Eyes of the Guru: Week 10

IDP news, notes, analysis and speculation for Week 10.

Arizona Cardinals

If you are in need of a corner this week consider Tramon Williams. Since Week 4 the corner position has averaged 12.6 tackles and 1.4 interceptions against Seattle. Williams has a history of quality production dating back to his time in Green Bay and his two starts for the Cardinals have produced 14 solo tackles with a pair of passes defended.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills defense has been producing a lot of turnovers but their pass rush has been lacking. They have not recorded more than 1 sack in any game since Week 3. At this point, Jerry Hughes is basically useless to us. At the very least he needs to be on the bench this week against a Saints offense that does not give up much to defensive ends.

Adolphus Washington looked good in his role as a starter, finishing with three tackles, two assists and a batted pass against the Jets. I like his long for owners in tackle required leagues but would advise against playing him this week. Ndamukong Suh and A'Shawn Robinson put up decent tackle totals against New Orleans over the past few weeks but no interior lineman has a sack against them this year.

Carolina Panthers

Mike Adams left Sunday's contest with a shoulder injury and was not able to return. His status for Week 10 is unknown as of Wednesday morning but chances are good we will see either Colin Cole or Jairus Byrd at the position against Miami

Chicago Bears

The Packers offense had some success against the Lions in Week 9 and may actually be a better matchup for linebackers with Aaron Rodgers out. Danny Trevathan is a must start this week but be careful with Christian Jones. Nick Kwiatkowski was active for Week 8 and may have a significant role coming out of the bye week.

Cincinnati Bengals

With Kevin Minter out Cincinnati has been playing Vontaze Burfict in the middle with Vincent Rey in a two-down role on the weak side. I expect the Bengals to see a lot of Derrick Henry this week as the Titans try to keep pressure off Marcus Mariota. Look for Burfict and Nick Vigil to be busy.

Cleveland Browns

Jason McCourty has been out for about four weeks but the Browns hope to have him back from the ankle injury to face the Loins. If he plays McCourty could have a big day. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Artie Burns and most recently Davon House in Week 9, have all reached 8 solo stops against Detroit while several others have produced at least five.

With the Lions allowing more than three sacks per game on average, this would be a good week to plug in Myles Garrett and/or Emmanuel Ogbah. Garrett missed Week 8 with a concussion so the bye week came at a good time for him. Check the practice reports to be sure he is good to go.

The Stats crew in Detroit tends to be rather stingy with solo tackles so we should not expect big totals from our Cleveland linebackers. On the other hand, they are likely to end up with an exaggerated number of assists as the Lions home stats crew averages more than 20 assists awarded per game.

Caleb Brantley is a player I have talked about a few times this year. The talented rookie made his first start for the Browns in Week 8, playing 47 snaps and delivering a pair of tackles as the replacement for Trevon Coley (neck). Detroit is not a particularly good matchup but if you are looking for an upside sleeper at tackle, this could be your guy. Coley was limited on Wednesday so keep an eye on the injury reports later in the week. Dynasty owners should keep Brantley on your radar or go ahead and pick him up if you have room. The Browns have a lot of young talent up front and are headed in the right direction defensively.     

Denver Broncos

Safety Justin Simmons has been hit or miss for much of the season with more misses than hits. One key for any defense looking to slow down the Patriots is limiting Rob Gronkowski. A lot of teams try to do that by putting a strong safety on him. Simmons had 11 tackles against the Giants a few weeks back when he was assigned to Evan Engram for much of the game. Call it a gut feeling but I think Simmons will draw coverage on Gronkowski often in this game, probably with help from slot corner Bradley Roby. If you are in a tough spot and/or are willing to gamble on a guy with a fairly low floor but a high ceiling, Simmons is your guy this week.

Todd Davis has missed the last couple games with an ankle injury. There has been nothing from the Broncos telling us if he will play this week or not. Keep him out of your lineup this week even if he is healthy. Davis does not play in sub packages and opponents generally use a nickel base package against the Patriots.  

