IDP Corner: Week 14

I don’t know if I am more excited that Fantasy Football Playoffs have started up or if next week is the last Thursday night game of the season. As much as I enjoy writing about IDP, if you’ve read my TNF articles you know I find the majority of games to be ho-hum at best (though we had a good like 4 weeks run this season until this week). Anyway, PLAYOFFS!!! Now is not the time to panic, it is the time to PLAN! The first rule, start your studs. No different than the regular season, unless you’re hearing things like [your linebacker] is totally sitting this week, you should play him. The second rule, don’t get cute. Sure if you have a player out due to injury/suspension you should replace them but, don’t wildly add the next man up, there may be more to the situation. The third rule, have fun. That’s the best part about fantasy football, having fun. So I’ve provided below players who I think will not only make your week fun but, aren’t super insane out of left-field highlights (unless otherwise stated).

Defensive Linemen:
Denico Autry, DE/DT IND: If you’re really in need of a stable DL player this week you may wish to look elsewhere, Autry was held out of Friday’s practice due to back issues. So if you like what I provide beyond, you’ll want to watch for any updates later today or even Sunday morning, as back injuries can go south quickly. Anyway, Autry had himself a very very nice week against Jacksonville last week which is why many people likely avoided him through waivers in your league. Plus 3 sacks and more than a handful of tackles, all of which are the first real signs of life we’ve seen from him in weeks. BUT, what you might also notice is that the last time Autry had a sack (which was also a multi-sack, and 7 solo tackles) was against Houston, who just happen to be who Indy is playing this week. Houston is already well known for giving up sacks by the half dozen or so in a game, so if Autry does end up as out, you may even consider his replacement Hassan Ridgeway as a viable option. Sure there is some risk here but, it’s the playoffs and if you’re already looking for a DL then you’re probably looking for someone who can make an impact and the opportunity is here.

Rodney Gunter, DT ARZ: Recording sacks against LAC, KC, and SF (half sack) over the past 6 weeks, Gunter seems to find his way forward against passing offenses. When compared to Chandler Jones over the past 4 weeks, Jones has 3.5 more sacks, but Gunter has 1 more Total Tackle (an Assisted Tackle to be specific), as well as a Pass Defended and a Forced Fumble. Most importantly Gunter is just chilling in literally everyone’s free agent pool. With ATL, LAR, and SEA to finish out the season Gunter could be a solid long-term playoff investment if you need a little more predictability than Autry.

Defensive Backs:
Cornell Armstrong, CB MIA: A sixth-round pick in this year’s draft, Armstrong has a chance at seeing some playing time this week due to Xavien Howard not playing. Now, you would be sane and rational to follow the stats and look to Torry McTyer who was an ok replacement weeks 4 through 6 earlier this season with 14 Total Tackles in that time frame. But he struggled coverage wise which isn’t really all that permissible as a Cornerback. Signs from Armstrong are that he plays fast and has been very amenable to the coaching staff this season. I think the other sign, though it is just a fraction of an indicator is that in week 10 (the last time either saw more than one snap in a game) Armstrong out snapped McTyer 8 to 6, like I said a small indicator but, at other points this season Miami has moved Minkah Fitzpatrick from Safety to Corner due to their frustrations with McTyer’s play. Starting Armstrong is a crazy bold move, but if he does get the snaps like I think he will, Brady will target the hell out of him due to his inexperience, which will lead to tackles and more importantly points for you.

T.J. Carrie, CB CLE: Continuing to chase the injury bug, Carrie I highlight as a result of Denzel Ward being out this week. That said, Carrie is already a well-established player and has arguably been the best DB in CLE over the past 4 weeks. He will now be the primary cover as Cleveland will try a couple different players in the CB2 spot, Terrance Mitchell might even fill the role. While this will mean a big jump in the number of snaps for whomever, I’m just not confident that they’ll make much of an impact. With some passing teams on the horizon, Carrie should be decent playoffs add to your team.

