IDP Week 7 is upon us. The Jaguars have become the punching bag of the NFL, but they have one of the bigger hitters in league in Jonathan Cyprien. Cyprien in just two short seasons became an IDP stud after his rookie year, but a slow start and injuries had his owners wondering if he was a one-year wonder. Cyprien’s resurgence over the last few weeks highlights the IDP Week 7 Match-ups Facts and Analysis.
Cleveland Browns vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
–Christian Kirksey appeared in 64 of the 77 defensive snaps and received the start in Week 6. Over the last two games, he’s produced a 12 percent tackle rate (13 tackles over span of 108 snaps). I’m trying to temper my excitement, but I’m walking by the bandwagon and taking a wait and see approach on his production over the next week or so. However, Kirksey makes a sneaky match-up play in Week 7, facing a Jaguars team that is giving up the 2nd most points to opposing LBs. The Jags are also giving up nearly 13 tackles per game to opposing 3-4 ILBs.
–Desmond Bryant is also looking like a sneaky match-up play against a really bad Jacksonville offensive line that is handing out sacks like Halloween candy. Bryant has been generating pressure on over 11 percent of his last 63 blitzes. If he can get lined up over Luke Joeckel, he should have more success, as he’s allowed 20 total QB pressures in 267 pass block snaps. Zane Beadles has been a solid left guard, allowing two sacks and just two combined hits/hurries in 267 pass block snaps.
–Buster Skrine produced his first game of 10 or more fantasy points and his first big plays of the season. Skrine was targeted 11 times in Week 6, defending four passes and picking off another. Skrine makes for a match-up play in CB-required leagues as Jacksonville is allowing the most points to opposing cornerbacks. Ten CBs have scored 10 or more points and corners have been responsible for seven of the eight INTs caused.
-Too bad Donte Whitner can’t face the Steelers every week. 21 of his 37 total tackles have come in two games against Pittsburgh. Whitner has some experience with the Jags, as he’s played against them in six career games and recorded 32 total tackles with 28 being solos.
–Sen’Derrick Marks could take advantage of an offensive line that just lost its All-Pro center. The Browns will be moving John Greco over to center it appears going forward. Marks has been sent on 179 blitzes, however, he’s struggled against the run so he should be plenty busy with Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell. He’s generating pressure on almost 10 percent of his snaps this season and a tackle rate of 7.5 percent. Line him up as a DT1 in defensive tackle required leagues.
–Chris Clemons has sacks in consecutive games but will find himself lined up with All-Pro left tackle, Joe Thomas, in Week 7. His pressure is inconsistent, as he’s getting to the QB in some manner on just 5 percent of his 185 blitzes. I’d be benching Clemons this week, as Thomas is grading out as the 3rd best tackle, allowing a sack and two combined hits/hurries.
–Jonathan Cyprien, through four games, has played 42.2 percent of his run snaps near the line of scrimmage, recording 11 of his tackles near the LOS. In his last two games, he’s produced 20 or more fantasy points and 0.41 points per snap and a 20 percent tackle rate. He’s in the mix as a DB1.
–Dwayne Gratz only saw 18 snaps and has lost his starting spot to Demetrius McCray. He got the start in his place in Week 6 and saw 36 snaps compared to Gratz’s 18. For those that own Gratz in deeper leagues, or CB-required leagues, he can safely be dropped. I’d take a wait and see approach on McCray and look for better options on the wire for a Week 7 replacement.
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Atlanta Falcons vs. Baltimore Ravens
–Joplo Bartu played in 58 snaps at the inside next Paul Worrilow in Week 6. Prince Shembo received 0 snaps after being limited in practices. It was quite the surprise for Shembo owners, since he’s been starting over the last few weeks. Shembo owners will not want to drop him, though I wouldn’t go out and pick-up Bartu either. Unfortunately, the LB situation in Atlanta has become muddled at best. For those in deeper leagues, where you’re starting three or more LBs, will want to consider starting Shembo as a risky LB3/4 in a favorable match-up with the Ravens.
-If only Jonathan Massaquoi was designated as a DE in your league. If he, now might be the time to pick him up. Massaquoi saw a season-high 23 blitzes in Week 6. All he did was prove that he’s one of the better pass rushers on the squad, registering a sack and generating pressure on 26 percent of his blitzes. Massaquoi does have a tougher match-up this week, as the Ravens have allowed two sacks to LBs, but it was to a 3-4 OLB.
–Kemal Ishmael had a rough day in coverage, giving up two big receptions, however was productive again from an IDP standpoint. He produced his second-straight game of six or more solo tackles and double-digit fantasy points in tackle formats. He’s averaging 8 total tackles per game over the last four weeks, recording a 12.8 percent tackle rate. Ravens are allowing the 5th least points to opposing DBs, but seven safeties have registered 10 more fantasy points in six games. Ishmael should be looked at as a DB2 this week.
