Wally Spurlin
IDP Sleepers - Week 14

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Cue Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog” because it is time for some playoff football, folks! If you are unfamiliar with the song then we’ll take a second and let you Google it. Go ahead … we’ll wait. Nice, eh? Now you know the actual name of a song you’ve always liked.

Speaking of liking things. Nothing fires up the crack staff of the ’53 Deep’ article like playoff football. Well, we do get pretty excited about custard filled donuts with chocolate on top and catching the occasional mouse but playoff football still rules the roost.

With that in mind we steam ahead into the fantasy football playoffs with a “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” mentality (what can I say, I still miss Friday Night Lights). Here we go …


Craig Robertson, ILB, Cleveland at New England: The Patriots have been very generous in allowing fantasy points to linebackers of late. Over their last four games New England has allowed 130 total tackles (73 solo), five sacks and four forced fumbles to linebackers. Robertson has practiced on a limited basis this week and is hopeful to play in this juicy matchup. Robertson is solid against the run (65 total tackles) and has also racked up three sacks, flashing some big play potential. If Robertson can’t go this week, grab and insert teammate Darius Eubanks, who is likely to get the start in his place.

Manti Te’o, ILB, San Diego vs. New York Giants: Te’o has played 80 percent of the defensive snaps the last three games and faces a Giants team that is very fantasy friendly. Over the past three weeks the Giants are the fourth-most generous team in giving up points to linebackers. Te’o has put up six solo stops in the last two games and will have plenty of tackle opportunities. New York has allowed 51 solo tackles and five sacks in their last three tilts. As always there will be the chance for big plays as quarterback Eli Manning has turned the ball over 20 times.

David Hawthorne, ILB, New Orleans vs. Carolina: Throw out last week’s debacle against Seattle as the Saints defense was a dumpster fire. They are back at home this week and facing a Carolina offense that has given up very nice numbers to linebackers. Tampa Bay linebackers Lavonte David and Mason Foster combined for 18 tackles last week, and two weeks ago Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe had 15 combined stops. Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton will both post excellent fantasy totals this week and deserve a start.

Jason Worilds, OLB, Pittsburgh vs. Miami: Ride the hot hand here as Worilds is coming off of a double-digit (10) tackle and two sack performance against Baltimore. He leads the team in sacks with six and is tied for fourth in total tackles with 49. Miami leads the league in sacks allowed (45) and has given up eight in the last three games. This is a great matchup for Worilds. He needs to be in lineups.

Moise Fokou, MLB, Tennessee at Denver: Fokou returned from injury two weeks ago and has regained his starting role, playing 65-of-69 snaps last week and racking up four solo tackles. Inside linebackers have fared well against the Broncos as Derrick Johnson , Jamie Collins and Brandon Spikes have totaled nine tackles or more against Denver over the past two games. Quarterback Peyton Manning struggles in cold weather games (in games played where the temperature was 32 degrees or colder he has a 3-7 record with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions) and it’s expected to be around 16 degrees at game time this week. Look for Denver to utilize running backs Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno more this week, leading to ample tackle opportunities for Fokou.

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