IDP Upgrades and Downgrades: Week 7

Takes a look at which IDPs are moving up or down in value this week.

This article tries to highlight players whose production was significantly better or worse than normally expected. Note there is sometimes limited information available when this article is written, but I will try to give everyone an early look at players who are moving up or down in value among IDP circles. It’s difficult to give waiver advice for IDPs since there is such a wide variety of lineups and scoring systems, but hopefully the information provided can help inform your waiver and trade decisions. If you have any questions on specific players or situations, feel free to email me or reach out via twitter.

Email: rudnicki@footballguys.com
Twitter: @a_rudnicki

ATLANTA @ NEW ORLEANS

Upgrades

DE Cameron Jordan, NO (5 solos, 1 asst, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR)
Jordan was off to a very slow start this season with just 1 sack in his first 5 games, but he woke up with 3 sacks in the 4th quarter against the Falcons this week. He finished the game with a strip sack that he recovered himself. The combination of Jordan and the rookie OLB Hau’oli Kikaha should continue to make things difficult for opposing QBs.

LB Dannell Ellerbe, NO (13 solos, 1 asst, 1 FF, 1 FR)
Ellerbe didn’t work out great after signing a big free agent contract with the Dolphins, but he provided an immediate upgrade at WLB for the Saints defense once he got healthy. After posting 7 solo stops a week ago, he blew up with 13 solos this week as well as two huge plays in the red zone that contributed to defensive takeaways. Ellerbe was forced to leave the game early with a groin injury, but it’s not expected to be serious.

Downgrades

S Jairus Byrd, NO (2 solos, 1 asst)
During his 5 years in Buffalo, Byrd was one of the best fantasy safeties in the league and an elite playmaker. He’s missed a lot of time since signing his big free agent contract with the Saints last year, however, and isn’t producing anywhere near what was expected of him. After missing the entire preseason and the first 3 weeks, he’s posted just 10 combined tackles in 3 games.

CB Desmond Trufant, ATL (1 solo)
Trufant is quietly emerging as a shutdown corner for the Falcons. Despite the team getting off to big leads in most of their games this year, he hasn’t really been thrown at very much. That is keeping his numbers down as he’s been credited with just 8 solos, 3 assists, and 4 passes defended (with 0 interceptions) through 6 games.

CINCINNATI @ BUFFALO

Upgrades

LB Vontaze Burfict, CIN (DNP)
Burfict began the year on the PUP list so he had to sit out the first 6 games. That means he’s eligible to return to the lineup, and the Bengals have a bye week coming up to try and get him up to speed. Vincent Rey has done a great job filling in for him so far, but Burfict is capable of LB1 production when healthy.

S Reggie Nelson, CIN (8 solos, 3 asst, 1 PD)
Nelson had a slow start this year with just 4 solos and 3 assists in his first 3 games. The veteran seems to have turned a corner of late, however, with 14 solos and 10 assists in his last 3 games. The Bengals linebackers are banged up and the offense is putting up points against everyone, so the uptick should continue after the bye.

Downgrades

DE Mario Williams, BUF (1 solo)
The Bills defensive linemen are getting frustrated with how they are being used in the new defense. Williams has just 2 sacks (and only 8 solo tackles) through 6 games and voiced concern after the game that he is being asked to drop into coverage far too often. Perhaps the coaches can figure out a way to fix things during the bye in week 8, but for now the formerly elite DE doesn’t even seem startable in most formats.

DT Kyle Williams, BUF (1 asst)
Williams left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. It looked pretty bad, but was later reported to be a sprained PCL that will likely keep him out for 3 to 4 weeks. He hadn’t been playing up to expectations, but there aren’t a lot of viable fantasy options at the position to begin with.

LB Nigel Bradham, BUF (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 PD)
Bradham was not much of a factor this week, which is becoming an alarming trend. Despite playing 4 of 6 games at home in front of a generous stat crew, his tackle numbers are underwhelming and he has not provided a big play since a sack in week 1. This is a contract year for him, so he’ll need to pick things up if he hopes to earn the big raise he was hoping for.

