FF Tips

Week 7 IDP Hits

By Matt Schauf 12:56pm EDT 10/17/14

You've no doubt already seen the IDP edition of the Free Agent Focus that we run every Monday, and the defensive positions in the weekly rankings that try to reveal any matchup sleepers.

But there's a lot of other stuff going on -- beyond the injury report -- that doesn't fit into those features. So here's a quick roundup of some items I picked up during the past week of IDP research:

Patriots LBs

Jerod Mayo's season-ending knee injury rocked plenty of IDP rosters last week. Thursday night gave us our 1st look at the post-Mayo LB corps, and fantasy folks shouldn't complain.

Pro Football Focus still credited the Patriots with running primarily a 3-4 front, listing Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower as the ILB starters. Each guy played 100% of the snaps, with almost identical breakdowns. Hightower garnered 2 more pass-rushing chances (7-5), while Collins spent those 2 snaps in coverage.

Don't be surprised if that continues. The team lauded Collins' coverage ability after drafting him last year, despite the fact that he began college as a DE. But both figure to make some plays as rushers and cover guys along the way. And each racked up 13 tackles in a friendly matchup with a run-heavy Jets offense.

Both Collins and Hightower belong on IDP rosters in leagues of any depth going forward.

Chad Greenway, OLB, Vikings

Minnesota's veteran weak-side starter appears ready to return from his rib injury this week. And fill-in Gerald Hodges has been kind enough to miss the 1st 2 practice days with a hamstring injury. That should make it easy for Greenway to immediately reclaim his every-down role, joining rookie Anthony Barr as the 3-down guys. The Buffalo matchup hasn't been terrific for LB scoring so far, but Greenway should quickly become a factor again in tackle-heavy formats.

Tony Jefferson, S, Cardinals

From top-10 fantasy DB to out of the Rest of the Way rankings? How the hell does that happen?

Simple. A guy starts the year as a strong tackle producer at a volatile position and plays 100% of the Week 5 snaps ... and then trots out for just 23.1% the next game. Afterward, Cardinals coaches basically said, "Expect more of that."

A healthier Tyrann Mathieu is growing his role and brings a lot more in coverage than Jefferson, who will apparently still take part in "base" sets. Well, "base" defenses are becoming a lot like newspapers: You still see them around, but with increasing scarcity because they just don't fit as well these days.

Jefferson enjoyed a nice fantasy start, but he plays in a crowded secondary with a bunch of talented guys. Drop him anywhere.

Wesley Woodyard, LB, Titans

Like Jefferson, Woodyard's finding himself phased out in Tennessee. After missing just 1 total snap through the 1st 4 weeks, he has played 73.1% and 62.8% of the Titans' defensive snaps the past 2 weeks. Rookie LB Avery Williamson has taken over play-calling duties and is now the Titans LB to own. Don't chase after him in shallow (3 IDPs or fewer, 1-2 LB starters) leagues, though, as even Williamson isn't a 100% player yet.

Khalil Mack, OLB, Raiders

Mack might not be ready at any point this season to turn into the pass-rushing beast he was at University of Buffalo. But a breakthrough of some degree seems to be coming.

The #5 overall pick has registered at least 2 QB disruptions -- sacks, hits and hurries -- in 4 of his 5 games. That has included 4 total QB hits and 10 hurries (7 in Week 6 alone).

Those aren't huge numbers by any means, especially when you consider that he's had at least 20 pass-rushing chances in every game. But let them remind you that just because a guy doesn't have any sacks doesn't mean he's completely failing to pressure the QB.

Let's just hope that he breaks through before Week 12 so that IDP owners in sack-friendly leagues can get Mack ready for a final stretch that includes 2 matchups with the Chiefs and 1 each with the Rams and Bills.

Who to Sack

Speaking of pass-rushing matchups ... I got a request this week to start posting the most favorable sack matchups. Done (and will continue to do). Here are the 5 teams that have allowed the most sacks, and the 5 stingiest. You can find more depth on the positional and individual matchups and recent trends every week in the weekly rankings.

Sack Me (most sacks per game)

Jacksonville: 4.5
Minnesota: 3.8
Detroit: 3.5
St. Louis: 3.2
Pittsburgh: 3

Go Away (fewest)

Cincinnati: 0.4
Oakland: 0.8
New Orleans: 1
Baltimore: 1.2
Philadelphia: 1.2

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