I will freely admit I’m not a big fan of Week 17 title games in fantasy football.
Granted, it’s not as bad in IDP as it is on the offensive side of the ball, as NFL teams are usually less inclined to sit a starting linebacker as they are a starting quarterback. And it isn’t as bad as it used to be – thanks to the NFL scheduling more in-division games late and the parity that’s now the status quo in the NFL, the vast majority of teams will be playing to win this Sunday.
That said, there are a handful of teams with nothing to play for – teams who may well rest defensive stars who helped IDP owners make it this far to begin with. And there are other players with injuries who would normally gut it out who will instead hang them up for the season.
It’s that tricky landscape we’ll walk in this, the final (and admittedly abbreviated – it’s been a long year and this particular piece is aimed at a very limited audience) 2016 edition of IDP Studs and Duds here at Fantasy Sharks.
Before we get to that – I hope that your worst day in 2017 is better than your best day of 2016.
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.
Now let’s go get one last win!
IDP START OF THE WEEK
Paul Posluszny – ILB, Jacksonville Jaguars (at IND) (1)
As John Oehser of the team’s website wrote, Posluszny said it’s the players who bear the blame for head coach Gus Bradley being shown the door a couple of weeks ago. “As a player, you say ‘This shouldn’t happen to him,’’’ Posluszny said. “He’s such a great man and you wish you could have played a lot better so that none of us are in this situation. You feel awful that it happened to him because he’s so well-liked, because everybody loves him and because he gave everything he had to us. We didn’t hold up our part.”
Bradley may have company on the unemployment line soon. Posluszny’s level of play hasn’t fallen off, but he’s an aging veteran with a fat cap number for 2017, and with youngster Myles Jack in the fold the Jaguars may look to get younger (and cheaper) at middle linebacker in the offseason. If Sunday does prove to be Poz’s last game for the Jags, it should be a good one.
WEEK 17 IDP STUDS
Calais Campbell – DE, Arizona Cardinals (at LA) (3): Another year, another top-10 finish for Campbell. He’ll finish strong in this top-five matchup.
William Hayes – DE, Los Angeles Rams (vs. AZ) (1): Hayes has once again been effective in an expanded role in 2016. That will continue for one more week.
Muhammad Wilkerson – DE, New York Jets (vs. BUF) (5): Both Wilkerson and the Jets have been huge disappointments in 2016. He gets one last shot at redemption Sunday.
Kiko Alonso – ILB, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE) (4): Snaps could be a question mark here, but if Miami goes for it Alonso should see plenty of tackle opportunities.
Jerrell Freeman – ILB, Chicago Bears (at MIN) (3): Freeman owners who survived his four-game suspension will reap the rewards in Week 17.
Albert McClellan – ILB, Baltimore Ravens (at CIN) (2): If Zach Orr (neck) sits this one out, McClellan could be one heck of a plug-and-play for one very important week.
Kurt Coleman – S, Carolina Panthers (at TB) (3): Coleman’s been the hottest DB in the league. This matchup should portend one more week of sizzle.
T.J. McDonald – S, Los Angeles Rams (vs. AZ) (2): The young safety has all sorts of reasons to make one last good impression before he hits free agency.
Keanu Neal – S, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO) (1): The Falcons have a first-round bye to play for and a fantastic IDP matchup on tap.