IDP Upgrades and Downgrades: Week 9

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

This article attempts 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

MIAMI @ NEW ENGLAND

Upgrades

DE Chandler Jones, NE (4 solos, 2 sacks)
The Patriots have been getting improved play in the secondary, and that has helped lead to a very strong stretch of play from their best pass rusher. Over the past 3 weeks, Jones has caught fire with 5.5 sacks and that brings him up to 8.5 on the year. He’s getting an opportunity to rush the passer early and often, and proving to be one of the league’s elite at his position.

CB Logan Ryan, NE (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Ryan continues to put up very good numbers in a secondary that is going to be tested just about every week. Over the past 4 weeks, he has 18 solos, 6 assists, and 2 INTs and the upcoming schedule looks pretty favorable so he will likely remain a CB1 candidate.

Downgrades

DE Cameron Wake, MIA (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 sack)
Just when Wake started to look like he was going to dominate again with 7 sacks in a 3-game stretch, he suffered a devastating injury. He was forced to leave the game early this week after suffering a torn Achilles. That is a huge blow to the Dolphins defense, who will now turn to Derrick Shelby in that spot so he could be worth a pickup this week.

DETROIT @ KANSAS CITY

Upgrades

CB Sean Smith, KC (5 solos, 1 INT, 3 PD)
Smith hasn’t played up to the high expectations that he created for himself in 2014 from a coverage standpoint. He still has some intriguing potential from a fantasy perspective though because of his size and the fact the Chiefs have been giving up a lot of completions to outside receivers this year. With 8 solos, 1 INT, and 5 PDs he also seems to be heating up with Broncos and Chargers next on the schedule.

Downgrades

CB Rashean Mathis, DET (DNP)
Mathis was a surprise scratch this week as he was apparently suffering from an illness. He hasn’t been particularly good on the field, but has helped fantasy owners with some decent outings. Fortunately for him, the Lions don’t have much quality depth at the position so he should be safe after they return from a week 9 bye.

TAMPA BAY @ ATLANTA

Upgrades

LB Kwon Alexander, TB (6 solos, 5 asst, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT, 1 PD)
The rookie MLB had a huge game against Atlanta this week as he created two takeaways and also piled up 11 combined tackles. He was not a strong consideration in most IDP leagues during the offseason, but is emerging as a very reliable everyweek starter. What’s even more surprising, however, is the fact he appears to be hurting the fantasy value of Lavonte David.

S Ricardo Allen, ATL (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack)
Allen won the starting FS safety job in Atlanta thanks to a strong showing in the preseason and he has carried that over into the regular season. He missed a game to injury earlier, but has put up impressive numbers with 34 solo tackles in 7 games. The big plays haven’t been there yet (1 INT, 1 sack), but that’s also rather normal for young players to improve that part of their game as they develop.

Downgrades

DE Vic Beasley Jr, ATL (2 asst)
The season is about halfway over and the Falcons have managed just 10 sacks as a team, which ranks them nearly dead last. That’s disappointing considering they made a big investment in upgrading the pass rush with the selection of Beasley at #8 overall. He started off great with 2 sacks in his first 3 games, but has now gone 5 straight games without adding to that total.

DT Gerald McCoy, TB (1 solo)
McCoy remains one of the few elite players at his position driven almost exclusively by his talents as a pass rusher. He was off to an incredible start this year with 4.5 sacks in his first 5 games, but he has now gone 2 straight without one.  That’s not necessarily cause for concern, but he only posted 2 solos and 1 assist in those games and has just 12 tackles (in 7 games) that aren’t sack-related so it doesn’t appear he’s contributing much against the run.

SAN DIEGO @ BALTIMORE

Upgrades

DE Timmy Jernigan, BAL (2 solos, 1 sack)
It took him awhile to get going, but Jernigan is starting to live up to some of the high expectations that people had for him this year. After dominating at Florida State, he was taken in the 2nd round last year and saw an increase in playing time this year following the loss of Haloti Ngata. With a sack against the Chargers this week, he now has at least a partial sack in 3 of his last 4 games.

