IDP Defensive Playbook - Week 11

IDP Defensive Playbook - Week 11

By Mike Woellert (IDP Expert), last update Nov 21, 2015

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Mike is an IDP veteran, writing about and ranking IDP for over six season. He finished 6th in overall IDP rankings and 1st overall LB rankings in 2014 at FantasyPros. When he's not poring over IDP depth charts, he can be found agonizing over his Cleveland sports teams.

Follow Mike Woellert on Twitter: @Mike_Woellert.

Welcome to your Week 11 IDP Defensive Playbook. Each week, I'll highlight some of the top defensive waiver wire targets, as well as matchups to exploit and avoid in each game. Week 10 is in the books, and there were both some fine performances and some stinkers thrown about. The injury bug didn’t show itself too much this week, but monitor some defenders’ injuries throughout the week. Before I look at Week 11, here's how my Week 10 waiver targets performed last week:

Linval Joseph, DT, MIN: Eight tackles, one sack
Eugene Sims, DE, STL: Three tackles
Kendall Langford, DE, IND: Bye week
Jonathan Anderson, ILB, CHI: Three tackles
Chad Greenway, OLB, MIN: Eight tackles
Brandon Graham, OLB, PHI: Two tackles, half-sack
Charles Tillman, CB, CAR: Four tackles
Malcolm Butler, CB, NEP: Two tackles, three defended passes
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, NYG: Seven tackles


Defensive Line

Mario Edwards, DE, OAK: Edwards took advantage of his matchup last week, even in a losing effort. He notched 11 tackles and a sack. Since Week 5, he’s been on the field for at least 77 percent of the defensive snaps. A favorable matchup with the Lions is next on the docket in Week 11, so he makes a solid matchup play.

Tyrone Crawford, DT, DAL: Look to Crawford in leagues that require a defensive tackle. If you’re in a big play league, he’s recorded three sacks and is producing consistent pressure up the middle and the Miami guard play has been subpar, as they have been horrible in pass protection.

William Gholston, DE, TBB: Gholston notched his first sack of the year and has five games of eight or more fantasy points. If you’re in a deeper league and struggling with injuries, he’s been getting more snaps in Jacquies Smith’s absence. I like the matchup this week against the Eagles, so he makes for a good matchup play.



Jasper Brinkley, ILB, NYG: He’s seen an uptick in snaps and has produced a 24.4-percent tackle rate in his last two games. This week would be the time to get him since the Giants are on bye, and he should get overlooked.

Shea McClellin, ILB, CHI: McClellin returned to the field in Week 10 and played 54 of the 65 defensive snaps. He notched eight tackles, resulting in a 14.8-percent tackle rate and also recorded a big forced fumble. He should return to his every-down role going forward.

Tahir Whitehead, OLB, DET: Keep an eye on Whitehead, as he saw 82 of the 88 snaps at weak side LB in Week 10. If that’s going to stick, he’s going to be worth playing over the next several weeks at an IDP-friendly position. In Week 10, he produced 0.24 points per snap and notched seven solo tackles.


Defensive Back

Will Allen, SS, PIT: If he was dropped after missing a few games due to injury, he appears healthy and ready to be picked up again. He’s recorded consecutive games of 14 or more fantasy points and has notched 18 tackles. Like Jasper Brinkley, it’s the Steelers bye week and if you have the depth, add him this week.

Ron Parker, FS, KCC: Parker was thrown at a season-high 11 times in Week 10. He was able to notch four solo tackles and recorded his second interception of the season. The Chargers will be throwing often this week and they give up 10 solo tackles per game to opposing safeties, so he makes for a decent matchup play this week.

Jimmy Smith, CB, BAL: If he’s available in your CB-required leagues, he’s worth the grab as the Ravens corners are being targeted with extreme prejudice.


IDP Match-ups to Exploit


These four teams are on bye: Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints. Make sure to get players from these teams out of your lineups this week.


