It seemed like a good idea at the time.
That’s what both the Miami Dolphins and IDP owners are saying four weeks into the 2015 season. After pouring over $100 million into signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the belief was that the Dolphins, with Suh flanked by ends Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake, would field one of the NFL’s most formidable defensive fronts.
Well, a month into the season the Dolphins are 1-3 and dead last in the NFL in both run defense and sacks. Head coach Joe Philbin was fired last Monday. And Suh, Vernon and Wake have 15 tackles and zero sacks—combined—through four games.
Wake, who was drafted as a high-end DL1 in many leagues over the summer has only one assist in a month.
It just goes to show that sometimes the best-laid plans go awry.
But fear not, intrepid IDP owner! For I am once again here to, um, help? Yeah, help. I’m helping, dammit! With another edition of IDP Start/Sit with IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
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).
Week 5 also brings with it the first of the four-team byes. No Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, or New York Jets in Week 5.
In other words, another goose-egg from Wake. But at least this week he has an excuse.
Jurrell Casey – DE, Tennessee Titans (vs. BUF)
Casey had been relatively hot heading into Tennessee’s Week 4 bye, with two three-tackle, one sack efforts in three games. Things set up well for the fifth-year veteran to get back after it when the Titans get back after it Sunday in Nashville against Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills, who have been generous to opposing defensive lineman so far in 2014. Fourth in fantasy points allowed generous.
Michael Johnson – DE, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CIN)
Johnson made an appearance on this list last week despite a slow start to 2015, and Johnson made me look good by notching his first sack of the season and forcing a fumble against the Kansas City Chiefs. If that game was a favorable fantasy matchup this one’s even better. The Seahawks are having all sorts of trouble protecting Russell Wilson, and no team in the NFL has allowed more fantasy points per game to defensive linemen in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
Stephon Tuitt – DE, Pittsburgh Steelers (at SD)
Over the past three weeks, the top-scoring defensive lineman in fantasy football hasn’t been J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. Or Mario Williams of the Bills. No. it’s been Tuitt, who has matched his high tackle output with at least one sack in each of last three games. Fresh off a 10-solo outburst with a sack against the Baltimore Ravens, Tuitt draws a San Diego Chargers squad that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to defensive linemen this year.
Jon Beason – MLB, New York Giants (vs. SF)
With the Giants riding a two-game winning streak, Beason told Paul Schwartz of The New York Post that the G-Men are right where they need to be in the division. “It’s wide open,’’ Beason said. “It’s still too early to say anybody is the favorite, which is a good thing. You start off 0-2, it’s tough to stay in the race, especially when you lose a divisional game.’’ With the veteran back in the starting lineup heading into a favorable Sunday night matchup, where Beason needs to be in Week 5 is starting for IDP owners.
Nigel Bradham – ILB, Buffalo Bills (at TEN)
Batterymate Preston Brown has posted bigger numbers this season, but Bradham had a solid week, notching eight total tackles in a loss to the New York Giants. The Tennessee Titans might not appear at first glance to be an especially favorable IDP matchup for linebackers. However, among AFC teams only the Cleveland Browns have allowed more fantasy points to the position on average in 2015.
Daryl Smith – ILB, Baltimore Ravens (vs. CLE)
Smith was a madman for the Ravens in their overtime win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, rolling up 13 total tackles (10 solos) and a sack. The 33-year-old is a good bet for another nice showing when the Ravens host the team they used to be Sunday. The Browns are a hot mess, but they’re a hot mess allowing the most fantasy points per game in the NFL to linebackers.
Will Allen – SS, Pittsburgh Steelers (at SD)
Granted, no one is going to confuse Allen with the man he replaced any time soon. Allen is a capable veteran player ala Mike Adams of the Indianapolis Colts, but he ain’t no Troy Polamalu. Still, Allen quietly hasn’t been half bad for the Steelers through four games, and this week the Steelers travel west for a favorable fantasy matchup with the San Diego Chargers on Monday night.
David Amerson – CB, Oakland Raiders (vs. DEN)
Amerson told Michael Wagaman of The Associated Press that he’s making the most of his second chance with the Raiders. ‘It’s a fresh start and I’m doing everything in my power to make it work,” Amerson said. ”As long as I’m making 100 percent effort to do everything to the best of my ability. It was meant for me to come here.” From an NFL perspective, Amerson isn’t a great cornerback by any stretch. But he’s a delicious combo of burnable and a good tackler—a tasty double-dip from an IDP perspective.
Brandon Meriweather – SS, New York Giants (vs. SF)
Much like Amerson, Meriweather is experiencing a career revival of sorts in the Big Apple. The 31-year-old credited defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo with that while speaking with Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com. “I love coach,” Meriweather said. “He’s aggressive. He listens to his players. It compares to a couple defenses I’ve been in. Just the right timing and calls always plays into everything.” IDP owners should love a matchup with the turnover machine that is 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.