Fantasy football’s second season is here—well, in most leagues, anyway.
With Week 14 underway, so is the fantasy football postseason. For the fortunate few who have advanced to the playoffs, this has been a season unlike any other. A typical fantasy campaign has no shortage of adversity, whether it’s caused by injuries or underperforming players. But of course, the 2020 season has been anything but typical, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc all across the NFL.
Now, the stakes are that much higher. Every week is a season unto itself—a step toward making Momma proud and bringing home a fantasy championship.
Of course, at this point in the season while each win takes you one step closer to fantasy glory, a loss ends the season altogether. Every lineup choice can be the difference between victory and defeat—between playing on and the beginning of a long, dark winter.
Welcome to the playoff pressure cooker.
With every decision (and every fantasy point) carrying so much weight, IDP managers can drive themselves batty trying to set lineups.
Well, IDP Studs and duds is here to keep you out of a straitjacket.
Each week during the 2020 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). I also tend to avoid obvious start recommendations—I would hope you don’t need me to tell you that Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White should be in lineups Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2020 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Trey Hendrickson – DE, New Orleans Saints (at PHI) (1)
Hendrickson has been one of the bigger surprises among edge-rushers this season, coming from nowhere to post the second-most sacks in the NFL through 13 weeks. However, as Amie Just wrote for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the fourth-year pro isn’t taking one bit of his remarkable ascension for granted.
“You either get better or you get worse. That’s the truth. That’s why I don’t take any of this for granted,” Hendrickson said. “One of the things they tell you in the NFL is it’s not for long. So, that’s a choice you have to make as a man. You either make the most of every situation or you go along for the ride. Personally, I choose to make the most of every situation.”
Hendrickson hasn’t been much of a tackle producer—just 21 in 12 games. But thanks to his 10.5 sacks, Hendrickson ranks inside the top-15 in fantasy points among defensive linemen for the season. With a matchup on Sunday against a Philadelphia Eagles team that has allowed a staggering 53 sacks this year, it wouldn’t be any real shock if Hendrickson exits Week 14 leading the NFL.
WEEK 14 IDP STUDS
Sam Hubbard – DE, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. DAL) (2): Hubbard hasn’t notched a sack since all the way back in Week 3. But his tackle numbers have been ridiculous for a defensive lineman—21 total over the past three games.
Aldon Smith – DE, Dallas Cowboys (at CIN) (4): Smith goose-egged last week and hasn’t logged a sack since Week 9. But both he and batterymate Demarcus Lawrence are plus matchup plays against a Bengals team that has allowed the most sacks in the AFC.
Quinnen Williams – DE, New York Jets (at LVR) (6): Williams has been on quite the rip of late—14 total tackles and three sacks over the last three games. A favorable matchup with the Raiders should help keep that hot streak going in Week 14.
Rashaan Evans – ILB, Tennessee Titans (at JAX) (3): Evans has been playing the most snaps of any Titans linebacker since Jayon Brown was lost for the season. That should mean good things in a top-five IDP matchup for linebackers with the Jaguars.
Alex Singleton – OLB, Alex Singleton (vs. NOS) (2): Singleton has been a top-10 fantasy linebacker since entering the starting lineup, and that should continue against a Saints team leaning heavily on the run since Taysom Hill took over at quarterback.
Fred Warner – ILB, San Francisco 49ers (vs. WAS) (1): Warner’s statistical production has tailed off of late, but Week 14 brings an excellent rebound opportunity against a Washington team leading the league in fantasy points given up to linebackers.
Juston Burris – S, Carolina Panthers (vs. DEN) (1): It goes without saying that Jeremy Chinn is a go in the best fantasy matchup for defensive backs in Week 14. But Burris has some spot-start potential against the turnover-prone Broncos as well.
Kamren Curl – S, Washington Football Team (at SFO (3): Curl has been an every-week starter for IDP managers since entering the starting lineup in D.C., and this week’s top five fantasy matchup with the 49ers should lead to another solid stat line.
Justin Reid – S, Houston Texans (at CHI (4): Reid has been hot of late—sixth in fantasy points among defensive backs over the past three weeks. In Week 14 Reid gets a Bears team that has been surprisingly kind to defensive backs in 2020.