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Reading the Defense: Week 16

A weekly look at IDP trends with a mix of metrics, film study, and matchup strategy

PLAYOFF STRATEGY REMINDER

I'm again copying this important strategy note for those who remain alive in your IDP playoffs...

Remember, players with middling upside are not worth lineup spots in the playoffs unless they have a very safe floor and you're a significant favorite and want to maximize points. If you're likely to be chasing your opponent, a lineup bust doesn't hurt you. But a surprise stud performance can close the gap for you. Take chances if you can.

I'll again have some suggestions for those high upside plays below. But I also want to paraphrase something I tweeted last weekend.

If you have a close decision this weekend, go with your gut. It's gotten you through 15 weeks. If your gut isn't helping, start the player with the higher ceiling. Then, enjoy the games.

First, some quick news and notes from last weekend.

***I don't believe Martrell Spaight is a long-term answer in Washington but he's worth an upside add for Week 16 if Will Compton cannot return this week. Spaight and Mason Foster played every down and should see lots of opportunity chasing Jordan Howard in Chicago this week.

***Romeo Okwara's playing time dropped from 90% of the Giants' snaps in Week 14 to less than 60% in Week 15. Caution on David Irving. There's promise here but Irving's snaps did not increase with Demarcus Lawrence out and he hasn't been this productive in the previous six weeks in similar duty.

***Jerrell Freeman is back this week off suspension. He should play immediately next to Nick Kwiatwoski and play every down.

***Sio Moore, Deion Jones, Corey Nelson (if Brandon Marshall remains out), Edwin Jackson, Ramik Wilson, Michael Wilhoite, and Avery Williamson (if Sean Spence remains out) join Martrell Spaight (if Will Compton remains out) as trustworthy newer every-down players this week.

***I think Jatavis Brown will return to an every-down role this week, but I'd avoid the New England and Detroit situations unless there's a very clear indication from the coaches or local observers that DeAndre Levy and/or Tahir Whitehead are ready to return to every-down duty.

***Dynasty note: Add Robert Quinn off the waiver wire if available or consider trying to trade for him cheaply now. The Rams will have a new coach and defensive coordinator next year and Quinn will be another offseason removed from back surgery. And he'll be entering his age 27 season. A career renaissance is possible and he's a strong buy low candidate.


***Week 16 playoffs | Pass-rushing matchups to target: Cleveland (Melvin Ingram), Buffalo (Cameron Wake), Arizona (Cliff Avril, Frank Clark), Denver (Justin Houston, Dee Ford, Tamba Hali), San Francisco (William Hayes), New York Jets (Trey Flowers, Jabaal Sheard). The best combination of upside and likely availability is probably Avril, though I like Hayes as a sneaky play, too.

***Week 16 playoffs | Tackle matchups to target: New Orleans (Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David), Tampa Bay (Craig Robertson, Dannell Ellerbe), New England (Darron Lee if healthy), Dallas (watch for news on DET linebacker playing time).

***Week 16 playoffs | Stat crews to target for added assists: Carolina (Deion Jones, Keanu Neal), Houston (Vontaze Burfict), New England (Darron Lee if healthy), Buffalo (Kiko Alonso), Pittsburgh (Zach Orr, C.J. Mosley).


EVERY-DOWN LINEBACKER PROJECTIONS 

Injury situations to monitor this week in italics.

TEAM
EVERY-DOWN LB
75-100% SNAPS
INJ | SUSP
NOTES
ARIZONA
Chandler Jones Deone Bucannon (IR)   
ATLANTA
Deion Jones  Sean Weatherspoon (IR)  
BALTIMORE
Zachary Orr : C.J. Mosley
 
 
 
BUFFALO
Preston Brown : Zach Brown : Lorenzo Alexander
 
   
CAROLINA
Thomas Davis
A.J. Klein  Luke Kuechly  
CHICAGO
Jerrell Freeman : Nick Kwiatkowski
Leonard Floyd
Danny Trevathan (IR)   
CINCINNATI
 
 
 
CLEVELAND
Chris Kirksey : Jamie Collins
   
DALLAS
  Justin Durant
 
DENVER
Corey Nelson
Von Miller : Todd Davis
Brandon Marshall  
DETROIT
none
Tahir Whitehead    
GREEN BAY
none
 
 
HOUSTON
Benardrick McKinney : Whitney Mercilus
Brian Cushing
 
INDIANAPOLIS
Edwin Jackson D'Qwell Jackson (susp thru W17)  
JACKSONVILLE
Paul Posluszny : Telvin Smith
     
KANSAS CITY
Derrick Johnson (IR), Justin March-Lillard (IR), Josh Mauga (IR)
 
LOS ANGELES
Alec Ogletree : Mark Barron
     
MIAMI
 
 
MINNESOTA
Eric Kendricks : Anthony Barr
     
NEW ENGLAND
none
Dont'a Hightower : Kyle Van Noy    
NEW ORLEANS
Craig Robertson : Dannell Ellerbe
 
 
 
NEW YORK GIANTS
none
variable
   
NEW YORK JETS
David Harris : Darron Lee
  Erin Henderson (NFI)
 
OAKLAND
Malcolm Smith : Perry Riley
Ben Heeney (IR)  
PHILADELPHIA
Jordan Hicks : Nigel Bradham
   
 
PITTSBURGH
Ryan Shazier : Lawrence Timmons
Bud Dupree : James Harrison     
SAN DIEGO
Manti Te'o (IR), Jeremiah Attaochu (IR)  
SAN FRANCISCO
Ahmad Brooks NaVorro Bowman (IR), Nick Bellore (IR)  
SEATTLE
Bobby Wagner : K.J. Wright
     
TAMPA BAY
Lavonte David : Kwon Alexander
     
TENNESSEE
Derrick Morgan : Brian Orakpo
   
WASHINGTON
Mason Foster : Martrell Spaight
Will Compton   

Subscribe to The Audible on iTunes or download our weekly IDP podcast here every Thursday for injury updates, player analysis, and matchup discussion. Follow and ask questions on Twitter @JeneBramel.