IDP Start em, Sit em – Week 7 (2020 Fantasy Football)
Week 7 is upon us. The New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles put on a more entertaining contest than many could have hoped for and it was full of IDP goodness. Blake Martinez put up his usual LB1 numbers, and hot starts like Dexter Lawrence, Markus Golden, and Derek Barnett all made good on their plus matchups by recording a sack. Brandon Graham also made good on his plus matchup with three solos, one assist, one sack, two tackles for loss, and one QB hit. Hopefully, the rest of Week 7 goes as smoothly.
In deeper IDP leagues that do not treat the position as purely a novelty, deciding who to sit and who to start often becomes a challenge. With that in mind, we will take a look at a few players we should both be started and sat in IDP leagues. We will try to avoid the obvious such as starting Devin White or Myles Garrett and instead focus on players who will actually be debated for this weekend’s contests.
Robert Spillane (LB – PIT)
Spillane saw 53 percent of the snaps in Week 6, racking up five solos, one assist, and one tackle for loss. He saw playing time directly after Devin Bush went down and appears set to absorb the bulk of his snaps. He is an LB3 option for now but could be bumped to the LB2 ranks if he continues to produce. Here is what head coach Mike Tomlin had to say about Spillane:
“We’ve got a great deal of confidence in Robert, and we’ll largely go with him in the replacement of Devin,” Tomlin said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Through game planning we will look at options in terms of dividing the labor, but Robert will be the primary man responsible for replacing Devin. We’re excited about watching him play and play to the standard of our expectations.”
Spillane is going to have a tough test in his first game as a starter as the Steelers will take on the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. We are excited to see what he can do with a starter’s role and expect him to be extremely busy trying to stop Derrick Henry and the Titans running game. He should get some tackles against the passing game as well, but the run is where he is going to need to hang his hat in Week 7. Consider him an LB3 with LB2 upside due to the bye week crunch.
Ja’Whaun Bentley (LB – NE)
Ja’Whaun Bentley exploded for eight solos, four assists, 0.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, and two QB hits in Week 6. He played 95 percent of the snaps and has played over 80 percent of the snaps every week this season. Week 6 was his first LB1 level outing, but this could be a sign of things to come. He is worth a start in competitive IDP leagues due to having a juicy matchup on deck against a 49ers offense surrendering the second-most fantasy points to the linebacker position. Consider him an LB3 with LB2 upside due to the plus matchup. Start him where needed.
Taylor Rapp (S – LAR)
Rapp is an excellent play while Jordan Fuller is on short-term injured reserve. Rapp was an excellent IDP option as a rookie, even working his way into the DB1 conversation. He lost his job this offseason to rookie Jordan Fuller as Rapp was sidelined with an injury. Fuller has proved to be a superior schematic fit for the Rams, but for IDP managers, it is still Rapp who is the superior option. He will likely go back to the bench when Fuller returns from I.R. but is a borderline DB1 for Week 7 against a Chicago Bears team relinquishing the seventh-most fantasy points to the safety position. Get everything out of Rapp that you can before he is frustratingly sent back to the bench. If only Sean McVay would make his playing time choices based on IDP production.
Adrian Phillips (S – NE)
Former All-Pro Adrian Phillips continues to produce and is worth a long, hard look in Week 7. He gets a 49ers offense relinquishing the ninth most fantasy points to the safety position, giving him DB1 level upside this weekend. Phillips had a DB1 outing in Week 6 with five solos, six assists, and two tackles for loss, marking his second DB1 level performance of the season. He has recorded five or more solos in three of his five contests, racking up eight or more total tackles in each of those contests. Start him as a DB2 option with the aforementioned DB1 level upside against the San Francisco 49ers.
