Here at IDP Guys we have been asked to give an in depth analysis of who has the best Defensive Line matchups each week. Here I will give my best starts and sits as well as sleepers.
Who Should You Start
Damon Harrison Jr.- Detroit Lions Defensive Tackle
Matchup- Minnesota Vikings
Pass Protection: Ranked 13th giving up 23 sacks with a sack rate % of 6.2%
Run Blocking: Ranked 27th with a run stuff rate of 21.3%
Damon Harrison was traded from the Giants to the Lions at the deadline. His first game with the Lions was an overwhelming success. He finished his first game with 7 solo tackles as well as a sack. The Vikings Offensive Line looks like a shell of it’s former self from last year.
The Vikings are 13th overall in pass protection but have given up 23 sacks which is tied for 8th worst in the league. To add to that, they aren’t great at running up the middle. They have a stuff rate (meaning they get stopped at the line) of 21.3% which is 9th worst.
Damon Harrison Jr. should feast on this make shift Offensive Line. Even if he doesn’t come up with a sack, there will be plenty of opportunities to make tackles at the line. Look at this pure power move by Harrison as he bull rushes the Seahawks line:
Grady Jarrett– Atlanta Falcons Defensive Tackle
Matchup: Washington Redskins
Pass Protection: Ranked 11th giving up 13 sacks with a 6.1% sack rate
Run Blocking: Ranked 21st with a run stuff rate of 21.2%
Grady Jarrett has not quite been exactly what owners were hoping for this year. He only has 22 tackles on the season with 3 for a loss and 2 sacks. Both of those sacks came last game against the Giants woeful Offensive Line. The Falcons Defensive Line has been improving every week as a unit with Jack Crawford has been starting playing more opposed to Terrell McClain and has been providing good pressure.
Grady is more of the run stopper of the group. He gets to go up against a line which is 21st in run blocking but yet runs the ball a whole lot. Jarrett will be the one on the Defensive Line to benefit most from this. With Peterson being locked up at the line at a decent rate Jarrett should be able to get his arms wrapped around him. Watch Jarrett make rookie Will Hernandez look silly:
This is classic Grady Jarrett. Ridiculous burst off the LOS forces Will Hernandez to shift outside. He counters inside with a beautiful swim move to make the rookie look silly. Picture perfect sack. pic.twitter.com/IChA2JXtHV
— Allen Strk (@Allen_Strk) October 26, 2018
Demarcus Lawrence– Dallas Cowboys Defensive End
Matchup: Tennessee Titans
Pass Protection: Ranked 32nd giving up 22 sacks with a 10.4% sack rate
Run Blocking: Ranked 25th with a 19.6% stuff rate.
Demarcus Lawrence is one of the better DE’s in the league. He has 30 tackles (20 solo), 11 tackles for a loss, and 5.5 sacks. He makes a living behind the line of scrimmage. This week he gets a plus matchup against the Titans who give up the 5th most points to DE’s.
The Titans have an adjusted sack rate percentage of 10.4% which is a league worst. The league average is somewhere around 7%. With Mariota who likes to leave the pocket and scramble, Lawrence can set the edge and come up with some tackles for a loss and most likely at least one sack. Watch here his patience and then burst after the move to come up with a huge sack last game against the Lions:
Demarcus Lawrence had himself a day on Sunday. Such a special talent. pic.twitter.com/9BtMygDsuh
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 1, 2018
Mario Addison– Carolina Panthers Defensive End
Matchup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pass Protection: Ranked 19th giving up 21 sacks with a sack rate of 7.3%
Run Blocking: Ranked 29th with a run stuff rate of 27.6%
Mario Addison is a very solid DE. He does a very good jump at stopping the run on the edge and also has 4.5 sacks in 6 games. His mathcup this week is a very easy one, the Bucs give up the 2nd most points to DE’s. With Kawann Short providing pressure up the middle, it makes feasting easier for Addison
The Buccaneers have a terrible run blocking offensive line being stopped at the line 27.6% of the time. Plus they are starting Ryan Fitzpatrick who loves to gun sling and sometimes holds onto the ball too long working in Addison’s favor. The Buccaneers are also starting subpar running back Peyton Barber who has not been good this season. Addison has been the most efficient 3rd down pass rusher this season per Pro Football Focus:
— PFF (@PFF) June 14, 2017
Who Should You Sit
Larry Ogunjobi– Cleveland Browns Defensive Tackle
Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs
Pass Protection: Ranked 3rd giving up 10 sacks with a 4.1% sack rate
Run Blocking: Ranked 20th with a 16.8% stuff rate.
