Buccaneers’ LB Lavonte David’s Return Highlights IDP Week 14 Match-up Analysis

Lavonte David returns in the IDP Week 14 Match-up Analysis

I’m back to my normal article format this week heading into IDP Week 14. Last week just didn’t allow me to put for the time I needed, but I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving and I hope you all did too. Hopefully, many of you are in the playoffs, or you need this week to win and get in. Let’s get to the games as we look at the match-up facts and analysis for IDP Week 14.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

-After missing eight games, Ike Taylor returned in Week 13 and managed just an assisted tackle, while being thrown at four times in 57 snaps. Bengals, surprisingly, are 28th in points allowed to opposing DBs, but 19th in points to CBs. Ike Taylor has some value in deeper leagues requiring a CB starter. William Gay might be the one to start in those types of leagues, as he was thrown at seven times this past week.

-Ryan Shazier is set to return to the lineup in Week 14, but not sure I can trust him in the first week of the fantasy playoffs if he’s active. He appeared in just 47 snaps over two games before re-injuring himself and has missed the last few games. He was producing a 0.22 points per snap rate to go along with a 13 percent tackle rate in his snaps. Again, tough to trust as Lawrence Timmons is swallowing up nearly 40 percent of the tackles among LBs.

-Geno Atkins was in on his first sack since Week 8. He’s not recording enough tackles or big plays to warrant a start outside of deeper leagues that require a DT. His pressure efficiency is also below 9 percent. He’s a DT3 this week, at best. 2014 might be just a recovery year for him.

-Carlos Dunlap’s match-up is shaping up to be a favorable one. He should line up on Mike Adams’ side of the line. Adams returned to a full complement of offensive snaps and proceeded to allow a sack and seven QB hurries in Week 13. Dunlap has recorded 1.5 sacks in his last two games and is getting to the QB on 11 percent of his snaps. He’s a mid-range DE2 with DE1 upside this week with his match-up.

-Leon Hall could have a nice match-up, lining up with Antonio Brown. Even though he’s seen just a handful of targets over the last few weeks, that’s expected to change if he does draw Brown in coverage.

-Reggie Nelson is just six tackles away from matching a career-high and is producing a 9 percent tackle rate on almost 900 defensive snaps. He doesn’t have much of a ceiling against Pittsburgh, as he’s averaging just under 4 tackles per game and has two career INTs.

-I need to just copy and paste this: “Vontaze Burfict not practicing.” At this point, if I haven’t told you to drop him yet, drop Burfict for your playoff run. I don’t think he’s someone I can trust, nor should you. More run for Vincent Rey, as he’s produced double-digit fantasy points in four straight games. The Steelers have allowed the 3rd most points to opposing LBs.

 

Indianapolis Colts vs. Cleveland Browns

-Cory Redding’s chance at a sack increased as Brian Hoyer will get the start Sunday. He hasn’t registered a sack since Week 7, but is getting to the QB on just over 8 percent of his blitzes and draws the right side of the Browns offensive line. Mitchell Schwartz has been improved, but has allowed five sacks on the season. Redding is a boom or bust DE choice in big play formats if you need a match-up play.

-Keep an eye on Vontae Davis for your CB-required league. He’s in the NFL concussion protocol and is not practicing, so his status is looking doubtful for the week.

-I know everyone loves a good narrative, so here’s one for IDP. D’QWell Jackson comes back to Cleveland to face his old team. Jackson was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, recording seven tackles and returning a fumble for a TD. Jackson has already surpassed the 100 tackle mark and is producing a 13.5 percent tackle rate to go along with a 0.25 points per snap rate. He’ll be an LB1 against the Browns in Week 14.

-Jim Leonhard received the snaps at FS with Tashaun Gipson out for, what appears to be, the remainder of the year. Leonhard isn’t on the IDP radar at this stage in his career.

-Karlos Dansby gave it a go at practice for the first time since injuring his knee against Houston. At this point, he’s questionable and needs to get through some barriers to play. If he does play, you’d have to weigh the risk of starting him since there’s the possibility of re-injury or limited snaps. Christian Kirksey would lose most of his IDP value if Dansby is active. However, if Dansby is active, I’m not sure I could trust him. Even in a must win game, I don’t see Coach Pettine trotting him out for 100 percent of the snaps and risk further injury, especially when Dansby was supposed to miss the rest of the season. Play at your own risk here.