DENVER @ CLEVELAND

Upgrades

LB Shaquil Barrett, DEN (6 solos, 3 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 PD)
Many expected Shane Ray to pick up the slack created by the injury to DeMarcus Ware, but it was the former practice squad player Barrett who started. With Ray also leaving the game early with a knee injury, Barrett played nearly the entire game and showed off the impressive depth of the Broncos pass rush. He finished 2nd on the team with 9 tackles while also adding a strip sack of McCown early and another partial sack in overtime.

LB Karlos Dansby, CLE (5 solos, 2 asst, 2 INT, 2 PD, 1 TD)
Dansby was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report with an ankle injury, but he was healthy enough to play over 80 snaps. Despite his age (turns 34 in a couple weeks), Dansby is still a very capable coverage linebacker and he showed that with two interceptions including one that was returned 35 yards for a touchdown.

Downgrades

LB Von Miller, DEN (0 tackles)
Miller is obviously an elite pass rusher at the LB position, but his production this year is starting to look rather pedestrian as offenses game plan to limit his impact. He has 3 sacks on the year, but the team has 26 as a unit and a part-time player like Shaq Barrett now has more than him. Additionally, he’s not making an impact against the run with just 10 solo tackles and 2 assists through 6 games.

CHICAGO @ DETROIT

Upgrades

DT Eddie Goldman, CHI (3 solos, 2 asst, .5 sack)
The rookie nose tackle wasn’t exactly expected to upgrade the pass rush, but he now has 1.5 sacks in his last 3 games. A season-ending injury to Ego Ferguson has forced the Bears to move Jeremiah Ratliff outside to DE and that created more opportunity for Goldman inside. He’s still only seeing about half the snaps, but should be worth a spot in DT-required leagues if not already taken.

LB Josh Bynes, DET (8 solos, 2 asst, 1 PD)
Many expected Bynes to go back to a smaller role once DeAndre Levy returned, but now it’s unclear if that will happen this year. That leaves Bynes with an everydown role on a defense that is struggling in all facets of the game. He played 100% of the snaps in an overtime game this week, and given the coverage issues that Stephen Tulloch has, that figures to continue.

Downgrades

S James Ihedigbo, DET (DNP)
Ihedigbo practiced late last week but was not healthy enough to play this week as he sat out with a quad injury. He’s been very productive on the field for the Lions this year with 26 solos, a sack, and 3 forced fumbles so hopefully he’s able to return next week.

HOUSTON @ JACKSONVILLE

Upgrades

LB Whitney Mercilus, HOU (3 solos, 2 sacks)
Mercilus saw a huge increase in playing time this week as he was on the field for 80 of 81 defensive snaps. With Jadaveon Clowney sitting out the game with a sprained ankle, Mercilus was given a chance to line up as an edge rusher and he made the most of it with 2 sacks. That’s 2 more than Clowney has all season, and maybe a sign that the Texans need to get Mercilus more involved.

LB Brian Cushing, HOU (9 solos, 3 asst)
The Texans defense hasn’t lived up to expectations, but Cushing has picked up the tackling pace over the past few weeks and is once again a pretty reliable LB2. His numbers are still assist-heavy which will limit his value in some scoring systems, but he has been playing every down and is always around the ball with 31 combined tackles (16 solos, 15 assists) in the past 3 games. No big plays limits his upside though.

LB Paul Posluszny, JAX (9 solos, 1 asst)
Posluszny suffered a high ankle sprain in week 4, but returned sooner than expected and looked pretty good while racking up 9 solo tackles this week. With 42 solo tackles in 5 games, he’s back on pace for a huge season and should have another strong outing next week in London against his former team.

Downgrades

DE J.J. Watt, HOU (2 solos, 1 PD)
Watt was listed as questionable this week as he dealt with an illness. He still managed to play almost the entire game and he actually looked pretty good, but he just couldn’t connect on a sack despite generating lots of pressure. In fact, that has been a recurring pattern of late considering he has just 1 sack in his last 4 games. It seems like offenses are starting to have more success against him this year so he’ s not producing like the clear #1 overall IDP we have come to expect.

KANSAS CITY @ MINNESOTA

Upgrades

DE Allen Bailey, KC (5 solos, 3 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF)
After a stretch of 3 games with no sacks and just 4 solo tackles, Bailey has woken up the past two weeks with back to back 5 solo, 1 sack games. He also has 5 assists and 2 forced fumbles in that span to put him back into the DE1 range this year. There’s not a lot going right for the Chiefs, but Bailey is on his way to a career season and gives them a strong and young defensive line to build around.

