2014 In-Season Accuracy: 56.4% (4th out of 21 Experts, 59.3% Highest, 45.9% Lowest).
This season has felt like a warzone on the IDP front, with more highly-drafted players going down to serious injuries than any year in recent memory. I’ve been dwelling on this fact since we all lost Derrick Johnson in Week 1, but as bittersweet as it can be, injuries can often create the kind of opportunities that allow sharp owners to capitalize and ultimately win championships. The playoffs have just begun, but the ripple effect of injuries has already been felt all over the IDP landscape. Of the top 10 IDP scorers in Week 14, only 1 of them was the top player at their position on their own team heading into the season. And only one other player was likely even drafted. Let’s take a closer look at these guys and see if we can learn anything:
Craig Robertson – Karlos Dansby’s injuries robbed us of a top-10 LB, but Robertson has put together five straight solid games. He finished that stretch with 12 tackles and a scoop-and-score against Indy on Sunday. Dansby was questionable heading into the weekend, so he may try to give it a go this week against the Bengals. I don’t particularly like the matchup for whoever lines up in the middle for Cleveland, but if Dansby is out against, Robertson is worth a start in deeper leagues.
Curtis Lofton – The only one on this list who started the season as the top IDP option at his position on his team, Lofton has had a typically under the radar season. I’m talking about him here because he played against Carolina, the second best LB matchup in the league right now. This week the Panthers face Tampa, so I would expect big games from Lavonte David, and whoever sees the field of Mason Foster and Danny Lansanah. In the playoffs more than ever, matchups matter.
Gerald Hodges – Another team with a great matchup last week was Minnesota, which prompted me to rank Chad Greenway as my LB3 on the week. Right team, wrong linebacker. Filling in for an injured Anthony Barr, Hodges put up 8 tackles and a pick six. I can’t imagine anyone not related to Hodges started him, but he’s yet another example of a backup filling in admirably for an injured starter.
Chris Borland – The 2014 Poster Child for backups, Borland has been nothing short of perfect this year. He’s obviously owned in all leagues at this point, and his owners are likely in the playoffs, so there’s not much we can do but sit back and admire the likely DROY. Navorro Bowman was just activated off the IR, but I can’t see him playing for at least a week or two, and with San Fran all but eliminated after pooping the bed against Oakland, they may be better off continuing to lean on Borland as opposed to risking futher injury to Bowman.
Dwight Lowery – Random DBs appear on this list every week, so this is your weekly reminder to STREAM, STREAM, STREAM!
Vincent Rey – With Vontaze Burfict officially on IR, Rey figures to benefit the most. Emmanuel Lamur has put up legit numbers, but that was mostly with a banged up Burfict. When he misses games entirely, Rey steps in and produces, even dating back to last season. I have them ranked similar for now, but if I had to pick one for the rest of the season it would definitely be Rey.
Will Compton – You don’t know how badly I wanted to lead this column with Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think I can really pull that off. Week 14 was a lost game in what has been yet another lost season in Washington. Compton put up an insane 14 tackles filling in for an injured Keenan Robinson, but don’t read into that too much. Robinson might be back this week, and the Skins have no reason to rest him if he’s healthy. If Robinson gets ruled out, I’ll rank Compton in the 40s, but he’s by no means a must-add at a time when roster spots are precious.
Brandon Marshall – He’s been on the radar all years since Danny Trevathan’s injury, but he’s still not someone I trust to be a weekly stud. This is definitely a situation-over-talent…um…situation, but the situation has put him in the race for top 10 LBs on the season. He’s no Chris Borland, but then again no one is.
Sheldon Richardson – Last week was illuminating in the case of Richardson. In his first career game without Muhammad Wilkerson, I figured he would struggle due to seeing more double teams than usual. He not only proved me wrong, he had me looking out my window to make sure he wasn’t coming after me next after taking down Teddy Bridgewater for 3 sacks among his 7 tackles. He’s a must-start every week, so I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but his performance last week bodes well for the rest of his career.
Jamie Collins – When I watch Collins, I feel like he’s an insane athlete who really doesn’t know that much about football. His instincts are phenomenal, however his ability to adjust when he reads a play wrong leaves a lot to be desired. But that’s just pickings nits. Collins operates at hyperspeed at all times, and he’s only had one subpar game since Jerod Mayo went down. I’m excited to see him with yet another Belichickian offseason under his belt.