Now things are getting interesting.
It’s Week 11 of the of the 2017 fantasy football season. In most IDP leagues, just three weeks remain in the regular season. If your team is 5-5 or 4-6, the next loss could be the one that ends any hope of a playoff trip.
This is when You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean one half step too late or too early, you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast, and you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in ever break of the game. Every minute, every second.
Inspiring, huh? I totally made that up myself.
OK, so maybe not.
You don’t need me to tell you that every lineup decision this week is more important than ever. Ii doesn’t matter if you’re angling for a first-round bye, clinging to a playoff spot or just trying to play spoiler, this week is for keeps.
But enough with the poorly executed pep talk – let’s get down to business.
Each week during the 2017 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).
One more bye week to go. Four teams are off in Week 11. The Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets Jets, and San Francisco 49ers. Demario Davis and Luke Kuechly are on the shelf same as Lee.
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2017 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Blake Martinez – ILB, Green Bay Packers (vs. BAL) (2)
Martinez is having a breakout season in 2017, and he admitted to Mike Spofford of the team’s website that he’s a much better player relative to his rookie season. “My rookie year I overthought a lot of things,” Martinez said. “I was just like OK, I have this check, this offense out there, make sure this guy is doing the right thing – I overcomplicated things. This year I’m more focused on the study aspects during the week, and once I get into the game, it’s just go and play.”
Martinez has been rock-solid for both fantasy owners and the Packers this season, ranking sixth in total tackles (76) and 11th among linebackers in fantasy points. The former Stanford standout had a down Week 10 (two total tackles), but a Baltimore bounce-back is brewing against a Ravens team that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to linebackers in 2017.
WEEK 11 IDP STUDS
Carlos Dunlap – DE, Denver Broncos (at DEN) (2)
After piling up 21.5 sacks over the past two seasons for the Bengals, Dunlap’s having a slow year – the eighth-year veteran has only two sacks in nine games in 2017. But a third sack this week is a real possibility. The Broncos have allowed 28 sacks this season and the second-most fantasy points to defensive linemen.
Bennie Logan – DT, Kansas City Chiefs (at NYG) (5)
Logan hasn’t exactly lit up the stat sheet this season – he’s 13th in fantasy points among defensive tackles in 2017. However, this lines up as a good week for the 315-pound beefeater – the Giants have been making a habit of making opposing defensive linemen look like world-beaters this year.
Alex Okafor – DE, New Orleans Saints (vs. WAS) (3)
Cameron Jordan has gotten all the run this year, but Okafor’s been quietly solid this season, amassing 37 total tackles and 4.5 sacks so far this season. That solidity (it’s a word) should continue Sunday against a Washington squad surrendering the most fantasy points per game to d-linemen in the NFC.
Anthony Hitchens – OLB, Dallas Cowboys (vs. PHI) (3)
Per Pro Football Talk, Hitchens said he’s ready to try to fill Sean Lee’s shoes in a favorable IDP matchup. I’m going to be the guy making the calls if [Lee’s] not,” Hitchens said. “I just try my best to imitate him and get everyone lined up. At the end of the day, if he’s out, I’ve got to step up and play the Sean Lee role.”
Myles Jack – OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CLE) (1)
Jack told WJKT-TV that the Jaguars won’t be taking the winless Browns lightly. “We can’t take them lightly because of what their record is,” Jack said. “They’re still NFL players who are getting paid. For me, I’m taking this week as seriously as possible. I’m treating this like we’re playing in the Super Bowl.”
Denzel Perryman – ILB, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. BUF) (5)
Perryman didn’t play the most snaps of any Chargers linebacker last week (that was Jatavis “The Forgotten Man” Brown, believe it or not), but he was easily the most productive of the bunch. That bodes well heading into a top-five IDP matchup with the Bills this weekend.
Adrian Amos – S, Chicago Bears (vs. DET) (6)
Since taking over the starting job at strong safety Amos has developed into a must-start – he’s a top-10 defensive back over the last month. That production should continue Sunday in very favorable fantasy matchup at home against the Lions.
A.J. Bouye – CB, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CLE) (1)
Bouye was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 10 after his big overtime interception against the Chargers. There’s a good chance he gets another one this week – the Browns lead the NFL in that regard by a country mile.
T.J. McDonald – S, Miami Dolphins (vs. TBB) (4)
After leading the Dolphins with nine tackles in Week 10, McDonald told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that it felt good to be back on the field. “I feed off of the energy of the guys, but when we had a good series and were able to get off the field I could feel the energy from us and felt the juices flowing and I felt good,” he said.