It’s the end of the line. As folks gather under trees all across the land to open Christmas presents, a lucky and fortunate few will gather at their laptops to set lineups for fantasy championship week. Two teams will enter the weekend. One will leave it as champion. And that means it’s time for one last edition of IDP Studs and Duds before the calendar flips to 2016.
Each week during the 2015 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).
(Fantasy points allowed to the position in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring in 2015 listed in parentheses.
LOCK OF THE WEEK
Thomas Davis – OLB, Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL) (2): After 11 seasons and three ACL tears, Davis was finally named to his first career Pro Bowl last week. His reaction, per what head coach Ron Rivera told Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer, “Man you could hear it in his voice,” Rivera said. “He was just thrilled to death. It was exciting.” What’s exciting to IDP owners is this week’s highly favorable matchup in Atlanta.
Calais Campbell – DE, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB) (6): Campbell goose-egged in a favorable matchup a week ago, but the veteran isn’t likely to do that two weeks in a row. At least I hope not. Don’t think so. Confident, huh?
Jurrell Casey – DE, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU) (3): With 13 tackles and two sacks over the past three games, Casey’s been hot of late. Look for that to continue in a plus Week 16 matchup with the Texans.
Demarcus Lawrence – DE, Dallas Cowboys (at BUF) (5): With 19 tackles 4 sacks and a forced fumble over that span, Lawrence is the top-scoring defensive lineman in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring over the past three weeks.
Preston Brown – ILB, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL) (5): Brown’s 11 total tackles a week ago bumped the second-year pro over 100 on the season, and the Cowboys have been kind to linebackers in 2015.
Vontaze Burfict – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (at DEN) (3): With a ton on the line Monday night in the Mile High City, Burfict is getting healthy at the perfect time for both his NFL squad and his IDP owners.
Nathan Stupar – MLB, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR): Stupar played fairly well in relief of an injured Paul Worrilow last week, making him an interesting spot-start candidate for IDP owners banged up at the position in Championship Week.
Will Allen – SS, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL) (1): The Pittsburgh Steelers are surging. The Baltimore Ravens are steaming. And they have allowed the most fantasy points per game to defensive backs this season.
Reggie Nelson – FS, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. DEN) (5): Nelson’s eight interceptions lead the NFL (in a contract year, no less), and this week Nelson and the Bengals draw a top-five IDP matchup in the backsliding Broncos.
Jaquiski Tartt – SS, San Francisco 49ers (at DET) (2): The rookie’s play has been a rare bright spot for the 49ers in 2015, and the Lions have given out fantasy points like candy canes to defensive backs this year.