Week 9 is underway and we have just a few short weeks of the fantasy regular season before the fantasy playoffs begin. With six teams on bye this week, it’s possible that a lot of your studs and dependable defenders are at home this week. So let’s take a look a the match-ups in the IDP Week 9 Match-ups Facts and Analysis.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cleveland Browns
–Gerald McCoy, fresh off a huge extension, was dominant as ever in Week 8. Even though he finished with a half-sack, he still generated pressure on 14 percent of his blitzes. It doesn’t appear that he’s going to get fat off the contract and is out to prove he’s the dominant defensive tackle. With the Browns’ issues on the offensive line, McCoy is a DT1 against a patchwork line.
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–Michael Johnson looks to line up over Joe Thomas this week, producing a tougher match-up. Joe Thomas is PFF’s highest graded offensive tackle, so this will be a match-up to watch as Johnson has generated pressure on nearly 12 percent of his last 116 blitzes. Johnson’s a tower at 6’7″ so batted balls are definitely in play here.
–Dashon Goldson is going to be called on to do more now that Mark Barron has been shipped to the Rams. Goldson has missed Weeks 5 and 6, but returned against Minnesota and recorded eight tackles. He has a nose for the ball, and even though the Browns are near the bottom in points allowed to DBs, Goldson will be manning the defensive backfield and helping in the run defense. I like him as a DB2 this week.
–Major Wright should have IDP value for the remainder of the season as Tampa’s SS. He’ll be worth adding in deeper leagues as a DB3/4.
–Mason Foster, health wise, appears back on track. He missed Weeks 3-5, but has appeared in the last 136 defensive snaps and has produced a 10.3 percent tackle rate. The Bucs have trouble stopping the run, so he could be busy with the likes of Ben Tate and Terrence West, which could lead to plenty of tackle opportunities.
–Joe Haden is coming off his best game in Week 8, in which he recorded 9 tackles and defended two passes. I didn’t hurt that he was thrown at 13 times either. On 48 targets, he has yet to record an INT, but does have 38 tackles. He could be assigned Vincent Jackson, so Haden could be in line for another 7-9 target afternoon. Haden has CB1 upside this week.
-I really like Donte Whitner this week. Tampa is prone to turning the ball over, as Glennon as four picks and Tampa has turned the ball over 14 times on fumbles. With Whitner’s skill set and knack for making the hit, there could be some forced fumbles this week for Donte. Whitner forced a big fumble against the Raiders and has recorded 20 tackles in the last three games. The Browns defense definitely gets its opportunities, as they have yet to have a game where they’ve had fewer than 70 snaps.
–Tashaun Gipson is another ball hawk that is line for a big game and worth a play in big play scoring leagues. He’s recorded three picks in the last two games and has five on the year. Gipson’s been thrown at 15 times and has recorded six defended passes, so he has the skill to make the big play. Even though the Bucs rank near the bottom in points allowed to DBs, Gipson’s big ability makes him a high-upside DB2 this week.
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–Paul Kruger had one of his best games as a Brown, converting three of his seven total QB pressure for sacks. Kruger generated pressure on nearly 16 percent of his blitzes in Week 8 and double his sack output. Hopefully, the Browns can line him up and take advantage of the match-up on the right side with Anthony Collins, who’s grading among the worst offensive tackles. Collins is responsible for 21 total QB pressures. If he does move to the left, he’ll face Demar Dotson, who’s given up three sacks and eight total QB hurries. Kruger is a boom or bust LB play in big play or sack heavy scoring formats.
–Karlos Dansby has been better disciplined, tackling wise, over his last four games. After missing five tackles in the first three games, he’s missed one since. It’s led to a 10.7 tackle rate (33 tackles) in his last 308 snaps and a missed tackle in every 33 attempts. He’s also recorded two sacks in the last three games, so he’s taking advantage of those blitz opportunities. Although he has yet to force a fumble this year, this week could be that week with the way Tampa runners take care of the ball. Dansby is a locked in LB1 this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals
–Telvin Smith appeared in 40 defensive snaps and recorded five tackles (two solos) playing on mostly passing downs. He also tipped the pass that led to J.T. Thomas’s INT. He played the middle, but can play each position and all over the field. His quickness is an asset and should be considered in deeper leagues. The Bengals aren’t a favorable match-up, more neutral, but with six teams on bye this week, he has LB3 upside against the Cincy.
