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Week 13 IDP Start Em, Sit Em - Streamers and Fades for Fantasy Football Defensive Players

This is about the time we start seeing them come in waves. NFL teams start get realistic about their playoff odds, the injuries start to mount, and those promising Q's next to your players' names start turning into IR. You can't blame teams for sacrificing a meaningless win to save their future. Minor injuries can turn into major ones as players favor a hamstring and expose a knee, or limp through an ankle only to tear a groin. So, why not preserve your stars when you’re 3-8?

We mention this because the Rams have seemingly begun this descent, with nagging injuries to Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Matthew Stafford starting the slide. Now we have to worry about Aaron Donald’s high-ankle sprain. Shortly before this writing, Donald was declared out for Sunday with an injury that would typically keep him out for 2-4 weeks. However, the Rams are likely to be 3-10 or worse by that point. Perhaps pride will be enough to bring Donald back, but logic says he shouldn't.

Donald isn’t the only defender we will have to worry about missing the rest of the season with a relatively minor injury. Eddie Jackson is another example of that strategy. Could Derek Stingley or Kwity Paye be next? Whoever it may be, Donald is simply the first major domino to fall into this ditch. More will be coming, and those in shallow or re-draft IDP formats will have to decide whether the slim possibility of their return is worth stashing these players in your playoffs.

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Defenders Who Could Benefit From Offensive Injuries in Week 13

Payton Turner & Marcus Davenport, DLs, New Orleans Saints

As we discussed in our rankings this week, the loss of Tristan Wirfs could be crippling for the Buccaneers. Wirfs was arguably the best pass-blocking tackle in the NFL and easily the best right tackle. His absence means edge rushers who line up on the right side of Tampa's line should have a much easier time than they did previously. This week, it is Davenport and Turner (if healthy) who fill that spot for the Saints.

Charles Omenihu & Samson Ebukam, DLs, San Francisco 49ers

The Dolphins have graded poorly in pass blocking for most of this season, yet they've given up the eighth fewest sacks in the NFL, and their Adjusted Sack Rate is above league average. However, the Dolphins v. Texans game showed how vital Terron Armstead is to that unit. When Armstead went out, Tua Tagovailoa was immediately under significant duress. If Armstead misses this week, you should expect Tua to face substantial pressure again.

Enter the 49ers’ pass rushers. You’re always starting Nick Bosa, and he does have an elevated matchup if Miami’s left tackle is out or limited. However, San Francisco rotates its ends and flips them, so their edges play serious snaps on both sides of the line. That means streamers like Omenihu and Ebukam should also be able to take advantage of a backup/injured left tackle if the Dolphins field one.

Los Angeles Chargers Cornerbacks

If Josh Jacobs is out, you still expect the Raiders to run the ball. Odds are good that the combination of Zamir White and Ameer Abdullah won’t be nearly as effective as Jacobs, though. That should mean more pass attempts for a Raiders offense already averaging the ninth most attempts per game in the NFL. That would mean plenty of opportunities for the Chargers' secondary, particularly Asante Samuel Jr., who followed Davante Adams on the outside in Week 1.


Casual IDP Streamers and Fades for This Week

Stream: Uchenna Nwosu, DL, Seattle Seahawks

Nwosu has been in a slump the past few weeks, totaling just three tackles across his past two games. The Rams could be the cure for what ails him. Los Angeles' line has the third-worst pass-blocking grade per PFF, allowing 13.6 pressures per game. They've permitted the third most sacks in the NFL, have the tenth-worst Adjusted Sack Rate, and are a backup passer.

With Bryce Perkins under center, the Rams threw two interceptions and took three sacks on just 24 pass attempts. That's the definition of "piss poor," and it wasn’t much better with John Wolford at QB. With the Rams fielding backups all along their offensive line, at both receiver spots, and at quarterback, expect Seattle to get an early lead and secure several big defensive plays. Nwosu should have several sack opportunities in this one.

Stream: Elandon Roberts, LB, Miami Dolphins

I’m probably too low on Roberts in my rankings this week, as the Dolphins’ starter has posted 7+ tackles in each of his past four games. He also has a plus matchup against a 49er offense averaging the 10th most rush attempts in the NFL. Expect San Francisco to run more than usual with Jimmy Garoppolo banged up. The 49ers' passing scheme also plays into Roberts' wheelhouse, as Kyle Shanahan loves to dial up lots of short throws across the middle and screens.

Fade: Deatrich Wise Jr., DL, New England Patriots

Josh Allen continues to be one of the hardest quarterbacks to take down in the NFL, with the Bills allowing the eighth fewest sacks and sporting the seventh-best Adjusted Sack Rate this season. While elite pass rushers do take him down, mid-tier options regularly struggle. For example, last week Aidan Hutchinson registered zero stats against these Bills, despite playing 79% of the snaps. Wise had a similar issue the last time he saw Allen, registering just one tackle and no other stats.

