Archive for the ‘IDP Insight’ Category

IDP Insight – Week 16: @IDPManor Signing Off For 2014; Return Probable

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Well folks, this is it.

In the vast majority of “standard” fantasy football leagues, Week 16 is Championship Week. After a long and arduous season, two teams remain. They have survived The Year of the Injured Linebacker, which claimed another victim in Week 15 when waiver wire darling Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers hurt his ankle.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JncgoPKklVE

Yeah, that about covers it.

Of course, in weekly IDP leagues such as those here at Fantasy Throwdown, every week is Championship Week. Sadly though, Week 16 also marks the end of the line for this column. I hope it was of at least some small value to those of you who like to live on the wild side by playing in the IDP leagues offered here at Fantasy Throwdown.

However, with any luck at all you’ll be seeing me again come September.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JncgoPKklVE

Oh, blow it out your Jingle Bells.

So, with a sad heart but two eyes firmly on the prize, here’s a look at the top 10 IDP options at the three “major” positions and a couple of less-than-household names who should be solid Week 16 matchup plays.

I hope that all of you and your families have a wonderful holiday season.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (vs. BAL)
  2. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (vs. NYG)
  3. Chandler Jones – DE, NE (at NYJ)
  4. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (vs. MIN)
  5. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (at STL)
  6. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (vs. SEA)
  7. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at CIN)
  8. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (at OAK)
  9. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (at MIA)
  10. Ezekiel Ansah – DE, DET (at CHI)

Jurrell Casey – DE, TEN (at JAX)
Thursday night’s game between the two-win Titans and two-win Jaguars may be the single-worst matchup in the history of Thursday Night Football, which is saying something given some of the God-awful games we’ve seen since TNF became a weekly event. However, if there’s one thing worth watching Thursday night for IDP owners it’s probably Casey, who squares off with a Jaguars team that has allowed a staggering 62 sacks in 2014.

Olivier Vernon – DE, MIA (vs. MIN)
After racking up a career-high 11.5 sacks a year ago, Vernon’s numbers are down in his third NFL season. Still, Vernon pledged to WQAM-Radio that he’s going to get after it in a favorable IDP matchup Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. “You have to be relentless out there man, because you never know when your opportunity is going to come up to make a big play and change the game,” Vernon said. “You have to take that mindset on every snap.”

LINEBACKERS

  1. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. CLE)
  2. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (vs. GB)
  3. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (at CHI)
  4. Curtis Lofton – ILB, NO (vs. ATL)
  5. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (at NO)
  6. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (at HOU)
  7. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (at NYJ)
  8. D’Qwell Jackson – ILB, IND (at DAL)
  9. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (at WAS)
  10. James Laurinaitis – MLB, STL (vs. NYG)

Christian Jones – OLB, CHI (at DET)
The Bears defense has been an injury-ravaged dumpster fire in 2014, but those injuries have meant significant playing time for Jones. According to John Mullin of CSN Chicago, head coach Marc Trestman thinks Jones has made the most of those opportunities. “He’s stepping up,” said Trestman. “He’s running to the football. You can see the growth in practice; the learning curve is getting much better. But he’s part of this young group of guys that we have that are getting opportunities and making the most out of them.”

Perry Riley – ILB, WAS (vs. PHI)
The Washington Redskins are a team littered with disappointments, and to be frank for most of the season Riley has been among them. However, there’s also no denying that Riley’s statistical production has spiked since Keenan Robinson got hurt, to the tune of 20 total tackles over the past two weeks. This week’s matchup with the Eagles isn’t especially favorable, but if Robinson sits again (and there’s no reason for Washington to rush him back) Riley’s a good bet for IDP LB2 production that can probably be had on the cheap.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (vs. MIN)
  2. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (at MIA)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (vs. BUF)
  4. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (at TB)
  5. Barry Church – SS, DAL (vs. IND)
  6. T.J. McDonald – SS, STL (vs. NYG)
  7. Kemal Ishmael – SS, ATL (at NO)
  8. Bradley McDougald – SS, TB (vs. GB)
  9. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (at CHI)
  10. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (at SF)

Bashaud Breeland – CB, WAS (vs. PHI)
There exists in the realm of IDP something known as the “Rookie Corner Rule.” Simply put, rookie cornerbacks sometimes see a spike in fantasy football because NFL quarterbacks like to make them cry. Breeland has been the poster child for this rule in 2014, and the former Clemson standout has posted big numbers more than once this season when the matchup was right. Well, Saturday’s matchup with an Eagles team giving up the most fantasy points to defensive backs is about as right as it gets.

George Wilson – SS, TEN (at JAX)
Wilson, who was pressed into the starting lineup when Bernard Pollard was lost for the season, has been riding a hot streak of late, ranking inside DB1 territory over the past three weeks. This week Wilson and the Titans face a Jaguars squad that’s been surprisingly kind to opposing defensive backs. As in top-five in fantasy points allowed to the position kind. Just please, for the love of God, don’t actually watch the game. I like you too much to ask you to do that.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

IDP Insight – Week 15: Ho Ho Ho, Your Top 10 DL, LB, DB

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
I didn't picture Gary as the Clark Griswold of Christmas, but he appears to fit the bill. Oh, and apparently he isn't done decorating yet.

I didn’t picture Gary as a Clark Griswold of Christmas, but he appears to fit the bill. Oh, and apparently he isn’t done decorating yet.

The 2014 NFL season has entered its final month, and just as families far and wide are putting the finishing touches on their Christmas lights (that picture doesn’t do ours justice, and I’m not even finished yet) fantasy owners in “standard” leagues are putting the finishing touches on what they hope will be a championship run.

Of course, that isn’t the case in Weekly IDP leagues such as the ones at Fantasy Throwdown. Here, every week is Christmas – a season in and of itself.

With that in mind, let’s cast a fresh set of eyes toward Week 15. Sure, our standard teams may have come nowhere near the postseason, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still find some holiday joy, by using these top-10 rankings and under the radar IDP plays to propel us to fantasy glory.

You know, if I’m going to ham-fistedly jam holiday references into this article, I ought to try to get some sort of corporate sponsorship. A nice big retail chain, maybe those light-up animal pillows.

This week’s IDP Throwdown is sponsored by Chia Pet.

[Editor’s note: like this?]

