Streaming IDP options for Week 5 of the fantasy season
While injuries and ineffectiveness were the only reasons to stream during the first month of the season, we now enter the bye-week phase, when some of your best IDP players won’t be available. While some of you may have been lucky to avoid an injury so far, no one can avoid byes, which puts us all in the same streaming boat.
We did well for the most part last week. One of our recommended linemen, Jurrell Casey, recorded his first sack of the season while tallying seven tackles. Both our linebackers had good tackle numbers, with Kendell Beckwith recording nine and Jon Bostic with an even better 12. Our safety rec Jaquiski Tartt had a respectable seven tackles but no big plays. Our only big letdown was lineman Arik Armstead. Despite the 49ers recording six (!) sacks from five different players against Arizona, Armstead wasn’t one of them. So we got the team/situation right, just not the player. But not this week! We’re going five-for-five on our picks.
We go back to the Texans well this week when it comes to sacks. The Houston offensive line ranks second-to-last in PFF’s pass-block grading, and tied for last when it comes to giving up sacks at 4.2 per game. Chiefs’ lineman Bailey is 15th in the league in lineman snaps per game at 53.5, so there should be ample opportunity for him to sack the quarterback.
Bailey will be squaring off against PFF’s 74th-rated guard in the Texans’ Jeff Allen and PFF’s 61st-rated tackle in Breno Giacomini, who has given up a league-worst 19 (!) quarterback hurries this season. But it’s not just about opportunity this week for Bailey. He’s actually created a lot of pressure on his own. He ranks 13th among the 31 3-4 ends who have seen at least 32 passing snaps in PFF’s pass-rush productivity, totaling nine pressures in 96 snaps. Now, the Texans also run a lot — they’re currently third in rush attempts per game at 33. But that won’t be an issue for Bailey. He’s eighth in PFF’s run-stop percentage among 3-4 ends that have seen at least 40 rushes. So whether the Texans run or pass, Bailey will have a good chance to do some damage.
Even though Bass might show up in your program as an outside linebacker, he has yet to be designated that on such industry sites as Rotoworld, NFL.com and, most importantly, My Fantasy League. Therefore, we’re going to take some liberties and count him among the defensive linemen group.
Bass has bounced around the league since 2013, being drafted by the Raiders but never playing for them, then moving on to stints in Chicago, Tennessee, Seattle and now in New York. He is only seeing significant action because of injuries to the Jets linebacking corps. But he sure is making the most of the opportunity. Bass had a quasi-breakout game in his first game as a Jet in Week 3, when he had three tackles, two for losses and a sack — all while only logging 16 snaps. He saw significantly more action in Week 4, logging 48 snaps, and had three tackles (one for a loss), three assists and another sack. In his two weeks as a Jet, he ranks fourth in PFF’s pass-rush productivity, causing six quarterback hurries in just 33 passing snaps.
Bass has also been an asset in the running game where he’s eighth in run-stop percentage during his two-game Jet career, forcing three stops in just 31 rush snaps. So even though the Browns run the fourth-fewest times per game (21), Bass should be able to make the most of it.
Besides having a fun name, Armstrong has been fun to stream lately. Taking over for the injured Reuben Foster since Week 1, Armstrong has fulfilled the production we all thought was waiting for Foster. He’s averaged 7.5 tackles each game and added a sack last week against the Cardinals (but really, who didn’t?). And while Armstrong has received poor grades from PFF, it’s all about opportunity, which Armstrong has seen plenty of. Not only is he averaging 66 snaps per game since the Foster injury, but he’s also seen the fifth-most cover snaps per target at 7.9. He’s done well in the running game, too, currently ranking 10th in PFF’s run-stop percentage out of the 23 outside linebackers who have seen at least 45 rush snaps during Armstrong’s stint as a starter in Weeks 2-4.
Now Armstrong and the 49ers play the Colts, who are actually in the lower third of teams when it comes to plays per game (60). They are 10th in rush attempts per game with 28, however, where Armstrong has been competent. They are also in the top 10 of overall points allowed to fantasy linebackers, including giving up 3.5 sacks per game and turning over the ball an average of twice per game.
Check the injury reports before game time, but if Foster is still out, you can feel comfortable firing up Armstrong one more time.
The Colts are bad. There’s no other way to describe them this year. From an offense that is ineffective without Andrew Luck to a perpetually outplayed defense, there’s not much to like about the Colts. But as we discovered last week with Jon Bostic, being a bad team can have its advantages for your fantasy team.
Take Bostic’s teammate, Morrison. Like the Colts, Morrison hasn’t been good this season. He’s PFF’s 49th-highest-graded inside linebacker (out of 53 qualifiers), 45th in tackling efficiency, 32nd in pass-rushing productivity and 34th in run-stop productivity. But he has a number that IDPers pay attention to, which is snaps. Outside of missing Week 2 due to injury, he’s averaged 57 snaps per game. In just the last two weeks, when the Colts’ opponents (the Browns and Seahawks) ran 69 and 62 plays respectively, Morrison had seven tackles in each game. He should see more of the same with the 49ers, who are 10th in plays per game at 64. It also helps Morrison’s prospects that teams seem to target him, as he’s 12th in cover snaps per target. So, in this particular case, being bad actually is helping Morrison, at least when it comes to fantasy points, since there should be more tackle opportunities. Morrison doesn’t make big plays, but he is out there enough to see a lot of tackle opportunities this week.
Anytime a defensive back plays the Packers, you can expect plenty of tackle opportunities. This week is no different. The Cowboys hosts Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers in a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff game, where the Packers barely scraped by. For this week, I’m recommending Heath for two reasons. First, he took the starting job after the departure of Barry Church via free agency and has averaged 66 snaps per game. That works well against the Packers offense, which averages 65 plays per game, 40 of which are passing plays, good for third in the league. Second, Heath himself had a good game against the Packers. He had only three tackles but tallied a sack and an interception. Heath would be hard-pressed to tally another sack, seeing as he only lines up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage 15 percent of the time. Rather, Heath will see a ton of Rodgers, as he spends most of the time downfield, totaling 157 coverage snaps, good for seventh among all safeties. This should mean plenty of tackle opportunities for Heath this week.