As the fantasy season winds down and heads toward the playoffs, it seems unfair that the schedule makers have dropped two weeks of four-team byes on us and our football rosters. All the more reason to act fast to snap up those IDP that can assist you in racking up a couple more weeks of victories, right? Most of the rising profiles below are in the defensive secondary, but the LB and DE ranks are not bereft of suggested options.

Bye Weeks coming up: Week 13-Carolina, Cleveland, Green Bay, Tennessee; Week 14-Indianapolis, Miami, New England, Philadelphia

Elevator Going Up


Darius Leonard IND

After writing the Colt LB off last week, he decided to prove his mettle with a huge game against the visiting 2020/21 champ Bucs, racking up 15 total tackles (TT), 12 of those solos. He also forced a fumble (FF) and defended a pass (PD) as part of his return to star status. If he was dropped in your league (not that this article would have had anything to do with that decision), add him to your roster for the stretch run.

Troy Reeder LAR

His productive outing in Week 12 built on a fine performance in the previous contest. After picking up 11 TT in Week 10 (Week 11 was the Rams’ bye week), he upped the total with 13 TT (six solo) against the host Packers. One of those tackles was for a loss of yards, as well (TFL). The next matchup against the Jags is not great, but then Week 14 and 15 look better for ILB fantasy production. 

Defensive Linemen

John Franklin-Myers DE NYJ

Profiled in the IDP Report back in Week 2, he dropped off the fantasy radar for a period, before putting up a strong big play game in Week 12 against the host Texans: two sacks, two QB hits/hurries (QH), an INT and a PD. He also contributed three TT (all solo, two TFL). Week 13 finds him taking on the Eagles who give up the most points to DEs in fantasy.

Defensive Backs

Eric Murray S HOU

Murray’s lowest tackle production over his last three games is eight TT (which he has achieved twice, with an 11 TT effort on the books for Week 11 against the Titans). He is back to being an every down DB, and while he does not offer much big play value, he is a top tackle producer if that floats your boat in your league’s scoring scheme.

Dean Marlowe S DET

With the Detroit former starting nickel back A.J. Parker now on IR, Marlowe will be seeing significant time on the field for the Lions. He amassed 10 TT on Thanksgiving Day against the Bears (six solo) while also contributing a PD. He should continue to see regular playing time going forward, which given the Detroit scoring dearth, will provide him with ample opportunity to produce fantasy stats.

Minkah Fitzpatrick S PIT

He was profiled in Week 2, same as Mr. Franklin-Myers above (must have been a fine week for IDP profiling), and deserves recognition again. Coming off the COVID list to put up an eight TT effort (five solo), with an couple big plays tossed in for good measure, he should continue to be a useful DB as the playoffs loom. The big plays were an INT and PD, by the way.

Patrick Surtain II CB DEN

Rookie CBs are frequently fine fantasy performers, and Surtain has been tested this season by opposing offenses. He had a nice Week 12 against the visiting Chargers, on both the tackle front with five TT (four solo) and big plays with two INT and PD each. He also contributed a TD but that is not exactly an item to be relied on going forward.

Escalator Going Down


Jerome Baker MIA

Baker boosted his profile with a seven sack season in 2020, but has only collected one of those this season, back in Week 5. He is also a hit and miss tackle producer, with a good game followed by a poor outing. High playing time with spotty or non-existent fantasy point production makes for a droppable IDP.

Defensive Linemen

Maxx Crosby DE LV

No sacks in the past five contests, and only one game with more than three tackles, Crosby’s stock has fallen off the fantasy map. He is still seeing plenty of snaps on defense, so there is potential for rebound. This is a dangerous game to play with the playoffs on the horizon, however, and there are better, steadier DEs to populate your lineup with as the season reaches the final contests.

Defensive Backs

None to write about this week, except those identified in the Injury Report below.

Matchups to Exploit

Remember, the first team listed is the one to use your IDPs against. Do not go crazy, and play a DE5 against the Eagles or a LB4/5 against the host Lions, but certainly you will do well if you own a top LB in the Baltimore/Pittsburgh game that you can plug in this week, for the most part.

