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“Amateur Ward” Mono-A-Mono Defensive Player Style

This week, I will be trying something new. I’ll be calling it: “IDP Key Matchups”. I take defensive players pitted versus one another in actual NFL games and provide insight as to which team has the edge headed into Saturday and Sunday. If it’s successful, and readers tend to like it, I’ll stay with it. If not, I’ll simply scratch it.

This season, a lot of the divisions are very close with hardly any teams completely out of the playoff picture as of the start of Week 7. However, that will change this week as Week 7 is a pivotal week for a lot of divisional games and opportunity for teams to make a move.

Battle for division supremacy kicks off this week as the Patriots host the Jets in Foxborough. One matchup to pay particular attention to will be the the effectiveness of the Chris Ivory and the Jets’ running game, versus the ability of Brady to have success versus he Jets secondary. If the Patriots are going to keep the Jets at bay this week, Chandler Jones is going to need to be heavily involved in hitting Chris Ivory behind the line as the running back is currently averaging 3.27 yards after contact and is a major part of the Jets’ early season success. Jones has had success stopping opposing running backs thus far this season, but his biggest assignment to date will be keying in on Ivory. With six tackles for loss on the season for Jones, this should be intriguing to watch. On the flip side of the ball, it will be the ability of the Jets secondary to make life hell for Tom Brady. This makes for an interesting matchup as Julian Edelman and Darrelle Revis will square-off versus one another. Generally, it is not a good idea to start shutdown corners. However this week, Revis could be money in the bag as he is almost assured a pass defensed or two and possibly a pick. With three picks on the season, it will be interesting to see the number of times Marcus Gilchrist will be thrown at as he will be responsible for limiting the damage done in the middle of the field by a dangerous pass offense and eyeing Rob Gronkowski. He profiles as a high upside play this who could bust at the same time if the Jets fall behind too early. Winner: Patriots (Photo courtesy of ganggreennation.com) 

The Sunday Night Eagles-Panthers game is interesting for a few reasons and will feature a few players you need to keep an eye on. The Panthers and Falcons are the teams to beat in the NFC South, and with everybody in the NFC East jockeying for position, this game could define both teams’ seasons. Those fantasy owners looking for a dart in the dark this week at cornerback/safety could do worse than starting rookie Eric Rowe as he has proven to be more heavily utilized and impactful versus run heavy offenses. Versus the Panthers this week, Rowe should see a lot of time in press coverage versus Carolina’s receivers, which should open up opportunities for a nice day. His weakness is against speed and recovering versus deep threat receivers. Fortunately for him, the Panthers don’t have a true deep threat, so he will be able to come up and contest for the ball. Looking at the flip side of this matchup, the Eagles offense is very hard to predict week to week, and have a horrible matchup versus a nasty Panthers defensive line and defense in general. Philly’s patience seems to be wearing thin with Bradford calling the plays, so do not be surprised to see a heavy dose of DeMarco Murray this week. It is time to get to know the Panthers rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson as he will put his imprint on this game using his versatility and ability to diagnose. He is the man swallowed up on a line headed by Kuechly and Davis, but Thompson is due for a big game, and what a better place to start than versus a suspect protection line and inconsistent QB. Enjoy the production! Winner: Panthers (Photo courtesy of panthersodds.com)

No Indianapolis, we don’t need to see anymore of your trick plays after last week’s epic fail versus the Patriots on national TV in Primetime. Although the Colts lost to the Patriots, there were some positives, they showed signs of getting back on track in a weak AFC South, and will face a struggling Saints offense that is coming off a much needed win to save their season in the SuperDome last week versus Atlanta. This week in Indianapolis, go ahead and sit Cameron Jordan as he will drop off dramatically after his breakout performance last week versus Atlanta. Frank Gore has been one of the most efficient running backs of late, second only to the Falcons Devonta Freeman, and Andrew Luck is a better pure passer than Ryan, likely limiting the effectiveness of Jordan. While it is feasible to think Jordan will snag a tackle for loss, his ceiling is around eight points this week. If the Colts want to hope to disrupt Drew Brees’ mojo this week, they will need Jerrell Freeman to work effectively in tangent with D’Qwell jackson to stop the run game and apply pressure on Brees. While he is not a sack threat, Freeman is a tackling machine who can disrupt the run game at a moment’s notice. Those who are counting Freeman this week, you are looking at a decent starting option. Winner: Colts (Photo courtesy of colts.com)

This morning on SportsCenter, analysts were comparing the Falcons and Panthers defenses. The difference was, they said that the Falcons are entirely contingent upon the big play to create turnovers. If that is indeed the case, this week’s match with Tennessee is a juicy as the Titans offense has been generous giving away the ball this season. Without starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Titans will be reliant on the less accurate, more turnover-friendly Zach Mettenberger. With no true top receiver in Tennessee and ballhawk Desmond Trufant lurking, don’t be surprised if Trufant goes off and Atlanta has this  in the bag by halftime. This week, you feel bad for the Titans defensive line as they have to mess with the hottest running back on the planet right now, in Devonta Freeman and worry about Julio going off for 100+ yards versus them in the second game. The key to hanging with the Falcons, as the Redskins and Saints have shown the last two weeks, is limiting the damage through the air. With that said, the key limiting the damage Jones and Ryan can do is to apply pressure, pressure, and more pressure on Matt Ryan; something the Titans have struggled with at times this season. So, while they may have the top ranked secondary to this point in the season, if Zach Brown and Derrick Morgan cannot apply pressure and force Freeman inside, the Falcons pass game opens up and the rest will be history. The Falcons like to pass the rock, but if Brown and Morgan can get to Ryan a couple times in the first quarter, it makes for an interesting game. That is a big IF though. Both LBs are high upside, low floor players this week. Winner: Falcons (Photo courtesy of goheels.com)

Standard League Scoring

The Redskins defense is a must start this week as they face off versus the Buccaneers in Washington and are showing signs of being one of the defenses on the rise this season. Jameis Winson is struggling to figure out how to utilize Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans and learn the offense, and the Redskins will likely deploy the same strategy they did versus the Falcons in their near upset win in Atlanta: play hard coverage versus Evans and make other players beat them. The difference between Atlanta and Tampa Bay (among others) is that the Buccaneers do not have one Devonta Freeman to shove down the defense’s throat. The Redskins linebacker core is young, and that Preston Smtih kid has phenomenal upside.

Avoid the Oakland Raiders defense like the black plague for two reasons: Melvin Gordon and Phillip Rivers. Gordon has not lived up to expectations…yet in his rookie season, but he is due for a big game and he might be able to find success versus the tenacious, nasty Raiders run defense. In order to keep this one close, the Raiders have to key in on stopping Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green and Danny Woodhead in the pass game. They can’t cover ’em all, so the Chargers will likely deploy a pass heavy game plan early to open lanes for Gordon to produce a potential 100 yard game.

Thanks for tuning in and leave your feedback on this format as I love experimenting with new styles to find one that is most appeleaing to fantasy owners and sports fans alike. You know where to find me, and good luck this week!`

I am a recent college graduate from a small liberal arts school in Atlanta, GA. I'm a sports junkie and a diehard Atlanta sports fan.

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