It’s that time of year in Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues. Just over three months ago, the 2013 season began, with hopes of a playoff run and a league championship dancing through the heads of every owner in every league.
That’s done now. If you’re still playing meaningful games at this point, either your league’s playoffs have begun or this week is a one-week playoff all its own, with a postseason spot on the line.
That leaves precious little margin for error this week, but no pressure.
So, as we continue the push towards bringing home your IDP league’s title (and hopefully making a few bucks in the process), it’s time for another edition of “IDP Studs and Duds” here at Fantasy Sharks.
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 absolutely be glued to your bench (just that the odds of a letdown week are greater than usual).
Now let’s win some playoff games!
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Tampa Bay (vs. Buffalo):
Clayborn’s tackle numbers have been solid in 2013, but with only four sacks this year the 25-year-old ranks outside the top-25 at his position in
Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring
. This is a good week for Clayborn to notch his fifth, as no team in the NFL has allowed more fantasy points to defensive linemen this year than the Buffalo Bills.
LaMarr Houston, DE, Oakland (at New York Jets):
Houston is enjoying a solid fourth NFL season, with his 50 tackles and five sacks ranking him well inside DL2 territory. There’s no reason to think that won’t continue this week against the floundering New York Jets, who are giving up the third-most fantasy points to defensive linemen in 2013.
Chris Long, DE, St. Louis (at Arizona):
has enjoyed a breakout 2013, but
has been relatively quiet this year. With that said, Long has a decent shot at logging his first sack since Week 10 against an Arizona Cardinals team allowing the second-most fantasy points to the position this season.
Jon Beason, MLB, New York Giants (at San Diego):
Beason went bonkers in last week’s win over Washington, racking up 17 total tackles (including 13 solos). Heading into a top-5 matchup with the San Diego Chargers, the odds of a second straight big fantasy day in Week 14 are pretty good.
Audie Cole, MLB, Minnesota (at Baltimore):
Cole played well in two relief starts for
at middle linebacker, so well in fact that the Vikings have kicked Henderson outside. Cole will also make the defensive playcalls, which means an every-down role this week against the Ravens, who have given up the most fantasy points to linebackers in 2013.
Daryl Smith, ILB, Baltimore (vs. Minnesota):
The acquisition of Smith in the offseason has been a godsend for the Ravens, but the 31-year-old hasn’t topped five solos in a game since Week 9. The stage is set for that dry spell to end this week against the Vikings, who have been kind to opposing linebackers this season.
Nate Allen, FS, Philadelphia (vs. Detroit):
Much like the Eagles defense, Allen has been all over the place this year, lights out one week and then invisible the next. However, Allen posted eight tackles and an interception in last week’s win over Arizona, and this week’s matchup with the Lions is a favorable one.
Antoine Bethea, FS, Indianapolis (at Cincinnati):
It’s been Bethea, and not LaRon Landry, who has emerged as the preferable IDP option at the back end of the Indianapolis defense in 2013. That portends big things this week in a top-5 matchup for defensive backs in Cincinnati.
Jason McCourty, CB, Tennessee (at Denver):
By any real measurement, McCourty has been a massive disappointment this year, with his numbers way down across the board. If there was ever a week for McCourty to have a big game in 2013, it’s this week against the Denver Broncos and their stable of wide receivers.