Inside Linebackers

Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh

Detroit Lions vs Minnesota

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore

Outside Linebackers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta

Detroit Lions vs Minnesota

Houston Texans vs Indianapolis

Defensive Ends

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore 

Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh

Washington Football Team @ Las Vegas

Defensive Tackles

New Orleans Saints vs Dallas

Miami Dolphins vs New York Giants

Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans


Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh

Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay

Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver

Los Angeles Rams vs Jacksonville


Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati

New England Patriots @ Buffalo

Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago

Buffalo Bills vs New England

Waiver Wire Targets

This section is intended to serve as a shortened cheat sheet listing those waiver wire targets you should be considering if you need to plug a hole in your starting lineup. All these players are spotlighted above, and you can read my comments about them in the "Elevator Going Up" section of this article. Not all the players commented on are here, however, as there is no need to waste your time searching for players that are heavily owned. This group consists of those that you may have a chance of locating on your league's waiver wire in that they are owned in significantly less than 50% of leagues. Happy claiming for your weekly matchups.


Troy Reeder LAR

Defensive Linemen

John Franklin-Myers DE NYJ

Defensive Backs

Eric Murray S HOU

Dean Marlowe S DET

Minkah Fitzpatrick S PIT

Patrick Surtain II CB DEN


Ouch (My Aching Roster)

