For most fantasy leagues, this is the final week before the playoffs begin. Teams are scratching and clawing for every advantage to get to the big dance.
With three games taking place on Thanksgiving and this article not being published until the Friday after Thanksgiving, the talent pool was definitely compromised.
That’s why I love my job so much, as finding these sleeper candidates was by no means easy, but it was a ton of fun!
Without further ado …
Pat Angerer, ILB,
Indianapolis vs. Tennessee: Angerer struggled mightily in coverage last week against Arizona and played the lowest amount of snaps he’s registered in the past five games (36). Look for a bounceback week against a Titans team that he racked up nine tackles (eight solo) against two weeks ago. Tennessee will look to establish running back Chris Johnson on the ground, leading to more playing time and production for Angerer.
Brandon Spikes, MLB,
New England at Houston: Spikes totaled nine tackles last week and also recovered a fumble in the comeback victory over Denver. This week he has a prime matchup to reach double-digit tackles. Jacksonville middle linebacker Paul Posluszny racked up 15 total stops last week against Houston. Where does Spikes line up? In the middle, baby, and he belongs in starting lineups this week.
David Hawthorne, ILB,
New Orleans at Seattle: The Seahawks have not been an ideal matchup for allowing points to linebackers but have given up the occasional big week. Atlanta’s Paul Worrilow went off for 19 tackles against them in Week 10 and Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David also reached double-digit stops in Week 9. The weather is shaping up to be nasty on Monday night and that could mean a lot of handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch. Hawthorne has put up 14 tackles in his last two games and 61 for the season. He also brings big play potential and has three sacks and a forced fumble through 11 games.
Darryl Sharpton, ILB,
Houston vs. New England: Sharpton has 25 total tackles over the past three weeks, with 17 of those being solos. In each of their past two games the New England Patriots have seen a pair of opposing linebackers reach double-digit stops against them (Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis in Week 11 /Danny Trevathan and Wesley Woodyard in Week 12). Sharpton is an excellent start this week on a defense that will be on the field a lot.
Aldon Smith, OLB,
San Francisco vs. St. Louis: Smith did not play in the Week 4 matchup between the teams and the 49ers linebackers still put up 3.5 sacks. In his four career games against the Rams, Smith has five sacks and 14 total tackles (13 solos). He is coming off of a two-sack game against Washington and will at least match that total in Week 13.