By Duncan Smith
Has it only been a week since Thanksgiving? I can’t be the only one that thinks it was a lot longer ago than that?
Week 12 is officially the longest in NFL history, thanks to the early game on Thanksgiving and a, I believe, first Wednesday afternoon game rounding off the fixtures a week later.
In between the Covid-19 chaos we started with the Washington front seven smashing up Dallas, saw one player score two defensive touchdowns on back to back plays, a team with no quarterback manage 113 yards of total offense, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill combine to put up more against Tampa in one quarter than most teams manage in four, Aaron Donald get back to sacking ways, Joey Bosa tear through the Bills and we finally crossed the plane to week 13 with T.J. Watt leading the charge for Mr. Sacktacular 2020.
Remember that there is no Thursday game this week but there is a Tuesday game, so use your flex spots wisely.
Now time for my snap decisions.
If rookie Isaiah Simmons remembers this game in years to come, it will be for a controversial unnecessary roughness call on a hit of Cam Newton that allowed New England to secure victory.
With De’Vondre Campbell back to full fitness Simmons also saw a significant drop in playing time, seeing only 30% of snaps. He did however manage to produce despite the limited opportunity, recording a sack, 6 combined tackles (3 solo, 1 for a loss), and a QB hit.
This week Arizona take on the Rams, quarterback Jared Goff has given up 6 fumbles in his last 5 outings while the Cardinals defense has only forced 3 fumbles all year and none since Week 6 against Dallas.
Las Vegas Raiders collapsed against a rampant Falcons defense that recorded an interception, returned for a touchdown, 4 passes defended, 5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles, all recovered by Atlanta.
Linebacker Deion Jones had another good week as he got the pick-6 as well as a pass defended and 5 combined tackles.
In week 13 the Falcons face a New Orleans side that is run first and run next under current starting quarterback Taysom Hill.
With so many Ravens out for this one, there wasn’t a huge amount of IDP points to be found. Notable absentees included Calais Campbell and Matt Judon, the latter is already out for week 13 as well.
Of the starters, fourth-year pro Tyus Bowser saw his largest amount of snaps this season and turned it into an interception, pass defended, 3 combined tackles, and 3 QB hits. Chuck Clark led the team in tackles with 13 combined (5 solo, 1 for a loss), while Marlon Humphrey managed 2 forced fumbles.
Big midseason acquisition Yannick Ngakoue has completely flopped since moving to Baltimore, his value is at zero and he shouldn’t be started at this point.
A.J. Klein looks like being the real deal this season, certainly while Matt Milano remains on IR. In the three games Milano has missed, Klein has tallied 30 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Against the Chargers in week 12 he recorded 1.5 sacks, a pass defended, 14 combined tackles (10 solo, 3 for a loss), and 2 QB hits.
After three weeks of excellent production, there is no reason not to roll with him through to week 16. Up next he gets San Francisco, before a tricky Week 14 against Pittsburgh (hopefully you’re on bye), then has Denver and New England.
CAROLINA PANTHERS – Week 13 bye
There’s only one player on Carolina’s defense to talk about this week, rookie safety Jeremy Chinn. In a remarkable third quarter, he became the first player ever to recover two fumbles on consecutive defensive plays and return them for touchdowns. On top of that, he also led the team with 13 combined tackles, forced one of the fumbles himself, and registered a QB hit.
Needless to say, the bye week has probably come at the wrong time for the player who most likely topped your IDP scoring charts this week regardless of scoring format. When he returns in week 14 it will be to face a Denver team that should have at least one quarterback available, which will improve his chances of relevance since they might throw for more than 13 yards.
The Bears were unable to stay with division rivals Green Bay in week 12. The defense failed to record an interception, QB hit, or a sack of Aaron Rodgers, while only recording 3 passes defended.
Of what IDP play there was from Chicago it was led by veteran cornerback Buster Skrine, 1 pass defended and 13 combined (10 solo). Rodgers took it upon himself to target Skrine, leading to volume-based opportunity, don’t expect the next quarterback up matt Stafford to do the same.
With the Bengals offensive woes laid out for everyone to see, the defense struggled to get off the field, Vonn Bell, who has yet to miss a snap this season played 81 against the Giants, this compares to 49 for Jabril Peppers, who played 100% of the Giants snaps.
Unsurprisingly given the amount of time spent on the field this unit only managed to turn the ball over once, a forced fumble and recovery by Vonn Bell, to go with a team-high 10 combined tackles (7 solo and 1 for a loss).
