Thanksgiving Day IDP Previews

published 11/28/19 10:43:40 AM EST
by Justin Varnes

Thanksgiving means a lot of things to a lot of people. For us here at Fantasy Free Agents, it means giving thanks to our readers by helping them make it into the fantasy playoffs. A hearty bounty of IDPs are on your television today. Let’s say the blessing and dig in!

Overview

Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (3-7-1)

The Lions continue their holiday tradition of hosting an NFC North division opponent, and this season there’s not a lot of wins to be found on either side of the ball. The Bears are attempting to claw their way back to .500 (No? Not a good pun?), while the Lions have whimpered along without Matthew Stafford (I mean, I’m committed to this now).

Home Stat Crew

Detroit’s home stadium crew is as middle-of-the-road as you can get, awarding 95.3 FPG in tackles. Chicago IDPs (sounds like a new show on NBC) won’t see much of a needle move, as their crew is just a carving knife’s edge behind Detroit’s crew. We should see a good Solo-to-Assist ratio, however. Of the 106.8 total tackles per game they average, 83.8 are awarded as solos.

Matchups to Watch

Allen Robinson vs. Darius Slay

Robinson has yet to play a snap of professional football with an above-average QB hurling passes his direction. That has relegated what should be a weekly WR1 to Flex status. Although Mitchell Trubisky has shown some improvement, he’s still been inconsistent, and it won’t get any easier this week. Robinson will square off against one of the better outside corners in the game in Slay. Chicago will likely have to force the ball in the direction of that matchup at times, and this could mean some big play opps for Slay.

Jarrad Davis vs. Christian Jones vs. Jahlani Tavai

You read that right. This LB trio has been fluctuating in snap counts and production for most of the season. But lately a trend of stability has developed, with Davis finally grabbing the lead in snaps and production among the Detroit LBs. Last week, Davis posted a healthy 6-2-1 line on 85% of the snaps, while in Week 11 Davis posted 7 tackles (4 solo) on a 91% snap share. While I wouldn’t bet the farm on Davis continuing to lead this LB corps, we’re at least seeing a positive trend in that direction. And perhaps that trend develops into a pattern this week.

Worth Starting

Defensive Linemen

  • Trey Flowers (Det) - Injured (Concussion), check status

Linebackers

  • Jarrad Davis (Det)

  • Khalil Mack (Chi)

  • Roquan Smith (Chi)

Defensive Backs

  • Haha Clinton-Dix (Chi)

  • Eddie Jackson (Chi)

  • Tavon Wilson (Det)

  • Tracy Walker (Det) - Injured (Concussion), check status

Worth Considering

Defensive Linemen

  • Romeo Okawara (Det)
  • A’Shawn Robinson (Det)

Linebackers

  • Nick Kwiatkoski (Chi)

Defensive Backs

  • Prince Amukamara (Chi)
  • Darius Slay (Det)
  • Kyle Fuller (Chi)

Worth a Shot if you Need Them

Defensive Linemen

  • Damon Harrison (Det)

Linebackers

  • Christian Jones (Det)
  • Leonard Floyd (Chi)

Defensive Backs

  • Will Harris (Det) - If Tracy Walker is OUT

Overview

Buffalo Bills (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)

Ol’ Jerruh is not happy at all about his ‘Boys struggling against good teams. And the Bills are a good team. They come riding into town with a mobile QB in Josh Allen, a 1-2 punch at RB (the ageless Frank Gore and the rookie Devin Singletary), and a solid defense led by Tremaine Edmunds. Dallas also owns a solid defense even with Leighton Vander Esch out (Neck), and have their own mobile QB, and their own 1-2 punch at RB (Ezekiel Elliott the runner and, well, Ezekiel Elliott the pass-catcher).

Home Stat Crew

The crew in Dallas is below average in awarding tackles. They hover around the league average in Solos-to-Assists (app. 70%-30%), but their 109 tackles per game is about 8 fewer than the Buffalo IDP are used to. Not a “get ‘em out of your lineups!” kinda difference, but it might be a tackle or so fewer than the Bills IDPs normally get at home.

Matchups to Watch

Buffalo Runners vs. Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith

I used “Buffalo Runners” because their QB runs almost as much as their two RBs. Buffalo is a top-5 team in rushes per game, and this should afford a lot of opportunity for Smith and Lee (a very Texas-sounding law firm) to rack up tackles. In games without Leighton Vander Esch, Lee has averaged double-digit tackles, but this is now Smith’s defense. He’s fully healthy and playing like the LB1 they hoped they drafted, assuming he would recover from his nerve injury.

