By: Gary VanDyke II @HBogart27
We will enter the realm of defensive players with favorable or “not so” favorable matchups with this weekly article going forward. While covering the big names as well as a few not so big named players each week. All of it based more on the player’s matchups and potential to succeed or not in whichever particular week the NFL may be in.
“FFD260 IDP: In/Out of the Huddle” – Week 9
Cincinnati Linebacker Nick Vigil has a better than solid matchup this week facing a Jacksonville run game that has contributed to them allowing top ten range in points allowed to linebackers. He is more than just an every-down player as he has barely come off the field this season. Cincinnati is one of the couple teams that a strong side linebacker is put into position constantly to make plays. Vigil basically moves inside next to Burfict on passing down sending whoever is the middle linebacker to the sideline. His skill set may not be as top notch as Burfict’s but he is a solid tackler and can cover when called on. With the way that Jaguars secondary and linebackers are set up, and with the Bengals struggling this year on offense, Vigils opportunities should be plentiful as the Jaguars use the run game to control the momentum of the game. If you own him he should be in your huddle.
Philadelphia Linebacker Mychal Kendricks recently replaced Jordan Hicks after Hicks was sent to IR for a torn Achilles. The Broncos have been allowing top ten points allowed to linebackers and with him receiving 80% of the snap counts last week he’ll thrive in Week 9. Bradham has not quite played to the level he had last year so there should be plenty of opportunities for Kendricks to get a nice share of those points allowed. Kendricks originally wanted out of Philadelphia via a trade request, that never happened. He has a potential “out” clause in his pricy contract for 2018 and you know he has to feel like the rest of this season is an audition for next season and any suitors. He should be in your huddle this week.
Los Angeles Rams Linebacker Alec Ogletree hasn’t produced this year as that projected top-tier linebacker that all of us expected before the season. His transition to the 3-4 base defense hasn’t translated into anything special as far as fantasy purposes. That’ll continue this week as the Rams travel cross-country to the Big Apple to take on the New York Giants. Eli and company are a hot mess and there’s no indication that’ll benefit Ogletree in this matchup. They rank in the bottom third of allowing points to linebackers with no type of real run game. Basically, with Ogletree manning the middle, he’ll watch his fellow defensive lineman and outside linebackers stop the Giants running backs from making it even near the second level. Or he’ll watch the balls fly over his head as Eli forces the ball down the field. In general going forward Ogletree owners have a big problem. It isn’t going to matter that he receives 100% of the snaps on a defense that has a lot of stout players up front and on the edge. It’s clear by now we have seen a top-tier linebacker slip to barely a second tier based solely on a defensive scheme change. Unless he is your only option he shouldn’t be in your huddle this contest.
Los Angeles Rams Defensive lineman Aaron Donald, on the other hand, should feast in the contest in the Big Apple. The Giants are at the other end of the spectrum in allowing points to defensive linemen. The sad state of the offensive lineman, lack of playmakers and Eli Manning’s style of play should ensure that Donald has a great game. This is one of those studs that a fantasy owner should really never bench, to begin with, but this contest is an absolute must be in the huddle as the giants allow top ten points allowed to defensive linemen.
Buffalo Defensive lineman Jerry Hughes has had the opposite happen to his fantasy production with a D scheme change that Ogletree is going through. I personally did a “take” article on him back in the offseason about how Hughes would become a top defensive line play. He hasn’t quite hit the top tier yet but with matchups like he has with the New York Jets coming up, he’ll have a chance to show well this week. The Jets are allowing in or near the top five in points to defensive linemen depending on the scoring scale used to rank. His first time around against the Jets he didn’t show much but this may have had to do with it being the first game of the year in the new 4-3 base scheme. The Jets do not offer any given advantage by saying that can’t run the ball or that their offensive linemen are flat out terrible, but we can conclude that they didn’t make the top ten in points allowed by accident. As long as the Jets stick to the style of play they have over the last few weeks Hughes should be in your huddle.
— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Miami) October 26, 2017
Miami Defensive linemen in general, Suh and Wake included, are not recommended this week, as Oakland has somehow managed to rank dead last in most points allowed to defensive linemen this year. With Suh and Wake both being the “names” on the D line I figured it was as easy to assume they both should be mentioned here. Neither of them are “studs” at this point, and have had their struggles from week to week to stay consistent enough to put in play. Part of the problem may be age or the culture of the team in Miami as it’s being reported as of late. But either way, they shouldn’t be in our huddles when the Raiders come to town.
New York Defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul has an ugly matchup in that contest against the Rams that I have now picked on a couple times above. The Rams are in the bottom third in points allowed and have shown that the new offensive line blocking scheme works as Gurley is running free again this season. I never want to suggest to sit a stud as I say it over and over, but JPP has been shown to be matchup dependent at times and if there are any other options I suggest you do as I’m doing in my flagship league and don’t have him in your huddle. (As a note, I’m inserting the above Jerry Hughes bookend Shaq Lawson and his juicy matchup with the Jets.)
Green Bay Defensive Back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should see one of his better games of the season with the pass-happy Detroit Lions coming to town. Detroit won’t change their playing style just because they head outdoors in the frigid weather in Green Bay. At the moment they simply can’t. The offensive line isn’t adapt to run blocking and the running backs are better off catching passes out of the backfield from Stafford. The lions are in the top ten of points allowed and when they leave the confines of their dome things tend to go poorly at times. Ha Ha plays the deep field at free safety mostly and with the Packer’s cornerbacks being a bit of a weak spot he finds himself busy more often than not in matchups such as this. He should be in your huddle most weak, but this could be an extra special contest this matchup.
Arizona Defensive Back Tyvon Branch has been a pleasant surprise for his fantasy owners but has taken a bit f dip in production on the field since Bucannon has returned to the lineup. In this matchup with the 9ers, he should bounce back nicely. San Francisco has managed to hang around the fifth spot in points allowed to Safeties with a somewhat balanced attack with the run and pass games. Branch plays a sort of hybrid role of a Strong Safety and Linebacker for Arizona and the 9ers actually hover right outside the top ten in points allowed to Linebackers also. On paper this makes a must play for his owners to have in their huddle.
Baltimore Defensive Back Eric Weddle vs. the Tennessee Titans should be avoided this week. The Titans are relying on a heavy run game and the result is that free safeties and cornerbacks haven’t had much of a chance to produce on the field well. Weddle is the free safety which has the slight edge over the cornerbacks as the Titans rank in the upper part of the bottom third of teams allowing points to safeties. As for the cornerbacks, they are ranked in the bottom three. With Weddle trolling the deep center field this combination makes him unlikely to get a share of production unless the Baltimore front seven defenders break down and allow the long runs that Weddle possibly can grab some “scraps”. He shouldn’t come near your fantasy team’s huddles this week.
***Disclaimer: No matter my take or reasoning put forth is it a good idea to sit a stud. A “stud” is called a stud for a reason. These are intended to possible help choose between top tier to lower tier players, bye week help and possibly even up and coming players. And I’ll always suggest a quick look at our “easy charts” for a deeper look into the start/sit for all IDPs when needing to make a choice. Go to our IDP main page and look at the Weekly cart updates. We are basically using that same info for the sake of the following “takes”.