Tuesday - Dec 11, 2018

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IDP STUDS AND DUDS: Week 6 IDP Start/Sit

We’ve come to a tricky part of the fantasy football season.

For fantasy owners of teams that have struggled out of the gate, the margin for error is getting razor-thin. If you’re 2-3, 1-4 or (heaven forbid) 0-5, there’s just no more room for losing. Rack up any more L’s, and by the time we hit Thanksgiving (or Halloween) there won’t be anything left to play for but pride.

OK, that’s taking things just a tad overboard. Seriously. Chill out.

However, for scuffling fantasy teams every lineup decision is all the more important. Every choice is that much harder—especially where big names off to slow starts are concerned. Big things were expected entering 2018 for the likes of Miami Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kwon Alexander and Buffalo Bills strong safety Jordan Poyer.

Five games into the 2018 season, none of that trio rank inside the top 30 at that position.

Do you dare continue to trust players who haven’t gotten it done this season. Take a chance that they will turn it around and play up to expectations? Or is it time to relegate them to the bench—or even (gasp!) the waiver wire?

Articles like IDP Studs and Duds exist to help you with those choices—to help you make an educated decision you can live with.

After that, all you can do is hope.

Each week during the 2018 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).

Week 6 is another two-team bye—this week it’s the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints taking a break. We’re short some Davis-es in Week 6…Demario and Jarrad.

Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2018 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.

IDP STUD OF THE WEEK

Tahir Whitehead – OLB, Oakland Raiders (vs. SEA) (1)

As Luke Straub wrote for Raiders Wire, Whitehead’s play was a rare bright spot in last week’s loss to the Chargers. “Whitehead plays hard, though the chips are stacked up against his undermanned defense,” he said. “The position has been long neglected by general manager Reggie McKenzie, but signing the former Lion was a great move. He led the team in tackles on this day, finishing with nine along with six solo stops. It appears the Raiders will have to embody Whitehead’s demeanor the rest of the season. They’ll need to play with intensity while the campaign isn’t going as the team envisioned.”

Week 6 sets up well for an even better stat line from Whitehead—quite possibly his best of the season. The Raiders face a Seahawks team in London that is leaning heavily on the run game in recent weeks. Not only are the Seahawks presently leading the NFL in fantasy points allowed to linebackers, but Seattle has climbed to fifth in the NFL in rush attempts on the season.

WEEK 6 IDP STUDS

Jerry Hughes – DE, Buffalo Bills (at HOU) (1)

In a season filled with big-name disappointments, Hughes has been the opposite—a top-10 IDP performer no one expected. This week Hughes and the Bills face a Texans team that’s third in the NFL in sacks allowed and first in fantasy points surrendered to defensive linemen.

Melvin Ingram – DE, Los Angeles Chargers (at CLE) (15)

Ingram finally got his first sack of the season last week against the Raiders. Odds are good he’ll add another on Sunday in Cleveland—only the Buffalo Bills have given up more sacks this year than the 21 the Browns have allowed.

J.J. Watt – DE, Houston Texans (vs. BUF) (22)

Yes, the Bills haven’t allowed that many fantasy points to defensive linemen in 2018. What they have allowed is sacks—a league-leading 22 of them, if you’re keeping track. Watt has six over his last games. Six divided by three times 22 is 44—that’s how many fantasy points Watt’s going to rack up. You can’t argue with math.

Benardrick McKinney – ILB, Houston Texans (3)

The Bills are a dumpster fire offensively, but they have consistently allowed a lot of fantasy points to linebackers this season. McKinney’s coming off one of his better efforts of the season (8 tackles and half a sack against the Cowboys) and should have another good game this week.

Denzel Perryman – ILB, Los Angeles Chargers (at CLE) (2)

The ping-pong ball snap counts of the Chargers linebackers gives legitimate pause to IDP owners. But Perryman’s up over 80 percent the past three weeks and faces a Browns team in Week 6 that leads the NFL in rushing attempts.

Duke Riley – ILB, Atlanta Falcons (vs. TBB) (4)

Riley and De’Veondre Campbell were both alarmingly quiet in last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Week 6 portends a rebound for the Atlanta linebackers—Tampa is second in the NFC in fantasy points allowed to the position.

Kentrell Brice – S, Green Bay Packers (vs. SFO) (1)

Brice is a guy on thin ice with many IDP owners—despite playing well over 90 percent of the defensive snaps the numbers just haven’t been there. If ever there was a “last chance” matchup this is it—the Niners lead the NFL in fantasy points allowed to defensive backs.

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About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is a seven-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who was named the organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year for 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.