-Since being thrown at 11 times in Week 9, Buster Skrine has seen 29 balls thrown his way in the last four games. The Colts are, typically, pass first and he should be busy on Reggie Wayne. The Cols have allowed an average of 21 solo tackles per game and Skrine is producing a tackle rate of near 7 percent on over 850 snaps. He’s also hit the double-digit mark on defended pass. He’s a solid play in CB-required leagues this week.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions

Lavonte David missed his second straight game on Sunday and his absence is the last thing his IDP owners are needing as we head into the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Keep an eye on the injury reports, but it looks like he returned to practice. If you’re looking for his handcuff, try and pick up Danny Lansanah. He’s recorded consecutive weeks of double-digit fantasy points and has produced a tackle rate of 17.2 percent, leading to 21 tackles in the last two weeks.

-Major Wright missed Week 13, while Bradley McDougald logged 61 snaps. He’s recorded four or more tackles in two straight games and might be someone to watch in deeper dynasty leagues.

-Jacquies Smith was held without a sack in Week 13, but still managed three total QB pressures while appearing in 60 percent of the snaps and 22 blitzes. Smith has a better match-up this week against the right side of the Tampa offensive line. Between LaAdrian Waddle and Cornelius Lucas, they’ve allowed eight sacks and 21 combined QB hits/hurries. Smith is a high-upside DE this week if you need a match-up play.

-Since returning in Week 12, Alterraun Verner has appeared in 118 snaps and thrown at six times. His targets should go up this week lining up with Calvin Johnson. Verner recorded his first INT since Week 5 and is back on the IDP radar in CB-required leagues as a CB1. His play on the ball rate is down from last year at 13 percent, but he should see plenty of action this week.

-Even though Tahir Whitehead has produced a near 14 percent tackle rate in his last two games, he’s going to be hard to trust with a 72 percent usage rate over the last two weeks. The Bucs are 23rd in points allowed to LBs and I’d only consider Whitehead if you have to start three or more LBs.

-The Buccaneer offensive line is one of the worst graded, according to PFF. This could be a week to use Ezekiel Ansah has a match-up play. His usage over the last three weeks has been over 60 percent and has recorded sacks in two of his last four games. Since Week 10, he’s produced at least four or more total QB pressures in all but one game, generating pressure on 18 percent of his last 126 blitzes. I like Ansah as a high-upside DE2 this week, especially with Oniel Cousins manning left tackles over Anthony Collins.

-Ndamukong Suh has been quiet the last few weeks, recording eight or fewer points in the last three games, including a goose-egg on Thanksgiving. He should line up over Patrick Omameh, right guard, who’s allowed three sacks and 26 combined hits/hurries. His ability to disrupt a game makes him a DT1 in DT-required leagues.

 

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

-After recording four sacks in 11 games, Chris Clemons recorded a three sack effort in Week 12 and recovered a big fumble in Week 13. His pressure has been relatively inconsistent all season, but he has been efficient in his last 61 blitzes, generating pressure 15 percent of the time. Clemons has a tougher match-up, lining up over Duane Brown, who’s allowed just two sacks in 816 snaps. He’ll be a boom or bust play that carries risk in most formats this week.

-Telvin Smith has been in all but two snaps in his last two starts, producing a 15.3 percent tackle rate. That should continue against the Texans and Arian Foster in Week 14. He’s a high-upside LB2 this week.

-J.T. Thomas has six straight games of 13 or more fantasy points and a 12.7 percent tackle rate.

-Both Dwayne Gratz and Demetrius McCray will be in play in CB-required lining up against Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins.

-Even though Brian Cushing appeared in just 33 snaps, I believe the Texans didn’t use him as much because of the blowout, as they didn’t feel the need to risk his health. In another important game, I do expect Cushing to be out there. However, it does appear that the Texans are willing to take him out in blowouts. He’s a risky LB2 this week.

-After seeing 11 targets in Week 12, Darryl Morris was thrown at just four times in Week 13 while getting the start. The Jaguars are allowing the 8th most points to opposing DBs, so if Morris draws another start, could be a sneaky play in deeper CB-required leagues.

-Since the bye week, Kendrick Lewis has recorded just 16 tackles and an eight percent tackle rate in his last three games. He carries DB3 value in Week 14.