-Since Week 3, Sen’Derrick Marks is generating pressure on nearly 18 percent of his last 173 blitzes. Marks should take advantage of the match-up against Russell Bodine, who’s grading negatively among NFL centers, allowing 10 combined hits/hurries. Marks is a match-up nightmare for most offensive linemen. He’s a DT1 in leagues requiring defensive tackles as he’s producing 0.16 points per snap, which is good mark for DTs.
-With Andre Branch out the next several weeks, there was a rotation between Red Bryant, Chris Smith and Tyson Alualu. Bryant and Alualu essentially split snaps at 26 to 23 and neither are IDP options.
–Jonathan Cyprien has missed six tackles in the last three games after missing just one in his first four. He’s still been an IDP beast, producing 9 or more tackles in three of his last four games, including two games of 10 or more solo tackles. It’s also led to producing 0.29 points per snap and three games of 20 or more fantasy points. Cyprien should be in your lineups for the rest of the season as a locked in DB1.
–Leon Hall is a good match-up play this week against the Jags, who’s allowing the 4th most points to opposing DBs. Hall is playing good football over the last several weeks, recording 23 tackles and two defended passes in his last four games. I like him as a CB2 in leagues requiring cornerback starter this week.
–Geno Atkins recorded his first sack in Week 8. Is he worth trusting in IDP leagues? I’d wait to see if he could string together a few good games. Jacksonville is more of a neutral match-up against defensive tackles, but between lack of sacks and tackles, he’s best left on the bench or on the wire.
–Vontaze Burfict is expected to miss the next few games due to a knee injury. He’s spending more time on the trainer’s table than on the field, which is undoubtedly frustrating. With Burfict out, Vincent Rey and Emmanuel Lamur will the top LB plays and are LB2s this week as Cincy’s three-down LBs. Rey’s produced a 13.8 percent tackle rate over his last 218 snaps. The Bengals have had just one game under 67 defensive plays, so there will be opportunities against the team allowing the 3rd most points to opposing LBs.
–Carlos Dunlap missed out on a few sacks, generating pressure on 20 percent of his blitzes which led to seven combined hits/hurries. Dunlap should be lining up over Austin Pasztor, who’s grading negatively allowing three sacks and eight combined hits/hurries.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys
–Calais Campbell logged 64 defensive snaps in his return to action Week 8. Though he didn’t record a sack, he generated pressure on 15 percent of his blitzes. He seemed to be comfortable on his injured knee. Campbell is safe to start going forward and should line up over Ronald Leary on Dallas’s left side. There’s DE1 upside here if Brandon Weeden gets the nod over Tony Romo.
-Take a look at Deone Bucannon. The Cardinals are playing multi-safety sets, so he should get his opportunities. Bucannon logged 78 snaps and finished with eight tackles and forced fumble while defending another.
-All of the Arizona cornerbacks should be in play this week if Brandon Weeden gets the start. Keep in mind that Patrick Peterson is also in the concussion protocol but shouldn’t be in your IDP lineups at all, as he’s logged just 21 tackles and a defended pass on 38 targets.
–Rashad Johnson has posted an 8:1 solo-to-assist tackle ratio this season and is on pace for 95 solo tackles. Since the bye week, he’s recorded a 9.8 percent tackle rate and 0.25 points per snap. He’s locked in as a DB1 heading into Week 9.