Yeah, that could work.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (at IND)
  2. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (vs. ARI)
  3. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (vs. GB)
  4. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at SD)
  5. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (at DET)
  6. Rob Ninkovich – DE, NE (vs. MIA)
  7. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (at STL)
  8. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (vs. WAS)
  9. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at NE)
  10. Cameron Jordan – DE, NO (at CHI)

Jurrell Casey – DE, TEN (vs. NYJ)
After amassing 10.5 sacks last season for the Titans, Casey’s numbers are down in that department in his first year as a 3-4 defensive end. However, solid tackle numbers (59 stops so far this season) have helped the fourth-year pro maintain a degree of IDP value. With that said, there’s a good chance Casey will get to the quarterback this week against a New York Jets team allowing the second-most fantasy points to defensive linemen in 2014.

Damontre Moore – DE, NYG (vs. WAS)
With both Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers landing on injured reserve, Moore saw his most extensive snaps of the season last week, piling up a pair of sacks in the process. Moore told Tom Canavan of The Associated Press, “Anytime an opportunity presented itself in the past, I’ve taken advantage of it. I’ve been waiting for it a long time. I’m just waiting to step up.” Moore will get another chance to step up at home in Week 15, when the Giants host a Washington team that’s been kind to defensive linemen stats in 2014.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (at SEA)
  2. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. TB)
  3. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (at CAR)
  4. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (vs. MIN)
  5. Bobby Wagner – MLB, SEA (vs. SF)
  6. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (vs. DAL)
  7. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (vs. JAX)
  8. Chad Greenway – OLB, MIN (at DET)
  9. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (vs. PIT)
  10. Curtis Lofton – ILB, NO (at CHI)

Danny Lansanah – OLB, TB (at CAR)
With first Lavonte David and now Mason Foster on the shelf, Lansanah has been forced into a three-down role the past few weeks. As Pat Yasinskas of ESPN reports, head coach Lovie Smith said that this week’s top-five IDP matchup with the Carolina Panthers could go a long way toward determining the third-year pro’s future with the team. “We’ll find out more these next three weeks, like we found out more about him each week he’s played,” Smith said. “I’ll just say he’s a player that’s a part of the foundation we’re building.”

Vincent Rey – OLB, CIN (at CLE)
The injury-marred fiasco that is Vontaze Burfict‘s 2014 season came to a fitting end last week, with the second-year pro landing on injured reserve thanks to his supposedly “minor” knee scope. If there’s a silver lining to Burfict’s injury it’s that IDP owners who have been rolling out his replacement in Rey have a clear path for the rest of the year, including this week’s favorable fantasy matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (at BUF)
  2. Barry Church – SS, DAL (at PHI)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (at KC)
  4. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (at NE)
  5. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (at DET)
  6. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (vs. DEN)
  7. Rashad Johnson – FS, AZ (at STL)
  8. Jonathan Cyprien – SS, JAX (at BAL)
  9. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (vs. MIN)
  10. Antrel Rolle – FS, NYG (vs. WAS)

Ryan Mundy – SS, CHI (vs. NO)
Just like Major Wright before him, Mundy has been a mess at the back of the Chicago defense this year. But just like Wright, Mundy has been putting up fantasy numbers, to the tune of 10th among defensive backs in Fantasy Throwdown scoring this season. There’s little reason to think Mundy won’t be among the top 10 fantasy options again this week, as the New Orleans Saints are surrendering the ninth-most fantasy points to defensive backs in 2014.

J.J. Wilcox – FS, DAL (at PHI)
Barry Church may get all the ink, but Wilcox has quietly emerged as a viable IDP option – when the matchup is right. Well, the matchup doesn’t get a whole lot better than Sunday night’s showdown in Philly against an Eagles team that’s giving up the most fantasy points to defensive backs this year. When the two teams met on Thanksgiving in Dallas, Wilcox finished third on the team with 10 total tackles.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

IDP Insight – Week 14: No Fantasy Playoffs? No Problem! Get Your IDP Fix

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

The weekly IDP games offered here at Fantasy Throwdown are great fun for fantasy football enthusiasts, whether it’s September or December. However, at this time of year weekly play offers another benefit to fantasy owners.

In many “standard” leagues, Week 14 brings with it the beginning of the fantasy playoffs. That’s great for the teams who advanced to the postseason, but fantasy owners who struggled through a disappointing 2014 campaign are left out in the cold.

Weekly fantasy football leagues offer those fantasy freaks one final fix before the long, dark offseason sets in. It doesn’t matter that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict couldn’t stay on the field this season, or that Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen was a massive disappointment in his first year in the Windy City.

In weekly leagues, each new week brings with it chances for redemption and/or glory (not to mention the possibility of making a few bucks).

So, whether you’re looking to shake off the funk from a season gone awry or add another “trophy” to an imaginary mantle already brimming with them, here’s a look at both the top 10 IDP plays at each position in Week 14 and some matchup plays who could afford great value late in your Fantasy Throwdown drafts.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (at JAX)
  2. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (vs. BUF)
  3. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (at WAS)
  4. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (vs. NYJ)
  5. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (at TEN)
  6. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (vs. BAL)
  7. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (vs. KC)
  8. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (at DEN)
  9. Carlos Dunlap – DE, CIN (vs. PIT)
  10. Cameron Jordan – DE, NO (vs. CAR)

Desmond Bryant – DE, CLE (vs. IND)
As Matthew Florjancic of WKYC-TV reports, to hear Bryant tell it he’s been slacking of late. “I can’t speak for everybody,” Bryant said, “but our mentality, for me, I’ve come out kind of flat in the beginning of games and kind of picked it up later in the games. (I’ve) got to build that fire all week.” Bryant’s self-criticism aside, the reality is that over the past month the sixth-year veteran has quietly posted 25 total tackles, three sacks, and top-10 fantasy numbers in Fantasy Throwdown scoring.

Damontre Moore – DE, NYG (at TEN)
With defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers both landing on injured reserve, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin conceded to Steve Serby of The New York Post that Moore will see additional playing time moving forward. “Guys who come along,” Coughlin said, “who have a chance at this point of the season to perform, to play, and they go into games and have an opportunity to participate at this level when, perhaps they had no snaps coming in before. Now they’re gonna get snaps, and they have a chance to prove their ability.” That opportunity to prove himself this week comes against a banged up Titans’ offensive line that’s had all sorts of problems protecting rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger of late.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (at NO)
  2. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (vs. TB)
  3. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (vs. SEA)
  4. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (at OAK)
  5. Jelani Jenkins – OLB, MIA (vs. BAL)
  6. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (at DET)
  7. Paul Worrilow – iLB, ATL (at GB)
  8. Chad Greenway – OLB, MIN (vs. NYJ)
  9. Sio Moore – OLB, OAK (vs. SF)
  10. Bobby Wagner – MLB, SEA (at PHI)

Vincent Rey – OLB, CIN (vs. PIT)
Although the Cincinnati Bengals continue to insist that Burfict is “day-to-day,” they’ve been saying that for a month now, and Burfict now hasn’t practiced (much less played in a game) since hurting his knee in October. There are now grumblings from the Queen City that the second-year pro may not play again this year, at least in the regular season. That means that for the foreseeable future Vincent Rey is locked into an every-down role, including this Sunday against a Pittsburgh Steelers team allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to linebackers in 2014.