 

Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins

-Haloti Ngata has been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He’ll miss the next four games and we could see a bit more Timmy Jernigan over the next four weeks. Jernigan has recorded two sacks in his last four games and that’s coming on a usage rate of less than 30 percent this season.

-Elvis Dumervil recorded another five total QB pressures in Week 13, however, failed to deliver a sack. He should line up on Dallas Thomas‘ side of the line and he’s been responsible for two sacks and 28 combined QB hits/hurries. Dumervil is producing pressure on 12 percent of his blitzes and should be used in big play scoring formats, as he’s producing just a 5 percent tackle rate.

-Daryl Smith is on pace for nearly 130 tackles thanks to his 12.2 percent tackle rate. Smith has just two games where he hasn’t produced double-digit fantasy points and should be an LB1 this week.

-C.J. Mosley has hit the 100 tackle mark with four games to be played in his rookie season. Mosley has eight games of seven or more tackles and is also an LB1 this week.

-Will Hill has received 95 percent of more of the snaps in three straight games. He’s also produced double-digit fantasy points in two straight games, aided by big plays. He’s a risky play in tackle heavy formats, but carries upside in big play scoring leagues.

-The Dolphins look to be without Jamar Taylor once again in Week 14. Cortland Finnegan was a limited participant in practice, so his availability will be up in the air. Outside of Brent Grimes, it will be hard to trust any of the Miami CBs in IDP leagues this week.

-Jelani Jenkins has back to back games of 20 plus fantasy points in tackle heavy formats, producing a near 20 percent tackle rate in his last 139 snaps. Jenkins is five tackles away from triple digits and continue deploying him in the playoffs as you normally would.

 

New York Jets vs. Minnesota Vikings

-Unfortunately for Muhammad Wilkerson owners, you might be without him in Week 14. He’s shed the walking boot but remains questionable for the outing against the Vikings. It’s not a good sign that he’s not practicing. Without Wilkerson, they used a combination of nose tackles, Kenrick Ellis and T.J. Barnes.

-Darrin Walls has been thrown at 20 times over the last two weeks and it’s led to him producing 14 or more fantasy points in those two games. It should be an ugly game, offensively, between these two teams and Walls should see 5-7 balls thrown his way, no matter who he’s covering. I like Walls as a CB target in cornerback required leagues.

-Jaiquawn Jarrett has returned to being, well, Jaiquawn Jarrett. Since his 10 tackle/2 INT/1 sack outburst in Week 10, he’s produced just four tackles total in his last 86 snaps. Week 10 has accounted for 55 percent of his fantasy points and 33 percent of his tackles. It’s safe to avoid him in IDP leagues, if you haven’t done so already.

-Sneaky big play scoring match-up play? Calvin Pace could be lining up on Matt Kalil’s side this week. Kalil has allowed 11 sacks this season. Don’t force Pace into your lineup, but if you’re feeling daring, he’s the one to target here.

-With Everson Griffen’s two sacks in Week 13, he’s gone over double-digits. Griffen draws another tough match-up with D’Brickashaw Ferguson this week, who’s allowed just one sack. Even with the match-up, Griffen should be started, as he’s generating pressure on nearly 12 percent of his blitzes. I’m not expecting a multi-sack effort though.

-Robert Blanton’s tackle rate has been right near 10.1 percent this season and has been a DB11 in overall scoring. Continue using him as a solid DB2 in most scoring formats.

-Harrison Smith has consecutive games of 16 or more fantasy points and has been contributing the big plays over the last several weeks. He’s produced 4 INTs/2 sacks, which has helped his 0.20 points per snap rate. The Jets are allowing the 13th most points to DBs, so I’d continue to use him in most scoring formats.

-As good of a rookie y ear Anthony Barr is having, it could’ve been even better had it not been for 22 missed tackles. He’s missed a tackle in every four attempts, and in tackle heavy formats, that’s nearly 40 points he’s left on the field. Barr is producing 0.21 points per snap, but factor in those misses, he could be up over 0.27 per snap. His tackle rate is also below 9 because of the misses and could’ve been up near 11. It does look like Barr is doubtful, so consider Gerald Hodges in deeper leagues.

