IDP Start em, Sit em – Week 14 (2020 Fantasy Football)
Week 14 is upon us. Thursday Night Football was a snooze fest from a competitive standpoint, but there was still some IDP goodness to go around. Adrian Phillips did his thing once again, the S8/DB11 coming into Week 14 recorded eight solos, two assists, and one tackle for loss. Aaron Donald did Aaron Donald things, recording 1.5 sacks. Michael Brockers joined the sack party recording two of his own. And finally, Troy Reeder was strong yet again in place of Micah Kiser. Let’s hope the rest of Week 14 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 Roquan Smith or Budda Baker and instead focus on players who will actually be debated for this weekend’s contests.
Kamren Curl (S – WAS)
The S12 since Landon Collins was lost for the season, Kamren Curl has bullied his way into must-start territory for the fantasy playoffs. His rostered numbers do not reflect his consistency or sheer IDP production, so this is yet another friendly reminder to start the Washington Football Team safety if you have him and to check your wire if you don’t. While Curl does not have the name equity, his recent production is impossible to ignore, especially when you factor in that he can make an impact as a pass rusher as well. He has a tremendous Week 14 matchup against a San Francisco 49ers team relinquishing the second most fantasy points to the safety position and needs to be started in all competitive leagues.
Kenneth Murray (LB – LAC)
Kenneth Murray has been a disappointment all season. A tantalizing rookie with LB1 tools, Murray has not been able to find any sort of consistency. Sure, the unique lack of a normal preseason and offseason has played a factor, but he has still been a letdown for those who took a chance on him as an LB2 or LB3 in their fantasy drafts. Luckily, for those of you who kept faith in his talent, Murray has got it going right when it matters most.
Murray exploded in Week 13, showing us a glimpse of his elite LB1 upside. He went off in Week 13, racking up 12 solo tackles, two assists, one sack, two tackles for loss, and one QB hit, and the game may finally be slowing down for him enough for him to be a difference-maker down the stretch.
He may be too boom or bust for the tastes of some, but for those in competitive leagues, Murray appears to be an LB2 option with an LB3 floor against the Atlanta Falcons. Start him where needed, and if you have IDP flex spots in addition to normal IDP starting spots, you would be doing your team’s chances a disservice if you did not at least consider plugging Murray in despite a tough on-paper matchup.
Avery Williamson (LB – PIT)
Avery Williamson is set to take on a larger workload with Robert Spillane sidelined and gave a taste of his upside in the Steelers defense by recording six solos, three assists, and one tackle for loss against Washington in Week 13. Williamson was productive with the Jets this season, and if his Week 13 output is any indication, he will be just as good, if not better as part of an elite defensive unit. Williamson is suddenly a high floor option who should be started where possible, even in a matchup that is not favorable on paper. Williamson can be counted as a safe floor LB3 option with LB2 upside for fantasy football’s quarterfinals week.
Romeo Okwara (DE – DET)
Romeo has cooled down from his elite seven game stretch and is back to being more of a DE2 option than a DE1 lock. He found himself back on the sack sheet in Week 13 but has a tough Week 14 matchup against a Green Bay Packers team surrendering the fewest fantasy points to the defensive end position. Still, Romeo has been playing at too high of a level to leave benched when it matters the most. The DL10 in fantasy points per game since Week 3, Romeo is a must-start option for the rest of the season, regardless of opponent.
Stephon Tuitt (DE – PIT)
Tuitt returned from the reserve/COVID list in Week 13 but has been left on the wire in far too many leagues despite this week’s waiver claims already running. Rostered in just 11 percent of Yahoo leagues, Tuitt is a must-start DL2/DE2 option regardless of opponent. Tuitt has a sack in each of his last two contests and has a sneaky plus matchup against a Buffalo Bills offensive line that has proven to be susceptible to strong pass rushes. The DL5 in fantasy points per game since Week 3, Tuitt is a strong DL2 with DE1 upside for Week 14 and needs to be started where possible.
