We are getting down to the nitty gritty time as playoff berths are being secured during these next 2 or three weeks.  Bye weeks end after this week's games are done, and it is essential that you shore up any weaknesses in your rosters now, not later.  With those concepts in mind, who should you target on the wire and who should be dropped?  Read on.

Elevator Going Up

Linebackers

Bruce Carter DAL

Sean Weatherspoon ATL

Brad Jones GB

Shaun Phillips DEN

DannyTrevathan DEN

Carter is the main guy still in the Dallas D.  With Sean Lee and Justin Durant useless to us for several more weeks, if you can grab Carter do so with enthusiasm.  Weatherspoon is a good pickup against the Saints tonight, and I like him to put up nice numbers from this point on.  Jones, if he can play, is an excellent LB to target, as he should see the majority of the snaps on the Packers defense going forward, with good tackles and the occasional sack.  Phillips is a better pickup than Von Miller, who was essentially MIA last week.  He and Trevathan are putting up much better numbers than Miller, with teams scheming to negate Miller's presence.

Defensive Linemen

Cameron Heyward DE PIT

Julius Peppers DE CHI

Akiem Hicks DE NO

Olivier Vernon DE MIA

Gerald McCoy DT TB

Heyward has a good match up against the Browns, and I would not be surprised to see him reward his owners with a sack or more this week.  I was guilty of writing off Peppers earlier on this season, but he has bounced back well, and if he's sitting on the wire, grab him and start him from this point on.  Hicks is more of a future pickup to stash, as his predominate value comes in being a run stopper.  With the Panthers and Seahawks coming up on the schedule, he will prove valuable in the right match up.  Vernon is someone I have been touting this season, and like Heyward, I like his chances to record at least a half a sack this week.  McCoy is a great DT if you like your DLs to post sacks, with a handful of tackles tossed in for good measure.  Facing a pass oriented offense like Detroit should be a fine opportunity this week.

Defensive Backs

Andrew Sendejo S MIN

Jamarca Sanford S MIN

Jarius Byrd S BUF

Orlando Scandrick CB DAL

Zack Bowman CB CHI

Tramon Williams CB GB

Cortland Finnegan CB StL

Sendejo, together with Jamarca Sanford, has been getting it done in the Viking secondary, and with Harrison Smith going IR, both these guys should be rostered.  I prefer Sendejo, but if he's not available, look to see if you can add Sanford.  Byrd is arguably one of the best defensive players in the NFL, let alone at his position.  I've commented on how high I am on the Buffalo D overall, but Byrd is a step above.  Sacks and interceptions help take the sting out of the fact that the front lines of the Bills' D don't allow many tackle opportunities for Byrd and the rest of the secondary.  Facing Eli Manning may lead to an interception or more for Scandrick on Sunday, and the beat up Cowboys' linebacking corps will lead to more tackling by the secondary, including Mr. Sandrick.  Bowman is going to fill in for Tillman, and that alone makes him worth picking up.  He has the talent to excel, and now has the opportunity.  Williams had 8 tackles, 1 INT and a PD in week 11.  Assuming the Packers' D will be on the field more with their offense lacking it's best playmaker in Aaron Rodgers, I expect good numbers this week with the Vikings as the opponent.  Finnegan has been coming on strong for the past couple of games and I expect him to cover Brandon Marshall this week, and therefore have ample opportunity to rack up tackles.

Escalator Going Down

Linebackers

Zach Brown TEN

Akeem Dent  ATL

Brown is losing snaps, with Colin McCarthy replacing him in the Titan nickel package.  This is a bad thing for a linebacker, as I tend to shy away from LBs that don't play close to every down.  Dent is also losing PT, with the return of Sean Weatherspoon (who I recommend you grab).  Loss of snaps means loss of value.

Defensive Linemen

Robert Ayers DE DEN

Ayers is another IDP that is seeing a decline in his time on the field.  Avoid him, or drop him if you've been sitting him on the bench.