–Tony Jefferson has been cleared from his concussion and has been cleared to play against Dallas. He’s made starts in two straight games, but his snaps have been somewhat inconsistent. After appearing 38 of 116 snaps in Weeks 6 and 7, he appeared in 75 of the 94 snaps in Week 8. When Jefferson appears in 80 percent of the snap or more, he’s averaging just over eight tackles per game. It’s rough to gauge the snaps so he’s a risky DB2/3 because of the uncertainty.
-Another week, another LB down for the year. Justin Durant will be out the rest of the season due to a torn bicep. The Cowboys have brought in Tim Dobbins to try and fill the role, but it’s becoming tougher to fill the void in an IDP league with Cowboy LBs. Bruce Carter logged 35 snaps in his return on Monday night, while Rolando McClain gets the bulk of the work on base and subpackages. McClain has been inconsistent since Week 3, producing three games under four tackles, while also missing seven tackles in his last three tilts. Outside of McClain and deeper leagues, it’s tough to recommend any Dallas LBs this week.
-For those in DT leagues, Henry Melton is coming off a dominant effort in Week 8 and could be a solid defensive tackle play in Week 9. Arizona boasts two of the lower graded offensive guards in Paul Fanaika and Ted Larsen. Melton has recorded 3.5 sacks and is generating pressure on nearly 12 percent of his blitzes. Keep in mind, he’s appearing in around 45 percent of the snaps but is a DT22 in overall scoring and is shaping up as a DT2/3 this week in a decent match-up.
-The Cardinals are near the bottom of the league in points allowed to opposing DBs, which doesn’t bode well for Barry Church. Here’s a fun fact: Barry Church has yet to record double-digit tackles in any game this season after producing four in 2013. His scoring is also down from last year at 0.20 points per snap after producing 0.26 pps in 2013. Church doesn’t have much of a ceiling and is looking more like a DB3 this week.
-After taking advantage of last week’s match-up, Jeremy Mincey has tougher sledding this week against Cardinal LT, Jared Veldheer. Veldheer has given up just one sack, whole Mincey notched his first sack last week. Mincey has generated pressure on 20 percent on his last 76 blitzes, but is a boom or bust DE in big play scoring formats.
-With the big play receivers in Arizona, opposing corners aren’t scoring big against them. Only six CBs have score 10 or more fantasy points against the Cardinals. It’s a relatively neutral match-up for Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick and are only recommended plays in deeper or all-IDP leagues where CBs are required to start.
New York Jets vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The offensive side of the ball, has been just that, offensive. There have been a few bright spots on the defense, and from an IDP standpoint, Demario Davis continues to be one of them. He’s produced one game under seven total tackles in his last seven games. I’d like to see the tackle rate inch higher than 10 percent and he has chance against KC, who’s allowing the 8th most points to opposing LBs. They’ve also allowed an average of nearly 19 solo tackles per game. I like Davis as a strong LB2 this week.
-The Jets defensive line wasn’t able to generate much pressure against Buffalo last week, but that could change against the Chiefs. KC has two of the lower graded guards and tackles in the NFL according to PFF. This could be mean quite a bit of pressure generated by Muhammed Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. Richardson should lineup over Zach Fulton, who’s allowed a sack and 12 QB hurries. Wilkerson should match-up against Mike McGlynn, who’s allowed four sacks and seven hurries. Wilkerson has gone over the 270 blitz mark and is grading at a +9.8, generating pressure nearly 9 percent of his blitzes. The Chiefs have allowed 10.5 sacks to opposing DLs and are 8th in points allowed to defensive linemen. Both Wilkerson and Richardson have DL1 upside this week.
–David Harris is on pace for his third straight 100-plus tackle campaign and hit the double-digit tackle mark in Week 8 for the 3rd time in four games. He’s right above the 12 percent tackle rate and has LB2 value heading into the tilt with the Chiefs.
-Even though Dawan Landry has hit the 60 tackle mark, his production has been down the last two weeks, posting an 8.5 percent rate. There’s upside this week, as he faces a KC team that will be looking to run and dump-off to Jamaal Charles and Landry is playing more than half his run snaps near the line of scrimmage, where seven of his tackles have come from. I still like him as a DB1 this week.
