Week 14 of the 2011 fantasy football season has arrived, which means the regular season has concluded in many
Individual Defensive Player (IDP)
leagues, and in some the waiver wires have closed for business as the playoffs begin.
However, the wire remains open in many leagues and the regular season hasn’t yet ended in others, leaving fantasy owners in those leagues digging through the scraps to find upgrades or injury replacements, especially given some of the big names that were forced from the field last week.
That said, here are some players that should be available on many IDP waiver wires that are worth targeting as we head into Week 14.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Craig Steltz, SS, Chicago: Steltz entered last week’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and played admirably, leading the team with 10 tackles and forcing a fumble. Given Major Wright’s injury history and erratic play this season, there’s an excellent chance that Steltz will get another start this week against the run-heavy Denver Broncos, making him more than worth a look from defensive back-needy IDP squads.
Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Tampa Bay: The highly touted rookie didn’t play much earlier in the season due to concerns about his surgically repaired knee, but the injury suffered by starter Michael Bennett has meant more playing time for Bowers, and he’s certainly made the most of it, tallying eight tackles and 1.5 sacks last week, making him a viable IDP target for teams that are thin up front.
Pernell McPhee, DE, Baltimore: The former Mississippi standout has seen increased playing time as the season has progressed and has seized the opportunity, logging eight tackles and three sacks over his past three games. Defensive ends in the 3-4 defense are always going to be streaky IDP options, but with the woeful Indianapolis Colts on tap McPhee is a decent plug-and-play for fantasy owners desperate for defensive line help.
Larry Grant, ILB, San Francisco: Grant stepped in when Patrick Willis went down last week with a hamstring injury and performed fairly well, making six total tackles and recording a sack in a win over the St. Louis Rams. Willis will reportedly miss at least one more game, and IDP owners of either Willis or Pat Angerer may wish to look to the fourth-year veteran as an injury fill-in.
Paris Lenon, ILB, Arizona: Lenon hasn’t come anywhere close to his Top 20 season from a year ago, but the 10th-year pro has still had a decent statistical campaign, including a five-tackle, one-sack outing against the Dallas Cowboys last week. Lenon may be rostered in many IDP leagues, but if he’s available in yours and you need help at the position, snatch him up headed into a favorable matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.
Deon Grant, SS, New York Giants: Starting strong safety Kenny Phillips sprained his MCL in last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, making it likely that it will be 12-year pro Grant in the starting lineup when the Giants meet the Dallas Cowboys in a crucial NFC East showdown Sunday night. Grant’s a strong tackler but a liability in coverage, and while he may leave the field in some sub-packages Grant is definitely worth consideration from IDP owners with weak secondaries.
James Sanders, SS, Atlanta: Although William Moore was active for the second consecutive week, it was once again seventh-year pro Sanders in the starting lineup at strong safety for the Falcons last week against the Houston Texans. Sanders had 10 tackles in last week’s loss and has 18 over his past two starts, and with production like that Moore might as well make himself comfortable on the bench.