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It’s Week 11 of the 2012 NFL season, which means two things. First, this week brings with it the last of the bye weeks, which means that soon an expanded pool of talent will once again be available to Individual Defensive Player (IDP) owners. Second, we’re smack in the middle of the stretch run for the playoffs, which means that for many fantasy teams every week has become a do-or-die proposition.
Another sad fact of this point in the season is that in many IDP leagues there just isn’t a whole lot left on the waiver wire, making it very difficult to find impact players. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing out there, and here’s a look at some players that are available in the majority of IDP leagues that have enough fantasy value to at least be worth a look.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, New York Jets: Not a whole lot went right for the New York Jets in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was one of them, tallying seven total tackles and forcing a fumble that he returned for New York’s only touchdown. The second-year pro hasn’t made much of a dent in the big-play column this season, but, after averaging six stops a game over the past few weeks, Wilkerson can provide a nice boost up front for IDP owners in tackle-heavy formats.
Robert Ayers, DE, Denver: All the news wasn’t good for the Denver Broncos after their blowout win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 10, as star defensive end Elvis Dumervil underwent an MRI on Monday after being forced from the game with a shoulder injury. If Dumervil misses significant playing time, that means that fourth-year pro Robert Ayers will see increased snaps, and as Ayers showed with five tackles and a sack against the Panthers, he is capable of producing when afforded the opportunity.
Ahtyba Rubin, DT, Cleveland: The Cleveland Browns have had more than their fair share of injuries up front on defense, but it appears that coming out of their bye they finally are getting healthy. Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin has returned to practice after missing three of the past four games with a calf injury, and, given the fifth-year veteran’s penchant for racking up tackles, Rubin could be a very welcome stretch run addition, especially in IDP leagues that require defensive tackles.
Mychal Kendricks, OLB, Philadelphia: Given all the injuries that have hit the linebacker position this season, the pickings on the waiver wire in many leagues is very thin. With that said, fantasy owners with a hole at the position may want to take a look at the Philadelphia rookie linebacker, whose play has picked up of late from a statistical standpoint with 12 total tackles and his first NFL sacks over the past two weeks.
Rob Ninkovich, DE/OLB, New England: Generally speaking, I prefer tackle producers to big-play options at the linebacker position, but we’ve hit the part of the season where beggars can’t be choosers, and Rob Ninkovich has quietly assembled a nice combination of the two over the past several games, with the seventh-year veteran logging at least four tackles and/or half a sack in each of the past five weeks. Not great production, but it beats a blank.
Erik Coleman, SS, Detroit: The Detroit Lions were supposed to feature Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey at the back end of their secondary this year, but things haven’t gone as planned. However, Coleman, a ninth-year veteran, has fared pretty well in relief with 12 total tackles and an interception over his past two games. He merits consideration from defensive back-needy IDP squads, especially with a very favorable fantasy matchup on tap with the Green Bay Packers.
Leonard Johnson, CB, Tampa Bay: The shakeup at cornerback in Tampa Bay that included the trade of Aqib Talib to the New England Patriots has thrust rookie Leonard Johnson into the starting lineup and created the latest “rookie corner rule” IDP candidate. The former Iowa State standout came up big in his first career NFL start last week, recording six tackles and returning an interception for a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers, and, with opposing quarterbacks likely to target him with regularity, Johnson is very much worth an add from IDP owners that need help in the secondary.
Looking for more IDP information? Be sure to check out all the other great IDP articles by the rest of the Fantasy Sharks crew, the IDP Forum, IDP Manor. For the latest injury news follow @IDPManor on Twitter, and if you have an IDP question feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com.
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