“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” – Confucius
Confucius probably wasn’t talking about fantasy football when he said this, but man was he proven right in IDP leagues in the opening week of the 2016 season. For every situation that played out like we thought, there was one that went contrary to how we expected it to.
That was borne out in my player recommendations a week ago. While nearly every player I recommended as a “Stud” had at least a decent game (with Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander finishing as the No. 1 options at their respective positions) my recommendation for “Start of the Week” (rookie linebacker Blake Martinez of the Green Bay Packers) didn’t do nearly as well as I thought…
In no small part because despite everything we’d been led to believe Martinez did indeed leave the field in dime subpackages.
It hammers home an important early-season lesson in IDP – you have to be prepared to move on and patient enough to know when not to – at the same time. It’s likely premature in deeper IDP leagues to cast aside San Diego Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman, who left the field in subs against the Kansas City Chiefs. But with fellow linebacker Mychal Kendricks of the Philadelphia Eagles managing less than 20 snaps in Week 1, he’s waiver wire fodder in most formats.
Hey, no one said it was going to be easy.
Now it’s time to apply what we learned a week ago to another week’s player recommendations with the Week 2 edition of IDP Studs and Duds 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).
Now let’s get after it!
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
Devin Taylor – DE, Detroit Lions (vs. TEN) (2)
Justin Rogers of the Detroit Free Press wrote earlier this week that he expects the Lions to play more consistent defense than they showed last week against the Indianapolis Colts. “Teams aren’t going to be able to check Ezekiel Ansah, Devin Taylor and Haloti Ngata all year,” Rogers said. “And if Detroit gets better, more consistent pass-rush pressure, the entire defense is going to perform better.”
There’s an excellent chance that pass rush will ratchet up this week against a Tennessee o-line that was manhandled in pass protection by Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter of the Vikings in Week 1. Only one team in the NFL allowed more fantasy points to defensive lineman last season than the Titans, and no team allowed more sacks.
WEEK 2 STUDS
Allen Bailey – DE, Kansas City Chiefs (at HOU) (4): Bailey had a quiet Week 1 (2 solos), but there’s good reason to expect better numbers in a top-five fantasy matchup with the Texans. In last year’s playoff game against the Texans, Bailey peeled off four total tackles, notched two sacks and forced a pair of fumbles. That sound like a stat line you can live with?
Danielle Hunter – DE, Minnesota Vikings (vs. GB) (3): Generally speaking, it’s a good idea not to fix that which is not broken. Hunter may be hard-pressed to back up last week’s numbers (ends don’t score touchdowns every week), but he has a solid shot at another sack in a primetime matchup with the Packers, who allowed 46 sacks in 2015.
Robert Quinn – DE, Los Angeles Rams (vs. SEA) (1): There weren’t many bright spots for the Rams in Week 1, a game in which their vaunted front four (Quinn included) was whisper-quiet. That should change this week. The Seahawks can’t pass-block, they struggle for some reason against the Rams, and quarterback Russell Wilson is nursing a sprained ankle.
Mason Foster – ILB, Washington Redskins (vs. DAL) (4): CBS Sports talked up Foster after a huge Week 1 against the Steelers. “Foster won the starting left inside linebacker job during the preseason and proved why he deserved the honor Monday night,” they said. “The 27-year-old only registered 37 tackles last season, but looks to be crucial cog in Washington’s defense this year as he plays alongside Will Compton, who was the leading linebacker in tackles last season.”
Malcolm Smith – ILB, Oakland Raiders (vs. ATL) (2): As Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reported, Smith has reclaimed the “green dot” play-calling duties for the Silver and Black from second-year pro Ben Heeney. That means the veteran will be on the field for every snap in a favorable matchup with the Falcons – he’s back on the LB1 radar.
Manti Te’o – ILB, San Diego Chargers (vs. JAX) (3): I’m not going to pretend to understand in what universe Te’o’s plodding a** is a better option in coverage for the Chargers than Denzel Perryman. But all that matters is that Bolts’ DC John Pagano thinks he is, which will mean a full snap count for the fictional Romeo against the Jaguars.
Mike Adams – S, Indianapolis Colts (2): Adams told Fox 59 in Indy he’s frustrated the team couldn’t seal the deal last week against the Detroit Lions. “We should be able to close the deal, Adams said, “Especially with 35-36 seconds left on the clock, whatever it was. Regardless of what happened before that, we had a chance to close the deal.’’ With the Indy defense all kinds of banged up, Adams should see opportunities galore Sunday in Denver.
Ibraheim Campbell – S, Cleveland Browns (vs, BAL) (1): There hasn’t been an IDP pundit who has beat the drum harder for Campbell as a fantasy breakout candidate in 2016 than this guy. If Campbell is going to make me look like I have some idea what the hell I’m talking about, this week’s cherry matchup with the Ratbirds (bitter Browns fan said what?) would be a good place to start.
Da’Norris Searcy – S, Tennessee Titans (at DET) (3): Searcy was my Ibraheim Campbell of 2015, and it didn’t come close to working out. I’m still picking egg out of my hair. However, it appears in 2016 that Searcy has a much more favorable role nearer the line of scrimmage, he’s coming off an eight-solo Week 1, and the Lions were very kind to defensive backs in 2015.