 

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

-Charles Johnson has six sacks in his last nine outings. Johnson has a rougher match-up this week, lining up over right tackle Zach Strief. Strief has allowed 27 combined QB hits/hurries but just two sacks on the year. He’ll still be someone you need to start this week, even with the tougher match-up, he was able to notch a sack in their Week 9 outing. Johnson has been able to generate consistent pressure all season; nearly 13 percent on his blitzes.

-Thomas Davis has produced an 11.7 percent tackle rate on the year and since Week 4, has recorded six or more tackles in each game since. In the last go around, Davis registered six total tackles in Week 9 and is a low-end LB3 this week.

-Josh Norman looks to be one of the go to CBs in Carolina, especially now that they’ve released Antoine Cason. Norman, after seeing 12 targets in Week 12, saw just two in Week 13 due to the flow of the game. He still managed four tackles and a defended pass. He should see plenty of balls thrown his way against New Orleans, who’ve allowed the 3rd most points to opposing DBs. Norman’s making a play on the ball on nearly 26 percent of his targets. I’d consider him a CB3 in those leagues requiring a CB starter.

-The Carolina Panthers are grading as the worst offensive line according to PFF. Junior Galette should be dialed up as a solid match-up play in this game. Galette has generated pressure on 15 percent of his snaps and has seven sacks on the year. He should line up over Byron Bell, who’s been responsible for eight sacks and 37 combined QB hits/hurries as one of the NFL’s poorly graded tackles. His five percent tackle rate caps his value and is a big play scoring format play only.

-Cameron Jordan is a solid DE1 this week, as like Galette, he finds himself in a favorable match-up lining up over Nate Chandler. Chandler has allowed seven sacks and 24 combined QB hits/hurries. After not generating any pressure in his last two games, Jordan returned in Week 13, producing a sack and four hurries.

-Since returning to the lineup in Week 11, David Hawthorne has recorded at least six or more tackles in three straight games, including 10 solos this past week. The Panthers are allowing nearly 23 total tackles to opposing LBs this season. I like Hawthorne as an LB3 this week, as the Panthers are allowing the 6th most points to opposing LBs.

-Kenny Vaccaro recorded his first game of double-digit fantasy points since Week 8. He’s been pretty inconsistent in his second year as an IDP producer. The Panthers don’t allow many points to opposing DBs and Vaccaro is producing just 0.15 points per snap. I might leave him on the bench this week.

 

New York Giants vs. Tennessee Titans

-Damontre Moore is going to be a solid match-up play for the remainder of the season, now that Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka are out for the year. Moore hasn’t received consistent snaps, but did see his highest usage rate in Week 13 at 63 percent. He produced three combined QB pressures on 27 blitzes. Moore will get his opportunities in Week 14 thanks to injury. He’ll be a risky, but high upside DE3.

-Jacquian Williams continues to battle the effects of a concussion and remains limited in practice. If Williams misses Week 14, dial up Devon Kennard once again. He’s providing a decent mix of tackles and big plays over his last two starts. I’d start him as a third or fourth LB if you’re required to start that many this week.

-Antrel Rolle has three straight games of 11 or more fantasy points, averaging over 6 tackles per game in that span. The Titans are allowing an average of 22 total tackles per game to opposing DBs this season.

-Jameel McClain has recorded 9 or more tackles in three of his last four games and is producing a 14.1 percent tackle rate. The Titans are stingy in points and tackles against LBs. With the limited tackle opportunities, you still need to consider McClain this week, as he’s recorded nearly 57 percent of the tackles among Giants LBs.

-Wesley Woodyard’s usage dipped below 50 percent in Week 13 and his IDP production reflected that, recording just four tackles. He’ll be hard to trust in the first week of the fantasy playoffs, with Avery Williamson getting all the run at ILB.

-There’s not too many Titan DLs that I’d target in this game. The Giants’ offensive line has been improved, especially since Geoff Schwartz took over at right tackle and William Beatty has been one of PFF’s top graded tackles on the left side. If you’re looking for a DT play, might want to look at Sammie Lee Hill.

-Blidi Wreh-Wilson was out in Week 12 and returned in Week 13, being thrown at six times, recording six total tackles. He’s hit double-digit defended passes and the Giants are allowing the 2nd most points to opposing DBs.

-I know Michael Griffin had a disappointing outing in Week 13, but continue rolling him out there. He’s producing a near 0.20 points per snap on well over 880 defensive snaps this season.

