By Jim Coventry, RotoWire Football Writer
Special to Yahoo Sports
Here’s a look at IDPs who have favorable Week 14 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.
David Irving, Cowboys at Giants– Irving was an elite fantasy option after piling up six sacks in the first four games he played this season. However, he ran into a three-game slump in which he was unable to get that elusive seventh sack. Fortunately, he was able to take advantage of the depleted Washington offensive line, as he got to Kirk Cousins last week and, in the process, hopefully began another sack streak. This week, he’ll face the Giants, a team that’s been imploding over the last few weeks. It’s likely that the Cowboys will run out to a lead in this contest and, once that happens, Irving should be able to overpower one of the weaker offensive lines in the league. In addition, he should be able to take advantage of Eli Manning, who may be forced to hold onto the ball too long since his receivers get very little separation.
Ezekiel Ansah, Lions at Buccaneers- Last week, the Buccaneers lost arguably their two best offensive lineman for the season, and this week Ansah stands to be the beneficiary of this weakened line. Not only was the Tampa Bay rushing attack anemic before losing their linemen, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to have success on the ground against a Detroit defense that hasn’t been strong in that area. That should result in there being in numerous obvious passing situations, which is when Ansah will have a chance to produce. On the season, he’s collected sacks in only three games, but he does have a three-sack contest, and he’s always capable of a huge game. Even though he exited last week’s game with an ankle injury, he was able to return to the lineup, so he should be good to go for this matchup.
Jerry Hughes, Bills vs. Colts- In this matchup against the Colts, the entire Buffalo defensive unit is in potentially great shape. With Indy having one of the worst offensive lines in the league, it’s difficult to imagine that they’ll have any type of consistent success rushing the football. That should lead to Hughes having opportunities to pin back his ears and rush the passer on obvious passing downs. This also projects to be a game that the Bills could play with the lead, and should that happen, Hughes should see increased chances to get after Jacoby Brissett if the Colts trail in the second half. Surprisingly, he’s failed to record a sack after collecting three of them in the first four games of the season, but this is a great spot for him to turn things around.
Johnathan Hankins, Colts at Bills- The fact that the Colts are just a three-win team on the year, has provided Hankins with very few opportunities to collapse the pocket in hopes of piling up sacks. However, he’s shown over the last couple years that he’s quite capable as a pass rusher despite having just one sack on the season. With Tyrod Taylor likely to miss this game after suffering a knee injury last week, Indianapolis should find themselves in not only a close game, but one they could possibly win, which should allow the Colts with more pass rush opportunities than they’re accustomed to. In addition, the Bills don’t have a great offensive line, and rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman has sure looked like a deer in the headlights in his limited game action. That should create an optimal situation for the Colts defensive tackle to have one of his better games of the season.
Karlos Dansby, Cardinals vs. Titans– It’s no secret that the Titans love their smash-mouth rushing attack, and that’s likely the way they’ll approach their matchup in the desert this week. That’s exactly the type of game script that plays into Dansby’s hands, as he gets the majority of his fantasy value from his ability to pile up tackles. On the season, he’s had four games with at least seven tackles, with three of those contests coming over the last five weeks. He’s clearly been on a roll, and he should spend much of his day chasing down in tackling DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
Todd Davis, Broncos vs. Jets- It’s been difficult to watch how much the Broncos have slipped in their defensive performance over the course of the season. Despite their lack of recent success, Davis has been a sure tackler, posting at least eight stops in four of his last eight games. With the Jets going into this game with their wide receivers being severely outmatched by the outstanding Denver cornerbacks, look for New York to try and find success on the ground. Although Denver was an elite defense against the run earlier in the season, injuries have led to them becoming a much weaker unit. This could easily be a game in which Davis piles up double-digit tackles.
Pernell McPhee, Bears at Bengals- McPhee has been extremely quiet since collecting four sacks in five games, ending in Week 7. Since then, he’s been unable to get to the quarterback despite seeing a consistent amount of snaps. Part of the reason was that he faced a number of solid offensive lines, and he also had to deal with opponents who weren’t forced to drop back to pass very often. The Bears should be able to shut down the Cincinnati rushing attack, which should force Andy Dalton into plenty of obvious passing situations. That would allow McPhee to be able to take advantage of an outmatched offensive line and hopefully get him back into the sack column.
Kurt Coleman, Panthers vs. Vikings- It’s difficult to imagine that the Vikings will have success running the football against the Carolina defensive front. Should that happen, Minnesota has no issue throwing the ball to their excellent trio of pass catchers, as that’s become the strength of their offense. Once the Vikings start airing the ball out, Coleman should be in position to make plenty of tackles, and with three games of at least nine stops on the season, he has plenty of upside to post a similar performance in this home game.
Sean Davis, Steelers vs. Ravens- Davis has been a fairly consistent performer this season, as he’s posted exactly five or eight tackles in the majority of his games. He’s reached each of his eight-tackle performances against a trio of conservative offensive attacks. Well, there certainly aren’t many offenses that are more conservative than the Ravens. When Davis faced this unit in Week 4, he collected five tackles in a road game, with this contest being at home, look for the Steelers to play with a bit more energy, which should help Davis have one of his best games of the season.
Jamal Adams, Jets at Broncos- Over the last month or so, Adams has had very little upside, as he’s posted either four or five tackles in the majority of his games. Earlier in the season, he had much more success both as a tackler, while he also recorded a pair of sacks. This week he’ll face the dysfunctional offense of the Denver Broncos and, with their conservative attack, Adams could find himself in line for one of his better performances of the year. Not only should he have plenty of opportunities to stop the run, but Trevor Siemian is certainly prone to making his share of mistakes, which could lead to Adams making a big play as well.
Tre Boston, Chargers vs. Redskins- Not only has Boston piled up at least five tackles in six different games, he’s intercepted four passes since Week 5, and he’s become an outstanding playmaker on the back end of the Chargers defense. This week, he’ll be up against a Washington offense that’s had so many injuries along their line that they struggle to protect Kirk Cousins. With the Los Angeles pass rush expected to completely obliterate the Redskins pass protection, Cousins will be forced to throw the ball mostly in the middle of the field and under heavy duress. That should not only give Boston plenty of chances to collect tackles, but don’t be surprised if he picks off another pass as well.