–Robert Alford has three defended passes in his last two games, while being thrown at 17 times. Alford is a sneaky starter in deep leagues requiring CB starter as he could match-up on Steve Smith this week.
–Jimmy Smith recorded his first INT in Week 6 and was thrown at 10 total times. He’s seeing, on average, around six balls thrown his way and has CB1 upside this week against the Falcons, as they are allowing the 3rd most points to opposing CBs. Smith is making a play on the ball nearly 21 percent of the time that he’s thrown at and should see plenty of Julio Jones.
–Terrell Suggs/Elvis Dumervil dominated the Tampa offensive line. They combined for 2.5 sacks and generated pressure on nearly 20 percent of the blitzes, leading to 11 combined QB hits/hurries. Suggs and Dumervil will be on the radar in big play scoring formats this week, facing an Atlanta offensive line that’s grading near the bottom of the league, allowing five sacks and 37 combined hits/hurries.
–C.J. Mosley looks to be one that’ll lead rookies in tackles. Through six games, he’s an LB6 depending on your scoring and has produced double-digit fantasy points in all six games. Mosley is match-up proof, even in a less than favorable match-up against Atlanta, as he’s on pace for 90 solo tackles and 140 total tackles.
–Lardarius Webb saw the most snaps of the season after battling some early season injuries. He’s been thrown at 14 times over the last two games, recording 9 tackles and two defended passes. There’s CB1 upside this week in a great match-up as he’ll line up, more than likely, on Roddy White.
-If Will Hill is on your waiver wire, now might be the time to grab him. He’s back at practice and should start eating into Darian Stewart’s snaps, and overtake him eventually. Definitely a name to watch this week.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Buffalo Bills
–Chad Greenway could be available this week, as he’s back at practice, however, keep in mind he’s still dealing with wrist and hip injuries. I would look to him as an LB3 this week as he gets eased back into action. If you’re in a league where you’re starting three or more LBs, I’d play him this week, as he’s probably better than some of the replacements available.
–Linval Joseph recorded his first sack, well half-sack, since Week 1. He’s still been a solid IDP contributor as a defensive tackle, notching 21 tackles and a 7.7 percent tackle rate while generating pressure on nearly 10 percent of his blitzes. He’s produced four games of six or more fantasy points and is a DT10 in tackle-heavy formats. He’s a DT1 this week, facing a Buffalo offensive line and guard in Erik Pears, who’s grading near the bottom, allowing a sack and 12 combined hits/hurries in 245 pass block snaps.
–Everson Griffen now has sacks in consecutive weeks, but has a tougher match-up against one of the top graded left tackles in the league in Cordy Glenn. Glenn has allowed two sacks and 10 combined hits/hurries in 245 pass block snaps. How will Griffen respond this week? I don’t like the match-up and is a low-end DE2 this week.
-Since Week 4, Gerald Hodges has appeared in 190 defensive snaps. He’s produced consecutive weeks of six or more tackles, but remains a low-floor LB3 this week. If Greenway is active, he can left on the bench as there’ll most likely, be a rotation with Greenway getting the majority of the snaps.
–Harrison Smith was dealing with an ankle injury, and despite being questionable, was active and appeared in all 70 defensive snaps. He didn’t produce his usual numbers, only four tackles, but unless he’s inactive he needs to be started. Smith faces a Bills team that’s 9th in points allowed to opposing safeties, as eight safeties have scored double-digit fantasy points, including six with 16 or more points.
–Nigel Bradham saw 59 snaps, more at the strong-side, and recorded 11 tackles and an 18.6 percent tackle rate. Bradham has graded positively in all four games, and it appears when healthy, he’ll be on the field as he’s appeared in nearly 85 percent of the snaps. He has the advantage of the Buffalo home-field stat crew, so there’s LB2 upside this week, especially with the Vikings turning to Jerick McKinnon more.
-I know Jerry Hughes seems to make a weekly appearance, but I love the match-up this week against Matt Kalil. Kalil has given up seven sacks and 19 combined QB hits/hurries in 253 pass block snaps. Hughes has four sacks through six games and is generating pressure on 12 percent of his blitzes. He has DE1 upside this week.
-For some reason, the Bills decided to split snaps at weak-side between Keith Rivers and Preston Brown. After appearing in 95 percent of the snaps in Weeks 1-5, confusingly, he appeared in 47 percent of the snaps. Brown could be more of an LB3 than LB2 this week. He shouldn’t be dropped just yet. A definite hold in dynasty leagues.
–Corey Graham helped his IDP value by filling in at SS for the injured Aaron Williams in Week 6. Graham finished with eight tackles and also has seven defended passes to go along with his numbers. Graham will be worth adding in CB-required if he plays safety. You’ll get the high tackle numbers to go along with the upside of the big plays. He finished Week 6 with an 11 percent tackle rate and produced.