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


Zeke Turner ARI shoulder IR

Tanner Vallejo ARI knee IR

Kylie Fitts ARI concussion IR

Steven Means ATL knee IR

Deion Jones ATL shoulder

Daren Bates ATL groin IR

Patrick Queen BAL ribs

Daelin Hayes BAL ankle IR

Pernell McPhee BAL knee IR

L.J. Fort BAL knee-ACL IR

Roquan Smith CHI hamstring 

Danny Trevathan CHI knee IR

Khalil Mack CHI foot IR

Jeremiah Attaochu CHI pectoral IR

Akeem Davis-Gaither CIN foot IR

Jordan Evans CIN knee IR

Jacob Phillips CLE biceps IR

Montrel Meander CLE Achilles IR

Jabril Cox DAL knee-ACL IR

Andre Mintze DEN hamstring IR

Micah Kiser DEN groin IR

A.J. Johnson DEN pectoral IR

Josey Jewell DEN pectoral IR

Natrez Patrick DEN leg IR

Trey Flowers DET knee

Jalen Reeves-Maybin DET shoulder

Romeo Okwara DET Achilles IR

Shaun Dion Hamilton DET undisclosed IR

De’Vondre Campbell GB illness IR-COVID

Jonathan Garvin GB illness IR-COVID 

Chauncey Rivers GB knee-ACL IR

Za’Darius Smith GB back IR

Randy Ramsey GB leg IR

Hardy Nickerson HOU concussion IR

Christian Kirksey HOU thumb IR

Damien Wilson JAX ankle 

Dylan Moses JAX knee

Nick Kwiatkoski LV ankle 

Nicholas Morrow LV ankle IR

Darron Lee LV undisclosed 

Patrick Onwuasor LV hamstring 

Justin Hollins LAR pectoral IR

Travin Howard LAR hamstring IR

Brennan Scarlett MIA knee IR

Anthony Barr MIN hamstring 

Cameron McGrone NE knee-ACL

Terez Hall NE undisclosed PUP

Anfernee Jennings NE undisclosed IR

Harvey Langi NE knee-MCL IR

Josh Uche NE ankle IR

Jamie Collins NE ankle IR

Raekwon McMillan NE knee-ACL IR

Kaden Elliss NO hamstring 

Quentin Poling NO undisclosed

Andrew Dowell NO concussion

Carter Coughlin NYG ankle IR

Justin Hilliard NYG ankle IR

Trent Harris NYG ankle

Blake Martinez NYG knee-ACL IR

T.J. Brunson NYG knee-ACL IR

Quincy Williams NYJ calf

Blake Cashman NYJ groin IR

Jamien Sherwood NYJ Achilles IR

Davion Taylor PHI knee IR

T.J. Watt PIT illness IR-COVID

Robert Spillane PIT knee

Fred Warner SF hamstring

Dre Greenlaw SF abdomen

Marcell Harris SF concussion

Ben Burr-Kirven SEA knee-ACL IR

Devin White TB hip

Monty Rice TEN ankle IR

Rashaan Evans TEN ankle

David Long TEN hamstring

Ola Adenlyl TEN hamstring

Bud Dupree TEN abdomen IR

Rashad Weaver TEN lower leg IR

B.J. Bello TEN ankle IR

Jared Norris WAS shoulder IR

Jon Bostic WAS pectoral IR

Defensive Linemen


J.J. Watt ARI shoulder IR

Jonathan Bullard ATL ankle

Calais Campbell BAL concussion

Derek Wolfe BAL back IR

Bryan Cox BUF Achilles IR

Austin Larkin CAR groin 

Darryl Johnson CAR hamstring IR

Mario Edwards CHI ribs

Akiem Hicks CHI ankle

Joseph Ossai CIN knee-Meniscus IR

Wyatt Hubert CIN pectoral

Randy Gregory DAL calf IR

Demarcus Lawrence DAL foot IR

Shelby Harris DEN ankle

Michael Brockers DET knee

Joel Heath DET knee-ACL IR

Whitney Mercilus GB biceps IR

DeMarcus Walker HOU hamstring 

Jordan Jenkins HOU knee-PCL IR

Tyquan Lewis IND knee IR

Joshua Kaindoh KC ankle IR

Malik Herring KC knee-ACL 

Carl Nassib LV knee

Everson Griffen MIN personal

Danielle Hunter MIN pectoral IR

Janarius Robinson MIN lower body IR

Henry Anderson NE pectoral IR

Tanoh Kpassagnon NO ankle

Marcus Davenport NO shoulder

Payton Turner NO shoulder IR

Bryce Huff NYJ back IR

Vinny Curry NYJ illness 

Carl Lawson NYJ Achilles IR

Brandon Graham PHI Achilles IR

Calvin Taylor PIT undisclosed

Stephon Tuitt PIT undisclosed IR

Tyson Alualu PIT ankle IR

Dee Ford SF back IR

Chase Young WAS knee-ACL IR

Montez Sweat WAS jaw IR

Jalen Jelks WAS undisclosed IR


Rashard Lawrence ARI calf IR

Jack Crawford ARI undisclosed IR

Xavier Kelly BAL Achilles IR

Justin Zimmer BUF knee-ACL IR

Daviyon Nixon CAR knee IR

Brent Urban DAL triceps IR

Neville Gallimore DAL elbow IR

Jashon Cornell DET illness

Vincent Taylor HOU ankle IR

