This is it! Week thirteen is upon us and it is do or die time for many fantasy owners. One last chance to pull out a victory and propel their teams into the playoffs and as we all know, you can’t win the trophy if you aren’t in the dance.
A season’s worth of tough decisions, working the waiver wire, and wheeling and dealing has all led up to this week. Whether you’ve cemented a playoff spot and are playing for the highest possible seed or scratching and clawing for that last position in the postseason this is the week to let it all hang out.
Injuries, benching’s and outright releases have been coming in waves this season and have altered the landscape of IDP leagues drastically. Teams that are still in contention for the playoffs are a testament to an IDP owner’s perseverance and guile.
These are the players that can help lead teams to week thirteen victories and start that glorious run to the championship!
Ernie Sims, ILB, DALLAS, vs. PHILADELPHIA: With middle linebacker Bruce Carter suffering an elbow injury in last weeks game against Washington, Sims sees an uptick in fantasy value. Ideally, we could morph Sims and fellow ILB Dan Connor into one player who would actually be a very nice fantasy player. Forced to pick between the two, Sims looks to see more snaps as he is better in coverage and has posted 22 total tackles in his five games for the Cowboys. The Eagles will be looking to unleash rookie running back Bryce Brown again this week and Sims will put up nice fantasy numbers.
Jo-Lonn Dunbar, WLB, ST LOUIS, vs. SAN FRANCISCO: Dunbar is coming off of a double-digit tackle performance last week against Arizona and has posted 69 total tackles for the season. While he only put up five combined tackles in the first meeting with San Francisco, Dunbar will be active in stopping second year quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers potent rushing attack. Ride the hot hand as Dunbar has 29 tackles in the last four games and get him in fantasy lineups.
Michael Boley, WLB, NEW YORK GIANTS, at WASHINGTON: Boley is leading the Giants in total tackles with 68 and has added half a sack to his season stats. He also has flashed excellent big play potential with three interceptions and a defensive touchdown scored. In the first matchup with the Redskins he posted an impressive ten total tackles and should enjoy similar numbers in week thirteen. He is solid against the run and more than holds his own in coverage making him a three down linebacker and solid fantasy play.
K.J. Wright, SLB, SEATTLE, at CHICAGO: Wright suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Seahawks week nine game, missing the rest of that contest as well as the week ten showdown with the Jets. After the week eleven bye, he returned for Seattle last week and posted a modest five total tackles. This week against the Bears look for him to return to putting up numbers similar to the ones he posted in weeks six through eight. He averaged eight solos and ten total tackles during that time span and is in line for a very good week against Chicago.
Mason Foster, MLB, TAMPA BAY, at DENVER: The Broncos are not the most fantasy friendly matchup for linebackers but Foster is the starting middle linebacker and that in and of itself makes him viable from a fantasy standpoint. The Broncos will continue to feature Knowshon Moreno in the running game and Foster will be able to add to his 75 total tackle numbers. He has also registered a couple of sacks and an interception so he does retain some value when on the field for a passing play. Foster averages 49 defensive snaps a game and that will be plenty to amass good fantasy production this week.
Whitney Mercilus, OLB, HOUSTON, at TENNESSEE: Mercilus will see his fantasy stock rise significantly moving forward with the injury to Brooks Reed (groin, expected to miss 3-4 weeks). In very limited playing time, the rookie out of Illinois has registered three sacks and 17 total tackles. Once Reed was injured, Mercilus saw extensive action and finished the game with 71 defensive snaps played. Look for Mercilus to post very good fantasy numbers down the stretch for Houston, as he is a natural pass rusher who will now have the chance to produce excellent tackle numbers.
Anthony Spencer, OLB, DALLAS, vs. PHILADELPHIA: Spencer currently has the third most tackles for the Dallas defense with 57 total and is second on the team with six and a half sacks. He is playing great football over his last four games with 25 combined tackles, three and a half sacks and two forced fumbles. Look for that to continue this week against a staggering Eagles offense and for him to post excellent fantasy stats.