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IDP Start em, Sit em – Week 15 (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
Dec 17, 2020

Week 15 is upon us. 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 Week 15’s contests.

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Start em

Cory Littleton (LB – LV)
Cory Littleton has been a major disappointment for most of the season and things took a turn for the worse when he returned from injury only to learn that Nicholas Morrow had stolen his job. Littleton has been held under 60 percent of the snaps in each of the three games since his return while Morrow played 99 percent of the snaps. However, with Nicholas Morrow in concussion protocol and the Raiders playing on Thursday night, there is a strong likelihood that Littleton will be back to an every snap role. His inconsistent play means he is more LB3 than LB2 but he has proven LB1 upside and may be more motivated than ever after losing his job to someone who was supposed to be his backup. Littleton can be counted as an LB3 with LB2 upside for a plus matchup against a Los Angeles Chargers team surrendering the 10th most fantasy points to the linebacker position. Start him where possible.  

Dre Greenlaw (LB – SF)
Dre Greenlaw took over for the departed Kwon Alexander at middle linebacker and has been a consistent LB3 ever since. Somehow, he remains on the wire in 92 percent of Yahoo leagues. Greenlaw has a wonderful Week 15 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, that fantasy managers should be looking to pounce on. The Cowboys have surrendered the seventh most fantasy points to the linebacker position, giving Greenlaw LB2 upside for Week 15. Greenlaw could very well take advantage of the plus matchup to be a difference-maker in the fantasy semifinals, so start him where possible, even if it means adding him off the wire to do so. 

Kwon Alexander (LB – NO)
Kwon Alexander has been a terrific fit in New Orleans, unfortunately, his on-field impact has not translated to the IDP arena. Heading into Week 14, he had three or fewer solos, and four or fewer total tackles in each of his contests since joining the team. He turned it on in Week 14, recording four solos, three assists, one forced fumble, and one QB hit. Kwon has a tough Week 15 matchup that could cause many to shy away from him, but he should be provided with more than enough tackle opportunities against Kansas City to make good on being pegged as an LB3 with LB2 upside. Deep league managers should start Kwon with confidence now that he has finally started to resemble the Kwon fantasy managers thought they were going to see before the season began. 

Kamren Curl (S – WAS)
Jabrill Peppers and Adrian Phillips, two of our other hot pickups at defensive backs for this week and a number of weeks prior, are both must starts for Week 15, but the same can be said for Kamren Curl. Curl continues to impress, and had his best game yet in Week 14, recording seven solo tackles, one interception, two passes defended, and one touchdown in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers. He has been the DB2 overall and the DB4 in fantasy points per game since he took over for an injured Landon Collins and needs to be started in all competitive formats. He has a tough Week 15 opponent in the Seattle Seahawks, but Curl has bullied his way into the must-start DB1 conversation. He may not be a sexy play with name equity, but has been consistent enough that no fantasy manager should think twice about riding with Curl for Week 15.

Olivier Vernon (DE – CLE)
Olivier Vernon has started to regain the form that made him a household IDP name in the first place. He was excellent in Week 14 racking u two solos, one assist, two sacks, two tackles for loss, and two QB hits. Vernon recorded zero sacks through his first five games but has exploded for seven in his last six games. His sacks have come in bunches, as all of his sacks have come in three contests, so we are looking for plus matchups. Vernon gets a revenge game against an extremely vulnerable New York Giants offensive line in Week 15 that just donated eight sacks to the depleted Arizona Cardinals pass rush. The incredible matchup puts Vernon on the DL1 periphery for Week 15. Start him wherever possible. 

Sit em

Aldon Smith (DE/LB – DAL)
Aldon Smith versus the San Francisco 49ers is a wonderful narrative, but narratives are not to be chased in the fantasy playoffs. For those of you who may not remember, Aldon was an All-Pro edge rusher for the San Francisco 49ers back in 2012, recording a stunning 19.5 sacks, just a year after a 14 sack rookie season. The 49ers have allowed the 10th most fantasy points to the defensive end position, unfortunately, Aldon’s play has fallen off a cliff since the first three weeks of the season. He has just one sack since Week 4, just two tackles for loss, and has been held under three solos in every contest. Week 14 was his opportunity to show that he was going to be able to take advantage of a cupcake of a late season schedule, but outside of a fumble recovery touchdown, Aldon once again looked like waiver wire fodder. If you do not play in an ocean deep league, you can likely find multiple superior options for semifinals week. Do your team a favor and seek them out over Aldon. 

Eric Murray (S – HOU)
Eric Murray went bonkers in Week 14, racking up 10 solos, one assist, two sacks, and two tackles for loss against the hapless Chicago Bears. He was able to amass as many solo tackles in one game than he did in his previous five weeks combined. The two sacks matched his career total coming into the game. Suffice it to say that Eric Murray should not be trusted for Week 15 despite a wonderful matchup against an Indianapolis Colts team allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to the safety position. If you play in a 20 team, 11 vs. 11 league, by all means, take the gamble. Failing that, fantasy managers should not look to chase his Week 14 performance and use his plus semifinals week as justification. The stakes are too high at this point of the year to trust him as anything more than a desperation play. Keep Murray benched for Week 15. 

Darnell Savage (S – GB)
Savage went off in Week 14, recording eight solos, one sack, and one tackle for loss. He is a weird name to include here since he had not been playing at a high enough level to be on IDP radars, but after an excellent outing against Detroit, with a plus matchup against a Carolina Panthers team allowing the 13th most fantasy points to the safety position on tap, some fantasy managers may be considering starting him. Don’t. Savage recorded five or more solos just twice all season prior to Week 14, and should not be an option outside of the deepest of leagues. You can do better. 

Kenny Young (LB – LAR)
After eight straight weeks of seeing fewer than 50 percent of the snaps, Young saw 69 percent in Week 14 and was able to parlay it into LB1 production. Young was one of the top linebackers of the week, recording six solos, two assists, one sack, one tackle for loss, one interception, one pass defended, and one touchdown. Young was spectacular against New England, but will likely be back to the 25-30 percent snap range he had seen the prior few weeks. He cannot be trusted to see such a heavy workload again making him impossible to trust for fantasy football’s semifinals week. 

Sione Takitaki (LB – CLE)
Sione Takitaki flashed back onto the IDP radar in Week 14, racking up three solos, two assists, one sack, one tackle for loss, and one QB hit against the Baltimore Ravens. He is still being held under 50 percent of the snaps, making him impossible to trust for Week 15. Takitaki played 47 percent of the snaps in Week 14, marking his highest snap count since Week 3. He appears to like playing against Baltimore as both of his top fantasy games of the season came when battling the division rival. There may be some inclination to start him from fantasy managers who remember him as a waiver add from early in the season, but he should remain glued to benches for Week 15. Semifinals week is not the time to trust players with such a low floor. Look elsewhere.

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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