A.J. Klein (LB – BUF)
The LB1 overall since Matt Milano went down in Week 8, A.J. Klein shined with Milano on the shelf but plays a reserve rotational role when he is healthy. Klein still managed 69 percent of the snaps in Week 13 thanks to Milano being eased back in, but managed zero solos, four assists, one QB hit, and one pass defended. He is likely to see his snaps reduced even further week by week, and should not be trusted for the fantasy playoffs.
Isaiah Simmons (LB – ARI)
Simmons continues to be underutilized now that De’Vondre Campbell is healthy again. He is somehow able to put up some serviceable numbers, but rolling with anyone playing under 40 percent of the snaps, even someone as talented as Simmons is not recommended for the fantasy playoffs. He did manage four solos and one assist in Week 13 and was even better on fewer Week 12 snaps, but expecting him to keep it up when a dud could sink your title hopes is not recommended. There are no more bye weeks. You can do better than gambling with Simmons outside of 16+ team leagues.
Darian Thompson (S – DAL)
Darian Thompson was one of the standout performers at safety in Week 13, but should not be trusted in Week 14. Thompson saw his role expanded in Week 13, and was able to parlay the increased snaps into five solos, two assists, one interception, and one pass defended. Starter Donovan Wilson missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday and may be held out of Week 14 with a groin injury. However, Thompson is not going to have a strong team like the Baltimore Ravens running the ball down the Cowboys throats, in turn providing plentiful tackle opportunities. In fact, Dallas is playing Cincinnati, who while a plus matchup in their own right, will not provide the same type of tackle upside, especially with Joe Mixon slated to be sidelined yet again. He would have been worth a play during the byes in this exact same opportunity based scenario, but with the fantasy playoffs here, Thompson is nothing more than a bench stash.
Chris Banjo (S – ARI)
Banjo had his best game of the season in Week 13, recording nine solos and one assist. He started seeing snaps again in Week 11 following Jalen Thompson getting hurt and appears on track to start for the second straight week with Jalen being unable to practice on both Wednesday and Thursday due to an ankle injury. There is a small chance Jalen returns to practice on Friday and is made active for Week 14, but the more likely scenario is an early rule out, leaving Banjo with starters snaps.
Banjo has proven effective enough to be a hot pickup earlier this season, but trusting him in the fantasy playoffs is not suggested despite the expanded role and terrific matchup. Banjo should only be a streaming option at this point of the season, and outside of the deepest of leagues, frankly, you can do better. His floor is too low, especially as we have seen the Cardinals give Banjo heavy snaps one week only to let Deionte Thompson dominate snaps the next week. This is as much about the unpredictability of the Cardinals coaches as it is about Banjo himself. Keep him benched for Week 14.
Kingsley Keke (DE – GB)
Keke went off in Week 13, recording two sacks against a decimated Philadelphia Eagles offensive line. It was his second game of the season with two sacks. Unfortunately, those are his only four sacks of the season. Even worse, he recorded just one additional tackle for loss all season. Keke has played fewer than 40 percent of the snaps for four straight weeks and is likely to stay in that role barring an injury ahead of him on the depth chart.
Chasing sacks is always tough business, but when they come in bunches from a rotational backup, they are safe to ignore. Detroit would not be a great matchup even if he were getting starter snaps, but with the limited opportunities Keke is receiving, he should be left on the wire (or benches in the deepest of leagues). Opportunity is king in fantasy football, keep Keke out of your Week 14 plans.
Steven Means (DE – ATL)
Means is more of a deep league only play, to begin with, but with three sacks in his last two contests, he is going to at least be considered by fantasy managers. A career backup forced into starts for the Falcons, Means had two sacks in a plus Week 13 matchup against the New Orleans Saints and managed one in Week 12 against the Las Vegas Raiders. He gets a Los Angeles Chargers team allowing the sixth most fantasy points to the defensive end position in Week 14, but should not be trusted despite his recent hot play. His three sacks over the last two weeks were his only ones of the season and actually match his career total. Means is a nice story but should be ignored outside of leagues where you are starting five or more defensive linemen.
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