It’s a pressure-packed time of year.
The fantasy playoffs are underway in IDP leagues from the North Pole to Christmas Town.
That’s totally a real place.
Told you. If it’s on the Hallmark Channel, then it must be real.
In a few leagues the playoffs are just beginning, but in most four teams remain. The four best, most loaded teams around.
And for them, the edict is clear. Win or go home. Stay alive, no matter what occurs.
What he said.
Advance to the Championship Game (or semifinals – whatever).
That means that every lineup decision is doubly important. Every single point counts.
Odds are, if you’re reading this, you’re one of the fortunate four.
Of course, it’s also the middle of December. And with just 10 days remaining until Christmas, the holiday hoopla is ramping into high gear.
You may not know this about me, but I tend to go a little…overboard at Christmas.
That’s me in the Grinch suit. For reals.
The problem is, when you work 80-90 hours a week like I do during football season, the time for tree-trimming and gift-buying and cookie-baking can be hard to come by. And while I take my obligation to my readers very seriously (you guys are my besties), I take the obligation to make Christmas as magical as possible for my five-year-old stepdaughter even more so.
She’s a great kid – I hear that Santa’s hooking her up big-time.
So, just as I’ve done the last couple of years here at Fantasy Sharks, the last couple editions of IDP Studs and Duds will lean more toward the Cliffs Notes version. I’m not going to short you any recommendations – just blather a little less regarding each one.
Speaking of blathering, I’ll shut up now and get to it.
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).
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
Reuben Foster – ILB, San Francisco 49ers (vs. TEN) (4)
Per Jennifer Lee Chan of SB Nation, Foster is enjoying the 49ers recent winning streak (three victories in four games). “It’s great man,” Foster said. “It’s awesome man, putting that dopamine in your brain. That win, put some money in the bank. You know, learning how to win slowly but surely, don’t give up faith. That feeling that you’re a winner. Everybody still had that feeling but just the fact that we keep putting things in the bank, winning winning. You know what I’m saying even one win is great, so it feels good. Everybody know how winning feels. So, we just gotta keep it on a roll and maintain.”
Foster has been a solid IDP producer over that span – he’s averaging almost eight total tackles a game and has at least six solos in all four contests. That streak of productivity should continue Sunday against the Titans. Tennessee is averaging almost 27 carries per game on the ground and ranks fourth in fantasy points allowed to linebackers this season.
WEEK 15 IDP STUDS
Akiem Hicks – DE, Chicago Bears (st DET) (8): Hicks has cooled way off after a hot start (no sacks since Week 8), but this matchup sets up well for a rebound week.
Yannick Ngakoue – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. HOU) (1): Over 40 percent of Ngakoue’s 25 tackles this year have resulted in sacks – something the Texans allow a lot of (41 this year).
Zach Cunningham – ILB, Houston Texans (at JAX) (3): If you’re banged up at linebacker and need a spot-start consider Cunningham, who’s playing full-time and coming off a big game a week ago.
Sean Davis – S, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. NEP) (7): Between the Shazier injury and the matchup (no team allows more FPPG to safeties in 2017), it’s hard not to like Davis in Week 15.
DeShazor Everett – S, Washington Redskins (vs. AZ) (4): Everett has some nice spot-start potential this week in a solid matchup as the 27th every-down starting strong safety Washington has used this year.
Devin McCourty – S, New England Patriots (at PIT) (3): With all the injuries on the New England defense, McCourty’s numbers are back to their early-season (elite) status.