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.
- QB: Tyler Grzegorek (@tyler_grez)
- RB: Gage Bridgford (@gbridgfordnfl)
- WR: Tristan Cook (@tristancook_)
- TE: Mychal Warno (@dynastydadmike)
- FLEX: Ethan Wyatt (@dynastywildcat)
- IDP: Jon Glosser (@glosser13)
The time is now. Congratulations to the Nerd Herd members who have made it this far and are competing for a championship this week. It’s been a long road, but I’m very happy we are finally here, and regardless if this is your first or 20th championship game appearance, you deserve credit for getting here.
We will dive into FantasyPros weekly ranking for championship weekend—a quick breakdown of three matchups at each position to help you make those critical lineup decisions. As you read the breakdowns, I give you one piece of advice, try your best not to overthink it. Even if your opinion differs from mine, go with what got you here. Lastly, enjoy the grind of what playing for a dynasty championship is all about. As stressful as it can be, make sure you take time to embrace the work you put in to get here.
Emmanuel Ogbah (FP Ranking #14)
Miami Dolphins vs Las Vegas Raiders
Yannick Ngakoue (FP Ranking #18)
Baltimore Ravens vs New York Giants
Emmanuel Ogbah comes into Week 16 ranked as the DL23 in IDP123 scoring. Ogbah held a spot just outside the top 12 for most of the season. A recent dip in production over the past month moves him to low-end DL2. The Dolphins best rusher did bounce back in the semi-finals for dynasty managers with a three tackle and one sack performance on just 33 snaps played last week.
Yannick Ngakoue has really proven how much of a difference he can make no matter who he is playing with. Ngakoue is on his third team in the past 12 months and doing what he does, putting up fantasy numbers. Yannick was able to post his first huge week for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15 with three tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.
Too close to call would be the best way I can describe this one. It’s that close, so I have to give you all the information you can handle to make the best start here. Ogbah comes in with nine sacks and three forced fumbles, while Yannick has eight sacks and four forced fumbles. The huge fantasy production games are a bit higher for Yannick, yet he’s only had one of those since joining the Ravens.
Emmanuel Ogbah has a safer tackle floor with 40 tackles on the season to just 22 for Ngakoue. As close as it is, the deciding factor has to be the matchup. Yannick will face the New York Giants, who have surrendered the fifth-most sacks in the league (42). The Dolphins defense will face a Las Vegas Raiders offensive line who have quietly been good, giving up only 22 sacks all year. Here’s to hoping Yannick can keep his sack numbers up and help you win that dynasty championship.
Romeo Okwara (FP Ranking #30)
Detroit Lions vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Carl Lawson (FP Ranking #36)
Cincinnati Bengals vs Houston Texans
The Detroit Lions have fought through another injury-plagued season, especially on their defensive line. Romeo Okwara has been the lone bright spot in 2020, setting career highs in tackles, sacks, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries. Okwara has posted eight games of 11 fantasy points or more this season and has earned his way on 24.8% of championship rosters across the number of IDP leagues I play in.
Carl Lawson has proven his worth for those IDP managers who have stuck with him through injuries and up and down performances. Lawson came through big in Week 15 with two tackles and one sack, and a forced fumble on Monday Night Football. The Bengals pass rush has been very non-existent all season with a key injury to Sam Hubbard and the trade that sent Carlos Dunlap to Seattle. Carl Lawson has done his best to keep the team going. His 5.5 sacks have accounted for 124 fantasy points this season, which is a career-best.
As dynasty managers, we are aware of how thin the DL position gets, especially after the top ten. Anything past that, you really have to dig into matchups and numbers that can help you find a breakout player to swing a matchup in your favor. Carl Lawson and Romeo Okwara are both coming off big performances in Week 15. My gut call here is Okwara gets the nod with two of his last three performances, both being over 20 points or more. Lawson has not put together a 20-point performance since Week 3.
Michael Brockers (FP Ranking #56)
Los Angeles Rams vs Seattle Seahawks
Derek Barnett (FP Ranking #49)
Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys
Unfortunately, sometimes we are forced to look deep to help win that dynasty championship. If you happen to be in that position this week, I came up with this deep dive matchup. Michael Brockers and Derek Barnett have been wildly inconsistent this season, as you can see by their fantasy pros weekly ranking. Both players in plus matchups and both players have had five double-digit fantasy performances this season. I’ll go with Brockers this week. His tackle floor is safer, and he’s playing a division opponent that knows all too well how important it is to keep Aaron Donald double-teamed all game. Michael Brockers had one of his five sacks this season against Seattle, who has allowed 41 sacks this season.
Christian Kirksey (FP Ranking #23)
Green Bay Packers vs Tennessee Titans
Tremaine Edmunds (FP Ranking #18)
Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots
Christian Kirksey bounced back in Week 15 after his worst fantasy performance of the season in games he was healthy for in Week 14. Kirksey collected nine tackles against the Carolina Panthers and now has 126 fantasy points on the season, his most since 2017.
Tremaine Edmunds has been solid this season despite missing 1.5 games due to injury. Edmunds has 105 tackles on the season, giving him at least 105 tackles and one sack in each of his first three seasons. The Bills linebacker has only registered two single-digit performances all season, both being nine points. Unless there’s an injury, this will be Edmunds third straight 200+ fantasy point season in IDP123 scoring.
This would be the ultimate luxury to have to make this call. I like the ability to have players going in the primetime games on championship week to know exactly how many points I need to win. That’s great news for these two linebackers as Kirksey will play on Sunday Night and Edmunds Monday Night. In a matchup this close, I will have to take Edmunds, a guy I have ranked inside my top five dynasty LBs and the more consistent of the two. The Bills play a run-heavy Patriots team that should give Edmunds a chance to rack up tackles again for IDP managers.
