Well folks, here we are. In many IDP leagues, this is it. Week 13 brings with it the end of the regular season in most fantasy leagues. Hopefully, Week 13 is absolutely meaningless (in a good way) for you. Worst-case, this week is a fight for a first-round playoff bye.
If only it were that easy. Many IDP squads are battling for their postseason lives in a one-week mini-playoff all its own, and whether Week 13 is the most important week of the season or you’re already looking ahead to Week 14, every IDP owner with something to play for has one thing in common.
They all want to get better.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some of this week’s top waiver wire pickups in Individual Defensive Player leagues.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Wesley Woodyard – MLB, Denver Broncos
Woodyard entered the 2013 season as an IDP LB2, but injuries and a slow start to the year led to the 27-year-old getting the gate in more than a few leagues. However, Woodyard turned in his best performance of 2013 in last week’s loss to the New England Patriots, tallying 15 total tackles and a forced fumble. This week the Broncos travel to Arrowhead in a huge AFC West matchup with the Chiefs, and while Woodyard didn’t have a great statistical game against Kansas City two weeks ago the sixth-year veteran is easily one of the top linebackers available this week.
WEEK 13 WAIVER WIRE PICKUPS
Akiem Hicks – DE, New Orleans Saints
It’s something of an anomaly for a 3-4 defensive end to be a steady IDP producer. For both ends in a 3-4 defense to have fantasy value is almost unheard of. Yet, that’s what happening in the Big Easy, where Rob Ryan’s 3-4 is producing a huge year for end
. Now batterymate Akiem Hicks is joining the party, posting back-to-back top-10 finishes in
Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring the past two weeks. Add in a plus matchup with the Seattle Seahawks this week, and Hicks is a viable (albeit unlikely) candidate to help IDP owners with a Week 13 need up front.
Sheldon Richardson – DE, New York Jets
Much like the aforementioned Hicks,
is a young 3-4 defensive end benefitting from playing opposite an end having a monster season. This week though, it isn’t just having
to attract double-teams that’s of interest to IDP owners where Richardson is concerned. In Week 13, the Jets face a Miami Dolphins’ offensive line that couldn’t stop an overweight nine-year old from getting to a box of Twinkies (which are back, by the way…God Bless America), much less a 300-pound defensive end from making
’s life miserable.
Rey Maualuga – MLB, Cincinnati Bengals
This recommendation is borderline painful, as Maualuga’s return means an end to the magical three-week run for Vincent Rey at middle linebacker for the Bengals. However, all indications are that Maualuga will regain his starting spot this week against the San Diego Chargers. Maualuga was playing about 70 percent of the snaps prior to getting hurt. If the fifth-year pro comes close to that count this week Maualuga should at least be a serviceable starter for IDP owners in a pinch, as the Bolts are surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to linebackers this year.
Brandon Spikes – MLB, New England Patriots
Anyone with eyes could see that the New England defense got absolutely abused on the ground against the Denver Broncos in Week 12, but something else happened Sunday night that’s of interest to IDP owners. Second-year pro Dont’a Hightower, who struggled badly in coverage early in the game, was benched by head coach Bill Belichick. That meant more tackle opportunities for middle linebacker
, whose nine stops were his third-highest weekly total of the season. This week, Spikes and the Patriots play a Houston Texans team that, even while mired in a nine-game losing streak, continues to be a very favorable IDP matchup for linebackers. Spikes is a good bet for double-digit stops in Week 13.
Troy Polamalu – SS, Pittsburgh Steelers
Polamalu had one of his better IDP outings of the year in Week 12, but even in that outburst it was big plays that saved what would have otherwise been a so-so four-tackle game. That reliance on the big play makes Polamalu a risky bet, but this week’s Thursday matchup with the Ravens is crucial to the Steelers’ suddenly revived playoff hopes. Besides, you need someone to root for while sitting on the coach in a turkey-induced quasi-coma on Thanksgiving night.
Logan Ryan – CB, New England Patriots
Ryan rewarded fantasy owners who spot-started the youngster in CB-required IDP leagues last week, logging four tackles against the Denver Broncos while chipping in an interception. There’s a decent shot that Ryan can make it two strong weeks in a row Sunday against the Houston Texans, who have given up the third-most fantasy points to defensive backs this year. There’s a measure of risk involved with trusting such an unproven player, but for IDP owners who have seen the likes of
and Cortland Finnegan be lost for the season Ryan’s an intriguing target as a plug-and-play cornerback.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Don’t forget to check back here regularly at Fantasy Sharks for all your IDP needs, from
to waiver wire pickups and strategy. Whatever you need, Fantasy Sharks has you covered!
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Gary Davenport is the IDP Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, In addition to his work at Fantasy Sharks and at IDP Manor, Gary’s IDP work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio.