By Duncan Smith
We’re almost at week 11 of the fantasy season and as in real life, as in fantasy I’m still convinced it’s April and we’ve not had pre-season yet. But we have, it will be Christmas before we know it and while many people are sad about the prospect of a socially distanced, zoom Christmas I for one am looking forward to embracing the Finnish tradition of Pantsdrunk this festive season.
If you don’t know what Pantsdrunk is, I suggest you look it up, Google will explain it better than me, or Ask Jeeves if you still have access to that. Like most things Finnish it’s great. Pantsdrunk that is, not Ask Jeeves, that was terrible. Also not Finnish.
Elsewhere I need to start preparing for award season so if you have any categories you would like me to create make sure to @ me on Twitter.
Now, let’s get out of these cumbersome trousers society makes us wear and pour a big glass of Eggnog and red wine, it’s time for my snap decisions.
The Cardinals were unable to record a sack or force a fumble against Buffalo. No player recorded double-digit tackles either, with Budda Baker leading the team with 9 (7 solo). However, veteran CB’s Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick both hauled in an interception to rescue their weeks.
If you have them in your line-up it’s probably worth sticking with them this week when they face Seattle.
The Falcons return to action in week 11 with a road trip to New Orleans. During the bye, Atlanta made some minor changes to their roster that may affect your line-up. Former first-round pick Takk McKinley has been waived (and has subsequently also been waived by the Bengals after he failed a physical and is now claimed by the 49ers). Veteran Allen Bailey is listed as the starter but he has been in this position since week 3 when McKinley first injured his groin. Bailey hasn’t done anything fantasy worthy with his opportunity and doesn’t need to be on your radar.
Elsewhere Defensive End Dante Fowler is still on the reserve/Covid-19 list, so make sure you monitor his status going into the weekend.
The Ravens come off a disappointing 1 sack, no interceptions, and no forced fumbles Sunday night game against New England to face last season’s divisional-round conquerors Tennessee.
The Ravens have Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams questionable for this one. With both sidelined for week 10, the Ravens struggled to stop the Patriot’s less than fearsome run game. This time they have to stop Derrick Henry.
Luckily Campbell is trending in the right direction and should be in your lineups if he plays. Williams on the other hand is trending towards out and would be replaced by journeyman Justin Ellis.
BUFFALO BILLS – Week 11 Bye
Veteran LB A.J. Klein heads into Buffalo’s bye week on the back of a second IDP relevant game in a row. He logged 11 tackles (10 solo) and one of the Bills’ 3 sacks of Kyler Murray.
If he keeps this form up when Buffalo returns to action against the Chargers he could be a nice option on a championship team. His only really tough game comes week 14 against Pittsburgh.
The Panthers’ defense got steamrolled by Tampa Bay at the weekend. Tom Brady threw for 341 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and no interceptions. Meanwhile, the ‘Bucs running backs combined for over 200 yards and a score.
Unsurprisingly there were no stand-out performances amongst the Panthers. Most of the value in Carolina’s defense is in their rookies so there is no need to abandon any of them after one bad game against one of the league’s most high powered offenses, next up they get Detroit’s not high powered in the slightest offense to try and right the ship.
CHICAGO BEARS – Week 11 Bye
There’s only one thing that can slow down Bears LB stud Roquan Smith and that’s a bye week. Smith again had a stand out performance against a run-first offense logging a sack and 14 combined tackles (8 solo).
After the bye, Smith faces off against Green Bay and Detroit before getting a juicy playoffs run of Houston, Minnesota again, and finishing on Championship week with Jacksonville.
Tony Brown led the team, well I say led I mean had the highest score of a defense that had its doors blown off by the Steelers. He logged 9 combined tackles (6 solo and 2 for a loss) and a pass defended.
Brown is not a player you should have on your roster, he is a special teamer that was drafted in to play corner due to no-one else being available. He was pretty awful and Big Ben targeted him often. While this can be a good road to success in IDP, it’s not sustainable and he will be replaced by an actual cornerback sooner rather than later.
Defensive Edge Myles Garrett now leads the league in sacks with 9.5 after Los Angeles Ram Aaron Donald failed to record anything this week. With Philadelphia next, you should expect Garrett to increase his total, edging his way closer to the ‘Sacks for the Memories’ trophy (I’m workshopping that).
Elsewhere on the team, B.J Goodson continues to lead the team in tackles, 7 combined against Houston gives him 65 total on the year.
Cleveland was unable to turnover DeShaun Watson but with Carson Wentz next, they should be able to make amends in a good matchup for all of your Cleveland starters.
America’s team had two vastly improved performances under their belt against Philly and Pittsburgh before heading into their bye week. This much-maligned run D didn’t concede a rushing TD over the two games and kept Philly to 119 yards and Pittsburgh to 144.
However, they are still the 31st ranked run defense and have a huge test this week against Dalvin Cook. If they can limit his production on the ground on Sunday then maybe we can consider some of these players startable again.
LB A.J. Johnson is quietly having himself a nice season. In a disappointing week for the Broncos where they failed to record an interception, sack, QB hit, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and only one pass defended he managed to save his day with a team-high 12 combined tackles (9 solo).
He has now recorded at least 8 tackles in 7 out of 9 weeks while playing nearly every snap this season and should be trusted as a weekly play moving forward.
The Lions did a reasonable job of limiting Washington’s ability to run the football, keeping them to 89 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, they did allow the Football Team to score three rushing touchdowns.
Veteran LB Jamie Collins had a team-high 13 tackles (9 solo) to go with 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Defensive Edge Romeo Okwara recorded his sixth sack of the season to lead the team in that category. This week Detroit faces Carolina, if Teddy Bridgewater is unable to go Okwara has an opportunity to register more sacks against either PJ Walker or Will Grier.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Another week, another Packer recording an interception. This time it was safety Adrian Amos who hauled one in to become the fourth packer of the year to get one.
Elsewhere LB Za’Darius Smith recorded another sack to bring him up to 8 on the year, 1.5 behind leader Myles Garrett and a possible late-season run at the ‘How’d you like those sacks’ award (still workshopping).
The Packers face the Colts next, quarterback Philip Rivers is the most elusive QB who has started every game with only 8 sacks through 9 games.
With this Packers defense seemingly going through the motions right now I’m still not happy trusting any of them to get the job done this week.
Linebackers Zach Cunningham and Tyrell Adams were on the field for every defensive play. They turned this into 21 tackles between them, 14 for Cunningham and 7 for Adams. Both players were doing well stopping Clevelands double-headed monster backfield of Chubb and Hunt for most of this game before a late collapse allowed both running backs to finish with over 100 yards.
With New England next both should again see a decent amount of work against a much less fearsome backfield.
Defensive Edge veteran Denico Autry recorded 4 combined tackles (2 solo) and a sack during the Colts Thursday night win over Tennessee. Since coming back from Indianapolis week 7 bye Autry has recorded 4 total sacks and managed at least one every week.
He may find it tough to keep that going against Green Bay next, of quarterbacks to start 9 games only teammate Philip Rivers has been sacked less often than Aaron Rodgers.
Sidney Jones had himself a day against Green Bay. The fourth-year cornerback out of Washington logged 9 combined tackles (6 solo), an interception, 2 passes defended, and a forced fumble to lead the team.
Next up for Jones and the Jags is another daunting matchup against Pittsburgh, with Jacksonville’s offense in disarray volume alone should be enough to keep your Jaguars in your lineups.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs return from their bye week to face a Las Vegas Raiders team reeling from a swathe of players being placed on the Covid reserve list for the second time this season. The first time it was the O-line mostly affected. This time the defense has taken a huge hit. While those Raiders may still play, they may not get cleared until Sunday morning. If they can’t go or haven’t trained all week then Patrick Mahomes may carve them open all day. While this will limit the amount of time the Kansas defense spends on the field it will mean Derek Carr is constantly throwing to stay in the game, which will provide an opportunity for guys like Tyrann Mathieu to go to work.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
The Raiders were able to pick off Bronco’s quarterback Drew Lock four times this week with safety Jeff Heath leading the team with two of them. Heath was only on the field 48% of the time and logged only 1 tackle to go with his brace of interceptions. The Raiders have Kansas City next so I wouldn’t rush out to acquire the veteran on the back of this performance, his first fantasy-relevant one of the campaign. Although if he gets listed as the starter this week due to Covid he may be worth a what the heck flier.