–Allen Bailey has quietly produced a career-high five sacks this season on over 200 blitzes. He’s been a solid pass rusher, as on his last 148 blitzes, he’s pressuring the QB nearly 9 percent of the time, decent numbers, considering he’s playing ahead of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. This KC line is going to be chasing Michael Vick quite a bit in Week 9.
-Once again, Eric Berry has been confirmed to return in Week 9. As we’ve seen with other defenders, it’s quite possible he’s eased in and rotate snaps with Ron Parker. Berry is the more talented of the two, however, there’s still some risk playing him. If you aren’t risk averse, play him in a favorable match-up this week.
-The Jets are turnover prone and will be a good week to play CB, Sean Smith. Smith has seen 39 targets on the year and now has a defended pass in five straight games. In total, he’s making a play on the ball 26 percent of the time he’s thrown at, so with Vick throwing the ball, there’s a good chance he records his second INT. He’s a high-upside CB2 this week.
–Josh Mauga now has 10 or more fantasy points in all seven of his games this year. He’s posted a near 11:1 solo-to-assist tackle ratio and 0.24 points per snap. His 12.2 percent tackle rate puts him on the LB2 radar this week, as the Jets have allowed the most solo tackles to linebackers, so Mauga should be able to pad his solos.
–Justin Houston has been sent on 178 blitzes and has generated pressure nearly 22 percent of the time. Houston is an interrupter and has already hit double-digit sacks and is a strong LB2 this week in big play scoring formats. He’s still a boom or bust in tackle heavy formats, however, he’s posted four or more tackles in his last four games, posting a 9.1 percent tackle rate.
San Diego Chargers vs. Miami Dolphins
–Corey Liuget has a tougher match-up, lining up over the left-side of Miami’s offensive line. Left guard Daryn Colledge only played five snaps in Week 8 and Dallas Thomas filled in. Branden Albert also anchors the line at left tackle. That side of the line is grading well and not allowing many sacks or pressures. Liuget has generated pressure on over 10 percent of his blitzes, so he’s going to have a battle but is still considered a DL2 with six teams on bye this week.
–Donald Butler had his string of double-digit fantasy points snapped this past week. Butler is averaging six tackles this season, but is producing a tackle rate just under 10 percent, so he’s a risky LB3 this week against a Dolphins team that is allowing the 18th most points to opposing LBs and an average of 15 total tackles per game.
–Jason Verrett will not play Week 9, so for those in CB leagues, you’ll have to find another option. It won’t be Richard Marshall either, as San Diego released him this past week. Shareece Wright makes a good CB play this week, as he’s produced 10 or more fantasy points in five of six games this season. He hasn’t picked a ball off, but has recorded 35 tackles, which has led to a 9.8 percent tackle rate. 46 percent of his targets came in Week 8, so he could be seeing more going forward.
–Eric Weddle has consecutive games of 20 or more fantasy points, stemming from monster tackle numbers. In his last two games, he’s recorded 24 tackles leading to a 16.4 percent tackle rate. Weddle is locked in as a DB1 this week as a top-3 defensive back.
–D.J. Fluker better put his big boy pants on as he’s set to square off with Cameron Wake. Fluker has allowed three sacks and 20 combined hits/hurries on 303 pass block snaps this year. Since the bye week, Wake has recorded 3.5 sacks and has generated pressure on 15 percent of his last 105 blitzes. Wake is making up for his slow start and is a DE1 this week.
–Jelani Jenkins has consecutive games of three or fewer solo tackles. Has he lost a little of his early season luster? At the very least, he’s playable as an LB3 this week for his scoring opportunities on the field. Even though he’s producing 0.15 points per snap since the bye, he’s at 0.24 points per snap overall. The Chargers are 14th overall in points allowed to LBs allowing an average of nearly 22 total tackles (17 being solos).
