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IDP Start/Sit: Week 16
Jake Kohlhagen, lead IDP contributor for Reality Sports Online, shares his IDP starts and sits for Week 16.
This article is presented by our friends at Reality Sports Online.
I hope just like this article, your fantasy team is on to Week 16! But if not, you can get a head start on 2023 by paying attention to what’s happening with notable IDPs at the end of the season. Either way, I hope you and yours have healthy and happy holidays! Now let’s play some IDP fantasy football. (Reminder: rankings are ECR from Fantasy Pros.)
Week 15 Recap
Start: Azeez Ojulari (0.5 sack, 2 solos, 2 assists, 2 QB hits, a solid game, easily overshadowed by Kayvon’s huge game) 👍
Start: Kwity Paye (1 sack, 5 solos, 2 TFLs, 2 QB hits, Paye flashing a strong game) 👍
Sit: Jeffery Simmons (1 sack, 4 solos, 2 assists, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, Simmons’ ankle seemed fine and he delivered in a big way) 👎
Start: Jack Sanborn (5 solos, he didn’t goose you, but could’ve been so much more if he didn’t get hurt early in the 3rd quarter) 👎
Start: Zaire Franklin (6 solos, 4 assists, 1 FF, another strong game) 👍
Sit: Devin Lloyd (7 solos, 2 assists, Lloyd looking like the rookie LB for the rest of this season, at least) 👎
Start: Andrew Adams (4 solos, 2 assists, for where he was ranked and probably available, not a terrible performance) 👍
Start: Marcus Jones (4 solos, 1 assist, 1 PD, 25 return yards, he took 2 offensive snaps and recorded no stats, but saw 100% of the IDP snaps) 👍
Sit: Jalen Thompson (3 solos, 6 assists, strong delivery in the tackle game, a lot of assisted tackles though) 👎
Week 16 Starts & Sits
START: Greg Rousseau, Buffalo Bills, DL27
Greg Rousseau has done a wonderful job as a pass-rusher this season and his PFF grade reflects this, with a strong 81.2 grade for the season. He has also been a capable starter at times for our IDP rosters. This week against Chicago is shaping up to be another one of those weeks. In every game with at least 8 pass-rush snaps, Rousseau has posted a minimum of 3 pressures (per PFF). He has converted that into 8 sacks for a very respectable season so far. Enter the Bears, who have an offensive line that is tied for 8th worst in pressures allowed (26%) and tied for 4th worst in sack conversion allowed (19%). This paired with Justin Fields’ tendency to hold onto the ball for a long time—he has the longest time to throw of any QB this season who has taken at least 100 dropbacks—will allow for an athletic EDGE like Rousseau to find his way home for a big play. Rousseau is a strong DL2 play this week with DL1 upside.
START: Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins, DL47
Jaelan Phillips may sound familiar if you’ve read this article every week. I liked him a few weeks ago, and I liked what he had for his playoff run as well. He had a strong game against the Bills this last week and I believe in him moving forward. Rousseau had a wonderful PFF pass-rush grade, but Phillips is just phenomenal. He has a season grade of 89.2! His last 5 games have highlighted his pass-rush ability. Over that stretch, he is averaging 4.6 pressures, 1 sack, 1.2 QB hits, and 2.4 hurries per game. He clearly has the tools and the talent; welcome in the Packers for Week 16. Now, Green Bay boasts one of the better pressures allowed rate (tied for 4th best at 22%), however, when they do allow pressures, they are more likely to turn into sacks: tied for 12th worst (17%). In a matchup where both teams need the win, I expect big plays and the effort to match from both sides. I see Phillips as a high-end DL2 this week.
SIT: J.J. Watt, Arizona Cardinals, DL29
J.J. Watt looked like vintage Watt in Week 15 with 3 sacks! While we love the positive news for a former IDP legend (2013-2015 Watt was insane), I do not like what Week 16 could bring for Watt and his IDP output. A matchup of two savvy vets trying to make the most out of their season in Watt versus Tampa Bay and Tom Brady. Even with all the complaints about Tampa Bay’s offensive line, Brady has still operated within it and made it work. He’s done that with quick passes: Brady has the second fastest time to throw out of all QBs that have taken at least 100 dropbacks (2.33 seconds). Brady will probably see some pressure, but I would expect very limited pass-rush production for Watt this week. Tampa Bay is middle of the pack at 15th best pressure rate (23%) but is tied for 5th best for sack conversion rate (10%). Watt is someone I would consider in the DL4 range, which would make him unplayable in most formats.
