Week 16 start/sit fantasy advice for IDP leagues
It’s Week 16 folks. Fantasy championships are on the line across the land, and every lineup decision is amplified tenfold. Take a deep breath, don’t over think things and remember to ride your studs.
In this all-important week I have tried to get a few more start suggestions involved as injuries have really altered the IDP landscape throughout the playoffs. Keep in mind that it’s important to keep checking on team practice reports all week long to stay in the know. Apathy is not an option.
Let’s take a look at the IDP start/sit options for Week 16.
It’s been a rough year for the Giants and especially Vernon, as he currently has just 4.5 sacks. On the plus side he is coming off of a strong performance last week against the Eagles having put up two solo stops along with a sack and forced fumble. Arizona is fielding a patchwork offensive line and has allowed 10 sacks to defensive linemen over the past three weeks. In that time, four different defensive linemen have had multiple-sack games against the Cardinals.
The second-year undrafted free agent out of Alabama A&M has been on a tear of late. In the last two games Lanier has posted five solo tackles with three sacks, a forced fumble and four batted-down passes. Lanier now has five sacks in his last five games and has secured a starting role for Washington. He played a season-high 51 snaps last week and faces a Broncos offense that is among the most generous in allowing points to defensive linemen.
This selection carries a bit more weight in defensive tackle-required leagues, but Clark has been playing so well lately that rolling him out in any format is suggested. Over his past three games the 22-year-old has really come on, putting up 17 total tackles along with three sacks and a forced fumble. In the first meeting between the teams back in Week 6, Clark posted five solo tackles (six total) and added a forced fumble.
It appears Bennett has hit a wall while battling through the foot injury that has hampered him most of the season. Over the last three weeks the veteran has managed just three total tackles — just one of the solo variety — and no big plays. That does not bode well in a matchup with a Cowboys offense that has not allowed a single big play to a defensive lineman in the last three weeks.
After a brief resurgence in Weeks 11-13 in which he posted 11 total stops and 3.5 sacks, Dunlap has fallen off the map. In the past two games he has totaled just three total tackles and a pass defended while failing to register a sack. Over their last three games the Lions have allowed just one sack to a defensive lineman and an average of just 10 total tackles per game to the position.
It’s a twofer! The Giants have been a fantasy gold mine for linebackers lately, allowing a pair of linebackers from their past three opponents to post top-20 totals. Actually, five of those six linebackers posted top-five numbers. The selection of Bynes is predicated on Karlos Dansby sitting out with the calf injury he suffered last week. If Dansby plays, then he is worth a start alongside Bucannon.
Some folks are feeling nervous regarding Smith after his return from missing time with a concussion was far from productive. In a negative matchup against the Texans Smith played 48 of 57 defensive snaps and finished with just three total tackles. Do not worry. Look for a big bounceback this week from Smith against a 49ers offense that gives up big tackle numbers as well as big plays to linebackers.
Keep an eye on the practice reports out of Cincinnati this week as the linebacker corps resembles a M.A.S.H unit. Vontaze Burfict (concussion), Nick Vigil (ankle), and Jordan Evans (forearm) could all miss Week 16, leaving Rey as the last man standing. Over the past two games Rey has played 86 percent of the defensive snaps posting 17 total (12 solo) tackles and has a nice matchup against Detroit. Over the last three games the Lions are allowing an average of 19 solo tackles per game to linebackers as well as a total of eight big plays to the position.
One last quickie here. With Jon Bostic (knee) placed on IR, Morrison is poised to reap the benefits and has a great matchup this week against the Ravens.
With Denzel Perryman (hamstring) already declared out for Week 16, some reports have Brown as the man to step in and replace him in the Chargers defense. Let’s slow that roll. Los Angeles has used a bevy of linebackers this season including Korey Toomer as well as Hayes Pullard in place of Perryman at times. The 33 snaps that Brown saw last week were the most he’s played since Week 10 but there’s no guarantee that there’s an uptick this week. Safety Adrian Phillips is playing 98 percent of run snaps within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage, further muddying the picture. This is a situation to avoid.
Another twofer! Both Bradham and Kendricks had big games in a positive matchup with the Giants last week, posting top-10 totals in most balanced scoring formats. The matchup this week with the Raiders is the main reason both can safely be sat this weekend. Over the last three weeks Oakland is allowing an average of just 10 solo tackles per game to linebackers.
Let’s keep the twofer train going. Over the past three games the Dolphins are allowing an average of 21 solo tackles per game to defensive backs and that’s where Sorensen comes into play. He lines up within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage on run snaps 62 percent of the time and has 19 solo stops in his past four games. Peters put up a pair of interceptions last week giving him five on the season. This week he gets to face Jay Cutler at home and let’s keep in mind that Cutler tossed three picks last week against Buffalo.
Let’s ride the hot hand here in a positive matchup. Jackson has been a big-play machine in the Bears secondary over the last three games. Jackson has accounted for two fumble recoveries as well as a forced fumble and interception in that time while also posting 15 solo tackles. On the flip side Cleveland has given up five interceptions, a sack, and fumble recovery to defensive backs in their last three outings.
Adrian Phillips, Los Angeles Chargers (at NY Jets)
One last quickie. Keep in mind that with the murky linebacker situation for the Chargers that Phillips lines up within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage 98 percent of the time on run snaps. He’s basically a linebacker and had eight solo tackles last week.
Over the last three weeks, Heath has been on fire, putting up top-10 fantasy totals in most balanced scoring formats. In those games he has over 20 total tackles with a forced fumble and a pair of interceptions. It’s the matchup with Seattle that caps his value heading into Week 16. Through 14 games just two defensive backs have reached double-digit tackles against Seattle and they allow an average of just 1.2 big plays per game to the position.
It appeared that Bell was finally emerging as a fantasy force when he racked up 24 total tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble in Weeks 11-12. Nope. In the last three games Bell has put up a grand total of eight tackles and has not registered a single big play. Last week against the Jets, Bell was on the field for just 17 defensive snaps. It’s time to cut bait on the second-year safety.