Week 11 IDP Sleepers: Nap Your Way to a Fantasy Playoff Spot
With four more teams on bye, Gary Davenport is here with his favorite Week 11 IDP sleepers to help you plug the holes and keep your team afloat as we head toward fantasy playoff time.
If you’ve been reading my IDP Sleepers piece here at FantraxHQ, then you know three things. The first is that I’m running out of clever headlines—assuming that any of them ever were.
I’d love to tell you that I’ll try harder next week. But I know me too well.
The second is that whether it was Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor or Oakland Raiders safety Erik Harris last week, there have been some pretty significant “hits” in this column in recent weeks. That’s not a humblebrag. Or any other kind of brag. There have also been swings and misses. But there’s nothing better than getting hit up on social media by people who followed your advice and prospered as a result.
OK, there are better things. But still, it’s nice.
The third thing is that in recent weeks I’ve beat the drum pretty hard for Indianapolis Colts defensive end Jabaal Sheard, who currently sits right on the 20 percent or less ownership threshold in IDP leagues at Fantrax I established as the qualifier for inclusion in this column.
However, I’m not going to sit here and blather on about Sheard after he racked up three total tackles and a sack last week against the Miami Dolphins. I’m not going to keep going on and on about Sheard’s track record of DL2 production. I’m not going to mention that Sheard has another top-10 fantasy matchup Sunday at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m totally not going to recommend that the folks who picked up Sheard last week hold the 30-year-old for one more week.
Nope. I’m done talking about Jabaal Sheard. It’s time for some new blood.
WEEK 11 IDP SLEEPERS
Maxx Crosby – DE, Oakland Raiders (at CIN) (16 Percent Owned)
The Oakland pass rush had their best game in a long time in last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers—an Oakland team that had 13 sacks last year as a team piled up five in this game alone. Rookie Clelin Ferrell had half of those sacks, but according to Greg Bedard of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, it was fellow first-year pro Maxx Crosby who had the more impressive effort.
“While Ferrell got the sacks,” Bedard said, “Crosby had the most pressure. He generated 10 quarterback pressures — the most by any Raiders player in a game since 2016, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Crosby’s pressure forced two of the Chargers’ three interceptions. Ferrell had five total pressures, including his 2½ sacks.”
Crosby didn’t post a stat line like Ferrell last week (3 tackles and half a sack), but he wasn’t cat food either. Both young defensive ends should be able to keep the positive momentum going Sunday against a Cincinnati Bengals team starting a rookie quarterback behind a patchwork offensive line.
Derek Wolfe – DE, Denver Broncos (at MIN) (14 Percent Owned)
Wolfe has certainly taken to Vic Fangio’s defense in 2019—the 29-year-old defensive end is on pace to end his contract season with a career-high nine sacks. It’s a season that will likely wind up being quite profitable for Wolfe, and as Jon Heath reported for Broncos Wire Wolfe was feeling good after a five-tackle, one-sack effort against the Browns two weeks ago.
“I’m healthy [and] I think Vic’s defense and defensive calls are top-notch,” Wolfe said. “He’s making good calls in the right situations and putting me in the right situations as well. Today I just came free, they didn’t block me. That’s the easiest way to get there [to the quarterback], the hard part is bringing them down. I missed a lot like that last year but being able to bring them to the ground this year definitely feels good.”
Wolfe’s up to 27 total tackles and five sacks after nine games this year—just one off his career-high in the latter category. Over his last four games (Weeks 6-9) only Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa had more fantasy points in some scoring systems than Wolfe, who gets a Vikings team Sunday that’s 12th in fantasy points given up to defensive linemen in 2019.
Nick Kwiatkoski – ILB, Chicago Bears (at LAR) (6 Percent Owned)
After Danny Trevathan went down with a gnarly-looking elbow injury early in last week’s win over the Detroit Lions, Chicago’s super-sub linebacker was once again pressed into action. Per Bryan Perez of NBC Sports Chicago, as he has so many times in the past, the fourth-year veteran stepped up and had a big game in relief.