Dre Greenlaw (FP Ranking #30)
San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals
Shaq Thompson (FP Ranking #31)
Carolina Panthers vs Washington Football Team
A disappointing performance from Dre Greenlaw in Week 15 that saw the 49ers LB only finish with seven fantasy points. It was his worst performance of the season in a game where he played at least 18 snaps. Greenlaw was able to total five tackles, so he likely didn’t cost you a championship just didn’t perform as expected. He remains just 12 tackles shy of setting a new career-high.
Shaq Thompson recorded his first double-digit performance since returning from the Covid-19 list. Shaq hasn’t seemed like himself in the defense since that time, and Rookie Jeremy Chinn has really looked like the future at LB for the Panthers. The Panthers LB is still on pace for his second consecutive 100+ tackle season and his second consecutive 200+ fantasy point season.
As close as these two players are in rankings on fantasy pros is about as close as I have it. I look to consistent production, and for me, it’s Dre Greenlaw. The 49ers LB has had five tackles or more in ten straight games. Shaq Thompson hasn’t had more than five in any game since Week 10. Dre Greenlaw will also face an Arizona Cardinals team that has allowed at least seven tackles or more to LBs in seven straight games. I can’t be convinced Shaq Thompson is back to his old self just yet, and I favor Greenlaw in his matchup with Arizona.
Ja’Whaun Bentley (FP Ranking #53)
New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills
Josh Bynes (FP Ranking #55)
Cincinnati Bengals vs Houston Texans
Two linebackers who are the most reliable tacklers on their respective defenses. Josh Bynes has been a solid play in IDP leagues all year. His 86 tackles are a career-high; he’s also riding a four-game streak of ten points or more in each game. Bentley has given the Patriots defense hope for the future as he has had some big games this season despite dealing with injuries. Bentley is questionable this week, but if he’s cleared to play, it will be Monday night against the Bills, a team he put up 18 fantasy points on in their last meeting. Bynes is a solid guy to fall back on if it sounds like Bentley will be unable to go. If both are healthy, I will favor Bentley for Week 16.
Antoine Winfield (FP Ranking #15)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Detroit Lions
A.J. Terrell (FP Ranking #21)
Atlanta Falcons vs Kansas City Chiefs
Antoine Winfield has been everything IDP managers have expected and more when they drafted him in rookie drafts and startups this off-season. A solid rookie season with 80 tackles and being on the verge of 200 fantasy points for the season. This is exactly what you’re looking for when trying to build a competitive dynasty team through the rookie draft.
A.J. Terrell has been the diamond in the rough that nobody saw coming. The former Clemson Tiger has put IDP managers on notice with his tackling ability and nose for the big play. A.J. Terrell has 71 tackles, three forced fumbles, and one interception in just 12 games played this season.
The be all end all here is if Winfield is considered questionable still on Friday, this makes it easy to play Terrell. Like many others, I expect Winfield to play with the Buccaneers season on the line, but it’s undetermined how healthy he will be. A.J. Terrell is in a very favorable matchup against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs WRs, who will likely be passing all day on them. Terrell has outperformed his fantasy projection in seven straight games and has had three forced fumbles in his last five games. Honestly, even with Winfield at full health, this is a case where I’m on the more consistent player, and right now, that is A.J. Terrell.
Jordan Fuller (FP Ranking #31)
Los Angeles Rams vs Seattle Seahawks
Minkah Fitzpatrick (FP Ranking #33)
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts
The year 2020 has been crazy for everyone, even in the IDP world, where we are debating starting rookies over veteran players with league championships on the line. Jordan Fuller has been very hot as of late, recording double digit performances in four of his last five games. The Ohio State product has 13 tackles in his last two games.
Many analysts have credited Fitzpatrick with putting the Pittsburgh Steelers defense over the top over the past two seasons. While that hasn’t really shown in team wins over the past three weeks in terms of fantasy production Minkah has been good. Fitzpatrick has only recorded one single-digit fantasy game since Week 8, which is very impressive considering he hasn’t made any splash plays (SK, INT, FF, FR) since Week 11. The Steelers safety is on pace to record his 2nd season of 70+ tackles.
I trust only three players on the Rams defense, and Jordan Fuller is not one of them. There is a special player at every level of that defense, and unless John Johnson isn’t playing, I couldn’t consider Fuller in this scenario. Minkah Fitzpatrick has been the big play type safety in IDP leagues, but his tackle floor has become much safer since all of the injuries to the Steelers LB unit. Minkah is the safer play here, and I expect him to show up against a Colts team in a must-win game for the Steelers.
Darnell Savage (FP Ranking #50)
Green Bay Packers vs Tennessee Titans
Marcus Maye (FP Ranking #48)
New York Jets vs Cleveland Browns
This is one I love because I feel you can’t really go wrong here—two safeties who are very underrated in terms of IDP production. Marcus Maye has four straight games of double-digit performances, while Darnell Savage has six straight performances of 14 points or more. The two safeties have been relied upon heavily in the run game, and their tackle numbers show that. It’s likely the Jets are on the field for a larger number of snaps, which gives Maye more opportunities. I personally like Savage’s game more and would go with him in this matchup. He plays in primetime, and he has been IDP gold as of late.
It’s been an enjoyable season for me, helping you guys out every step of the way in your IDP leagues. I am blessed to do this and am very thankful for all the support for the IDP team here at Dynasty Nerds. I wish you guys all the best of luck in your championship matchups, and who knows, I might be back doing this next season. A very big year is coming up for the IDP team as we look to make dynastynerds.com your one-stop shop for all IDP needs. Now bring home those dynasty fantasy football championships!