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Getting Defensive: IDP Start/Sit Week 15

@Glosser13 brings you an action packed IDP start/Sit for every game this weekend. Just the type of IDP content you need one game you need in the semi-finals of your leagues.

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.

Los Angeles Chargers vs Las Vegas Raiders 

Rayshawn Jenkins DB 176.30 FP or Johnathan Abram DB 168.90 FP

Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Numbers

Johnathan Abram has only finished with single-digit fantasy points once all season, although he was forced to miss two games because of Covid-19 protocol. Johnathan Abram has been a tackle machine with a career-high 70 tackles, including 25 of those in two games this season. The former Mississippi State safety has at least four tackles or more in seven straight games and is coming off a monster 13 tackle performance in week 14. Abram has collected 27 tackles and one interception in his last three games played, including multiple 20-point fantasy performances.

Rayshawn Jenkins has had four single-digit games but only one since week five. In the last nine games, Jenkins has recorded at least four tackles, including six games of seven tackles or more. Rayshawn Jenkins has recorded 77 tackles this season, second on the Chargers to only rookie LB Kenneth Murray. In his last three games, Jenkins has totaled 19 tackles and one interception for 48 fantasy points.

The Decision 

This one hits close to home as I have this exact decision to make in a few leagues this week. The reality of the situation is Johnathan Abram carries actual dynasty startup value. At the same time, it’s more than likely Rayshawn Jenkins was a waiver wire add even in some of the deeper IDP leagues. We can throw that all out the window now because what’s most important is advancing in the playoffs.

There’s a concern about Abram missing this week with a concussion but assuming he is removed from the protocol, I would give him the edge in this matchup. The Los Angeles Chargers have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to the safety position this season. Rayshawn Jenkins is not a terrible backup option if Abram is ruled out prior to Thursday.

Buffalo Bills vs Denver Broncos 

 Tremaine Edmunds LB 181 FP or A.J. Johnson LB 194 FP

The Numbers

The centerpiece of the front seven for the Buffalo Bills defense has been producing for IDP managers as of late. Over the past ten games, Tremaine Edmunds has only finished one game under ten fantasy points. Unfortunately, it was last week. In week 14, Edmunds only played 59 snaps, his lowest since an injury in week one forced him out of action. Despite what some IDP managers may consider a down year for the 22-year-old LB, Edmunds still has 97 tackles heading into a Week 15 matchup with the Denver Broncos. He’s still on pace for his third consecutive 100+ tackle season.

A.J. Johnson has been a welcoming surprise for IDP managers in 2020. For those of us that bought into the hype, the veteran LB didn’t disappoint. The former Tennessee Volunteer has a career-high in tackles with 103 with three games to go. The combination of Johnson and teammate Josey Jewell has been very solid for the Broncos defense, with Johnson being the more consistent scorer this year. A.J. Johnson has recorded seven games with 15 fantasy points or more.

The Decision 

A.J. Johnson has been a welcoming surprise for IDP managers in 2020. For those of us that bought into the hype, the veteran LB didn’t disappoint. The former Tennessee Volunteer has a career-high in tackles with 103 with three games to go. The combination of Johnson and teammate Josey Jewell has been very solid for the Broncos defense, with Johnson being the more consistent scorer this year. A.J. Johnson has recorded seven games with 15 fantasy points or more.

Johnson would seem like the safer option with the depth of the Bills LBs and the fact they are all getting healthy. The Bills have allowed at least five tackles to five different linebackers in the past three weeks, including an 11-tackle performance to the Steelers Avery Williamson in Week 14. If there’s any doubt Edmunds will play, this is an automatic start for A.J. Johnson. For now, I give the slight edge to Johnson in a better matchup for him.

Carolina Panthers vs Green Bay Packers

Shaq Thompson LB 175 FP or Christian Kirksey LB 112.80 FP

Credit: packers.com

The Numbers

Christian Kirksey has had a very solid bounce-back season as his first season in Green Bay has mostly been a success. IDP managers have to be happy with Kirksey on pace to finish with his most tackles and fantasy points since 2017. Unfortunately, an injury has derailed a shot at an LB1 season for the former Cleveland Brown, but all in all, he’s still been productive. Kirksey may have kept some IDP managers from advancing last week with his lowest point total since he was injured in Week 3. Kirksey only managed five fantasy points last week, his lowest total since returning from injury in Week 10.