Fade: Josh Allen, DL, Jacksonville Jaguars

The other Josh Allen remains in the DL2 discussion every week because of past performance and talent. Unfortunately, that talent has yet to translate into big plays this year. Despite playing over 60% of the Jaguars' snaps in every game, and more than 70% in all but two, Allen has just three sacks and two forced turnovers. Since Week 4, he has had zero sacks and zero forced turnovers despite positive matchups against the Colts, Giants, and Broncos.

Allen doesn’t have a plus matchup against the Lions, either. Detroit is tied for the fewest sacks allowed in the NFL this season, and their Adjusted Sack Rate is the second lowest. The Lions also attempt the 12th fewest pass attempts in the league, adding to the low fantasy potential in this one.


Premium Scoring & Deep League Streamers and Fades for This Week

Stream: Chad Muma, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

As we've mentioned, Chad Muma has seemingly supplanted Devin Lloyd in Jacksonville's starting lineup. The Wyoming product chipped into Lloyd's time in Week 11 before netting nine tackles in his first start last week. While the odds favor Lloyd getting more chances to earn his job back, it appears Muma is the preferred choice for now. The Lions also offer a solid matchup, tying San Fran for 10th most rush attempts per game.

Stash or Stream: Martin Emerson, Cleveland Browns

If you watched much of the Buccaneers v. Browns broadcast, you saw Emerson was regularly blanketing Mike Evans. The Browns staff has been vocal in their support of Emerson, and he returned that belief with an impressive showing. He is worth a pre-emptive stash this week for the Bengals matchup he has in two weeks, but the Texans could also offer opportunities. They are a lost offense and could be chasing Deshaun Watson early.

Fade: Cleveland Browns Linebackers in Tackle Premium

One would think the Houston Texans would be a favorable matchup for opposing LBs. After all, the best player on their entire team may be their running back. However, the data suggests that Houston's offense is neither run-heavy nor pass-oriented. They are simply inept. The Texans average the fewest rush attempts per game (21.5) this season, the fourth fewest offensive plays, and over the past three weeks, their rush attempts have plummeted to 16.3 per game.

What’s worse for those counting on Browns’ linebackers is Deshaun Watson is set to return this week, with his first game outside of Houston coming against… Houston. While it’s entirely possible Watson needs time to knock off the rust, so the Browns let the Texans stay in the game with a run-heavy script, the opposite is also possible. The narrative is strong in this contest, and my gut says the Browns cut Watson loose on his old team to rally morale on an inconsistent Browns offense.

To begin this contest, expect Dameon Pierce to find some room to run. Cleveland is the worst run defense on paper, after all. However, if the Browns get out to an early lead like all of Houston's opponents tend to do, it could become Kyle Allen time quickly. Then the Browns LBs become big play-dependent. We are ranking the Browns' LBs as LB4 options this week.


Defensive Tackles to Consider for This Week

Alim McNeil, DT, Detroit Lions

Of all the interior blockers who have played at least 50% of their team’s snaps in 2022, Brandon Scherff and Luke Fortner have the 11th and 12th worst run-blocking grades. Jacksonville also has the worst stuffed run ratio in the NFL, and their starting RB could be limited. Interior defenders for Detroit should have more opportunities for TFLs than usual.

Sebastian Joseph-Day, DT, Los Angeles Chargers

The Raiders' starting left guard (Alex Bars) has earned the worst run-blocking grade from PFF all year, and their center grades eighth worst. On the other side, Dylan Parham grades 18th worst amongst interior blockers in pass blocking grade. Between Parham and Bars, the Raiders' current guards have allowed 54 QB pressures across 20 games. There are opportunities for the Chargers' interior defenders here.


Cornerbacks to Consider for This Week

Paulson Adebo, New Orleans Saints

Adebo is easily the most targeted member of the Saints' secondary, with opposing offenses picking on him 12 more times than any other member of his defense. He now goes against the most pass-heavy offense in the NFL and the GOAT. Expect Tom Brady to identify Adebo as a weakness, given the Stanford product allows a 71.7% completion percentage, and pepper him with targets. That could be great for the corner’s fantasy floor, especially in deep IDP formats.

Cameron Taylor-Britt, CB, Cincinnati Bengals

This marks the second straight appearance for Taylor-Britt on our streamer list. Last week we told you to consider starting the Nebraska product despite an iffy Titans matchup, and he delivered with a big game against Tennessee. Now it's time for him to take advantage of a great matchup on paper against the Chiefs’ high-volume passing attack. The sheer volume of KC’s attack should be enough for the rookie to thrive, even if there’s no true #1 wideout to shadow.

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