Avery Williamson – ILB, TEN (vs. NYG)
IDP owners who rolled Williamson out last week against the Houston Texans were left holding the bag, as despite playing every defensive snap in a favorable fantasy matchup the rookie managed only an assist and a pass defensed. It was a disappointing outing to be sure, but Week 14 sets up well as a shot at redemption for Williamson. The Titans host the New York Giants Sunday, and to this point in the 2014 season no team has allowed more fantasy points to linebackers than Big Blue.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (vs. ATL)
  2. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (vs. SF)
  3. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (vs. NE)
  4. Barry Church – SS, DAL (at CHI)
  5. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (vs. NYJ)
  6. Jonathan Cyprien – SS, JAX (vs. HOU)
  7. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (vs. BAL)
  8. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (vs. TB)
  9. Kam Chancellor – SS, SEA (at PHI)
  10. Antrel Rolle – SS, NYG (at TEN)

Ryan Mundy – SS, CHI (vs. DAL)
Mundy is having a very similar season to the one turned in by his predecessor (Major Wright) a year ago. Much like Wright last year, Mundy has struggled from an NFL perspective, ranking 57th among safeties according to Pro Football Focus. However, much like Wright, Mundy has been solid from an IDP standpoint, ranking eighth among defensive backs in fantasy points. Mundy has thrown up big stat lines in three of the last four games, and there’s a good chance the 29-year-old makes it four weeks in five in a top-five IDP matchup with the Dallas Cowboys Thursday night.

Richard Sherman – CB, SEA (at PHI)
Sherman is the poster boy for the disconnect between “NFL good” and “IDP good” at the cornerback position. He’s a phenomenal football player, but the fact is that’s it hard to rack up fantasy points if opponents won’t throw in your direction. With that said, Sherman is coming off a two-interception effort against the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving, and no team in the NFL has allowed more fantasy points to defensive backs in Fantasy Throwdown scoring this season than the Philadelphia Eagles.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

IDP Insight – Week 13: Happy Thanksgiving and Turkey Day IDP Stars

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

We have much to be thankful for in IDP leagues this year.

We’ve seen studs like linebackers Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers and Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who is sadly nursing a sore hammy and questionable for Week 13) post the big numbers we expected. Youngsters like Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen and Washington Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson have exceeded expectations and then some.

And Chris Borland? Don’t even get me started on Chris Borland.

However, most importantly of all we have friends and family who haven’t had us committed for pursuing our little hobby with a passion that (for some) borders on the maniacal.

Of course, they may enjoy all that time off they get from having to actually talk to us from September to December. That’s possible, too.

In any event, Happy Thanksgiving!

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (vs. TEN)
  2. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at NYJ)
  3. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (at JAX)
  4. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (at ATL
  5. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at KC)
  6. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (vs. CLE)
  7. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (vs. OAK)
  8. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (vs. CAR)
  9. Rob Ninkovich – DE, NE (at GB)
  10. Olivier Vernon – DE, MIA (at NYJ)

Jared Allen – DE, CHI (at DET)
We’re going all- Turkey Day with our “under-the-radar” picks this week. With Allen that’s apt, because for most of the year he’s been a big fat turkey. However, Allen does have seven tackles and a sack over his last two games, and if ever there was a time for him to break out it’s against a Lions team that was having all sorts of problems protecting Matthew Stafford before left tackle Riley Reiff got hurt.

Justin Smith – DE, SF (vs. SF)
Smith finally broke out of a long sackless streak in Week 12, notching his first takedown of a quarterback since Week 2 in the Niners win over the Washington Redskins. Granted, a lone sack doesn’t necessarily spell a rebound, but Smith draws a favorable fantasy matchup this week in their hated rivals from Seattle. The same Seahawks who allowed three sacks to defensive end Calais Campbell a week ago.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (at MIN)
  2. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (vs. SEA)
  3. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (vs. CHI)
  4. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (vs. ARI)
  5. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (vs. SD)
  6. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (at GB)
  7. Bobby Wagner – ILB, SEA (at SF)
  8. Keenan Robinson – ILB, WAS (at IND)
  9. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (at DAL)
  10. Jelani Jenkins – OLB, MIA (at NYJ)

Connor Barwin – OLB, PHI (at DAL)
I will freely admit that I’m generally a huge fan of pass-rushing outside linebackers. However, there’s no denying the impact Barwin has made, both for the Eagles and in Fantasy Throwdown IDP games. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis chalked Barwin’s big year up to increased familiarity with the scheme while speaking with Reuben Frank of CSN Philadelphia. “Really, they got a feel for each other now,” Davis said. “They know who they’re rushing with, what the guy’s strengths and weaknesses [are], what they do well. So I think Connor has just got a second year in the system and second year with his teammates.”

K.J. Wright – OLB, SEA (at SF)
Wright has been manning the middle for the Seahawks with Bobby Wagner sidelined by a toe injury, but with Wagner back in the fold it’s back to the outside for the fourth-year pro. Yes, that switch outside (and Wagner’s return) knocks quite a bit of the meat off Wright’s IDP drumstick. But, all is not lost – in gravy matchups (such as Thursday night’s showdown in San Fran) Wright still maintains more than a little fantasy value.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (vs. NE)
  2. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (vs. CAR)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (at STL)
  4. Jonathan Cyprien – SS, JAX (vs. NYG)
  5. Barry Church – SS, DAL (vs. PHI)
  6. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (at BAL)
  7. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (vs. CHI)
  8. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (at NYJ)
  9. Antrel Rolle – FS, NYG (at JAX)
  10. Rashad Johnson – FS, AZ (at ATL)

Antoine Bethea – SS, San Francisco 49ers (vs. SEA)
On its surface, the 49ers matchup with a Seattle Seahawks team that ranks 30th in fantasy points per game allowed to defensive backs wouldn’t appear to be one that would behoove rolling Bethea out there. Of course, the veteran has been proving people wrong his entire career, including pundits who said Bethea’s fantasy production would fall off a cliff in his new digs in San Francisco this season. What can I say? Hard as it is to believe, I am occasionally wrong.