“Kwiatkoski dominated the Lions offense to the tune of nine tackles, a sack, and an interception,” Perez said. “It was the second time this season that he stepped up in what could’ve been a crisis for the Bears defense. In Week 4 against the Vikings, Kwiatkoski filled-in for Roquan Smith who was deactivated shortly before kickoff for reasons still unknown. He was fantastic in that game, too. But Kwiatkoski’s performance on Sunday was borderline special. In fact, he was so good that he earned Pro Football Focus’ highest grade of any linebacker in the NFL in Week 10 with a 92.4.”
Kwiatkoski’s Week 11 matchup admittedly is far from ideal—the Rams rank in the bottom-seven of the NFL in fantasy points given up to linebackers. But after what Kwiatkoski did last week and given his track record of production when called upon in the past, IDP owners in a bind at linebacker would be hard-pressed to find a better fill-in.
Germaine Pratt – ILB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. OAK) (16 Percent Owned)
The Bengals defense has been hot garbage all season long, but it still came as a surprise when the team released veteran linebacker Preston Brown earlier this week. It’s a move that means a lot more snaps for rookie linebacker Germaine Pratt, who told Laurel Pfahler of the Dayton Daily News that he knows he needs to step up his game PDQ.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to be out here, being able to play the game I love,” Pratt said. “I think that’s great that they have the confidence behind me to give me the opportunity to play. I feel like it’s a call for everyone in the group. I think everybody should take it personally. We aren’t getting the job done. Now we’re getting paid to do our job and (coach Zac Taylor) made comments to step up, so one of us has to step up, or really all of us have to step up.”
There are actually a couple of young linebackers who should play full-time in this game who are sitting at 16 percent ownership at Fantrax. Whether it’s with Pratt or Nicholas Morrow of the Raiders, there are a lot of tackle opportunities in this matchup sitting on waiver wires.
Marcus Williams – S, New Orleans Saints (10 Percent Owned)
The New Orleans Saints have one of the most balanced and talented rosters in the NFL, with talent galore on both sides of the ball—whether it’s Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara on offense or Cameron Jordan and Marshon Lattimore on defense. But as John Sigler wrote for Saints Wire, per the rankers at Pro Football Focus it’s safety Marcus Williams who has been the Saints best player this year.
“Everyone loves Marshon Lattimore,” they said, “but it’s Williams who takes the cake for New Orleans right now. The third-year Utah product has earned an impressive 80.8 run-defense grade and an even better 91.1 coverage grade so far this season. Among the 69 safeties with 10 or more targets in Weeks 1-10, Williams ranks first in completion percentage allowed (46.2%) and total yards allowed (51). He has also recorded three dropped interceptions in addition to his three caught interceptions.”
Williams, who is best known as the defensive back who surrendered the “Minneapolis Miracle,” tallied seven total tackles with an interception in a favorable IDP matchup for DBs last week against the Atlanta Falcons. With another top-five fantasy matchup on tap Sunday in Tampa, the team leader in interceptions gets to face a quarterback in Jameis Winston who has thrown more in 2019 than any signal-caller in the league.
Khari Willis – S, Indianapolis Colts (vs. JAX) (15 Percent Owned)
Willis was rather forced into the starting lineup earlier this season when both Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers got hurt. But as Kevin Hickey wrote for Colts Wire, the more time that the rookie from Michigan State spent on the field, the harder it became for the Colts to justify taking him back off of it.
“Yeah, Khari has done a great job with his playmaking ability. He knows where he fits into the defense,” said defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. “He’s really intelligent and he’s functioning well. Guys that do that – Khari or whoever that may be – are going to increase their playing time and continue to play.”
Well, Geathers is healthy now—at least so far as we know. But last week against the Miami Dolphins, Willis was on the field at strong safety for the Colts in over 90 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. The youngster turned that workload into eight total tackles (seven solo) and the starting job at strong safety appears to be his now.
Got a few IDP sleepers of your own? Let us know about them in the comments below. You don’t get to say, “I told you so,” if you don’t tell us so.
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