Indianapolis Colts vs. Atlanta Falcons

  • If you were a Henry Anderson owner, and are looking for a matchup play, Kendall Langford draws Jermey Parnell on the right side this week. He’s been responsible for three sacks and is one of the worst tackles in terms of pass blocking. Langford should be able to improve his 10-percent QB pressure rate, as the Jaguars are allowing over a sack per game to opposing DLs.
  • It was thought that Mike Adams would return this week, but that's not the case. I would consider Dwight Lowery or Clayton Geathers as replacements this week.
  • Vic Beasley is being moved around the defense and is lining up on the left side. Beasley should lineup on Joe Reitz, who's been solid in pass protection, and has allowed three sacks this year.
  • Keep an eye on William Moore, but he should be ready to for Week 11. He's recorded double-digit fantasy points in five games and has a 9.3-percent tackle rate on the year. The Colts are allowing nine solo tackles and nearly an INT per game to opposing safeties.


Denver Broncos vs. Chicago Bears

  • While the Denver offense may be a mess, the defense isn’t. Over the last two games, Derek Wolfe has produced a QB pressure rate of 22 percent and should draw Kyle Long on the right side. Long is a better run blocker, so he could struggle containing Wolfe, allowing him to get his first sack of the year.
  • Since the bye, Von Miller has two sacks in three games, but has yet to record double-digit fantasy points since Week 5. Miller should only be used in big play formats, as he’s only recording a 3.5 percent tackle rate.
  • Shea McClellin is back on the IDP map with a return in Week 10. He recorded a 14.8-percent tackle rate and had forced fumble.


Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions

  • Mario Edwards gets to follow-up his 11-tackle, one-sack game with a trip to Detroit. Edwards should draw either Michael Ola or LaAdrian Waddle. Waddle hasn’t been good in pass protection, as he’s been responsible for five sacks and is one of the worst pass blocking tackles in the league. Over the last two weeks, Edwards has picked up his pressure, producing a 13-percent QB pressure rate.
  • Khalil Mack now has two sacks in his last three games and has five on the year. Mack seems to be enjoying his hybrid role as DE/OLB and is producing a 14-percent QB pressure rate. He should be considered in big plays only, as he’s producing a 5.6-percent tackle rate.
  • For those in re-draft leagues, Aldon Smith can be dropped. Ray Ray Armstrong looks to get first looks at OLB opposite Khalil Mack going forward.
  • Tahir Whitehead saw a season-high 82 snaps and 93-percent participation rate. It was his highest usage since Week 7. He responded with seven solo tackles and a sack, which resulted in a 9.8-percent tackle rate. He’ll be worth watching to see if the play time continues, as he’s manning the weak side in the defense.
  • Ezekiel Ansah has a tough matchup with Donald Penn, as he’s allowed just two sacks and is one of the better pass blockers in the league. He still needs to be in your lineup this week, as he’s producing a 16-percent QB pressure rate.
  • Devin Taylor has produced an eight-percent QB pressure rate, while converting 27-percent of those into sacks (three).


Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins

  • Rolando McClain was efficient with his blitzes, producing pressure on all of them and just missing a sack. He did notch six solo tackles and is producing a tackle rate just under 10 percent, despite missing three games. He’s in more of a neutral matchup this week, as Miami is allowing 11 solo tackles per game, and if Sean Lee returns, it limits his IDP upside this week.
  • Barry Church took advantage of Sean Lee’s absence, notching nine solo tackles. His tackles do get limited when Sean Lee plays, however, he’s producing a 14.1-percent tackle rate and has double-digit fantasy points in every game this year. He has a DB2 floor every week.
  • If you’re looking for a CB streamer this week, it could be Brandon Carr. The Dolphins are allowing 10 solo tackles and three defended passes per game to opposing CBs. He’s only making a play on the ball six percent of the time he’s thrown at, so hopefully, he can improve upon that rate this week.
  • Derrick Shelby was a pressure monster against the Eagles. In his last three games, he’s recorded a 13-percent QB pressure rate and notched his first sack in Week 10. He should lineup on Doug Free who, despite not having allowed a sack) has been well below-average in pass protection, so it’s a favorable matchup for him this week.
  • It appears that Jelani Jenkins is out this week. If you need a quick replacement, Neville Hewitt should be on your waiver wire. He saw 64 defensive snaps and notched six solo tackles in Week 10.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

