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Getting Defensive: IDP Start/Sit Week 14

@Glosser13 is looking to make your playoff lineup decisions as easy as possible. Check out this weeks IDP Start/Sit column.

Hey Nerds! As we continue to grow our IDP content here at Dynasty Nerds, we are excited to bring you a weekly start and sit for the 2020 NFL season. The weekly recommendations are based on our default scoring IDP 123. Players will be broken down by the three major positions (DL, LB, DB), with five to six defensive players per week. It’s common knowledge that you start your studs every week, which doesn’t change on the defensive side of the ball. This article will help you make the more difficult decisions before hitting submit on Sunday morning much easier on you.

We are finally here. The dynasty fantasy football playoffs! You’ve worked all year for this, and now is the time when the lineup decisions become the most stressful. Thankfully the Nerds staff has you covered with fantasy advice and insight from some of our best. I hope you guys enjoy this week’s IDP content, and let’s move one step closer to a dynasty championship.

This week being much-needed playoff wins, we are going to do something a bit different. I’ll use fantasypros.com weekly rankings, taking two players from the top 12, 24, and 36 respectively, choosing who to play and why. This is an in-depth analysis to give you the most information you need to make extremely tough decisions in a win or go home scenario.

DL

Demarcus Lawrence

FantasyPros Rank DL7

Dallas Cowboys vs Cincinnati Bengals

Demarcus Lawrence has 1.5 sacks in his last three games, although he is coming off a one tackle game on 44 snaps on Tuesday against the Baltimore Ravens. Lawrence will line up across from a Cincinnati Bengals offensive line that has allowed 44 sacks. Only the Philadelphia Eagles have allowed more this season.

Credit: Panthers.com

Brian Burns

FantasyPros Rank DL11

Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos

Brian Burns has scored more fantasy points than all but nine true DL this season and is coming off two sacks in his last three games. Burns returns from the bye to play a Denver offensive line that has performed well, only allowing one sack in their last three games. Denver has allowed 24 sacks in total this season, tied for 14th in the NFL.

The Decision

It’s clear when you break down the matchups, the numbers tell you to start Demarcus Lawrence. However, Brian Burns has been one of the steadiest performing DL in all IDP leagues this season. When I’m deciding between two players this closely, I factor in everything I can think of. The tackle floor advantage goes to Burns, who has had at least five tackles in each of his last two games. Demarcus Lawrence has not recorded five tackles in a game since Week 8. I’m going Brian Burns in this matchup as he is the more explosive player and can be a force off the edge against a turnover-prone QB in Drew Lock.

Kerry Hyder

FantasyPros Rank DL21

San Francisco 49ers vs Washington Football Team

Kerry Hyder has been an absolute steal for Nick Bosa managers who lost the elite DL to injured reserve early this season. Hyder has managed 7.5 sacks through 12 games. Hyder is only one sack away from setting a career-high in sacks. The 49ers host Washington this week, who have allowed the 4th most sacks in the NFL this season (38), including six in their last two games.

Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Montez Sweat

FantasyPros Rank DL23

Washington Football Team vs San Francisco 49ers

The one player who benefited greatly from the Washington Football Team drafting Chase Young has been Montez Sweat. Sweat currently has 149.50 fantasy points this season, including six sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception, and one defensive touchdown. The Washington pass rusher has had some down weeks, but he has also topped 16 fantasy points or more in six of twelve games.

The Decision

This is a great problem to have if you’re deciding between two DL with 6+ sacks on the season. Kerry Hyder is playing the offensive line that gives up more sacks and, on paper, has a better matchup. I’m leaning Montez Sweat this week for this reason; Sweat has topped 20+ points on three different occasions this season, while Hyder has only done it once. The consistency of Hyder this season has been safer, so I can’t fault anyone who goes that route. If you need the player in your lineup that can swing a matchup in your favor, I’m taking Montez Sweat.

Quinnen Williams

FantasyPros Rank DL27

New York Jets vs Seattle Seahawks

Big Quinnen Williams has been one of the lone bright spots for an abysmal Jets team this season. Quinnen Williams has collected three sacks and a forced fumble in his last three games. Williams 152 fantasy points this season are second-best of all interior defensive linemen, not sure if you guys heard Aaron Donald is pretty good. Quinnen Williams has been racking up tackles as well this season. His 45 tackles have made him every week starter in IDP leagues.

Credit: silverandblacktoday.com

Maxx Crosby

FantasyPros Rank DL34

Las Vegas Raiders vs Indianapolis Colts

Maxx Crosby collected ten sacks as a rookie and entered 2020 with a ton of hype in IDP leagues. Crosby has six sacks this season leading the Raiders but has mostly been a letdown for dynasty managers. In seven of twelve games this season, Crosby has failed to produce a double-digit fantasy performance. The Raiders defense will face a tough test this week playing the Indianapolis Colts, who have allowed the third-fewest sacks this season.

The Decision

I have to go with the expert rankers at fantasypros.com on this one. Quinnen Williams has been a bit more consistent as of late, and there’s a great chance he’s on the field for at minimum 50 snaps against a high-powered Seattle offense. Maxx Crosby isn’t exactly a sit this week, but you have to factor in the matchup when deciding between two players as close as this.