–Louis Delmas is big play scoring format match-up option this week. Chargers are allowing the 11th most points to opposing DBs and he’s coming off consecutive weeks of making big plays of either a sack or INT. His tackle rate is low at 5.5 percent, but he’s still making big plays.
–Brent Grimes has been targeted 22 times over the last three weeks. He’s recorded 15 or more points in two of the last three weeks, four times overall. He’s making a play on the ball nearly 20 percent of the time he’s thrown at and also recording a 7.5 percent tackle rate. He’s a CB2 this week against a relatively pass-happy Charger squad.
Washington Redskins vs. Minnesota Vikings
-Keep Trent Murphy on your radar in big play scoring leagues. He’s filling in for Brian Orakpo the remainder of the year and is playing the majority of the snaps. He played in on 62 snaps and generated pressure on 13 percent of his blitzes. Don’t expect much in the way of tackles, just four in the last two games. Playing on the right side, he’ll have the luxury of facing Matt Kalil.
–Bashaud Breeland is becoming an every week play in CB-required leagues. He’s been targeted five times or more in six consecutive games. The results have been 10 or more fantasy points in three straight games producing an eight percent tackle and play on the ball rate of 15 percent. Keep an eye on his status, as he’s dealing with a knee injury suffered in practice. MRI was clean and coach Jay Gruden deemed him ready, just hope there’s no swelling. But, for all intents and purposes, he should be active. It’s a great match-up for Breeland as the Vikings are allowing the 9th most points to opposing DBs. He appears safe to slide in to your CB slot this week.
–Brandon Meriweather has added the pass rush to his game this year, recording a career-high in sacks already (3) in six games. He had just 18 blitzes in 2013 and already has 24 in 2014. With this added dimension, to go along with his tackle rate of 10.3 percent, he’s on the DB3 radar and has DB2 upside in a favorable match-up this week.
-If you’re playing Ryan Clark in tackle heavy formats, he’s left at least 28 points on the field with missed tackles (14). He’s only one game where he hasn’t missed a tackle and has three games of 2 or more misses. He’s a risky play against the Vikes and Jerrick McKinnon, who’s among the top-15 in PFF’s elusive rating and has caused 19 missed tackles.
-Continue to ride the hot streak of Everson Griffen. He’s now produced sacks in four straight games and has generated pressure on 11 percent of his last 141 blitzes. Griffen, even though he’ll be considered a DE1 this week, has a tough match-up against Trent Williams, who’s given up a sack and 9 combined hits/hurries in 317 pass block snaps.
-In the two games of Chad Greenway’s return, he’s recorded 15 or more points in consecutive games. It’s led to a 19 percent tackle rate and 0.33 points per snap. He’s locked in as an LB1 this week.
–Anthony Barr is making a case for defensive rookie of the year. From an IDP standpoint, he’s also been just as productive. In his last three games, he’s produced 0.37 points per snap, including a monster 0.56 rate in Week 8. Barr has already reached the 50 tackle mark and has just two games where he hasn’t recorded five or more tackles. He’s a locked in LB2 this week against the ‘Skins at home.
–Xavier Rhodes could be a value play in leagues requiring a CB. The Redskins are allowing the 5th most points to opposing DBs and now RGIII is coming back. Rhodes has seen 44 targets and is making a play on the ball 16 percent of the time, but has yet to record an INT, not just in 2014, but in his career. Will he get his first career INT in Week 9?
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Houston Texans
–Mychal Kendricks looks to be ready for a full complement of snaps this week. After appearing in just 23 snaps in Week 8, he didn’t suffer any setbacks and is ready to go. Get him in your lineups as a strong LB1 this week, where he should see plenty of Arian Foster this week.
-Since Week 5, DeMeco Ryans has recorded just six tackles in his last 113 defensive snaps. The Texans are allowing the 5th most points to opposing LBs and have allowed an average of 22 total tackles per game (17 solos). I still like Ryans as an LB2 despite the past two weeks.