Green Bay Packers

The Packers opened Week 9 in a nickel with Morgan Burnett and Blake Martinez at ILB, Josh Jones and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at safety. That will not be an option for them this week as Burnett is expected to miss time with a groin injury. Kentrell Brice is already on IR so it looks like we are finally going to see Josh Jones in the starting role at strong safety. A few weeks ago a matchup between the Packers and Bears would have looked much different. With things as they are entering Week 10, this should be an excellent matchup for Jones, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Blake Martinez.

Indianapolis Colts

A couple weeks back there was talk out of Indianapolis about a possible return by Clayton Geathers. That was the last time we have heard anything about him though. With the team out of contention and struggling, it would come as no surprise if they were to shut Geathers down for the season to ensure his long-term health. Meanwhile, Mathias Farley continues to play well and put up solid numbers from the strong safety spot and it is starting to look like he may be there for the duration. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

If you are wondering what happened to your Jacksonville defenders last week, it is not hard to figure out. Their complete domination of the Bengals offense led to a mere 39 defensive snaps for the Jaguars. Barry Church led the team in tackles with three solo and a pair of assists. There is sure to be plenty of opportunities this week against a strong Chargers offense.

Marcel Dareus was on the field for twelve plays against the Bengals but made the most of his opportunity with three solo tackles. He should get a bigger chunk of the playing time this week.

Los Angeles Chargers

Middle linebacker Denzel Perryman has officially been activated from injured reserve and is expected to go. The question is how much will he play and what will the ripple effect be? There is always a chance the coaching staff will elect to ease Perryman in with a light workload in his first game action of the season. I have a feeling they will dump him right into the lead role. At the least, I would expect Perryman to be full time by week eleven. Hayes Pullard has been playing the position thus far and has made a strong impression. Do they move him to the weak side spot where Jatavis Brown has been sharing time with safety Adrian Phillips? Does Phillips continue to see sub-package snaps at linebacker? There is a good deal of production to be had among these players once we know where it lies. It should not take long to figure that out but we are probably best served to avoid them all together for Week 10. 

Los Angeles Rams

Cody Davis missed Week 9 so we are still not able to confirm John Johnson III as the new starting strong safety once everyone is healthy. We can confirm another solid outing by the rookie. Johnson finished with a respectable 4-3-0 and a pass defended against the Giants, passing the eyeball test with flying colors once again. The Texans have been a below average matchup for safeties in general bit the Rams get Minnesota, New Orleans, Arizona, Philadelphia and Seattle in weeks 11-15. Johnson could be a sneaky strong add this late in the game.   

New England Patriots

With Dont'a Hightower on IR the Patriots are going to rely heavily on Elandon Roberts the rest of the way. The bye week should go a long way toward healing the sore ankle he was dealing with throughout the month of October. Maybe the best news here for IDP owners is the current lack of depth at the linebacker positions, which means Roberts and Kyle Van Noy are both going to play virtually every down going forward. If the Week 8 game is any indication, they may give Van Noy more opportunity to rush the passer with Roberts taking over some of the coverage responsibilities. There is certainly enough opportunity to support two quality IDP options here. Van Noy is already on a roster in most leagues but Roberts is available in many. Make that move if you have a need.   

New Orleans Saints

Kenny Vaccaro left the Week 9 game with a groin injury and was not able to practice on Wednesday. Von Bell shifted into the strong safety role after Vaccaro left, finishing at 3-2-.5. The Bills have been a mediocre matchup for safeties on most weeks but the Saints strong safety position has been virtually matchup proof. If you are losing Vaccaro as a starter this week I would not hesitate to grab Bell and plug him in.

New York Giants

How bad are things in New York? The Giants finish the Week 9 game with Curtis Grant, Calvin Munson and Nigel Harris at linebacker, and it was not because they were getting blown out. The team's Wednesday practice report looked like this: New York Giants LBs B.J. Goodson (ankle), Devon Kennard (quadriceps) and Keenan Robinson (quadriceps) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 8. LB Jonathan Casillas (neck), LB Calvin Munson were limited. No wonder the head coach had no idea what to say to his team at halftime. When a team is struggling like the Giants, everyone is looking to feast on them. Even the offensively challenged 49ers should be able to move the ball this week. If you are streaming linebackers down the stretch, keep an eye on the injury reports and see who is healthy enough to go.