Miami Dolphins vs. Chicago Bears
–Koa Misi returned to the lineup in Week 6 and manned the middle. Misi appeared in 63 snaps and looked good, recording 9 tackles (eight solos), resulting in a 14.2 percent tackle rate for the week. Misi’s return cut into the production of Jelani Jenkins, slightly, as Jenkins recorded six solo tackles. Jenkins, however, was the only LB to appear in 80 defensive snaps. Philip Wheeler, who I thought would make a decent ROS sleeper, appeared in just 34 snaps on the strong-side. Jason Trusnik, who saw the starts and snaps in Misi’s absence, saw just one snap on the day. I was pleased to see Jenkins get the snaps and it’s safe to start him on a weekly basis, as he’s produced double-digit fantasy points in four of five games, and, has graded positively in all five games. Misi has LB3 value with him appearing in 79 percent of the snaps, but provide LB2 value if his snap appearance hits 90 percent. Wheeler can be dropped in shallow leagues, but if you’re in deeper league where you can carry six or more LBs, I’d hold.
-I wrote about Cameron Wake in my All-22 analysis last week, so I’m going to take credit for his slump buster game. He abused Bryan Bulaga on his 47 rush snaps, beating him for 1.5 sacks and three combined hits/hurries. Olivier Vernon has been one of the more consistent linemen for Miami, as he now has 3.5 sacks in the first five games of the season. Vernon took advantage of the favorable match-up to beat David Bakhtiari for 1.5 sacks three QB pressures. The Chicago offensive line has been improved, but Jordan Mills is going to have his hands full with Wake. Mills has given up four sacks and 15 combined hits/hurries in 272 pass block snaps. Bears are still hopeful that Jermon Bushrod can return in Week 7. Michael Ola struggled against Atlanta, allowing five QB hurries and would be a handful for Vernon.
-Savvy IDP’ers that grabbed Reshad Jones before suspension were rewarded in Week 6. Questions about his usage were answered rather quickly, as he saw 77 of 80 snaps at FS, moving Jimmy Wilson to the slot. Jones recorded 9 solo tackles and defended a pass in his debut, so he’s already looking like a DB1 going forward. The Bears are 10th in points allowed to opposing safeties, so another solid match-up for Jones in Week 7
–Louis Delmas has never played in consecutive 16-game seasons. So, far, he’s appeared in all five games and has been on for 353 defensive snaps. As of now, even with a strong match-up, isn’t quite ready for IDP consideration just yet.
-The state of the Chicago linebackers has become an IDP situation to completely avoid. Much like an RBBC, or even worse, a three-headed RBBC monster, is what has emerged in Chicago. There’s no clear-cut option for a rosterable LB and it doesn’t appear we’ll get an answer soon. All three starters, DJ Williams, Lance Briggs and Jon Bostic were inactive Week 6. Darryl Sharpton got the nod at MIKE, while Khaseem Greene manned the WILL, each receiving most of the snaps. Christian Jones saw 21 snaps at the strong-side. Mike Trestman is doing his best Mike Shanahan when it comes to addressing the LB situation. When asked about the future, Trestman muttered, “We only played with the guys we had yesterday and can’t make comparisons to starters because they didn’t play.” We might find out more this week, but at this point, Greene might be the best option in deeper leagues as he recorded eight tackles without missing an attempt and looks to get another start with Briggs being ruled out for Week 7.
–Stephen Paea is emerging as a decent option in DT-required leagues. Paea has five games of five or more points in his first six games, which for a defensive tackle, is productive. He’s also getting to the QB on over 10 percent of his blitzes, which is an astounding number for an interior linemen. He’s a DT11 in overall scoring and has DT1 upside in this match-up, as Miami is giving up the 5th most points to opposing DTs.
–Jared Allen welcomed Jake Matthews to the NFL in his own way. Jared Allen abused the rook for a sack and six combined hits/hurries, generating pressure on 19 percent of his blitzes. Is this a sign of things to come for Allen the rest of the year? He should line up over Branden Albert, who’s grading as one of the top tackles this season. Albert has allowed two sacks and four hits/hurries in 210 pass blocking snaps. Allen seems to be a low-floor DE2 this week.
New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions
–Kenny Vaccaro is playing nearly 68 percent of his snaps near the line of scrimmage and is averaging just under six tackles per game and a near 4:1 solo-to-assist ratio. The Saints are coming in relatively healthy after their bye week and David Hawthorne is one LB they’ll need over the rest of the season. Hawthorne, though grading negatively, is producing decent IDP digits. Hawthorne has two games of 13 or more points and is producing a 12.9 percent tackle rate in three games. The Lions have allowed 12 LBs to score double-digital fantasy points.
–Ezekiel Ansah announced his presence with authority against the Vikings, taking advantage of Matt Kalil. Ansah will find the sledding in Week 7 a little tougher, as he’ll lineup against Terron Armstead, who’s grading among the best left tackles and has yet to allow a sack in 196 pass block snaps. Ansah appears to be a match-up play heading into the Week 7 tilt, however he is generating pressure on over 11 percent of his rush snaps. The Week 7 match-up isn’t favorable and might want to look to other DE options.
