2014 In-Season Accuracy: 59.3% (4th out of 22 Experts, 62.3% Highest, 42.6% Lowest).

In this space we typically just talk defense, and for good reason. Offensive players are covered ad nauseam on literally every other page on the Internet. I try to provide a safe haven for IDP owners to come and rejoice in the beauty of the solo tackle, and mourn the losses of beloved friends like Derrick Johnson and Paul Pozluszny. But IDP fantasy football doesn’t exist in a silo, and in order to maximize your lineup’s potential, we occasionally need to think about the other side of the ball.

Early on in the season, playing matchups is a bit of a fool’s errand. Teams are still struggling to establish their identity, starting lineups can be fluid, and one game can have an outsized impact on stat lines. But now that we’re two months into the season, using matchups to help inform lineup decisions can be a valuable tool.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at teams that have been the best (and worst) matchups for each IDP position.

 

Defensive Linemen

Best: Buffalo Bills

The Bills are a dream for opposing DLs. They have an ineffective running game (even more so after losing Spiller and Freddie), that they are forced to rely on because their passing game (Manuel/Orton) can’t carry the load either. Combine that with a sub-par Offensive Line, and you have by far the best opponent for DLs (DEs especially). In the next couple of weeks, the dynamic duos for the Dolphins and Jets get to feast on Orton and Co., and looking way ahead, Justin Tuck will be a nice option in Championship Week.

Worst: New Orleans Saints

Unsurprisingly, a team that lives and dies with their quick-strike passing game does not make for a great DL matchup. The return of Mark Ingram could open up some tackle opportunities, but Brees is perennially among the least sacked QBs in the league. This doesn’t bode well for Charles Johnson owners, who still face the Saints twice, as well Jared Allen who gets them in Week 15.

 

Linebackers

Best: Jacksonville Jaguars

Linebackers can contribute in a variety of ways, against a variety of offenses, so it is not surprise that teams have the smallest deviation in terms of LB points allowed. The Jags are slightly ahead of the pack due to their propensity for both allowing sacks and turning the ball over, which obviously makes them an ideal matchup for all IDP positions. Streaming lesser known options as bye week replacements against the Jags can be a great strategy (like Emmanuel Lamur this week), and it makes a guy like Avery Williamson look pretty good for Championship Week.

Worst: Philadelphia Eagles

This one is a bit surprising to me, given the diversity of the Philly attack. Anecdotally, it has seemed like Philly either gets stopped for a loss or hits a big play, which would essentially avoid the Linebacker level. Typically the worst matchups for LBs are teams that go three-and-out frequently, but Philly has the 9 lowest three-and-out percentage in the league. I’m chalking this up to a case of the notoriously honest numbers being less than truthful, but I still might think twice about starting a non-stud LB against the Eagles. More logical matchups to avoid are the next two teams in line, Tennessee and Oakland.

 

Defensive Backs

Best: Philadelphia Eagles

Now this makes sense. As happy as offensive player owners were that Chip Kelly moved to the NFL, IDP owners were just as happy. Successful, fast-paced offenses lead to more stats all around (apparently except for LBs), and DBs can reap those benefits. The top 4 teams is DB points allowed are the NFC East teams, which should come as no surprise. Lots of passes, lots of interceptions, and lots of points seem to define that division. The Eagles face the Cowboys in Weeks 13 and 15, so if you have a team that looks like a contender, I’d try to make a move on Barry Church (and think about streaming Brandon Carr for those weeks in CB-required leagues).

Worst: Cincinnati Bengals

The absence of A.J. Green has hindered an already less than stellar Bengals passing attack, and opposing DBs have felt that pain. The only types of DBs that thrive against the Cincinnati offense are ones that play more like Linebackers. Luckily for his owners, Donte Whitner is one of those players, and he gets to face Cincy twice for the rest of the season, as do T.J. Ward and Kenny Vaccaro. But for more pass-reliant Safeties and all Cornerbacks, I would avoid starting them against the Bengals.


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  1. Clint says:
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    Will you have an ROS ranking and/or playoff ranking list out for IDP?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Clint:

      I find that ROS rankings for IDP tend to be very similar to the weekly rankings. Other than specific matchups, as listed above, it’s difficult to plan too much around schedule.

      The obvious exception here is for guys returning from injury, in which case they’re usually plugged in at about the same ranking that they’ve been on a weekly basis, other than maybe their first game or two back.

      So the short answer is that I won’t be doing explicit ROS rankings, as they will be quite similar to the weekly rankings. But if there is a specific player you’re curious about, I’m happy to offer my ROS thoughts.

      • Clint says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf:

        I’ve got Rashad Jones in my DB spot right now but Harrison Smith’s out there, as is Barron. I snatched Quinn at DL thinking he may be heating back up to his old self again, do you see Smith turning it around in a similar fashion or should I stick with Jones or grab Barron?

