No bye week replacements needed for Week 12, but the injuries keep mounting. If you lost Luke Kuechly due to his concussion, I feel for you, as I also lost my most productive linebacker in a couple of leagues. We have now seen both J.J. Watt and Kuechly go missing from our IDP rosters, and there is little you can do to recover from those types of losses. Yet, there are still plenty of good options to pick up from the wire, so do not despair. Football goes on, and as we approach the end of the regular fantasy season, you need to make smart moves to keep your playoff hopes alive.

I hear from several of you faithful readers, inquiring about your specific needs to power through another week of competition. Please, if you have any IDP questions, shoot them my way, but realize that I am pressed for time on Sunday mornings trying to set my lineups, so a Saturday question stands a better chance of getting answered on a timely basis than one sent to me on Sunday morning. It is just how I have to allocate my time.

Bye Weeks coming up:

Week 12: None

Week 13: Cleveland, Tennessee (and we are done with the bye weeks)

Elevator Going Up


Justin Houston KC -- Houston is back from his injury, and he was on the field for most of the defensive snaps, leading to a good but not great two solo tackle (one for a loss) effort against the Buccaneers, and also picked up a QH (quarterback hit/hurry). He should continue to see significant time on the field, and his numbers should reflect that.

Edwin Jackson IND -- Jackson has been productive over the last few weeks. and was credited with five tackles on Sunday (three solo), as well as picking up a sack and a QH. He is a good all-purpose LB that is under-owned at present, so hit the wire and grab him now.

Kiko Alonso MIA -- Alonso is someone who has been getting some interest of late, as the Miami defense has begun to put up good results for fantasy purposes. He is coming off a nice eight total tackle effort against the Rams in Week 11 (six solo) and also managed to pick up a fumble recovery that he forced. He is valuable in both tackle oriented and big play leagues, and should not be sitting on your waiver wire.

Su’a Cravens WAS -- Cravens was rewarded with his second start in Week 11, and came up big: five tackles (three solo, one for a loss) and a PD (pass deflection). He also has dual eligibility on Yahoo at LB and S (sorry ESPN players, he is just a LB on that site). I love to play linebackers at defensive secondary positions whenever possible, and so should you.

Defensive Linemen

Stephon Tuitt DE PIT -- Tuitt picked up 2.5 sacks against the Br owns in Week 11, to go with his six total tackles (four solos, two for a loss) and four (!) QH. He also has a sweet Week 12 matchup against the Colts who are expected to be without starting QB Andrew Luck.

Jason Pierre-Paul DE NYG -- I have mentioned Pierre-Paul here in earlier postings, but he deserves another mention based on his Week 11 production: five total tackles (four  solo, one for a loss), three QH, one PD, one forced fumble and 2.5 sacks. Not too shabby for someone we were writing off after his fireworks injury. He also gets to face the Browns in Week 12, so if he is available, grab him to shore up your DL ranks.

Defensive Backs

This is where the wealth is this week.

Jaquiski Tartt S SF -- Tartt plays on a bad team, but that just means that he gets plenty of opportunity to show his value. He will now be starting with Eric Reed going out for the balance of the season with a torn biceps. He should be a great source of tackles going forward, given the state of the ineffective front line of the 49ers' defense.

Rashaan Melvin CB IND -- Melvin is someone that offensive coordinators will target, and that is generally a good thing in IDP leagues. He racked up 11 solo tackles in Week 11, with a PD, and if he starts in Week 12, expect the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger to go after him, and let him put up another week of good tackle numbers.

Artie Burns CB PIT -- Burns was a great player for those in big play IDP leagues, accumulating three PDs and an INT in Week 11, to go with three solo tackles. He is a rookie, so teams will test him, which is a fine thing in IDP leagues.

Shareece Wright CB BAL -- Wright is back after missing significant time with an injury, but showed up big in Week 11. He collected seven total tackles (six solo) to go with an INT and a PD, and I would target him in Week 12, as teams will continue to test him and the matchup against the Bengals looks promising.

Xavier Rhodes CB MIN -- Rhodes looked amazing on his 100 yard TD effort against the Cardinals, but of course you cannot expect that to occur every week. Still, he is an elite DB, and you cannot discount his two INT, two PD three total tackle effort (two solos), but rather should expect that type of production going forward.

Richard Sherman CB SEA -- Sherman wraps up our DB coverage, at least as to those you should be targeting going into the end of the fantasy season. Teams tend to run away from Sherman, but he did manage to collect four tackles in Week 11 (two solo) to go with an INT and a PD. Plus, he has a tasty matchup against the Buccaneers in Week 12, who have been generous to CBs this season.



Escalator Going Down


Tahir Whitehead DET -- Whitehead had a bad week against the Jags, collecting only three tackles while Jacksonville ran the ball 27 times. He could bounce back, as DeAndre Levy is not expected back until Week 13, but the lack of production this past week hurts his value. I would not drop him yet, but if you have a better option, maybe just bench him, as he has been productive over the bulk of the season.

Jerrell Freeman CHI -- Freeman hits the downside list due to a four game suspension for violating the league PED protocol. Cut him now, despite what he has provided as he is essentially worthless while not on the field when you are fighting for a playoff spot.

Mason Foster WAS -- Foster was a player I picked up earlier this season and he provided great benefits. He is being relegated to backup status with the development of Su'a Cravens, though, only playing seven defensive snaps in Week 11. He is not worth starting, but injuries do happen, so keep him on your radar or your bench.