-Even playing alongside DeAndre Levy, Tahir Whitehead remains productive at MIKE. Since Week 4, Whitehead has three straight games of 12 or more fantasy points, including two games of 16 or more. He’s producing a 13.4 percent tackle rate and nearly 0.26 points per snap in that span, as well. I like Whitehead as an LB3 heading into Week 7, as the Saints have allowed nine LBs to score double-digit points, including six to score 18 or more points.
-Since returning in Week 4, James Ihedigbo has appeared in all but four snaps in the last three games. Through three games and 209 snaps, his tackle rate is hovering around seven percent. He’s more efficient in his pass rush, getting to the QB nearly 42 percent of his blitzes. He’s a low-end DB3 heading into Week 7.
–Ndamukong Suh is going to give Jahri Evans fits this week. Suh has already blitzed 197 times this season, generating pressure nearly 9 percent of the time, including three sacks and 15 hurries, which leads defensive tackles. Evans is grading out 42nd among 75 guards, as he’s allowed 17 total QB pressures, including three sacks. Suh is lining up as a DT1 this week.
Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers
–Luke Kuechly is producing an 18 percent tackle rate in 409 defensive snaps. He’s on pace for nearly 200 tackles and is missing one every 16 attempts.
-Is Charles Johnson picking his game up? He’s produced sacks in consecutive weeks, but is barely generating pressure 10 percent of the time in his last 73 blitzes. The sacks are nice, but the tackles have declined over the last few years. Another favorable match-up is in store for Johnson this week, so he remains a DE2 in big play scoring formats, just don’t expect high tackle numbers.
-Since missing Week 4, Thomas Davis has recorded 17 tackles (13 solos) in his last 151 snaps. He is, however, missing a tackle in every seven attempts.
–Antoine Cason remains a CB1/DB1 heading into the Week 7 match-up against the Packers. Cason hawked his first INT since Week 1, but he’s proving his worth in tackle heavy formats. He’s recording a 10.4 percent tackle rate and a 3:1 solo-to-assist ration. He’s also been thrown at 45 times, and while he’s not making many plays on the ball, he’s making tackles. He’s also maximizing the points, missing just three tackles and producing 0.25 points per snap. Not only has he been valuable in CB leagues, but he’s been the top scorer among DBs in tackle heavy formats.
–Jamari Lattimore suffered a neck injury and didn’t return in Week 6, leading to just 11 snaps. He’s day-to-day at this point until we hear something more on the injury.
-Even though Micah Hyde is getting inconsistent snaps, he’s putting up respectable IDP numbers in limited reps. He’s produced 12 or more fantasy points in two straight games, even though he appeared in 78 snaps. In terms of his tackles, he’s recorded an 11.9 percent tackle rate in 244 snaps and 0.22 points per snap. He’s been solid in stopping the run, playing nearly half his run snaps near the line of scrimmage. His snaps per game, cap is IDP value in shallow leagues, but is worth looking at in deeper leagues where you can stash 3 or more DBs. Just keep in mind, he’s still in a rotation with Ha-Ha Clinton Dix at FS.
-I’m just about to ready to give up on Clay Matthews as an IDP contributor. He hasn’t produced 10 or more fantasy points since Week 2, which was the last time he registered a sack (his only one). He’s generating pressure on 11 percent of his blitzes and is leading the team in blitzes and QB pressures. Have injuries caught up to him? The Panthers have given up five sacks to opposing LBs, where four of those have come from a 3-4 OLB. This could be a match-up play for Matthews in deeper, big play scoring formats.
–Mike Neal has been an under-rated rusher for the Packers this season. He’s generating pressure on just under 10 percent of his blitzes and does have two sacks. Now, I’m not saying he’s an IDP play, but keep an eye on him this week as he’s being called in to help with the pass rush.
-For those in CB-required leagues, you might need to find other options for Sam Shields and possibly Tramon Williams. Shields has been dealing with a knee injury and is likely missing this week. Williams is a game-time decision with an ankle injury. Shields presence will be missed, as he’s been PFF’s 7th graded CB and has been making a play on the ball almost 28 percent of the time he’s thrown at.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts
-Apprently Vontaze Burfict summoned his inner Kurt Angle this past week, twisting the ankles of Cam Newton and Greg Olsen. Not sure if the blows to the head have him thinking he’s a WWE or MMA fighter, but the NFL could investigate Burfict’s actions this past week. Either way, if Burfict is active, he needs to be started and is coming off a 10 tackle game against the Panthers, after missing the previous two games. Even though he’s recorded 18 tackles, he’s still producing a 13.4 percent tackle rate.
–Wallace Gilberry suffered a facial injury this past week and his status is unknown at this point. He’s, arguably, been the Bengals best pass rusher this year. He’s produced four straight games of five or more QB pressures, but for IDP’ers, he’s only registered 1.5 sacks. However, the pressure is there, as he’s getting to the QB in some fashion, be it a hit/hurry/sack, on nearly 13 percent of his blitzes. The Colts are 10th overall in points allowed to DLs and have given up 7.5 sacks to linemen on the season.