Further to this Las Vegas have 11 players placed onto the Covid reserve list at the time of writing, including Cory Littleton, Lamarcus Joyner, and Clelin Ferrell. If you have any Raiders in your roster make sure to track their status closely in the build-up to Sunday.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Chargers failed to intercept or sack Tua Tagovailoa in his third career start despite two excellent opportunities at picks, including one that sailed through rookie first-rounder Kenneth Murray’s hands and into those of Miami TE Adam Shaheen’s.
The Chargers have a get-right game next against the New York Jets and it’s worth sticking with your Chargers to see if they can recoup your faith in Melvin Ingram. Sorry did I say your faith? I meant mine, obviously! Those of you with Joey Bosa will be praying he clears concussion protocol for this one.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
In the race to be Mr. Sacktacular 2020 (Workshopping!) Aaron Donald lost half a step to Myles Garrett while allowing Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt to draw level with him at 9 sacks each. It was a disappointing week for Donald as the only meaningful IDP contribution he made was 2 hits on the QB.
Donald still had a big impact on the game against Seattle by basically manhandling Seattle’s O-line himself allowing teammates to record 6 sacks and two interceptions. Unfortunately, there’s no way of scoring that kind of contribution in IDP, sorry.
If you started either CB Darius Williams or LB Leonard Floyd you can thank Aaron for your nice week.
Tampa Bay’s O-line is a different beast to Seattle’s and it’s going to be interesting seeing what happens in this unstoppable force versus immovable object tussle.
This Miami defense is turning out to be a serious NFL unit. DE Emmanuel Ogbah has logged at least half a sack for eight consecutive games and is tied for fourth in sack totals with Za’Darius Smith only 1.5 behind Myles Garretts 9.5 total sacks.
Cornerback Xavien Howard meanwhile is second in the league for interceptions. He picked off Justin Herbert to bring his tally to 5 on the year.
Neither of these players is recording big tackle numbers so if you start them you are relying on them continuing to make big plays. A week 11 matchup with Denver is a good bet for that to continue.
Star linebacker Eric Kendricks has cooled off slightly over the last two weeks. He only managed 6 combined tackles against Detroit and only 3 against the Bears on Monday. Against the Lions, he saved his week with an interception but had no such thing this week.
Up next is Dallas and what should be a good game against a poor team. The biggest risk to Kendricks’s stat line will be if the Vikings can run the ball through Dalvin Cook all day and he doesn’t see much playing time.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Kyle Dugger was New England’s first rookie pick in the 2020 draft, selected at 37 overall. The second-rounder made his first start for the Patriots against Baltimore and his contribution of 12 combined tackles (7 solo) helped secure a win.
There is every chance that this could be something of a breakout game for the youngster and it’s worth checking his availability in your league. It should also be noted that Dugger is listed as a safety but his ability to play linebacker gives him versatility and in tackle heavy scoring formats could give you solid LB scoring at the DB position.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Linebacker Demario Davis and safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson both recorded sacks of San Fransisco’s Nick Mullens with Davis also recording 12 tackles and 2 QB hits, while CJGJ logged 8 tackles and 3 QB hits.
Gardner-Johnson seems to have a natural ability to wind opponents and at times teammates up. If he can continue to wind up opponents and not teammates up while staying inside the rules of the game he can throw them off balance and create an opportunity to be an every-week starter on your roster.
It will be interesting to see if he can get inside Julio Jones head this week.
NEW YORK GIANTS – Week 11 Bye
A week 10 revenge win over Philadelphia with two fourth-down stops in the fourth quarter might be good for the Giants organization but it didn’t do much for your IDP players. The Eagle’s Carson Wentz leads the league in the number of times sacked, sack yards lost, interceptions thrown, and fumbles (35/237/12/9). The Giants only managed to record 2 sacks and 4 QB hits.
The biggest disappointment of the week was courtesy of leading tackler Blake Martinez who recorded a season-low 4 combined tackles.
The Giants have another plus matchup against Cincinnati after the bye so there’s no need to abandon your Giants just yet.