Deep Dive

 Steven Means DE

 Atlanta Falcons vs L.A. Chargers

A player that should be available on waivers in even the deepest of leagues. Steven Means has been lights out filling in for Dante Fowler. The former University of Buffalo product has 53 fantasy points in his last three games. The return of Dante Fowler last week didn’t hurt his production one bit. Means finished the game with two sacks and a forced fumble. If you’re a gambler, I won’t rule out rolling the dice Means continues his great play against the Chargers in Week 14.

LB

Credit: fieldgulls.com

Bobby Wagner

FantasyPros Rank LB4

Seattle Seahawks vs New York Jets

Bobby Wagner has been the definition of stud at the LB position for IDP managers over the past few seasons. The heart and soul of the Seattle defense is on pace for yet another 130+ tackle season. He hasn’t had less than that since 2015. There’s rarely a question when Bobby Wagner is on your roster that he’s your LB1 for the week. However, a soft tissue injury forced Wagner out of last week’s game, and he did miss practice on Wednesday this week. Wagner has not missed a game since 2016, but a game against the 0-12 New York Jets could allow the Seahawks to give him a well-deserved week off to rest.

Troy Reeder

FantasyPros Rank LB12

Los Angeles Rams vs New England Patriots

The Rams middle linebacker position has been IDP gold over the past few seasons. Micah Kiser’ was on pace for an LB1 season before the injury. After he was sent to IR, Troy Reeder has taken over. Reeder, in his second year with Los Angeles, has been very productive. In three starts, Reeder has 35 tackles and hasn’t scored less than 19 points in any game. Micah Kiser has a chance to return in week 15, but at this rate, it may not matter with how well Troy Reeder has been playing. The Rams defense will face the run-heavy attack of Cam Newton and the Patriots this week. There’s a very high probability that ten tackles are the floor for the Rams middle linebacker.

The Decision

Obviously, I can’t in good faith tell you to bench a healthy Bobby Wagner, and I won’t do that. If there are serious doubts about Wagner playing this week, there are worse options than Troy Reeder. Seattle Seahawks rookie LB Jordyn Brooks has been playing well. There’s a chance he could see a higher percentage of nickel snaps giving Wagner some rest. I will only go to Troy Reeder if Bobby Wagner’s status is unclear around game time.

Alex Singleton

FantasyPros Rank LB14

Philadelphia Eagles vs New Orleans Saints

Alex Singelton has 11 tackles or more in all but one game over the past month. Philadelphia’s defense has been forced to play a high volume of snaps this season because of how bad their offense has been. The Eagles defense is giving up 129.9 yards per game rushing this season and faces a Saints team this week that is 7th in the NFL in rushing at 140.8 yards per game. There’s plenty of opportunity for another double-digit tackle game for the Eagles LB.

Credit: Packers.com

Christian Kirksey

FantasyPros Rank LB16

Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions

An early-season injury that cost him 5.5 games is the only thing that has kept Christian Kirksey from returning to IDP glory. There’s no secret how productive the inside LB position is for the Green Bay Packers, and when healthy, Kirksey has not disappointed one bit. Kirksey had managed 10+ fantasy points in six of seven games, with his only miss being when he left injured in Week 3. Christian Kirksey will suit up for the Packers the second time this season against the Detroit Lions, a game in which he finished with 18 fantasy points in Week 1.

The Decision

This one is as close as they come—two tackling machines on defenses with very little depth at the LB position. As productive as Alex Singleton has been, I just can’t sit Christian Kirksey this week. The tackle floor is safe, and if he can just manage to get one big play in, he will have a chance to put up a 20-point week in IDP123 scoring.

Avery Williamson

FantasyPros Rank LB32

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills

Avery Williamson finally turned in his best fantasy game as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Williamson led the Steelers in a Week 13 loss to the Washington Football Team. Williamson had his highest fantasy point total since a Week 7 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. This was while he was with the New York Jets. Williamson will see a snap increase with the injury to Robert Spillane, who is likely out a week or two.

Credit: azcardinals.com

Jordan Hicks

FantasyPros Rank LB33

Arizona Cardinals vs New York Giants

Things change in dynasty fantasy football so fast. The LB1 from a season ago is ranked as LB33 heading into the fantasy playoffs a year later. The ranking is justified. Hicks has failed to record a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, or interception yet this season. This has hurt his overall production, but he’s still been a tackling machine. Hicks gives you one of the safest tackle floors among LBs in this tier, but the competition on his own team between De’Vondre Campbell, Isaiah Simmons, and Hasson Reddick have surely hurt his chance at making more plays.

The Decision

This one is tough and will likely be one dynasty managers go back and forth on all week. I’m sticking with my gut and going with Jordan Hicks. He has the safer tackle floor and should continue his solid play, and he hasn’t finished with single-digit fantasy points since Week 3.

