Week 8 start/sit fantasy advice for IDP leagues
Welcome to our weekly look at some of the prime start and sit candidates for IDP fantasy leagues.
As we reach Week 8 of the NFL season, that means that most fantasy leagues have passed the halfway mark of the regular season. Fantasy teams are beginning to make that push for the playoffs and every line up decision takes on a higher level of importance.
It’s important to try and not overthink things as that can often lead to paralysis by overanalysis. Continue to ride your stud players such as C.J. Mosley, Joey Bosa, and Harrison Smith on a weekly basis. Getting too cute and losing with one of your stud performers on the bench is the worst feeling.
With limited space for this piece I try to limit the start/sit options to names that aren’t necessarily top-five options as those are usually the aforementioned studs.
That being said, there are a few trends IDP owners should keep in mind down the stretch.
Until Taylor Decker returns, start edge rushers against the Detroit Lions. Start defensive backs against the Browns, Cardinals, and Panthers. Start inside linebackers against the Browns, Broncos, and Patriots.
After posting 21.5 sacks in the past two seasons, Dunlap has been underwhelming through the first six games for the Bengals. He’s posted a single sack with 17 total tackles and currently sits outside the top 70 in defensive linemen scoring. Look for Dunlap to get on track this week against a Colts offense that’s allowed a league-high 28 sacks with 18 of those being registered by defensive linemen. Last week the Jaguars DL accounted for 9 sacks against the struggling Colts offensive line.
The rookie defensive end has gradually been carving out a bigger role in the defense and put up top-12 fantasy totals last week. Barnett racked up two sacks along with three solo tackles in the Eagles’ Monday night victory over Washington. More importantly he saw 36 snaps, which was more than veteran Vinny Curry’s 27. An expanded role in the Philly wide-9 scheme will pay fantasy dividends for Barnett. The 49ers gave up three sacks to defensive linemen last week and have allowed 13.5 to the position on the season.
This has not been the bounceback season that many envisioned for Ansah. Since putting up three sacks in Week 2, Ansah has managed just seven total tackles and a single sack in the past four games. More concerning is the fact that Ziggy isn’t bringing consistent pressure and averages just 1.5 quarterback hurries per game. This is not the week to turn things around as Ben Roethlisberger is a hard man to bring down. The Steelers haven’t allowed a sack to a defensive lineman in the past two games.
Early on, it appeared that Hughes was in for a big season, as he registered five solo tackles and a pair of sacks in the first two weeks of the season. Since then, Hughes had basically one good game — against the Falcons, when he put up a sack and a forced fumble. He currently sits outside the top-30 in most IDP scoring formats for defensive linemen. The Raiders are among the toughest offenses for defensive linemen to score against having allowed just 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble to the position in 2017.
Kendricks has totaled double-digit tackles in back-to-back games and is line to make it three straight against the Browns. Cleveland is giving up an average of 23 total tackles per game to linebackers and more importantly giving up big plays. Linebackers have accounted for 13 sacks, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles against this struggling offense. Kendricks has been brought on the pass rush 29 times this season and does have a sack and forced fumble so big plays are also on the table this week.
It didn’t take Bowman long to assume a starting and full-time role on his new team. Playing on a short week, the veteran played 60 of 62 defensive snaps and put up double-digit tackles in his debut as a Raider. Bowman may not be as athletic as he once was, but he is still a tackling machine with a nose for the football and has a great matchup. The Bills have allowed double-digit tackles to a linebacker six times in 2017. In the past two games, the Bills allowed Vontaze Burfict and Lavonte David a combined 27 total tackles.
Since returning from his one-game suspension, Trevathan hasn’t been putting up the tackle numbers he was earlier in the season. Over the past two games he has just 10 total tackles while playing roughly 98 percent of the defensive snaps. What Trevathan has been putting up is big plays as he has two sacks along with a fumble recovery and interception in that time. Therein lies the dilemma for Trevathan this week. The New Orleans Saints are the top offense in limiting linebackers from producing big plays. They’ve allowed just a single sack and no interceptions, forced fumbles, or fumble recoveries to a linebacker through six games.
While he remains in the top 10 in linebacker scoring in most formats, Davis has cooled down a bit of late. He hasn’t totaled double-digit tackles since Week 3 but has remained relevant by racking up two sacks in the past three weeks. This matchup with the Falcons is not a favorable one for Davis. Over the past two games the Falcons have allowed just 25 total tackles to linebackers and an average of just 18 per game on the season. There are better options this week and Davis can safely be sat.
Trae Waynes, Minnesota Vikings (at Cleveland)
Third-year cornerback Waynes has really stepped up this season and is currently a top-15 defensive back for fantasy purposes. Playing opposite Xavier Rhodes Waynes is being thrown at an average of seven times per game and that’s leading to tackle and big-play opportunities. Waynes has 40 total tackles along with two interceptions and a very juicy Week 8 matchup. The Browns are the most generous offense when it comes to giving up points to defensive backs. On the season Cleveland has given up three sacks, 14 interceptions, and two forced fumbles to the position.
It took seven weeks, but Jenkins finally looked like the safety IDP owners have come to know over the past few seasons. Jenkins had his first top-five scoring finish last week by racking up 10 solo tackles and a sack against Washington. Look for that production to carry over into this week’s game against a struggling 49ers offense. In the past five games, San Francisco is giving up an average of 23 solo tackles to defensive backs per game.
After Jefferson signed with the Ravens there was a fear in IDP circles that the pairing with Eric Weddle could eat into each other’s fantasy production. That appears to be the case as neither Jefferson or Weddle has put up double-digit tackles in a game and Jefferson sits well outside the top-50 in most IDP scoring formats. The duo has also combined to post just five big plays and Jefferson has only nine total stops in the last two games. Things won’t get any easier this week against a Dolphins offense that has yet to allow double-digit tackles to a defensive back on the season.
Eddie Jackson, Chicago Bears (at New Orleans)
First off, let’s give Jackson his due for being the first NFL defensive player to score multiple touchdowns of 75 yards or more in a game last week. Well done young man. Now let’s be logical about things and don’t go chasing that once-in-a-lifetime stat line. Prior to that huge game Jackson had not posted a single big play and had put up just 23 total tackles in six games. The Saints have given up just five big plays to defensive backs on the season. That math does not work in Jackson’s favor to have a productive fantasy day.