This unit is struggling against any and all offenses, the Giants aren’t exactly elite, and lost Daniel Jones during this matchup. Outside of the last two weeks, even Bell’s production has been middling at best. With Miami up next you can probably keep him in your lineups but I would rather take a chance somewhere else than any other members of this defense.
I think Cleveland might be missing Myles Garrett. In his absence they allowed Jacksonville quarterback Mike Glennon to finish with 235 yards and 2 touchdowns while they failed to intercept him, sack him or force a fumble. Olivier Vernon did manage two QB hits and two solo tackles meaning that he didn’t completely goose egg your lineup.
With a much tougher test against Tennessee in week 13, those of you with Garrett rostered will be pleased to know he was activated from the reserve/Covid list on Tuesday. A bit of personal good news for Garrett after his two-game absence is that he is only trailing Aaron Donald by 0.5 sacks in the race for Mr. Sacktacular 2020 (brought to you by Carson Wentz).
For the second time, this season Dallas failed to stop Washington’s ground game on the way to a heavy loss. On Thanksgiving they allowed the Football Team to run for 182 yards and 3 scores.
While the Cowboys struggled as a team defense there was IDP production to be had. Team standout Jaylon Smith did record his lowest tackle total of the season with 5 combined but he got an interception that he would have returned for a touchdown if not for Scary Terry McLaurin doing his best DK Metcalf impression.
Safety Donovan Wilson racked up 10 tackles (9 solo) during the loss to Washington, with the Ravens in week 13 he could again see a lot of work since Dallas front seven seem incapable of stopping any sort of run-heavy offense.
Denver really needed to stop the New Orleans run game in week 12 to have any chance of staying competitive. They failed miserably, allowing the Taysom Hill led team to rush for 229 yards and 4 touchdowns. After a first quarter in which they hung in, the Saints scored twice in the second to kill the game as a competition.
As a result of New Orleans game management, nothing really happened and this meant you got little from your Bronco’s.
Their only interception was by undrafted rookie free agent Essang Bassey on 41% of snaps, he also logged 2 combined tackles.
Linebacker Jamie Collins remains the most reliable fantasy option on this Detroit side but every week it gets a little harder to trust him in your lineup. Against Houston, he managed 5 combined tackles (4 solo) and a forced fumble.
In week 1 Collins put up his worst score of the season against week 13 opponents Chicago, with Detroit seemingly in freefall, and now without a head coach, it’s going to be hard trusting Collins to produce this week.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
What did I say about Darnell Savage last week? With five passes defended and no interceptions, he was your best bet at predicting which Green Bay player would get an interception next.
Against Chicago Savage got 2 interceptions and a further 2 passes defended before leaving the game with a back injury.
Next for Green Bay is a week 13 match against Philadelphia, with the Eagles unable to keep anyone out of their backfield and Carson Wentz panic throwing the football to anyone that catches his eye this is a good match up for your Green Bay players. Darnell Savage and Christian Kirksey especially should be solid floor play this week, assuming Savage can suit up.
After a season of relative disappointment, considering the price you likely paid for him, J.J. Watt finally came good for your fantasy team on Thanksgiving. He managed 4 tackles, a quarterback hit and returned an interception for a touchdown against Detroit.
This week Houston face off against Indianapolis and it’s likely Watt goes back to mediocrity against that offensive line.
At linebacker Tyrell Adams had a monster game, logging 17 combined tackles, a pass defended, and 2 forced fumbles. Hopefully you had the foresight to start him, unlike me. His 18.5 points look real nice on my bench right now.
Linebacker Darius Leonard had himself a nice day on Sunday in an impressive personal performance during a poor team performance. Leonard logged a pass defended, a sack, 14 combined tackles (10 solo, 1 for a loss), and a QB hit.
This stat line was some revenge for a disappointing week 10 showing against Tennessee, his worst performance since returning from Indianapolis’s Week 7 bye.
Against Houston next, he will be looking to replicate his Week 12 performance against Tennessee rather than his week 10 performance.
The Jags defense has been a less than stellar unit this season, currently ranking at thirtieth overall, with the recent spate of injuries this was never going to be easy. They allowed the Browns double-headed monster of Chubb and Hunt to run for 207 yards and a score while allowing Baker Mayfield to throw for 258 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Luckily for Jacksonville, they get the Vikings next and, oh yeah one of the best running backs in the league right now, Dalvin Cook. Well, after Minnesota they get the Titans, and oh, right, Derrick Henry. How about Week 15? Baltimore? Yikes! Week 16? Chicago?