LB Daryl Smith, BAL (7 solos, 7 asst)
Smith continues to be one of the most underrated fantasy linebackers in the league. He has now posted 7 or more solo tackles in 5 straight games as the Ravens are having trouble getting off the field on defense. In addition to being one of the more reliable tacklers in the league, Smith also excels in coverage and as a blitzer.

Downgrades

DE Corey Liuget, SD (0 tackles)
Liuget is one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the league, he relies more on tackles than sacks for his fantasy value. He did have sacks in back to back games recently, but unfortunately was forced to leave the game with a foot injury this week after just 2 snaps. The severity was not immediately known but he could be possibly held out until after the bye in week 10.

MINNESOTA @ CHICAGO

Upgrades

CB Kyle Fuller, CHI (2 solos, 1 INT, 2 PD)
Fuller has been a big disappointment this year, and was even benched by the Bears earlier but he has started to turn things around from a fantasy perspective at least. He had 7 solos and an assist in a matchup with Calvin Johnson before the bye and then came up with his first interception of the year this week.

Downgrades

LB Anthony Barr, MIN (2 solos, 2 asst)
Barr hasn’t seen any reduction in playing time (he saw 100% of the snaps this week for example), but his production has certainly shown a noticeable drop of late. Over his last 3 games, he has just 5 solo tackles, 4 assists, and .5 sack. Through 7 games this year, Barr has just 1.5 sacks which seems well off the pace many expected to see from the 2nd year pro.

ARIZONA @ CLEVELAND

Upgrades

S Ibraheim Campbell, CLE (5 solos)
Donte Whitner left the game early with a concussion and he’s expected to miss next week’s game against the Bengals as well. The rookie Campbell filled in for him and posted 5 solo tackles in just 36 snaps. He’s likely the strong safety of the future for the Browns so this could be a great opportunity for him to showcase what he can do.

Downgrades

LB Christian Kirksey, CLE (2 solos)
Craig Robertson returned to the lineup this week and saw twice as many snaps as Kirksey. He didn’t do a whole lot with that opportunity, but it looks like the time share will likely leave both players without much value. Kirksey had 17 combined tackles in the past two games as a full-time player, so there is potential there if one player could emerge as a full-time option.

S Donte Whitner, CLE (3 solos, 1 asst)
Whitner played about half the game this week before leaving with a head injury. He’s currently in the league’s concussion protocol and is unlikely to be cleared in time to play the Bengals on Thursday night.

CB Joe Haden, CLE (3 solos)
Haden returned to the lineup after sitting out the previous two weeks while recovering from a concussion. Unfortunately, he only lasted about half the game before he suffered another concussion. He’ll likely miss the Thursday night game this week and could be out longer depending on his symptoms.

CB Jerraud Powers, ARI (DNP)
Powers left last week’s game with a hamstring injury that was expected to keep him out for a couple weeks. Going into this week’s matchup with the Browns, however, it was announced that he would play so some fantasy owners may have thought it was safe to play him. He wound up dressing but not playing, and now will get the bye week to rest.

TENNESSEE @ HOUSTON

Upgrades

LB Whitney Mercilus, HOU (6 solos, 1 asst, 3.5 sacks)
Mercilus showed signs of life 2 weeks ago when he picked up his first 2 sacks of the season. Then he didn’t show much in a blowout loss to the Dolphins, but he picked right back up again this week with a monster 3.5 sack outing against the Titans. The Texans have the pieces in place for a dominant pass rush, but they have not been able to put it together on a consistent basis yet.

