The IDP Breakdown - Week 5 Edition
Through the first month of his rookie campaign, Kiko Alonso is on absolute fire with four picks in the last three games. While it’s tempting to suggest Alonso is an LB1 going forward, I recommend exercising a bit of caution. He certainly has big play upside and plays a high volume of snaps, but his tackle production gives me pause. Alonso is currently recording a tackle on 10.7 percent of his snaps. To sustain LB1 production, that number will need to at least be over 13 percent, and likely even higher than that. Alonso is a still a solid option, but for now he’s no better than an upside LB2. Mario Williams gets to face off against Browns RT Mitchell Schwartz this week. While Schwartz has been better in his last two games, he’s still yielded at least one sack every game this season. Williams is a high-end DL1 this week.
Buffalo’s fast-paced offense has lead to boatloads of fantasy points for opposing linebackers this season. This week, D’Qwell Jackson gets the matchup boost. Jackson enters with double-digit tackles in each of his last two games and currently sits with 37 total tackles. He’s locked in as an LB1. However, I’m hesitant against recommending Craig Robertson. While he has been in an every-down role, Robertson has struggled this season and hasn’t been able to produce viable fantasy numbers. He’s off the radar for now. Oh, and by the way, Joe Haden is awesome. Receivers have caught 15-of-32 balls thrown into his coverage at an average of 8.7 yards per catch.
Philadelphia @ NY Giants
It’s tough to find much positive to say about this Eagles unit, though I’m also going to give them a little slack for last week’s performance against the Broncos. Philly was clearly outmatched. But still, the Eagles currently have PFF’s worst and third-worst inside linebackers in Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans. Kendricks has stuggled across the board. He leads all inside ‘backers with eight missed tackles, and receivers are catching almost everything thrown into his coverage. With that being said, he’s still averaging almost eight tacklers per game. With that sort of production, he deserves to be rostered and remains an upside LB3. Ryans has actually been slight more productive from a tackle standpoint, and should also be considered an LB3 going forward.
Philadelphia currently gives up the most fantasy points per game to opposing linebackers. The problem is that the Giants really don’t have an attractive option in that department. Spencer Paysinger has been the only every-down linebacker for the Giants since Week 1, but he’s only produced 23 total tackles so far this season. He’s a very low-ceiling LB3 play this week. Mark Herzlich has worked his way back into the starting lineup and saw some subpackage snaps last week. I’ve never been crazy about Herzlich as a fantasy option, but our Nathan Jahnke believes that Herzlich sticks in the subpackages. I wouldn’t want to count on him as a long-term option, but Herzlich is a viable spot-start in your flex spot this week.
Editor’s note: The Giants have reportedly traded for Jon Beason. We don’t expect Beason to start this weekend, but his presence does likely mean Herzlich goes back to the bench.
New Orleans @ Chicago
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. Follow him on Twitter – @JeffRatcliffe.