Well at least Myles Jack logged 9 combined tackles (3 solo and 1 for a loss), you know what, I’ve had enough. I’m not your mum, you play these guys if you want. I’m off to talk about Kansas.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Safety Tyrann Mathieu led KC this week thanks to a Tom Brady interception, a pass defended, and 5 combined tackles (4 solo). Fellow safety Daniel Sorensen had his quietest day since week 3 against a stout Tampa Bay offense. If it wasn’t for Brady’s errors of judgment creeping into his game, not many players would have good days against this organization.
Next for Kansas City is a match against Denver. Even if Denver have their quarterbacks available they are going to struggle to stay competitive when Patrick Mahomes can turn it on whenever he feels like, don’t get your hopes up for any big plays from your KC players this time around.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Linebacker Cory Littleton was eased back into action during the Raider’s Week 12 blowout loss to Atlanta. He only managed 58% of snaps and translated that into 4 solo tackles.
Despite the falcons hanging 43 points on this defense, there was some value in Las Vegas. Safety Jonathan Abram recorded an interception, pass defended and 6 combined tackles, while Nicholas Morrow was able to record 10 solo tackles, 2 passes defended and a QB hit.
In week 13 Las Vegas is the lucky team that gets to face the Jets as they look to bounce back from an embarrassing defeat in Atlanta.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Can you hear that rumble? That’s the sound of Joey Bosa wrecking Buffalo. The Bills should count themselves lucky to escape week 12 with a dub and a ten-point lead. Bosa helped himself to 3 sacks in a game for the first time in his career, those went with a pass defended, 8 combined tackles (7 solo and a stunning 6 for a loss!), as well as 5 total QB hits and a fumble recovery.
Next up for Bosa and the Chargers is a tilt at Cam Newton and the Patriots. If Bosa is at full health you should look for more big games from this human wrecking ball as he faces Atlanta, Vegas, and Denver in the fantasy postseason.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Star defensive end Aaron Donald got back to work against San Francisco after two weeks of disappointing production. He registered a pass defended, a sack, 5 combined tackles (4 solo, 1 for a loss), 4 QB hits, and a forced fumble as he plowed his way through the 49ers.
With linebacker Micah Kiser unable to go due to his knee injury, second-year pro, Troy Reeder made the most of his start, logging 15 combined tackles (12 solo, 1 for a loss). Reeder is an excellent play but only as long as Kiser is absent. The Rams have already shown once this season that when Kiser is good to go, Reeder’s snap count dives off a cliff. If you roll with him monitor Kiser’s status carefully, you don’t want to get caught out in the playoffs.
Xavien Howard helped himself to one of Miami’s two interceptions of Sam Darnold to bring his total for the season up to 7. Howard has recorded an interception for three weeks in a row. With Cincinnati next, he has the potential to extend that to 4 in a row if he can pick off Brandon Allen in his second start of the year. After week 13 his schedule is a bit mixed, he faces Kansas City, New England, and Las Vegas to round the fantasy season off.
Eric Kendricks got back to recording double-digit tackles against Carolina after three weeks of, by his standards, lesser production. He recorded 12 combined tackles (6 solo, 2 for a loss), an interception and a pass defended during a one-point victory for the Vikings.
Except for a poor showing in week 10 against Chicago, Kendricks has been a reliable fantasy asset, and with Jacksonville next up for Minnesota that is unlikely to change in week 13.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Patriots did a better job of disrupting Arizona’s game in week 12 than they did against Houston in Week11. They managed an interception, 2 passes defended, 2 sacks, and 4 QB hits. While not outstanding numbers in a weekend of some incredible defensive display’s it shows a side that can give fantasy production.
Adrian Phillips led the team again, claiming the interception, a pass defended, and 5 solo tackles.
Week 13 sees New England travel to LA to take on the Chargers, who struggle to protect their young quarterback. Justin Herbert has had multiple sacks every game of his career except Week 7 against Jacksonville.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Well, this game was a shambles, Denver was made to play without a quarterback because they all had to isolate due to them being anti-maskers or something. This meant that practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton had to bravely step in and take on the mantle of quarterback, mostly because when he was nine he used to throw it around with his uncle in the backyard.
Unsurprisingly New Orleans got the job done against a team that racked up 113 yards of total offense without anyone breaking a sweat, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson got an interception, 2 passes defended and a tackle assist to lead the team stats.
Up next is an actual high volume offense, not a whatever that was, in the shape of Atlanta. Your Saints may have let you down but this was always going to be a tough one for fantasy production, don’t give up hope yet.
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants IDP relevance in Week 12 was hamstrung by a Cincinnati offense that couldn’t stay on the field. The Bengals only managed 40 rushing yards and 136 air yards with one passing touchdown on 22.34 minutes of possession, and 49 snaps.
