Streaming IDP options for Week 11 of the fantasy season
Week 10 was another week of missed opportunities. Our lineman, Tyrone Crawford, faced an Atlanta offense that was quite efficient and, therefore, didn’t have to pass much. Matt Ryan attempted only 29 passes, his second-lowest total of the season and Crawford ended the day with one tackle. Linebacker Will Compton played only 32 snaps before a Lisfranc injury knocked him out of the game and the season. Linebacker Connor Barwin had four quarterback pressures on Texans quarterback Tom Savage but couldn’t quite finish the job and take him down. Even our lock of the week, Tre’Davious White ran into bad luck, squaring off against Drew Brees who threw the least amount of times this season with 25 pass attempts. Luckily, he was able to manage four tackles and a pass defended. Our other defensive back salvaged our day with 49ers safety/linebacker/etc Eric Reid with eight tackles, a pass defended and a fumble recovery.
So with that, we move on to Week 11 where, mercifully, we have one last week of byes. So whether your stud linebacker is off this week or you have one of the many NFL players who have suffered a significant injury, you’ll be streaming this week. Let’s see what we have.
A spate of injuries to the Texans defensive line, including All-Pro J.J. Watt, has pushed second- and third-stringers into significant playing time. First there was lineman Christian Covington who graded out well with PFF including being in the top-15 in run-stop percentage and top-10 in pass-rush productivity. A torn bicep ended his season which pushed the rookie Watkins into more snaps. He’s performed even better, albeit using a small sample size, with six quarterback hurries on 38 pass-rushes and a pass-rush percentage of 11.8 percent, which is good for sixth out of all 63 3-4 ends that have taken a snap this season.
Watkins now squares off against one of our favorite offenses to pick on, the Arizona Cardinals. Not only do the Cardinals have PFF’s worst-graded offensive line when it comes to pass blocking but they give up, on average, three sacks-per-game. He also has the pleasure of trying to take down Blaine Gabbert, an expert himself in getting sacked, doing so 110 times in just 43 games. So while Watkins isn’t on the field a lot, it’s trending in the right direction including a season-high 32 snaps last week. He should have plenty of opportunities this week to get his first sack of the season.
The inside linebacker position in Washington has been a fairly productive one this season. Besides Pro-Bowler Zach Brown making at least eight tackles in each games this season, the other linebacker paired with Brown has produced as well. Mason Foster was averaging six tackles in each game he played. In the beginning of the season. When he went down with a torn labrum in Week 8, Compton stepped in and had seven tackles in his first game and another nine in his second along with three passes defended before he went down with a Lisfranc injury the following week.
Next up is Spaight, who faces the Saints this week. After stepping in last week when Compton went down, Spaight had seven tackles on just 29 snaps. He now plays a Saints team that’s in the top-10 in giving up fantasy points to linebackers. Part of the reason may be the Saints newfound tendency to run the ball, of which they’re doing 30 times per game. This is great news for Spaight who ranks fourth out of all 88 inside linebackers in run-stop percentage at 15.7 percent, making eight stops on just 51 run snaps.
There’s not many chances to stream a legitimate three-down linebacker but Te’o might represent such an opportunity. After playing in just 35 percent of the Saints defensive snaps this season, Te’o is slated to take over for former three-down back A.J. Klein after Klein injured his ankle. Te’o did well after taking over for Klein last week, totaling six tackles in just 40 snaps. On the season, he’s been an efficient tackler, currently ranking 14th out of 69 inside linebackers in PFF’s tackling efficiency. He’s also been effective against the run where he has 13 run stops on just 107 run snaps. If Te’o can maintain Klein’s 93 percent snap share this week, he should be able to rack up the tackles.
As far as the matchup, New Orleans plays Washington who literally gives up the least amount of fantasy points to linebackers. However, the Redskins have given up double-digit tackles to opposing linebackers in each of the last two weeks while the offense still runs an average of 63 plays-per-game. Between the efficiency and opportunity, Te’o could have a big game.
After out-performing and out-producing starter Jamie Collins, Burgess will get his chance to play a lot more snaps than he’s used to due to a season-ending injury to Collins. Burgess already has twice as many sacks as Collins does on the year (two-to-one) despite rushing the quarterback less than half the time (30-73) and currently sits 15th in PFF’s pass-rush productivity, creating four pressures on those 30 pass-rush snaps.
The Browns have a great matchup in the Jaguars this week. Jacksonville gives up the third-most fantasy points to linebackers and are coming off a week in which they gave up three sacks to the opposing defense, the Chargers. The Jaguars also lead the league in rush attempts-per-game with 34 which is right up Burgess’ alley as he’s currently 12th in PFF’s run-stop percentage out of 37 outside linebackers. All Burgess needed was more opportunity as evidenced by the games this season with his two-highest snap count, Weeks 4-5, where Burgess had seven tackles in each game.
It seems to be the theme of this week’s streamers but Baker is another player that will be taking over due to injury. In this case, Cardinals safety Tyvon Branch tore his ACL last week and is done for the season. Before the injury, Branch was having a great season with 69 tackles in just nine games, the last of which he played only 15 snaps. Enter Baker, who played the balance of last week and finished with 44 snaps, more than the combined number of snaps he played this entire season. He made the most of it as he totaled nine tackles in those 40 snaps along with a pass defended. He also didn’t allow a missed tackle and ended the game with perfect tackling efficiency. Baker should slide right into Branch’s role this week where Branch has played 92 percent of Arizona’s defensive snaps.
Arizona’s opponent, the Texans, are a much more favorable matchup now that Savage is the quarterback. In the last two games since taking over for the injured Deshaun Watson, Savage has had 10 then 11 passes defended respectively over the last two weeks. As a team, Houston gives up an average of two turnovers-per-game including Savage’s two picks and two fumbles lost last week. The entire Cardinals offense could tee off on Savage and the Texans and Baker should be no different.