-After defending 12 or more passes in the last three seasons, Cary Williams has just two this season on his 50 targets. With his tackle rate less than six percent, he’s off the IDP radar in all but the deepest CB-required leagues. He’s a very risky CB play against Houston this week.
-Since his 24 point outburst in Week 4, Malcolm Jenkins has 26 points in his last three games. The big plays have helped his season, as he’s defended seven passes on the year, although, he hasn’t recorded an INT since Week 4. His 6.4 percent tackle rate makes him a risky play in tackle heavy formats, but consider rolling him in big play scoring leagues.
–Brian Cushing is questionable at best for Week 9, but I’m not expecting him to play with the bye week coming up. Justin Tuggle and Mike Mohamed have filled, but Tuggle is seeing less snaps recently, so he’s a risky play even in deeper leagues.
–Kareem Jackson should be considered in CB-required leagues this week as he’ll face the team allowing the 3rd most points to opposing DBs. Jackson has seen consistent targets, five or more in the last four games. He’s recorded 23 tackles and two defended passes in that span and should see plenty of the Philadelphia WRs this week.
–Akeem Dent might have produced an 18.1 percent tackle rate, but it was on 22 snaps. He’s not going to be an IDP consideration unless something happens to Mohamed.
St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
-The Rams acquired safety Mark Barron ahead of the trade deadline this week, but it’s unclear what his role and snaps will be. With T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod settled in their roles, I’m taking a wait and see approach on Barron. McLeod has been average, but McDonald has graded near the bottom among safeties at 82, however, Barron isn’t much ahead at 71 among 83 qualifiers.
–Robert Quinn now has sacks in consecutive games and produced his first multi-sack effort of the year. He’s generating pressure on nearly 19 percent of his last 64 blitzes and he looks to be back on the DL1 map. He has a tougher match-up against Joe Staley, however, he has allowed four sacks in 294 pass block snaps.
–James Laurinaitis‘s production is down, as he hasn’t produced a double-digit tackle game yet this season. Add to the fact that his tackle rate continues to stay below 10 percent. Although I don’t like to use career numbers, but I’m going to anyway. In 11 career games against the 49ers, he’s produced a 13.8 percent tackle rate, leading to 93 total tackles (76 solos) plus three sacks. I still consider him an LB1 this week.
-Even though Aaron Donald recorded one tackle against the Chiefs, it was a pretty impressive one. He quickly shot the gap and it Jamaal Charles for a loss. He already has eight tackles for a loss this season, even still, the DT position is volatile, however, I still consider him a DT2 against the 49ers in defensive tackle required leagues.
–Patrick Willis is going to be questionable heading into Week 9, and if you have safer options, I might roll with them unless something changes. At this point, I still expect Michael Wilhoite and Chris Borland to start at ILB this week. If Borland gets the nod, he’s a sneaky start after recording eight tackles in the game before the bye week.
Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks
–Khalil Mack is coming off another strong game against the Browns in Week 8. Since the bye week, he’s gotten to the QB nearly 19 percent of his last 79 blitzes and has recorded a 9.8 percent tackle rate. He’s been as advertised from a real-football standpoint, but has been average scoring as the LB47 overall. The Seahawks are stingy against opposing LBs, allowing just 74 solo tackles all season, while Marshawn Lynch has produced 24 total missed tackles. Mack should be considered an LB3 this week.
-Since the bye week, three games, Charles Woodson has recorded six or more tackles in three straight games, while also recording an INT and two defended passes. Woodson has seen over 500 defensive snaps this season and has produced double-digit fantasy points in six of seven games. He’s still considered a DB3 with his range and production.
-Keep an eye on Carlos Rogers for those in CB-required leagues. He missed practice with an injured knee so he could be questionable at best. He’s been below average this season, and while he’s recorded 35 tackles, he’s missed one in four straight and has a play on the ball rate of 8 percent. He’s a risky CB this week, even if active, in a rough match-up this week.