As a result, those New York players that have been staples of your side failed to live up to potential against a Cincinnati side that no longer has Joe Burrow to make up for the deep flaws elsewhere on the team.
Logan Ryan and Jabril Peppers led the side in tackles with 6 combined each while Leonard Williams recorded a sack, 2 combined tackles, and 3 QB hits.
Up next is Seattle and with NYG miraculously still in the hunt for the playoffs, it’s worth sticking with your guys against an opposition that has allowed multiple sacks every game of the season and a quarterback that has given up 10 interceptions so far.
NEW YORK JETS
With the Jet’s offense unable to do anything and the opposition regularly dominating possession, there is IDP value in Gang Greens front seven. Against Miami 2019 third overall pick Quinnen Williams recorded 2 passes defended, 1.5 sacks, 7 combined tackles, 3 QB hits, and a forced fumble. Linebacker Neville Hewitt logged a sack, 6 combined tackles 1 QB hit, and a forced fumble with recovery.
Assuming Joe Douglas doesn’t cut either of them for playing too well they should be pretty safe options against a Las Vegas team that will be looking to put on a good showing after their week 12 disaster.
The Eagles managed to avoid becoming the first team to fail at sacking Russell Wilson this season thanks to a sack each by Fletcher Cox and Derek Barnett. Star player of the last few weeks Alex Singleton could only record 5 combined tackles, down from 12 last week.
Shutdown corner Darius Slay had one of his best weeks of the year recording 9 combined tackles (8 solo). Week 13 opponent Aaron Rodgers isn’t afraid of targeting so-called shutdown corners, so Slay may find himself with IDP relevance again this week as a volume play.
T.J. Watt is making a late run at the sackoff. Pittsburgh’s star linebacker collected another 2 sacks on Wednesday to move him to the top of the leader board with 11 overall. To go with those sacks he also logged 7 combined tackles (4 solo, 3 for a loss) and a further 3 QB hits.
Veteran cornerback Joe Haden managed to shake off a questionable tag and log his best performance of the season with an RGIII interception he returned for a touchdown and 2 solo tackles.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
With the 49ers’ defensive front decimated by injury this year, Kerry Hyder has seized an opportunity for himself. Against the Rams, he recorded 2 sacks, 4 tackles (3 solo, 2 for a loss), 4 QB hits, and a fumble recovery.
This has brought Hyder’s total for the year up to 1 fumble recovery, 7.5 sacks, 37 combined tackles (21 solo, 8 for a loss), and 17 total QB hits. If he manages one more sack against Buffalo this week he will surpass his career record, set back in 2016 with Detroit.
Despite week 12 opponent Carson Wentz getting sacked 6 times by Seattle, last week’s boom player Carlos Dunlap only managed half a sack for himself, he also injured his foot towards the end of the game so keep an eye on his status. The numbers were spread about with no player recording more than one sack of Wentz.
Safety Jamal Adams had another good day posting a sack, 9 combined tackles, and 2 QB hits. Adams can be found all over the field so always has the opportunity to score.
Next up is the New York Giants, with Daniel Jones likely to miss time Colt McCoy will be under center.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – Week 13 bye
Week 12 opponent Patrick Mahomes has been intercepted twice this season, both times by Las Vegas, one each time they met, so it’s no surprise that Tampa Bay failed to do so. The Bucs did manage to sack Mahomes twice with Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett both putting him on his back. Devin White led the tackling 12 combined.
In a game where the Buc’s secondary looked like getting thoroughly embarrassed in the first quarter, they pulled it together to at least try and stay competitive. When the Bucs return from their bye week they face a run-heavy Vikings offense.
After the loss of Jayon Brown last week we wanted to see how things would shake out in his absence and well, any value there is probably long gone. As predicted William Compton and David Long split snaps at the position, with both players recording 3 combined tackles (2 solo), although Long also defended a pass to pad his stats a bit.
Long is probably the better player of the two if you’re desperate but with the Titans having likely secured a playoff berth, and with a fantasy finish of Cleveland, Jacksonville, Detroit then a week 16 match against Green Bay I would expect the two to keep splitting the load.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
The WFT defense swung through Thanksgiving like a wrecking ball. This front seven has four first-round picks and it’s beginning to show. This might be the scariest run-stopping outfit in football right now.
They held Dallas to only 60 yards and no touchdowns on the ground while defensive lineman Montez Sweat managed to haul in a pass he tipped and return it for an easy defensive score.
Week 13 opponents Pittsburgh should provide a sterner test than Dallas but at this point, your WFT players should remain in your lineup regardless of opponent.
Duncan Smith – IDP and Dynasty Writer
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