Jordan Poyer vs. Kellen Moore

No, Moore didn’t decide to shed the headset, un-retire, and supplant Dak Prescott. But Moore’s re-tooled offense has been a fantasy boon for DBs. They’re throwing the ball more than ever, and that has resulted in an average of 30 tackles, 3.5 PD, and an INT per game to opposing DBs. While Tre’Davious White and Levi Wallace will get in on that action as well, we think this lines up well for Poyer.

Worth Starting

Defensive Linemen

  • Demarcus Lawrence (Dal)

Linebackers

  • Jaylon Smith (Dal)
  • Sean Lee (Dal)
  • Tremaine Edmunds (Buf)

Defensive Backs

  • Jordan Poyer (Buf)

Worth Considering

Defensive Linemen

  • Robert Quinn (Dal)
  • Trent Murphy (Buf)

Linebackers

  • Matt Milano (Buf)
  • Shaq Lawson (Buf)

Defensive Backs

  • Tre’Davious White (Buf)

  • Levi Wallace (Buf)

  • Jeff Heath (Dal)

  • Xavier Woods (Dal)

Worth a Shot if you Need Them

Defensive Linemen

  • Maliek Collins (Dal)

Linebackers

  • Lorenzo Alexander (Buf)

Defensive Backs

  • Micah Hyde (Buf)

  • Taron Johnson (Buf)

  • Chidobe Awuzie (Dal)

  • Byron Jones (Dal)

Overview

New Orleans Saints (9-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-8)

This is the second meeting this season for these NFC rivals, and judging by their records, I’m pretty sure the Saints must have wiped the floor with the Fal… (checks notes)….oh great googily-moogily. So, apparently the Falcons got mad coming out of their bye and drubbed the Saints just a few weeks ago. In New Orleans. So this game oughta be exciting enough to keep you from your post-Thanksgiving food coma.

Home Stat Crew

Sporting the #9 spot in TTV (Total Tackle Value) with 97.5 FPG in tackles, Atlanta has been friendly confines for our IDPs. A lot of that has to do with the pace that the Falcons have been playing at this season. When you’re behind as much as the Falcons have been this year, you tend to play with your hair on fire. (There’s a Matty Ice joke in there somewhere, but I’m too hungry to find it. Nothing like trying to concentrate with the kitchen ablaze with multiple delicious dishes.) Atlanta’s 7th-ranked offense in both pace and plays per game have resulted in the 3rd-highest number of tackles awarded this season (averaging 118.8 per game). That’s a noticeable boost for the Saints IDPs, who average around 105 tackles per game at home.

Matchups to Watch

Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell vs. Alvin Kamara

While Jones has gotten off to a disappointing start (not playing 100% snaps nor hitting double-digit tackles for a supposed Top-3 LB is the very definition of “disappointing”), he has been turning it on as of late. DJ posted 9 tackles on 100% snaps last week. His counterpart Campbell has been a revelation this season. After having a slow start to his career, Campbell’s 96 tackles this season not only leads the Falcons, but also is tied for 6th overall. Both will have their hands full chasing down the elusive Kamara.

Vonn Bell vs. Atlanta offense

Atlanta is the most pass-heavy team in the NFL this season (playing from behind in almost every game tends to create such an approach). Consequently, they are the best matchup for opposing DBs. Bell has had a strong season, and is likely to see that continue this week, as the Falcons give up 32 tackles and 4 PD to opposing DBs.

Worth Starting

Defensive Linemen

  • Cameron Jordan (NO)

Linebackers

  • Demario Davis (NO)
  • Deion Jones (Atl)
  • De’Vondre Campbell (Atl)

Defensive Backs

  • Vonn Bell (NO)

Worth Considering

Defensive Linemen

  • Grady Jarrett (Atl)
  • Marcus Davenport (NO)

Linebackers

  • Kiko Alonso (NO)

Defensive Backs

  • Damontae Kazee (Atl)

  • Ricardo Allen (Atl)

  • Marshon Lattimore (NO) - Injured (Hamstring), check status

  • Eli Apple (NO)

Worth a Shot if you Need Them

Defensive Linemen

  • Malcolm Brown (NO)
  • Vic Beasley (Atl)
  • Takk McKinley (Atl)

Linebackers

  • A.J. Klein (NO)

Defensive Backs

  • Marcus Williams (NO)

  • Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (NO)

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Justin Varnes
Justin Varnes

@downwithIDP

When he isn't glued to the TV every Sunday in the Fall, Justin plays drums professionally and drives his daughter to basketball practices. A Jacksonville, FL native, Justin currently resides in Atlanta, GA. Justin grew up idolizing Dan Marino (the Jags hadn't made it to Jax yet) and his appreciation of defensive players started with the '85 Bears and cemented with former Dolphins LB Zach Thomas.