It is finally here, the final bye week of the season! You can adjust for just one additional week, surely, by snatching up one of the profiled IDP players below. Sorry for the dearth of line backing assistance, and Mr. Roquan Smith will be a rare find on the wire in most platforms, but at least there are several DL and DB options to consider. Power through this week as fantasy football heads into the playoffs, and good luck!

Bye Weeks coming up: Current Week Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings; Week 13-17 = No More Byes!

Elevator Going Up


Roquan Smith CHI

Smith is owned in more than 50% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues, so if he is there to snatch up, grab him now. He collected double digit total tackles (11 TT) against the Rams, with eight of those being solos and one for a loss of yards (TFL). He also grabbed an interception and deflected a pass (PD) in Week 11. With Danny Trevathan out, look for continued big production from the Bears’ ILB.

James Burgess NYJ

Burgess opened the season on the practice squad, but a slew of injuries have elevated him to an every down LB. He collected nine total tackles this past week, together with half a sack. After this week’s matchup against the Raiders, the Jets have three consecutive tasty matchups for linebacker fantasy production with the Bengals, Dolphins and Ravens on tap.

Defensive Linemen

Chad Thomas DE CLE

A knee injury to Olivier Vernon will result in increased playing time (PT) for Thomas. He responded with a sack and three solo tackles (one TFL) against the Steelers in the most recent contest in Cleveland, as well as a QB hit/hurry (QH) and a PD. The Dolphins are next on the schedule, which is a decent matchup for opposing DE’s.

Shelby Harris DE DEN

Harris was credited with a trio of sacks while lining up against the Minnesota’s offense together with other benefits for his fantasy owners: five solo tackles (two TFL), three QH and a forced fumble (FF). He has DT status in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues, which has some advantages in certain league setups.

Maxx Crosby DE OAK

His fellow rookie pass rusher Clelin Ferrell was profiled here last week, but it was Crosby who broke out big time in Week 11 with four sacks and QH each, to go with five TT (four solo, three TFL) and a FF for good measure. You really cannot go wrong adding either Oakland DE to your roster immediately.

Javon Hargrave DT PIT

Hargrave was the Steelers’ leading tackle producer in Week 11 in Cleveland, with nine TT (two TFL). In DT mandatory leagues, that sort of tackling is invaluable. Next up for the Pittsburghers are the Bengals, 7th best overall in terms of allowing fantasy points to opposing DT’s.

Danny Shelton DT NE

The Patriot DL has been a strong run-stopper and is adding big-play production to his résumé as well, with a sack, a QH and FF in Week 11 against the Eagles, to supplement his seven TT (six solo). Keep him in mind as the New England defense continues to smother opposing teams.

Defensive Backs

Marcus Williams S NO

The Saint free safety is more of a big play option than a tackle producer due to his position in the defense. He only had three solos against the Bucs in Tampa Bay last week, but he did pick off a pass (INT) and defended two others (two PD). He also scored in the Week 11 contest, but you must realize that is a happy coincidence, and not something to count on. The Panthers current QB, Kyle Allen , has been freely tossing INT’s, so Week 12 has good potential for additional big play value.

D.J. Swearinger S OAK

Swearinger stepped in for his first action as a Raider against the Bengals, and had an immediate impact, registering seven TT. Oakland is beat up at safety, so while he is hot, Swearinger is a nice option to plug into your lineup to nail down some tackle production.

Desmond Trufant CB ATL

The corner returned after a turf-toe injury absence, and collected seven TT (six solo, one TFL). He managed to pick off a pass from Panthers QB Kyle Allen , and defended another throw (PD). The Buccaneers, Atlanta’s Week 12 opponent, are the most generous offense in terms of producing CB fantasy points.

Kenny Moore II CB IND

Moore has had a great stretch of four games recently, collecting a total of 24 solo tackles and some big plays: an INT, a sack and fumble recovery (FR). Week 11 was a signature effort, with eight solo tackles (one TFL) and a QH and PD. The Texans are next up, a decent matchup for an active CB such as Moore.

Nik Needham CB MIA

Needham is a bright star for the Dolphins on defense, his most recent game resulted in six solo tackles with two PD and a FF. In the past three contests played, where he is an every-down player, he has also picked up an INT and FF, with 17 solo tackles over that stretch. The Browns and Eagles are on the schedule for the next two weeks, both excellent matchups for opposing corners.

Troy Hill CB LAR

Hill is a starting cornerback for the Rams these days, and has been producing due to the increased PT. He had six solos in Week 11 (one TFL), with a sack, a QH, an INT and three PD’s. With shutdown corner Jalen Ramsey playing across from him, he should see plenty of attention from opposing offenses, resulting in similar production to that we saw this past week.


Escalator Going Down


Patrick Onwuasor BAL

Since suffering an injury a few weeks ago, he has become a part-timer on defense. He saw just nine snaps last week, and was still productive despite the limited snaps with a sack and QH plus three TT (two solo, one TFL). Keep an eye on his PT, and if it increases, he moves back into the realm of useful LB’s, but not right now.

Shaquil Barrett TB

Barrett, as opposed to Onwuasor above, is seeing plenty of PT, but only put up a single QH in Week 11 on the stat sheet. He has just nine solo tackles in his past six contests, and that is certainly not sufficient to insert him in your IDP lineup.

Jamie Collins Sr. NE

Collins is also seeing significant snaps on defense, but three of the past four games could be described as disappointing at best. He did have a big game against the Browns back in Week 8, but one productive contest does not earn starting IDP status, especially with playoffs on the horizon.