LB Ramik Wilson, KC (7 solos, 2 asst)
Wilson got another start at ILB this week and wound up tying Derrick Johnson for the team lead in tackles despite almost 20 fewer snaps. That’s another good sign for his long term fantasy prospects, and he should have another productive day against the Steelers next week.

LB Eric Kendricks, MIN (9 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 PD)
The Vikings trade of Gerald Hodges created an opening for Kendricks to finally become an everydown player. He played in all situations this week along with Anthony Barr and posted his 3rd strong game in a row. With 22 solo tackles and 2 sacks over the last 3 games, the arrow is pointing straight up and he could possibly put up LB1 type numbers the rest of the way.

Downgrades

DE Everson Griffen, MIN (DNP)
Griffen was a surprise scratch this week as he apparently was feeling under the weather. That may have caught fantasy owners by surprise considering the Vikings were coming off the bye week and I don’t believe he was on the injury report. It’s a shame since the Chiefs were one of the most favorable matchups for an opposing DL, but he’ll look to add to his strong start next week against the Lions.

CB Sean Smith, KC (2 solos, 1 asst)
Smith returned to the lineup in week 4 after serving a 3-game suspension. He played very well in 2014 but hasn’t been very impressive so far this year. While his fantasy value seems like it would be helped by struggles in coverage, Smith has just 7 solo tackles and 1 pass defensed through 3 games so he’s not helping anyone right now.

WASHINGTON @ NY JETS

Upgrades

DE Sheldon Richardson, NYJ (3 asst, .5 sack)
Richardson returned from his 4-game suspension and was given a start as the Jets opened up in a 4-3 front. While there may have been some concern about how the Jets would use their 3 talented defensive ends, all 3 played most of the game. Richardson was the lowest at 78% but that’s still enough for him to be productive and could improve as he gets acclimated. It also doesn’t appear that his return will hurt Leonard Williams, who still saw 90% of the snaps in this game.

S Dashon Goldson, WAS (7 solos, 6 asst, 1 PD)
Washington traded for Goldson this offseason to try and solidify the back of their secondary. He has a reputation for being a big hitter, but doesn’t always impress in coverage which makes him a curious fit as a free safety. In any event, he’s been very productive of late with 15 solos and 8 assists over the last 2 games.

Downgrades

LB Ryan Kerrigan, WAS (1 asst)
Probably no need to react too strongly here, but it seemed like Kerrigan should have been able to manage more than 1 assist given that he played every defensive snap against a team that with 41 rush attempts. He posted 3 sacks in his previous 2 outings, so he’ll try to get back on track next week against Tampa Bay.

ARIZONA @ PITTSBURGH

Upgrades

CB Antwon Blake, PIT (10 solos, 2 asst, 1 PD)
The Steelers have shown some improvement on defense in recent weeks, but they are still giving up a lot of catches and yards. Blake is one of the main culprits as he has had trouble keeping up with some of the league’s better receivers. That type of issue makes him more likely to be targeted by opposing QBs, however, and likely contributed to his pick-6 a week ago and 12 tackles this week. Although undersized at 5’9”, Blake plays a physical style that should help him continue to post some of the best tackle numbers at the position.

Downgrades

DE Stephon Tuitt, PIT (1 solo)
It was only a few weeks ago when Tuitt looked like he could be developing into an elite defensive end. He’s cooled off in the last couple games, however, with just 4 solos, 1 assist, and no sacks. The Chiefs are next on the schedule though and that offensive line has been a mess, so he has a good chance to turn things back around.

MIAMI @ TENNESSEE

Upgrades

DE Cameron Wake, MIA (4 solos, 4 sacks, 2 FF)
Not sure if it was the coaching change or the bye week that allowed him to get healthy, but Wake showed up huge this week after posting just a single assisted tackle in the first 4 games. The Titans offensive line has had some holes, and Wake took full advantage with 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in the game. Hopefully this is a sign that the Dolphins defensive line can start playing more like they were expected to, with Ndamukong Suh the next player in need of a rebound performance.

