The final week of teams on bye is finally upon us. The only two teams not taking the field this week are the Chiefs and Rams, who will recover from their 105-point shootout on MNF.
Let’s take a look at how last week’s IDP recommendations panned out in week 11:
Starts: Jason Pierre-Paul (7 TT, 1.5 Sacks) Takkarist McKinley (2 TT) Jatavis Brown (8 TT) Nigel Bradham (5 TT) Adrian Phillips (6 TT)
Verdict: A strong performance from JPP lead this group of five, but a very solid week all around: 3/5 Hit
Sits: Chris Jones (6 TT, 2 Sacks) Brandon Graham (1 Tackle) Jordan Evans (2 TT) Von Miller (1 TT, 1 Sack, 1 INT) Justin Evans (DNP)
Verdict: Big miss coming on MNF with Chris Jones, Von Miller was absent from the stat sheet for the majority of the day but did manage to make two big plays to salvage his day: 2/4 Hit
IDP STARTS OF THE WEEK
Yannick Ngakoue, DE, JAX (@ BUF)
With only six sacks through Week 11, owners of Yannick Ngakoue are most likely mildly disappointed in the production of the third-year pass rusher. At this time last season, Ngakoue had nine sacks, including four multi-sack games. This season, Ngakoue has just one game in which his stat line could be considered above average, a two-sack day against the Cowboys in Week 6. This week, Ngakoue and the Jaguars defense will head North to frigid Buffalo, where Josh Allen is fully healthy and once again under center for the Bills. In just six games played this season, Allen has been sacked 21 times at a rate of 13.1% of dropbacks, the highest amongst any qualified quarterback this season.
Randy Gregory, DE, DAL (vs. WAS)
Speaking of teams with struggling offensive lines, the Washington Redskins have two starting offensive linemen on injured reserve, and now that line is in charge of protecting backup quarterback Colt McCoy on Thursday vs. the Cowboys. Washington has allowed 11 sacks in their last three games. Only four teams have allowed more in that time span. On the other side of the line will be pass rushers Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, both of whom have performed well in the last couple of weeks. While teammate Taco Charlton has been sidelined due to injury the previous two weeks, Gregory has taken advantage with sacks in both games.
Zach Brown, LB, WAS (@ DAL)
Another player I am targeting in Thursday afternoon’s Thanksgiving Day matchup is Zach Brown of the Redskins. Brown is another player whose stat-line has been well below expectations at this point in the season, with teammate Mason Foster stealing the spotlight. This game will present an excellent opportunity for Brown and Foster to brother produce at high levels, with the Cowboys offense hitting their stride since the bye. With Ezekiel Elliot getting fed the rock, Brown should have a ceiling around double-digit tackles this week.
Tahir Whitehead, LB, OAK (@ BAL)
Although my basic rule of thumb this season has usually been to avoid Oakland players at all cost, this weekend may just be a sneaky week to play Tahir Whitehead. While he has been consistent this season, Whitehead hasn’t had any games yet this year where he blew up the stat sheet. That could change this week though as the Raiders will be in Baltimore to face Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Last week against the Bengals, Baltimore ran the ball 54 times, due in large part Jackson who received half of those carries. With that many rushing attempts, Whitehead could easily have the best game of his season to date.
Damontae Kazee, FS, ATL (@ NO)
While Falcons’ safety Damontae Kazee has seen his production diminish over the last few weeks, it isn’t due to lack of playing time or scheme change. Kazee’s free safety position will be commonly targeted this Thursday as the Falcons will be in the Superdome to face the Saints. Drew Brees has New Orleans’ offense firing on all cylinders once again this season, and I expect Kazee to have similar production to the first time the Falcons played the Saints this year when he had 10 total tackles.
IDP SITS OF THE WEEK
Cameron Wake, DE, MIA (@ IND)
Since returning from injury in Week 8, Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has looked to be in prime form once again and is back to terrorizing offensive linemen. While he does have three good games behind him, I expect his production to take a hit this week as he matches up against the hottest offensive line in football, the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck has been on fire over the last month, in large part due to the successes of the protection from his offensive line, which hasn’t allowed Luck to get sacked in the last FIVE games. While they will face a tough test this week in Wake, I have more faith in Luck and Colts coach Frank Reich to conceive a plan which will keep Luck on his feet in the pocket.
Frank Clark, DE, SEA (@ CAR)
Coming off one of his best games of the season, a two-sack night against the Packers, Frank Clark now has ten sacks on the year, fourth-most in the league. While he may be a popular play this week because of his strong performances this year, he will be facing a tough Panthers offensive line, a team which has thrived on their home field this season. Newton has been sacked thirteen games in five games away from home this season. He has only been sacked seven times in five contests at Bank of America Stadium. While this is a decision that could blow up in my face, a la Chris Jones last week, I’m sticking to it as my bold call of Week 12.
Kyle Van Noy, LB, NE (@ NYJ)
One of the hottest IDP players in the league right now is Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who posted four fantastic games before the Patriots bye in Week 11, totaling 36 tackles, 2 sacks, and scoring a special teams touchdown in those four contests. With the Patriots returning to action in Week 12, Van Noy will most likely be one of the top IDP plays this week, but I’m looking elsewhere.
Facing the Jets can be a horrendous IDP matchup for linebackers, with New York among the worst teams in the league in time of possession. The Patriots are ten-point favorites on Sunday, and I can foresee them having the ball close to two-thirds of the game, giving Van Noy and the Patriots linebackers hardly an opportunity to score. If Van Noy does manage to have a productive game, I’d expect it to be because of a forced turnover from rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, but I’m not willing to risk starting Van Noy on that alone.
Foyesade Oluokun, LB, ATL (@ NO)
While Foye Oluokun has done a fantastic job filling in for Atlanta linebacker Deion Jones while Jones was on injured reserve, it looks like Oluokun’s play time will soon come to an end for the Falcons. The rookie from Yale has outperformed teammate Duke Riley over the last two months, but Jones’ presence on the field will relegate Oluokun to just rotational duties behind Jones and De’Vondre Campbell. If for some reason Deion Jones is still unable to play on the short week of rest Thursday night, disregard the above advice and start Foye once more, but it could be for the final time this season.
Damarious Randall, FS, CLE (@ CIN)
Last but not least this week we head to a matchup in Cincinnati which honestly could go anyway. The Browns are rested coming off their Week 11 bye and look to take down divisional rival Cincinnati in what should be a heated game. Browns free safety Damarious Randall has been a safe IDP play this year, but I’m staying away this week against a Bengals offense that has struggled to stay on the field in recent weeks. In their last three games, the Bengals have averaged a paltry 22 minutes of possession, last in the league and well below the next highest team. Just like with Van Noy above, I’m not willing to risk starting Randall this week hoping for a big turnover to be the difference between a subpar performance and a worthy start.
Thank you for reading! If you’re looking for more Week 12 IDP content, check out some material from the DFF staff. Find week 12 waiver wire recommendations and stay tuned to DFF’s IDP Page for more content coming out throughout the week from our IDP crew. If you like what you’ve read, share, comment and reach out to me on Twitter @BrumleyNFL if you have any questions about IDP or anything else football related!