START: Joe Thomas, Chicago Bears, LB67
First of all, a huge shoutout to Jack Sanborn and the amazing IDP performances he gave us after the Roquan Smith trade. However, his season is officially over after being placed on injured reserve. With his injury, welcome in Joe Thomas. In replacement of Sanborn last week, Thomas produced 6 combined tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, and 1 QB hit, all in 43 snaps. I’m not saying he has this kind of big-play upside this week, but at LB67, he’s a solid value play due to his tackle efficiency and the fact he looks like a full-time replacement for Sanborn, whose role has been very productive for the non-Mike LB role this year. Thomas is a low-end LB3 this week.
START: Deion Jones, Cleveland Browns, LB40
Cleveland’s LB room has been an ambiguous mess for IDP for good portions of the year, yet as we enter Week 16, we have some semblance of clarity. It only took injuries to almost every other LB first: Anthony Walker, Sione Takitaki, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Jacob Phillips, thank you for your service. Now we have Deion Jones as the man standing above the rubble. This is a matter of volume for Jones at this point, as he appears to have it all: 88% in Week 14 and then 96% in Week 15. Volume like that is hard to find, making Jones a strong LB3 against the Saints.
SIT (fade): Jamin Davis, Washington Commanders, LB32
Jamin Davis has done a solid job taking on the lead role since Cole Holcomb’s injury for the Commanders in Week 7. In the last 3 weeks, he’s looked like a solid IDP lineup option, racking up an average of 9.7 combined tackles. At this point in the season, we have the luxury of understanding what a matchup can mean to a positional group and as such, the San Francisco 49ers are one of the worst matchups for an LB.
If you want to take a look at some of the data, I strongly recommend checking out @MonCalFF on Twitter. He does a wonderful job capturing this information and sharing it. For this week, the 49ers offer the worst expected LB performances over the season average. This makes Davis a strong fade for me and I would consider starting him if you truly have “no other options” in that LB3/4 range.
START: Tariq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks, DB34
Tariq Woolen has been an amazing story this year for what was supposed to be a rebuilding Seattle Seahawks. Yet again, they found a 5th round corner who could come into the league and deliver right away. Where does he go from here? We’ll have to wait and see. But for Week 16, against the Kansas City Chiefs, this is a good IDP matchup. The Chiefs have the 3rd most passing attempts with 551, they have a QB in Patrick Mahomes who loves to make difficult throws that lead to turnover-worthy plays (he has 15 on the year, tied for 13th worst), and has thrown 11 interceptions (tied for 3rd worst). Woolen has already shown a penchant for play-making with his 6 INTs and 6 PDs. Woolen is a high-end DB3 for me with DB2 upside.
START: Jason Pinnock, New York Giants, DB48
Jason Pinnock has stepped with the injury to Xavier McKinney and coach Brian Daboll has already confirmed that McKinney is out this week against the Vikings. This gives Pinnock the full-time role, albeit as the deep safety for the Giants. However, the Vikings are one of the more pass-happy teams in the NFL and aren’t shy about it. Cousins is 4th in total pass attempts at 544 and I would expect more of the same this week. More importantly, Cousins leads the NFL in attempts (127) in the intermediate area of the field (10-19 yards downfield), which is a wonderful area to get that deep safety involved. Pinnock is a low-ceiling play this week, but has a strong floor for a full-time safety and should be closer to a high-end DB4 with DB3 upside.
SIT (fade): Donovan Wilson, Dallas Cowboys, DB10
Dallas has had a three-headed approach to safety most of this year with Donovan Wilson, Jayron Kearse, and Malik Hooker. This has led to some up-and-down usage at times, but when all are healthy, Wilson is generally seeing the lower snaps of the three. Kearse and Wilson are generally taking on the “box” role but Kearse is doing it with greater frequency, with more snaps in the slot too. With an important game against the division rival Eagles, I expect a big performance from the defense. But I have reservations about Wilson as a DB1. It would take a setback for Jayron Kearse to not play to have this level of confidence. But in practice, Kearse was limited, limited, and then full, and he played a full complement of snaps last week. It seems he is trending exactly the same this week, so I have Wilson close to a DB3 this week.
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