There's good news and bad news for IDP managers in Week 12.
The good news is simple—all 32 teams are in action this week for just the second time since Week 5—probably because with three games on Thanksgiving and another on Friday (because why not?), eight teams will already have played before Sunday's action even starts.
Of course, this is also where I get to the bad news.
Injuries happen every week in the NFL, but Week 11 brought some exceptionally well-rounded carnage—one prominent player at each position was lost to a major injury. Los Angeles Chargers edge-rusher Joey Bosa was carted off the field with a foot injury that probably has him headed to injured reserve. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kyzir White suffered a season-ending arm injury. San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga tore his ACL.
Whammo. Whammo. And whammo.
Those injuries (and those that came before them) have blasted holes in IDP lineups at the worst possible time. Quite a few fantasy managers simply cannot afford to lose many more games. They desperately need a matchup play who can help get them through the week. Help earn a win. Help fill a hole.
They need more than just a match-up play. They need a patch-up play.
And that's what Living the Stream is all about.
DE Dorance Armstrong, Dallas (vs. Washington)
When the conversation turns to the Dallas Cowboys pass rush, usually two players are mentioned—youngster Micah Parsons and veteran Demarcus Lawrence. But in between that duo lies sixth-year veteran Dorance Armstrong, who quietly tallied 8.5 sacks of his own last year. Per Adam Schultz of Cowboys Country, Armstrong is just the kind of draft-and-develop player the Cowboys are all about.
"He was a young player when I first arrived in 2020," McCarthy said. "He was primarily looked at as a special-teams player, but every opportunity he was given at defensive end, he's been productive. I think he took another step last year. To me, he's the kind of poster child for what you're looking for. You talk about 'draft and develop,' you want to see a young player come in and grow each and every year."
It's not a season at Living the Steam until Armstrong shows up and takes advantage of a plus matchup, and here we are. In each of the past four games, Armstrong has logged at least half a sack. His 63 percent snap share a week ago was a season-high, And on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, Armstrong and the Cowboys face a Commanders team that has surrendered the second-most sacks in the league in 2023.
DE Josh Uche, New England (at NY Giants)
Like just about everything else in New England this season, Josh Uche has been something of a disappointment this season. After logging 11.5 sacks a season ago, Uche has just two this season—in part due to injuries. However, while speaking to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Uche is hopeful that an increased role over the season's second half will help spur a late surge.
"It's kind of been the story of my career since I've been here. There have been times when I'm needed more than others, game plans when I'm implemented more than others. It's all about doing my job when I'm in there and not going outside the integrity of the scheme," he said."When I am in there, I try to make sure I maximize those plays in the opportunities I do get. I would love to be out there as much as possible, but if coaches and the scheme and the game plan say otherwise, then all I can do is do my job and the controllables and give my best effort."
Uche is a favorite of Footballguys' own John Norton and was a hot name at the trade deadline, but the Patriots like the 25-year-old enough that they held on to him despite free agency looming in 2024. The Patriots travel Sunday to face a New York Giants team that has allowed a staggering 63 sacks in 11 games this year. This is a dream pass-rush matchup—one Uche had a bye-week to get ready for.
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