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.
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.
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.
- J.J. Watt – DE, HOU (vs. BAL)
- Robert Quinn – DE, STL (vs. NYG)
- Chandler Jones – DE, NE (at NYJ)
- Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (vs. MIN)
- Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG (at STL)
- Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (vs. SEA)
- DeMarcus Ware – DE, DEN (at CIN)
- Mario Williams – DE, BUF (at OAK)
- Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (at MIA)
- 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.”
- Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. CLE)
- Lavonte David – OLB, TB (vs. GB)
- DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET (at CHI)
- Curtis Lofton – ILB, NO (vs. ATL)
- Paul Worrilow – ILB, ATL (at NO)
- C.J. Mosley – ILB, BAL (at HOU)
- Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (at NYJ)
- D’Qwell Jackson – ILB, IND (at DAL)
- Mychal Kendricks – ILB, PHI (at WAS)
- 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.
- Reshad Jones – SS, MIA (vs. MIN)
- Harrison Smith – FS, MIN (at MIA)
- Charles Woodson – SS, OAK (vs. BUF)
- Morgan Burnett – SS, GB (at TB)
- Barry Church – SS, DAL (vs. IND)
- T.J. McDonald – SS, STL (vs. NYG)
- Kemal Ishmael – SS, ATL (at NO)
- Bradley McDougald – SS, TB (vs. GB)
- James Ihedigbo – SS, DET (at CHI)
- 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.