2014 In-Season Accuracy: 57.7% (3rd out of 21 Experts, 60.6% Highest, 44.5% Lowest).

We are now six weeks into the NFL season, a time when most fantasy squads should be officially locking down their rotations and planning for bye weeks. Instead, we are dealing with a run of major injuries the likes of which have not been seen for a long time. Losing guys like Sean Lee and Navorro Bowman before the season was bad enough, but since Week 1 we’ve lost guys like Derrick Johnson, Stephen Tulloch, Tyvon Branch and Jairus Byrd. Things continued to get worse last week, with Jerod Mayo going down for the year with a leg injury, and honestly IDPs everywhere have to be afraid that they’re next. Even the seemingly indestructible J.J. Watt looks vulnerable to a hamstring injury if he keeps running for long TD returns.

Some of these injuries have led to opportunities that can be exploited in IDP leagues. Tulloch’s injury has turned DeAndre Levy into a top three LB, and Charles Woodson has done okay in Branch’s stead. But it has also left other teams hurting for defensive contributors, and IDP squads scrambling for replacements when the Josh Maugas of the world play as well as you would expect an unknown to play. Most IDP leagues don’t offer the bench slots to allow for handcuffing, the way you would handle your prize RB, but it’s worth thinking about when you have a stud LB carrying your team. A great example of this is currently playing out in the Mile High City.

Brandon Marshall – No, not that one. The one who’s currently a top 25 LB. We all knew Danny Trevathan would miss the first month or so of the season, and Marshall beat out the likes of Nate Irving and Lamin Barrow as the LB to own in Denver. I was never the biggest Trevathan fan, but it was assumed that when he returned, Marshall would be relegated to the bench. And that’s exactly what happened. But Trevathan didn’t look right in his first game back, and went ahead and hurt himself again in his second, thrusting Marshall back into the limelight. For Trevathan owners who held onto Marshall, their patience/skepticism paid off. I would have no problem employing this strategy for similar situations involving Koa Misi/Jalani Jenkins and Nigel Bradham/Preston Brown. Using a precious bench spot on a backup IDP is typically a no-no, but with the way this season has played out, I wouldn’t fault you for being cautious.

Deontae Skinner – Let’s get this straight from the start. Jamie Collins is the clear LB to own for the Patriots right now, but in most IDP leagues, he’s already gone. Dont’a Hightower is probably your next best bet, but he’s also possibly owned, and currently recovering from injury. So if you’re looking for a long shot, especially in deeper leagues, Skinner appears to be next in line. I’m not ranking him just yet, but he’s worth a speculative pickup if you have the roster space and need help at LB.

Jerry Hughes – You may have noticed Hughes working his way up the rankings in recent weeks, and with good reason. He’s currently on a top 15-DL pace, and has 5+ sacks in three different games. Playing opposite Mario Williams, and with monsters like Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams occupying blockers as well, Hughes is in a dream situation. His upcoming schedule doesn’t feature many (any) pass-happy teams, so I’d expect his sack rate to drop, giving you a perfect buy-low opportunity (or even better, his owner might drop him). Be ready to make a move if one presents itself.

Robert Quinn – I…I don’t know. I watched MNF this week expecting to see Quinn breakout and get after Kaepernick for multiple hurries and a sack or two, but something just seems off. He was dominated one-on-one by Joe Staley (an admitted great tackle), but those mere mortals were no match for Quinn last year. The continued absence of Chris Long hurts, but it’s hard for Quinn owners (including yours truly) to keep starting him while getting zilch in return. He doesn’t get a juicy matchup until Week 10, after which he has a string of them, but it looks like it might be tough sledding for a consensus top 3 DL over the next month.

Dawan Landry – This was supposed to be the year of Calvin Pryor in New York. He was admittedly inexperienced, but looked to be the perfect fit for Rex Ryan’s defense, his next Ed Reed. Instead, we have seen a clinic on how not to play safety. But Pryor’s mistakes have been Landry’s gains. With Antonio Allen shifting to corner, Landry has stepped in and made tackle after tackle, on his way to DB1 on the year so far. With Dee Milliner on IR, and Allen playing well enough at CB, Landry should remain a top option at the DB position no matter who the Jets are playing.

Antoine Cason – The rare DB who is making his living getting tackles, Cason has had no signs of slowing down. His one rough game statistically came against Baltimore who, despite what Steve Smith Sr. would tell you, does not have a dominant, go-to receiver. Against Vincent Jackson, Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall and (for one week anyway) Mohamed Sanu, Cason put up big numbers. So basically, I’d have no issues starting him against Jordy Nelson, Julio Jones or (maybe) Josh Gordon the rest of the year, but I might shy away when he plays Seattle, New Orleans, Philly, and other teams that spread the ball out a bit more.


