It’s playoff time in the fantasy world. This week’s game is the most important of the season (until next week), so we need to be extra diligent in our IDP streamer picks. Several of you had players who are dealing with season-ending injuries or maybe you couldn’t make a last-minute deal at the deadline for a more consistent player. Either way, you’re streaming this week. First though, let’s check in on last week’s recommendations to see how they did.
Our lineman had mixed results last week as Jags end Yannick Ngakoue actually led all ends with eight quarterback pressures on Colts QB Jacoby Brissett yet, much like our Week 12 streamer Jurrell Casey (also against the Colts), he failed to cash in. The same could be said for our linebackers as Lions LB Tahir Whitehead totaled just four tackles despite creating two quarterback pressures and two run stops and playing 100 percent of the defensive snaps, while Colts LB Jon Bostic was also on the field for 100 percent of this team's snaps but came up with just six tackles. At least Ravens LB Matthew Judon got us on the board with a sack. Our safety pick, Vonn Bell, just didn’t have as much opportunity as we would have liked after Cam Newton’s 27 pass attempts, which were his second-fewest since Week 3. Bell ended up with just three tackles.
It’s the playoffs now and it’s time to step it up with the IDP streamers below.
After shifting back to a 4-3 alignment under new coach Sean McDermott, more was definitely expected out of Hughes this season, but it just hasn’t materialized. Outside of Week 2, when he recorded two sacks, Hughes has recorded just one additional sack on the season and is on pace for his lowest total since the 2012 season when he was in Indianapolis. And while Hughes has played two-thirds of Buffalo’s defensive snaps this season and is ranked as PFF’s 17th-highest-graded end, he has just 34 quarterback pressures on the season, good for 21st.
However, he plays the Colts, a team we have pounded the last few weeks and have come painstakingly close to benefitting from. Over the last two weeks, the Colts opponents have sacked Brissett 12 times. Furthermore, our recommendations, Casey and Ngakoue, had eight quarterback pressures each. On the season, the Colts give up, literally, the most sacks per game at 4.2.
Now, the Colts are the middle of the pack when it comes to rushing attempts, so Hughes could benefit there too. His eight run stops are good for eighth in the league while his 8.3 percent run-stop percentage is good for sixth. Whether it’s the run or pass, the Colts give up the sixth-most fantasy points to edge rushers on the season which isn’t that surprising when you give up 12 sacks in two weeks. Something has to give and I’m banking on it being Hughes this week. Hughes will be the best pass-rusher on the field for Buffalo and will have his best opportunity all season for a big game.
Another lineman who is having a slightly down year but could bounce back Sunday is McCoy. He plays a Lions team that gives up 3.2 sacks per game, including at least three per game for a month straight. And as a unit, their offensive line has only the 22nd-best pass-blocking grade per PFF. As for McCoy, his 39 quarterback pressures are good for third among defensive tackles and his pass-rush productivity of 7.9 percent is good for seventh. And, as luck would have it, the Lions are in the top half of the league in pass attempts at 36 per game so McCoy will have ample opportunity to get to the quarterback against a line that allows a lot of pressure.
While Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner is routinely considered an elite linebacker option, and rightly so, his teammate Wright has consistently been a solid IDP streamer and is no different this week.
For starters, Wright is a tackle machine, setting a career-high in tackles last year with 126, and on pace to do the same this year with 91 through 12 games. However, that seems to be his only contribution to the stat sheet this season as he has no sacks, no fumbles forced or recovered and just four passes defended. He’s also just 27th in the league with seven quarterback pressures and his 22 run stops are good for just 18th. In coverage, his 0.96 yards per cover snap is just 20th.
But despite the lack of non-tackle stats, Wright should be a viable streamer this week thanks to his matchup against the Jaguars. Jacksonville’s offense runs the third-most plays per game at 67.1, while the Seattle defense gives up the eighth-most plays-per-game at 64.8, a pairing that should offer Wright plenty of opportunities for tackles and other defensive plays. Jacksonville also gives up the most fantasy points to linebackers of any team and with Wright playing 95 percent of the Seahawks defensive snaps, there’s literally no one else besides Wagner should reap the benefits.
While Quin hasn’t put up quite the same numbers this season as earlier in his career, he could at least see a temporary bump up this week against Tampa. He has only five passes defended on the season, a far cry from the 11 he averaged over his first six, but is still grading well in the passing game. He has three picks and is giving up 0.17 yards per cover snap, good for fourth among all safeties, and is PFF’s fifth-graded safety overall.
He now gets a juicy matchup with the Buccaneers this week. Not only does Tamps throw the third-most times in the league at 37.8 pass attempts per game, but they give up the second-most fantasy points to safeties while an opposing defensive back has totaled at least eight tackles in three the Bucs last four games. Quin will have plenty of opportunity as he’s on the field for virtually all (95 percent), of the Lions defensive snaps and should see plenty of throws his way.
After last week’s wild game with the Steelers, there was some doubt of Iloka would even be available to be streamed but after his suspension was successfully appealed, he’ll be back on the field and could have a very productive game. On the season, Iloka only has 59 tackles and four passes defended so isn’t in elite company. But he has been on the field more than any other Bengals defensive player this season, which gives him plenty of opportunities for tackles, of which he has at least five in six straight games. He now plays a Bears team that gives up the third-most fantasy points to safeties despite passing the ball a league low 28 times-per-game. All that plus the Bears will have rookie Mitch Trubisky under center who’s thrown nearly as many interceptions (four) as touchdowns (five).