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Getting Defensive: IDP Start/Sit Week 4

@Glosser13 is back again for the week 4 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 IDP123. 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. That 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.

It’s hard to believe it’s already Week 4. After this week’s slate of games, we will be a month into the NFL season. As we do every week, let’s recap the hits and misses from last week.

How Did I Do

  • Week 4: 4 Hits (Hyder, Kareem Jackson, Shaq Barrett and Trey Hendrickson) 2 misses (Carlos Dunlap and Germaine Pratt) 66.77% Accuracy 

As I stated a week ago, I’ve consistently missed on every starting LB I’ve put in the sit column in each of the first three weeks. I will continue to try and pick an LB to sit weekly. My theory of putting Carlos Dunlap in my sit column to get him going worked perfectly. I apologize for that if you sat him. It would be my luck that I choose two Bengals to sit this week, and the game goes into overtime. As we move forward here, I’ll try to better learn my lesson with these linebackers. Alright Nerds, let’s get ready for Week 4.

Start

Montez Sweat  (DL,EDGE) 

Washington Football Team vs Baltimore Ravens

The Washington Football team will be without its top rookie pass rusher this week. Chase Young suffered a groin strain, which forced him out of action early in Week 3. While many believe this will be a boost for veteran pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan who is likely going to see a boost in snaps, it may just be Montez Sweat. There’s a good chance Sweat has another highly productive week like he did against the Cleveland Browns.

Montez Sweat has been up and down in the first few weeks of the season, but he is coming off a four-tackle performance with one sack, two quarterback hits, and two tackles for loss in week three. Sweat played 73% of snaps. Montez Sweat was drafted 26th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft and likely would have gone higher if there wasn’t concern over a pre-existing heart condition. The Former first-round pick finished his rookie season with 50 tackles and 7 sacks totaling 164 fantasy points. The start to his 2020 season has been solid with two sacks in three games, and he’s poised to set new career highs in both categories in his second season.

The Washington Football Team has a tough task ahead as they face the defending AFC North Champion Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. The Ravens are big favorites in this matchup, but this isn’t as bad as you’d think for fantasy purposes for the Washington defense.

The Ravens offensive line has already given up 10 sacks in three games, and Lamar Jackson has a sack percentage of 11.5%, which is the worst of his career. In 2019 Lamar Jackson’s sack percentage was just 5.4%. The 2019 NFL MVP also has three fumbles already this season. He is in for a tough day facing a defensive front as talented as Washington.

Montez Sweat has totals of 16 FP,2 FP, and 20 FP in his first three games. While this is a bit too inconsistent for most dynasty managers, he has remained constant with no less than 48 snaps in any game so far. It’s likely the Washington defense is on the field quite a bit this week, so my money is on Sweat, delivering a solid performance for your dynasty teams.

Nicholas Morrow  (LB) 

Las Vegas Raiders vs Buffalo Bills

Coming from someone who has a bit too many Cory Littleton shares, this one hurts to write down. Nicholas Morrow seems to be the IDP linebacker to roster for the Raiders in 2020. Morrow has led the Raiders in tackles back to back weeks and has played 100% of the defensive snaps.

It’s evident when you turn on the film that Morrow is just more comfortable in the Raiders defensive scheme and his production shows. Cory Littleton will be back to producing eventually. It just seems he’s a bit out of his comfort zone. This is understandable with a new scheme and very little off-season with his new teammates and coaches.

Nicholas Morrow has played all 16 games in each of his first three seasons with the Raiders and set career highs in total tackles (73) and solo tackles (53) last season. 

The Raiders are set to face their second straight AFC East opponent in the red-hot Buffalo Bills. What worries me is that Micah Kiser, who was arguably the most productive IDP LB in the first two weeks, was held without a tackle against the Bills in week three. I’d like to think this was more of the game flow and the Rams inability to cover the Bills secondary receiving options. This kept Kiser from reading and reacting to plays closer to the line of scrimmage.

According to FootballOutsiders.com, the Buffalo Bills rank 6th in 2nd level yards, which are yards which this team’s running backs earn between 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries. This surely could be an area where the LBs would be more likely to make tackles and have the opportunity to score more fantasy points. The Bills have also allowed eight sacks through three games, which could jump-start the Raiders pass rush who have only been able to collect one sack this season. 

Nicholas Morrow has 21 tackles and 47.60 fantasy points this season. Morrow is well on his way to eclipsing his career-high of 151 FP last season. Despite Morrow being ranked as the #29 LB in IDP 123 scoring, he is still available on the waiver wire in most leagues. It would be smart to add him in any leagues you have roster space. IDP leagues’ beauty is the ability to find players like this that can produce without costing you high percentages of your FAAB budget.

Jordan Whitehead (S, DB)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Los Angeles Chargers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has been one of the biggest surprises for IDP managers in 2020. We all knew about the 2019 NFL sack leader Shaq Barrett as well as Lavonte David and Devin White, but it’s the secondary who has been very consistent through three games. While Antoine Winfield Jr. is getting most of the credit as he should, Winfield has scored the third-most points of any DB this season. However, Jordan Whitehead has been the best value in IDP leagues.

