News & Analysis

Streaming IDP options for Week 8 of the fantasy season

By Michael Moore
Oct 27, 2017

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PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 18: Linebacker Nigel Bradham #53 of the Philadelphia Eagles pursues the play during a National Football League preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on August 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Steelers 17-0. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Welcome again to our weekly look at some key streaming candidates for those in IDP fantasy leagues.

After an off week in Week 6, we bounced back with several good streaming performances in Week 7. Both our linemen made big plays with Saints defensive end Alex Okfafor notching a sack and forced fumble to go along with four tackles, while our other lineman, Seattle’s Frank Clark, had a quiet day tackle-wise, but did recover a fumble. Linebacker Craig Robertson tied for the team lead in tackles with six, including one for a loss. Bears safety Adrian Amos also had six tackles plus a pass defended, but Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson could have had more than his four tackles and half a tackle-for-loss.

But we’re back at it this week where a league-high six teams have byes which means a lot of us will need to stream.

Defensive linemen

Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals

Carlos Dunlap is predominantly the Bengals lineman to own in IDP leagues, but there’s another who could be effective this week. Johnson isn’t known for high sack totals but has had a few big games this season, including a two-sack outing against Buffalo. Over his last four games, he’s totaled 14 tackles, three games, and a pass defended.

To be fair, Johnson typically hasn’t been good from a fantasy perspective or real life. He’s currently PFF’s 41st-ranked 4-3 end out of 61 qualifiers and doesn’t rank highly when it comes to pass-rush productivity or run-stop percentages. But he is the primary pass-rusher opposite Dunlap, which will give him more opportunities than most. He now lines up against a Colts team that gave up an abysmal 10 sacks last week to Jacksonville. The Colts offensive line hasn’t been necessarily bad the whole season, ranking 19th in PFF’s pass-blocking grades as a unit, but any team that gives up 10 sacks is susceptible to give up a lot of sacks at any time. Johnson will be squaring off primarily against Anthony Castonzo, who has actually performed well this season, ranking as PFF’s 10th-best tackle. But the interior of the Colts line is atrocious, with no starter among guards Jeremy Vujnovich and Le’Raven Clark or center Ryan Kelly receiving a PFF grade above 40.0.

Johnson isn’t owned much in IDP leagues but has a great matchup to take advantage of, if only for a week.

Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs

Unlike Johnson, Jones has actually performed well and could be on the streamer radar regardless of the matchup. Among interior linemen, he’s 11th in quarterback pressures with 19 and is 12th in pass-rush productivity, creating pressures on 8.7 percent of his snaps. On the year, he already has 3.5 sacks or almost double what he had (2) in his rookie season. But he’s filled up the stat sheet in other ways too, which is rare for an interior lineman, including three fumble recoveries, two passes defended and a pick.

Jones has a great matchup in Week 8, drawing a Broncos offensive line that has given up 3.7 sacks per game, third-worst in the league, and the fourth-worst offensive line unit, according to PFF. They’re coming off a defeat at the Chargers where they gave up five sacks and a fumble recovery to an interior lineman, in this case, Damion Square.

Also in Jones’ favor is the fact that Denver currently leads the league in plays per game, at 67 so he should have plenty of opportunities. But while Jones is second among Chiefs lineman at 42 snaps per game including a season-high 55 last week, you shouldn’t expect a lot of tackles. Instead, Jones is a better play in big-play leagues that reward things like sacks and fumbles.

Linebackers

Nigel Bradham, Philadelphia Eagles

Despite not being a pure Mike linebacker, Bradham still logs a ton of snaps, which is half the battle in IDP. In fact, he’s logged the 15th-most among all linebackers, seeing an average of 61 per game, despite not manning the middle or wearing the dot, a special helmet that only linebackers that see the field a lot wear to retrieve the play calls from their defensive coordinators. However, Bradham will no longer have that distinction thanks to the injury to current Eagles Mike Jordan Hicks, which will only reinforce his ability to stay on the field and see more opportunities to make plays.

On the season, Bradham is averaging six tackles per game plus three passes defended. Below the surface, he’s proven to be an effective outside linebacker whether it’s against the run or the pass. He’s currently third among outside linebackers in run-stop percentage, making 12 stops over 112 rush snaps and second among the same group of linebackers in yards allowed per cover snap while leading all outside linebackers in coverage snaps.

The Eagles will be at home against San Francisco in Week 8. The 49ers are currently seventh in plays per game with 65.7 and third in pass attempts per game at 39.9, giving Bradham plenty of chances to rack up tackles or defend the pass. Bradham will still play his position as the Sam linebacker but the dot will insure he’s on the field the whole game. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Defensive backs

Eddie Jackson, Chicago Bears

Last week, we highlighted Bears safety Amos, who had a decent game with six tackles and a pass defended. But that was nothing like his teammate Jackson, who broke out, not only returning a fumble 75 yards to the house but also scoring on a pick six off Cam Newton. For those paying attention, that type of game was slowly building for Jackson. A fourth-round rookie, he only fell because of major injuries during his college career — he was quite the playmaker while at Alabama, totaling nine interceptions and leading Alabama in interception return yards all time at over 300. That production has, so far, translated to the NFL. He’s 12th in tackling efficiency among 65 qualifying safeties and has a pass defended in each game over his last four.

Luckily for Jackson, one thing that hasn’t translated from college is his injury history. After tearing his ACL and breaking his leg during his time at Alabama, Jackson leads the entire Bears team in snaps this season with 462 which works out to 66-per-game. Jackson now draws one of the more pass-friendly teams over the last decade, the New Orleans Saints and are giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to safeties. Any safety playing the Saints will have plenty of opportunities for tackles and pass breakups but Jackson’s talent makes it even more likely he scores points for your fantasy team.

Terrance Mitchell, Kansas City Chiefs

We don’t often stream cornerbacks here as they are typically relegated to one side of the field as opposed to roaming around, but Mitchell has been a very good fantasy player and should be streamed this week.

Marcus Peters is the Chiefs cornerback who gets the most attention, but Mitchell has surpassed him from a fantasy standpoint. Mitchell has only recorded 39 tackles, or about 5.5 per game, but he’s making a splash in breaking up passes. He’s currently tied for second in the entire NFL with 10 passes defended and has one in every game this season but one. And like his aforementioned teammate Jones, Mitchell faces the Denver Broncos, who have been the gift that keeps on giving for IDP purposes. Not only do they run the most players per game at 67, but they give up the second-most fantasy points to cornerbacks this season. One of the reasons is the poor deep passing by Trevor Siemian so far — he is currently has the second-worst quarterback rating on targets of 20 yards or more.

Mitchell should be available in most leagues because of his cornerback designation but he’s put up just as many fantasy points as any elite safety this season and Week 8 against Denver should be no different.

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