Week 15 and I sincerely hope you are still playing for the championship in your league(s).  Now is a good time to reexamine your IDP roster and drop any player either not playing at 100% due to lingering or new injuries, or just not playing up to snuff (see the Escalator Going Down section below for my choices).  Let's get to good stuff, and see who you should be claiming this week.

Elevator Going Up

Linebackers

Audie Cole MIN

Jason Worilds PIT

Karlos Dansby ARI

Junior Galette NO

Ernie Sims DAL

John Abraham ARI

Alec Ogletree StL

Dont'a Hightower NE

Cole has become an every down LB, playing in the middle of the Viking defense.  13 tackles in Week 14, with 7 of those solo, puts him in the spotlight and if you are weak at linebacker, he would be my top choice to snag.  Worilds continues to collect sacks and tackles for the Steelers and he may not be available given his excellent past 3 weeks of production, but if he is sitting there, why haven't you grabbed him?  At least prevent your opponent from putting him in his lineup.  Dansby is a sure bet for 100+ tackles and you wonder why the Dolphins let him go to free agency.  5.5 sacks and 3 interceptions are just icing on the cake.  I watched Galette dominate on Sunday night, picking up 3 more sacks to give him a total of 9 on the season.  In a big play league, he is a fine LB 2 or 3.  Sims will fill in while Bruce Carter sits in Week 15, and facing the Packers should boost his value.  Abraham has been coming on like a freight train as the season progresses, and while his snap count is limited to keep him healthy, he has done wonders the past 8 weeks.  Plus he has eligibility at DE in Yahoo leagues.  Ogletree has gotten over his slump and is back racking up tackles and also posted a sack in Week 14.  Hightower should be good for close to double digit tackles this week, as the Patriots face the LB friendly Dolphins.  If you wire is shallow and you need help at linebacker, you could do far worse…far, far worse.

Defensive Linemen

Cameron Heyward DE PIT

Jason Babin DE JAX

Jonathan Massaquoi DE ATL

Ray McDonald DT SF

I have written Heyward's praises here before, but he is still tackling and sacking like a DL1.  If your league mates have forgotten about him, do yourself a favor and insert him in your lineup.  Babin has been coming on as the Jaguars have improved their play.  3.5 sacks in the past 4 weeks bodes well for future goodness.  His pass rush skills make him valuable, just don't expect a ton of tackles.  Massaquoi is benefiting from an increase in playing time, and putting up very respectable tackle numbers in the Atlanta front line.  He has some pass rush ability as well, and if you have been hit with injuries at the DL position, should be a fine waiver wire pickup this week.  Our lone DT this week has been putting up nice tackle numbers, and he also has pass rush skills.  With McDonald facing the sackable Buccaneer offense this week, look for him to make an impact, especially in DT-mandatory leagues.

Defensive Backs

Ryan Clark S PIT

Quintin Mikell S CAR

Richard Marshall  CB SD

Marcus Gilchrist CB SD

Byron Maxwell CB SEA

If you haven't guessed, I am liking what the Steelers are doing on defense.  Clark isn't a top DB, but when you get to face the Bengals, it seems that your stats take a turn for the better, at least if you play in the secondary.  Mikell is now seeing regular snaps and has been putting up good tackle numbers because of it.  More of a DB3, he can still help you if you have a hole to plug in your IDP roster.  Marshall is also now an full time DB.  Facing the Denver passing attack should allow him to post good to great tackle stats.  Gilchrist should also benefit from the match up tonight against the Broncos.  Maxwell has been thrust into the Seahawk secondary due to suspensions and injuries.  With Richard Sherman playing opposite him, expect offenses to continue to test him, resulting in tackle and PD opportunities, as well as an occasional INT.

Escalator Going Down

Linebackers

Wesley Woodyard DEN

Shaun Phillips DEN

Pat Angerer IND

Woodyard and Phillips just aren't getting it done for the Broncos, and Woodyard was benched last week.  Limited or no production makes them worthless at this point.  Angerer was a guy I was high on, but with Indy limiting his on field time, it is time to drop him for someone more productive, even given the propensity of the Indianapolis scorers to be generous all season long, not just during the holidays.

Defensive Linemen

Justin Smith DE SF

Osi Umenyiora DE ATL

Chris Long DE StL

Haloti Ngata DT BAL

Smith is showing signs of age, and is not getting to the passer any longer.  Nor is he a tackle machine.  There are better options in the SF DL corps, as well as on your wire.  Umenyiora has sporadically been worth a roster slot this year, but his production is far too inconstant to trust if you are in the playoffs.  Long hasn't had a sack over the past 3 games, and streaky play is death in the playoffs.  Unless he gets on a roll, bench or drop him.  Ngata is on the field plenty, but his stat sheet is often bereft of any goodness.  I like what Baltimore is doing on defense, I just don't want to rely on Ngata to supply it for me.

Defensive Backs

Duke Ihenacho S DEN

Dee Milliner CB NYJ

Ihenacho was benched in Week 14, never a good sign.  The Broncos are looking at other safeties, and you prolly should do so as well.  Milliner is just a rookie, and the Jets had high hopes for him after Darrelle Revis left the team.  I wouldn't trust him in my lineup, but in a keeper or dynasty league, he should not be cut.  Redraft league owners should feel free to drop him, however.

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

Sean Lee DAL (neck)

Bruce Carter DAL (hamstring)

Lance Briggs CHI (shoulder)

Justin Houston KC (elbow)

K.J.Wright SEA (feet)

Kiko Alonso BUF (knee)

Brandon Spikes NE (knee)

Sean Weatherspoon ATL (shoulder)

Akeem Ayers TEN (groin)

Keyunta Dawson NO (calf)

Defensive Linemen

Jason Pierre-Paul DE NYG (shoulder)

Brett Keisel DE PIT (foot)

C.J. Wilson DE GB (ankle)

Glenn Foster DE NO (knee)

Defensive Backs

Tyrann Mathieu S ARI (knee)

Thomas DeCoud S ATL (concussion)

Tyvon Branch S OAK (ankle)

Earl Wolff S PHI (knee)

Jonathan Cyprien S JAX (thigh)

Reshad Jones S MIA (groin)

Terence Newman CB CIN (torn meniscus)

Gregory Toler CB IND (groin)

Corey Webster CB NYG (ankle)

Brandon Smith CB BUF (ankle)

Josh Robinson CB MIN (chest)

Brandon Browner CB SEA (groin)

Janoris Jenkins CB StL (back)

Kyle Arrington CB NE (groin)

Alterraun Verner CB TEN (groin)

Morris Claiborne CB DAL (hamstring)

Antonio Cromartie CB NYJ (hip)

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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