Downgrades

LB Derrick Morgan, TEN (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 PD)
Morgan looked like he had finally turned the corner for his career and begun to emerge as an impact 3-4 OLB when he picked up 4.5 sacks in the first 4 games of the season. In the 3 games since then, however, he has only been credited with 5 solos and 2 assists. Hot and cold streaks like this are normal, but the rest of the team also seems to be slumping lately so it might be tough for him to get back on track.

LB Avery Williamson, TEN (1 solo)
This was likely one of the stranger stat lines of the day, but Williamson actually played 84% of the defensive snaps but only managed a single solo tackle. Meanwhile, the other 2 Titans ILBs split snaps and combined for 8 solos and 7 assists.

NY GIANTS @ NEW ORLEANS

Upgrades

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, NYG (7 solos, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 PD)
With Prince Amukamara out injured, Rodgers-Cromartie is taking on more of the heavy lifting for the Giants defense. He has responded with 2 of the biggest games of his career. He picked off 2 passes a week ago and returned one 58 yards for a TD. Then in a crazy shootout this week, he posted 7 solo tackles along with a forced fumble and another interception.

Downgrades

LB Jon Beason, NYG (DNP)
Beason expected to play through an ankle injury this week, but was not able to suit up. Last week’s 11 tackle game against Dallas was encouraging but this is another setback for a player whose body just doesn’t seem able to hold up anymore. Jasper Brinkley got the start in his place, but gave way to nickel LB Uani Unga for most of the game.

S Brandon Meriweather, NYG (1 asst)
Meriweather and rookie S Landon Collins both played all 78 defensive snaps in this game. While Collins led all Giants defenders with 9 tackles, Meriweather was only credited with a single assist. Strange outcome given that he came into the game with 11 solos and 2 interceptions over the past 2 games, but Meriweather has been plagued by inconsistency during most of his career.

CINCINNATI @ PITTSBURGH

Upgrades

LB Vontaze Burfict, CIN (5 solos)
Burfict was activated from the PUP list and returned to the starting lineup this week after just 2 official practices. This was his first action since offseason microfracture surgery so the Bengals kept a close watch on his snap count. While playing about half the defensive snaps, he still posted a solid line of 5 solo tackles and should take on a bigger role as long as there’s no setbacks.

CB Antwon Blake, PIT (8 solos, 1 INT, 1 PD)
The young Steelers corner is starting to really emerge as one of best fantasy options at a shallow position. He now has 22 solo tackles, 2 INTs, 4 PDs, and a touchdown in his last 4 games. He should get tested plenty again next week as Derek Carr and the Raiders pay a visit.

Downgrades

LB Rey Maualuga, CIN (0 tackles)
Although he was probably headed for a reduction in playing time with the return of Burfict this week, Maualuga only lasted 2 snaps before leaving with a calf injury. He’s been little more than a reserve fantasy linebacker to this point anyway.

SAN FRANCISCO @ ST LOUIS

Upgrades

DE Robert Quinn, STL (3 solos, 1 sack, 1 PD)
Quinn was shut out a week ago, but bounced back with a strong game against the 49ers. He is playing through a knee injury, but showed that he can still be effective. With 5 sacks in 7 games, Quinn is on pace to hit double digit sacks but his tackle numbers are still quite low with just 16 on non-sack plays.

LB Navorro Bowman, SF (7 solos, 6 asst)
After 8 weeks of the season, Bowman is ranked 1st among all players in the league with 60 solo tackles and 22 assists. He may not be as quick as he used to be,     and the big plays aren’t there since he has so little help from the players around him, but he’s obviously still a very important fantasy player.

Downgrades

S T.J. McDonald, STL (3 solos, 1 asst)
It seemed like the injury to Alec Ogletree would provide a boost to T.J. McDonald, but he’s only been credited with 6 solos and 5 assists in the last 2 games. He was questionable with a shoulder injury this week, so it’s likely that injury limited his effectiveness somewhat. It’s S Mark Barron who has seen the huge increase as he took over for Ogletree at LB and has posted 17 solos and 9 assists in the same span.

