No, not the 1987 NFL season, but rather let me introduce a concept of replacing bye bound individual defensive players with players who can vigorously pursue offensive ball-carriers with the spirit of drunken Pamplona teenagers fleeing from a fleet of bulls and are hardly owned. We’ll define “hardly owned” as less than 5% ownership in ESPN and Yahoo! (doesn’t the exclamation point seem to be firing back at ESPN like Cam’ron screaming “I’m here now!” **Parental Advisory**) league environments. You need your subs to play like anything but subs (see this song regarding referee subs that apparently made news, silly) to reach fantasy glory. Here’s a group of players to consider starting when your studs leave the field so you don’t enter bye week season wandering into parts unknown like Frank Drebin looking for an orthopedic evaluation.
Mychal Kendricks (PHI – ESPN 3.9%/Y! 1%): **Mayock voice** “This guy can flat-out fly and has great burst at the point of attack; man, what an athlete!” That’s all you really need to know. The uniquely spelled “Michael” is a uniquely gifted athlete, and he’s getting over 90% of the team’s defensive snaps while learning from former pro-bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans which seems to be accelerating the rookie’s development.
K.J. Wright (SEA – 3.9%/3%): Wright led the carnivorous ‘Hawks in defensive snaps last week (83) and appears to be a big reason why teams aren’t moving the ball well against the 12th man clan. I’ve already pimped Wright a few weeks back and now it’s the last call to do the (W)right thing!
D.J. Williams (DEN – 0%/1%): Currently serving a 6 game suspension for an allegedly inhuman urine sample the former Hurricane will overtake fill-in Wesley Woodyard as of week 8. There’s some risk involved when stashing a player for this type of duration, but Williams probably possesses the most reliable LB point production potential in the free agent pool as we speakth (shout out to Shakespeare). 9/30 Update!! –> Williams is saddled with an additional 3 games suspension after serving his original 6 gamer. Only looking like fantasy playoff insurance policy at this point.
Ryan Clark (PIT – 3.9%/5%): These aren’t you’re father’s, older brother’s, or even identically aged cousin’s Pittsburgh Steelers on D. Football outsiders pegs the Steeler pass defense as 31st in the league after being decimated in AFC West road contests against the older Manning and “1 year removed from the couch” Palmer. RC has led the team in solos each game he’s started in ‘12, as injuries and underperforming “stars” Woodley and Timmons continue to present playmaking opportunities for Clark. I dropped some Clark IDP p.i.m.p-olgy via the Twittersophere this past Saturday and doode (credit Grey) contributed 6 solos, an INT, and a pass deflection to help drive me to victory.
Mike Adams (DEN – 2.6%/1%): Leading the Broncos D in snaps this season the former Brown and 49er is 3 games into the season and already about to surpass his pass deflection career high (10). Peyton will keep Denver in games all season and force teams to pass. Facing the Pats, Chargers twice, Saints, and Panthers during a long stretch of bye weeks gives Adams some serious bye week replacement potential. To butcher another reference, I say “Add Mike Adams, he’ll get ya points!”
Josh Norman (CAR – 3.9/1%): The Coastal Carolina rookie has been generating buzz among IDP heads as the rookie corner to own this year. To bring folks up to speed quickly here’s the rookie corner formula.
A + B + C * D = X
A = Rookie, B = Starter at cornerback position receiving majority of snaps, C = starts opposite veteran (Gamble), D = rookies are frequently targeted by opposing QBs, X = Lots of tackle and pass deflections opportunities and maybe even a pick!
My view of defensive linemen bye week fill-ins is similar to my view of lottery tickets. Go with your gut and exploit possible match-up advantages with offensive opponent pass blocking/run blocking data. Wait, there isn’t match-up data for lottery tickets, but you get the point. I equate the DL position in IDP to the catcher position in fantasy baseball (I’m probably not the only one but wanted to share that geeky analogy). Some peeps punt it and others demand top tier options. The screenshot below extends a solid sampling of players to consider as we plow forward through bye week hysteria. Additionally, the rudimentary list inclusion criteria used to nominated players is included for your reference. Remember, defense wins championships!
- Owned in less than 5% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues
- Holds at least a 50% defensive snap percentage
- Big Play Potential (Sacks, Forced Fumbles, and Pass Deflections)