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  1. J-FOH says:
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    What’s up Kevin? this is one of my favorite articles every week.

    I am a Quinn owner looking to upgrade but most likely going the route of streaming a DL. What site do you use to view stats against offensive linemen?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @J-FOH:

      IDP points against are difficult to come by. Some sites (FantasySharks to name one) allow you to import league settings from MFL in order to calculate. But other than truly big-play leagues, the directionality of points against matters more than the actual numbers. For this, I typically use the weekly numbers posted by IDP Guru, and I actually intend on hitting this topic in my post next week.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: I am giving him one more week and then after that I’m cutting ties.

        On a seperate note, in the RazzDP, I have actually hoarded LB’s for one reason. Some jack hole who signed up and auto drafted has never showed up to play. It has left it’s mark in the free agent pool and too many tweeners on the wire.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @J-FOH: god i hate those guys, it gets even worse when you comish with those guys in h2h leagues of any sport, since there are very real arguments both for and against finding replacement owners. I would always replace, but either way it changes league.

  2. Ralph Lifshitz

    ralph lifshitz says:
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    Kevin, good stuff! I’ve been using this article in tandem with J-FOH’s weekly ass-kickings to try and navigate my way through my first IDP league. Am I right to drop Sen”derrick Marks for Michael Bennett. The rankings say I am, but I wasn’t sure if you thought Marks might be a better matchup this week against the run heavy Browns.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @ralph lifshitz:

      I would go with Bennett over Marks. When it comes to tackle heavy guys (Marks) vs. more traditional pass-rushers (Bennett), it can get tricky, but I think Bennett has more talent overall, and has the better matchup this week. Austin Davis loves that deep ball, so Seattle’s pass rushers should get plenty of chances.

  3. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    Nice read my man do you like Rashad Johnson or Reshad Jones the rest of the year? Jones just came back and it looks like this is Johnson’s breakout year. Thanks man.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist:

      I like Jones by a good amount. Talent levels are probably close, but Jones is the undisputed IDP star in Miami’s secondary, while Johnson has a lot of competition within his own defense.

  4. Chicken Dinner says:
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    Burfict left last week with a head injury that is being speculated as another concussion. He already has two the year. Any word on him missing practice?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Chicken Dinner:

      I haven’t seen anything since Sunday, so I’m assuming he’s good to go. After getting fined this week, I expect Burfict to be out for blood (literally) on Sunday with a great matchup. If Cincy hasn’t been publicizing it and Burfict can’t go, I’ll be moving Lamur way up the ranks.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Chicken Dinner: after what that bitch tried doing to olsen somebody with a tire iron ought to try to find out just how hard his fat head really is.

  5. Randy says:
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    I love my LB (Levy), very excited about my new DB (Reshad J), but have JPP at DL and have all year. He seems to get a decent tackle amount but isn’t getting to the QB, looks like a lot of double-teams. Each week, many sites have him still as a top guy (like you do), but is there a time when it’s better to stream or take a chance on someone else like Marcell Dereus? Wake is also out there, though he hasn’t exactly broken out this year yet either. Because we only start 1 at each IDP position, I’d have to drop JPP to make any of these moves. Thanks!

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Randy:

      I wrote about this last week, but I think JPP remains an IDP stud. The sacks will inevitably come, and when he’s racking up tackles even without getting to the QB, that’s just icing on the cake. Wake has very similar value, so I wouldn’t have an issue making that move, but I don’t think you need to panic with JPP.

  6. goodfold2 says:
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    didn’t trevathan lead the team in tackle’s during his one healthy week?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @goodfold2:

      He did, but he was clearly not 100% which hurt his coverage skills. Even with Trevathan back, Marshall played 2/3 of the defensive snaps, so that was a good sign that coaches trust him (over Irving, but still).

  7. goodfold2 says:
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    hightower looking good (but was too unknown to grab over s.moore/r.mcclain), in that dynasty league, s.moore and r.mcclain being ranked ahead of riley/butler isn’t an indication to keep both moore and mcclain over riley/butler (i’m assuming it’s just this week thing). however i will go grab mcclain over sio moore (mcclain is MLB by ourlads)

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: obv i’ll make sure mcclain is playing first.

