Because IDP managers didn’t have enough problems.
It’s bad enough that injuries have slammed into NFL rosters like a cyclone in 2020. We’re likely looking at a Week 5 in which the first defensive lineman drafted in most IDP drafts (Danielle Hunter of the Minnesota Vikings), first linebacker (and IDP overall) selected (Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts) and No. 1 defensive back on most boards (Jamal Adams of the Seattle Seahawks) will all be sidelined.
In Week freaking Five.
But wait, there’s more!
The COVID-19 outbreak in Nashville that caused last week’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans to be postponed continues to rage—in part because Titans players reportedly violated the NFL’s protocols by holding an unauthorized workout at a Nashville school.
That’s some high-end stupid, right there.
That puts Sunday’s matchup between the Titans and Buffalo Bills in serious jeopardy. It’s not the only game that could be impacted by COVID-19 in Week 5—positive tests in Las Vegas, Kansas City and New England add uncertainty to Raiders vs. Chiefs and Broncos vs. Pats.
Go to hell, 2020. Seriously. All the way to hell.
Still, there’s nothing for IDP managers to do but monitor those situations and soldier on. And with that in mind, it’s time for another edition of IDP Studs and Duds at Fantasy Sharks.
Each week during the 2020 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 2020 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
Cameron Heyward – DE, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. PHI) (1)
Heyward is off to a relatively slow start in 2020—just half a sack over his first three games. But per the team’s website, the veteran edge-rusher believes both he and his teammates will be able to get rolling this week against their cross-state rivals at Heinz Field.
“They’ve had to shuffle their lines and make proper adjustments. That’s the name of the game”, he said. “But for us, we think when you’ve got to replace somebody, there’s blood in the water. We try to feast on that, but they’re gonna play accordingly. They’re gonna get the ball out quick. They’re gonna run the ball. They’re gonna do a lot of screens. But when we get our chance’s we’ve got to hit home. That’s the only way we’re gonna have success. We’ve got to make them one-dimensional. If we do that, we can have a fun day”.
The Eagles are a hot mess up front—Philly will most likely be starting reserves at both tackles, and the team has already surrendered 14 sacks this season. Most importantly, no team in the NFL has surrendered more fantasy points to defensive linemen.
WEEK 5 IDP STUDS
Calais Campbell – DE, Baltimore Ravens (vs. CIN) (2)
Campbell hasn’t been especially great for IDP managers this season. But Week 5 brings an excellent chance for a breakout—no team in the AFC allows more fantasy points to defensive linemen in 2020 than the Bengals.
Frank Clark – DE, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. LVR) (3)
Assuming this game is actually played, Clark’s set up for a big outing—the Raiders have gone from one of the worst matchups in the league for defensive linemen in 2019 to one of the best in 2020.
Yannick Ngakoue – DE, Minnesota Vikings (at SEA) (4)
Four weeks into his stint with the Vikings, Ngakoue has climbed his way into low-end DL1 territory. The positive momentum should keep going Sunday night in a plus matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
De’Vondre Campbell – ILB, Arizona Cardinals (at NYJ) (2)
Campbell has played so well that Isaiah Simmons has been relegated to a role as a spectator, and this week the Cardinals get a Jets team that ranks second in fantasy points given up to linebackers in 2020.
Kenny Young – ILB, Los Angeles Rams (at WAS) (1)
With Micah Kiser looking likely to be sidelined this week against a Washington team allowing the most fantasy points to linebackers this season, Young should see a bump in snaps—and IDP value.
Kyzir White – OLB. Los Angeles Chargers (at NOS) (6)
White has been productive since assuming a full-time role with the Chargers, and the Saints have been a plus matchup since moving to an offense that relies more heavily on running back Alvin Kamara.
James Bradberry – CB, New York Giants (at DAL) (3)
Bradberry has long been one of the more IDP-relevant cornerbacks in the NFL. This week, he and the Giants travel to meet a Dallas Cowboys team that has been very generous to the cornerback position this season.
Jeremy Chinn – S, Carolina Panthers (at ATL) (4)
Chinn has been excellent for IDP managers as a rookie—playing a “hybrid” role that includes quite a bit of time at weak-side linebacker. He’s just about an every-week starter—one that draws a plus fantasy matchup this week in Atlanta.
Justin Simmons – S, Denver Broncos (at NEP) (5)
Both Simmons and Kareem Jackson could be good starts this week in New England—provided the game is played. Whether it’s Hoyer or Stidham under center in Week 5, a mistake throw appears to be a very real possibility.