NEW YORK JETS
New York had their bye week 10, a quiet relaxed affair you would imagine? Nope, even bye weeks won’t stop the Joe Douglas tear down of this team.
Former Colt Pierre Desir was the Jets big-ticket signing on defense this year, landing in New York on a one year $3.75 million deal.
He lasted nine games, his half-arsed attempt to chase down Patriot wideout Damiere Byrd led to him being benched for the last three minutes of the game against New England and now Douglas has had enough and cut him loose.
All of this means Bryce Hall has got himself a starting job by essentially turning up at the facility every day. The rookie fifth-rounder only made his debut against New England in week 9 and now has to start against Justin Herbert and the Chargers.
He has what the hell flex upside as a heavily targeted option, otherwise he’s one for your radar.
With starting LB Nate Gerry on IR, Alex Singleton played every defensive snap for the first time in his five and a half years as a pro. He turned that time on the field into a team-high 16 combined tackles ( 9 solo, 1 for a loss) against the Giants.
Nate Gerry is eligible to return from IR for the Eagles week 11 match with Cleveland, so you need to pay attention to his status before risking Singleton as a flier.
T.J. Watt was able to get at Joe Burrow for 2 sacks and 4 QB hits on Sunday, to go along with 4 solo tackles ( 2 for a loss). The linebacker is now half a sack away from the lead in the race to be Sack Daddy 2020 (still workshopping). With a contest against Jacksonville this week there is every chance he could emerge in the top spot for football’s greatest prize, which is ehm, the highest total of sacks in the year. Ok, it might not be ‘the greatest prize’ but it’s pretty close.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – Week 11 Bye
So I suppose we better start this segment with that not sack of Drew Brees. I along with most people watching couldn’t see anything wrong with it. Yes, it turns out Brees has a collapsed lung and broken ribs but who doesn’t these days? DT Kentavius Street landed beside Brees not on him, the impact with the ground likely caused the injury since he has broken ribs on both sides of his chest.
From an IDP perspective Street really shouldn’t be anywhere near your roster and therefore the lack of a sack shouldn’t have mattered, even in the ‘Takk for the sack’ awards (Takk is Norwegian for thanks, ok I’m still workshopping).
Speaking of Takk, with the 49ers’ front seven decimated by injury, San Francisco has been successful at the second time of asking in picking up defensive end Takk McKinley. The 2017 first-rounder may have an immediate role in this defense starting week 12 against the Rams.
Just this week Jamal Adams has spoken to the media about battling depression while playing for the Jets and while I’m not one to belittle mental illness at least he doesn’t support the useless wankers.
In an overall disappointing day at the office for Seattle Adams earned himself an employee of the week commendation by racking up 7 combined tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. Adams has only finished four games this year healthy but has been a great option when he does. Despite leaving the game on the first drive with a sore shoulder he returned to play nearly every snap. Coach Pete Carroll has already cleared him for Thursday against Arizona so make sure he’s in your lineup (and not in a flex spot).
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
With Tom Brady bouncing back from his pantsing by New Orleans to hang 46 points on the Panthers the Tampa Bay defense didn’t have a huge amount to do, especially with Carolina only having 23 minutes and 55 seconds of possession.
Devin White and Lavonte David led the team in tackles again this week with 6 combined each. Jason Pierre-Paul led the team in scoring with an interception, sack, 3 combined tackles, and 2 QB hits.
Since being activated from the practice squad before week 8, cornerback Breon Border has seen his snap count go 10%, 100%, 100%. In his two full games, he has a combined 14 tackles (12 solo).
While there is a possibility this volume continues for Border it is worth noting that Adoree’ Jackson was activated from IR before the Colts game, although he didn’t play in that fixture he will see the field sooner rather than later and will likely eat into Borders workload.
Rookie safety Kamren Curl paced the Football team for the second week in a row with 8 tackles, 6 solo, and 1 for a loss, as well as Washington’s only sack.
Washington’s next two games are at home against the Bengals before a trip to Dallas to face the Cowboys. If Curl is still available in your league he’s an excellent pick-up and play for the next two weeks.
Duncan Smith – IDP and Dynasty Writer
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