  • The pressure from the defensive line has struggled with the absence of Jacquies Smith. Smith has missed the last two games. In those last two games, George Johnson has produced a 9.5-percent QB pressure rate, while William Gholston is at 7.5 percent. If Smith misses this week, I’d consider George Johnson, as he has the better matchup against Lane Johnson, who’s been responsible for four sacks.
  • Lavonte David now has consecutive games of double-digit tackles and also added a sack in Week 10. He’s now on pace for 135 tackles, however, he’s on pace for a career-low 71 solo tackles.
  • Keep an eye on Jude Adjei-Barihmah in CB-required league. He’s been thrown at seven times in consecutive weeks and has produced double-digit fantasy points. He has a favorable matchup this week, as the Eagles are giving up nine solo tackles and 2 defended passes per game to opposing CBs.
  • Even with the Eagles enduring injuries at linebacker, Kiko Alonso only saw 32 snaps last week, while DeMeco Ryans saw 51 snaps. Something to monitor is Mychal Kendricks and the fact he only saw 41 of the 70 defensive snaps.
  • Fletcher Cox was a pressure beast and in Ryan Tannehill’s face all game. He produced a QB pressure rate of 32 percent, while recording a sack. Cox should be able to abuse Donovan Smith this week, as he’s been one of worst tackles in pass protection.


Washington Redskins vs. Carolina Panthers

  • Ryan Kerrigan should lineup on Mike Remmers’ side of the offensive line, who has been a below-average pass blocker. Kerrigan has recorded a 9.2-percent QB pressure rate, so he has a nice matchup this week. Take advantage in big play scoring formats.
  • If Keenan Robinson is out this week, Will Compton will fill in once again. He’s produced double-digit fantasy points in consecutive weeks and has a favorable Week 11 matchup. The Panthers are allowing 14 solo tackles per game to opposing LBs.
  • I think this is the week to avoid Carolina defensive linemen. Jared Allen and Kony Ealy will face two of the better pass protecting tackles in Trent Williams and Morgan Moses. If you need one in deeper leagues, Allen is the only one I’d consider as he could get a coverage sack and is producing a 10-percent QB pressure rate.
  • Thomas Davis played every snap last week, but didn’t register any stats. That’s the second straight week where an elite IDP turned in a zero. I don’t see it happening again, however, so I’d start Davis with confidence.


St. Louis Rams vs. Baltimore Ravens

  • James Laurinaitis has three straight games of five or more solo tackles and draws a plus matchup with the Ravens this week. The Ravens are allowing 16 solo tackles per game to opposing LBs and Laurinaitis is producing an 11.7-percent tackle rate.
  • Robert Quinn was on the field for just 15 snaps in Week 10. His playing time is expected to increase this week, so he should be fine to start. Keep an eye on his practices throughout the week.
  • I like the matchup for Will Hill this week as St. Louis has allowed nine solo tackles to opposing safeties this season. It’s been since Week 7 since he recorded seven solo tackles, so I’m looking for that streak to break this week.
  • Timmy Jernigan lines up over Greg Robinson this week. Robinson has allowed just two sacks but 13 QB hits, so he’s been weak at pass blocking this season. Jernigan should improve upon his 11-percent QB pressure rate this week.


New York Jets vs. Houston Texans

  • Muhammad Wilkerson now has five games of 12 or more fantasy points and produced his second multi-sack game of the year. He’ll be a must-start this week as he’s produced a 15-percent QB pressure rate this season.
  • Since returning from suspension in Week 6, Sheldon Richardson has produced an 11.4-percent QB pressure rate and converted 20 percent of those pressures into sacks.
  • David Harris is producing a 12.9-percent tackle rate this season, but the matchup is more neutral as there isn’t much of a running game in Houston. The Texans are allowing 12 solo tackles per game to opposing LBs.
  • Looking for a big play LB this week? Whitney Mercilus is wreaking havoc the way the Texans hoped Jadeveon Clowney would. He’s seeing an average of 63 percent of the defensive snaps and is producing an 11.2-percent QB pressure rate. His sacks come in bunches, so that’s why I’m suggesting him in big play scoring formats only.


Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers

  • Jaye Howard has a QB pressure rate of nine-percent on the year, which is a high number for a 3-4 nose tackle. The San Diego offensive line can be bullied, and Howard is a good play in leagues that require defensive tackle.
  • Justin Houston should improve upon his sack total this year as he lines up on Joe Barksdale’s side of the offensive line. He’s allowed four sacks on the year, and Houston is generating a 19-percent QB pressure rate.
  • Kavell Conner has been lining up at RILB with Manti Teo out. Teo is still limited, so Conner may get another start this week. Conner saw 67 of the 73 snaps last week and notched eight tackles. Conner could be a sneaky LB3/4 in deeper leagues where you’re starting three or more LBs.
  • Eric Weddle’s outlook for a strong second-half improved when he notched nine solo tackles before the bye week. He’s on pace for 80 solo tackles and he should be in line for another solid game this week as they’ll need his help stopping Charcandrick West.


Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has, quietly, produced 0.21 points per snap this season and a 10.2-percent tackle rate. He’s only had one game with fewer than five solo tackles and is shaping up as a DB1 this week.
  • I only trust Clay Matthews in big play scoring formats this week, however, he does have a great matchup. He’s recording a 20-percent QB pressure rate and is lining up on Matt Kalil’s side of the defense. He could also see time on TJ Clemmings’s side, as well, and he’s allowed five sacks on the year.
  • If you’re looking for a tackle-heavy LB play this week, Nate Palmer has been solid all year. Palmer has produced a 12.1-percent tackle rate on 445 defensive snaps.
  • Eric Kendricks is set to return to the lineup this week, and Green Bay could use his presence at linebacker this week. The Packers are allowing 13 solo tackles and over a sack per game to opposing LBs.
  • After producing a zero a few weeks ago, Harrison Smith recorded six solo tackles last week and has a nice matchup this week. The Packers are allowing 10 solo tackles per game to opposing safeties and Smith is producing a near 3:1 solo-to-assist tackle ratio.


San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks

  • -Aaron Lynch is in a good matchup for big play leagues this week. The Seahawks offensive line has been a turnstile this season. Lynch has notched six sacks and is producing a QB pressure rate of 17 percent. He should lineup on Garry Gilliam’s side and he’s been responsible for four sacks and consistent pressure on Russell Wilson.
  • Michael Bennett is a top-10 DL this week with his matchup lining up on Erik Pears. Pears has been responsible for five sacks and has been one of the worst pass blocking right tackles in the NFL. Bennett is coming into the game with 6.5 sacks and is producing a 17.4-percent QB pressure rate. Blaine Gabbert is in some trouble this week.
  • KJ Wright is quietly having a solid year and is producing an 11.4-percent tackle rate this season. I like Wright in this matchup, as the 49ers are allowing 15 solo tackles per game to opposing LBs, so he and Wagner should feast this week.


Cincinnati Bengals vs. Arizona Cardinals

  • Calais Campbell has a tough draw this week. He’ll lineup against one of the top left tackles in Andrew Whitworth. He’s allowed just one sack on the year. Campbell is a solid run stopper and is producing a 9.6-percent tackle rate.
  • Deone Bucannon is locked in at RILB and is now getting pressure on the QB, producing a 21.4-percent pressure rate. On the year, he’s recording an 11.1-percent tackle rate and is on pace for 110 tackles this season.
  • Carlos Dunlap looks to be lining up on Bobby Massie this week, whop has been the weak-link of the Cardinal offensive line. Massie has allowed three sacks and consistent pressure on Carson Palmer this year. He’s always in play with his 13-percent QB pressure rate.
  • Since recording five solo tackles in Week 8, Vontaze Burfict notched four solo tackle in two games since. He did record seven total tackles in Week 10, however, five were assists. He’ll be hard to count on, as he’s been seeing an average of 58.8 percent of the snaps since his return.


Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

  • Mario Williams has been struggling over the last few weeks. He’s produced just a 5.1-percent QB pressure rate and hasn't notched a sack since Week 7. He has just three sacks on the year, and I have him outside of my top-20 DL this week.
  • Like Mario, Jerry Hughes only has two sacks, and before his two sack outburst in Week 9, hadn’t had one since Week 2. Hughes should only be counted on in big play formats this week.
  • Jamie Collins is over his illness and now needs to get his strength and weight back that he lost over the last two weeks. At this point, I consider him questionable and Jonathan Freeny would be line for the start if Collins is inactive.



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