It’s Week 9 of the 2012 NFL season, and, as another fantasy football campaign chugs along, the push for the playoffs is beginning in earnest. For some teams that means tweaking the roster in the hopes of locking up a first-round bye, while for others it means a more extensive overhaul as they scramble to try to squeak into the postseason.
Injuries and lackluster performances continue to take a toll on Individual Defensive Player (IDP) rosters no matter how good your team is, leaving holes that have to be plugged, so, taking that into consideration, here is a look at some individual defensive players who should be available in the majority of fantasy football leagues that can help your squad out.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Wesley Woodyard, OLB, Denver:
It’s been an up-and-down season for Denver Broncos weak side linebacker Wesley Woodyard, but Week 8 was definitely an “up” week, as the fifth-year pro racked up 13 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception in a win over the New Orleans Saints. With Joe Mays out for the season with a broken leg, Keith Brooking should remain at middle linebacker for the Broncos, which means a three-down role for Woodyard that should equate to steady fantasy production.
Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Tampa Bay:
The second-year pro has made a remarkable recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in May, making his season debut in last Thursday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings. The 22-year-old played limited snaps and didn’t record any stats, but, more importantly, Bowers emerged from the game without experiencing a setback, and, as his snaps increase over the next few weeks, so should his statistical output.
Jeremy Mincey, DE, Jacksonville:
After racking up 57 tackles and eight sacks in 2011, Mincey got off to a woefully slow start this year, and no sacks in his first five games got the fifth-year veteran his walking papers from a number of IDP rosters. However, the 28-year-old has now recorded nine total tackles and two sacks over his past two games, so fantasy owners with a need along the defensive line should look to scoop Mincey up ahead of a fairly favorable Week 9 matchup with the Detroit Lions.
Demario Davis, ILB, New York Jets:
After starting 119 straight games, veteran linebacker Bart Scott was inactive for last week’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, opening the door for rookie Demario Davis to see significant playing time for the second consecutive week. Davis’ six total tackles on the day was far from eye-popping, but no Jets player had more than four solos in the game, and with Scott’s status moving forward up in the air heading into New York’s bye week, forward thinking fantasy owners may want to pull the trigger on Davis now.
Brad Jones, ILB, Green Bay:
With both Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith out for the season, the Green Bay Packers have been forced to dig deep, inserting converted outside linebacker Brad Jones into the starting lineup. The fourth-year pro played well in Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, amassing 10 total tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Given all the injuries that have hit the linebacker spot and Jones’ every-down role, the 26-year-old is absolutely worth an add.
Stevie Brown, SS, New York Giants:
Kenny Phillips’ balky knee has sidelined him the past four games, and given the way that Brown has played in his stead, Phillips may not get his job back once he’s healthy. Brown has tallied 21 tackles, four interceptions and a fumble recovery over the past month, and that nose for making big plays has carved out a role for Brown both on the Giants defense and on fantasy football rosters.
Jamarca Sanford, FS, Minnesota:
Not a whole lot went right for the Minnesota Vikings in their Week 8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but blame for the defeat can’t be laid at the feet of free safety Sanford, who was all over the place. The fourth-year veteran was second on the team with six solos last Thursday night, and with 22 total tackles and a forced fumble in his last three games, Sanford merits consideration from IDP teams with a need in the defensive backfield.
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.