Shaq Thompson returned to the Panthers off the Covid list in Week 14 and didn’t deliver as expected for IDP managers. Thompson only recorded five fantasy points for the second time in three games despite having only one single-digit fantasy week all season prior to Week 12. Thompson is having a very solid season for the Carolina defense. He’s on pace to best his season-high in tackles (109) set last season, as well as already set a career-high in forced fumbles.

The Decision 

This one didn’t go as expected, two LBs who can and have produced at an elite level, both coming off of five-point fantasy weeks. The question now is who, as an IDP manager, do you play to keep your dreams of a dynasty championship alive. My money here is on Christian Kirksey bouncing back for a big game. The main reason being that Jeremy Chinn has solidified himself as a top-level IDP producer, which has affected Shaq Thompson over his past two games. Christian Kirksey does not have another LB on the Packers roster with the ability to steal tackles away like that. I have confidence in Kirksey playing a much better game this weekend.

Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts

Tyrell Adams LB 188 FP or Khari Willis DB 179.30 FP

The Numbers

As the IDP nerds here know, this has been a pro-Tyrell Adams column since he has taken over as a starter for the Texans. There’s no reason to quit pumping him up now as he just continues to do work for your IDP teams. Tyrell Adams is having his best season by far and will finish with career highs in nearly every defensive statistic this season. Since taking over as the starter in Week 5, he has nine consecutive double-digit performances, including four games of 20 points or more and seven games of 16 points or more.

Khari Willis made up to his IDP managers after missing Week 13 by delivering a six tackle, one interception, and one defensive touchdown performance on route to a 34-point week. The Colts safety has been very solid this year, delivering double-digit performances in nine of twelve games played. Willis is only four tackles shy of setting a new career-high in tackles to add to his career highs in both sacks and interceptions set in 2020.

The Decision 

The first flex decision of the week, and it’s truly a tough call. I manage both of these players in multiple leagues, so you are getting honest opinions on where my head is this week as I prepare who to have in my lineup. Ideally, I would love to have the ability to play both, but, in this case, if we are talking flex, I just cannot sit Tyrell Adams.

The Texans LB has not let me down all season, and last week he stepped up huge with a 20-point performance to keep a few of my dynasty teams alive. The tackle floor is just safer for Adams, and any big plays are just a bonus. I can’t bank on Khari Willis having another pick-6 this week. I expect the Texans defense to be on the field for a ton of snaps this week, which should also favor Tyrell Adams’ chances to score more fantasy points.

Detroit Lions vs Tennessee Titans

Romeo Okwara DL 147 FP or Harold Landry III DL, LB 169 FP

The Numbers

The Detroit Lions continue to look for a consistent pass rusher and feel they have found one, at least for 2020, in Romeo Okwara. The former Notre Dame product has seven sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery this season. Okwara will set a career-high in fantasy points and has had four games of 18 points or more in 2020.

Harold Landry III has been the most consistent EDGE rusher the Titans have had this season. In terms of fantasy production, he is what he is, and the good is good, the bad is bad. Landry has only failed to register double-digit points three times this season. Unfortunately, two of them have been back to back in Weeks 13 and 14.

The Decision 

This is one I can go either way on. Depending on league settings here, I may flip back and forth. The overall consistency makes me lean Landry, but if you need to play him at LB instead of DL, there are much better options. I would feel slightly more comfortable playing Okwara in this matchup due to his higher scoring games this season. You cross your fingers and hope he delivers one of those huge weeks that can win you your matchup.

Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings 

Eddie Jackson DB 156.80 FP or Harrison Smith DB 172 FP

Credit: startribune.com

The Numbers

Eddie Jackson has been IDP relevant over his first four years in the league. Jackson has 156.80 points on the season. With three games left, he will all but likely finish with 160+ points in each of his first four seasons. The Bears DB is one tackle shy of tying his career-high in tackles (70) that he set in 2017.

Harrison Smith has picked it up after a slow start to the season to put himself in the DB2 conversation. Since Week 8, Harrison Smith has finished with double-digit fantasy points in all but one game, and Smith has recorded four interceptions this season, the most since 2017.

