Two weeks in, the NFL season has been like a Savatage song … madness reigns in the “Hall of the Mountain King.”
Gotta love ‘80s metal.
The insanity hasn’t just been confined to the offensive side of the ball. Tampa Bay inside linebacker Kwon Alexander, who was the No. 1 IDP overall in more drafts than not, has all of one tackle so far this season.
Meanwhile Buffalo’s Ramon Humber, who opened the season on the waiver wire, is second in the NFL with 23 stops.
Meanwhile, Dallas’ Demarcus Lawrence has four – by himself.
All this wackiness has more than a few Individual Defensive Player (IDP) owners freaking out. But I have news for them. One word, actually.
It’s still too early in the season to be making sweeping judgments about anyone. Two games just aren’t a big enough sample size to know if the early breakouts and busts are season-long trends or just the product of unfavorable matchups and plain old bad luck.
Does this mean that Humber doesn’t deserve a spot in starting lineups? Of course not. But I’m not rolling him out over proven performers like Pittsburgh’s Ryan Shazier.
Not yet, anyway.
Now, while you practice your Woosah, it’s time for another week of IDP “Start/Sit” recommendations with “IDP Studs and Duds” here at Fantasy Sharks.
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 2016 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP START OF THE WEEK
Christian Kirksey, OLB, Cleveland (at Indianapolis) (1)
It hasn’t really shown on the field so far in 2017, but Kirksey told Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal that he feels the Cleveland defense hasn’t scratched its potential yet.
“The sky is the limit with this group of men,” Kirksey said. “It’s just a different feeling. (Defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams has definitely done a tremendous job of setting the culture for us. And, for me, personally, coming off the good year that I had, I just have an extra motor, an extra drive, and I think this defense is perfect for me to strive to be great.”
Cleveland will be travelling to face Indianapolis this week without veteran linebacker Jamie Collins, who isn’t expected to be cleared from his concussion in time to play in the game. That should mean that many more tackle opportunities for Kirksey against an Indianapolis team that remains a Top 5 IDP matchup for linebackers this year despite all their issues on offense.
WEEK 3 IDP STUDS
Trey Flowers, DE, New England (vs. Houston) (12)
Last year, Houston was a favorable fantasy matchup for pass-rushers, but not an especially great one. In 2017, with no Duane Brown at left tackle and a rookie quarterback under center, no team in the NFL is allowing more fantasy points to linemen. That bodes well for Flowers to rebound after a quiet second game against New Orleans.