The NFL as well as the IDP landscape was altered by a wave of injuries in Week 5. The biggest loss for IDP owners was of course defensive end J.J. Watt of the Texans. He will miss the remainder of the season, as will his teammate Whitney Mercilus. It was indeed a rough week for Houston edge rushers. Not quite as bad as it was for New York Giants wide receivers though.
With bye weeks now in full swing and injuries beginning to pile up the player pool gets a bit thinner each week. With over a full month of the season in the books we can now begin to see the trends developing as to which offenses are more generous to which IDP positions.
Keep in mind that Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Seattle are on a bye this week.
The Lions offensive line has progressively gotten worse, and Matthew Stafford has been sacked 12 times in the past two weeks. The absence of left tackle Taylor Decker (shoulder) appears to have caught up with this unit and they have been abused by defensive linemen in particular lately. Defensive linemen have accounted for eight of the 12 sacks and that bodes well for Jordan this week. Jordan will be well-rested coming of the bye week after putting up 11 total tackles (seven solo) along with a pair of sacks and a forced fumble in his last two games.
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The first overall pick of the 2017 draft racked up a pair of sacks in his NFL debut against the Jets and added two solo tackles. Even more impressive was the fact that Garrett put up those numbers while playing just 19 snaps. Look for the snap count to increase this week in a plus matchup against a Texans offensive line that has allowed 14 sacks to defensive linemen through five games. Just as the aforementioned Lions are suffering from Decker’s absence the Texans severely miss having left tackle Duane Brown (holdout) on the field.
This matchup is too good to pass up even though Spence continues to deal with a separated shoulder. He managed to play 60 snaps last week and was credited with a season-best three quarterback hurries. Spence hasn’t put up a sack since Week 1 but that should change against a shaky Cardinals offensive line. In the last three weeks the Cardinals have allowed 36 solo tackles and 10 sacks to defensive linemen.
Whether your league designates Clowney as a defensive end or as an outside linebacker this is not the week to have him in the lineup. With both Watt and Mercilus out for the season, Clowney is basically the last edge-rushing option standing. Offensive lines will pay special attention to Clowney making getting to the quarterback that much harder. This week he faces a Browns line that hasn’t given up a sack to a defensive lineman since Week 1, and only two to the position all season.
Second-year defensive end Buckner has been on a bit of a roll over the last two weeks posting nine total tackles along with 1.5 sacks and a pass defended. Unfortunately, he has a tough matchup this week against a Washington team that has been shutting down the defensive line. In the past two games Washington has allowed no sacks or any other type of big plays to a defensive lineman and an average of just 10.5 total tackles per game.
The 31-year-old Woodyard has quietly been having a very nice fantasy season as he’s put up at least eight total tackles four times and thrown in a sack for good measure. Currently playing 81 percent of the defensive snaps Woodyard has a very nice matchup with the Colts this week. In the past three games Indianapolis has given up 61 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception to linebackers.
Davis makes a second consecutive appearance on the Start list and is joined by teammate Lee due to the great matchup. New England is handing out fantasy points to linebackers like candy on Halloween. After allowing two Panthers linebackers to post double digit tackles in Week 4 the Patriots gave up top-10 fantasy numbers to both Kendell Beckwith and Adarius Glanton of the Buccaneers. There will be plenty of tackle as well as big play opportunities for both Lee and Davis to shine this week.
The Bears are lucky to get Trevathan back from his one-game suspension as they are woefully thin at linebacker due to injuries. He returns with a positive matchup against a very generous Baltimore offense when it comes to the linebacker position. The Ravens are allowing an average of 26 tackles per game and have given up five big plays to linebackers on the season. In his last two games Trevathan has put up double-digit tackles and will pick up where he left off against the Ravens.
After battling through an ankle injury, Bucannon finally returned to a full-time role last week and will have some big games but not this week. Dansby has played well in his third stint with the Cardinals posting 32 total tackles but has yet to put up a big play. That’s unlikely to change this week against a Tampa Bay offense that’s yet to allow a linebacker to reach double-digit tackles and have given up just a single forced fumble and fumble recovery to the position.
Whitehead has been putting up solid LB2 numbers and filled in admirably for rookie middle linebacker Jarrad Davis as he went through the concussion protocol. The return of Davis will eat into Whitehead’s tackle production and the matchup this week is not a favorable one. The Saints are among the stingiest offenses in allowing fantasy points to linebackers. Through four games New Orleans has yet to give up a single big play to a linebacker.
It’s a bit surprising that the veteran Weddle currently sits outside the top-20 in scoring among defensive backs. After putting up just 10 total tackles in the first three weeks, Weddle has come on racking up 15 total stops in the last two games. This week he faces the Bears and will have the opportunity to reach double-digit tackles as well as add to the pair of interceptions he’s had in 2017. Chicago has given up 117 solo tackles to defensive backs and has been intercepted four times by safeties.
Jamal Adams, New York Jets (vs. New England)
The rookie safety is coming off his best tackling performance of the season having posted nine total stops against the Browns. Adams has lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage on roughly 87 percent of his run snaps. That is going to pay off this week against a Patriots offense that’s given up over 120 solo tackles to defensive backs. Adams will also be asked to cover the tight ends on occasion and that will lead to more tackle opportunities. To date he’s allowed 4 of 7 passes to tight ends to be completed for 68 yards and a touchdown.
The second-year free safety had a breakout game last week, putting up 11 total tackles and an interception in a loss to the Chargers. Let’s not go statline-chasing just yet with Thompson, as he put up a goose egg in Week 4 and had topped five total tackles in a game just once prior to last week. Thompson plays alongside one of the top tackle producing safeties in the league Landon Collins and will be hard pressed to repeat the big numbers he amassed against Los Angeles.
The veteran safety has played a big part in the opportunistic Lions defense, having forced a pair of fumbles as well as putting up two interceptions. Those big-play numbers along with 27 total tackles have Quin sitting in the top-five for fantasy purposes. The problem this week is that Quin faces a Saints offense that has yet to turn the ball over and has not given up a sack to a defensive back. There simply will not be enough big-play opportunities for Quin to produce fantasy-worthy numbers.