It’s been a wild few weeks on the defensive side of the ball to kick off the 2017 NFL season.
The No. 1 defensive lineman (and top player overall in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring) is Demarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys, who wasn’t even drafted in most shallower IDP leagues. Meanwhile J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans is still searching for his first sack of the year.
The No. 2 IDP player overall is Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin, who I can just about guarantee wasn’t drafted in the majority of leagues. The first defensive back who was (Landon Collins of the New York Giants) isn’t even inside the top 25.
The linebackers are similarly shaken up. The top scorer (Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs) is a pass-rushing 3-4 OLB. The first linebacker drafted (Kwon Alexander of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) has been hurt and has all of one tackle to this point in the season.
It’s all been quite crazy.
And yet, I mention all this because I want to provide this bit of advice. Calm down. Be patient.
This craziness really isn’t all that crazy at all. The first month of the season is often filled with shocks galore. But for every surprise star who keeps it going for the entire season there are five who are flukes who will fade as we move from autumn into winter.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t make any roster moves or that you should always start the IDPs you drafted as starters. It’s important to differentiate slow starters from players who just aren’t getting it done this year.
But by the time the dust settles in December, players like Collins, Watt and Alexander will all but surely be just fine.
Much to the chagrin of twitchy fantasy owners who cut bait too early on them.
For at least one more week staying the course is the mantra of the day—and even a month’s sample size can be deceptive sometimes.
With those reassurances that really aren’t that reassuring out of the way, it’s time for another week of IDP Studs and Duds 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
Vontaze Burfict – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (at CLE) (1)
Given that Burfict has spent the first three weeks of this season serving a suspension for a dirty preseason hit that wasn’t really dirty (he got suspended for his reputation, not the act itself—period.), many wonder if Burfict will be on a snap count Sunday in Cleveland. He made it clear to the Associated Press via WCPO that if he has anything to say about it the answer to that question is no.
“Once things start being competitive, I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to stay in, but it’s up to the coaches,” Burfict said. “They don’t want me being over too many plays and obviously getting hurt or something like that. So it’s up to them.”
For my money, I expect Burfict to be on the field for most of a game the 0-3 Bengals have to win in a matchup with a Browns team allowing the most fantasy points per game to linebackers this year. And that sets the stage for a big stat line.