC in points allowed to linebackers during the fantasy playoffs.
Keion Crossen, CB, Houston (vs. Tennessee): A third-year pro out of West Carolina, Crossen had eight solos and four passes defensed last week against Cincinnati. It’s the second time in three weeks he has had at least eight tackles.
Lonnie Johnson, S, Houston (vs. Tennessee): Johnson has stepped up in place of the injured Justin Reid at safety in Houston, and he has peeled off 20 total tackles over the past two weeks. He also has positional eligibility as a cornerback with most IDP providers.
Tracy Walker, S, Detroit (vs. Minnesota): Walker was back in the lineup as a full-time safety last week, finishing with nine total tackles against Tampa Bay. Minnesota has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to safeties over the last month.
Khari Willis, S, Indianapolis (vs. Jacksonville): At the risk of beating a dead horse, Willis really shouldn’t be available in nearly the number of leagues in which he is. Jacksonville isn’t the best matchup for defensive backs, but Willis has been solid for three weeks running, He’s a go in Week 17.