Well, we’re halfway home. In fact, in many IDP leagues, the regular season is already more than halfway over. Sunday the calendar will turn to November. Before you know it, it will time to make the final push for the fantasy playoffs.
How time flies when you’re having fun.
This, of course, assumes you’re having fun. That your season is going just swimmingly, that as you look over your 5-2 or 6-1 IDP squad your mind is already drifting to how you’ll spend this year’s prize money.
There are also those drowning in losses, however. But whether you’re 0-7 or 7-0 the goal each week remains the same – score as many fantasy points as possible.
And that’s where IDP Studs and Duds comes in.
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 8 also brings with it another four-team bye. The Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins are all on a Halloween siesta.
Jurrell Casey – DE, Tennessee Titans (at HOU)
It’s been a slow season for Casey, likely in part due to Dick LeBeau’s arrival in Nashville, as LeBeau’s 3-4 involves the ends taking on more two-gap responsibilities and rushing the passer less. However, on paper at least this week’s showdown of AFC South dumpster fires looks good, as the Brian Hoyer-led Texans have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to defensive linemen in 2015.
Greg Hardy – DE, Dallas Cowboys (vs. SEA)
OK, so Hardy isn’t a choir boy. In fact, he doesn’t impress as being a very nice person at all. May well be a scumbag. But there’s a reason why Jerry Jones is talking about extending Hardy already. He’s one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers. And Sunday Hardy and Dallas face a Seattle team that’s given up both the most sacks in the NFL and the most fantasy points to defensive linemen in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring this year.
William Hayes – DE, St. Louis Rams (vs. SF)
As Fox Sports reported, Hayes’ play in a win over Cleveland last week drew the praise of head coach Jeff Fisher. He’s playing very consistent (against) the run,” Fisher said. “Good pass-rush. Good pressure collapsing the pocket for us. We got good pressure on (Browns quarterback) Josh (McCown) today. Look for the hot streak to continue in a very favorable Week 8 matchup with the woeful 49ers.
Kwon Alexander – MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at ATL)
Heading into a matchup with a Falcons team that ranks in the top-five in both fantasy points allowed to linebackers and tackle opportunities allowed, Alexander continues to impress according to CBS Sports. “The rookie linebacker has adapted well to the responsibility of manning the Mike position in Lovie Smith’s scheme,” they said, “and was instrumental in helping limit the Redskins to 2.6 yards-per-rush in Week 7.”
Josh Bynes – OLB, Detroit Lions (at KC)
Entering the 2015 season, Bynes was nowhere near the IDP radar. Now, thanks to DeAndre Levy’s season-ending injury and Stephen Tulloch’s balky knee, Bynes is now the only every-down linebacker for the Lions. That should mean plenty of chances for fantasy production Sunday in London against a Kansas City Chiefs team surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to linebackers.
Kevin Minter – ILB, Arizona Cardinals (at CLE)
Leading up to a matchup with the Cleveland Browns (fantasy’s most LB-friendly team so far this season), Minter told Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports that it feels good to be fully healthy this year. “A lot of it is just me shedding blocks,” Minter said. “You don’t realize how hard it is to do if you had just one pec. Being out of the harness, it’s night and day.” As matchup plays go, you could do a lot worse.
Mark Barron – SS, St. Louis Rams (vs. SF)
At first glance, the 49ers ranking of 22nd in fantasy points per game allowed to defensive backs might not appear to be the best matchup for Barron. Of course, Barron isn’t actually playing strong safety. He’s playing weak-side linebacker – including in subpackages. That’s right – a three-down linebacker who is DB-eligible with most fantasy providers. That’s a loophole you can drive a bus through.
Eric Berry – SS, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DET)
Coming off his first interception since beating cancer and heading into a great matchup across the pond, Berry has become an inspiration for his teammates according to Pro Football Talk. “For all the things he’s been through, for him to get that interception, everybody was smiling from ear to ear,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said, via the Kansas City Star. “He’s a player who exemplifies courage and discipline.”
Will Hill – SS, Baltimore Ravens (vs. SD)
To say that things haven’t gone as planned for the 2015 Ravens is an understatement of mythical proportions. Six losses – none by more than eight points. However, for Hill’s fantasy owners at least the nightmare should take Week 8 off. Through seven weeks this season, no team in the National Football League has given up more fantasy points to defensive backs than the Chargers.