-Outside of Week 3, Emmanuel Lamur has notched seven more tackles in four of the five games this season. Keep an eye on the injury report, as he left Week 6 with a shoulder injury. He’s been limited in practice and is considered doubtful. Rey Maualuga also left Week 6 with a hamstring injury and is out for Week 7. Cincinnati has signed Nico Johnson from Kansas City’s practice squad, but is going to be used as merely depth this week. Johnson’s signing is also an indication that Lamur will miss this week’s tilt.
-If you’re looking for a match-up play here, Vincent Rey looks to be one of the only healthy LBs, Burfict included, and is in line for three-down duties. The Colts have allowed 9 linebackers to record seven or more tackles against them.
-Dial up Leon Hall as a high-upside CB1 this week. The Colts are allowing the 3rd most points to opposing corners through Week 6, as 9 CBs have scored 11 or more fantasy points when playing Andrew Luck and the Colts. Hall has been solid in pass coverage, however, his numbers don’t jump out. He’s been thrown at 32 times and is making a play on the ball 12 percent of the time. Hall will be tested as he should be lining up on Reggie Wayne this week, so he’s going to be busy.
–D’Qwell Jackson has three sacks in 40 blitzes and is also notching more solo tackles, producing over a 2:1 solo-to-assist ratio. Although he’s grading poorly overall, he’s producing IDP digits once again and is generating 0.37 points per snap in his last four games. He looks to be dialed in as an LB2 this week.
–Erik Walden is ½ sack away from matching a career-high. He’s recorded three sacks in the first six games and is generating pressure on 10 percent of his blitzes. He looks to be on the verge of a career-year and this isn’t a contract year either. Don’t expect tackles, but he’s doing his best to provide a semblance of a pass rush as they look to fill in the gaps with Robert Mathis’s absence.
–Cory Redding has sacks in two of his last three games, but is going to find the sledding a little rougher this week. The Bengals right side of their offensive line has been stout between Andre Smith and Mike Pollak.
Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams
–Brandon Mebane hasn’t been productive from an IDP standpoint, mainly because he’s clogging the lanes and allowing the linebackers to make plays and tackles. That’s the nature of the defensive tackle position. Over the last three seasons, Mebane had averaged 52 total tackles. This year, he’s notched 10 tackles and is on pace for around 30. He’s someone to hold on to for depth in DT-required leagues and could be a sneaky play against St. Louis, as he’s recorded 44 tackles (33 solos) in 14 career games.
–Bobby Wagner is battling turf toe and he looks to be out for a few weeks, at least. Owners will have, yet again, to look for a replacement for an LB1.
–K.J. Wright is on pace for just over 90 tackles and has produced 13 or more fantasy points in four of five games this season. He’s struggled in pass coverage this season, however, he’s been solid against the run. His two missed tackles in Week 6, were the first since Week 2, so he’s not leaving too many points on the field, missing an attempt in every 10 tries. There’s LB2 upside here, as he’ll move into the middle to replace Wagner and the Rams are allowing the 9th most points to opposing LBs. Get Wright into your lineups this week.
–Kam Chancellor’s status for last week was all over the place. He ended up, not only being active, but started and appeared in all 77 snaps. He missed on a tackle but made 3 defensive stops (plays that result in an offensive failure). He’s playing near the line of scrimmage 72 percent of the time and 18 of this tackles have been made near the line. His hip injury didn’t seem to hinder him, so at this point, Chancellor owners shouldn’t worry about his status. Continue to start Kam as you normally would, as he’s recorded 39 tackles in eight career games against the Rams.
–Richard Sherman might be an elite corner, but he’s not a defender you can trust for fantasy purposes on a weekly basis. He’s had two games where he’s produced 0 points. He’s coming off a game where he made eight tackles and was thrown at six times. Sherman could be busy this week, especially, if St. Louis abandons the run. I would only consider Sherman a CB2 in leagues requiring a CB starter, and barely that, as Austin Davis may not throw his way if Kenny Britt lines up on his side.
-Dynasty leaguers will want to keep an eye on Tharold Simon in the secondary. He appears ready to make his debut in Week 7, coming off of knee surgery in September. He appears ready to make in impact on a secondary that will be without Byron Maxwell this week. He had a solid pre-season, appearing in 90 snaps and recorded six tackles, while making a play on the ball on 43 percent of his targets.
–Robert Quinn could be this year’s Zac Stacy or Eddie Lacy. Someone you can’t trade since you’ll get garbage, someone you can’t cut because someone will pick him up and someone you can’t bench out of fear of blowing up. I might be finished blanket recommend starting him after recording just a couple of tackles and 0 pressure as he got stood up by Joe Staley all night.