        • Kevin Kumpf

          Kevin Kumpf says:
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          @Clint:

          I’d avoid Barron until we see how he looks in STL, especially given your other options. Smith has been underwhelming for the last few weeks, but I think he re-establishes himself this week against whoever starts at QB for the Skins. Jones is the safer play (and he’s already had his bye), but I’d go with Smith for this week.

  2. goodfold2 says:
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    me like to see donald up that high in DL ranks, and i can finally boast 2 top 50’s sine week 2 with kelly.
    it appears you, unlike fantasy pros, don’t think c. campbell gets playing time back this week; and i’m guessing it’s just a typo, but amukamura is missing from list (he’s close to meriweather in fantasy pros). also, just noticed breeland moved ahead of amerson (so WAS has 2 rookie CB now), as well as verner. now i just have too many decent CB options.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @goodfold2:

      Thanks for pointing that out, looks like a technical issue with my FP rankings. I have re-included Amukamara (who I’m high on), and Campbell (who I’m a little more conservative on).

      Donald is going to a beast for a long time.

  3. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    How do you feel about the Barron trade? Do you see his value increasing or decreasing from it? Thanks.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist:

      On paper it should be a lateral move. Both teams have above average front sevens and terrible offenses, so his opportunities should be about the same.

      In terms of how he’s used, that’s the question mark right now. Clearly Fisher and Co. targeted him for a reason, so we’ll see if that’s just to solidify their safety rotation, or to use him as more of a hybrid LB, which could improve his value.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: no actual evidence since it hasn’t happened yet, but there were quotes from him in STL paper saying he’d likely be used as cover guy most of the time, since we already got mcdonald.

  4. J-FOH says:
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    Thanks again for the memo on Jones, best pickup for me.

    Hey what do you think of Barr going forward?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @J-FOH:

      He looks like a stud with his big plays, but his pass-rusher profile puts an inherent ceiling on his production. He’ll have big weeks every now and then, but I’d have trouble trusting him to produce on a weekly basis. Best case comparison is Von Miller, which isn’t terrible, but not exactly a no-doubt starter.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: that’s the guy somebody offered me for this week’s #1 overall, lavonte david, along with a pick. I’ll stick with David thank you.

  5. chris says:
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    I have a question about LB Mychal Kendricks. Everywhere he is listed as a top 20 LB for this week. Even though he played only 30% of the snaps last week. He admitted after the game that his calf isn’t 100% yet. What are your thoughts on starting him this week? Thanks guys

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @chris:

      He’s been practicing this week, so it looks like he’s on the up and up. It’s always difficult to predict snap counts for guys like this, but he does have a juicy matchup, so I’m leaving him top 10 as a boom/bust guy this week.

  6. Joe says:
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    Hey man , who to go w/ for one of these two for this week –

    – CJ Mosley @ Pittsburgh

    – D’Qwell Jackson @ Giants

    I see for the rankings Mosley is of course ranked better but just seeing if between these two who you like for this week

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Joe:

      Mosley has been on a tear, and has a good matchup, so I like him over Qwell (who also has a good matchup, but a lower ceiling).

  7. Dom B says:
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    My roster can you give each player a rank like QB 1 or 2 RB 1 or 2 there can be multiple RB 1s etc thx

    Starters:

    QB – Aaron Rodgers – Packers
    RB – LeSean McCoy – Eagles
    RB – Andre Ellington – Cardinals
    WR – Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers
    WR – T.Y. Hilton – Colts
    WR – Michael Crabtree – 49ers
    TE – Larry Donnell – Giants
    PK – Steven Hauschka – Seahawks
    DEF – Baltimore Ravens – Ravens

    Bench:
    QB – Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers
    RB – Fred Jackson – Bills
    RB – Charles Sims – Buccaneers
    WR – Odell Beckham – Giants
    WR – Percy Harvin – Jets
    TE – Delanie Walker – Titans

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Dom B:

      How many teams in the league?

  8. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    Eric Berry is back, he’s an automatic pickup along with autostart ros right?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist:

      As long as he’s active, absolutely. I’m always a little bit conservative with ranking guys returning from injuries, but Berry’s talent and matchup are too good to pass up this week.

      • TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: My thoughts as well, would you rather go with him or Barron on his new team? Word is Berry will be active.

        • Kevin Kumpf

          Kevin Kumpf says:
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          @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist:

          As soon as I hear that Berry is active, I’ll be moving him up ahead of Barron, so that’s who I’d go with.

  9. Dom B says:
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    Should I trade Kelvin Benjamin for Eddie Lacy as flex is my WR good enough to do it.

    Starters:
    QB – Aaron Rodgers – Packers
    RB – LeSean McCoy – Eagles
    RB – Andre Ellington – Cardinals
    WR – Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers
    WR – T.Y. Hilton – Colts
    WR – Michael Crabtree – 49ers
    TE – Larry Donnell – Giants
    PK – Steven Hauschka – Seahawks
    DEF – Baltimore Ravens – Ravens

    Bench:
    QB – Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers
    RB – Fred Jackson – Bills
    RB – Charles Sims – Buccaneers
    WR – Odell Beckham – Giants
    WR – Percy Harvin – Jets
    TE – Delanie Walker – Titans

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Dom B:

      You’re pretty thin at RB right now, so even with the drop-off in WR talent, I would make the move. One of the NY receivers should be startable each week, and you get to reap all the benefits of the GB offense.

