By Jim Coventry, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
With rosters of all shapes and sizes, IDP advice can be a bit tricky, so the purpose of this article is to point out players whose value is elevated for the upcoming week. Some of these players will be superstars while others will be players found on many waiver wires. Whether you’re streaming IDPs each week or have a stocked roster, this “one size fits” all approach will hopefully help everyone find that weekly edge.
Wesley Woodyard, Derrick Morgan, Rashaan Evans – Titans: The Titans-Ravens game has all the makings of a low-scoring slugfest. Since neither team is likely to play with a large lead, the Ravens should have little problem leaning upon their rushing attack to wear down the Tennessee defense. This is just the type of game in which the Titans linebackers should thrive and post solid IDP totals.
C.J. Mosley, Patrick Onwuasor, Matt Judon – Ravens: It stands to reason this game should be full of rushing attempts; it’s not as if the Tennessee coaching staff is shy about running the football. In addition, the Titans don’t seem eager to make Marcus Mariota the centerpiece of the offense. Since this game will likely be close, this could be a big week for the Baltimore run stoppers.
Tahir Whitehead, Derrick Johnson, Emmanuel Lamur, Raiders: The Seahawks made a concerted effort the last few weeks to run more. Not only have they fed their running backs, but they’ve had quite a bit of success in doing so. In London against the Raiders, it’s all but certain that this philosophy will continue. The Oakland linebackers should be busier than usual.
Preston Smith, Mason Foster, Zach Brown, Redskins: It’s not easy for offenses coming into Washington to have great success against that strong pass rush. This is just the type of opponent that the Panthers likely will build their gameplan around by leaning on the run. Not only will Christian McCaffrey and C.J. Anderson get plenty of carries, but Cam Newton should be plenty involved as well. In a close game, it’s unlikely they’ll need to abandon the run and that should lead to solid performances from Washington’s linebackers.
Morris Claiborne, Trumaine Johnson (quadriceps), Buster Skrine (head), Marcus Maye, Jets: It’s clear the Colts will consistently attack opponents with an extremely pass-heavy approach. The primary reason is to keep the ball in the hands of their franchise quarterback, but also because the team lacks a sustainable rushing attack. Although the strength of the Jets secondary is their outside cornerbacks, it’s not such a strength that offenses fear throwing the ball on them. Regardless of game script, it would be surprising if Andrew Luck didn’t throw the ball at least 40 times, providing plenty of opportunities for the defensive backs to pile up tackles.
Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain (knee), T.J. McDonald, Dolphins: After the massive success the Bears had in their last game before the bye, it’s difficult to imagine they’ll go back to the formula that makes the rushing attack the foundation of their offense. Many will view Chicago’s Week 4 performance as an anomaly, but in reality, that game indicated the type of offensive attack they were expected to utilize all along — especially with Chicago showing a willingness to spread the ball all over the field. This should be a productive game for Miami’s defensive backs.
Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes (concussion), Harrison Smith, Mike Hughes, Vikings: There’s no question Minnesota has disappointed this season, often playing down to their competition. Regardless, playing at home against the Cardinals should be a prime spot for them to play with the lead. Assuming the Vikings can do so, rookie quarterback Josh Rosen will be forced to take to the air which should ensure a busy afternoon for Minnesota’s defensive backs.
Kendall Fuller, Steven Nelson, Ron Parker, Orlando Scandrick, Chiefs: There are few scenarios in which the Patriots-Chiefs matchup would fail to result in a boatload of scoring. Now that Tom Brady has a full complement of weapons, it’s unlikely that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will be shy about filling the air with footballs from his superstar quarterback. The Kansas City pass defense is terrible and likely will be challenged plenty, resulting in significantly more tackle-opportunities than usual.
Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett, Nigel Bradham, Eagles: Although the Giants protected Eli Manning quite well last week with the Panthers sacking him just once, they were allowing about four sacks per game before then. Certainly, the Eagles pass rush hasn’t been nearly as spectacular as it was during their Super Bowl season in 2017, but they’re extremely familiar with their divisional opponent and their weaknesses along the line.
There’s also a solid chance that they’ll be able to play with a lead, which hopefully will force the Giants to abandon their rushing attack. Overall, this is shaping up to be a get-well week for this pass rush.
Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, Star Lotulelei, Matt Milano, Bills: It seems few people (and teams) take the Bills seriously, and although that may be understandable, this is just the type of defense that stands to benefit from an opponent sleeping on them. Of course, the Texans are hardly a team that should be in that position, but on their home field they’ll likely feel that this will be a great opportunity to get their offense fully on track. Despite keeping Deshaun Watson mostly clean in Week 5, the Houston offensive line has allowed four sacks per game. With a QB who tends to hold the ball too long, Buffalo should be able to fully capitalize on the Texans’ weakness. In addition, the Bills should come into this game full of confidence after upsetting the Titans last week, giving them some additional defensive energy.
Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner, Reuben Foster, 49ers: Green Bay allows 4.5 sacks per game and even last week with Aaron Rodgers much closer to full health, he was dropped four times by the Lions who were without Ezekiel Ansah. With Green Bay struggling to get a consistent rushing attack going, Rodgers frequently finds himself in obvious passing situations and San Francisco has enough talent among its front seven to put consistent pressure on the QB, which should result in sacks.
Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith, Dante Fowler Jr., Jaguars: The Cowboys definitely count upon Ezekiel Elliott and their rushing attack to set them up in advantageous situations to keep Dak Prescott clean. While they’ve done a decent job of that, they’ve still allowed three sacks per game. The Cowboys likely will struggle to consistently run the ball, and that potentially sets up a great opportunity for the Jaguars’ pass rushers to come up big. In addition, if the Jacksonville offense can put together a solid performance, it could also increase its defense’s sack opportunities if the offense is playing with a big lead.