They say time flies when you’re having fun. And if your fantasy team is still playing in Week 14, then the regular season that has already flown by must have been at least moderately enjoyable.
This week marks the first week of the fantasy postseason in many leagues, and the conclusion of the regular season in just about all others. From here on out, the margin for error is exactly zero. Pull off a few wins in a row, and the league title is yours. Lose once more, and it’s on to post mortems, what ifs and wait until next years.
No one likes any of that crap though. Door No. 1 is the only way to fly. Prizes. Glory. Chicks.
OK, maybe not chicks so much (or dudes, depending on your preference). But prizes and glory are cool.
And in order to get them, the edict is clear – milk every last possible point from IDP lineups. Of course, that’s the edict every week, but hey – I’ve got an intro to fill here.
And now that I’ve come close to doing that, we can get on with another edition of IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
I know, I know – it was poetry. You’re welcome.
Each week during the 2016 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).
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2015 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP START OF THE WEEK
Benardrick McKinney – ILB, Houston Texans (at IND) (1)
While speaking with the Associated Press, Texans DC Romeo Crennel lauded McKinney’s play in his second NFL season. “He started last year growing and developing toward the last part of the season,” Crennel said. “He understood the defense. He understood how he has to play the game and puts himself in good position. He gets around the ball quite a bit. He has some coverage skill and that helps as well. We like big guys that can move and have some speed and some length, so he falls into that category.”
IDP owners have been plenty pleased with McKinney this year as well, as he has 106 tackles and ranks inside LB1 territory for the season. McKinney struggled a bit last week in a bad fantasy matchup with the Green Bay Packers (5 total tackles), but he should double that number Sunday against a Colts team that’s given up the most fantasy points to the position this season.
WEEK 14 IDP STUDS
Geno Atkins – DT, Cincinnati Bengals (at CLE) (1): Yes, Robert Griffin will be under center for the Browns Sunday. Yes, he’s a very mobile quarterback. But there are not words to describe just how badly center Cameron Erving has sucked in Cleveland this year.
Andre Branch – DE, Miami Dolphins (vs. AZ) (2): Branch has quietly become a nice high-floor fantasy DL2 over the second half of the 2016 season. He’ll have a great opportunity to be even more than that Sunday in a primo matchup with the Redbirds at home.
Stephon Tuitt – DE, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BUF) (3): Tuitt’s been stuck at three sacks on the season since tallying two in Cleveland back in Week 11. The dry spell ends this Sunday in Buffalo. You might even be able to see it through the snowstorm expected to hit Western New York this weekend.
Dont’a Hightower – ILB, New England Patriots (vs. BAL): Since the Jamie Collins trade, Hightower hasn’t come close to posting the production we though he would. Monday night he’ll get it in gear – the Ravens have been allowing big games to linebackers all season long.
Eric Kendricks – ILB, Minnesota Vikings (at JAX) (3): Kendricks hasn’t put up five solos in a game since all the way back in Week 8, but he looks to be healthy again and draws a top-five fantasy matchup for linebackers in the Jaguars in Week 14.
C.J. Mosley – ILB, Baltimore Ravens (at NE) (2): After last week’s face-plant, IDP owners are likely more than a little leery of rolling Mosley out this week. However, the matchup sets up well for a rebound given that the Pats rank second in fantasy points surrendered to linebackers in 2016.
Isa-Abdul Quddus – S, Miami Dolphins (vs. AZ) (1): With first Reshad Jones and now Kiko Alonso banged up, Abdul-Quddus should be in for a bump in tackle opps against a Cardinals team that’s given up fantasy points in bunches in the secondary this season.
Bradley McDougald – S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO) (2): Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times admitted he underestimated McDougald in 2016. “McDougald has been physical,” Auman said, “and made a huge pick against Russell Wilson to clinch the win against Seattle.”
Andrew Sendejo – S, Minnesota Vikings (at JAX) (3): With Harrison Smith possibly out for the rest of the season with a Grade 3 high ankle sprain, Sendejo is going to receive a boost in IDP value – starting this week in a gravy matchup with the Jags.