NY JETS @ OAKLAND

Upgrades

DE Mario Edwards, OAK (4 solos)
The rookie 2nd round pick out of Florida State has went from 50 to 57 to 63 snaps over the past few weeks so he is playing close to a full-time role for Oakland. While he hasn’t shown much as a pass rusher yet with just a partial sack (of Peyton Manning) on his resume, he has been making a consistent contribution with 12 tackles in the last 3 games. With Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith, there is quite a bit of young potential in the Raiders pass rush.

Downgrades

None

SEATTLE @ DALLAS

Upgrades

S Barry Church, DAL (6 solos, 4 asst)
Church was a game-time decision on Sunday while dealing with a high ankle sprain. Not only did he manage to start the game, he was on the field for nearly 80% of the defensive snaps and finished 2nd on the team in tackles with 9 (added another on special teams). He has yet to add any big plays this year, but his 35 solo stops and 19 assists make him one of the most consistent and reliable fantasy safeties in balanced scoring formats.

Downgrades

None

GREEN BAY @ DENVER

Upgrades

CB Damarious Randall, GB (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Randall is yet another member of this year’s impressive rookie corner class. He was a 1st round pick out of Arizona State and has graded out very well by Pro Football Focus. He is now playing just about as many snaps as the two starters, and has 13 solo tackles over the past 2 games.

Downgrades

CB Sam Shields (0 tackles)
Shields is the #1 CB for the Packers so he tends to face some tough matchups, and that can lead to some bigger than expected numbers. He had 24 solos, 2 INTs, and 8 PDs through the first 6 games but left this week’s marquee matchup after just 11 snaps with a shoulder injury. Next week’s matchup with the run-heavy Panthers doesn’t look great for him even if he is healthy enough to play.

Summary of Players Mentioned (sorted by position in alphabetic order)

Upgrades

DE Mario Edwards, OAK (4 solos)
DE Timmy Jernigan, BAL (2 solos, 1 sack)
DE Chandler Jones, NE (4 solos, 2 sacks)
DE Robert Quinn, STL (3 solos, 1 sack, 1 PD)
LB Kwon Alexander, TB (6 solos, 5 asst, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT, 1 PD)
LB Navorro Bowman, SF (7 solos, 6 asst)
LB Vontaze Burfict, CIN (5 solos)
LB Whitney Mercilus, HOU (6 solos, 1 asst, 3.5 sacks)
LB Daryl Smith, BAL (7 solos, 7 asst)
S Ricardo Allen, ATL (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack)
S Ibraheim Campbell, CLE (5 solos)
S Barry Church, DAL (6 solos, 4 asst)
CB Antwon Blake, PIT (8 solos, 1 INT, 1 PD)
CB Kyle Fuller, CHI (2 solos, 1 INT, 2 PD)
CB Damarious Randall, GB (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, NYG (7 solos, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 PD)
CB Logan Ryan, NE (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
CB Sean Smith, KC (5 solos, 1 INT, 3 PD)

Downgrades

DE Vic Beasley Jr, ATL (2 asst)
DE Corey Liuget, SD (0 tackles)
DE Cameron Wake, MIA (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 sack)
DT Gerald McCoy, TB (1 solo)
LB Anthony Barr, MIN (2 solos, 2 asst)
LB Jon Beason, NYG (DNP)
LB Christian Kirksey, CLE (2 solos)
LB Rey Maualuga, CIN (0 tackles)
LB Derrick Morgan, TEN (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 PD)
LB Avery Williamson, TEN (1 solo)
S T.J. McDonald, STL (3 solos, 1 asst)
S Brandon Meriweather, NYG (1 asst)
S Donte Whitner, CLE (3 solos, 1 asst)
CB Joe Haden, CLE (3 solos)
CB Rashean Mathis, DET (DNP)
CB Jerraud Powers, ARI (DNP)
CB Sam Shields (0 tackles)


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