The Decision 

Harrison Smith has been one of my favorite DBs in IDP leagues over the years. If you’re going down, you should always play your guys. Eddie Jackson has upside, but the matchup and safe floor for production is on Harrison Smith’s side. I’m rolling with the guy who has had 190+ fantasy points in five of his last six seasons.

Seattle Seahawks vs Washington Football Team

KJ Wright LB 187.7 FP or Jon Bostic LB 182 FP

The Numbers

K.J. Wright will go down as one of the true unsung heroes of IDP leagues when he retires. As highly productive of an LB, you can ask for with six seasons of over 200 fantasy points and five seasons of 100 tackles or more. The Seattle LB is coming off an injury last season where he only played five games and will fail to reach the 100+ tackle mark in 2020.

Jon Bostic has been hot and cold all season from a fantasy production standpoint. Bostic is on pace to set a career-high in tackles. He currently has 96. The journeymen LB has collected 20 tackles and one interception in his last two games.

The Decision 

These two are side by side in rankings for Week 15. This one is close. I have to go with K.J. Wright in this one. He gives you that solid production every week. Jon Bostic has been great lately, but his off games still scare me enough to let him sit if Wright is the alternative. The Washington Football Team gave up at least five tackles to Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw last week. I expect a solid performance from K.J. Wright this week.

New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins

Jerome Baker LB 205 FP or Adrian Phillips DB 194.50 FP

Credit: MiamiHerald.com

The Numbers

Jerome Baker has been the ultimate boom-bust LB this season. I can’t imagine many LBs ranked in the top 24 with four games of 24 fantasy points or more and five games of seven fantasy points or less. Baker is coming off his second-best game of the season, a 35-point performance where he recorded eight tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Adrian Phillips is currently the DB12 on the season and is coming off four straight games of 15 fantasy points or more. Phillips has 27 tackles and one interception in his last three games and is on pace to set a career-high in fantasy points. His previous high was 198 in 2018 with the Chargers.

The Decision 

This is very dependent on your ability to flex in your leagues. Assuming most people don’t have better options and would have both in at LB and DB, respectively. For the sake of this exercise, we have to pick one. This is very tough. The second best fantasy performance I mentioned with Jerome Baker, well, his best game was against New England in week one with 40 points.

On the flipside, Adrian Phillips best game of the season was also week one against the Dolphins when he finished with 28.50 points. I have a habit of leaning every down LBs in these questions, so I’m going to stick with what works. Give me Jerome Baker. I don’t expect another 16 tackles, but injuries to Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts last week had Baker playing confident football again, and I want to see that from a future LB1 in IDP leagues.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens

Myles Jack LB 194.6 FP or Patrick Queen LB 213.3 FP

The Numbers

The addition of Joe Schobert has returned value to Myles Jack from a dynasty IDP perspective. Jack was left for dead a season ago after moving inside, a move that didn’t fit his game well. In 2020 despite missing games, Myles Jack is on pace to set a career-high in tackles, currently with 95 with three games left on the schedule. Jack playing outside has allowed him to use his speed and reaction skills to bring down ball carriers. The former UCLA Bruin has 21 tackles and a fumble recovery over the past two games.

A darkhorse for Defensive Rookie of the Year, Patrick Queen has delivered in his first season. Queen has 91 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, and one interception. Honestly, if Jeremy Chinn weren’t so good, he would be running away with the DROTY. The LSU product has been very good in his first season, recording eight tackles or more in eight of 13 games this season.

The Decision 

I have to be honest if you have this problem, it’s likely because your IDP league is too shallow, or you’re one of the greatest drafters or traders in the game. I love both players in this one, but the matchup and snap count favor Myles Jack and I expect him to have the better game. Patrick Queen should be a top 15 play this week, but between the two, I expect Jack to continue racking up huge tackle games as the Jaguars offense is just so bad, they can’t stay on the field.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons

Carlton Davis DB 189.20 FP or A.J. Terrell DB 156 FP

The Numbers

Carlton Davis has had a sneaky good season and has been a plug and play starter for most of the season in CB required leagues. Only three CBs have scored more fantasy points this season than the Buccaneers DB, and Davis also is tied for the league lead in passes defended with 17.

A.J.Terrell has been a player that has caught my eye over the past few weeks. The Rookie CB from Clemson has had an up and down season, including spending time on the Covid-19 list. Over the past month of the season, he has come into his own and has recorded 10 points or more in five straight games. Over the past two weeks, Terrell has 22 tackles and two forced fumbles, which have accounted for 57 fantasy points.