Kam Chancellor – SS, Seattle Seahawks (at SF)
According to Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times, Chancellor gave an impassioned pre-game speech a week ago that teammate K.J. Wright credited with helping propel the team past the Arizona Cardinals. “It was probably the best one I’ve ever heard in my life,” Wright said. “Usually guys are just talking to talk, but I actually felt him and he just spoke from the heart.” Hopefully Chancellor has another one of those in his hip pocket, because the Seahawks need this win every bit as much as last week’s.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

IDP Insight – Week 12: Can’t Get Enough Chris Borland and Gary Says, “Screw Math”

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
That's right, he said it. Screw math. What, I was going to post another picture of LB Chris Borland this week?

That’s right, he said it. Screw math. What, I was going to post another picture of LB Chris Borland this week?

It’s Chris Borland’s world. We’re all just living in it.

Since the rookie entered the starting lineup for the San Francisco 49ers a few weeks ago, all he’s done is average 16 total tackles a game, pick off two passes, recover a game-clinching fumble and rank as fantasy football’s top linebacker by a staggering margin.

Other than that though, the kid’s done spit.

Borland’s 13 stops and two picks in last week’s win over the New York Giants netted the former Wisconsin standout NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and drew raves from the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah.

“He’s just dripping with instincts,” Jeremiah said. “We like to say in scouting, ‘You really want a linebacker to shoot his gun and make a decision.’ … And he does that.”

Unfortunately, there is but one Borland, so for those of us left sifting through mere mortals for our Week 12 IDP options, here’s a look at the top 10 players at each position and a couple of under-the-radar picks.

Who knows? Maybe one will be the next Chris Borland.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Nominate Gary for the 2014 FSWA Awards.

Nominate Gary for the 2014 FSWA Awards.

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (vs. CIN)
  2. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (at SD)
  3. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (vs. MIA)
  4. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at DEN)
  5. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (vs. NYJ)
  6. Muhammad Wilkerson – DE, NYJ (at BUF)
  7. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (vs. DAL)
  8. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (vs. GB)
  9. Rob Ninkovich – DE, NE (vs. DET)
  10. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (at SEA)

Marcell Dareus – DT, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
Sunday’s Jets-Bills game (which may not be played Sunday thanks to the several feet of snow dumped on Western New York this week) may be light on offensive firepower, but it’s a bonanza on the defensive side. That includes Dareus, who has been propelled to the top spot among defensive tackles in Fantasy Throwdown Scoring by a huge margin with 10 sacks in as many games. Add in a matchup with a Jets team allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to defensive linemen, and both Dareus and end Jerry Hughes are rock-solid fantasy options in Week 12.

Jacquies Smith – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CHI)
Calling Dareus an “under-the-radar” IDP option may be stretching it, but until last week Smith wasn’t even on the radar. However, after racking up a pair of sacks last week against Washington, it’s another story altogether. Head coach Lovie Smith told Pat Yasinskas of ESPN that Smith’s play has earned the 24-year-old journeyman a larger role moving forward. “He has continued to get more plays based on his play,” Smith said. “He’s come a long ways from being cut by the Bills and coming down here and now really being a factor.”

LINEBACKERS

  1. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (at CHI)
  2. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (vs. CLE)
  3. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (vs. WAS)
  4. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (at NE)
  5. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (vs. DET)
  6. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (at NO)
  7. Brandon Marshall – OLB, DEN (vs. MIA)
  8. Chad Greenway – OLB, MIN (vs. GB)
  9. James Laurinaitis – MLB, STL (at SD)
  10. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (vs. TEN)

Christian Kirksey – ILB, Cleveland Browns (at ATL)
In Week 11 Karlos Dansby of the Cleveland Browns became the 28th top 25 linebacker (yes, you heard me – screw math) to get hurt in 2014, suffering an MCL sprain that will cost the veteran a month or more. Dansby insists he might still play against the Atlanta Falcons this week, but the odds of that actually happening are slim. That means full-time roles for Craig Robertson and Christian Kirksey against the Falcons, with the rookie having the higher IDP ceiling as the more dynamic and explosive player of the two.

Vincent Rey – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (at HOU)
Rey has become the equivalent of the best pinch-hitters in baseball – a reserve who would start for more than a few teams across the NFL. Just as he did last year, Rey is putting up big numbers in 2014 in a relief role, this time in place of the injured Vontaze Burfict. In Week 12 that could make Rey a sneaky-great play against the Houston Texans, who have surrendered the most fantasy points per game to linebackers this season.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (at DEN)
  2. Jonathan Cyprien – SS, JAX (at IND)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (vs. KC)
  4. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (vs. GB)
  5. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (at MIN)
  6. Antrel Rolle – FS, NYG (vs. DAL)
  7. Barry Church – SS, DAL (at NYG)
  8. Eric Berry – SS, KC (at OAK)
  9. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (vs. STL)
  10. Antoine Bethea – SS, SF (vs. WAS)

Michael Griffin – FS, Tennessee Titans (at PHI)
Griffin is the poster child for the boom/bust defensive back, and has been throughout his eight-year NFL career. One week Griffin will explode and single-handedly win you a weekly matchup, the next he’ll completely disappear and cost your squad a loss. It makes Griffin a risky play, especially in weekly formats. However, while the 29-year-old may be all over the place Griffin also ranks as a top-five fantasy defensive back in most scoring systems this year, and no team has allowed more fantasy points to the position in 2014 than the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kemal Ishmael – SS, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CLE)
It pays to have a very short memory where defensive backs are concerned in fantasy football. In Week 10, it looked like Kemal Ishmael was falling out of favor in Atlanta, as the second-year pro lost snaps to Dezman Southward. William Moore is off short-term injured reserve and expected to return in Week 13, which could send Ishmael right back to the bench. However, for Week 12 at least Ishmael will be on the field as an every-down player, fresh off a Week 11 performance that saw him finish the week seventh among defensive backs with 12.5 fantasy points in Throwdown Scoring.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

IDP Insight – Week 11: LB Chris Borland Shines for 49ers and Fantasy Owners

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
LB Chris Borland, San Francisco 49ers

“That’s right Drew Brees – I’ve got the ball!” San Francisco 49ers LB Chris Borland is lighting up fantasy scoreboards since taking over for injured Patrick Willis.

2014 may go down in 2014 as the year of the injured linebackers in IDP leagues, but the theme song for the season may be the Ballad of Borland.

Since Patrick Willis went down with an injured toe a few weeks ago, rookie Chris Borland has drawn a pair of starts. All the former Wisconsin star has done in those two starts is rank as fantasy football’s top-scoring linebacker by a sizable margin while piling up an eye-popping 35 total tackles.

Borland’s play drew the praise of head coach Jim Harbaugh, according to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “Fun to watch,” Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said of Borland. “He’s doing a great job. He does have a … he’s got a sense for the ball. I’ve been watching it in practice and you watch it in the games. He’s like a thief in the night. He’s going to get under somebody, get around somebody.”

