“The Amateur Ward” Defensive Targets: D/ST, IDP, and DFS Week #14
Week 14 will see a bunch of teams jockeying for playoff position, or flat out making it. The AFC West is wide open with three teams at 6-6 as the Raiders and Chiefs square off this week. In the NFC South, the top three teams could all make the playoffs with the Saints leading the charge, but a Thursday Night loss to the Falcons makes the division more interesting with only 3 games left. Who is in and who is out? One thing is for sure JuJu Smith-Schuster and Rob Gronkowski will both take seats this week as they are suspended one game for vicious hits. Oh, and did you hear Mike Mitchell’s pep talk on football? Is he right, or wrong? That’s for you to decide.
Chiefs D/ST FD $4800-DK $2,400: The Chiefs are looking for their first win in five weeks, and a season split with the Raiders. The Chiefs’ defense is not the problem. It is the offense that has seemingly not been clicking on all cylinders. The Chiefs’ defense has the chance to be one of the top defenses and should regain its composure versus a Raiders’ team that might be without Amari Cooper. If the Chiefs are to get back on track, it will start this week versus the Raiders in Kansas City.
Jets D/ST FD $4500-DK $3,300: The Jets like to blitz, and Trevor Siemian is horrendous versus the blitz, meaning there is some sneaky play for the Jets’ defense this week. If the Jets can get and maintain pressure on the QB this week, the Jets could post some respectable fantasy numbers. They have some playmakers to create turnovers, now it is a question of will they impose their will? Signs point to yes. They are risky, but worth the risk.
Bills D/ST FD $5300-DK $3,100: The Colts have allowed the most sacks in the league thus far this season and although the Bills defense has been abysmal four of the past five weeks, there is some upside here. The Bills have some playmakers on defense to force turnovers, so this defense should be considered a sleeper this week.
Justin Houston (LB/KC)- The past four weeks have seen Houston record exactly 1 sack. That will not be the case this week as the Chiefs take on the Raiders, whose receivers have dropped over five percent of Derek Carr’s passes. Add in, Houston is a sack artist versus a mediocre offensive line and Houston could be in for a nice day.
Chris Jones (DE-DT/KC)- Jones should be in for a nice day versus an offensive line that struggles to keep it together. Although the Raiders may not struggle in pass protection, they struggle to move the ball, which could lead to more held balls by Carr. Jones is a high risk/reward option in leagues starting only DL slots, but is worth the start in DT leagues.
Karl Joseph (S/OAK)- Joseph has been quiet the past few weeks, but that will change versus an offensive line ranking in the bottom half of the league in terms of pass protection. This should lead to increased opportunities for Joseph to pick off a pass versus a suddenly suspect Chiefs’ offense. Look for Joseph to take advantage of Alex Smith’s struggles as he
Jamal Adams (S/NYJ)- Adams is a physical safety who is good in coverage and understands his assignments. Versus the Broncos this week, he should have his opportunities to make big plays as Siemian is turnover-prone and the Broncos have been stagnant on offense. Feel free to exploit this matchup anyway you can.
Buster Skrine (CB/NYJ)- Skrine is an oft targeted corner due to his less than desirable skills at corner, and although he lacks pick numbers he racks up tackles and is showing improved ability versus the pass. Versus the Broncos, look for him to shadow their receivers and be a nuisance downfield. Even if he seems to have a quiet day, Skrine will still provide five or six tackles and should log a pass defensed versus a weak pass offense.
Brandon Marshall (LB/DEN)- Marshall is a linebacker who racks up the tackles and is a centerpiece of the Denver defense. He might be in a bit of a slump right now, but look for him to wake up versus the Jets and Josh McCown and possibly record double digit tackles. He is a high floor defensive player this week, even if he has a limited ceiling with his lack of sack appeal.
Jerry Hughes (LB-DE/BUF)- Hughes hasn’t recorded a sack since Week 4 at Atlanta, but that could all change versus the Colts this week. The Colts have allowed the most sacks this season, so this is bound to be a good matchup for the Bills to get back on track. Hughes should be viewed as a high risk/reward option, given his reliance upon sacks and stuffs, but should be a solid option this week versus a porous Indy line.
Avoid the Jaguars (FD $5200) defense versus Seattle as this could be a higher scoring affair than one would think. The Seahawks can move the ball and with a mobile QB in Russell Wilson, the Jaguars will need to limit the number of times he gets out of the pocket to scramble. Over the past 4 weeks, he has a 9:2 TD:INT ratio and has rushed for two scores in that span. The Seahawks may not have the most prolific run game, but their receivers, led by Jimmy Graham have done a good job spreading the field and getting open for Wilson to get them the ball. On the bright side for the Jaguars, with 45.0 sacks on the season, they lead the league and will be a tough out on Sunday in Jacksonville as they look poised to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. This will be a great game to watch and one that could have playoff implications in both the AFC South and NFC West.