The Decision 

I had to show some love to the guys who play in CB-required leagues. This one comes down to what you trust more as a fantasy manager passes defended or tackles. I personally love the tackle upside of A.J. Terrell, and he has continued to show he’s willing to make them with at least three tackles in every game played this season. Carlton Davis should be very busy chasing around Calvin Ridley and possibly Julio Jones this week. I’ll take the safer option with A.J. Terrell.

San Francisco 49ers vs Dallas Cowboys 

Leighton Vander-Esch LB 100 FP or Dre Greenlaw LB 149 FP

Credit: 49ers.com

The Numbers

It’s been nice to see LVE back on the field after a week one injury that had many IDP managers doubting if he would ever return to his 2018 form. LVE is back producing alongside Jaylon Smith, and while he’s not completely back to his old production, he has finished with double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. Vender-Esch has 57 tackles this season, and he will play his 10th game this week. That’s a milestone in itself to shake that always injured tag people want to put on him.

Dre Greenlaw is the perfect example of waiting to draft IDP linebackers and getting great production. Sure, you have to get a bit lucky, but in Greenlaw’s case, you can’t argue this strategy works. The former Arkansas Razorback returned to action in Week 5 and has done nothing but produce. Greenlaw has collected at least six tackles in nine straight games and is on pace to set a career-high in tackles. He had 87 as a rookie. Greenlaw has not recorded under ten fantasy points in any of his last nine games.

The Decision 

A case of production over upside or name value. LVE was the hottest thing going as a rookie, but two years later, a fifth round LB in the 2019 NFL Draft is the talk of IDP leagues. The consistency and production are there for Dre Greenlaw, and that’s enough for me to play him over LVE this week.

Philadelphia Eagles vs Arizona Cardinals

Alex Singleton LB 177.10 FP or Jordan Hicks LB 191 FP

The Numbers

The Alex Singleton love continues here as we ride his stellar play to a dynasty championship. Singleton has 11 tackles or more in four of his last five games and has only scored ten fantasy points once since Week 6. All other games have been at least 12 points or more. The Eagles LB has scored 106 of his 177 fantasy points in his last five games, including three performances of 20 points or more.

In 2019 Jordan Hicks put IDP managers on notice, finishing with 150 tackles and 332.40 fantasy points. We all expected regression, especially with the Arizona Cardinals adding depth at LB. Hicks remains one of the safest tackle floors for linebackers in IDP leagues. He has not finished with less than five tackles all season. On top of that, Jordan Hicks has played in every game this season and failed to reach double-digit points only once. The lack of impact plays is the only thing keeping Hicks from another LB1 season.

The Decision 

I’m an Alex Singleton guy, and I have to see this one through. I’m either going to be looked at as a genius or foolish for how my season is riding on a fifth-year LB from Montana State. Singleton’s production is just going to help you win your matchup every week where Hicks is just much more of a safe play. I’ll take the guy with double-digit tackles in four of his last five games as a plug and play starter every week as long as he’s guaranteed the snaps.

New York Jets vs Los Angeles Rams

Neville Hewitt LB 227.70 FP or Troy Reeder LB 121 FP

The Numbers

Neville Hewitt has just absolutely smashed this season. Only ten LBs have more fantasy points than him this season. He has put his name into IDP manager’s minds as a guy to absolutely invest in this off-season. Hewitt has at least 21 fantasy points in each of his last four games, including multiple 11+ tackle games.

It’s simple, really; one Rams LB will always be a very valuable IDP producer. Right now, it’s Troy Reeder. This is the case where investing in the handcuff to injured LB Micah Kiser has paid off big time. Troy Reeder has 45 tackles, and three sacks in just four starts this year. All but three of those 45 tackles came in games he started. His production as a starter mirrors Micah Kiser, and as long as he remains a starter, he is IDP gold.

The Decision 

The equivalent of a wide-open layup in basketball. There’s just no possible way you can sit Neville Hewitt with the streak he is on. Playing on the Jets with such a bad offense has given him a monster opportunity for tons of snaps, and he has made the most of those. Troy Reeder has been very good, but mostly he’s the only argument that can be made in this game to counter what Neville Hewitt can do for your IDP dynasty teams every week. Be smart, play Neville Hewitt, and don’t think twice.

