By Jim Coventry, RotoWire Football Writer
Special to Yahoo Sports
Here’s a look at IDPs who have favorable Week 13 matchups. IDP formats can be quite different, so we’ll list players of varying levels. Some will be players found on the waiver wire while in other leagues players will be automatic starters.
Trey Flowers, Patriots at Bills – The Bills defense has become a sieve over the last month or so, which should allow the Patriots to play this game with a big lead for much of the contest. Once that happens, look for Flowers and the New England pass rush to wreak havoc on the struggling Bills O-line. Although Flowers opened the season with a splash, notching three sacks over his first three games, he’s came back to life with two sacks last week. He should be able to continue his success as long as he’s able to play after suffering a rib injury last week.
Melvin Ingram, Chargers vs. Browns – With 11 days off after their last game, the Chargers should be plenty rested and ready to put the hammer down on an inferior opponent. After a strong offensive showing in Dallas, Philip Rivers and the offense should be able to quickly put the Browns and their rearview mirror while Ingram and the Los Angeles pass rush should have plenty of opportunities to get after DeShone Kizer. With 8.5 sacks on the season, but none over his last four games, this contest should give Ingram a chance to start a hot streak down the stretch, and possibly get into double-digits in the sack column.
Mario Edwards, Raiders vs. Giants – There’s no question that Edwards has been a disappointment after recording three sacks in his first four games of the season. Since that time, he’s been unable to get any type of steady production going. Well, the solution to his recent problems will likely come in the form of a struggling Giants offense that’s been decimated along the offensive line. With New York lacking an explosive rushing attack, they should find themselves in plenty of obvious passing situations, which should allow Edwards to have a productive afternoon.
Stephon Tuitt, Steelers at Bengals – Not only did Tuitt failed to record a sack in any of his first four games of the season, he then missed three games due to injury. Since returning to the lineup, he’s been a terror against opposing QBs, as he notched a sack in each of his first two contests. He should be able to continue his hot streak against a Cincinnati O-line that’s among the worst in the league. He also should benefit from the fact that the Bengals will likely struggle to sustain any type of consistent rushing attack, which should put them in many obvious passing situations.
Robert Quinn, Rams at Cardinals – Once an elite pass rusher, Quinn no longer has many weeks in which he’s a big factor on the stat sheet. He started out the season strong, as he posted 2.5 sacks over his first four games, but he’s been mostly quiet since that time. He’ll have a strong chance to get back in the sack column in this week’s contest against the Cardinals. Not only do they have their share of struggles along the offensive line, but they’ll be playing with a second-string QB as well. Especially if the Rams get out to a lead, look for Quinn to have an opportunity to flash the form that he had shown earlier in the season by taking advantage of a vulnerable opponent.
Matthew Judon, Ravens vs. Lions – Judon was basically a ghost over the first five games of the season. Since that time, he’s had a few big games, though he still has the occasional performance in which he hardly contribute on the stat sheet. Over the last five weeks, he has a pair of games with at least seven tackles, and he also has posted five sacks. Even though this could be a lower-scoring contest, the Lions are vulnerable along their offensive line and they’ll either play with a hobbled Matthew Stafford or a backup QB. Either scenario ensures that he’ll have an outstanding chance of continuing to build on his solid recent performances.
Telvin Smith, Jaguars vs. Colts – It’s nearly impossible to write any type of IDP article without including at least one Jaguar, regardless of opponent. Although he’s had just a couple poor fantasy performance as the season, Smith posted his second-best tackle performance when he collected 10 against this unit last month. In the rematch, Smith will be at home, and not only should he be able to collect a bunch of tackles while the Jacksonville pass rush forces Jacoby Brissett to get rid of the ball quickly, but don’t be surprised if he picks off a pass as well. Also, don’t forget that this dynamic playmaker has already scored on a pair of return TDs this season, and this is just the type of matchup in which it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did so again. Be sure to watch the injury report, as he suffered a concussion last week. If he’s cleared, this is a fantastic matchup for him.
Christian Jones, Bears vs. 49ers – Playing for a below-average team, Jones hasn’t created a ton of buzz. However, those in the know have taken advantage of his outstanding production since moving into a regular spot in the Chicago lineup in Week 4. Since that time, last week was the first time he’s had fewer than seven tackles, and he’s averaging eight per contest. He hasn’t added much in the way of big plays, though he has forced a fumble and collected a sack. A home contest against the 49ers in a game that Chicago certainly could play with the lead would be just the type of game script in which Jones could thrive by making another big play to add to his strong tackle totals.
Tony Jefferson, Ravens vs. Lions – After recording nine tackles in the season opener, Jefferson has yet to post more than five tackles in any game, making him a disappointing IDP this season. He’ll be facing the Lions this week, and since they’ll be playing with either a hobbled Matthew Stafford or a backup at QB, they’ll likely call for many pass plays over the middle of the field to add an element of safety to the offense. That would be exactly the type of attack that would allow Jefferson to not only post quite a few tackles, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was able to force a fumble or pick off a pass as well.
Patrick Chung, Patriots at Bills – Despite playing this one on the road, the Patriots figure to have their way against the Bills defense, which should result in them winning in blowout fashion. Not only will Chung be able to pile up some tackles against LeSean McCoy and the rushing attack early in the contest, but he maybe even might pick off a pass once Buffalo is forced to go to a pass-heavy attack. The veteran safety has already had a pair of games this season with at least eight tackles. This could easily be another game that he dominates.
Reggie Nelson, Raiders vs. Giants – There aren’t many teams that have suffered the offensive injuries at the Giants have, and this is exactly the type of matchup in which Nelson can have one of his biggest games of the season. Assuming Sterling Shepard returns from his battle with migraines, both he and Evan Engram are the only two consistent weapons that New York has in the passing game. Since they both do the majority of their work over the middle of the field, this is looking like an excellent game for Nelson to be plenty busy and productive. Although he’s posted four or five tackles in the majority of his games, he’s already had three games in which he’s posted at least eight stops, and this looks like the kind of game in which he’ll have plenty of upside.
Jamar Taylor, Browns at Chargers – Playing for the Browns certainly hasn’t helped Taylor’s chances of becoming an elite IDP. After starting the season with 15 tackles over his first two games, he’s averaging fewer than four stops per contest. In this week’s matchup, the Chargers will likely struggle to run the ball consistently, and that should force them to rely upon Philip Rivers and the passing attack to move the football. The projected play volume, especially in terms of pass attempts, should give Taylor a strong opportunity to have one of his better performances of the season.