The dark days have arrived.
As Individual Defensive Player (IDP) owners far and wide get ready to start the playoff push, Week 8 presents the biggest challenge of the year. Several prominent individual defensive players were felled by injuries last week. Throw in six teams on a bye, and the pool of available talent this week is more like a puddle.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I enter this week attempting to shake off my worst week recommendations-wise so far this year. Granted, it wasn’t all bad, but between a snap count for Miami defensive end
and an injury for Indianapolis cornerback Greg Toler, there was more than a little egg on my face in Week 7.
That’s OK. I like eggs, and I have soap, so after cleaning myself off it’s back into the fray for another edition 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).
Finally, the bye weeks are here with a bang, with San Diego, Houston, Chicago, Baltimore, Tennessee and Indianapolis all taking Week 8 off. Get players from those teams out of your lineup.
Chris Clemons, DE, Seattle (vs. St. Louis):
Clemons has gotten right back into the swing of things after missing the early part of the season while recovering from an ACL tear suffered in last year’s playoffs. Clemons has racked up at least half a sack in four straight games, and that streak should keep going this week in a top-five IDP matchup with St. Louis.
Cameron Jordan, DE, New Orleans (vs. Buffalo):
Jordan has excelled in his first season as a 3-4 defensive end, logging five sacks in six games. The third-year pro should keep that momentum rolling this week against the Bills, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing defensive linemen this year.
Rob Ninkovich, DE, New England (vs. Miami):
Ninkovich tallied eight sacks last year, but has managed only one to this point in 2013. If ever there was a matchup for the 29-year-old to break out of his funk, it’s Sunday against tackle Jonathan “turnstile” Martin and the Miami Dolphins. Martin has allowed six sacks in 2013, second-most in the NFL.
David Harris, ILB, New York Jets (at Cincinnati):
The seventh-year veteran has been a solid IDP contributor of late, with double-digit tackles in two of his last three starts. There’s a better than average chance that this week will make three out of four, as the Cincinnati Bengals have been very generous to opposing linebackers so far this season.
Dont’a Hightower, OLB, New England (vs. Miami):
out for the season, Hightower has moved into the role of defensive signal caller and is an every down linebacker for the Patriots. That new role produced a solid statistical outing from the second-year pro last week, and it should again in a top-10 IDP matchup with the Dolphins.
Lawrence Timmons, ILB, Pittsburgh (at Oakland):
Last week’s 17-tackle outburst was tempered by news that the seventh-year veteran broke his left hand in the win over Baltimore. However, Timmons has already been fitted with a cast and will play through the injury, beginning this week against an Oakland team that has been the second-best fantasy matchup for linebackers this year in
Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring
Dawan Landry, SS, New York Jets (at Cincinnati):
Landry faceplanted last week, picking up only two total tackles in a favorable matchup with New England. With the bye week crunch, some IDP owners may want to consider giving the 30-year-old one more chance this week, since Cincinnati has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to defensive backs in 2013.
Jamarca Sanford, SS, Minnesota (vs. Green Bay):
Sanford has flown under the radar in many IDP leagues, but there are a few reasons to like his IDP prospects this week. Sanford has tallied at least seven solos in all four of his starts this year, the toe injury suffered by Harrison Smith should mean more tackle opportunities, and this week’s opponent (Green Bay) has been a top-10 fantasy matchup for defensive backs this year.
Earl Wolff, SS, Philadelphia (vs. New York Giants):
With Patrick Chung on the shelf with a nagging shoulder injury, Wolff is on the prowl for the foreseeable future in the Eagles’ secondary. That’s a very good thing in Week 8, when the Eagles host a New York Giants squad allowing the most fantasy points per game to defensive backs in 2013.