“Alluhring Strategy” Secondary Opinion: Week 8 DB Targets

Dude, WTF!!! Football is the most maddening sport to predict. As fast as the Browns burst on the scene with a dominating win over the Steelers, they fall back to earth with an embarrassing loss to the Jags. Tom Brady is washed up after a blowout loss to the Chiefs. He then throws 9 TDs over the next 3 games during a 3 game win streak. The defensive backfield is even more volatile in the fantasy arena as the best “players” rarely translate to big fantasy stats. Each week we try to identify some players with opportunity and matchups to exploit. Let’s see how I did last week…

Big Hits! — Michael Griffen

Hits! — Marcus Gilchrist, EJ Gaines

Meah! — Xavier Rhodes, Husain Abdullah, Kendrick Lewis

Miss! — Corey Graham, Cortez Allen

Crash & Burn! — Byron Maxwell, Trenton Robinson

 

Position Player Team Real Deal MLFF Verdict
CB Cortez Allen PIT 5 7 Although listed as starting LCB, Allen did not start this week and his production was definitely effected. 2 Tackles and a PD was a disappointment.
CB Xavier Rhodes MIN 6.5 8 3 tackles and a PD left me expecting more.
CB Corey Graham BUF 8 4.5 After getting 69 snaps in Week 6, Graham only saw 14 snaps in Week 7. He managed 5 tackles on those 14 snaps, Dude, WTF!!!
CB Byron Maxwell SEA DNP DNP Calf injury from Week 6 keeps him out of this game
CB EJ Gaines STL 11 11 Only one impact play (PD) but I’ll take the 6 tackles from a CB
S Kendrick Lewis HOU 11.25 4.5 6 Tackles helps in tackle heavy league but was a miss with no impact plays.
S Michael Griffin TEN 21 13 10 tackles and a sack gives Griffin an nice day in any scoring format
S Trenton Robinson WSH 1.5 1 Moving on, nothing to see hear! Falling down depth chart makes him unplayable in all formats
S Husain Abdullah KC 9.75 5.5 6 tackles and no impact plays
S Marcus Gilchrist SD 15 11 7 tackles and a sack made him a decent play in Week 7

 

Admittedly, it was not as good a week as the previous. Michael Griffin was a big factor in a victory for me last week, so that hit was particularly satisfying. Moving onto Week 8. What craziness is in store for us? Let’s take a look at a few intriguing matchups where we could find some secondary gems for our fantasy teams.

 

TENNESSEE TITANS

HOUSTON TEXANS

Blidi Wreh-WilsonCB – Blidi Wreh-Wilson

Johnathan JosephCB – Johnathan Joseph

34 TK, 1 INT, 5 PDs

45 TK, 2 FF, 2 FR, 3 PDs

There should be a ton of opportunities for impact plays in this game. The Titans are starting their 6th Round draft pick, Zach Mettenberger, at QB this week for his 1st career start. Let’s be honest, JJ Watt is going to make this kid uncomfortable all day and mistakes and turnovers should ensue. Johnathan Joseph has been underperforming over the last two weeks due to a knee injury, but is probable for this game and is drooling over this matchup. Overall he has had a nice year with double-digit fantasy points (Real Deal) in his first five games. I expect him to get back on track this week with his first pick of the season and at least one pass defensed. He should be starting in all formats that use CB slots and is a safe play in IDP formats that just use DB slots. Blidi Wreh-Wilson is one of my favorite player names in the NFL. He has also developed into an impact performer in the secondary. His only issue is staying healthy and on the field already missing time with a concussion this season. He’s been extremely hot coming into this contest with 18 tackles, 1 INT and 3 PDs in his last two games.  Although Houston loves to run a balanced offensive attack and it’s dead last in the league on passing play pct (48.92%), Blidi should stay busy shadowing the emerging DeAndre Hopkins. Start Blidi in your dynasty and deep leagues and he might be a nice IDP FLEX option for those needing to cover an injury or bye.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Dwayne GratzCB – Dwayne Gratz

Reshad JonesS – Reshad Jones

22 TK, 2 PDs

17 TK, 1 INT, 3 PDs

I love the potential of Blake Bortles. I love his poise, his intangibles and his talent. That being said, he is a rookie that is usually playing from behind. Congrats on his first career win last week, but this is a new week with a new defense looking to pressure him into a few turnovers. Miami comes into this games as the 4th ranked defense in total yards allowed per game (313.7) and 5th ranked in takeaways with 1.8 per game. Reshad Jones has fresh legs after sitting out the first four games with a suspension and the Dolphins bye week in Week 5. In the two weeks since he’s been back, he has been on fire with 15 tackles, one pick and 3 PDs. I expect him to enjoy another big day against the rookie and should be started in all IDP leagues.  On the Jags side, I’m going to throw out a sleeper pick.  Dwayne Gratz is flying under the radar because he has been banged up and has done much in recent weeks. In fact, he hasn’t made an impact play since Week 2 against that Washington NFL Football Team. The other starting CB, Alan Ball, is banged up too and both participated in limited practice so far this week. Gratz is listed as questionable, but I believe he is going to play and he is going to have a decent enough game to be a nice play in deeper leagues. He probably shouldn’t be starting in 14 team or lower leagues, but could reach double digits and be a worth start in dynasty and 16+ team leagues. Miami QB, Ryan Tannehill, has had a decent season so far, but he is prone to the turnover (picks thrown in 4 of 6 games) and gives up a fair amount of sacks for a mobile QB. I like Gratz this week for two or three tackles and two impact plays that should get you into double digits for your fantasy team.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Mark BarronS – Mark Barron