LB Zach Brown, TEN (8 solos, 4 asst)
The Browns were missing Avery Williamson this week while he sat out with a hamstring injury, so Brown got inserted back into the starting lineup and posted his best numbers of the year. It’s unclear if he can hold onto the job, but the Titans linebackers are starting to post better numbers overall so it’s a situation to monitor more closely.

S Da’Norris Searcy, TEN (8 solos, 3 PD)
Although one good game is probably not enough to feel safe about putting Searcy back in your starting lineups, it’s certainly a step in that direction. He came into the year with very high expectations but hadn’t had many opportunities. Things may be turning for the Titans defense, however, as their offense is starting to struggle to stay on the field and that could mean a nice 2nd half for Searcy and several Titans IDPs.

Downgrades

LB Avery Williamson, TEN (DNP)
Williamson looked like the Titans LB to own after a very productive game against the Bills in week 5, but a hamstring injury kept him on the sidelines this week. Zach Brown and Wesley Woodyard both put up impressive numbers that were driven in part by an increase in opportunities this week, but the Titans may wind up using some type of 3LB rotation when all players are healthy.

CAROLINA @ SEATTLE

Upgrades

LB Luke Kuechly, CAR (5 solos, 9 asst)
Kuechly returned to the lineup and looked none the worse for wear as he showed great range making tackles all over the field. For a player who was considered the top fantasy LB in the league, it’s a good sign that he was able to get through the game with no issues and hopefully he can avoid any future concussions the  rest of the year.

Downgrades

LB Bobby Wagner, SEA (DNP)
Wagner sat out the game this week with a pectoral injury, but coach Pete Carroll said he could have played. They have a short week before traveling to San Francisco for a Thursday night game, so hopefully the extra rest will help him return to the lineup then. Kevin Pierre-Louis took his place at MLB this week and finished with 11 tackles plus a pass defensed.

SAN DIEGO @ GREEN BAY

Upgrades

LB Denzel Perryman, SD (7 solos, 1 asst, 1 FF)
With Manti Te’o inactive while resting an ankle injury, the rookie Perryman got his first career start and looked pretty good. Te’o has posted solid numbers this year thanks in part to his everydown role, but he has yet to make much of an impact. Perryman has a chance to develop into a full-time starter at some point and is worth watching closely in dynasty leagues.

LB Jeremiah Attaochu, SD (3 solos, 2 sacks)
The Chargers have been searching for a playmaking outside linebacker for some time, and last year’s 2nd round pick Attaochu may be that guy. He had a 2-sack outing against the Browns in week 4, and then added 2 more this week against the Packers. The improved play of the cornerbacks in San Diego this year should also continue to give the pass rushers more time to get to the QB.

Downgrades

LB Manti Te’o, SD (DNP)
Te’o had a 13 solo outing against the Browns a couple weeks ago, but that’s about the only good game he had for fantasy owners this year despite playing an everydown role. He brings very little to the table in terms of his coverage or playmaking ability so it may be only a matter of time before the coaches feel comfortable moving onto the rookie Denzel Perryman in that role.

S Morgan Burnett, GB (DNP)
It’s starting to look like a lost season for Burnett as he has only managed to play in 1 game so far this year. The Packers have a bye coming up so it’s possible that will give him the necessary time to heal up and make a strong run during the second half of the season, but the Packers have also been satisfied with the play of Micah Hyde so they haven’t tried to rush Burnett back from his lingering calf issue.

BALTIMORE @ SAN FRANCISCO

Upgrades

DE Lawrence Guy, BAL (5 solos, 1 sack)
While his 2-sack game last week was easy to discredit as an outlier, Guy followed it up with a 5 solo, 1 sack outing this week. That type of production is hard to come by from a defensive end, but it also corresponds with an increase in playing time so it may not be a fluke. Although he had been a little-known reserve and late round draft pick to this point, Guy is just 25 years old and taking advantage of his opportunities.

LB Michael Wilhoite, SF (11 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Wilhoite has consistently seen about 60 defensive snaps per game over the past 4 weeks so not much has changed in terms of his playing time. However, he went from 13 total tackles in weeks 3 and 4 combined to 29 total tackles (22 solos) in the last 2 games. Wilhoite is also capable in coverage as he picked off 2 passes last year and added another this week. Definitely keep him in your lineup for the Thursday night matchup with Seattle.