  10. Dom B says:
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    Should I trade Kelvin Benjamin for Lamar Miller as flex is my WR good enough to do it.

    Starters:
    QB – Aaron Rodgers – Packers
    RB – LeSean McCoy – Eagles
    RB – Andre Ellington – Cardinals
    WR – Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers
    WR – T.Y. Hilton – Colts
    WR – Michael Crabtree – 49ers
    TE – Larry Donnell – Giants
    PK – Steven Hauschka – Seahawks
    DEF – Baltimore Ravens – Ravens

    Bench:
    QB – Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers
    RB – Fred Jackson – Bills
    RB – Charles Sims – Buccaneers
    WR – Odell Beckham – Giants
    WR – Percy Harvin – Jets
    TE – Delanie Walker – Titans

  11. Red says:
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    Hey Kevin I stream defensive players, & I have a slot open for tonight ; who to add & start tonight:

    Vontae Davis @ NY vs eli & co

    D’qwell jackson @ NY vs eli & co

    Jerrell Freeman @ NY vs Eli & co

    Prince amukara vs colts vs luck & co

    Antrell rolle vs colts vs luck & co

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Red:

      I’d go with D’qwell

      • Red says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf:

        What are your thoughts on Jameel McLain w/ beason done for season looks like hell be playing a lot or do you still like jackson

  12. goodfold2 says:
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    i’m thinking m.johnson (TB) has been playing injured since week 3. first 2 weeks of season he had no less than 5 tackles per game and 2 sacks total. since then he’s had a TOTAL of 4 tackles and nothing else in 4 weeks. now that i’ve got c.campbell along with heyward i might just bench johnson till he’s fixed.
    2. keep which 2 out of breeland (used to have amerson, but this guy seems better)/b.wilson/verner? b.wilson has been great at getting a ridiculous amount of tackles for a CB in last 4 weeks, along with a bunch of passes defended.
    3. somebody dropped t.jefferson. i was gonna regrab ryan clark but i’m guessing jefferson is better play, even with clark coming off a very good game.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @goodfold2:

      1. I’m getting tired of MJ letting me down every week as well. No issues going with a healthy Calais and Heyward, though the ceiling is definitely lower.

      2. It’s all about streaming for these guys. Breeland is on a bye next week, but ROS I like him the most. Matchup for Verner is better then Wreh Wilson’s next week at least.

      3. I like Jefferson more than Clark but it’s not a runaway. If you’re hurting for Skins, it’s not a terrible tradeoff.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: we only have to have 10 of our team name now (apparently a few people whined about how 12 was too many to compete with bye week, and this week is my getting screwed week with no starting QB at all), i have 12 including breeland and jerry rice JR stashed on IR. riley was finally picked up by somebody other than me, but i now have 4 guys ranked ahead of him weekly in david/hightower/jenkins/butler. bucannon still producing (even if he does get only half or so playing time). with donnell/reed/ASJ and peterson/sims/helu/morris/taliaferro/michael i’m gonna have to pull a 2 for 1 soon or drop ASJ (not dropping any RB, those guys are way too hard to replace, and turnover rate is high). My Amukamura deal didn’t work out (which is good for this season since dude’s out for the year, but maybe i can get him cheap now), opp traded for o.daniels instead of my donnell (only had to pay chris johnson too, that’s a steal)

  13. goodfold2 says:
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    drop kelly for brockers?, who actually had a good game for ONCE (entire RAMS D had great game, just like how 2 years ago, when they were truly awful, they just somehow happened to be decent or better in division games). Since DT guys simply aren’t both available and ranked either here or at fantasy pros, most of the ones seemingly interesting are those who happened to have produced lately, whether or not that’s projectable going forward. But a lot of even these guys seem to be backups according to ourlads (kelly/kitchen/klug/a.jones (JAX), so options that have done well lately and also are starters appear to be brockers (he was ranked preseason anyway)/kelly/both MIA guys (mitchell/starks)/hayden/both SF guys (williams/mcdonald). the 2 MIN DT’s have been great but they are on bye (floyd/johnson)

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: or what about p.taylor, he’s a DE that qualifies at DT. which seems more valuable than a DT.

      • Kevin Kumpf

        Kevin Kumpf says:
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        @goodfold2:

        DT projections are extremely difficult, so I tend to base my rankings off recent production and supporting cast. This bodes well for guys like Brockers and the Miami duo (who I have yet to rank top 50 as their production has not been consistent).

        For this week, I still like Kelly over Brockers or the other guys. Matchup is slightly better and he’s been more consistent this year (none of those terrible goose eggs). Taylor has been banged up and hasn’t done much from what I’ve seen, so Kelly seems like the safest choice.

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