Oakland Raiders

Obi Melifonwu made his NFL debut in Week 9. His marginal role consisted of seven snaps as the sixth defensive back in dime packages. The good news being he lined up at linebacker depth on this plays and was credited with 2 tackles and an assist. The bottom line; there is nothing to see here in fantasy terms, at least not yet.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Broncos inept offense provided little opportunity for Eagles defenders in Week 9. The defense was on the field for 64 plays; 19 of them were incomplete passes then most of the starters were pulled early due to the blowout. As a result, Nigel Bradham and Brandon Graham tied for the team lead with three solo stops. After the bye, Philadelphia has Dallas, Chicago, Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams. There should be no lack of opportunity in those games so hang onto those Eagles defenders.  `

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Colts have allowed an average of 4.2 sacks per game since Week 4 so T.J. Watt is a must start this week in nearly any format and Bud Dupree is a strong play in big play based leagues. Beyond those two no Steelers defender has much upside this week. Ryan Shazier is a high floor guy that is matchup proof for most owners but even he is unlikely to make much noise in the tackle columns with this matchup.  

San Francisco 49ers

The hits just keep coming for San Francisco. This time it is Jaquiski Tartt landing on injured reserve with a broken forearm. After losing Jimmy Ward the week before, the 49ers shifter Eric Reid back to strong safety and Tartt over to free in Week 9. Rookie Adrian Colbert came on at free safety after Tartt's injury and should get the start against the Giants, who have been a solid matchup for safeties. 

Reuben Foster finally made it through a full game as a pro, and he made a big splash in the process with 13 solo tackles. The Giants were a marginal matchup for linebackers early in the season but have provided much more opportunity since the emergence of Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back. This is a matchup of two injury-riddled teams with offenses that have been stuck in neutral for the most part. They should both be able to get on track against these M.A.S.H. unit defenses. In fact, this game could evolve into a shootout. Foster is not likely to reach double-digit tackles again but he should manage double-digit fantasy points.

Brock Coyle appears to have passed Ray Ray Armstrong for the starting job a weakside linebacker. He was 7-1-0 as the starter in Week 9 while Armstrong, who was active, was a spectator. There may not be much long-term value with Coyle in dynasty terms but he might help you through a tough spot as a third starter over the next few games.

Leger Douzable failed to record a sack in Week 9 but he was still strong in the box score with 6 solo stops and an assist. This is another player living in the moment with little long-term promise, but he is going to see a ton of opportunity down the stretch this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers lost yet another starting defender when William Gholston was carted off with a neck injury last weekend. Ryan Russell stepped in opposite and Robert Ayers to finish the game with former Bengal Will Clarke moving up to the third man in the rotation. Clarke showed some promise for a while in Cincinnati but floundered when his chance came to make a serious impression.

Vernon Hargreaves returned to the slot corner role in Week 9 and appears to be done for the season as a fantasy factor. 

Tennessee Titans

After his long absence, Jonathan Cyprien participated in 61 of 75 defensive snaps in Week 9. He as rusty, which showed in his final box score total of one tackle and one assist, but at least he came through the game healthy. Unfortunately, we should not count on much more from him this week against a Bengals offense that has been a poor matchup for tackle producing defenders.  


There was no more timeshare between Will Compton and Martell Spaight in Week 9. Compton played 82 snaps against Seattle, finishing with seven solo stops, an assist, and an interception. It was by far the best he has looked this year and was enough to put him at the top of my linebacker add list leading up to Week 10.

DeAngelo Hall wasted no time getting back to full speed. He was activated from the PUP list on November third and played all 83 snaps against Seattle a couple days later. Hall is listed as a safety but he lined up all over the field against the Seahawks. I believe he played every defensive back position at least once during the game, finishing with a respectable 4-1-0 and adding a pair of pass breakups on the day. Hall has long been one of the few consistently productive corners in the fantasy game. He has been hurt a lot since making the shift to safety so we have little to go on when predicting his value going forward. If his Week 9 play is any indication, Hall will give us DB3 value down the stretch.

That does it for this week. Best of luck as we enter the home stretch.

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