–Michael Brockers has been an IDP disappointment, as he has yet to score more than four points in a game. After recording 46 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2013, the arrow was pointing up for the DT1. Through five games, he’s registered seven tackles and 0 sacks. Even in DT-required leagues, he’s not worth starting this week. Lack of tackles, lack of pressure and 0 sacks is a triumvirate of fantasy disaster.
-I felt bad for Janoris Jenkins Monday night. He was abused, giving up two touchdowns and when I found the word toast in the online dictionary, there was a picture of Jenkins. He’s already given up four TDs on the year, after giving up seven in all of 2013. Jenkins could be one of those IDP corners to play the match-ups, as he could be taken advantage of. He finished Week 6 with 7 targets, however, he may not make the big plays, and tackles could be there. Jenkins has notched 20 solo tackles through five games. It’s been a rough go since his Week 3 game of five tackles and the pick-six.
Tennessee Titans vs. Washington Redskins
-After not recording a sack since Week 2, Jurrell Casey recorded two more in Week 6, along with 2 other QB hits/hurries on 39 blitzes. Casey also recorded 9 tackles, including 3 for a loss. Casey’s production has been inconsistent this season, as he has two games of 12 or more fantasy points and three others with six or less, including a game of 0. Casey has a tougher match-up against Washington’s left side, as their guards have only allowed one sack on the season.
-After missing Week 5, Blidi Wreh-Wilson returned in Week 6. After producing three negatively graded games in a row, he was graded positively against the Jaguars. He saw 10 balls thrown his way and made a play on the ball on three of those targets and also recorded 11 tackles. Wilson is a sneaky start this week in CB-leagues, as the Redskins are allowing the 5th most points to opposing CBs, including 9 corners scoring 10 or more fantasy points.
-It appears that Avery Williamson will be wearing the green-dot communicator helmet, which all but assures him of a three-down role going forward. In his last three games, Williamson has recorded 17 tackles, defended two passes and forced a fumble. Even with the new role, this week at least, his upside is limited facing the Redskins, as they are allowing the 5th least points allowed to opposing LBs. He’s shaping up to be an LB3 this week. It’s certainly bad news for Wesley Woodyard owners, as he’s seen his snaps and subpackage roles decrease over the last few weeks.
-Both Michael Griffin and George Wilson should have better games this week, after a tougher match-up with the Jags, who were dominated by Tennessee’s front seven. The Redskins are allowing the 5th most points to opposing safeties, allowing eight to score double-digit fantasy points.
-The Titans are a difficult match-up for opposing LBs. Only three linebackers have been able to produce eight or more tackles in six games. Keenan Robinson, however, should be able to continue his tackle pace and rate, as Will Compton shouldn’t be too much of a threat to steal tackle attempts. Robinson is still an LB2 this week, producing a 10.7 percent tackle rate on 411 snaps.
-In Jason Hatcher‘s last 131 blitzes, he’s generating pressure nearly 15 percent of the time. It led to his first sack, though shared, since Week 2. The Titans will be without their left tackle, Michael Roos and Hatcher should be able to have his way with Andy Levitre, who’s given up three sacks and seven QB hurries on the year. Hatcher is shaping up to be a DE2 in a favorable match-up.
–Ryan Kerrigan is well on his way to his first double-digit sack campaign this yeah. He’s already recorded 6.5 sacks and he’s generating pressure on 16 percent of his blitzes. The Titans have allowed three sacks to 3-4 rush OLBs.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers
–Justin Houston has been sent on just 91 blitzes in 2014. He’s been especially efficient, generating pressure on 23 percent of those blitzes, converting 6 of those pressure into sacks. Houston, has a tougher match-up with the Chargers, as they’ve allowed just three sacks on the year to LBs. Amazingly enough, he’s never recorded a sack against San Diego in five career games.
–Eric Berry, even though he was on the field Wednesday, but couldn’t get cleared for Sunday and will be out Week 7. The disappointing 2014 season continues to for Berry.
–Josh Mauga has filled in nicely for Derrick Johnson. Mauga has been the more productive, as he’s produced five straight games of five or more solo tackles, including a 10 solo tackle effort last week. He’s recorded a 12 percent tackle rate and an 11:1 solo-to-assist ratio this season. He’s lining up as a strong LB2 this week.
–Dontari Poe has been a force at the nose for KC and has been a DT12 in overall scoring in those using a defensive tackle. The Chargers, surprisingly, are allowing the 4th most points to opposing DTs, while also giving up 3.5 sacks to the position. I like Poe as a DT2 in those DT-required leagues.
–Sean Smith is making a play on the ball on nearly 29 percent of the time he’s thrown at (7 defended passes/1 INT on 28 targets).
–Jason Verrett has really emerged as a rookie and is making plays for the Chargers. He’s recorded seven or more fantasy points in four of five games this season. He had a spectacular INT where he seemed to be celebrating just as he hit the ground. He’s been targeted 25 times on the year, and hasn’t been more than seven in a game. Teams are already starting to respect his skills. He’s a sneaky play this week in CB-required leagues, but the run-first Chiefs could limit his opportunities.