Now, with Willis on season-ending injured reserve, Borland is locked into the starting lineup and the top 15 among fantasy linebackers. If your opponent in Fantasy Throwdown this week hasn’t kept up on the latest shakeups in San Fran, and the Niners’ tilt with the New York Giants is one of the games you’ll be selecting players from, be sure to snag Borland as one of your IDP starters. You won’t regret it.

Now, let’s take a quick look around the NFL in Week 11, from the top 10 Individual Defensive Players at each of the “major” IDP positions to a couple of under-the-radar plays you can use as late values to give you an edge on the opposition.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Nominate Gary for the 2014 FSWA Awards.

Nominate Gary for the 2014 FSWA Awards.

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (at CLE)
  2. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (vs DEN)
  3. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at STL)
  4. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (vs. BUF)
  5. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (at CHI)
  6. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (at MIA)
  7. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (vs. DET)
  8. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (vs. SF)
  9. Rob Ninkovich – DE, NE (at IND)
  10. Carlos Dunlap – DE, CIN (at NO)

Jerry Hughes – DE, Buffalo Bills (at MIA)
Usually, I’m not a fan of recommending players on “Thursday Night Football.” More often than not, the game is just what you’d expect from tired players on a short turnaround – a slop-filled turd of a football game that results in lousy stat lines. However, Hughes is thriving in his first year as a 4-3 defensive end, with teammate Kyle Williams telling Sal Maiorana of The Democrat and Chronicle “If I had to give a crown to who I thought was playing the best football, I’d give it to Jerry. He’s had a great year.” Throw in a favorable matchup with a Dolphins team that just lost left tackle Branden Albert, and you have the recipe for IDP success.

Jurrell Casey – DE, Tennessee Titans (vs. PIT)
Much like Hughes, Casey is making a positional switch in 2014. For Casey it’s from 4-3 tackle to 3-4 end, but unlike Hughes, Casey told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean that he hasn’t been satisfied with his progress. “For me to have nine games and only have four sacks, to me, personally, I don’t think that’s where I should be at,” Casey said. “That’s not good enough. I should have way more than that,” Casey has an excellent shot at increasing his sack total this week against Pittsburgh. For all the plays Ben Roethlisberger has made over his career by extending the action with his legs, holding the ball that long also means taking a lot of sacks.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Lavonte David – OLB, HOU (at WAS)
  2. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. ATL)
  3. Karlos Dansby – ILB, CLE (vs. HOU)
  4. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (at CAR)
  5. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (at IND)
  6. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (at ARI)
  7. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (at GB)
  8. Lawrence Timmons – ILB, PIT (at TEN)
  9. Chris Borland – ILB, SF (at NYG)
  10. Brandon Marshall – OLB, DEN (at STL)

Josh Mauga – ILB, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. SEA)
Mauga is one of the many reserve linebackers thrust into starting lineups across the NFL this year, thanks to the torn Achilles suffered back in September by star linebacker Derrick Johnson. Mauga has been a capable replacement both in NFL and IDP terms, emerging as a solid (if unspectacular) high-floor IDP LB3. This week the stage is set for even bigger and better things from the 27-year-old. The Seattle Seahawks have been as run-heavy as any team in the NFL of late, and last week that equated to 12 tackles for New York Giants middle linebacker Jameel McClain.

Avery Williamson – ILB, Tennessee Titans (vs. PIT)
Just like Mauga, it was an injury that forced Avery Williamson into the starting lineup in Nashville. However, whereas Mauga has been solid but unspectacular, Williamson has seemingly appeared to get better with every game. Williamson told Wyatt he’s only getting started. “That’s what I want to do every week,” he said.” I want every team to know that Avery Williamson is a legit linebacker — that is my goal until the end of the season. I want every NFL team to know who I am, no matter what the circumstances are.” IDP owners need to know who Williamson is, especially headed into a favorable fantasy matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (at CHI)
  2. Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (vs. PHI)
  3. Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (at SD)
  4. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (vs. BUF)
  5. Antrel Rolle – SS, NYG (vs. SF)
  6. James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (at ARI)
  7. Eric Berry – SS, KC (vs. SEA)
  8. Antoine Bethea – SS, SF (at NYG)
  9. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (vs. OAK)
  10. Donte Whitner – SS, CLE (vs. HOU)

Robert Blanton – SS, Minnesota Vikings (at CHI)
Mind you, in no way is Robert Blanton an elite talent, whether we’re talking NFL or IDP-wise. Blanton’s not in the same “weight class” as batterymate Harrison Smith from a talent standpoint, and he’s not going to post the sort of stat line that will single-handedly win you your Week 11 Fantasy Throwdown matchup. However, the odds of Blanton leaving your team swinging in the breeze are low as well – the 25-year-old has played the most snaps of any defender for the Vikings this year, and only once in 2014 has Blanton failed to notch at least six tackles in a game.

George Iloka – SS, Cincinnati Bengals (at NO)
While highly-drafted young safeties like Kenny Vaccaro of the Saints continue to disappoint, Iloka is quietly becoming a very good NFL safety in his third year in the league. That improved play has equaled improved statistical production as well, with Iloka racking up 13 tackles and an interception over his past two games. That production places Iloka eighth among defensive backs in Fantasy Throwdown Scoring over the past two weeks. Look for that top-10 streak to hit three weeks in a row Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, who rank third in fantasy points per game allowed to defensive backs so far this season.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

DFS For IDP Fantasy Players – Week 10: Cure All (?) For Bye Week and LB Injury Woes

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Looking for help at LB? Cue up the old warhorse, Larry Foote of the, "we haven't skipped a beat with all of the injuries", Arizona Cardinals.

Looking for help at LB this week? Cue up old warhorse, Larry Foote of the, “we haven’t skipped a beat with all of the injuries”, Arizona Cardinals.

It’s just been that kind of year.

I’ll freely confess that in my decade-plus of playing and writing about fantasy football, I’ve never seen anything like the injuries that have ravaged the linebacker position in IDP leagues in 2014.

And the hits just keep on coming. Yet another big name went down for the season in Week 9, when DeMeco Ryans of the Philadelphia Eagles tore his Achilles tendon. It means a bump into IDP LB1 territory for batterymate Mychal Kendricks, but it also leaves IDP owners digging that much deeper to find quality starters.

Of course, it doesn’t help that six teams are on a bye this week, complements of an NFL schedule that looks like it was designed by a nearsighted nine-year-old.

With that in mind, once again in Week 10 we’re dispensing with the pleasantries, cutting out the fluff and getting right to the heart of the matter, by pointing out both the top 10 Individual Defensive Players at each position and some less than obvious IDP options who are set up for solid fantasy production this week.

