Before I get started talking IDPs for this week, it’s time to put you all at ease. I’m sure many of you spent your entire week tirelessly coming up with nicknames for Robert Quinn and Chris Long, as I suggested last week. But it turns out that they beat us to the punch. Though no announcers ever mention it, the two dominant pass-rushers in St. Louis have nicknamed themselves Black Thunder and White Lightning, and together they are Thunderstorm. I love this for too many reasons. First, it sounds like an ice cream flavor, and the Rams should immediately capitalize on that in their concession stands. Second, and most importantly, it pays homage to one of my favorite sports movies, Major League 2. Tell me you don’t get chills when you see this scene. Chuck Sheen and Randy Quaid at their best if you ask me.
Anyway, as we embark on Week 10, along with bye weeks for several IDP stalwarts such as Chandler Jones, D’Qwell Jackson, Justin Houston and Eric Berry, keep in mind that the playoffs are right around the corner. For teams that have nearly or already clinched, and are looking ahead to potential matchups, here are some players that have favorable or less than ideal matchups for Weeks 14-16:
New Orleans Defensive Linemen
The Saints get the pleasure of facing off against the Panthers twice during the playoff weeks, along with the Rams once. Cam Newton doesn’t take all that many sacks, but given how often they run the ball, Carolina provides a ton of tackle opportunities for D-Linemen. I wouldn’t expect pass rushers like Junior Galette to put up great stats, but Cameron Jordan could easily be the top DL during this year’s fantasy playoffs.
My love for Jerrell Freeman is well-documented, so here’s your warning that it’s going to reach stalker-like levels in about a month. The Colts face run-heavy offenses in Houston, Cincy and KC in the playoffs, so expect double digit tackles for Freeman in each of those games. It’s also worth looking at Pat Angerer, who, if healthy, has a shot at putting up LB2 numbers. Robert Mathis, however, will not see nearly the same success as his teammates, and I’d have trouble starting him based on these matchups.
Eric Weddle has had an uneven year, and has been dropped in many leagues. I got a lot of questions about ranking him as my #1 DB option last week, and he responded with 15 tackles against Washington (Thanks Eric!). In the playoffs, he gets to face the Manning brothers and Oakland, all who rank in the top 9 in points allowed to DBs. If Weddle is available and you’re looking at a playoff run, I’d make a move now.
Chicago Defensive Linemen
Julius Peppers pulled in his annual interception on MNF, and his buddy Shea McClellin knocked out Aaron Rodgers, so Bears fans and IDP owners are both pretty happy right now. However, the good times are not likely to continue through the playoffs for Peppers, McClellin and Corey Wootton. They face off against the Cowboys, Browns and Eagles, who have offenses that either have quick passes, elusive QBs or both, and neither team pounds the ball with the run. I would have trouble relying on any of these guys as a starter come playoff time.
St. Louis has been a hotbed for LBs this year, as they are one of three teams with two top 20 options at the position in James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree. Considering the production they have put up so far, it would be difficult to bench either of these backers, especially in the playoffs. But with matchups against the Saints, Bucs and Cardinals, none of whom let up points to opposing LBs, it might be worth looking for other options or trying to sell high on them now.
Mark Barron has taken a nice leap forward in his second year, and he’s on pace to put up 100+ tackles. But raw stats can be somewhat deceiving, and despite having three games of double digit tackles, Barron has also put up 5 tackles or less in half his games. When facing the Niners, Rams and Bills in Weeks 14-16, the odds are leaning more towards a 5 tackle game than a 10 tackle game. If you have a deep roster, and a better option to stream, I’d think twice about starting Barron in the playoffs.
Week 10 Rankings