IDP Start/Sit: Week 18
Jake Kohlhagen, lead IDP contributor for Reality Sports Online, shares his IDP starts and sits for Week 18.
This article is presented by our friends at Reality Sports Online.
Welcome back to Week 18! I am glad you’re here, because after a poor showing by me in Week 17, I was worried you guys might not come back.
But here we are regardless, and we are going to get your lineups set right here for the final week of the NFL regular season. Let’s roll.
Week 17 Recap
Start: Michael Hoecht (3 solos, 4 assists, 0.5 sack, QB hit) 👍
Sit: Justin Madubuike (2 solos, 3 assists, TFL, 1 sack, QB hit) 👎
Start: Khaleke Hudson (4 solos, 7 assists) 👎
Sit: Nick Bolton (9 solos, 4 assists, QB hit, PD) 👎
Start: Jordan Battle (‘6 solos, 2 assists) 👍
Sit: Jordan Fuller (7 solos, 1 assist, QB hit, PD) 👎
Week 18 Starts & Sits
START: Travon Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars, DL24 (ED19)
In Week 18, we’re starting players we trust to be out there. With Travon Walker, the Jaguars are playing to keep their home game and lock up a divisional title. And Walker has quietly put together a very respectable Year 2 after a bit of a rough Year 1 and a slow start to 2023. Over the last 5 weeks, he has a 16.9% pass rush win rate, which is still 41st amongst all defensive linemen, but is a nice step forward for him.
He is also pressuring the QB on 13.78% of his pass rush attempts. So, he is doing the things we like to see, and it is turning into positive results. He has 5 sacks over the last 5 games, with only 1 game of those 5 where he didn’t record a sack. Consistent production has been very good for him. Enter the Tennessee Titans in Week 18 and their makeshift offensive line, this is a very favorable matchup for Walker. We should see his positive sack and production trend continue upward in Week 18!
SIT: Chase Young, San Francisco 49ers, DL29 (ED21)
Chase Young had nice production in Weeks 15 and 16 with a sack in each, but we’ve also seen some of his lowest pass rush PFF grades during that stretch, culminating with his worst of the season in Week 17 at 48.1. With the inconsistent usage as a player added mid-season to the 49ers roster, a player whose production has been inconsistent through his young career, and a matchup between two teams with nothing to gain in the playoffs, I have very little confidence that Young sees more than his usual complement of 20-30 snaps — and it could be even lower. The Los Angeles Rams have not been a desirable team to target for pass-rush production either, with only a 10% sack conversion rate on the season. I am staying away from this matchup as a whole if my roster allows it, but especially staying away from Young.
START: Christian Harris, Houston Texans, LB31
Christian Harris has been in and out of the lineup this year as a part of Houston’s ambiguous linebacker room. It appears he is the lead guy at this point and this week he gets the most important matchup of the season, as the Texans’ game against the Colts determines who goes to the playoffs. Harris has been average in 2023 and his tackle efficiency exemplifies this mediocrity. At 11.97%, Harris is a good step below the league average for LB tackle efficiency.
The benefit this week? He gets the Colts, who are a very desirable matchup for opponents’ linebackers. Over the last 3 weeks, the Colts are seeing 19.3 tackles by their opponents’ LBs, which is a great boost to Harris’ Week 18 production.
SIT: Duke Riley, Miami Dolphins, LB34
Duke Riley has been thrust into the starting role of the middle linebacker for the Dolphins based on injury and the play of those in front of him. He has been starting for the last 4 weeks, and based on what we have seen up to this point, we should have very limited expectations for him this week. In those 4 weeks, he has totaled 6 combined tackles in 3 of the 4 weeks, with 1 of those weeks at 4 tackles. Solid, but not spectacular. He has had limited pass-rush opportunities (14) and 1 pass breakup, too. He has a fine floor but a seemingly low ceiling. Riley is a fade for me in Week 18 even in a matchup that is meaningful between the Dolphins and the Bills.
START: Jordan Poyer, Buffalo Bills, DB22 (S21)
Jordan Poyer has spent the previous two seasons playing less of the box role than he saw in the earlier parts of his starting career. The previous two seasons were 229 and 289 box snaps, respectively. This year, he is already at 399 with a game to go. He is playing 50.16% of his snaps in the box over the last 5 weeks as well. He is acting as an additional linebacker for this defense and it has come through in his tackle production. He has 32 tackles over that time, offering a great floor for a DB.
For his Week 18 matchup, he gets the Miami Dolphins for the AFC East division title. With everything on the line and a Dolphins offense coming off a poor showing, this is building up to be an intense game that will have its fair share of opportunities for Jordan Poyer. With ideal alignment, he is very likely to deliver.
SIT: Trent McDuffie, Kansas City Chiefs, DB28 (CB4)
Trent McDuffie was a huge target for me this offseason and he has been a relatively valuable asset for IDP rosters most of the season. However, the last 5 games have been a bit of a struggle overall. He has only totaled 15 total tackles in that span and he has also missed 4 more tackles. (Not that 19 total would be ideal for us either, but it is certainly much better than 15.) We have also seen his pass-rush attempts drop, as he is only averaging just over 2 per game after averaging 4 attempts earlier.
This may not seem like a ton, but it adds up over time and raises the ceiling when adding in big play opportunities. The Kansas City Chiefs are also locked into their playoff seeding position and Andy Reid has shown a willingness to rest players heading into the playoffs in past seasons where there was nothing to gain. I expect McDuffie to play some snaps, but not a ton of meaningful ones. You are banking on his limited opportunities to deliver when a full complement of snaps has not been getting it down these past 5 weeks. I’m fading McDuffie for Week 18.
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