It seems like only yesterday that the 2013 season was just getting started. No one had tasted sweet victory or endured the frustration of defeat, yet. It was a clean slate, one in which I had yet to botch a single IDP recommendation (such as including Carolina linebacker
on the “Duds” list last week).
Yeah, about that. You see, what I had meant to say was …
Hey, I get some right too. Really.
Besides, I was just getting that out of my system. With the fantasy football playoffs just around the corner, there’s no room for error. For many IDP owners, it’s already “win or go home” time.
With that in mind (no pressure), it’s time for another week of “IDP Studs and Duds.”
Every week during the 2013 season, I’ll point out some individual defensive players who could be set to exceed expectations this week (studs) and some that for whatever reason are riskier plays than usual (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).
Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago (at St. Louis):
Forgive me for doing this, but Peppers’ 11-tackle, two-sack outburst last week against Baltimore was his second solid game in three weeks. Throw in a top-five fantasy matchup with St. Louis, and there’s some real upside here with Peppers for fantasy owners brave enough to start him.
Ahtyba Rubin, DE, Cleveland (vs. Pittsburgh):
As is often the case with 3-4 defensive ends, Rubin has made a much bigger dent on the playing field than in the box score this season. However, the table is set for a nice IDP outing this week against the Steelers, who have been very friendly to opposing defensive linemen in 2013.
Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami (vs. Carolina):
Vernon had one of his best games of 2013 last week against San Diego, notching six total tackles and a sack. There’s a good shot at two strong weeks in a row from Vernon, given that the Panthers have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to defensive linemen this season.
Bruce Carter, OLB, Dallas (at New York Giants):
There’s some question what the Cowboys plan to do with
on the shelf, but whether it’s Carter or
at middle linebacker during Lee’s absence, Carter should be locked into a three-down role, at least in the short-term. Get while the getting’s good.
DeMario Davis, ILB, New York Jets (at Baltimore):
Davis hasn’t put up the numbers we’d hoped as a full-time starter this year, but the second-year pro is a good bet for a second straight week of double-digit stops against a Ravens team allowing the most fantasy points to linebackers this year.
London Fletcher, ILB, Washington (vs. San Francisco):
The 2013 season hasn’t been kind to Fletcher, who is on pace to post his lowest tackle total of this century. The 38-year-old may be showing his age, but this week’s favorable matchup with San Francisco sets up well for a trip down memory lane game.
Mark Barron, SS, Tampa Bay (at Detroit):
Barron is a talented young player, but the second-year pro has become rather matchup-dependent from an IDP perspective. That bodes well this week against Detroit, who have given up the fifth-most fantasy points per game to defensive backs this year.
Barry Church, SS, Dallas (at New York Giants):
Church has been one of this year’s most pleasant IDP surprises in the secondary, and the good times should keep right on rolling this week against a turnover-prone Giants offense giving up the most fantasy points to defensive backs in 2013.
Jonathan Cyprien, SS, Jacksonville (at Houston):
Cyprien hasn’t quite been the IDP force as a rookie that we’d hoped, but there should be plenty of in-the-box opportunities this week against Houston, which ranks sixth in tackle opportunities allowed and third in fantasy points allowed to defensive backs.