In some respects, this is most the least and most important IDP Studs and Duds article of the year.
The cold, hard truth is that this iteration of this piece is aimed at a very limited audience. At most four teams remain in each IDP league. In the majority there’s only two. And if you were already eliminated from the fantasy playoffs or didn’t make them at all, reading a start/sit column probably isn’t super-high on your “to-do” list as Christmas nears.
Don’t forget the eggnog. You know how she got the last time you forgot the eggnog.
Folks playing in multiple leagues helps the pain a bit (for both them and me), but by late December interest in fantasy football overall is starting to wane.
However, the fortunate team owners who still have something to play for are intensely interested. The stakes have ratcheted way up. Teams are playing either for a shot in the championship game or the whole ball of wax.
Fame. Glory. Riches. A championship.
And in this one-week season matchups are more important than ever.
It’s also the time of year when writers who work 80 hours a week fall way behind on holiday preparations. And given that there’s a four-year-old little girl who entered my life in 2016 who’s counting on getting hooked up by Santa, I have a lot to do in the next 48 hours.
As such, this week’s Studs and Duds is going to a bit truncated. Just the facts ma’am and all that. It’s been suggested to me many times over the years to write less analysis in favor of more recommendations (even game-by-game) anyway, so it’s entirely possible you won’t mind at all.
For the record, that might be useful, but it would probably also be about as aesthetically palatable as Great Aunt Eunice’s mystery stuffing.
What are those black things, anyway?
With that in mind, and with my very best wishes for a Happy Holiday season (I like saying Merry Christmas just fine – and Happy Hanukkah, and so on…I ain’t got all day) let’s hit the Championship Week edition of IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
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
Cliff Avril – DE, Seattle Seahawks (vs. AZ) (1)
As Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News-Tribune wrote, Avril was all smiles about his Pro Bowl nod – especially that his fellow players helped punch his ticker for Orlando. “I mean, we’re the ones playing, so we watch film on everybody,” Avril said. “So I definitely think it’s pretty cool to be voted in by your peers, because they understand what’s going on. They understand how hard it is to get sacks, how hard it is to play at a high level. You know, it’s pretty cool that we finally get a say in something.”
It would have been awfully hard to leave Avril out, given that no defensive end in the NFL has more sacks than Avril’s 11.5. There’s a good chance he adds to that total at home Saturday – no team in the NFL has been kinder to defensive linemen this season than the Cardinals.
WEEK 16 IDP STUDS
Joey Bosa – DE, San Diego Chargers (at CLE) (3): If you’ve seen the right side of Cleveland’s offensive line in action then you understand why Bosa’s a solid start in Week 16.
DeForest Buckner – DE, San Francisco 49ers (at LA) (2): Buckner has 15 total tackles and two sacks over the last two games and a great matchup with the hapless Rams in Week 16.
Cameron Jordan – DE, New Orleans Saints (vs. TB) (4): Jordan and the Saints will be trying to Grinch up Tampa’s playoff run this weekend.
Benardrick McKinney – ILB, Houston Texans (vs. CIN) (2): A top-10 linebacker in a top-two IDP matchup is like an early Christmas present.
Malcolm Smith – OLB, Oakland Raiders (vs. IND) (1): Raiders LB have been hit/miss IDP options in 2016, but this matchup screams “hit.”
Tahir Whitehead – ILB, Detroit Lions (at DAL) (7): Leading candidate to be the player who won people titles in the last game of Week 16.
Vonn Bell – S, New Orleans Saints (vs. TB) (3): I don’t think there’s a starting DB in this game I don’t like, and that especially applies to the safeties.
Keith Tandy – S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NO) (1): There’s risk here with Conte healthy again, but Tandy played all 74 snaps last week and had his second straight huge game.