It’s Week 15 of the 2012 fantasy football campaign, and that means that only a handful of teams in each league are still alive in the hunt for their league’s championship with the playoffs underway in earnest.
Many of those teams didn’t get to where they are by starting a team filled with options off the waiver wire. However, injuries continue to take their toll on the defensive side of the ball and in at least one IDP league I was able to secure a playoff win by doing just that, so it pays to stay apprised of potential additions available in your league.
My plan originally was to begin focusing on the future with some keeper and dynasty league additions this week, but after receiving several e-mails from IDP owners still in need of short-term fixes I have decided to eschew that plan for one more week and keep the focus of this week’s column on the here and now.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
– OLB, Dallas Cowboys: Spencer makes his second appearance in this column over the past few weeks, and for good reason. With the Dallas Cowboys linebacker corps decimated by injuries Spencer has made the most of the additional opportunities for production, posting some of the best numbers of his six-year career. Over the past three games Spencer has tallied 29 total tackles and four sacks, and that’s the sort of fantasy production that any IDP owner in need of linebacker help would be glad to have.
– DT, St. Louis Rams: As Brockers’ rookie season has progressed the former LSU standout appears to be adjusting quite well to the NFL, and it’s showing up on the stat sheet. Brockers had one of his best games of the year in Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills, racking up seven total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble, and those sorts of numbers should be plenty to appealing to IDP owners in DT-required leagues that want to improve up front.
– DE, Cleveland Browns: Rucker is the sort of defensive end that’s solid in every area while not being spectacular in any area.
The seventh-year veteran has logged 15 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble over the past four games, and while Rucker likely isn’t going to post eye-popping numbers his seven stops with a sack in last week’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs demonstrates that Rucker can be a viable spot starter in the right situation, such as this week’s top five IDP matchup with the Washington Redskins.
Ray Lewis – ILB, Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens are hopeful that Lewis will make his return to the fiekd in Week 15, and that return can’t come soon enough. Dannell Ellerbe has been sidelined the last two games and Jameel McClain suffered a neck injury in last week’s loss to the Washington Redskins, meaning that Lewis could be in for a heavy workload in his first game back. The 17th-year veteran’s arm injury may limit his effectiveness somewhat, but for IDP owners in a bind at LB 75 percent of Ray Lewis beats 100 percent of nothing.
Nick Roach – MLB, Chicago Bears: With Brian Urlacher on the shelf with a hamstring injury it fell to Nick Roach to man the middle for the Chicago Bears in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The sixth-year pro played fairly well, tallying nine total stops for the Bears, and while no one is going to confuse Roach with Urlacher any time soon IDP owners scrambling to plug a hole at linebacker could do worse than Roach heading into this week’s crucial matchup with the Green Bay Packers.
Isa Abdul-Quddus – FS, New Orleans Saints: Not only were the playoff hopes of the New Orleans Saints effectively crushed in last week’s loss to the New York Giants but the team also suffered a significant injury, as free safety Malcolm Jenkins was forced from the game with a leg injury that leaves his Week 15 status very much in doubt. If Jenkins can’t go against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-year pro Isa Abdul-Quddus would draw the start, and as he showed with five tackles and an interception against the G-Men Abdul-Quddus is capable of posting solid numbers when afforded the chance.
Kelvin Hayden – CB, Chicago Bears: Since we’re sticking with the here and now for one more week that means that I should, for one more week at least, continue the tradition of pointing out at least one matchup cornerback available on waiver wires this week. In Week 15 that cornerback is eighth-year veteran Kelvin Hayden of the Chicago Bears, who will start Sunday in place of the injured Tim Jennings against a Green Bay Packers squad that has a tendency to keep opposing defensive backs busy.
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