 

St. Louis Rams vs. Washington Redskins

-After producing no sacks in the first six games, Robert Quinn has notched 9 in his last seven games. He’s getting pressure on the QB on nearly 12 percent of his blitzes, however, will line up over Trent Williams, who should provide a formidable match-up for Quinn. Williams has allowed two sacks in the last four games, so keep that in mind.

-Aaron Donald is 6th among defensive tackles in sacks and is a solid DT1 in those leagues requiring a defensive tackle this week.

-Might be a rough week to count on James Laurinaitis. The Redskins have allowed the 2nd least solo tackles to opposing LBs at just 12 per game. Laurinaitis has five games of six or more solos, while the rest of have been fewer than five. His 9.7 percent tackle rate doesn’t necessarily make him a must play this week if you have better options.

-In big play scoring formats, I like Ryan Kerrigan’s match-up with the right side of the Rams’ offensive line. Kerrigan has been a beast with his pressure this season, getting to the QB on nearly 15 percent of his snaps and notching 9.5 sacks. Davin Joseph has given up three sacks and 19 combined QB hits/hurries on the season.

-Ryan Clark continues to miss tackles and is now missing one in nearly five attempts. He’ll be hard to trust this week outside of deeper, all-IDP leagues.

-Keenan Robinson is out for today’s game. Need a quick pick-up? Will Compton has two starts this season and has a 94 percent usage rate in those appearances. Only consider Compton in deeper leagues if the waiver wire is baby pool shallow.

 

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals

-Allen Bailey is being evaluated for a concussion and looks to be out for Week 14. He’s been a surprise this season, producing four sacks and 37 tackles with an 82 percent usage rate on defense. The Chiefs look to be without him this week.

-Arizona is one of the stingiest teams in points allowed to LBs and tackles, so the match-up doesn’t bode well for Josh Mauga this week. The Cardinals will be running a combo of Marion Grice and Stepfan Taylor, so Mauga’s tackle opportunities could be limited. Mauga is responsible for 36 percent of the tackle opportunities among LBs and is producing a 5:1 solo-to-assist ratio. His floor seems to be 5-6 solos with a ceiling of 8-10. In this match-up, however, I’d bet on the floor and is more of an LB3 if you’re starting three or more LBs.

-Justin Houston has been a beast, but also finds himself in a difficult match-up. The Cardinals have allowed three sacks all season to opposing LBs. It would be difficult to bench Houston in any scoring format, as he’s already recorded 14 sacks and is producing pressure on 18 percent of his blitzes. The upside for Houston is that he’ll lineup on Bobby Massie‘s side and he’s been responsible for five sacks and 26 QB hits/hurries.

-Ron Parker moved back to FS with Eric Berry out for the year. Parker seems to have a higher ceiling when he’s playing CB as opposed to safety, but he’s still in play in deeper leagues. At safety, he’s averaged  around five tackles per game. His ceiling is around seven tackles, putting him in the DB3 range this week in a neutral match-up.

-The Chiefs are 10th in points allowed to opposing DL, so Calais Campbell has a solid match-up this week. He’s got two multi-sack efforts in the last four weeks and is generating pressure on nearly 10 percent of his blitzes. He should line up over Mike McGlynn and Eric Fisher, who are responsible for giving up 9 sacks and 42 QB hits/hurries combined. Another multi-sack game wouldn’t surprise me.

-Tyrann Mathieu looks like he’ll miss the next two games, at minimum, due to thumb surgery. This is going to open up some snaps for Tony Jefferson, who saw a usage rate of 65 percent in Week 13, after averaging just 26 percent of the snaps in the last four games. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the field for 80 percent or more of the snaps over these next few weeks.

 

Buffalo Bills vs. Denver Broncos

-Brandon Marshall has shown no ill-effects from a concussion in Week 13 and appeared in all of the snaps. Marshall has hit the 100 tackle mark, despite three games of five tackles or fewer. Keep Marshall in your lineup this week, as he’s producing 0.25 points per snap and producing a near 13 percent tackle rate.

-If Danny Trevathan is active against Buffalo, he could be eased in and on a snap count. He missed the first four games of the season, and while in Week 5, he played the majority of the snaps, he ended up getting injured again in Week 6. Not saying they’re related, but I couldn’t trust him in the first week of the fantasy playoffs.