The best part? Odds are better than not that your opponent won’t be as familiar with these relative unknowns as you are, meaning that you can load up offensively early in your Fantasy Throwdown draft, only to circle back around for the kill by snaring these value picks late.

Well, unless they’ve read this article too.

Crap. Maybe I didn’t think this all the way through.

Oh well. Too late now. Onward and upward!

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (at ARI
  2. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at OAK)
  3. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at DET)
  4. Cameron Jordan – DE, NO (vs. SF)
  5. Carlos Dunlap – DE, CIN (vs. CLE)
  6. Muhammad Wilkerson – DE, NYJ (vs. PIT)
  7. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (at SEA)
  8. Mario Williams – DE, BUF (vs. KC)
  9. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (vs. STL)
  10. Olivier Vernon – DE, MIA (at DET)

Cameron Heyward – DE, Pittsburgh Steelers (at NYJ)
The Pittsburgh defense has generally been something of an IDP wasteland for defensive linemen, as they’re charged less with making plays and more with taking on blockers so the linebackers behind them can clean up. However, Heyward quietly finished just outside the top 25 defensive linemen in Fantasy Throwdown scoring a season ago, and in Week 10 the Steelers draw a New York Jets team that’s third in fantasy points allowed to defensive linemen in 2014.

Cameron Jordan – DE, New Orleans Saints (vs. SF)
In many respects, Jordan doesn’t really fit the mold of an “unknown,” having racked up 12.5 sacks for the Saints a year ago. However, many IDP owners cooled on Jordan after a horrible start to the 2014 campaign. Jordan has shaken off that funk recently, posting seven tackles and three sacks over his past two games. There’s an excellent chance Jordan’s hot streak keeps rolling right along against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, especially after the Niners allowed an eye-popping eight sacks in a loss to the St. Louis Rams in Week 9.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (vs. ATL)
  2. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (at PHI)
  3. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (vs. MIA)
  4. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (vs. TEN)
  5. Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (at TB)
  6. Lawrence Timmons – ILB, PIT (at NYJ)
  7. Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (vs. CAR)
  8. Karlos Dansby – ILB, CLE (at CIN)
  9. James Laurinaitis – MLB, STL (at ARI)
  10. Curtis Lofton – ILB, NO (vs. SF)

Larry Foote – LB, Arizona Cardinals (vs. STL)
The last time the Arizona Cardinals started a season 7-1 was 1974, which was Larry Foote’s third season in the NFL. Kidding aside, Foote has been little more than OK from an IDP perspective in 2014, ranking 49th among fantasy linebackers after nine weeks. However, if ever the table was set for a big game from the old man it’s Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Not only have the Rams allowed the most fantasy points per game to linebackers in 2014, but Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers just lit the Rams up for 15 solos (and 18 total tackles) a week ago.

Jacquian Williams – OLB, New York Giants (at SEA)
Williams 18-tackle outburst against the Indianapolis Colts is a great example of the disconnect between “IDP Good” and “NFL good.” The fourth-year pro’s game looked awesome on the stat sheet, but the fact is Williams made that many tackles only because he was repeatedly abused in coverage. With that said, Williams should have plenty of opportunities to make stops Sunday when the Giants travel to face the Seattle Seahawks, especially if Seattle gets staked to a lead and starts pounding away with Marshawn Lynch on the ground.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Reshad Jones – S, MIA (at DET)
  2. Morgan Burnett – S, GB (vs. CHI)
  3. Charles Woodson – S, OAK (vs. DEN)
  4. Antrel Rolle – S, NYG (at SEA)
  5. Jonathan Cyprien – S, JAX (vs. DAL)
  6. Dawan Landry – S, NYJ (vs. PIT)
  7. James Ihedigbo – S, DET (vs. MIA)
  8. Eric Berry – S, KC (at BUF)
  9. Kenny Vaccaro – S, NO (vs. SF)
  10. Antoine Bethea – S, SF (at NO)

Kemal Ishmael – SS, Atlanta Falcons (at TB)
After the Falcons destroyed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 56-14 back in Week 3, Ishmael told Vaughn McClure of ESPN, “The sky’s the limit with this defense. We have so much talent on this defense. It’s crazy how much talent we have. We just have to go out there and make the plays.” Of course, since that win the Falcons haven’t won a game, in large part because that defense hasn’t been making those plays. Still, Ishmael took a Josh McCown interception to the house when the teams played in Atlanta, and guess who just got named the starting quarterback for the Buccaneers in Week 10?

Major Wright – SS, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. ATL)
After the Buccaneers traded Mark Barron to the St. Louis Rams last week, Wright was inserted into the starting lineup as his replacement. Head coach Lovie Smith lauded Wright’s 13-tackle effort in last week’s loss to Cleveland while talking to Matt Baker of The Tampa Bay Times. “Major Wright had a good game,” Smith said. “He was one of the guys that really played well for us.” IDP owners will take 13 stops all day long and twice on Sunday, and this week’s matchup with the Falcons is a favorable one.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

DFS For IDP Fantasy Players – Week 9: Top 10 Plus Pair of Sleeper Picks By Position

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Bye Week from Hell Edition

The people who devise the NFL schedule either don’t play fantasy football or are Grade-A buttheads. It’s the only way to explain a schedule that featured a six-team bye, followed by a fistful of two-team byes, followed by two straight six-team byes. It makes no sense.

Having a pair of six-team byes just as the stretch run for the fantasy playoffs begins has many IDP owners using language a lot more colorful than what I kicked off this article with. Granted, the impact isn’t as severe in weekly formats such as Fantasy Throwdown, but it still leaves us a shallower pool of games (and players) to choose from.

With that in mind, we’re going to change things up a bit in this column over the next two weeks. Rather than breakdown a couple games and a few players, we’re going in whole-hog on the Under-the-Radar All-Stars by featuring a larger number than usual of less-than-household names who could be set for big things in IDP leagues in Week 9.

Throw in a Top 10 at each of the “major” IDP positions, and hopefully we can get through this dark and scary time together.

Hold me.

Not there. Geez. At least buy a guy dinner first. Pervert.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (vs. PHI)
  2. Carlos Dunlap – DE, CIN (vs. JAC)
  3. Robert Quinn – DE, STL (at SF)
  4. Muhammad Wilkerson – DE, NYJ (at KC)
  5. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (vs. IND)
  6. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (vs. SD)
  7. DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at NE)
  8. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (vs WAS)
  9. Olivier Vernon – DE, MIA (vs. SD)
  10. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (at DAL)

Wallace Gilberry – DE, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAC)
Gilberry cane out of the gate strong this year, recording 1.5 sacks in Week 1. The problem is, the 29-year-old hasn’t registered one since. If ever there was a week for Gilberry to break out of that funk this is it. The Jaguars have done a God-awful job of protecting Chad Henne and/or Blake Bortles this year, allowing an eye-popping 33 sacks over the season’s first eight games.

