This is it.
For many IDP owners, months of draft preparation and research and 12 weeks of pouring over stats and making lineup decisions has all boiled down to this. One week.
Win, and the season continues. It’s on to the postseason.
Lose, and it’s all over but the crying, the season is finished. Everything you’ve done all this time has been for nothing.
Cheery thought, ain’t it?
What you need as you prepare for this all-important matchup is some inspiration. Something to get the blood pumping. Something that will fire you up.
It’s MONTAGE TIME, people!!!
OK, that really wasn’t helpful at all. Not even a little bit.
What would be, on the other hand, is some accurate calls in this week’s edition of IDP Studs and Duds — knowing which players will lead you to victory and which will doom you to defeat.
At least we get all 32 NFL teams this week — the full complement of players from which to make those crucial lineup choices.
The key now is making the right ones.
Each week during the 2018 season, I’ll point out some Individual Defensive Players (IDP) 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).
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2018 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Jurrell Casey, DE, Tennessee (vs. New York Jets) (4)
ESPN’s Matt Bowen believes that Casey is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in football.
“He’s a star. He gives you interior disruption consistently,” Bowen said. “Casey is super strong with his hands, so when he is engaged with a blocker, it leads to his ability to create disruption inside. He is nasty on contact. His effort level stands out. He pursues to the football. The top defensive linemen get extra production because they run to the ball. He has the size, athleticism, he’s physical, a great technician, and gives maximum effort. You can win with that every Sunday.”
Last week, Casey kicked off an outstanding string of late-season matchups with five tackles and a sack against Houston. That string keeps rolling right along this week against a Jets team that has allowed 26 sacks and the fourth-most fantasy points to defensive linemen this season. Casey’s going to be a difference maker in the IDP playoffs this season — just you watch.
WEEK 13 IDP STUDS
Akiem Hicks, DE, Chicago (at New York Giants) (3)
Like Casey, Hicks and Chicago s have a solid run of plus pass-rushing matchups down the stretch. That includes Sunday’s trip to New York to face the Giants, who have allowed 38 sacks in 11 games this season — tied for the most in the NFC.
Chris Jones, DE, Kansas City (at Oakland) (1)
Jones might just be the best 3-4 end in the NFL most casual fans (and many IDP owners) have never heard of. His career season should continue this week against an Oakland team that has plummeted off a cliff in terms of pass protection.
Leonard Williams, DE, New York Jets (at TEN) (2)
To say that Williams has been a disappointment this season is an understatement — he has just three sacks on the season and hasn’t logged one since Week 5. However, if you need a spot-starter up front, the former sixth overall pick at least has a favorable matchup.
Thomas Davis, OLB, Carolina (at Tampa Bay) (2)
Davis didn’t have the stat line I hoped he would last week against Seattle, logging four solos, three assists and a pass defensed. However, the veteran linebacker was on the field for 100 percent of Carolina’s snaps and gets another plus matchup in Week 13.
Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Miami (vs. Buffalo) (1)
Neither McMillan or fellow Buckeye Jerome Baker play every down — or even 75 percent of Miami’s snaps both weeks. But against a Buffalo team that has given up buckets of fantasy points to linebackers all season long, McMillan could serve as a decent fill-in if you need a LB3.
Anthony Walker, ILB, Indianapolis (at Jacksonville) (3)
If I have to tell you to start Darius Leonard against Jacksonville this week, then you’re beyond my meager powers to help you. But Walker could be in for a big game himself — even without Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville is going to try to pound its way to a win.
Devin McCourty, S, New England (vs. MIN) (4)
McCourty’s long been a player whose IDP value depended more on situation and matchup than talent. Given that he’s going to be asked to help bracket Minnesota’s wideouts on Sunday, this one sets up well for the veteran center fielder.
Adrian Phillips, S, Los Angeles Chargers (at Pittsburgh) (2)
Phiilips only plays about 70-75 percent of Los Angeles’ defensive snaps, which adds a measure of risk to starting the fourth-year veteran this week. But the matchup’s good, and the Chargers may spend more time in subpackages against Pittsburgh’s high-octane offense.
Eric Reid, S, Carolina (at Tampa Bay) (1)
Reid’s been a great example of why waiting at defensive back is such a good idea — he started the season without a team and has been an IDP DB1 since finding one. The good times aren’t about to stop in the best fantasy matchup for defensive backs this year.