Defensive Backs

Antonio Allen S NYJ

Dashon Goldson S TB

Patrick Peterson CB ARI

The pickup of Ed Reed portends bad tidings for Allen.  Given the affection the Jets' head coach has for Reed, you can stop using Allen in your backfield.  Goldson makes the list because he has been suspended for an illegal hit.  You can bench him if you have room, since he will be back in Week 13, but he is worthless this week.  Peterson is a shutdown corner, and like Darrelle Revis, QBs and Offensive Coordinators avoid him.  He can put up decent enough numbers here and there, but as a steady source of fantasy points, he is not worth rostering.  Look for someone that is being targeted and reap the benefits of tackles, interceptions and passes defensed.

Ouch (My Aching Roster)

All the injury reports below need to be evaluated at kickoff.  Teams are notoriously sketchy about injury reports, and we often do not know a player's status until just before game time.  The list below is intended as a "heads up" as to what is going on early in the week, and should not be considered definitive.

Linebackers

Craig Robertson CLE (knee)

Daryl Smith BAL (thigh)

Chase Blackburn CAR (foot)

Lance Briggs CHI (shoulder)

Rey Maualuga CIN (knee)

Craig Robertson CLE (knee)

Sean Lee DAL (hamnstring)

Justin Durant DAL (hamstring)

Nick Perry GB (ankle, foot)

Mike Mohamed HOU (hamstring)

Darryl Sharpton HOU (foot, toe, back)

Jeff Tarpinian HOU (groin)

Kavell Conner IND (ankle)

Erik Walden IND (suspension)

Erin Henderson  MIN (not injury related)

Garrett McIntyre NYJ (knee)

Kaluka Maiava OAK (ribs)

Mychal Kendricks PHI (knee)

Jake Knott PHI (hamstring)

Stevenson Sylvester PIT (hamstring)

LaMarr Woodley PIT (calf)

Jarrett Johnson SD (hand)

Korey Toomer SEA (NFI)

Dan Skuta SF (foot)

Mason Foster TB (concussion)

Moise Fokou TEN (knee)

 

Defensive Linemen

Charles Johnson DE CAR (knee)

Armonty Bryant DE CLE (back)

Israel Idonije DE DET (knee)

Mike DeVito DEKC (knee)

Tyson Jackson DE KC (abdomen)

Brian Robison DE MIN (neck)

Jason Hunter DE OAK (foot)

Brett Keisel DE PIT (foot)

Derrick Morgan DE TEN (groin)

Stephen Bowen DE WAS (knee)

Haloti Ngata DT BAL (knee)

Jeremiah Ratliff DT CHI (groin)

Johnny Jolly DT GB (groin)

Justin Smith DT SF (shoulder)

 

Defensive Backs

Rahim Moore S DEN (leg)

Glover Quinn S DET (achilles)

LaRon Landry S IND (toe)

Steve Gregory S NE (finger)

Tyvon Branch S OAK (ankle)

Shamarko Thomas S PIT (ankle)

Justin Bethel CB ARI (concussion)

Lardarius Webb CB BAL (abdomen)

Champ Bailey CB DEN (foot)

Greg Toler CB IND (groin)

Will Blackmon CB JAX (shoulder)

Dimitri Patterson CB MIA (groin)

Josh Robinson CB MIN (chest)

Kyle Arrington CB NE (groin)

Aqib Talib CB NE (hip)

Corey Webster CB NYG (groin, ankle)

Cortland Finnegan CB StL (eye)

As ever, good luck and Godspeed in your fantasy efforts. Make sure to read all of our great articles to help you win your fantasy match ups every week and ultimately bask in championship glory.  If you have any fantasy football questions, especially about IDP leagues, I can be reached at ia@fantasyalarm.com.




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About Ivar G. Anderson

I have actively played fantasy sports since 2004, when I was roped into competing in an auto-pick football league on Yahoo. My devotion, and number of teams has continued to grow to the present. I began writing about fantasy sports for FantasyGameday in 2008, and was recruited to join the FantasyAlarm team in 2011, where I cover Starting Pitching on the baseball side of things, and publish a weekly IDP Report and NFL Weather Report weekly during the football season. I can be reached by e-mail at: ia@fantasyalarm.com and my Twitter handle is: @johnwhorfin

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