Jason Hatcher – DE, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
After parlaying 11 sacks last year into a free-agent contract with Washington, Hatcher’s numbers are way down in his ninth NFL season. However, there’s a good chance for a rebound from Hatcher in the Twin Cities Sunday, as the Minnesota Vikings have given up both the second most sacks and the second-most fantasy points to defensive linemen in Fantasy Throwdown scoring in 2014.

LINEBACKERS

  1. Lavonte David – OLB, TB (at CLE)
  2. Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. NO)
  3. C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (at PIT)
  4. DeMeco Ryans – ILB, PHI (at HOU)
  5. Lawrence Timmons – ILB, PIT (vs. BAL)
  6. Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (vs. DEN)
  7. Karlos Dansby – ILB, CLE (vs. TB)
  8. James Laurinaitis – MLB, STL (at SF)
  9. Keenan Robinson – ILB, WAS (at MIN)
  10. D’Qwell Jackson – ILB, IND (at NYG)

Jameel McClain – MLB, New York Giants (vs. IND)
The Giants officially placed middle linebacker Jon Beason on injured reserve Wednesday, which means that McClain will kick inside and play in all subpackages for the rest of the season. That’s especially good news for IDP owners this week, as the Indianapolis Colts have been a fantasy goldmine for inside linebackers this season.

Vincent Rey – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAC)
With both Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict set to miss Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, Rey will be locked into an every-down role against a Jaguars team allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to linebackers. In Week 7, Rey turned a similar role in a similarly favorable fantasy matchup into 16 total tackles against the aforementioned Colts.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (vs. SD)
  2. Eric Weddle – FS, SD (at MIA)
  3. Jonathan Cyprien – SS, JAX (at CIN)
  4. Charles Woodson – FS, OAK (at SEA)
  5. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (vs. WAS)
  6. Rashad Johnson – FS, AZ (at DAL)
  7. Dawan Landry – SS, NYJ (at KC)
  8. Kenny Vaccaro – SS, NO (at CAR)
  9. Antrel Rolle – SS, NYG (vs. IND)
  10. Barry Church – SS, DAL (vs. ARI)

Kendrick Lewis – FS, HOU (vs. PHI)
Big things were expected of Houston safety D.J. Swearinger in his second NFL season, but while Swearinger has specialized in blown coverages and stupid penalties, it’s Lewis who has quietly posted top-12 fantasy numbers among defensive backs. There’s no reason to think that won’t continue in Week 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles, who have surrendered the most fantasy points per game to defensive backs in 2014.

Brandon Meriweather – SS, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
Meriweather was one of the IDP heroes of Week 9, at least for those lucky enough to have started the 30-year-old. Granted, no defensive back is going to post two sacks two weeks in a row, but Meriweather now has three sacks and two forced fumbles to go along with solid tackle production. That bodes well against the Vikings, who don’t take care of the ball any better than they pass protect.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

DFS For IDP Fantasy Players – Week 8: No Surprise, Another Top LB Injured

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny sustained a torn pectoral muscle in Sunday's win over Cleveland and will be out the rest of the season.

As if the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t in bad enough shape as it is, they lost their defensive leader, LB Paul Posluszny, for the season last week with a torn pectoral muscle.

Injuries are a fact of life in football, whether it’s the NFL or the hobby we all enjoy so much. It’s a violent sport played by very large men in suits of armor crashing into one another as hard as they can. Guys are going to get hurt.

Still, when Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle last week, it continued a staggering rash of injuries that have ravaged the linebacker spot dating all the way back to training camp.

Of the Top 20 fantasy linebackers by virtue of Average Draft Position at My Fantasy League in 2014, 11 have either missed multiple games, are injured now or have been ruled out for the remainder of the season. That’s over 50 percent.

Needless to say, these injuries have had a massive impact on IDP leagues. In “standard” fantasy formats they have left teams scrambling to the waiver wire, sometimes to replace their entire starting lineup.

In Fantasy Throwdown, it means that knowing which rocks to turn over in what games to unearth hidden defensive gems can make the difference between a win and a loss.

With that in mind, let’s get to it – before someone else gets hurt.

GAMES OF THE WEEK

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars
I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t been drinking. Yes, the Dolphins and Jaguars aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts, and at first glance there doesn’t appear to be a ton of IDP talent either. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find some very nice under-the-radar IDP options, from Miami linebacker Jelani Jenkins to Jacksonville defensive end Chris Clemons. The Dolphins and Jaguars have also both been extremely generous to defensive players in 2014. Both teams rank in the Top 10 in fantasy points allowed to IDPs (Fantasy Throwdown scoring), and the Jaguars lead the NFL both in sacks allowed and in fantasy points surrendered to IDPs.

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints
Nothing beats having a player or two starting for your fantasy team in the week’s primetime tilts. One last player to cheer for. One last chance at that miracle comeback. Not only does Sunday night’s big duel in the Big Easy meet that end, but there’s IDP talent at every level of the defense, including two of fantasy football’s top defensive backs in Kenny Vaccaro of the Saints and Morgan Burnett of the Packers. Throw in a pair of high-octane offenses capable of both long, sustained drives and quick scores and you have the recipe for fat stat lines on both sides of the ball.

Now that we’ve looked at a couple of games that should interest fantasy owners in Fantasy Throwdown IDP games in Week 8, let’s start flipping over rocks and see if we can’t unearth a potential “sleeper” play or two.

No-Name All-Stars

DEFENSIVE LINE

Olivier Vernon – DE, Miami Dolphins
Batterymate Cameron Wake may get all the headlines, but Vernon’s hardly chopped liver himself. Yes, the third-year pro threw up the dreaded IDP doughnut in Week 7, but the week before Vernon tallied 7 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. That latter stat line is much more likely this week against the Jaguars, who have allowed the most sacks in the National Football League (29) in 2014 by a sizable margin.

LINEBACKER

Josh Mauga – ILB, Kansas City Chiefs
Mauga was thrust into the starting lineup for the Chiefs by the season-ending Achilles’ injury suffered by Pro Bowler Derrick Johnson back in September. Mauga, who leads the team in tackles heading into a matchup with a St. Louis Rams team giving up the second-most fantasy points per game to linebackers this year, told Matt Conner of SB Nation that starting has been an adjustment, but he has the hang of it now. “Each week,” Mauga said, “I feel I’ve gotten more comfortable and used to being on the field a lot more. I feel great.”

