This is it, folks.
In the majority of fantasy football leagues, Week 13 brings with it the end of the regular season. One final opportunity to shore up a first-round bye. One final chance to lock up a playoff spot. One last try at spoiling an opponent’s season just as yours was spoiled.
I never will understand why folks give up upon eliminated teams. I have a few. I will ride them into the ground. Misery loves company, and I want to drag as many people as I can into the gutter with me.
Just how I roll.
No matter your situation, the goal remains the same in the first weekend in December as it did back in September. One more loaded lineup. One more big score.
And with that mind, here’s a look at one more set of waiver wire pickups for fantasy owners in leagues that feature individual defensive players.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Manti Te’o – ILB, San Diego Chargers
Everyone’s favorite catfisher (or is it catfishee?) told Eric Williams of ESPN he’s excited about where the San Diego defense is headed. “I’m very excited about where our defense is going — the intensity and tenacity that we play with,” Te’o said. “There’s a lot of things that we do good, and there’s a lot of things that we’ve got to work on. But we’re never satisfied, that’s the best part about this defense.”
Fantasy owners, on the other hand, should be excited about Te’o’s return to an every-down role after missing significant time with an ankle injury. The former Notre Dame star was a top 25 IDP option over the first month of the 2015 season, and last week Te’o posted six tackles with an interception in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
WEEK 13 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Malcolm Brown – DT, New England Patriots
As Rich Hill of SB Nation reported, the Patriots’ first round pick in the 2015 NFL draft has seen an uptick in playing time of late. And the former Texas star is converting those snaps into a dent in the box score to the tune of 14 total tackles and two sacks over the past three games.
“The rookie first round pick (43, 54%) is now the key starter at defensive tackle,” Hill said, “even though Alan Branch (35, 44%) had a career day. Dominique Easley (21, 27%) had a reduced role due to the Broncos reliance on their rushing attack, while Akiem Hicks (20, 25%) and Sealver Siliga (18, 23%) hit their weekly average.”
Derek Wolfe – DE, Denver Broncos
Brock Osweiler may be getting all the credit for Denver’s upset of the previously undefeated New England Patriots, but as Mike Klis of 9 News in Denver pointed out Wolfe’s second big game in as many weeks played a similarly significant role in knocking off the Army of Darth Hoodie.
“Wolfe,” Klis said, “the Broncos’ best defensive lineman, was a force against the run and picked up his second sack in two games. Wolfe’s team-high eight tackles doubled the Broncos’ next-highest total.” Over that two week span, Wolfe ranks fourth among defensive linemen in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
Jonathan Freeny – ILB, New England Patriots
This is a waiver pickup that may well be much ado about nothing. Jamie Collins made his way back onto the practice field late last week, and while the Patriots star didn’t play in the loss to the Broncos Collins appears to be nearing a return to action after missing several games due to an illness.
However, if you’re in a league where the waiver wire has been picked cleaner than last week’s turkey – consider this. Freeny has parlayed his increased playing time into 26 tackles and a sack the past three games, placing the fourth-year pro among the top-10 fantasy linebackers over that stretch.
Rolando McClain – OLB, Dallas Cowboys
The injury-ravaged Cowboys may be a raging dumpster fire as a team right now, but that didn’t stop team owner Jerry Jones from talking up McClain while speaking with Mark Inabinnett of AL.com. “He’s really hitting his stride,” Jones said. “He truly is a great, without exaggeration, football player when he’s got it all together.”
McClain, who ranks sixth in fantasy points at the position over the last three weeks, insisted that it’s all about team success. “It ain’t about me,” McClain said. “It’s about this team, doing what I can do to contribute to this defense.” That’s a shame – Jerruh’s boys haven’t had much of that this season.
David Amerson – CB, Oakland Raiders
As ESPN’s Bill Williamson wrote, Amerson was back in the starting lineup in last week’s win over the Tennessee Titans. “Amerson was given the starting cornerback job over DJ Hayden this week and he responded well,” Williamson said. “He had a big game with six pass breakups and an interception in Oakland territory in the third quarter. Amerson is better than Hayden and he should be playing.”
Whether or not Amerson is a better NFL cornerback than Hayden may be up for debate, but the third-year pro is an IDP owner’s dream. He’s so-so in coverage on a good day, but a sure tackler. He needs to be given how regularly he gets beaten in coverage.
Robert Blanton – S, Minnesota Vikings
Blanton was a solid IDP performer a season ago, but after falling out of favor with the Vikings coaching staff, Blanton faded into relative obscurity. Now, however, thanks to injuries to Harrison Smith and then Andrew Sendejo, Blanton was back playing significant snaps against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12.
However, as CBS Sports reported, be sure to check the injury reports before counting on Blanton this week against the Seattle Seahawks. “Blanton could be in line to start next week if both Sendejo and Harrison Smith remain sidelined,” they said. “However, Blanton is likely behind Antone Exum if one of the injured safeties can return.
With the fantasy playoff push underway, Fantasy Sharks has you covered. Whether it’s player rankings and projections, waiver wire targets, rookie analysis for dynasty leagues or strategy tips, IDP Staff Writer Walton Spurlin and IDP Senior Staff Writer Gary Davenport have all the information you need to dominate your IDP league in 2015. Also, for the latest IDP news and player updates follow IDP Sharks on Twitter.