Trey Flowers (DE – DET)
No stranger to being an impact IDP option, Trey Flowers has worked his way back into the DL2 conversation. He started the season slowly, notching just one sack in his first four games, but racked up two solos, three assists, one sack, one tackle for loss, one QB hit, and one forced fumble in Week 6 against the Jaguars. Flowers is dealing with a wrist injury, but if he is active he is a must-start this week. Flowers has recorded at least 6.5 sacks in every season since his rookie year and is a DE2/DL2 option with DE1 upside for his Week 7 matchup against an Atlanta Falcons offense surrendering the third most fantasy points to the defensive end position.
Willie Gay Jr. (LB – KC)
One week after recording a standout five solos, one assist, one sack, one tackle for loss, and one QB hit against the Las Vegas Raiders on 47 percent of the snaps in Week 5, Gay was back to being a rumor, as he saw just three total snaps. It could have been due to the packages the Chiefs were using against the Bills, but what is clear is that he played behind both Damien Wilson (44 percent of the snaps ) and Ben Niemann (35 percent of the snaps). One of the top cover linebacker prospects in college football in 2019, Gay should work his way onto the field sooner rather than later, but we are going to need to see him string together two outings of more than 50 percent of the snaps before recommending him in this column again. Gay is a future IDP star, so he is worth the continued stash if you have the roster space, but fantasy managers, even in the deepest of leagues, would do well to keep him benched indefinitely.
Germaine Pratt (LB – CIN)
We thought Germaine Pratt would be safe due to his upside in coverage and that Josh Bynes would be safe due to his veteran leadership. Only six weeks into the season and boy were we wrong. Pratt played just 59 percent of the snaps in Week 6 with the Bengals continuing to put rookies Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither on the field in what is almost a platoon with Bynes and Pratt. Pratt managed just two solos and one tackle for loss in Week 6 and is quickly losing the LB2 tag he came into the season with.
He has fallen to LB3 territory and has an LB5 floor. He is an LB2 through and through when seeing 75 percent or more of the snaps, but the reduced role is affecting his weekly floor. He is a fade this week if you have comparable options despite facing a Browns team relinquishing the 10th most fantasy points to the linebacker position. He is obviously a start if you have no other similar options, but even players listed above like Bentley and Spillane should be started over Pratt for Week 7.
Chris Banjo (S – ARI)
Chris Banjo is going to be hard to trust on Sunday night despite facing a Seattle Seahawks team relinquishing the second most fantasy points to the safety position. He played zero defensive snaps in his first game back from injury. Deionte Thompson played 94 percent of the snaps and may have permanently supplanted Banjo as the starter. Banjo offers more than Deionte in coverage, but Thompson is superior near the line of scrimmage against both the run and the pass and is also a superior overall talent. Let this situation play itself out before inserting Banjo back into lineups. Keep him on benches for Week 7 against Seattle.
Jamel Dean (CB – TB)
The speedy corner started out the 2020 season hot, recording five or more solos in each of his first three contests. However, he has failed to record more than two solos over the last three weeks as is no longer an option in DB leagues for Week 7. He is still worth a look in CB leagues, but those in DB leagues need to be careful not to chase his Week 6 point production. Despite managing just one solo and one assist, Dean put up a DB1 level outing thanks to the pick-six of Aaron Rodgers. It was his first interception of the season and the third of his career. Keep him glued to benches in DB leagues for Week 7 despite a tasty matchup against a Las Vegas Raiders offense surrendering the 13th most fantasy points to the cornerback position.
K’Lavon Chaisson (DE – JAC)
So here I was clamoring for K’Lavon Chaisson to see increased snaps, even going as far as to call the Jaguars coaching staff just about every synonym for inept I could think of for not doing so. So how did Chaisson respond when thrust into a larger role due to Josh Allen‘s injury? He did not even show up on the boxscore in Week 6, getting completely blanked on 72 percent of the snaps. He was barely better in Week 5, managing just one assist and one pass defended despite playing 82 percent of the snaps. He is too talented not to get it going eventually, but it is clear that he is not ready to be the Jaguars top pass rusher. Likely to see his snaps drastically reduced when Allen returns and ineffective with him out of the lineup, send him back to benches despite the byes and a plus matchup against a Chargers team surrendering the third most fantasy points to the defensive end position.
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