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John Norton ("The Guru") and Gary Davenport ("The Godfather of IDP") are two of the most experienced and knowledgeable IDP analysts in the fantasy football industry. Every week during the 2023 season here at Footballguys, The Guru and the Godfather will come together to answer five of that week's most pressing questions.
We're nine weeks into the 2023 IDP campaign. Some teams are cruising. Some teams are losing. And some teams are hanging on by a thread.
As is the case every Friday, the Guru and the Godfather have come together yet again. This time, it's advice for struggling IDP managers, a look ahead to the upcoming week's action, and something of a temper tantrum from one of the participants.
If you need two guesses to figure out who, you've never read this column.
At this point in the season, some IDP managers are 3-5 or 2-6 and hanging on by a thread to the slimmest of postseason hopes. What advice would you offer to struggling managers to turn their season around?
GURU: I'll start by saying that I am one of these managers in a couple of my 12 leagues. How you turn your season around depends greatly on how you got there. If your team is just bad, be aggressive on the waiver wire and live the stream until/unless you hit on players who can start every week. If you have just been unlucky or feel that karma is against you, maybe shake up your roster with some trades and keep putting the best lineup you can on the field.
Beyond that, I'll just say there is never a time to give up. The team that wins is always the one that is hot at the right time. I was in one of these situations a couple of years back in the Huddle Experts league that Gary and I both play in. That season I started 2-5 but had a solid team. Got hot and squeezed into the last playoff spot at 6-7 then went on to lose in the finals by a couple of points. You're not out of it until you're mathematically eliminated, so keep fighting!
GODFATHER: I'll start this off by saying 12? That's it? I literally don't count how many leagues I'm in because it's too depressing, but it's in the twenties. And it's been a rougher year than usual. Injuries. Bad beats. Gaffes on my part. You name it, it's happened. I won't be winning as many titles as I did a year ago, that's for sure.
Let's put it this way—in one league where you can start up to five linebackers, I've lost Cody Barton of the Washington Commanders, Nick Bolton of the Kansas City Chiefs and now Cole Holcomb of the Pittsburgh Steelers—all in the past few weeks. And my waiver priority is just low enough to keep me from getting any high-end waiver options.
One thing I think far too many IDP managers fail to consider is the notion of selling low to fill a need. Granted, no one wants to do it. However, if your depth up front is great but your linebackers are in tatters, then selling Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns for 70 cents on the dollar to a team that can help fix your linebackers isn't necessarily a bad idea. The goal of a trade isn't to "win" the deal. It's to improve your chances of making the playoffs. That's it.
In any case, the Guru is absolutely right on one count—don't ever stop fighting. I don't care if you're 1-10. Try like hell to get win No. 2—and hopefully, knock another team out of the postseason in the process.
Playing spoiler may be petty. But it's fun.
Let's get some IDP managers feeling fine in Week 9 (That's two straight weeks of pure poetry). Which defensive players at each position are in a position to exceed expectations this week, post a fat stat line, and carry fantasy managers to victory?
GURU: Indianapolis Colts edge rusher Kwity Paye started the season hot, then missed a couple of games. He hasn't recorded a sack since week three but gave us good tackle numbers over the last two weeks. I think this is the week he gets back in the sack column and gives us top-ten production. The Panthers have allowed the eighth most points to defensive ends and have given up ten sacks in their last two games.
Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane has been a pretty steady LB3 for us. I like his chances of reaching LB1 numbers this week. The Giants are the seventh-best matchup for linebackers entering week nine and are coming off a game where they ran the ball 52 times. With Daniel Jones coming back, there will be more passing in this one, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, either. Spillane gets a fair share of opportunities to blitz, and New York gives up a ton of sacks. I see good tackle totals and the potential for a splash play or two.
Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland opened the season with three big games, and then he cooled off for a month. A matchup with the Chiefs should be enough to get the flame burning again. Patrick Mahomes II has traditionally been stingy with the ball, but this Kansas City team is a little different. They are averaging 1.2 interceptions per game with opposing safeties averaging a turnover per game against them. The Chiefs are a solid matchup in terms of tackles as well. Holland is a playmaker who put up solid tackle totals on most weeks. I think he makes a big impact on both his game and ours this week.
GODFATHER: The torch at edge rusher has been passed in the Big Easy this year, even if it has happened with little fanfare—Carl Granderson has at least one sack in five of his first eight games in 2023, and the fifth-year veteran is a top-15 defensive lineman for the season. The Bears have allowed 28 sacks (third-most in the league) this season—Granderson's quiet ascent to IDP DL1 status continues this week at the Superdome.
As usual, Norton stole my guy with the Spillane call (he's a fiend, really), so at linebacker, I'll head south and go with Devin White of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Houston Texans. White hasn't lived up to expectations this year—he's 45th in fantasy points among linebackers and has been out-pointed by the venerable (and awesome) Lavonte David. But this week against an Atlanta Falcons team that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to linebackers, White's going to have a day—and notch his first sack of the 2023 campaign. Book it.
Since Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker returned to the lineup for the Redbirds, his numbers have been…meh—six stops in two straight games. But this week, Baker and the Cardinals take on a Cleveland Browns team that leads the league in fantasy points allowed to safeties. Whether it's against Deshaun Watson or P.J. Walker under center, it's not going to matter—Baker will post the sort of stat line this week that IDP managers expected before the season.
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