-The Seahawks defensive line is in for a fight against the Oakland offensive line, as the offensive tackles have allowed just three sacks between Donald Penn, Khalif Barnes and Menelik Watson. Cliff Avril hasn’t recorded a sack since Week 1 and his 3.2 percent tackle rate makes him unplayable in tackle heavy formats. Michael Bennett started the season with sacks in consecutive weeks, but has yet to record one since Week 2. Avril and Bennett are risky plays outside of big play scoring formats where points for tackles are devalued.
–Bobby Wagner will continue to miss time and is not expected to play in Week 9. Now it appears that Malcolm Smith will miss this week, as well with a groin injury. Dial up K.J. Wright even higher this week. Smith’s back-up, Kevin Pierre-Louis should see plenty of the field this week. He’s a risky option, as the Raiders are stingy in points allowed to LBs. Wright is the only one I trust to get tackles this week.
–Kam Chancellor is a game-time decision. The last time he was a GTD, he ended up being active and played the entire game.
–Richard Sherman hasn’t been targeted more than six times this season and has 28 total targets this season. Derek Carr isn’t afraid to sling the ball, so Sherman could see some balls thrown his way, as he has seen 14 over the last three games. His 5.8 percent tackle rate and play on the ball rate of 7.1 percent rate makes him a risky play, even in CB-required leagues.
-In 81 snaps, Tharold Simon has seen just two targets. He’s the every-down corner while Byron Maxwell is out, so there is a little bit of IDP value in deeper, CB-required leagues if you’re looking for a sneaky match-up play this week.
Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots
-In three career games, Von Miller has four sacks on Tom Brady and has generated pressure 12 percent of the time on his 89 blitzes. Miller has a sack in all but two games and is a must start this week in any IDP scoring format.
–Brandon Marshall has three straight games of 13 or more fantasy points leading to 0.26 points per snap. He’s very much on the LB2 radar with his 12.2 percent tackle rate on 469 defensive snaps.
–T.J. Ward might not be as fantasy worthy as he was when he was in Cleveland. He’s producing just 0.12 points per snap through seven games, which is down from his 0.20 rate in 2013. Since the bye, he has yet to go over the four tackle mark. He’s barely on the DB3 radar this week, but a shootout looming with the Patriots is what’s saving his IDP value.
-In his last 111 blitzes, Derek Wolfe is producing pressure nearly 10 percent of the time. He’s worth a flier this week in deeper, all-IDP leagues as a DE3.
-I wouldn’t worry about Demarcus Ware’s goose-egg. King Dunlap bottled him up pretty good, allowing just one QB hurry in Ware’s 33 blitzes. Nate Solder provides a better match-up for Ware, as he’s allowed four sacks and 14 combined hits/hurries.
–Akeem Ayers made his mark immediately with Pats in Week 8, producing three QB pressures, where one led to a sack in 20 blitzes. He also recorded three solos in 32 snaps. I’m not ready to put him in a lineup, but if his snaps and blitzes increase, there’ll be some IDP upside.
–Brandon Browner has seen his snaps increase from Week 7 to 8 and he’ll be needed against the high octane Bronco offense. He saw six targets last week, producing three solos and a defended pass. He’s on the CB3 radar in corner required leagues as there will be plenty of balls thrown his way.
–Jamie Collins has three straight games of 11 or more fantasy points and two straight of 11 or more tackles. The Broncos are stingy against LBs, but Collins and Hightower could be busy trying to tackle Julius Thomas and Ronnie Hillman. Collins and his 12.1 percent tackle rate are on the LB2 track this week.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
-In their first go round against Pittsburgh, C.J. Mosley recorded 9 total tackles and recovered a fumble. There’s no reason to bench Baltimore’s tackle machine this week.
–Daryl Smith now has consecutive weeks of 20 or more fantasy points and has produced big plays (sack, forced fumble, etc.) in four of eight games. Smith, like Mosley, had a big game against Pittsburgh in Week 2, recording eight total tackles and a forced fumble. Smith is producing 0.24 points per snap, including a 0.32 pps rate in the last three games. Smith is an LB1 this week.