Captain MunnerlynCB – Captain Munnerlyn

45 TK, 1 FR, 3 PDs

31 TK 1 PDs

This is a great matchup for fantasy secondary. One the one side you have a Rookie who had a remarkable debut but has come down to earth since. On the other side you have a talented but mistake proven sophomore in Mike Glennon. Tampa comes into this game dead last in passing yards allowed per game (294.5) and dead last in scoring defense giving up a dreadful 34.0 points per game. The one consistent performer has been Mark Barron. He will always gets you his tackles which makes him a decent play every week in tackle heavy leagues. He has been relatively quiet on the impact plays thus far with only four in six games. If the Tampa pass rush can get anything going with their talented (and underachieving) front seven, Barron has a chance to get a pick this week off Teddy B and with his tackles should get you 12-15 fantasy points this week. I like to go out on a limb each week and give you some sleeper picks. Here comes another one…”Oh Captain, my” Captain Munnerlyn. I know the sexy picks in the Vikings defensive backfield is the stud Harrison Smith and the emerging Robert Blanton. At the CB position, Cap is averaging 4.5 tackles per game and is seeing starters snaps, seemingly replacing Josh Robinson as the starting LCB. He should be shadowing VJax or Mike Evans all day and will get plenty of opportunity for some impact plays on the erratic arm of Mike Glennon (or maybe Josh McCown?). Will he take advantage of this opportunity? I can’t say for sure, but he is set up for a big week and I sense a breakout coming. Take a shot in deeper leagues or IDP leagues that require a starting CB.

ATLANTA FALCONS

DETROIT LIONS

Desmond TrufantCB – Desmond Trufant

James IhedigboS – James Ihedigbo

26 TK, 6 PDs

23 TK, 2 SK, 2 FF, 1 FR

Anyone know who has the number #1 ranked defense in the NFL? Anyone? That would be the Detroit Lions. They are the only team in the league giving up less than 300 total yards allowed per game (290.3). The are only giving up 15.0 points per game. They have a fearsome front seven, but the secondary has stepped it up this year giving the team a chance to compete despite the slew of injuries on the offensive end. One guy I haven’t talked about yet this season is James Ihedigbo. The 30 year old safety is having a great year as the starting Strong Safety. He is strong against the run as forcing two fumbles and racking up two sacks. I like his matchup against the Falcons this week as Atlanta’s offensive line has been questionable and he should have a chance to create some extra pressure and making impact plays. He should be starting in all IDP formats this week. On the Falcons side,  I going to give you another under the radar guy. Robert Alford is the CB that everyone owns, but Desmond Trufant gets a steady amount of tackles each week to be useful in leagues that require you to start a CB. He has also recorded a PD in all but one game. He is young and starting and should be all your dynasty team and a decent start this week. Despite the injuries to some of their receiving playmakers, Detroit still passes on 59.87% of offensive snaps. Opportunity is there for Trufant to hit double digits this week.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Reggie NelsonS – Reggie Nelson

Terrence BrooksS – Terrence Brooks

45 TK, 1.5 SK, 2 INT, 4 PDs

13 TK, 1 FR, 1 PDs

The once stout Cincinnati defense has been floundering to the tune of 33.7 points allowed per game over the last three games. One great performer from the Cincy defensive backfield has been safety Reggie Nelson. 45 tackles and 8 impact players make a Nelson a must start in every IDP format. The Ravens pass on about 55% of their offensive snaps as they try and maintain a balanced attack. Regardless, Nelson is involved in every play as he can cover receivers and play the run. On the other side, I love to promote rookies. Its probably because of my propensity to play in dynasty and/or 32 team leagues, but Rookies are the lifeblood to building a fantasy franchise. I talked about Terrence Brooks in my pre-season assessment of an IDP rookie to watch this season. He barely saw the field in the first few weeks, but has worked his way into a four man safety rotation in the Ravens secondary and is vulturing snaps from starters Matt Elam and Darian Stewart. In fact, Brooks played 2/3rds of the defensive snaps this past week against the Falcons. He hasn’t had the impact plays yet, but they will come with increased opportunity. With the Bengals offensive reeling from a shutout last week against the Colts, they might be trying to be aggressive this week to get something going. This will give Brooks a chance to make some plays and be sneaky start in deep leagues this week. He will likely be the best dynasty keeper by the end of the season.


Bryan Luhrs
Real Deal Dynasty Sports, Creator & Executive Commissioner
MajorLeagueFantasySports.com, Fantasy Baseball and Football Writer
http://www.realdealdynasty.com
@realdealdynasty


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