Jordan Whitehead is quietly turning himself into every week starter across IDP leagues, and sadly he is still not being rostered in a large majority of leagues. The Buccaneers safety scored 157 fantasy points in 2018 and 165 fantasy points in 2019. With 51 points already this season, he’s on pace to be a 200+ point player.

It’s almost disrespectful to see Whitehead on waiver wires. Jordan Whitehead is averaging 17 fantasy points per game, and with consistent production like this, there’s no reason not to keep him in your lineup. Whitehead has collected at least 5 tackles in all three games this season and collected two impact plays with a sack and interception. This week should bring IDP managers more production. The Buccaneers defense will get a matchup with Chargers Rookie QB Justin Herbert, who will see his toughest defense in only his 3rd game of his young career.

Sit

Xavier Rhodes (CB, DB)

Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Xavier Rhodes look as good as he did in week three. Honestly after his poor performance in week one where he gave up 152.1 passer rating according to Pro Football Focus I wasn’t sure we would ever see him play this well again. Xavier Rhodes made a huge impact last week intercepting two passes, taking one back for a touchdown to finish with 30.40 fantasy points. 

I just use caution when a player has a boom week and don’t like to chase points. Defensive Back is a position where there are usually so many options on the waiver wire. Despite Rhodes having 30 points last week he only managed 7 fantasy points total in the first two games. This is enough for me to stay away from him with a matchup coming against a WR like Allen Robinson. There’s plenty of safer options out there even in CB required leagues. I wouldn’t recommend starting Rhodes this week. Rhodes is only averaging a tackle a game at this point, his floor is just not safe enough. The thought of starting a zero is frightening.

B.J. Goodson (LB)

Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys 

B.J. Goodson has been great for the Browns in 2020. He has stepped in with players leaving in free agency to produce for IDP leagues. As we get almost a full month into the season, it’s evident the Browns need an upgrade at LB. The return of Mack Wilson has me a bit worried about Goodson continuing to produce.

B.J. Goodson has been the only Browns LB to play more than 63% of snaps through three weeks. Both Sione Takitaki and Malcolm Smith have been rotated alongside him. Mack Wilson saw his first action of 2020 last week, playing only six snaps, so it may take him some time before he starts to see a high volume of snaps. I believe he’s the most talented LB on the roster and will be the most productive by season’s end. B.J. Goodson should still see the field quite a bit even with Mack’s return. I don’t believe consistent games will be something IDP managers can count on.

In the first three games of 2020, the Browns B.J. Goodson has scored 14 FP, 17 FP, and 20 FP, respectively. The number of snaps is a bit crazy as he’s played 48 snaps, 93 snaps, and 58 snaps in those games. The 27-year-old LB has never played 16 games in a season. Goodson also has never scored more than 147 fantasy points in a season or registered more than 60 tackles. These things concern me on his long term value, even for this season. The Browns defense is very talented up front. This surely has benefited Goodson greatly in the first few games. I’m interested to see what happens when Mack Wilson is getting a healthy chunk of snaps what that does to his production.

You guys know my hit rate is terrible when predicting to sit an inside LB. I have to continue to shoot my shot until I get one right! A matchup with the pass-happy Dallas Cowboys will likely keep Goodson busy this week. This matchup will be a good sign of how well he will do against one of the best NFL offenses.

Demarcus Lawrence (DE, DL)

Dallas Cowboys vs Cleveland Browns

One of the worst feelings in dynasty fantasy football is drafting a player high because of name-value and the player not producing the way they have in the past. This happens on offense and defense, and it’s equally as sad. Demarcus Lawrence simply hasn’t been the same player in terms of production since he signed his contract extension. The Cowboys highest-paid defensive linemen had 25 sacks between 2017 and 2018. Since that time, he has only had 5 sacks in 19 games.

This week the Cowboys will play the Cleveland Browns, who have allowed four sacks on the season with an adjusted sack rate of 6.7%. Demarcus Lawrence has yet to score double digits on the season. Even more concerning, his snaps are just not where they need to be for a player of his caliber. Lawrence is playing just 46.9% of snaps this season and dealing with nagging injuries. This is a recipe for disaster. Aldon Smith is leading the league in sacks while Demarcus Lawrence is barely on the field.

There is no reason in the short term to be starting Lawrence in your lineups. He needs to prove he can be consistent again. When this happens, you can afford to start him weekly. With that being said, he likely has a huge week now, like Carlos Dunlap did last week.

I can only use the data and stats I have to recommend these start and sit options for you. I hope Lawrence can return to the dominant force he was in the past, but for now, it seems unlikely with the way things are going in Dallas.

That’s a wrap for Week 4 Nerds! I hope you guys all get that win you’re chasing this week. I look forward to giving you guys and girls more IDP knowledge next week. Stay safe and as always, feel free to reach out to me on twitter @Glosser13. One week closer to collecting another Dynasty Championship!

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