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 or have a stocked roster, this “one size fits all” approach will hopefully help everyone find that weekly edge.
Darron Lee, Avery Williamson, Jeremiah Attaochu and Jordan Jenkins — Jets
No team other than the Buffalo Bills has given up more than their 24.8 tackles and 20 sacks to linebackers in the league. They’ll not only be at home in this contest, they’ll be facing a Jets team that’s likely to keep this game extremely competitive. The Bills will throw the ball if they have to, but this isn’t looking like the type of game in which they’ll find themselves trailing. While the New York linebackers are piling up the tackles, they certainly could be in position to grab a couple sacks along the way.
Wesley Woodyard, Rashaan Evans and Derrick Morgan (knee), Titans
It’s always a great matchup for opposing linebackers to face the Jaguars, because their entire team identity is built upon rushing the football. In this divisional matchup against the Titans, it’s difficult to imagine that either team will get out to a big lead, which will allow Jacksonville to run the ball more than ever. The Tennessee linebackers are all but certain to have elevated numbers against an offense that gives up roughly 23 tackles per game to the position.
Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker and Matthew Adams, Colts
As the season has progressed, the Texans have done a great job protecting their quarterback by leaning upon the run and their solid defense to string together victories. There’s no reason for them to change their plan against their division rivals, the Colts, in a game that can help Houston come close to nailing down the divisional title. Look for the Indianapolis linebackers to have a productive afternoon against a team that gives up 23 tackles per contest to the position, one of the highest numbers in the league.
Joe Schobert, Jamie Collins and Genard Avery, Browns
It’s been noted in this column on multiple occasions that the best way to attack the Browns is on the ground. Over the course of the season, the Carolina passing attack hasn’t been nearly as effective on the road as they are at home, so this is looking like a week in which they’ll be very comfortable running the ball as their primary means of offense. In a contest that’s likely to stay close throughout, the Cleveland linebackers should be in position to have strong performances on their home field.
Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Chris Jones, Chiefs
Since Lamar Jackson has taken over at quarterback, there are few teams who want to run the ball more than the Ravens do. Unfortunately, in a road contest against the explosive Chiefs offense, it’s extremely likely that Baltimore will be forced out of its comfort zone. With Jackson likely throwing far more than he’s comfortable doing, this is a perfect opportunity for the Kansas City pass rush to have one of their best performances of the season. In addition, Jackson should struggle in a city that provides one of the most difficult venues for opposing quarterbacks due the amazing home field advantage that Arrowhead Stadium brings.
Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Isaac Rochell, Chargers
The Chargers have been on an amazing roll lately, but they must keep winning to keep pace with the Chiefs in the playoff race. On their home field, look for them to jump out to a big lead against an overmatched Cincinnati offense. As a result, Jeff Driskel is going to find himself in a very difficult situation against a defense whose strengths are both in pass coverage and pass rush. While the young QB struggles to locate open receivers, he easily could find himself running out of time to get rid of the football. In turn, the Chargers’ sack specialists come up big.
Chandler Jones, Robert Nkemdiche and Markus Golden, Cardinals
Don’t look now, but the Cardinals have been a much-improved team over the last month or so, and they finally have a game on the schedule in which they appear to be better than their opponent. The Lions have been a mess on offense since trading away Golden Tate, and as the losses pile up, their motivation for traveling out West for a late-season road game doesn’t seem like the recipe for success. With Patrick Peterson likely locking down Kenny Golladay, and the Detroit rushing attack unlikely to put them in many positive situations, the Cardinals pass rush should find themselves with plenty of opportunities to get after Matthew Stafford.
Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen and Sheldon Richardson, Vikings
The Seahawks have been outstanding at dictating game script by running the football effectively for most of the season. That has allowed Russell Wilson to stay out of many obvious passing situations. Even though they’re at home, they’ll be facing a Vikings defense that’s one of the very best at stopping the run, so it seems likely that Seattle will be forced out of its comfort zone. However, that shouldn’t be a problem, since there are few quarterbacks who are better than Russell Wilson. With the Vikings having one of the best pass rushes in the league, the team will be counting on them in this must-win contest. If they’re able to keep Wilson in the pocket, they should have a successful day dragging him down the backfield with some frequency.
Marshon Lattimore, P.J. Williams, Eli Apple and Marcus Williams, Saints
Not only do the Buccaneers give up a whopping 27 tackles per game to opposing defensive backs, but the best way to attack the New Orleans defense is through the air. With the Saints being extremely tough against the run, Tampa Bay is very unlikely to lean upon their below-average rushing attack, and they’ll likely put the ball in the hands of Jameis Winston in the hopes of keeping up on the scoreboard. Although Winston has gone a couple weeks without throwing an interception, this is the first time in a few weeks he’ll face a defense that has a decent pass rush. Don’t be surprised if the defensive backs pick off a couple passes as well as put up solid tackle numbers.
Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Neiko Thorpe and Bradley McDougald, Seahawks
Although Minnesota would like to run the football, their inconsistent ground attack almost always forces them to take to the air. As a result, the Vikings allow the fifth-most points to opposing defensive backs. In a must-win game for both teams, look for Minnesota to attack the Seattle secondary as the best opportunity to pick up a victory in a tough road venue. Although Kirk Cousins is unlikely to throw many interceptions, the Seahawks DBs should be in line to post solid tackle totals.
Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Bryce Callahan and Eddie Jackson, Bears
Sean McVay has proven to be a very smart head coach, and he’ll probably focus on attacking the Chicago secondary, which is the one area of their defense that shows some vulnerability. With the Rams using three wide receivers on just about every play, they also may be motivated to throw the ball to Todd Gurley out of the backfield to avoid the teeth of the Bears’ defense. Since the Rams have very little trouble putting the ball in the hands of Jared Goff when necessary, the Chicago defensive backs should be plenty busy in this contest.
Jaire Alexander, Kevin King (hamstring), Josh Jackson and Tramon Williams, Packers
Over the last month or so, the Atlanta rushing attack seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. In addition, with much of the stress around the Packers being relieved after the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy, it seems likely that they’ll come out on fire offensively. The Falcons will probably be in a position that’ll force them to lean upon Matt Ryan to help them keep pace. Between these two factors, Ryan could easily throw the ball well over 40 times, but he’s also had many of his worst performances on the road. Not only will the Packers have opportunities to pile up tackles in their secondary, but they could find themselves in position to intercept a pass or two along the way.