Kansas City Chiefs vs New Orleans Saints

Daniel Sorensen DB 192.70 FP or Malcolm Jenkins DB 185 FP

Credit: chiefs.com

The Numbers

Daniel Sorensen is knocking on the door of his third 200-point season and first since 2017. Sorensen has earned his way to the title of biggest waiver wire steal of 2020 in IDP leagues. The Chiefs special teams weapon turned starter has brought his consecutive double-digit fantasy point game streak to ten. Many IDP managers expected a DB combo of Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill, but it’s been Sorensen who has continued to produce at a very high clip this season.

Malcolm Jenkins has not finished with under 195 fantasy points since 2013, and even at 32 years old, he will deliver another 200-point season. Jenkins has been a great leader for the Saints secondary his struggles this season have been against teams with speedy wide receivers. Since Week 7, he has three single-digit fantasy performances, all against teams that like to stretch the field and force him to play more coverage snaps. The former Ohio State Buckeye will surely be busy with the speed of the Chiefs offensive weapons.

The Decision 

I favor Daniel Sorensen in this matchup. He has delivered week in and week out, and with a matchup against a run-heavy attack, he will surely have no problem playing closer to the box to make tackles. This one is a stylistic matchup that favors Sorensen as much as it hurts Malcolm Jenkins. It seems like a safe bet to play Sorensen over Jenkins if you have the option.

Cleveland Browns vs New York Giants

Leonard Williams DL 162 FP or Sheldon Richardson DL 143 FP

The Numbers

Leonard Williams has set a career-high in sacks already through 13 games with 8.5. Williams is on pace to finish very close to his career-best fantasy season of 192 points set in 2016 with the Jets. The former New York Jet has six games of 15 fantasy points or more this season and has collected 3.5 sacks in his last three games.

Sheldon Richardson is another former New York Jet who has found success with a new team. Richardson also has an excellent chance to have his best fantasy season since he was also in New York in 2014. The Browns defensive tackle has five games this season with 15 fantasy points or more and is coming off ten tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in his last two games combined.

The Decision 

Defensive tackles need love too. This one is very close, especially if you are in a DT required league. Deciding between Williams and Richardson could be a headache. For me, this one comes down to a safer tackle floor, and that favors Sheldon Richardson. Richardson has had four tackles or more in all but one of his last eight games. While the sack consistency favors Leonard Williams, he plays a Browns offensive line who hasn’t allowed a sack since Week 12.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals 

Terrell Edmunds DB 149.10 FP or Vonn Bell DB 189.50 FP

Credit: BehindtheSteelCurtian.com

The Numbers

Terrell Edmunds is on pace to fall well short of his tackle numbers from 2019 (103), but he has been more dependable as of late. Edmunds has finished with 11 fantasy points or more in four of his last five games, including a monster Week 11 against Jacksonville, where he finished with 25 points. The injuries have started to pile up for the Pittsburgh linebackers, and Edmunds has been relied on as more of a tackler at the line of scrimmage. Terrell Edmunds has set a career-high in interceptions, but IDP managers will likely see 2020 as a disappointment with regression in both tackles and fantasy points.

Vonn Bell has been a player I have pumped up all season. Bell has been flying under the radar and producing all season on his way to 96 tackles through 13 games. From Weeks 11 to 13, Bell collected 30 tackles, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. Last week’s disappointing five tackle performance has been something we haven’t seen much from the former Ohio State DB this season.

The Decision 

I’ll go Vonn Bell in this one, and here’s why. Bell has been far more consistent and also gives you the boom week potential. He has three 20+ point performances this year to Edmunds one. The common theme here is more snaps will equal more fantasy points. I expect a high volume of snaps to be played by Vonn Bell and the Bengals offense in Week 15.

The Wrap-up

One of the more fun columns I’ve done this year. There’s a ton of information here to make sure my fellow Nerds have all the info they need to make the best calls this weekend. I hope you guys enjoy the games, and I look forward to catching up with you guys next week for the last article of the season.

Make sure you subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie/devy rankings, buy/sell tool, and a bonus podcast too. DynastyNerds also recently launched the #DynastyGM tool, which is a complete game-changer in the fantasy industry. Click here for a free trial. We truly are your one-stop-shop for all your fantasy football needs!

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