It seems like only yesterday that we were getting the 2013 fantasy football season underway, but as we hit Week 14 and the calendar turns to December, it’s already time for the fantasy playoffs.
Time flies when you’re screaming at the TV and throwing things.
Whether you’re preparing for a first-round playoff matchup, enjoying a bye week as the reward for a successful year, or getting ready for the last week of the regular season, every Individual Defensive Player (IDP) owner who still has something to play for has one thing in common:
We’re all looking to get better.
With that in mind, here are some of the top individual defensive player waiver wire options for Week 14.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago
Peppers has always been a streaky, “boom/bust” IDP option, but, in his 12th NFL season, Peppers has taken that to the next level. It’s been either huge scores or a fat bag of nothing in 2013. Lately it’s been more of the former, as twice in the past three weeks Peppers has tallied at least eight tackles and at least two sacks in a game, including eight stops and 2.5 sacks in last week’s loss to Minnesota. He isn’t an option for the faint of heart, but if you’re in the market for defensive line help this week and are willing to risk a goose-egg for the chance at a fat stat line, Peppers is your guy.
WEEK 13 WAIVER WIRE PICKUPS
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit
It took a little while for Ansah to get his sea legs in the NFL, but of late the former BYU star has been playing more like the top-10 pick the Lions thought they were getting back in April. Ansah’s three tackles and two sacks on Thanksgiving against Green Bay marked the second straight game in which the rookie has posted two sacks, and Ansah has now hauled down the opposing passer seven times this season. IDP owners would like to see better tackle production (Ansah has topped three stops in a game only once this year), but back-to-back multiple sack efforts certainly put Ansah on the IDP radar.
Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants
Much like the rest of the New York pass rush, Justin Tuck has been missing in action for much of 2013, tallying only 2.5 sacks over his first 11 games. That changed in a big way in Sunday night’s win over Washington, where Tuck’s four sacks were enough to net him top honors among defensive linemen in
Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring
for Week 13. The ninth-year veteran now has nine tackles and five sacks over his last two starts, and the Giants’ decision to move Tuck inside in passing situations appears to be paying dividends. Perhaps it can for IDP owners in the fantasy playoffs as well.
Zach Brown, OLB, Tennessee
After finishing 2012 as hot as any fantasy linebacker out there, big things were expected of Brown in his second NFL season. However, Brown has been a huge disappointment for much of this season, mostly due to a loss of subpackage snaps. However, over the past couple of weeks, Brown has been playing well better than 80 percent of the team’s snaps, and that has equated to 16 tackles, a sack and an interception over that stretch. So long as Brown continues to get the opportunity to produce, there’s little reason to think he won’t continue to do so.
Jason Worilds, OLB, Pittsburgh
nicked up, the Steelers turned to Worilds over the past few weeks, and, given how well the fourth-year pro has played, Woodley may not get his job back. Worilds amassed 10 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in Week 13 against Baltimore, and the 25-year-old now has 23 tackles and three sacks over his past three games. It’s a possibility that Woodley’s return could send Worilds back to the bench, but considering how well Worilds has performed, that wouldn’t seem likely. Add in a dream pass-rush matchup in Week 14 with leaky Miami, and Worilds is a viable waiver add, especially in sack-heavy IDP leagues.
Dawan Landry, SS, New York Jets
For much of the 2013 season Landry has been a low-upside DB3, only marginally rosterable in many leagues. However, with Ed Reed now in New York, the Jets have kicked Landry back to strong safety, which has, in turn, boosted Landry’s production. The 30-year-old tallied a season-high 14 total tackles against Miami last week, and, given how much time New York’s defense is spending on the field, Landry is absolutely worth a look from fantasy owners with a need in the defensive backfield.
Jason McCourty, CB, Tennessee
After averaging more than 95 tackles per season the last two years, McCourty was one of the first cornerbacks selected in IDP drafts this year. By any measure, the fifth-year pro has been a huge disappointment, with only 46 tackles and no interceptions through 12 games. Given those paltry stats, you may be wondering what could possibly make McCourty an interesting IDP target in Week 14? The answer to that question is simple: This week McCourty and the Titans face
and the Denver Broncos’ deep and talented stable of wide receivers.
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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, Davenport’s IDP work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio.