We’ve come to Week 14 of the 2012 fantasy football season, and that means that in many Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues, the regular season has given way to the playoffs, while in some leagues one last week of games remain.
Frankly, for most IDP owners, if you’ve made it this far, odds are you aren’t looking for a player on your league’s waiver wire, but injuries can’t read a calendar, so while the pickings have gotten awfully slim on waiver wires by December, there are still some teams on the lookout for IDP help.
So, for one last week we’ll be taking a look at some players who may be able to give your IDP squads a late-season boost, while beginning in Week 15 we’ll spend a couple weeks looking towards the future with a glance at some young players whose appeal lies mostly in keeper and dynasty formats.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Thomas Davis, OLB, Carolina:
The remarkable return of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has garnered much more publicity, but what Thomas Davis has done is just as amazing. Coming back from three ACT tears, the eighth-year pro has now tallied double-digit solo tackles in two of his past three games, and, with a Top 10 IDP matchup on tap with the Atlanta Falcons, Davis is absolutely worth an add if he’s available in your league.
Jason Babin, DE, Jacksonville:
A bizarre season for the Philadelphia Eagles got even weirder last week with the shocking release of defensive end Jason Babin, who had seen his sack production drop to 5.5 this year after racking up 30.5 over the previous two seasons. The ninth-year veteran was quickly snatched up by Jacksonville and started in place of the injured Austen Lane, and, while it may take another week for Babin to acclimate to his new home, it’s rare to find a defensive end with his pedigree on the waiver wire this late in the year.
Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia:
The release of Jason Babin means more playing time for the youngsters on the Eagles’ defensive front, including third-year pro Brandon Graham. Graham made the most of the opportunity in Sunday night’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, notching six total tackles and 1.5 sacks, and, if the 24-year-old can stay healthy, perhaps he’ll finally display some of the talent that spurred the Eagles to select him in the first round of the 2010 draft.
Mychal Kendricks, OLB, Philadelphia:
By this point in the season, the pool of available talent at the linebacker position is woefully thin, especially given all the injuries that have hit this year. That means that IDP owners with a need at linebacker are forced to dig pretty deep, and, while rookie Mychal Kendricks has yet to amass more than seven tackles in a game this year, he’s at least a three-down player who will pitch in a handful of stops. It’s not going to win any games for you, but it beats a blank.
Demorrio Williams, ILB, San Diego:
Williams drew the start at inside linebacker for the injured Donald Butler in Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and, while the ninth-year veteran’s six total tackles were far from eye-popping, an interception returned for a touchdown saved Williams’ IDP day. Groin injuries can be tricky, and Butler’s status for Week 14 is still very much in doubt, so Williams is likely one of the top options available for IDP owners hard up for a spot starter this week.
Reshad Jones, FS, Miami:
There may well not be a more under-the-radar defensive back this season than this third-year pro, who is very quietly putting together a Pro Bowl-caliber season. The 24-year old had 10 solo tackles in an interception in the Dolphins’ loss to New England in Week 13, and, with two games with double-digit stops in his past three starts, Jones is now squarely on the IDP radar in most formats.
Robert McClain, CB, Atlanta:
Starter Asante Samuel aggravated his shoulder injury in last week’s win over the New Orleans Saints, meaning more playing time for this third-year pro. McClain responded with seven total stops and two passes defensed, and, if Samuel is forced to sit out this week’s matchup with Carolina, McClain will jump to the head of the class so far as matchup cornerbacks go in Week 14 given the numbers he’s put up this season when afforded the opportunity.
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.