- Well, folks, this is it—the last edition of IDP Studs and Duds at Fantasy Sharks for 2018—my eighth season writing the column at Fantasy Sharks and 10th overall.
Time flies when you’re having fun.
Most IDP leagues have already held their championship games, but there are a few who wait until Week 17 to do so—including THE WALL IDP-Only Showcase League here at Fantasy Sharks. It’s a 24-team league with separate conferences and player pools, and this week the champion of the Northern Conference (Team Seadog) and Southern Conference (A Burfict Circle) will vie for the title.
Having the title game in Week 17 allows that league to maintain the 13-week regular season and six-team playoff bracket so many folks are used to. For others, it’s just a matter of having one more week of fantasy football goodness to enjoy.
(For those folks who have trouble letting go, I’ll be setting up an IDP Playoffs League at My Fantasy League. Hit me up on Twitter @IDPSharks if you’d like to enter. I may even throw in a crappy prize for the champ).
There’s a downside to Week 17 title games, however. Teams that are locked into (or probably locked into) playoff seeds have no reason to risk star players in a meaningless game. The New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys are the most obvious candidates to rest starters this year, but the Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Chargers could also at the very least pull players early depending on how the afternoon plays out.
You’re also much more likely to see guys with nagging injuries shut down in Week 17. I don’t expect Kiko Alonso of the Miami Dolphins to play Sunday, and you’ll see a lot of players downgraded on Friday or Sunday morning. It’s definitely a week to check out the injury report and inactives list.
With those caveats in mind, and with my hope that this column was of use to you this season and that the new year will treat you well, let’s get down to it with an abridged, down-and-dirty Week 17 edition of IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
It’s been a long season, and I’m sleepy.
Each week during the 2018 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 2018 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Raekwon McMillan – ILB, Miami Dolphins (at BUF) (1)
As Safid Deen wrote for the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, McMillan believes he’s made some strides in his second NFL season. “Every week, I’m learning,” said McMillan. “It seems like a long process for the fans, but I appreciate the ones that are taking their time with me. I think I’m going to get better with time.”
McMillan’s had his ups and downs in 2018, and his role has varied along with his level of play. But with Alonso on the shelf last week the former Ohio State standout piled up 10 tackles in a favorable matchup with the Jaguars. This week’s tilt in Buffalo is an even better one.
WEEK 17 IDP STUDS
Vic Beasley – DE, Atlanta Falcons (at TBB) (6): IDP owners leery of a starting DL getting the week off should take a look at Beasley, who has a sack in two of his last three games.
Dante Fowler – DE, Los Angeles Rams (vs. SFO) (4): The Rams need a win to lock up a bye in the Wild Card Round, and the 49ers have been kind to D-linemen in 2018.
Chris Jones – DE, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK) (1): Jones has been the biggest value of 2018 on the defensive line and draws a primo matchup with the Chiefs playing for the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
Jerome Baker – OLB, Miami Dolphins (at BUF) (1): The Bills have allowed fantasy points galore to linebackers, and Baker should play every down if Alonso sits in Week 17.
Haason Reddick – OLB, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA) (3): Reddick’s become the only true every-down linebacker in Arizona and draws the NFL’s most run-heavy team in Week 17.
Kenny Vaccaro – S, Indianapolis Colts (at TEN) (5): The matchup’s right here to get an IDP share in the final regular-season game of the 2018 season.
Shawn Williams – S, Cincinnati Bengals (at PIT) (1): this year’s poster boy for waiting to draft defensive backs, this matchup might propel Williams into the top spot at the position.
IDP DUD OF THE WEEK
Tahir Whitehead – ILB, Oakland Raiders (at KCC) (32)
Per CBS Sports, Whitehead has been a solid but unspectacular IDP option in 2018. “Whitehead has been one of the more consistent tacklers all season for the Raiders,” they said, “recording at least six stops in all but two of his 15 games this season. While that gives him a solid weekly floor as an IDP option, the linebacker has rarely produced any big plays to supplement his tackle totals.”
Whitehead actually had an OK outing in his first meeting with the Chiefs this season, racking up seven solos back in Week 13. Just know going in that seven solos is a lot closer to Whitehead’s ceiling than his floor—the Chiefs have been a rotten matchup for linebackers all season long.
WEEK 17 IDP DUDS
Joey Bosa – DE, Los Angeles Chargers (at DEN) (31): As if a terrible matchup isn’t bad enough, if the Chiefs get up big in Oakland the Chargers may call off the dogs and pull starters here.
Cameron Jordan – DE, New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR) (26): Back in 2009, the Saints were the No. 1 seed in the NFC entering Week 17, rested players, and won the Super Bowl. Just saying.
Demarcus Lawrence – DE, Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYG) (10): The matchup’s right, and Jerry Jones said the Dallas starters will play in Week 17. But I don’t believe him with Dallas locked into the No. 4 seed.
Roquan Smith – ILB, Chicago Bears (at MIN) (31): Smith’s been great as a rookie, but his Week 17 matchup sucks and he could get pulled early if the Rams get up big against the 49ers.
Kyle Van Noy – ILB, New England Patriots (vs. NYJ) (29): Van Noy is something of a matchup-dependent IDP option, and this week’s tilt with the Jets isn’t a favorable one.
Budda Baker – S, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA) (30): A change in role has caused Baker’s production to drop off, and this week’s trip to Seattle doesn’t set up well for a rebound in the finale.
Clayton Geathers – S, Indianapolis Colts (31): Geathers will try to give it a go this week after missing Week 16, but in a terrible fantasy matchup he’s best left on the bench.
Jordan Poyer – S, Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA) (32): After making his way back into the top 10 fantasy defensive backs, Poyer draws a lousy matchup to close out the season.