DeForest Buckner IND knee 

Rob Windsor IND hip IR

Jay Tufele JAX hand IR

Khalen Saunders KC undisclosed IR

Darius Philon LV ankle IR

Gerald McCoy LV knee IR

Linval Joseph LAC illness IR-COVID

Sebastian Joseph-Day LAR pectoral IR

Micael Pierce MIN elbow IR

Dalvin Tomlinson MIN illness IR-COVID

Jaylen Twyman MIN pelvis

Byron Cowart NE undisclosed PUP

Malcolm Roach NO knee IR

Jalen Dalton NO triceps IR

Sheldon Rankins NYJ knee

Carlos Davis PIT knee IR

Maurice Hurst SF calf

Javon Kinlaw SF knee-ACL IR

Marcus Webb SEA undisclosed IR

Sam Renner TB undisclosed

Teair Tart TEN ankle

Trevon Coley TEN foot IR 

Defensive Backs


James Wiggins ARI knee 

Charles Washington ARI hamstring IR

Kendall Sheffield ATL hamstring

Ar’Darius Washington BAL foot IR

DeShon Elliott BAL pectoral IR

Khalil Dorsey BAL undisclosed IR

Brandon Wilson CIN knee IR

Donovan Wilson DAL shoulder IR

Kareem Jackson DEN neck

Terrence Brooks HOU hamstring

Khari Willis IND calf IR

Julian Blackmon IND Achilles IR

Kelsean Nixon LV ankle

Tyree Gillespie LV hamstring IR

Alohi Gilman LAC quadriceps

Mark Webb LAC knee IR

Dayan Ghanwoloku LAR undisclosed

BranDon Jones MIA elbow 

Trill Williams MIA hamstring 

Elijah Campbell MIA toe IR

Jason McCourty MIA foot IR

Camryn Bynum MIN ankle

Jonathan Jones NE shoulder IR

Joshuah Bledsoe NE wrist

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson NO foot IR

Nate Ebner NYG ankle IR

Jabrill Peppers NYG knee-ACL IR

Joshua Kalu NYG pectoral IR

Marcus Maye NYJ Achilles IR

Lamarcus Joyner NYJ triceps IR

Travarius Moore SF Achilles PUP

Tavon Wilson SF foot IR

Jason Verrett SF knee-ACL IR

Marquise Blair SEA knee IR

Curtis Riley TB Achilles IR

Kevin Byard TEN undisclosed IR-COVID

Maurice Smith TEN undisclosed

Chris Jackson TEN foot IR

Dane Cruikshank TEN knee IR

Landon Collins WAS foot


Isaiah Oliver ATL knee IR

Kevon Seymour BAL undisclosed IR-COVID

Chris Westry BAL thigh

Jimmy Smith BAL neck 

Iman Marshall BAL knee IR

Marcus Peters BAL knee-ACL IR

Tre’Davious White BUF knee-ACL IR

Conte Jackson CAR groin IR

Stantley Thomas-Oliver CAR toe IR

Jaycee Horn CAR foot IR

Troy Pride CAR knee-ACL IR

Duke Shelley CHI hamstring IR

Trae Waynes CIN hamstring IR

Nahshon Wright DAL illness IR-COVID

Maurice Canady DAL concussion IR

Reggie Robinson II DAL toe IR

Michael Ojemudia DEN hamstring IR

Bryce Callahan DAN knee IR

Bobby Price DET shoulder 

AJ Parker DET ankle IR

Jeff Okudah DET Achilles IR

Kevin King GB hip

Jaire Alexander GB shoulder-AC joint IR

Shaquill Griffin JAX concussion

Rashad Fenton KC knee

Damon Arnette LV groin

Brandon Facyson LV concussion

Trayvon Mullen LV toe IR

Asante Samuel Jr. LAC concussion

Ryan Smith LAC knee-ACL IR

Donte’ Deayon LAR thigh 

Jamal Perry MIA knee IR

Patrick Peterson MIN illness IR-COVID

Paulson Adebo NO concussion 

Keith Washington NO wrist

Darnay Holmes NYG ribs IR

Adoree’ Jackson NYG quadriceps 

RoDarius Williams NYG knee-ACL IR

Quincy Wilson NYG ankle IR

Brandin Echols NYJ thigh IR

Zane Lewis NYJ knee-MCL IR

Tay Gowan PHI quadriceps

Joe Haden PIT foot

DeMarkus Acy PIT knee-ACL IR

Tre Brown SEA knee IR

Jamel Dean TB shoulder 

Carlton Davis TB quadriceps IR

Richard Sherman TB calf IR

Rashard Robinson TB hamstring IR

Janoris Jenkins TEN ankle

Greg Mabin TEN ankle

Caleb Farley TEN knee-ACL IR

Benjamin St-Juste WAS concussion

Darryl Roberts WAS quadriceps IR

Greg Stroman WAS undisclosed

Torry McTyer WAS knee-ACL IR 

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, you can also send a message to for a personal response from the writer of this article. Naturally, the more detail you can send about your league, such as number of teams, platform you play in (Yahoo, ESPN, etc.), scoring and roster system, the better the ability to provide accurate advice.