You know, it’s really not that hard. It’s just math.
There are 32 teams in the NFL. If the league started the byes in Week 4 and ran them through Week 11, or from Week 5 to Week 12, you could just put four teams on siesta each week and just have a nice, logical progression to things.
But the NFL does not do logical.
Good luck un-hearing that.
Instead, we get two teams on a bye in Weeks 4-6 and in Week 12. Four teams on a bye in Weeks 7, 8, and 10. And both this week and in Week 11, we get six—count them six—teams sitting out.
It’s brutal timing. We’ve reached a critical point in the fantasy football season. If you have an IDP squad sitting at 3-5 (or worse), you’re either out of it or all but will be with another defeat. The last thing you need is for a large portion of your lineup to be unavailable.
The reality this week is that there are players who will appear on the “Duds” list that many owners will be starting out of necessity. You sure as hell aren’t cutting Myles Garrett (spoiler alert!) loose, and odds are unless you’re stupid deep on the defensive line you don’t have a better backup plan anyway.
However, a word of advice—if you are forced to start a player who has an unfavorable matchup, take that into consideration when installing the rest of your starters—on both sides of the ball. At the positions where you do have options, consider rolling the dice on a high-ceiling guy or two if you really need a W in Week 9.
Don’t get mad at me—I didn’t design the whack-a** schedule.
With that out of the way, let’s get this party started.
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).
As I said, six teams are off in Week 9–the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. No Calais Campbell, Darius Leonard or Landon Collins.
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
Denzel Perryman – ILB, Los Angeles Chargers (at SEA) (1)
When last we saw Perryman, he was playing across the Atlantic in London against the Tennessee Titans. And as Ricky Henne pointed out for the team’s website, he was a big part of LA’s one-point win in that game. “Perryman made plays all day long (in London),” he said. “He walked out of Wembley with eight total tackles, one pass defensed and one interception that ended any hopes of the Titans scoring before halftime. The pick was Marcus Mariota’s first red zone interception of his career.”
Perryman was on the field for 82 percent of the Chargers defensive snaps against the Titans—the third-time in four games the fourth-year pro topped 75 percent usage. Against a run-heavy Seahawks team Perryman should see that much playing time or more, which should mean good things given that the Seahawks lead the NFL in fantasy points allowed to linebackers.
WEEK 9 IDP STUDS
Trey Flowers – DE, New England Patriots (vs. GBP) (8)
Maybe it’s the injuries up front. Maybe it’s the negative impact that Aaron Rodgers‘ bad knee has had on his mobility. Maybe it’s both. But whatever the reason, the Packers have allowed 24 sacks through seven games this year—fifth-most in the NFL.
Romeo Okwara – DE, Detroit Lions (at MIN) (4)
While Ezekiel Ansah has been laid up with a shoulder injury since Week 1, Okwara’s been piling up stats in his stead—he has 13 total tackles and four sacks over his last three games. This matchup sets up well for the hot streak to continue.
Cameron Wake – DE, Miami Dolphins (vs. NYJ) (3)
Wake looked pretty good last week against the Texans, picking up five total tackles in the loss. He has a good chance at getting to rookie Sam Darnold Sunday—in the AFC only the Houston Texans have been kinder to D-linemen than the Jets in 2018.
Reggie Ragland – ILB, Kansas City Chiefs (at CLE) (6)
This one carries with it a caveat of sorts—that being that Anthony Hitchens‘ ribs put him on the sideline Sunday. If that’s the case—and we appear to be leaning in that direction—Ragland will play a larger role against a Cleveland team that has been kind to linebackers in 2018
Shaq Thompson – OLB, Carolina Panthers (vs. TBB) (2)
Thompson’s coming off his best effort of the season—a 13-tackle outing in last week’s big win over the Baltimore Ravens. A top-three matchup with Ryan and the Fitzmagics in Week 9 should afford him a solid chance to back that big game up.
Danny Trevathan – ILB, Chicago Bears (at BUF) (3)
The Buffalo offense has been a hot mess this year, and the installation of Nathan Peterman at quarterback isn’t going to help matters. But all season long the Bills have consistently allowed big games to opposing linebackers. No reason to think Week 9 will be different.
Quandre Diggs – S, Detroit Lions (at MIN (3)
Injuries and personnel switches have created something of a carousel for the Lions at safety this year. But it’s been Diggs who has gotten the most playing time. That’s good news headed into a great IDP matchup with the Vikings at US Bank Stadium.
Eric Reid – S, Carolina Panthers (vs. TBB) (4)
Reid appears to be rounding into form—he has 16 total tackles and a sack over his last two starts for the Panthers. This week Carolina welcomes in a Tampa Bay offense that has been the most generous overall to individual defensive players in 2018.
Justin Reid – S, Houston Texans (at DEN) (1)
Reid (the younger one) is coming off the best game of his short career—nine tackles and an interception in last week’s win over the Dolphins. He’s become an every-down player and draws the NFL’s best matchup for defensive backs in Week 9 in Denver.