Defensive Linemen

Robert Ayers DE TB -- Ayers looked good in Week 10, but went back to being unusable in Week 11. If you have been holding onto him, this is the week you should search for a more dependable DL.

Defensive Backs

No DBs beyond those who are on the injury report below.

Matchups to Exploit

Remember, these are based on season long production against IDP, and you want to select the team playing against the first squad listed in the matchups below. But you also want to pick smart-do not just add some LB5 to your roster expecting him to become a stud (although that can happen). For example, target Ryan Shazier of the Steelers to go up against the Colts in Week 12, not Bud Dupree or Vince Williams.


Indianapolis vs Pittsburgh

Minnesota @ Detroit

New England @ NY Jets

Baltimore vs Cincinnati

Defensive Ends

San Diego @ Houston

Arizona @ Atlanta

Buffalo vs Jacksonville

Defensive Tackles

Arizona @ Atlanta

Chicago vs Tennessee

Los Angeles @ New Orleans


New Orleans vs Los Angeles

San Diego @ Houston

San Francisco @ Miami

Tennessee @ Chicago

Philadelphia vs Green Bay

Washington @ Dallas


Arizona @ Atlanta

Jacksonville @ Buffalo

Tampa Bay vs Seattle

Carolina @ Oakland

Green Bay @ Philadelphia



Waiver Wire Targets

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 I comment on are here, however, as I am not going 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.


Justin Houston KC

Edwin Jackson IND

Kiko Alonso MIA (43% owned on ESPN, 53% on Yahoo)

Su’a Cravens WAS

Defensive Linesmen

Stephon Tuitt DE PIT

Jason Pierre-Paul DE NYG (49.8 % on ESPN, 30% on Yahoo)

Defensive Backs

Jacquiski Tartt S SF

Rashaan Melvin CB IND

Artie Burns CB PIT

Shareece Wright CB BAL

Xavier Rhodes CB MIN

Richard Sherman CB SEA (34.9 % on ESPN, 11% on Yahoo)

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.


Joplo Bartu ARI hamstring

Deone Buchanon ARI ankle

Elvis Dumervil BAL foot (seriously, forget about him this season)

Jamari Lattimore BUF nose

Luke Kuechly CAR concussion

A.J. Klein CAR concussion

Christian Jones CHI ankle

Leonard Floyd CHI neck

Jackson Jeffcoat CLE hamstring

DeAndre Levy DET knee (could be back in Week 13)

Blake Martinez GB knee

Jake Ryan GB ankle

John Simon HOU chest

Dan Skuta JAX back

Dee Ford KC hamstring

Jelani Jenkins MIA knee

Eric Kendricks MIN hip

Bruce Carter NYJ quadriceps

Josh Martin NYJ concussion

Denzel Perryman SD hamstring

Jatavis Brown SD knee

Kevin Pierre-Louis SEA hamstring

Brock Coyle SEA foot

Aaron Lynch SF ankle

Preston Smith WAS back

Defensive Linemen


Mario Addison CAR foot

Mitch Unrein CHI back

Demarcus Lawrence DAL back

Derek Wolfe DAL elbow

Ezekiel Ansah DET ankle

Chris Smith JAX eye

Jaye Howard KC hip

Mario Williams MIA ankle

Connor Barwin PHI undisclosed

Michael Bennett SEA knee

Chris Baker WAS hamstring


Corey Peters ARI foot

Corbin Bryant BUF shoulder

Eddie Goldman CHI ankle

Terrell McClain DAL thigh

Khyri Thornton DET foot

Sharrif Floyd MIN knee

Defensive Backs


Tyrann Mathieu ARI shoulder

Robert Blanton BUF foot

Colin Jones CAR concussion

Shawn Williams CIN hamstring

Barry Church DAL forearm

Don Carey DET hamstring

Kentrell Brice GB back

Clayton Geathers IND concussion

Andrew Sendejo MIN illness

Harrison Smith MIN ankle

Terrence Brooks PHI hamstring

Shamarko Thomas PIT groin

Jordan Dangerfield PIT groin

Earl Thomas SEA hamstring

Kyshoen Jarrett WAS shoulder


Tharold Simon ARI ankle

Desmond Trufant ATL shoulder

Jimmy Smith BAL leg

Leonard Johnson CAR chest

Deiondre' Hall CHI ankle

Cre'von LeBlanc CHI concussion

Dre Kirkpatrick CIN knee

Tramon Williams CLE knee

Morris Claiborne DAL sports hernia

Aqib Talib DEN back

Demetri Goodson GB knee

Damarious Randall GB groin

Vontae Davis IND ankle

Jalil Brown IND ankle

Tevin Mitchel IND hamstring

Aaron Colvin JAX concussion

Marcus Peters KC hip

Chimdi Chekwa MIA hamstring

Xavier Howard MI knee (meniscus)

Terence Newman MIN neck

Captain Munnerlyn MIN ankle

Marcus Sherels MIN ribs

Delvin Breaux NO lower leg

Marcus Williams NYJ ankle

Nick Marshall NYJ ankle

Leodis McKelvin PHI concussion

Brandon Flowers SD concussion

Deshawn Shead SEA hamstring

Jimmie Ward SF concussion

Brent Grimes TB quadriceps

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