Deep Dive

Kenneth Murray

FantasyPros Rank LB40

Los Angeles Chargers vs Atlanta Falcons

Kenneth Murray was left for dead by IDP managers a few weeks ago after being benched for Denzel Perryman. The Chargers rookie woke up in a big way last week with a career-high 14 tackles. The Chargers are decimated at the LB position, and Murray should find himself on the field for a ton of snaps again this week. I like his chances to top LB40 this week.

DB

Justin Simmons

FantasyPros Rank DB8

Denver Broncos vs Carolina Panthers

Justin Simmons enters Week 14 as the DB4 overall and has finished with 14 fantasy points or more in eight games already this season. Simmons has been very solid for an underrated Broncos secondary. Denver heads to Carolina to take on a middle of the pack offensive team in both rushing and passing. Carolina has given up double-digit fantasy points to DBs in each of their last two games.

Credit: atlantafalcons.com

Keanu Neal

FantasyPros Rank DB11

Atlanta Falcons vs Los Angeles Chargers

Extreme dark horse for NFL comeback player of the year, but IDP managers surely have to be happy to see Keanu Neal producing again. Neal is on pace for his first 100+ tackle season since 2016 and has scored double-digit fantasy points in seven of his last eight games. The Chargers gave up a ton of pressures last week to the Patriots, and Keanu Neal will likely be given more chances to cause some chaos around the line of scrimmage this week. Rookie QB Justin Herbert may have his hands full again this week against some very highly productive players for IDP leagues.

The Decision

I’m with the rankings on this one. Justin Simmons is just too good to keep out of your lineup. Keanu Neal has been very good this year, but a questionable designation for an injured ankle makes this call much easier. Fire up Justin Simmons on your playoff rosters.

Credit: arrowheadpride.com

Tyrann Mathieu

FantasyPros Rank DB14

Kansas City Chiefs vs Miami Dolphins

The Honey Badger is coming off 50.20 points in his last two games, thanks in large part to three interceptions. Not usually know for a safe tackle floor, but Mathieu has collected four tackles or more in six straight games. The utility knife of the Chiefs defense has been making plays all season. Mathieu should crack 200 fantasy points for the fourth straight season in 2020.

Vonn Bell

FantasyPros Rank DB18

Cincinnati Bengals vs Dallas Cowboys 

As you guys know, no one has been riding the Vonn Bell train harder than I have this season. He remains criminally underrated in most IDP leagues. Vonn Bell has 30 tackles, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in his last three games. The Cowboys defense gave up 5+ tackles to both Ravens starting safeties on Tuesday Night Football. A great sign for the combo of Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates.

The Decision

As close as it gets and the most stressful time of the year. I’ll go down swinging with Vonn Bell this season. He has played less than 60 snaps just twice all season and has only one game under five tackles. I love the Honey Badger and wouldn’t be surprised if he continues his hot streak of interceptions, but Vonn Bell is the safer play in this one. 

Taron Johnson

FantasyPros Rank DB33

Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Taron Johnson is the most slept on defensive player on the Bills defense in 2020. Johnson has been gold for IDP managers who stream CB for most of the season. He has played at least 62 snaps in his last three games and recorded at least six tackles adding in a sack and forced fumble. The Bills CB has already reached career highs in fantasy points (165) and tackles (74).

Mike Hilton

FantasyPros Rank DB37

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills

The Steelers defense started the season hot, but perhaps no player hotter than the DB1 over the first month of the season Mike Hilton. A shoulder injury that forced Hilton to miss five games has robbed IDP managers of a great season. The Steelers big-play DB is back and producing again. Last week, his 18 fantasy points gave him five of eight games with at least 18 points or more. Hilton will be needed big time this week as the Steelers head to Buffalo to slow down a passing attack that relies heavily on Cole Beasley working out of the slot. Hilton will be called upon to make plays in coverage as well as bringing pressure on Josh Allen.

The Decision

This is the flip of a coin in this matchup. I currently trust Taron Johnson a smidge more because of his ability to involve himself as a tackler in the run game. It’s not that Hilton doesn’t, but there are more mouths to feed on the IDP side with Pittsburgh than Buffalo. After Jordan Poyer and Tremaine Edmunds, there’s plenty of room for Johnson to make plays. Mike Hilton has to worry about playing in a very talented secondary, and his production is a bit more dependent on turnovers and big plays. I’ll go with Taron Johnson with my season on the line but won’t fault anyone who plays Hilton instead.

Credit: bigbueview.com

Deep Dive

Anthony Harris

FantasyPros Rank DB54

Minnesota Vikings vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Anthony Harris won’t reach his IDP production from last year, but he still offers enough to be rostered. Harris offers enough as a tackler to be a sneaky start on a given week. In six of his last seven games, he has produced double-digit fantasy points. Harris and the Vikings DBs will likely be chasing down WRs all day with the Bucs coming off the bye. There should be a good chance he can finish as a top 36 DB in Week 14.

Wrap Up 

That’s it this week Nerds. I wish you all the best of luck in your matchups and look forward to checking in again with you next week. Keep chasing those dynasty championships and always feel free to reach out on Twitter for any questions you have.

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