Welcome to our weekly look at the crucial start/sit decisions for IDP fantasy leagues. The NFL season continues to fly by, as we head into Week 11 and the home stretch of fantasy football schedules. At least we will say goodbye to bye weeks after this week concludes and have our full complement of teams to set our lineups.
Until then, remember to ride the stud players you drafted early and not to get too cute at this crucial time of year. Also remember to not chase stat lines (more on that later) or big play reliant players. Enough small talk.
Let’s get to the Week 11 start/sit selections.
Hopefully folks have already read Ross Miles’ IDP waiver wire piece earlier this week in which he suggested picking up Curry and Barnett should they be available. I’m taking it a step further and telling owners to get them in the lineup this week. The Cowboys are uncertain if left tackle Tyron Smith will be able to play this week and without him last week Dallas gave up eight sacks. Six of those sacks were racked up by right defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Curry and Barnett rotate at that position for the Eagles combining for 5.5 sacks as well as 29 quarterback hurries with 14 hits on the season.
The goose egg Jordan put up last week had many owners reaching out to me asking what to do with him so I felt compelled to address that here. Jordan remains a top-10 fantasy defensive linemen and one down game does not change that. A closer look reveals that in the drubbing the Saints put on Buffalo that the Bills ran only 45 offensive plays. Jordan played a season low 31 snaps and was still credited with four quarterback pressures. Washington’s offense has allowed 10 sacks along with two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble to the defensive line position in their last three games.
Adrian Clayborn, Atlanta Falcons (at Seattle)
The veteran defensive end is coming off a career day in which he put up an astounding six sacks along with six solo tackles with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Do not chase that stat line! To put Clayborn’s numbers in more perspective just consider that in most standard scoring leagues he put up more points last week than Joey Bosa, Calais Campbell, or Demarcus Lawrence have scored in their last four games. Also consider that in Weeks 1-9 Clayborn put up 10 total tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
Despite the fact that Hunter has picked up a sack in two of his past three games, 2017 has been a disappointing year coming off a 12.5-sack campaign last season. The Week 11 matchup against the Rams isn’t going to make things any easier for the third-year defensive lineman. Over their last four games Los Angeles has allowed 56 total tackles to defensive linemen but only two sacks. Unfortunately, Hunter has managed to post just 24 total tackles in eight games and that’s not his forte. It’s unlikely he gets to Jared Goff this week thus limiting his fantasy potential.
This is the matchup McKinney owners have been waiting for. Since turning to Adrian Peterson as their lead back the Cardinals have been handing out huge tackle numbers to linebackers. Last week K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner combined for 23 total tackles (18 solo) and Reuben Foster had 14 total stops in Week 9. McKinney does have two sacks on the season so there is a bit of big play upside as well. This should be the game that McKinney reaches double digit tackles for the first time since way back in Week 1.
Last week Martinez disappointed his owners by putting up just two total tackles after four straight games with double-digit tackles. Over that time Martinez has been putting up top-five fantasy numbers in most balanced scoring formats. He has the perfect matchup to bounce back this week against a Ravens offense that gives up nice fantasy production to linebackers. In each of their last three games the Ravens have given up at least 10 total tackles to Eric Kendricks, Lawrence Timmons, and Wesley Woodyard.
K.J. Wright, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Atlanta)
Wright has been getting it done this season with consistent tackle numbers and continued to roll with 10 solo stops last week. He now has put up 10 or more tackles in three of the past four games and has put up top-5 linebacker totals since Week 7. Wright has yet to post a big play and that will hurt him this week against a Falcons offense that doesn’t give up many tackles to linebackers. Over the past five weeks Atlanta is allowing an average of just 15.8 tackles per game to the position.
Upon returning from the broken hand he suffered in Week 4 Humber has picked up where he left off putting up 17 total tackles and a forced fumble in the last two games. His snap count has risen in each of the past two weeks as well as he played 89 percent of the defensive snaps last week after playing just 74 percent in Week 9. It’s a tough matchup that lands him on the sit list this week. In the past two games the Chargers have not allowed double-digit tackles to a linebacker or a single big play. Los Angeles has allowed an average of just 20 tackles per game to linebackers in that time.
The tackle numbers haven’t been as high as expected for Church in his first season with Jacksonville, but he has graded out highly overall and in run coverage as well as coverage according to PFF. This is the matchup where his solid play will translate into the fantasy production IDP owners have been waiting for. The Browns have given up 92 total tackles along with nine turnovers to defensive backs in their last four games.
Over the past two weeks Wilson has really been a jack-of-all-trades player for the Detroit defense. They’ve integrated him into the pass rush and it’s paid off as he’s put up a sack in back-to-back games while rushing the passer eight times. Wilson has played 87 percent of the defensive snaps and continues to help in run support as well with eight solo stops in those games. On the season he’s lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage on run snaps 81.9 percent of the time. The Bears have allowed 3.5 sacks and four turnovers to defensive backs in their past four games.
The second-year safety has played well as the replacement for T.J. Ward and is coming off a 10-tackles-with-a-sack performance last week in the Broncos loss to New England. On the season he has totaled 51 stops and picked off one pass, flashing some big-play chops. The bad news is that Cincinnati has been a fantasy brick wall for defensive backs, having allowed just 57 total tackles to the position over their last four games. There simply won’t be the opportunity for Simmons to produce from a fantasy perspective.
Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles (at Dallas)
At this point, Jenkins is almost a droppable defensive back as he has vastly underperformed this season from a fantasy standpoint. Outside of a 10-solo-tackles performance with a sack in Week 7 Jenkins has been nearly invisible. He has failed to top five tackles in a game six times and faces one of the stingiest offenses against defensive backs. Dallas has allowed just one defensive back to reach double-digit tackles this season and only six turnovers to the position in nine games.