The pickings are getting pretty slim.
Twelve weeks into the 2016 NFL season, it’s pretty difficult to find any real game-changers on the waiver wire. Like a turkey leg on Thanksgiving, most of the meat has been chewed right off the bone.
Man – I never get the drumstick.
With any luck, most IDP owners don’t need to strike gold in Week 12. Two teams will take next week off because the NFL apparently thinks it’s fun to mess with fantasy owners. But this week, for the first time in a couple months, all 32 of the NFL’s teams will be in action. We have a full complement of options to choose from.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still IDP squads in a bind. Maybe you’ve been bitten by the injury bug. Maybe you’re tired of watching a certain linebacker who shall remain nameless go out and throw up three tackles every week (HINT: His name rhymes with Lavonte David). Or maybe you just feel like you need to shake things up ahead of a must-win Week 12 game.
Whatever the reason, just because Aunt Gladys got a hold of the turkey doesn’t mean there isn’t still enough meat to at least make a sandwich.
Enough with the food metaphors. It’s making me hungry.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Shaq Thompson – OLB, Carolina Panthers
As Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer wrote, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees admitted it was scary to see an emotional Luke Kuechly sobbing on the field after the linebacker suffered a concussion last week. “I gave him his space as they were taking him off the field. I tried to let him know that I’d be praying for him,” Brees said. “I’m not sure exactly what it was, but obviously for that guy to go down like that I think you think the worst. He is maybe – certainly – one of the best football players I’ve ever seen (or) played against and I hope he’s OK.”
It goes without saying that all IDP owners want Kuechly, one of the NFL’s biggest defensive stars, to recover fully and quickly. But we still have lineups to set, and with Kuechly traveling to meet a concussion specialist this week, his Week 12 status is very shaky – especially after a nasty concussion cost him three games last year. Assuming he sits, it won’t be Thompson who moves to MIKE – but it will likely be Thompson who assumes every-down duties opposite veteran Thomas Davis.
WEEK 12 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Mario Addison – DE, Carolina Panthers
Given the injuries that hit Carolina last Thursday night, it’s not surprising that Panthers safety Kurt Coleman groused to Person about the Panthers’ short week. “You never know. It is what it is. That’s the way the league is,” Coleman said. “I don’t know what the statistics say, and some may say it’s the exact same. The same amount of people get hurt on a Thursday as they do on a Sunday, you don’t know. I know how I feel going into a Thursday. It’s not the same way as I feel on a Sunday. But both teams are feeling the same way and it’s a fair, competitive match.”
Addison was one of the players who went down in the game, departing in the second half with an injured foot. It’s a shame, as Addison, who has emerged as Carolina’s most reliable pass-rusher in 2016, was having his best game of the season. Obviously, Addison’s flipper could rob this recommendation of much of its appeal, but with 10 days to get ready for Week 12 if Addison plays he’s an OK dart throw as a DL2.
Stephon Tuitt – DE, Pittsburgh Steelers
With Cameron Heyward out for the season with a torn Pectoral muscle, Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler told Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he needed to figure out a way to keep double-teams off Tuitt. “We’re not going to tell them what we’re going to do before we play, but we have several guys that can help us at that position so we’re going to do what we think is best trying to cover up after losing Cam,” Butler said. “We’ll try a couple of things.”
Well, whatever Butler cooked up for Tuitt in Week 11 worked like a charm and then some. The third-year pro had easily his best game of 2016 against the Cleveland Browns, piling up six tackles and adding 2.5 sacks. Tuitt isn’t going to put up those sorts of numbers every week, but he’s a solid high-floor DL2 to pair with a high-upside pass-rusher.
Jatavis Brown – ILB, San Diego Chargers
The only thing stopping Brown from being the Pickup of the Week is that he probably isn’t available in that many leagues. At least, he shouldn’t be. But if he is, the young linebacker should absolutely be the top waiver priority on the defensive side of the ball. The reason why isn’t hard to see – from Week 4 to Week 8, the span during which Brown started inside for the Chargers, he was sixth in fantasy points at his position in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
That was before Brown injured his knee, which was supposed to sideline him “a game or two.” Brown has since missed two games and had the bye week to get right. Assuming he has and gets back after in in Week 12, the Korey Toomer IDP train will derail just as Brown gets back to trucking. You really do want to see what Brown can do for you.
Darron Lee – ILB, New York Jets
Lee returned in a limited capacity for the Jets in Week 10, but he told Alex Giaimo of the team’s website he was grateful to have a Week 11 bye to rest his balky ankle. “The coaches told me they were going to keep me limited,” Lee said. “They wanted to see how I did, what I could do on special teams and we’ll move forward from there. They weren’t going to just throw me in there with the conditioning aspect and all of that, so I’ll be able to work on that in bits and pieces over the next two weeks. The ankle is good. It was great to get a game under my belt. It has its aches and soreness, but as far as actual pain — that’s gone.”
With an extra week to rest up and the Jets headed nowhere fast in 2016, there’s no real reason for Gang Green not to let their first-round pick in 2016 get some on-the-job training under his belt. That, in turn, should mean more than just a situational role for Lee, who was actually leading the team in tackles at the time of his injury.
Kurt Coleman – S, Carolina Panthers
It wasn’t my intent to make this a Panthers-centric edition of the IDP Waiver Wire. Partly that’s just a function of examining who’s available in the IDP leagues I play in. Partly it may well have been that last week’s win over the Saints was one of Carolina’s best defensive efforts of the season. And Coleman’s big game (one of the biggest among defensive backs in Week 11) was a significant contributor to that.
Per Tim Weaver of Panthers’ Wire, “On the (defensive) side of the ball, safety Kurt Coleman played the best game of his 2016 season. Coleman finished with nine-combined tackles and one pass defended against the Saints. His pass coverage was a major factor in keeping New Orleans out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
Jaquiski Tartt – S, San Francisco 49ers
Nick Wagoner of ESPN recently called Tartt the most underutilized player on the San Francisco defense. “There’s a case to be made that Tartt should get more time,” Wagoner said, “but it’s also worth noting that he has dealt with injuries, including quadriceps and knee issues that slowed him earlier in the season. But the Niners move safety Eric Reid around a lot in their defense and occasionally use Tartt in tandem with Reid and Bethea. With Bethea and Reid each having just one more season on their contracts, getting Tartt some more game experience would help them evaluate where he stands. He becomes a free agent after the 2018 season.”
Well, the future is now. Reid suffered a season-ending arm injury in Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots, which means a starting spot for Tartt the rest of the way. The second-year pro was a consistent fantasy producer last year while filling in for an injured Bethea. Playing behind s suspect cadre of linebackers, there’s no reason to think he can’t be again in 2016.