We’ve made it to the 10th week of the 2012 NFL season, and that means that in the majority of Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues only four regular season games remain, making each contest more important. You might be a juggernaut positioning yourself for a first-round playoff bye or a 5-4 fantasy squad trying to keep your championship dreams from going up in smoke.
We only have two more bye weeks left, so soon IDP teams will be back to “full strength.” However, that’s a relative term as injuries continue to make their mark on the fantasy landscape. So as we enter the stretch run here’s a look at some waiver wire options that IDP owners should consider adding to bolster their clubs.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Brian Urlacher, MLB, Chicago:
It may seem strange to see a future Hall of Famer in a waiver wire article, but a balky knee limited Urlacher’s production greatly early in the season and got him his fantasy walking papers in many shallow IDP leagues. With that said, the 34-year-old’s knee certainly didn’t seem to be bothering him while he was returning an interception for a touchdown Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, and with seven tackles in each of his past three games and a favorable matchup with the Houston Texans on tap, Urlacher should once again be rostered in all IDP formats.
Jonathan Babineaux, DT, Atlanta:
With prominent IDP defensive tackles such as Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata and Cleveland’s Ahtyba Rubin battling injuries fantasy owners in leagues that require the position have been left in the lurch and searching for viable replacements. Those owners should look to the Atlanta Falcons and eighth-year veteran Jonathan Babineaux, who has tallied 13 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble over the past three weeks.
Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants:
Another big name that got off to a slow start, New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is available in many IDP leagues after failing to record a sack in his first six games. However, the 29-year-old appears to have turned the corner, notching 11 tackles and three sacks over the past three weeks, and fantasy owners with a need along the defensive line should get the eighth-year pro “tucked” away on their rosters with all due haste.
Zach Brown, OLB, Tennessee:
The linebacker position in Nashville has been a revolving door all season long due to injuries, but as things settle down rookie Zach Brown appears to have carved himself out a larger role in the Titans’ defense. The former North Carolina star has played in more than 85 percent of Tennessee’s defensive snaps over the past two games, and with 14 total tackles over that stretch, Brown merits a long look from IDP owners that are hurting at linebacker.
Ernie Sims, ILB, Dallas:
A season-ending injury to Sean Lee left the Dallas Cowboys with a hole at linebacker, and with backup Dan Connor also hurting, the team was forced to turn to a recent signee as a starter against the Atlanta Falcons. Veteran Ernie Sims, who was signed by the team on Oct. 24, started the game and recorded seven total tackles, and while that stat line is far from eye-popping, IDP owners in deeper leagues that have been devastated by the rash of injuries at the position could do much worse than taking a flier on the seventh-year pro.
Eric Berry, SS, Kansas City:
Berry was the first defensive back selected in a lot of IDP drafts this year, but a terrible start to the season borne of last year’s ACL injury led many owners to lose patience and cut Berry loose. With that said, the third-year pro had by far his best game of the season last week against the San Diego Chargers, racking up eight total tackles and an interception, and as the last line for a Chiefs defense that’s on the field all day, Berry is a prime candidate for a second-half rebound.
Nolan Carroll, CB, Miami:
With free-agent acquisition Richard Marshall sidelined by a back injury, the Miami Dolphins have turned to third-year pro Nolan Carroll at cornerback, and savvy IDP owners should follow Miami’s lead. The 25-year-old has amassed 18 total tackles, a sack and a forced fumble over his past two starts, and with Marshall’s return date unknown and a favorable fantasy matchup upcoming with the Tennessee Titans, Carroll is an excellent matchup play for IDP owners in leagues that require cornerbacks.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.