Xavier Rhodes, CB MIN: An all Corner DB listing this week. With a concussed Trae Waynes likely not seeing the field this week there will be a rush for Holton Hill, Wayne’s replacement last week. Hill will likely see plenty of playing times and has the potential for a decent game. I bring up Rhodes because he has a tendency to get a little hot around this time of year, and he’s been in a bit of a lull. In addition to the Rhodes insight, Russell Wilson is due for a lackluster game, he’s been hot for a minute, but if you’ve ever owned any shares of Wilson in fantasy you know he has a hiccup every 3 to 4 weeks… well, here we are. Furthermore, given how little yardage Wilson was getting through the air last week, we will likely see plenty of frustration on his part as the MIN front 7 make life annoying for him. So, with Rhodes due to get hot, and Wilson having a rougher defense to play this week, I think we could see at least one Interception in Rhodes’ hands, as well as Passes, Defended and a couple of tackles. With MIA, DET, and CHI on the horizon many of the MIN DBs have a chance to be viable for the fantasy playoffs, I just like Rhodes this week coupled with his eligibility in most leagues.  

Linebackers:
Foyesade Oluokun, OLB ATL: Even though he saw about a 10% drop in the average number of snaps he sees with the return of Deion Jones last week Oluokun still totaled 10 tackles. Given they are visiting Green Bay this week, it could be expected that we saw a good deal of run plays in the cold but, the forecast is calling for a sunny day, and highs around 27 (F), oh and the passing game will likely get opened up now the McCarthy isn’t there and strangling that offense. Oluokun is a much better coverage linebacker than De’Vondre Campbell, so he should get a few more snaps in that he did last week due for the coverage need. Oluokun proved he could still bang with Jones going full speed last week, I feel like this will be a duo we can enjoy for a couple of years at least.

Nicholas Morrow, MLB OAK: The only other linebacker who has seen more than 80% of snaps in a single game for Oakland this season has been Tahir Whitehead. Gruden was super complimentary of Morrow this week, so for now, he’s the new favorite player for Gruden on this defense. Whitehead is a natural outside LB, and since Gruden basically moved every other MLB to the other side of Morrow and Whitehead, neither should lose snaps to each other. Marquel Lee and Jason Cabinda are more naturally MLBs than Morrow but, as I said until further notice Morrow is likely the LB to own alongside Whitehead in OAK. The good news is besides my home dynasty league he is likely available for you to go add if you are in need for some LB help this week.

Olivier Vernon, OLB NYG: After finally shedding the rut of poor play he had been in all season last week, Vernon will be up against a similar situation as he was last week – a QB thrown into a starting job that he’s not really prepared for. 5 Solo Tackles and 2 sacks might be a hard feat in back to back weeks but, I think he’ll collect a couple tackles on some short check down passes and will get a shot or two for a sack at a time when Josh Jackson or Mark Sanchez has held on to the ball too long. Depending if the Giants win this week then Vernon could be viable if they try to win out and scrap into the playoffs but, if they lose this week then they may limit many of their stars to keep them healthy for next season moving forward.

Kevin Pierre-Louis, MLB NYJ: With it announced Friday that Darron Lee is suspended for the remainder of the regular season the Jets will have to determine if Neville Hewitt or Pierre-Louis will be their second MLB moving forward. Hewitt has been collecting some tackles on special teams but, KPL has actually started a game before and has shown flashes of talent in previous seasons. Jordan Jenkins and Frankie Luvu (who I’m choosing to pronounce “Love You”) have been playing well on the outside and I don’t think either gets moved to the middle. At the end, I think both will get playing time in the middle as the season closes down so that Avery Williamson doesn’t get beat up for no good reason but, I think KPL’s experience will lead to him being the leader at the position between him and Hewitt. The Bills give up all kinds of LB points in fantasy so you might wish to wait to hear a more official message about who will start, whoever does will be up against some active offenses over the next couple of weeks so there should be plenty of fantasy points for the taking.

Good luck in your playoff endeavors 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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