      • Kevin Kumpf

        Kevin Kumpf says:
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        @goodfold2:

        Yeah, if McClain plays I like him the best of that bunch, and I’ll likely move him up a few slots in my rankings. Dynasty-wise, they’re all relatively similar in value based on talent, age and situation. I think you have to hold Riley, but the other guys are pretty interchangeable.

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    did clark (WAS) fall that far since you think he’s hurt again? he played in last game though and did ok (2nd in tackles for WAS). i only need 10 WAS players now, and have meriweather/clark/bucannon (he fell in rankings too, even though he was 2nd on team in tackles). if you really think clark’s worse, go with any of these over him for future:
    harper/ihedigbo/blanton.
    1. if you do like one of those better (or at least close to clark) i could drop clark for this week (play bucannon and meriweather) to pickup one of these guys to fill holes, and later grab the best S for later.
    a.best LB if riley doesn’t play (mcclain or moore)
    b. tuck (have DE opening this week)
    2. amerson worth enough to keep him over wreh-wilson (i’m assuming amerson not ranked due to not knowing if he’s playing coming off concussion)
    I now have 14 WAS players (including j.rice jr as IR stash), at start of season we needed 12, now comish lowered it from other owners bitching about “bye weeks killing me whines” to 10.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: 3.and it seems clear after tonight that hightower is my best option at LB over moore/mcclain for later.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @goodfold2: another option would be to drop clark for this week, and eat the 4-7 likely pts the extra one of mcclain/tuck would give me, and just grab hightower now, and next week get one of those S’s back, playing bucannon this week.

        • Kevin Kumpf

          Kevin Kumpf says:
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          @goodfold2:

          Just caught up on these comments, so disregard the last one.

          Yes, I would go for Hightower now, especially if your team can win it all this year. None of those DBs are really no-doubt every week starters, and only Buccanon really has the potential to be one, so I would have no issues streaming that as much as possible (especially given the lighter WAS roster restrictions). Of the options you described, dropping Clark seems like the best one.

          As for your other question, Amerson vs. Wreh-Wilson is pretty much a coin flip when they’re both healthy. If you’re desperate at CB this week, I’d hold onto Amerson and see how the concussion plays out.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Kevin Kumpf: good to find out about wreh-wilson, as he was unranked for a long time too, just recently did have a million tackles, seems to be picking up slack that pollard left around, over what wilson may have been expected to get. i grabbed hightower, figured a guy that got 13 tackles, 9 solos wouldn’t be around long, esp a new MLB. I’ll lose that 4-7 pts 1 extra of tuck/s.moore/mcclain would’ve gotten this week, but i’ll be better off for ROS. thanks.

  9. Steven says:
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    Hey man out of these which 1 to roll with this week?:

    Von miller vs kaepernick & niners

    Brandon Marshall vs kaepernick & Niners

    Deandre levy vs Brees & saints

    Brian Cushing @ pittsburgh vs Big Ben & steelers

    Clowney if active @ pitt vs Big Ben & steelers

    Sio Moore vs Palmer & cardinals

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Steven:

      Love me some Levy this week.

      • Steven says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf:

        Thanks I was aiming towards levy, lol someone in my league dropped him to add Revis ; I kind of get his thinking; that Revis was going to get a pick or pick 6 off of geno smith – but not the case 0 points for the Revis

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @Steven: i’m new to this IDP stuff and i’m simply loving that people want to drop guaranteed pts for pick upside alone, esp i thought the whole thing about great CB was they simply don’t throw the ball near them at all. CB get 0 pts 2nd to only DT’s. I have to start at least 2 of each defensive position, DT’s rack up 0-2 pts all the time.

  10. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    Someone just dropped Mark Barron due to bye week, I grab him and drop Rashad Johnson right? Either would be on my bench this week anyways. Thanks.

  11. sipslowjojo says:
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    which LB tackle friendly league
    chad greenway
    sio moore

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @sipslowjojo:

      If I had to make a call right now it’s Moore, because it looks like Greenway is going to miss another game. However, if Greenway is 100% then I’d definitely take him, it just doesn’t appear to be the case this week.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @sipslowjojo: wow, after noticing
      A. fantasy pros has him higher than moore or mcclain
      and
      B. yahoo also has greenway down for higher projection
      i was about to ask almost exact ?, but with greenway vs mcclain, since i know mcclain is over moore if he plays.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @goodfold2: oops, fantasy pros actually has moore higher than those 2.

        • Kevin Kumpf

          Kevin Kumpf says:
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          @goodfold2:

          I just moved him up to 25 because he’s active. All three are solid options, and Greenway probably has the highest ceiling, but I’m worried about his snap count so McClain is still my pick (barely).

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