DEFENSIVE BACK

James Ihedigbo – SS, Detroit Lions
As Justin Rogers of MLive.com reported, after the Lions came back to defeat the New Orleans Saints in Week 7, Ihedigbo chided fans who left Ford Field early. “You know, people had the nerve to leave the stadium,” Ihedigbo said. “You’ve got to understand the type of football team you have here. You never leave the stadium. Never. We’re always going to fight and be resilient and we showed that today.” Meanwhile, I’m here to chide those who haven’t noticed that only two defensive backs have more fantasy points over the past four weeks than Ihedigbo.

FLEX

Jelani Jenkins – OLB, Miami Dolphins
According to Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report, Jenkins has been a revelation for the Dolphins in 2014. “If Jenkins can continue his ascension and high-level play,” Wharton said, “he can be a solid building block moving into the next decade. For an organization that’s been plagued by mediocrity, Jenkins represents hope that the future will be brighter.” Jenkins has also been something of a revelation for IDP owners. Despite cooling off the past two weeks, Jenkins still ranks among the Top 20 fantasy linebackers, and a tilt this week with a Jaguars squad allowing the most fantasy points per game to linebackers this year should help the second-year pro shake off his recent mini-slump.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.

Daily Fantasy Sports For IDP Fantasy Football Players – Week 7: When To Draft IDPs

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Luke Kuechly of the Panthers in action during the regular season play between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. September 7, 2014; Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

Draft Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly or your RB2 next? Gary gives some guidelines when to pull the trigger on your IDP picks.

If there’s one question I get asked more than any other (except maybe, “are you Brad Pitt?”) it has to be, “when should I start drafting IDPs?”

It’s a loaded question, and one that can have very different answers depending on a particular league’s scoring and lineup requirements. However, for those of you planning to incorporate individual defensive players into your Fantasy Throwdown games, here’s a general rule of thumb.

The same fantasy points scoring used for Fantasy Throwdown is used for the player stats at DraftBuddy.com. This allowed me to examine last year’s top fantasy options in this scoring.

The top scoring defensive player of 2013, Karlos Dansby (then of the Arizona Cardinals), tallied 196.5 fantasy points. That would have ranked Dansby just inside the top 20 at running back using PPR scoring.

So, you can guesstimate that the fantasy value of an elite linebacker (such as Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers) in this scoring is that of a mid-level fantasy RB2. Players a bit farther down the list (such as St. Louis Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree) would have value comparable to a “flex” option.

There are, of course, exceptions. For instance, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt ranked as the top overall IDP two years ago, and ranks number one in point per game this year (minimum two games). His overall production is similar to Dansby’s.

But, much like Jimmy Graham‘s dominance of tight ends, the gap between Watt and the number two ranked defensive lineman is staggering. That added edge at his position bumps his value, to the point that Watt merits a look early in Throwdown drafts, perhaps even in the first two rounds.

Defensive backs, on the other hand, should be waited on. It’s a ridiculously deep and unpredictable position in fantasy football. Play your cards right and identify the proper matchup plays, and you can wait until the end of your Throwdown draft and still acquire defensive backs capable of generating a solid box score.

With that said, the point of all this is simple – don’t overpay for your IDPs. You can wait, grab running backs and receivers (and maybe even a quarterback) and then hit the defense without digging a hole. It’s partly to do with a solid amount of depth at the linebacker and defensive back spots, and partly a function of knowing how IDPs compare to their offensive brethren.

Now that you know (in a very broad-strokes sense) when to draft your IDPs, let’s look at which games and players to target in Fantasy Throwdown for Week 7.

Games of the Week

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams

Granted, this game would be quite a bit more appetizing if Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner wasn’t battling turf toe, but even if Wagner misses the game there’s plenty to like IDP-wise. Not only do both of these teams feature more than a little fantasy-relevant talent, but both teams have also been kind to opposing individual defensive players. Both the Rams and Seahawks rank inside the top 10 in fantasy points per game allowed to linebackers, and no team has allowed more fantasy points per game to IDPs overall in Fantasy Throwdown scoring in 2014 than the Rams.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Admittedly, this game is a little light on the pass-rushers, with New York’s Jason Pierre-Paul easily the top option available. However, the Giants and Cowboys are top 12 fantasy matchups for both linebackers and defensive backs in 2014. Even better, in players such as linebackers Jon Beason of the Giants and Rolando McClain of the Cowboys, and safeties like New York’s Antrel Rolle and Dallas’ Barry Church, the teams have talent capable of taking advantage of those favorable matchups.

Now that we’ve hit the when and the where of Fantasy Throwdown IDP drafts in Week 7, let’s put some lipstick on this pig with a look at some under-the-radar players who are set for big things this week.

No-Name All-Stars

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN

Everson Griffen – DE, Minnesota Vikings (at BUF)
Griffen’s been riding something of a hot streak of late, with eight total tackles and a pair of sacks over his last two games. The 26-year-old has an excellent shot at keeping that positive momentum going this week, as the Bills have allowed the most fantasy points per game to defensive linemen this year in the NFL.

LINEBACKER

Vincent Rey – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (at IND)
This is something of a conditional add, but if both Emmanuel Lamur and Rey Maualuga miss Sunday’s big game in Indy (a real possibility) then that means a three-down role at middle linebacker for Rey in a top five IDP matchup with the Colts. The last time Rey had that gig, over a three-game stretch in 2013, he was the top scoring linebacker in all of fantasy football.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Quintin Demps – SS, New York Giants (at DAL)
Demps has played well since taking over for the ineffective Stevie Brown, with the 29-year-old telling Dan Graziano of ESPN, “It’s an opportunity for me, so I just take advantage of the chance to be the best I can be for this team and go from there.” This week, Demps represents an excellent opportunity for IDP owners as well, as the Cowboys have been very generous to opposing defensive backs in 2014.

FLEX

K.J. Wright – OLB, Seattle Seahawks (at STL)
As we stated earlier, Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is questionable for Sunday’s matchup with the Rams after injuring his toe last week against the Cowboys. If Wagner can’t go, Wright will kick inside against a Rams team allowing the most fantasy points per game to linebackers this year. Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton told Clare Farnsworth of the team’s website he trusts Wright to get the job done. “K.J. is a guy that we know is very capable of stepping in and doing a fantastic job,” Norton said. Should Wagner miss the game, IDP owners should trust Wright in Week 7 as well.

 
Have a question regarding a specific player or game? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll do my best to help!


Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report, a Contributing Author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America. Gary’s work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio, and he was a finalist for the FSWA Web Article of the Year in 2013.