-Demarcus Ware should line up over Cordy Glenn against the Bills. Even though Glenn is grading among the better tackles, he has been susceptible to pressure, as he’s given up six sacks in his last seven games. Ware has enjoyed a resurgence in Denver, generating pressure on 12 percent of his blitzes and has reached the double-digit sack mark. Deploy Ware like you normally would this week.

-Malik Jackson has seen a usage rate around 50 percent this season and has been sent on 309 blitzes. He’s generating pressure on over 11 percent of his blitzes, so he makes a sneaky match-up play in deeper leagues if you need to roll the dice on a DL this week.

-If Sammy Watkins doesn’t go, I don’t like Chris Harris this week. An active Watkins means a target for Orton, so he’d have to throw at Harris 5-7 times to try and move the ball. When thrown at, Harris is making a play on the ball 24 percent of the time and has recorded two picks and 14 defended passes.

-Peyton Manning gets the ball out so quick, that the Buffalo defensive line is at a disadvantage this week. Denver’s offensive line as a whole, is among one of the top graded in pass blocking, as only Dallas, Cleveland and Green Bay are grading better. Downgrade Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams on the outside, as Denver’s tackles have given up five sacks total this season.

-Aaron Williams recorded his first game of over five tackles since Week 3. He’s been an inconsistent IDP producer, but does have a decent match-up this week, as the Broncos are allowing the 10th most points to opposing DBs.

-The Broncos should try and run the ball, leaving plenty of tackle opportunities for Preston Brown. His 11.3 percent tackle rate should give him LB3 value this week.

 

San Francisco 49’ers vs. Oakland Raiders

-Should be an intriguing match-up for Chris Borland against Oakland. The Raiders are allowing an average of 13 solo tackles per game to opposing LBs and Borland is averaging nearly 11 solos per game over his last six games, producing a near 18 percent solo tackle rate. He’s gotten you this far, continue riding him.

-Since returning from suspension, Aldon Smith has already recorded two sacks and is generating pressure on nearly 15 percent of his blitzes. I definitely like Smith in big play formats, as all seven sacks that the Raiders have allowed to opposing LBs have come from 3-4 LBs.

-If there’s a corner I’m targeting in this game, it’s Perrish Cox. He’s been thrown at 75 times this season and is making a play on the ball nearly 23 percent of the time. He’s hit double digit defended passes and I always like targeting a CB against a rookie QB willing to throw the ball. Cox is a high-upside CB2 in leagues requiring a cornerback.

-Charles Woodson has been a DB4 in overall scoring in most tackle heavy formats, producing 0.20 points per snap and a near 10 percent tackle rate on over 860 defensive snaps.

 

Seattle Seahawks vs. Philadelphia Eagles

-In his two games since returning from injury, Bobby Wagner has produced double-digit fantasy points and is coming off a 10 tackle game. He’s been back to his normal usage rate and is safe to get back in your lineups this week. The Eagles are stingy in points allowed to LBs but he needs to be in your lineup with his 0.25 points per snap and 15.5 percent tackle rate.

-With a healthy defense, Earl Thomas could be able to make some plays against an Eagle offense that’s allowing the most points to opposing DBs. Over his last four games, he’s bene producing 0.25 points per snap and has double-digit points in three of his last four games. I like Thomas as a DB2 in this match-up.

-Byron Maxwell is a solid CB match-up play this week, as he’s been targeted 11 times over the last two games and should see plenty of balls thrown his way against the Eagles. In his last four games, he’s been thrown at 16 times and has made a play on the ball 44 percent of those targets. Eagles are allowing numerous points to DBs, so he’s a nice play in CB-required leagues this week.

-The offensive line of the Eagles is their strength and the tackles are among the top graded in the NFL. Jason Peters and Lane Johnson have allowed a total of one sack and 29 combined hits/hurries all season. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril have tough match-ups this week and should be considered in leagues that award heavily on the big plays.

-Since the bye week, and his subsequent return from injury, Mychal Kendricks has been an elite LB. In his last six games, he’s recorded four games of 14 or more fantasy points and is producing a 12.1 percent tackle rate in those games. Hopefully, he’ll cut out the misses, as he had three missed tackles heading into Week 13, where he had three misses in one game.