–Manti Te’o is expected to miss this week’s tilt and will continue to go with Andrew Gachkar, however, he’s not getting the subpackage roles limiting any IDP value he might have.
–Jahleel Addae can lay wood and has been on the field on 76 percent of the defensive snaps over the last three games, including a start in Week 6. After producing consecutive games of 15 or more points, he recorded three total tackles in Week 6. Addae looks to be worth a pick-up in deeper leagues, but his IDP value might be capped this week, facing the Chiefs who are allowing the 3rd least amount of points to opposing safeties where only one safety has score more than 12 points in a game.
–Donald Butler got off to a slow start, but has produced 13 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games. Butler should be busy this week trying to get to Jamaal Charles and might be trying to cover Travis Kelce. In six career games, Butler has recorded 49 total tackles, an INT, four defended passes and a sack.
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
–Mathias Kiwanuka could be a sneaky play this week in deeper as the Cowboys have lost Doug Free for the next few games. Free had given up three sacks and 11 combined QB hits/hurries through six games. He’s taking advantage of his match-ups, even though he’s generating pressure on just over seven percent of his blitzes. Kiwanuka is match-up play this week facing a back-up right tackle.
–Jacquian Williams hasn’t produced the big plays, but has been producing the tackles. He’s recorded 28 tackles over the last three games and a 12 percent tackle rate overall this season. Cowboys are running the ball methodically and Williams will be busy this week tracking DeMarco Murray. I like Williams as an LB2 this week.
–Jon Beason returned to the lineup in Week 6 and appeared in 57 defensive snaps this past week. He produced a pedestrian 3 total tackles. There isn’t too much upside, typically, but a favorable match-up against the team allowing the 5th most points to opposing LBs makes him a low-end LB3 this week.
-The Giants secondary has gotten thin real quick. They could be without Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and lost Trumaine McBride to IR this week. Zackary Bowman will slide in and take the place of DRC if he’s out this week. Prince Amukamara remains the CB to play this week.
-Between Jeremy Mincey, Tyrone Crawford and Henry Melton, those three could give Eli fits this week. The Giants offensive line seemed to regress Sunday night and are generating pressure on over 12 percent their blitzes. Mincey is a play in deeper leagues and Melton should be started in leagues requiring a DT.
–Bruce Carter looks to be out again this week and could be out Week 8, as well. Justin Durant has been filling in well at the strong-side with Kyle Wilber playing a handful of snaps at the weak-side. Outside of Rolando McClain and Durant, there’s no other Dallas LB you’ll want to consider in re-draft IDP leagues. Wilber saw 13 snaps in Week 6 and Anthony Hitchens saw just four snaps.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Oakland Raiders
–Deone Bucannon has seen, almost, 77 percent of the snaps over the last two games. He’s making his mark at SS, calling defensive plays and producing a tackle rate near 10 percent. He’s been grading negatively overall and is struggling in coverage, but as a rookie, you’d expect that. He’s allowed 18 catches on 19 targets, but, has yet to allow a TD. The Raiders are near the middle of the league in terms of points allowed to opposing DBs. I like him as a DB3 this week, but I’d like to see the snap count increase a bit.
-I must say, I was wrong on Tony Jefferson’s usage when Tyrann Mathieu returned. Jefferson saw just 15 snaps at FS in Week 6, so you can go ahead and drop him. Matheiu saw 50 defensive snaps at SS, sharing the field with Bucannon and Rashad Johnson. Mathieu produced some big plays, recovering a fumble and defending a pass in Week 6. If Mathieu is on your wire, make sure to add him for the rest of the season.
–Larry Foote’s IDP production has been on the decline since Week 2. Since the bye week, Foote has recorded just 9 tackles in his last 147 snaps (6 percent tackle rate). What are Foote’s prospects this week? I’d leave Foote on the bench this week in a very tough match-up against the Raiders, where it seems IDP production for LBs goes to die.
–Jerraud Powers has put together a string of solid games since the bye week. He’s recorded 11 tackles, 2 INTs and consecutive weeks of 15 or more fantasy points. On the year, he’s making a play on the ball on nearly 17 percent of his targets. Eight corners have notched double-digit fantasy points on the Raiders. Powers is shaping up to be a CB2 this week.
–Sio Moore returned to the lineup in Week 6 and used the bye week to recover. Moore continued his torrid scoring and tackling pace last week. On the year, he’s producing a 15.8 percent tackle rate and 0.33 points per snaps. Line him up as a strong LB2 as the Cardinals will look to exploit the Raiders’ run defense.
–Justin Tuck’s snaps have decreased by almost 54 percent since Week 1. The decrease in snaps is also have an adverse effect on his production, as well. If there were a week for Tuck to snap out of his funk, this would be it. He’ll be lining up on the right side, where the weakness of the offensive line has been.
