IDP Corner: Week 13

I find the week after Thanksgiving to be one of the more hopeful times of the year, right up there with the opening week of the season, the opening of training camp, the combine, and the draft. Bolstering that hope for us all is Deion Jones. It looks like he’ll be returning to action this week for Atlanta, though I assume he’ll be on a limited snap count.

That’s the great thing about football, on top of all the strategy and analysis of the smallest minutia, sometimes all you need is just some hope. With that hope is the strength to pursue it with all that you have. So if you’re on the cusp of making the fantasy playoffs, have hope. If you’re trying to lock up a bye week, have hope. If you’re just trying to mess up another team’s playoffs seeding because you’re knocked out of the playoffs, you too can have hope.

With that hope, you need to be real to yourself about the players you have, and the players you could have on your team. So, I’m not saying go out and drop your whole team, but maybe if you got a DB who’s only real mark on the fantasy landscape was  3 or 4 good games in the middle of this season and now they are starting to slide, maybe it’s time to think about what I have to say below. So on to the players I wish to highlight this week:

Defensive Linemen:
Carl Nassib, DE TB: While he hasn’t set the world on fire, Nassib has been seeing better playing time over the last 6 games than what he saw to start the season and as a result he’s been averaging just under a sack per game in that same 6 game span. More importantly against a Carolina offense that doesn’t give up many points to DEs, Nassib was able to grab a sack and combined 3 tackles. Sure again the world isn’t on fire, but if your in need of a last minute sub in your DL spot and all you want is a solid floor, Nassib has been good at providing such a thing.  

Javon Hargrave, DT PIT: Compared to his widely owned teammate, Cameron Heyward, Hargrave in the past four weeks has 1 fewer Fumble Recovery, 1 less Sack, and 4 more solo tackles. For the DL position Heyward is as I mentioned before, well owned in many formats, Hargrave on the other hand is most likely sitting in your league’s free agent pool. AND it just so happens that the Chargers love to give up points to DTs much more than they like to give up points to DEs. Hargrave is a bit up and down week to week, but I feel like this week be a good week to fire him up if you need some points in a DT position.

Defensive Backs:
Jordan Whitehead, S TB: The Tampa defense this year has been, well suspect. Sometimes due to their offense’s production, it seems like on a weekly basis there is an air raid happening in the game Tampa Bay plays in. Additionally, Tampa Bay has been hammered with injuries. Luckily Whitehead is a talented young man who has been their most fantasy productive DB. He’s owned in just 1% of yahoo leagues, so be on the lookout for him, he could help you win your league, because Tampa doesn’t have many other players to play.

Adrian Amos Jr., S CHI: While the other Safety in Chicago, Eddie Jackson, has been getting the majority of they hype over the past couple of weeks, even from myself, Amos has been solid in his production. Facing the Giants this week, there should be a plethora of runs that Safeties will have to help stop. While there are some leagues where he is owned due to a strong season last year, Amos is pretty readily available, and has some advantageous matchups in time for fantasy playoffs.

D.J. Hayden, CB JAX: Even if Jalen Ramsey does play this week he has been limited or not participating in practice all week and will need help covering T.Y. Hilton. Hayden is the next man up. Currently he sees plenty of Nickel package snaps, which will make it less of a transition for him if he needs to switch to outside coverage. And even if Ramsey plays full speed, Hayden is right behind Ramsey in Jacksonville DB production over the last three weeks, so if you need a DB this week, Hayden’s floor isn’t super low and has a nice ceiling that is within reasonable reach.

Preston Smith, OLB WAS: Maybe it’s just me but it certainly feels like Philadelphia has been playing down to their opponents this year, and with that Preston Smith has been stepping up to meet the challenge of being the 4th LB in a very crowded LB group in Washington. If we look at the last four weeks and compare to the much more owned Ryan Kerrigan (the other OLB) who trades back and forth with Smith for who gets more snaps in a week, Smith has 5 more Total Tackles, the same number of sacks, and a Pass Defended and an Interception which Kerrigan does not. Kerrigan is owned in most mid to larger format leagues, while Smith is likely available is almost any league.

Matt Judon, OLB BAL: Currently the only other LB making much of an impact over the last four or five weeks with C.J. Moseley has been Judon. Kenny Young was making plenty of noise earlier this season, but has been losing snaps since week 4. I’m not the hugest fan of Judon due to previous seasons’ performances and I think Young is more talented, but numbers don’t lie and right now Judon is doing better. He might be a little harder to add given he is coming off of a 3 Sack week against Oakland, but this might also be a sign that he’s finally ready to step up and start making bigger plays on a weekly basis. Judon will be a risk play against an Atlanta offense that can get the ball out of the pocket quick, which may make him too high of a price to pay for too little of a guarantee this week.

Samson Ebukam, OLB LAR: After Mark Barron and Cory Littleton, Ebukam is the only Rams LB that is seeing any significant playing time. He is also coming off of a monster two defensive touchdown game. So, you would be nutty to expect that he’d repeat such a performance. However, Barron is not getting the tackles that he has in the past, and Littleton still plays a little green, so Ebukam could be a useful grab sooner rather than later to with three pass centric teams up next and then finishing the season against Arizona and San Francisco it’s possible that Barron and Littleton get sat more to protect them for the playoffs, which would allow more time for Ebukam to shine.

Good luck to you all this week. If you have any questions of the Guru family, be sure to reach out to us through any of the ways listed below. We are in fact everywhere, so join in the fun!

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