Larry Ogunjobi has cooled off a bit after a hot start. He mad his fantasy owners happy coming up with a few sacks to start the season. His past 2 games have been poor coming up with only 4 tackles (3 solo) and 0.5 sack. He has another tough matchup coming up against the pass happy Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes has been a revelation for the Chiefs. The arm on him is amazing and they use it to their advantage with a lot of deep throws. Mahomes has only been sacked 10 times this year and I don’t see him landing on his back in this matchup.
The Chiefs also run an outside zone running scheme with Kareem Hunt very well and do not run up the middle much. All these things tell you that Ogunjobi should not be a threat in Week 9.
Kenny Clark– Green Bay Packers Defensive Tackle
Matchup: New England Patriots
Pass Protection: Ranked 2nd giving up 11 sacks with a sack rate of 4%
Run Blocking: Ranked 5th with a run stuff rate of 14.8%
Many people will read this and say how do I sit Kenny Clark with how he has been playing. I say look back at his matchups and then rethink it. Clark has played in 4 plus matchups against the Vikings (allow 2nd most points to DT), the Redskins (allow 9th most points to DT), the 49ers (allow the 3rd most points to DT), and the Rams (allow the 7th most points to DT). In these matchups he has 25 tackles (17 solo), 4 tackles for a loss, 2 pass deflections, and 4 sacks.
Then he played in 5 poor matchups for DT’s against the Bears ( allow 26th most points to DT), the Bills (allow 30th most points to DT), and the Lions (allow the 24th most points to DT). In those 3 games he has only 7 tackles (5 solo) and 1 tackle for a loss. Big discrepancy between plus and poor matchups.
This week he has another poor matchup against one of the league’s elite Offensive Lines in the Patriots (allow the 25th most points to DT). With how well this O-Line is playing and the fact that Tom Brady hates being on his back, I don’t see it happening Week 9 for Kenny Clark.
Trey Flowers– New England Patriots Defensive End
Matchup: Green Bay Packers
Pass Protection: Ranked 22nd giving up 24 sacks with a sack rate of 7.8%
Run Blocking: Ranked 7th with a stuff rate of 18.8%
Trey Flowers is coming off a nice game where we saw him come up with 6 tackles, 2 for a loss and a pass deflection. He now faces the Green Bay Packers do not give up too many points to DE’s, 27th most. The Packers do not run the ball much and though Rodgers has been sacked a lot, it is usually up the middle when he steps up.
Rodgers senses pressure great from the edges and steps up often to make his throws, or evades rush and throws outside the pocket. This season he has been dealing with a knee injury so it is mostly in pocket. With the low amount that Green Bay rushes and the low sack totals for Flowers, 2 on the season, I do not see him scoring well this week.
Derrick Nnadi– Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Tackle
Matchup: Clevelands Browns
Pass Protection: Ranked 30th giving up 33 sacks with a 10.2% sack rate
Run Blocking: Ranked 22nd with a run stuff rate of 25%
The loss of Joe Thomas this year for the Browns is very obvious in how poorly the Offensive Line has played. They have given up 33 sacks which is tied for the league lead. They also are terrible at running up the middle being stuffed a quarter of the times they run.
Derrick Nnadi is coming along nicely for the Chiefs. His playing time has spiked recently to where last time out he led all Chief DT’s in snaps at 49% of total defensive snaps. He also has 10 tackles in his last 3 games which have all been poor matchups.
Going against the hapless line of the Nnadi has a good chance to put up some numbers. Watch here where he is able to fight off the block and still come up with tackle:
3rd Round rookies coming up for a stop here. Derek Nnadi with cat like reflexes to get back off the cut block, redirect his momentum forward to finish the tackle. Dorian O'Daniel with a super quick read on the run release of the OG, squeezes outside and is able to adjust to trip pic.twitter.com/NS98tEccCy
— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) August 18, 2018
Cameron Wake– Miami Dolphins Defensive End
Matchup: New York Jets
Pass Protection: Ranked 11th giving up 17 sacks with a 6% sack rate
Run Blocking: Ranked 30th with a run stuff rate of 22%
Cameron Wake is having an injury riddled season but is finally looking healthy. He is coming off a game where he had 6 tackles (5 solo). Wake is no longer the pass rushing presence that he once was but that is fine in this matchup. He still plays the run rather well on the edge and the Jets give up the 6th most points to DE. Because of this Wake shouldn’t have an issuing getting push on the edge against this offensive line. Look at him get at Deshaun Watson here:
#Dolphins DE Cameron Wake is still getting to the QB in pass-rushing situations as well🔽
— Ryan Smith (@PFF_RyanSmith) November 1, 2018
Those are my Defensive Line starts, sits and sleepers for week 9. This shows who can produce best based on matchup and how well they have played this season. Stay tuned next week to see who will match up best.
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