Are you getting ready to compete for your league championship in your IDP league? If so, do you need to spruce things up a bit for the title run? Read on for player suggestions to either pick up or drop from your roster. Oh, and good luck in the playoffs. Do not forget to check back here as the final regular season games play out, as injuries and poor play are a way of life for those of you playing in fantasy leagues, especially those that employ roster positions for defensive players.

Elevator Going Up


Kevin Minter ARI

Avery Williamson TEN

Tamba Hali KC

Rolando McClain DAL

Anthony Barr MIN

I liked Kevin Minter once I discovered that he was slated to be an every-down linebacker for the Cardinals this season. He has been a steady source of tackles, but is generally worthless for big play leagues. He did pick up half a sack in Week 12, but that is not what you roster him for, especially with the Rams hosting Arizona this week, a run-heavy offense that should add to his tackle totals. Avery Williamson is another every-down LB, and over the past three games he has contributed 30 total tackles (17 solo) and 2.5 sacks. The Tennessee defense is playing well, although the Jaguars limited him to only five tackles in Week 11. Tamba Hali, unlike Minter and Williamson, is a big play option. Over the past five games the Chiefs have played, he has racked up 5.5 sacks with 16 solo tackles and assists. The Chiefs are playing well, and their Week 13 opponent, the Raiders, are struggling. With Justin Houston out with an MCL sprain, his playing time will see a potential uptick.

Rolando McClain looks to be healthy again, as his production is on the rise. He had 12 total tackles in Week 12 (seven solos) and has provided two pass deflections, and interception and a TD over the past two games. He is severely underowned in Yahoo (available in 93 percent of leagues) and ESPN (97 percent). Anthony Barr is another linebacker who is now healthy, having recently confessed to having been suffering through a hand injury. He filled the stat sheet in Week 12, with seven solos, an assist, a sack, two forced fumbles and a pass deflection. Look for him to keep this up going forward, assuming he can stay healthy.

Defensive Linemen

William Gholston DE TB

Ezekiel Ansah DE DET

Willie Young DE CHI

Derek Wolfe DE DEN

Bennie Logan DT PHI

It is looking good for Tampa Bay under head coach Lovie Smith finally, especially on defense. William Gholston is providing solid tackle production, with 13 solos and five assists over the past four games, with a sack, a pass deflection and forced fumble for those looking for some big-play production. Ezekiel Ansah is one of the bright spots on the Lions defense. He had four tackles, 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on Thanksgiving Day against Philadelphia. He is challenging J.J. Watt for the league lead in sacks, with 11.5 on the season. He is only owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues and 31 percent of ESPN leagues, so make a claim for him to power your IDP roster going forward.

Willie Young is playing at linebacker, but is also qualified at defensive end, making him valuable in fantasy leagues. If you can get linebacker production from a DE, you take that and run. He also has two sacks in the past two games, to go with a couple of pass deflections and an interception since Week 9. Derek Wolfe has been credited with a sack in each of his last two games. Couple that with 4.5 tackles per game since he came back from his suspension in Week 5, and his low ownership percentages in Yahoo (one percent) and ESPN (0 percent), and you have an excellent DE2 just waiting to be snapped up off the wire. Bennie Logan has provided his owners with good production for a DT, with 34 of his total 49 tackles being solos. He has put up steady tackle production all season long, something that is rare from a defensive tackle. He is available in 74 percent of ESPN leagues, and a whopping 96 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Defensive Backs

Adrian Amos S CHI

Robert Blanton S MIN

Tyrann Mathieu S ARI

Dre Kirkpatrick CB CIN

The rookie Adrian Amos was putting up decent numbers in the early season, but has turned up the heat lately. He has 16 tackles in the past two contests (15 solos). He is seeing plenty of snaps, and the Bears have not limited his playing time despite his early season mediocre production, which says to me they like him to be a big part of their defensive secondary going forward. Robert Blanton will benefit if both or either Andrew Sendejo and Harrison Smith are forced to miss more time. He had 9 total tackles against the Falcolns (eight solos) with a pass deflection. He would be a sneaky pickup if the Vikings are forced to start him in Week 13.

We all know about “the Honey Badger,” but Tyrann Mathieu is playing extremely well of late. 11 solo tackles as part of his 13 total in Week 12, an interception and two pass deflections are not a lock going forward, but keep in mind that the matchup against the 49ers was not seen as a great one. Why he is available in IDP leagues is a mystery to me, but if he is on your waiver wire, my advice is to grab him now. Dre Kirkpatrick is one of those corners that gets plenty of action, as offenses target him as the weak link in the Cincy secondary. That continued in Week 12, where he had 10 combined tackles (nine solos) with three pass deflections. The Bengals are a bit banged up at corner (see the injury report below) and thus, Kirkpatrick should continue to see plenty of playing time and opportunity to put up fantasy numbers.

Escalator Going Down


Brian Cushing HOU

Cushing has been trending down for the past few weeks, since a nice stat line in Week 8. He has produced seven, five and three total tackles over the past three games, and aside from one pass deflection in the aforementioned Week 8, he has no big plays on his stat sheet in 2015. It is time to move on, especially with playoffs here.

Defensive Linemen

Greg Hardy DE DAL

The Cowboys have been getting healthy at defensive end, and that has led to a bad trend for Hardy. His snap counts have been down drastically the past two games, and he has just three total tackles in the past three contests. Until his playing time returns to what it was earlier this season, he is not worth putting in your lineup.

Defensive Backs

D.J. Hayden CB OAK

Hayden put up a huge goose egg in the tackle column this past week and was benched in favor of David Amerson and T.J. Carrie. He has been brutal in real NFL terms, but was good in fantasy due to offenses targeting him. If he is not playing, he has no value going forward for your IDP teams.

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.


Nigel Bradham BUF (ankle)

Dont’a Hightower NE (knee)

Ryan Shazier PIT (concussion)

Vontaze Burfict CIN (ankle)

Jerrell Freeman IND (hamstring)

Justin Houston KC (knee)

Justin Durant ATL (ankle)

Keenan Robinson WAS (shoulder)

Calvin Pace NYJ (abdominal)

Derrick Morgan TEN (shoulder)

Defensive Linemen

Demarcus Dobbs DE SEA (concussion)

Alex Carrington DT BUF (torn quadriceps)

Sylvester Williams DT DEN (high ankle sprain)

Earl Mitchell DT MIA (calf)

C.J. Mosley DT MIA (calf)

Defensive Backs

Josh Evans S JAX (concussion)

T.J. Ward S DEN (high ankle sprain)

Glover Quin S DET (ankle)

Andrew Sendejo S MIN (knee)

Harrison Smith S MIN (knee)

Marcus Burley CB SEA (ankle)

Darqueze Dennard CB CIN (shoulder-out for the season)

Joe Haden CB CLE (concussion)

Chris Lewis-Harris CB CIN (ribs)

Jerraud Powers CB ARI (calf)

Charles Tillman CB CAR (knee)

Marcus Williams CB NYJ (knee)

Nolan Carroll CB PHI (broken ankle-out for the season)

Ronald Darby CB BUF (concussion)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB NYG (knee)

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 matchups every week and ultimately bask in championship glory. If you have any fantasy football questions, especially about IDP leagues, I can be reached at