-Looking for a DT to play this week? Look to Brandon Williams. In overall scoring, he’s a DT19 among defensive tackles, recording a 12.4 percent tackle rate over the last three weeks. He’s looking like a DT2 in DT-required leagues this week.
-I thought Will Hill would be getting more snaps, but it doesn’t appear that way. Hill has logged just 36 snaps in his two games this season. Leave Hill on your bench in deeper leagues, as the upside is there for IDP production down the stretch. Matt Elam, if you haven’t dropped him yet, it’s safe to do so. He’s missed a tackle in all but one game and missed more (5) than he made in Week 8 (3), as he’s missing a tackle in every three attempts.
-I guess we’ll have to keep an eye on Ryan Shazier as it’s now expected he’ll split snaps with Vince Williams. What is the split expected to look like? According to Alan Robinson, Tomlin likes Williams and Williams is working hard. Shazier is now a risky LB3 with the potential rotation. Vince Williams saw 36 snaps in Week 8
–William Gay has seen 19 targets in the last two weeks, which has led to 0.27 points per snap. He saw just two targets in Week 2 against Pittsburgh, but with the way he’s getting thrown at, he has upside this week in CB-required leagues.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Giants
–Ricky Jean-Francois has an intriguing match-up as he should line up over Justin Pugh on the right side, who’s given up six sacks on the year. When you put Pugh’s season in context, he gave four sacks in one game in Week 6. Up to that point, he’d allow two. He was much better in Week 7, allowing no pressure in 66 snaps. Francois is coming off a zero pressure game himself. He’s a boom or bust DE play this week, depending on which Giant offensive line shows up.
–D’Qwell Jackson has produced 20 or more fantasy points in four of his last six games. Overall he’s producing 0.26 points per snap and a 13.2 percent tackle rate. There’s no reason to think he won’t be an LB2 this week as the Giants are giving up nearly 23 total tackles to opposing LBs, allowing linebackers to record eight or more tackles eight times.
-It’s safe to assume that Jackson has cut into Jerrell Freeman’s production. In the last four games, Freeman is producing 0.19 points per snap, however, he’s produced six or more tackles in all four tilts. He’s still a risky LB2, more of an LB3 heading into Monday Night Football.
–Mike Adams has been inconsistent in the last four games. After recording fewer than 10 fantasy points in three straight games, he exploded for an 11 tackle effort in Week 8. LaRon Landry has returned to practice but has yet to be officially activated from suspension.
–Jon Beason is out for the year as he undergoes surgery on his toe. Jameel McClain will assume the three-down role at middle linebacker for the remainder of the year. McClain will be more of an LB3 going forward with his 10.4 percent tackle rate, however, has a decent match-up against Indy as they look to get Trent Richardson back on track, plus, they’ll have Ahmad Bradshaw to deal with.
-Deeper IDP leaguers, will want to look at Devon Kennard this week. Kennard will play the strong-side and saw 23 snaps in Week 7. In limited playing time, he recorded four tackles in those 23 snaps. There’s some upside here in dynasty leagues, as well.
–Jacquian Williams, after missing three tackles in Week 1, has missed just three total since. Williams has been a solid defender and the Colts have allowed the 4th most points to opposing LBs, as they are allowing nearly 30 total tackles (18 solos) per game.
–Jason Pierre-Paul headed into the bye week with a monster effort. After going four games without a sack, he recorded two in Week 7, while also notching six solos, three for a loss. JPP has a tougher match-up against Anthony Costanzo this week, who’s grading among the best offensive tackles, as he’s allowed just one sack in 639 snaps. I like Mathias Kiwanuka’s match-up much better, as he’s a sleeper heading into the week, as he should line up over Gosder Cherilus, who’s the opposite of Costanzo, grading near the bottom among offensive tackles. Cherilus has allowed sacks in three of his last four games.
Mike Woellert is an IDP Contributor for FakePigskin.