-On just a 40 percent usage rate, Brandon Graham is generating pressure on 23 percent of his blitzes and has 5.5 sacks on the year. He’s a boom or bust LB play in big play scoring formats.

-Malcolm Jenkins has seen 33 balls thrown his way and has made a play on nearly 40 percent of those targets, with 3 picks and 10 defended passes. We’ll see what kind of plays Jenkins can make, as the Seahawks are 29th in points allowed to DBs, so they are stingy with the ball in the defensive backfield.

 

New England Patriots vs. San Diego Chargers

-Rob Ninkovich has a solid match-up against the Chargers right tackle, D.J. Fluker. Fluker has allowed five sacks and 31 combined QB hits/hurries on the year. Ninkovich has two sacks in his last three games and is generating pressure on nearly 9 percent of his blitzes, however, keep in mind he’s been sent in on over 400 blitzes.

-Dont’a Hightower has produced a near 12 percent tackle rate over his last three games since the bye week. He’s also been efficient with his blitzes, getting to the QB on 22 percent of the time. Consider him an LB3 this week.

-Jamie Collins has seven games of 14 or more fantasy points and is coming off a 20 pointer last week. He’s producing 0.23 points per snap and is facing a Charger team that’s allowing an average of 15 solo tackles per game to LBs.

-Brandon Browner’s coverage has been much improved and only saw 3 targets his way in Week 13. With Darrelle Revis, more than likely, covering Keenan Allen, he could see a slight increase in balls his way this week. Browner is still a risky option in CB-required leagues, as he hasn’t gone over more than five fantasy points in his last three games.

-Outside of Donald Butler, it’ll be hard to trust any other Charger LB over the next few weeks. Since returning from injury in Week 11, Manti Te’o has had about a 50 percent usage rate and isn’t seeing consistent snaps. Kavell Conner’s usage has been inconsistent, as well, however he’s been slightly more productive. Since the bye, he’s averaging 6 tackles per game. He’s a risky option outside of deeper, all-IDP leagues where you’re starting more than three LBs.

-Shareece Wright has seen 24 balls thrown his way over the last three games. Though he doesn’t have an INT, he’s recorded eight defended passes, three in his last three games. The Patriots are allowing the 14th most points to opposing DBs, so he should be on Brandon Lafell and should see plenty of targets.

 

Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers

-Since the bye week, Desmond Trufant has been thrown at 34 times in the last four games and has been making a play on the ball on 24 percent of those targets. No matter who he covers this week, Trufant is going to get thrown at plenty and makes for a solid play in CB-required leagues with his total 21 percent play on ball rate.

-William Moore returned the field in Week 13 and Kemal Ishmael to a situational role. Moore saw all 56 defensive snaps and recorded just a solo tackle and handful of assists. Even with a match-up against Green Bay, I still think he makes a risky DB play this week.

-Since seeing 77 percent of the snaps in Week 7, he’s been averaging a nearly 25 percent usage rate, which has all but killed his IDP value for the remainder of the season. Someone to keep an eye on is Malliciah Goodman, who received the start in Week 13 and saw 38 of the 56 snaps.

-The Green Bay Packers are the top graded offensive line according to PFF, so expecting consistent pressure is going to be tough. Aaron Rodgers gets rid of the ball so quickly and accurately, it’s hard for any DL to get any type of pressure. I wouldn’t be counting on any Falcon DL to get a sack, but maybe a handful of tackles if Eddie Lacy gets 20-25 carries.

-Since Clay Matthews’ point outburst in Week 10, he’s recorded 13 tackles in his last three games and a sack. He’ll continue to be a risky IDP play and is more of an LB2/3 in big play scoring formats rather than tackle heavy scoring.

-Morgan Burnett has four straight games of 13 or more fantasy points and has produced a 14.2 percent tackle rate in his last 239 defensive snaps. He’s been a DB3 in overall scoring producing a 0.24 points per snap.

-Mike Daniels has recorded a sack in consecutive weeks, but has a tough match-up no matter who he lines up against. The Falcons have better guard play than on the outside. Justin Blalock and Jon Asamoah have combined to allow three sacks this season. Daniels is generating pressure on nearly 13 percent of his snaps, but has some risk this week in a tough match-up.

 

Mike Woellert is an IDP Contributor for FakePigskin.

Target, grading and rush snap data courtesy of Pro Football Focus
Image Credit: Sporting News

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