San Francisco 49’ers vs. Denver Broncos
–Patrick Willis suffered a toe injury in the Week 6 win over the Rams. It’s not being classified as turf toe, but just a sprain so it doesn’t appear to be anything long-term. He’s not expected to play this week.
-If you’ve held on to Chris Borland up to this point, you might finally get your chance to play him this week. Borland came in and played 33 snaps, his first defensive snaps of the season. Borland will get the start opposite Michael Wilhoite this week. It’s a tougher match-up, as six LBs have recorded six or more tackles in a game against them.
-As good of a game Dan Skuta had, I’m looking it as a mirage. It was his first sacks of the season, and up until Monday night, hadn’t had a sack since 2011. Let someone else get him from the waiver wire. He was barely generating any pressure; just 5 percent of the time in his last 54 blitzes.
-As with the defensive tackle position, it’s an inconsistent IDP scoring position. Ian Williams and his six tackles made up almost 38 percent of his tackle production on the season. He’s had three games of six or more fantasy points. However, the entire San Francisco offensive line has a tough match-up against one of the stingiest teams in terms of points allowed to defensive linement.
-As I wrote in my Week 7 IDP waiver piece, Brandon Marshall is dialed in as Danny Trevathan’s replacement. In terms of an IDP replacement, Marshall is providing equal value and IDP production as a replacement. Marshall, in three starts for Trevathan, recorded a 12.4 percent tackle rate in over 240 defensive snaps.
–Derek Wolfe has just four sacks since his six sack rookie year. Wolfe hasn’t gotten a sack since Week 11 of the 2013 season. I’m not expecting too much from him this week, plus, he has the advantage of playing alongside Demarcus Ware and Von Miller.
-Through six games last season, T.J. Ward had 36 tackles and 2 INTs. Through six games this season, Ward has 22 tackles and an INT with one defended pass. Ward has been a weak DB3 option so far this season producing a 6.1 percent tackle rate and 0.12 points per snap.
–Von Miller has had just one game where he hasn’t had a sack and that was Week 1. He’s also had just two games where he hasn’t registered at least four total QB pressures and is generating pressure on over 16 percent of his blitzes.
Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
-The Texans are hoping to have the services of Jadeveon Clowney this week, as outside of J.J. Watt, there hasn’t been much of a pass rush to speak of. You would think that with all of the attention Watt receives, these rushers would take advantage. In Week 6, Jared Crick managed four total QB pressures, but in 38 blitzes. Whitney Mercilus has been a little more consistent, generating pressure on over 11 percent of his blitzes. Clowney would provide a boost, however, he could be rusty as he’s appeared in just 23 snaps.
–D.J. Swearinger is tied for the team lead in missed tackles with seven. He’s missing a tackle attempt in every five attempts, so he’s leaving valuable points on the field, when he’s trying to tackle that is. He seems to go for the big hit, rather than making the fundamental tackle.
-Even though Kendrick Lewis‘s tackle rate is just over seven percent, he’s still on pace for a career-high in tackles with 102. He needs to cut down on the misses, as well as he’s missed at least one tackle in each of his last four games. He’s been an iron man though, appearing in 418 of the 438 defensive snaps this year.
–Ryan Shazier is putting in limited practices, so with a Monday night game, I’d look to other options at LB and not risk the goose-egg this week.
–Jason Worilds is generating pressure nearly 13 percent of his last 75 blitzes. It was curious as to why Worilds only saw 12 blitzes in Week 6, when he’d been averaging nearly 30 over his last three games. Worilds has been a boom or bust even in big play scoring formats, since recording 9 sacks in 2013, he’s on pace for five this season.
–Lawrence Timmons has now gone three straight games without missing a tackle. He’s maximizing his point opportunities, as he’s producing 0.26 points per snap in that span, to go along with a 14.4 percent tackle rate. His current pace puts him on track for around 130 tackles this season. He’s shaping up to be an LB1 this week as the Texans are a top 10 team in points allowed to opposing LBs.
–Stephon Tuitt is set to make his first career start in Week 7. Up to this point, he’s seen just 67 total snaps, but with injuries to Steve McLendon, it’s forcing Cam Thomas inside. Tuitt has a sack, but no hits/hurries on 36 blitzes. He’ll have a tough first-task, as he should be lined up over Brandon Brooks at right guard, who’s allowed just four combined hits/hurries all season. Dynasty leaguers will want to keep an eye on him, as he touted pretty heavily post-draft.
-So, what do you do with a corner that you’ve inked a 5-year, $26 million extension? Bench him, of course. That’s what the Steelers have done with Cortez Allen. Of 103 qualfiers, Allen has graded 103rd of cornerbacks according to PFF. He’s allowed three TDs in the last four games and has allowed 372 yards and 92 yards after the catch. The penalties have also bitten him, committing seven of them and is also missing a tackle in every six attempts. From a fantasy standpoint, he was producing 0.24 points per snap. In leagues requiring a CB, he can safely be dropped for another option.
Mike Woellert is an IDP Contributor for FakePigskin.