IDP Upgrades and Downgrades: Week 12

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

This article attempts to immediately highlight defensive players whose production was significantly better or worse than normally expected for the prior week of games. 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 

NEW ORLEANS @ CAROLINA

Upgrades:

DE Mario Addison, CAR (2 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 1 FF, 1 FR)
The Panthers sacked Drew Brees three times, and 2 of them were credited to Addison. He currently leads the team with 6.5 sacks, and 5 of those have come in the last 3 games. Unfortunately, he left the game early with a foot injury and it sounds like his status for next week is in doubt, so check the injury news for updates.

Downgrades:

LB Luke Kuechly, CAR (8 solos, 6 asst, 1 TFL, 1 PD)
Anybody watching on Thursday night saw Kuechly in tears as he was carted off the field. He played 66 snaps but suffered a concussion that is likely to keep him out for awhile. He missed 3 games to a concussion last season, and the team will need to be careful not to rush him back to soon even though every game is a must-win for them.

BUFFALO @ CINCINNATI

Upgrades:

DT Marcell Dareus, BUF (2 solos, 2 asst, .5 sack, 1 QH, 1 PD)
In just his second game of the season, Dareus made a huge impact in the 49 snaps (67%) he was able to play. As the game wore on, it became readily apparent that the Bengals could not block him and he helped limit them to an average of 3.4 yards on 27 attempts.  As long as his hamstring injury is behind him, we can likely expect DT1 numbers the rest of the way.

CB Stephon Gilmore, BUF (5 solos, 1 asst, 2 INT, 3 PD)
This has been a very disappointing season for Gilmore as he heads into free agency this offseason. While he’s never been a great playmaker, he had earned a reputation for being a very capable shutdown corner but he has given up far too many big plays this year. He earned some redemption on Sunday, however, as he picked off two passes and came very close to returning one of them for a touchdown. He can still make himself a lot of money with a strong finish.

Downgrades:

S Robert Blanton, BUF (1 solo)
Blanton was not in the starting lineup this week as he was demoted to a time share with newcomer James Ihedigbo.  He still managed to see 48 snaps (66%) before leaving with a foot injury, but was not very productive. Given that he’s doubtful to play next week against Jacksonville, there’s now an opening for Ihedigbo to possibly stake a claim to the position.

S Shawn Williams, CIN (1 solo, 1 asst)
Williams only lasted 22 snaps (34%) before leaving with a hamstring injury. Initial reports indicated it was not serious and that he’s considered day to day. Derron Smith took his place in the second half, but wasn’t much more productive with 2 assisted tackles and a pass deflection.

PITTSBURGH @ CLEVELAND

Upgrades:

DE Stephon Tuitt, PIT (4 solos, 2 asst, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 4 QH)
The injury to Cameron Heyward didn’t slow down Tuitt as he posted his best game of the season. It came against the Browns, but still warrants a mention here. In 51 snaps (77%), he picked up 2.5 sacks and all 3.5 of his sacks have come in the past two games. He’ll get a chance to keep the momentum going against the Colts on Thanksgiving, as they are expected to be without Andrew Luck.

CB Artie Burns, PIT (3 solos, 1 INT, 3 PD)
The rookie 1st round pick has been seeing a lot of action as teams continue to test him. So far, he is holding up well as he picked off his 2nd pass of the last 3 weeks and also has 10 solos and 5 passes defensed in that same span.

Downgrades:

None

BALTIMORE @ DALLAS

Upgrades:

CB Shareece Wright, BAL (6 solos, 1 asst, 2 PD)
Wright has missed the past month due to injury, but he played the entire game as the Ravens were missing Jimmy Smith. Wright was productive earlier this year, as teams found success throwing against him so as long as he’s in the lineup he’s probably worthy of consideration for CB streamers.

Downgrades:

None

JACKSONVILLE @ DETROIT

Upgrades:

None

Downgrades:

DE Dante Fowler, JAX (1 solo, 1 TFL)
Fowler reported this week that he has been dealing with a shoulder injury since week 3. That may help explain the lack of production as he’s done very little since posting 2 sacks back in week 2. He remains a big piece of the Jaguars future, but it’s starting to look like we’ll need to wait until 2017 to see him start to fulfill his potential.

LB Tahir Whitehead, DET (2 solos, 1 asst)
Whitehead has been one of the few reliable fantasy options on the Lions defense this year, but he put up a clunker on Sunday. He was on the field for all 66 defensive snaps and the Jaguars ran the ball 27 times, but Whitehead was only credited with 3 tackles. Now it also looks like DeAndre Levy could return as early as Thanksgiving day, so that may also eat into Whitehead’s production.

TENNESSEE @ INDIANAPOLIS

Upgrades:

LB Edwin Jackson, IND (3 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 QH)
Jackson is getting a long look at inside linebacker for the Colts and showing some signs that he could stick there long term. Over his last 3 games, Jackson has been credited with 11 solos, 4 assists, and 2 sacks. The Colts have been looking for a Jerrell Freeman replacement inside, and Jackson looks like a linebacker who can do everything pretty well.

CB Rashaan Melvin, IND (11 solos, 2 PD)
Melvin is does not shy from contact and that’s generally what you look for in a fantasy cornerback. He can come up and support the run as he did this week against Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray, which helped lead to his 11 solo tackle game. He’s getting a chance to play a lot every week, and figures to see plenty of targets as long as he’s playing opposite Vontae Davis.

Downgrades:

CB Jason McCourty, TEN (1 solo)
CB Perrish Cox, TEN (1 solo)
Both Titans corners have been among the most consistently productive players at their position all year. Neither player showed up this week, however, as they contributed to the Colts putting up 262 yards passing on just 15 completions.

TAMPA BAY @ KANSAS CITY

Upgrades:

LB Justin Houston, KC (2 solos, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Houston returned to action this week and managed to play basically a full workload as he was on the field for 55 snaps (71%).  Meanwhile, Dee Ford left the game in the second half with a hamstring injury, but there is a lot of potential here if the Chiefs can get both guys healthy at the same time.

CB Steven Nelson, KC (7 solos, 1 PD, 1 FR)
With Marcus Peters out this week, it fell on Nelson to try and slow down Mike Evans and the Buccaneers. The 2nd year pro has been seeing a lot of targets lately as teams have shied away from targeting Peters as much, and he has responded with 15 solos and 7 passes defensed over the last 4 games.

Downgrades:

DE Robert Ayers, TB (1 asst, 1 QH)
It looks like last week (5 solos, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF) was a mirage as Ayers came crashing back to Earth with another disappointing outing this week.

ARIZONA @ MINNESOTA

Upgrades:

CB Xavier Rhodes, MIN (2 solos, 1 asst, 2 INT, 2 PD, 1 TD)
Rhodes was in the concussion protocol last week, but was cleared in time to play and posted perhaps the biggest game among all IDPs in the league. He picked off two passes, and returned one 100 yards for a touchdown. Rhodes has emerged as a legit shutdown corner for the Vikings this year, but still sees enough targets his way to be a reliable fantasy starter.

Downgrades:

LB Marcus Golden, ARI (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
This has been a very strange year for Golden. He posted 6 sacks in his first 5 games and looked like he was ready to stake a claim as one of the league’s best young pass rushers. Since then, however, he has been held without any sacks over his last 5 games. There hasn’t been any obvious change in his playing time or with the way he’s been used, and the presence of players like Chandler Jones (3 sacks in his last 2 games) should draw most of the blocking attention.

CHICAGO @ NY GIANTS

Upgrades:

DE Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG (4 solos, 1 asst, 2.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 3 QH, 1 PD, 1 FF)
While he hasn’t always looked as effective as he did pre-injury, Pierre-Paul turned back the clock this week as he piled up 2.5 sacks against the Bears. That equals his sack total for his past 17 post-injury games combined. He’ll get a chance to build on that with a very favorable matchup against the Browns next week.

Downgrades:

LB Jerrell Freeman, CHI (8 solos, 2 asst, 1 PD)
Freeman has been a nice pickup for the Bears, but it looks like his fantasy season could be over for most owners. He was handed a 4-game suspension as a result of violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. His absence should help Danny Trevathan, but Christian Jones figures to see the largest bump in playing time.

MIAMI @ LOS ANGELES

Upgrades:

LB Kiko Alonso, MIA (6 solos, 2 asst, 1 FF, 1 FR)
The Dolphins appear to have found a MLB to build around, as Alonso continues to post steady numbers each and every week. Alonso isn’t getting help from the stat crew in Miami the way he used to in Buffalo as a rookie, but he now has 49 solos and 30 assists over 10 games for an average of 8 combined tackles/game. With an interception and forced fumble over the past two weeks, he’s also heating up as a playmaker.

Downgrades:

None

PHILADELPHIA @ SEATTLE

Upgrades:

CB Richard Sherman, SEA (2 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Sherman has always been a willing tackler, but sometimes didn’t see enough targets to his side of the field to be relied upon as a fantasy option. With the Seattle offense starting to open things up and rely more heavily on their passing game, Sherman has also seen an uptick in his production. Over his last 4 games, he has been credited with 11 solos and 13 assists while also picking off 2 passes.

Downgrades:

CB Deshawn Shead, SEA (1 asst)
Shead has benefited like many corners before him from playing opposite Richard Sherman. He was limited to just 8 snaps this week, however, as he was forced out with a hamstring injury. Jeremy Lane replaced him.

S Rodney McLeod, PHI (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 PD)
McLeod was very productive earlier this year, but his tackle numbers have dried up of late. Over his last 3 games, he has collected just 8 solo tackles and 2 assists. Doesn’t look like he’s seeing as much time up on the box and the play from the Eagles linebackers has stabilized, which is limiting his tackle opportunities.

NEW ENGLAND @ SAN FRANCISCO

Upgrades:

S Patrick Chung, NE (7 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Given the turnover in the front 7 for the Patriots this year, Chung has emerged as perhaps their most reliable IDP option. He’s averaging nearly 6 solo tackles/game over his last 4 starts, but his fantasy upside is somewhat limited due to a lack of big plays.

Downgrades:

LB Elandon Roberts, NE (1 asst)
Many expected Roberts to step right in and fill the spot vacated by the trade of Jamie Collins to the Browns. He had 58 snaps a week ago and appeared to be headed in that direction, but this week he was limited to just 11 defensive snaps. Shea McClellin (36 snaps), and even newcomer Kyle Van Noy (29 snaps) saw more time than Roberts. Roberts still has more upside than those other players and is likely worth holding if you can spare the roster spot.

GREEN BAY @ WASHINGTON

Upgrades:

LB Su’a Cravens, WAS (3 solos, 2 asst, 1 TFL, 1 PD)
Cravens got his second start of the season, and the rookie looked impressive. He took over at ILB in place of the veteran Mason Foster and provided a nice boost of speed to the middle of the defense. The hybrid safety/linebacker has exciting potential due to his cover skills and playmaking ability, and it’s likely that Washington is grooming him for a bigger role.

Downgrades:

LB Mason Foster, WAS (1 asst, 1 QH)
Foster has posted some solid numbers this year, but it looks like his role could be reduced significantly due to the emergence of Cravens. Foster was only on the field for 7 defensive snaps this week, while Cravens handled 60.


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