Plenty of options available this week as we head into the fantasy playoffs.  Hope you are still alive with a chance to take the championship.  Here are my suggestions to help get you through this week's games and into the next round.  Good luck to all our readers.

Elevator Going Up

Linebackers

Rey Maualuga CIN

Jason Worilds Pit

Nick Roach OAK

Jon Beason NYG

Maualuga has not missed a beat since returning and to my chagrin, ousting Rey Vincent from the Bengals' LB corps.  The tackles are continuing to mount for this beast of an IDP.  Worilds has been coming on strong of late, and 2 sacks in Week 13 should put him on everyone's IDP radar.  Grab him if you can, as the Miami match up this week is a good one.  Roach had 10 solos last week (11 total tackles) plus he had 2 sacks and one forced fumble.  In a big play league, he is becoming a must start, if he isn't already.  Beason had quieted down since his auspicious entrance as the Giants starting middle linebacker, but last week showed his skill level when he put up 17 total tackles, with 13 of those being of the solo variety.  I like him against the Chargers this weekend, even though I don't like the Giants' chances after a coast to coast trip.

Defensive Linemen

Olivier Vernon  DE MIA

Justin Tuck DE NYG

Trent Cole DE PHI

Lamarr Houston  DE OAK

Ziggy Ansah DE DET

Julius Peppers DE CHI

Wallace Gilberry DT CIN

Vernon is the DE to own in Miami, despite all the press Cameron Wake gets.  Putting up 2.5 sacks in Week 13 portends good things going forward.  Tuck and Cole are both veterans that I will confess I wrote off early on.  They have been gathering steam, however, and are both worth of a roster position as we head into the fantasy playoff season.  If they can stay healthy, they will prove to be savvy wire pickups at this late juncture of the season.  Houston is likely available on your waiver wire, and he would be a fine choice as he faces the lackluster Jets this week.  Ansah is a welcome post-injury return for the Lions, and going up against the Eagles mediocre rushing game this week is just sauce for the goose.  Peppers, like Cole and Tuck, is a smart veteran player who has picked up his game over the past few weeks.  He is the best thing in a beat up Chicago D, and with a Monday Night Game to showcase his skills, I like his chances to give you that extra boost to win your match up this week.  Gilberry also has a nice match up, facing the Colts who just surrendered 5 sacks in Week 13.

Defensive Backs

Craig Steltz S Chi

James Ihedigbo S BAL

Eric Weddle S SD

Andrew Sendejo S MIN

Sam Shields CB GB

With Major Wright most likely out this week again, Steltz is good wire pickup who should give you good tackle numbers.  Ihedigbo facing the Vikings looks extremely tempting, especially after a 10 tackle/2 PD game in Week 13.  The Vikings are a mess and surrender tackles to safeties in bunches.  Weddle is a solid contributor, and has been stepping it up in the past few weeks to make him a top 10 DB again.  He is prolly available for you to snag, and with the Giants making the long trek to San Diego, I foresee good results if you plug him into your starting lineup.  Sendejo, as I predicted, is the DB to grab in Minnesota.  The defense spends a lot of time on the field, and he is benefitting.  Grab him and you will too.  Shields is back on the field, and making big plays again.  Assuming Green Bay will not be lighting it up with the return of Aaron Rodgers looking doubtful in Week 14, I still like him to be target of the rejuvenated Matt Ryan when the Falcons come to town Sunday evening.

Escalator Going Down

Linebackers

Terrell Suggs BAL

Vincent Rey CIN

Sio Moore OAK

Suggs started out like a house on fire, but the flames have been doused of late.  Feel free to drop him for another and better option.  Rey lost his starting position with the return of Maualuga, and with that demotion, has become an IDP liability.  Drop him now, too.  Moore put up a big fat goose egg in Week 13, despite being an every down LB.  Maybe he has hit the rookie wall?  Bench him and hope for a recovery before the season ends.

Defensive Linemen

Cameron Wake DE MIA

Nick Fairley DT DET

As noted above, I prefer Olivier Vernon to Wake at this point in the season.  I myself have made the swap where I could, and I urge you to do so too.  Fairley is continuing to be a dog, although my recent lambasting of Ndamukong Suh was misplaced I am glad to report as a Lions fan.  You can find more appealing DT options on the wire, and would do well to dump the underperforming Fairley.

Defensive Backs

Nothing to report this week

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

Elvis Dumervil BAL (ankle)

Kavell Conner IND (ankle)

Tank Carder CLE (shoulder)

Brandon Spikes NE (knee)

Jordan Senn CAR (hamstring)

Lance Briggs CHI (shoulder)

Justin Houston KC (elbow)

Defensive Linemen

Chris Canty DE BAL (shoulder)

Brett Keisel DE PIT (foot)

Jason Pierre-Paul DE NYG (shoulder)

Defensive Backs

Josh Evans S JAX (shoulder-OUT)

Tyvon Branch S OAK (ankle)

Brandon Meriweather S WAS (chest)

Reed Doughty S WAS (concussion)

Morris Claiborne CB DAL (hamstring)

Brandon Browner CB SEA (groin)

Corey Webster CB NYG (ankle)

Brandon McGee CB StL (foot)

Champ Bailey CB DEN (foot)

Chris Houston CB DET (foot)

Kyle Arrington CB NE (groin)

Aqib Talib CB NE (hip)

Josh Robinson CB MIN (chest)

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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