Downgrades

CB Lardarius Webb, BAL (DNP)
Webb has been playing better than his counterpart in Baltimore Jimmy Smith this year, but that has just meant fewer targets to his side of the field. He also wound up missing the game this week with a thigh injury that he suffered last week against the Browns. The Ravens certainly hope he’s able to return next week to help out against the Cardinals offense.

NEW ENGLAND @ INDIANAPOLIS

Upgrades

CB Logan Ryan, NE (6 solos, 3 asst, 1 PD)
Ryan had already taken over a starting spot from Tarrell Brown, but with Brown going on IR a few days ago it looks like the job should be his for the remainder of the year. After posting 5 interceptions during his rookie year in 2013, Ryan was somewhat forgotten about in 2014 thanks to the signings of Revis and Browner. While he probably won’t be a strength of the team, the play of the offense should ensure that he continues to see plenty of targets each week.

Downgrades

DE Henry Anderson, IND (1 asst)
Anderson has taken on a big role for the Colts in his rookie season, and he had a very strong start to the year with 11 solos and a sack in the first 2 weeks. He’s only managed 6 solos and 6 assists (with no sacks) in his last 4 games, however, and may not be the reliable starter he appeared to be. He’s still a good player with plenty of potential, but his numbers will likely be inconsistent from week to week.

Summary (in alphabetic order by position group)

Upgrades

DE Allen Bailey, KC (5 solos, 3 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF)
DE Lawrence Guy, BAL (5 solos, 1 sack)
DE Cameron Jordan, NO (5 solos, 1 asst, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR)
DE Sheldon Richardson, NYJ (3 asst, .5 sack)
DE Cameron Wake, MIA (4 solos, 4 sacks, 2 FF)
DT Eddie Goldman, CHI (3 solos, 2 asst, .5 sack)
LB Jeremiah Attaochu, SD (3 solos, 2 sacks)
LB Shaquil Barrett, DEN (6 solos, 3 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 PD)
LB Zach Brown, TEN (8 solos, 4 asst)
LB Vontaze Burfict, CIN (DNP)
LB Josh Bynes, DET (8 solos, 2 asst, 1 PD)
LB Karlos Dansby, CLE (5 solos, 2 asst, 2 INT, 2 PD, 1 TD)
LB Brian Cushing, HOU (9 solos, 3 asst)
LB Dannell Ellerbe, NO (13 solos, 1 asst, 1 FF, 1 FR)
LB Eric Kendricks, MIN (9 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 PD)
LB Luke Kuechly, CAR (5 solos, 9 asst)
LB Whitney Mercilus, HOU (3 solos, 2 sacks)
LB Denzel Perryman, SD (7 solos, 1 asst, 1 FF)
LB Paul Posluszny, JAX (9 solos, 1 asst)
LB Michael Wilhoite, SF (11 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
LB Ramik Wilson, KC (7 solos, 2 asst)
S Dashon Goldson, WAS (7 solos, 6 asst, 1 PD)
S Reggie Nelson, CIN (8 solos, 3 asst, 1 PD)
S Da’Norris Searcy, TEN (8 solos, 3 PD)
CB Antwon Blake, PIT (10 solos, 2 asst, 1 PD)
CB Logan Ryan, NE (6 solos, 3 asst, 1 PD)

Downgrades

DE Henry Anderson, IND (1 asst)
DE Everson Griffen, MIN (DNP)
DE Stephon Tuitt, PIT (1 solo)
DE J.J. Watt, HOU (2 solos, 1 PD)
DE Mario Williams, BUF (1 solo)
DT Kyle Williams, BUF (1 asst)
LB Nigel Bradham, BUF (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 PD)
LB Ryan Kerrigan, WAS (1 asst)
LB Von Miller, DEN (0 tackles)
LB Manti Te’o, SD (DNP)
LB Bobby Wagner, SEA (DNP)
LB Avery Williamson, TEN (DNP)
S Morgan Burnett, GB (DNP)
S Jairus Byrd, NO (2 solos, 1 asst)
S James Ihedigbo, DET (DNP)
CB Sean Smith, KC (2 solos, 1 asst)
CB Desmond Trufant, ATL (1 solo)
CB Lardarius Webb, BAL (DNP)


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