Defensive Linemen

Trent Murphy DE BUF

Murphy put up a huge goose egg on the stat sheet last week, and is also beginning to see a decline in defensive snaps played. Those two factors make him worthy of being exiled to the waiver wire if he is still gracing your roster.

Danielle Hunter DE MIN

Hunter is worthy of relegating to the bench, due to his bye week coming up, but he has also been waning in his production of late with just seven TT over his past three games (four solo) and half a sack in that string, too. Week 13 sees the Seahawks on the schedule, a nice matchup where he could bounce back to elite level production, so if you have room, perhaps hold onto him through the bye week absence.

Defensive Backs

None to speak of this week, except for those dwelling in the Injury Report below.


Matchups to Exploit

Remember, the first team listed is the one to use your IDP’s against. Do not go crazy, and play a LB5 against the Bears or Saints, but certainly you will do well if you own a top DL on the Jaguars or a DB in the Tampa Bay/Atlanta matchup that you can plug in this week, for the most part.


New York Giants @ Chicago

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans

Cleveland Browns vs Miami

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta

Defensive Ends

Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville

New York Jets vs Oakland

Houston Texans vs Indianapolis

Defensive Tackles

Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville

Miami Dolphins @ Cleveland


Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay

San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay

Chicago Bears vs New York Giants

New York Giants @ Chicago

Miami Dolphins @ Cleveland

Baltimore Ravens @ Los Angeles Rams


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta

Seattle Seahawks @ Philadelphia

Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh

New England Patriots vs Dallas


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 mentioned 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 in your league's waiver wire in that they are owned in significantly less than 50% of leagues. Happy claiming for your weekly matchups!


James Burgess NYJ

Defensive Linemen

Chad Thomas DE CLE

Shelby Harris DE DEN - DT only on ESPN

Maxx Crosby DE OAK

Javon Hargrave DT PIT

Danny Shelton DT NE

Defensive Backs

Marcus Williams S NO

D.J. Swearinger S OAK

Desmond Trufant CB ATL

Kenny Moore II CB IND

Nik Needham CB MIA

Troy Hill CB LAR


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.


Brooks Reed ARI hamstring IR

Shaq Green-Thompson CAR ankle

Danny Trevathan CHI elbow

Isaiah Irving CHI quadriceps

Joe Thomas DAL illness

Ty Summers GB concussion

Drue Tranquill LAC calf

Bryce Hager LAR shoulder IR

Raekwon McMillan MIA knee

Ben Gedeon MIN concussion

C.J. Mosley NYJ groin

Paul Worrilow NYJ quadriceps

Marquel Lee OAK ankle IR

Nigel Bradham PHI ankle

Anthony Chickillo PIT ribs

Ola Adeniyi PIT concussion

Azeez Al-Shaair SF concussion

Carl Nassib TB groin

Anthony Nelson TB hamstring

Defensive Linemen

Jonathan Bullard ARI foot

Zach Allen ARI neck IR

Adrian Clayborn ATL groin

Jerry Hughes BUF groin

Olivier Vernon CLE knee

Myles Garrett CLE suspension

Romeo Okwara DET groin

Trey Flowers DET concussion

Da’Shawn Hand DET ankle

Calais Campbell JAX back

Lerentee McCray JAX hamstring IR

Alex Okafor KC ankle

Emmanuel Ogbah KC pectoral IR

Taco Charlton MIA elbow

Arden Key OAK foot IR

L.T. Watson PIT knee-meniscus IR

Dee Ford SF hamstring

Ronald Blair SF knee-ACL IR

Michael Pierce BAL ankle

Daylon Mack BAL knee IR

Gerald McCoy CAR knee

Larry Ogunjobi CLE suspension

Kevin Strong DET ribs IR

Linval Joseph MIN knee-Meniscus

D.J. Jones SF groin

William Gholston TB ankle

Tim Settle WAS hamstring

Daron Payne WAS ankle

Defensive Backs

Tramaine Brock ARI hamstring

Kemal Ishmael ATL concussion

Brynden Trawick BAL elbow IR

Siran Neal BUF concussion

Eric Reid CAR knee

Ross Cockrell CAR quadriceps

Shawn Williams CIN thumb

Morgan Burnett CLE Achilles IR

Eric Murray CLE knee

Jeff Heath DAL shoulder

Tracy Walker DET knee

Justin Reed HOU concussion

Mike Adams HOU concussion

Tashaun Gipson HOU back

Khari Willis IND concussion

D.J. Hayden JAX hip

Jordan Lucas KC shoulder

Adrian Phillips LAC forearm IR

Bobby McCain MIA shoulder IR

Beshad Jones MIA undisclosed IR

Ken Webster MIA ankle

Anthony Harris MIN groin

Harrison Smith MIN hamstring

Patrick Chung NE heel

Matthias Farley NYJ quadriceps

Lamarcus Joyner OAK hamstring

Karl Joseph OAK foot

K’Waun Williams SF neck

Lano Hill SEA elbow

Justin Evans TB foot I

Deshazor Everett WAS ankle

Dre Kirkpatrick CIN knee IR

Anthony Brown DAL triceps

Bryce Callahan DEN foot IR

Jamal Agnew DET ankle

Tremon Smith GB concussion

Lonnie Johnson HOU ankle

Bradley Roby HOU hamstring

Shakial Tayor IND ankle

Bock Ya-Sin IND ankle

Kendall Fuller KC thumb

Marshon Lattimore NO hamstring

Janoris Jenkins NYG concussion

Darryl Roberts NYJ calf

Artie Burns PIT knee

M.J. Stewart TB 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. FANation Chat is now live on the site, to help you work through your fantasy football dilemmas. Or 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.