What an amazing week of football week 12 was. There were multiple last minute finishes, an upset or two and a handful of amazing plays. Heading into week 13, owners need to be cognizant of two things; how your leagues handles waivers through the playoffs as the regular season ends or winds down and how the three games on Thanksgiving affect your team. With Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle and San Francisco in action on Thursday, teams with question marks on the injury front need to push for replacements that play on Sunday or commit to starting/benching your question mark. On the plus side, week 12 marked the end of bye weeks so barring injury/suspension, all of your players are available to you.
Week 12 was a decent week for the Free Agent Report. Craig Robertson led the way with 9 total tackles against the Falcons. Christian Kirksey wasn’t as good in the same game but 5 total tackles isn’t horrible. Both Jameel McClain and Devon Kennard amassed 5 total tackles against the Giants. Tackles were there but the Giants LBs split the opportunity much to owners’ chagrin. David Hawthorne disappointed largely against the Ravens but dropped a would-be pick six. He had his chance. Kroy Biermann was exactly as advertised providing 5 total tackles and a sack against the Browns.
Mason Foster TBB LB – MLB 4-3
I really like Foster as a safe play this week as the Buccaneers get the Bengals in Tampa. With Lavonte David out last week, Foster responded with 8 total tackles and a PD. Even if David gets back into the lineup in week 13, his hamstring injury figures to slow him at least a bit. Pair in the fact that in balanced scoring, an inside linebacker has scored at least 10 points in every game against the Bengals this year and you have a safe linebacker play with some upside. Give the former Husky a look as an LB2 this week.
Roster Recommendation: High-end LB2 to High-end LB3
Rolando McClain DAL LB – MLB 4-3
After coming off of a knee injury that caused him to basically miss Dallas’ week 10 matchup against the Jaguars, I wanted to see how the Cowboys utilized McClain and rookie Anthony Hitchens, who had a decent game in week 10. McClain came back to a fulltime role at middle linebacker in week 12 against the Giants and had a monster game. The former Raven and Raider logged 11 total tackles on Sunday night. The Eagles on Thanksgiving Thursday is a dream matchup for IDP fantasy owners on the final week of many fantasy regular seasons. He also has a very favorable fantasy playoff schedule with the Bears, Eagles and Colts in weeks 14 through 16.
Roster Recommendation: Low-end LB1 to Mid LB2
Christian Jones CHI LB – WLB 4-3
The deep league option for the week, UDFA rookie Christian Jones out of Florida State is a guy that should be a free agent in all but the deepest of dynasties. Lance Briggs injured his groin in week 12 and did not return to the game. He followed that up with a missed practice on Monday. With Chicago playing on a short week on the road, I doubt that Briggs finds a way to play against Detroit. Jones will draw a start in the veteran’s stead. He has shown that he can produce given the opportunity as evidenced by his games against the Patriots and the Buccaneers.
Roster Recommendation: Mid LB2 to Low-end LB3
Sneaky Linebacker Play
Alex Okafor ARI LB – With the Cardinals visiting the reeling albeit division-leading Falcons, I like the Cardinals defense to get home on a Falcons team that will have no option but the throw the ball. The Falcons pass protection will not be able to stand up to the Cardinals pass rush and I expect Matt Ryan to hit the turf 4 or 5 times on Sunday. Okafor should have plenty of opportunity to produce.
Defensive Linemen Plays
There were a lot of more impact players from the defensive line this week as opposed to the last two weeks. Six players logged multiple sacks including Mario Williams who was 5.5 sacks over his last two games.
It was a really rough week for the week agent report on the defensive line front as it usually is this late in the year, the easy picks have been long since snapped up and the game becomes hunting for sacks, trying to hit on big games from inconsistent players. Ray McDonald was the lone bright spot, logging 2 solo tackles and a sack. Robert Ayers (1 solo) and Sharrif Floyd (0 tackles) were very much disappointing in their respective games.
Jason Hatcher WAS DE – DE 3-4
The Redskins pass rush without blitzing has been atrocious this season partly due to injury and partly due to lack of talent inside. One guy I like however, is Jason Hatcher. The former Cowboy has had some spot games where he has excelled given the opportunity. One such opportunity is playing the Indianapolis Colts in week 13. The Colts are going to throw the ball a lot and their running game is much less of a threat with Ahmad Bradshaw out of the lineup. I like Hatcher to keep a decent floor with tackle opportunity and present some sack upside.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DL2 to Mid DL3
Fletcher Cox/Cedric Thornton PHI DE – DE 3-4
From week 13 through week 15, the Eagles face either the top ranked rushing attack in the NFL (Seahawks in week 14) or the second best rushing attack in the NFL (Dallas in weeks 13 and 15). Both Cox and Thornton present value as tackle volume ends in run support although Cox has more splash play upside. Either of these guys represents some decent value given the high volumes of running plays that they will see in the next 3 weeks.
Roster Recommendation: High-end DL2 to High-end DL3
Sneaky Defensive Linemen Play
Geno Atkins CIN DT – The Bengals’ opponent in week 13 is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have averaged 4 sacks a game given up in their last 6 games including 5 given up to the Bears in week 12. Look for the Bengal to get home more than a couple times on Sunday.
Defensive Back Plays
Tackles dominated defensive back production yet again. Overall splash plays were down week over week and scoring remained fairly consistent from DB1 through DB3s. Interestingly enough, there was only a ten point difference between a DB1 and a DB3. Between DB2 and DB4, that difference was only six. On a sadder note however, it is troubling to hear that Chiefs safety Eric Berry’s season is over due to suspected lymphoma. I think that I can speak for all at the Huddle when I say that we hope for a swift and full recovery.
It was a hit and miss week for the free agent report in week 12. The Okaland Raiders are making me look bad. In week 11, I recommended Larry Asante and Brandion Ross scored 14 points out of nowhere. In week 12, I offer Ross as the selection and Asante drops 19 points. I hope that I’m right in saying that Asante should be the play going forward but knowing my luck, it will be someone else out of nowhere. Joe Haden had a solid game against the Falcons scoring 5 solo tackles and an interception as he was matched up with Julio Jones all day. Louis Delmas was the top scorer of the recommendations with 9 total tackles against the Broncos. AJ Bouye and Josh Robinson scored 4 and 3 total tackles repsectively; ultimately disappointing numbers given their matchups.
Pierre Warren NOS S – FS 3-4
We begin with the deep league special in Pierre Warren of the Saints. Pressed into starter duty due to a myriad of injuries at the Saints safety position, the UDFA rookie out of Jacksonville State is going to be put into a position to make a lot of tackles given the Saints porous secondary. In his first starter action against the Ravens, Warren logged 7 total tackles and an impressive strip/recovery on Baltimore’s fullback Kyle Juszczyk to keep points off of the board. It’s a pretty good chance that this guy is a free agent in your league given that he was promoted off of the practice squad for this week. Warren was around the ball moreso than Kenny Vaccaro was. Going to Pittsburgh in week 13 should be a decent matchup and it doesn’t get much better than the Bears and Falcons for week 15/16 playoff matchups either.
Roster Recommendation: High-end DB2 to Mid DB3
Devin McCourty/Patrick Chung NEP S – FS/SS 4-3
I think that the best matchup of the week in week 13 is going to be the Green Bay Packers visiting the New England Patriots. I think that it’s going to be a game in which both teams need to throw the ball to advance it and play on the edge will be limited. Intermediate and crossing routes are going to be how the Packers move the ball and I think that McCourty and Chung score because of it. This season, it has typically been McCourty who is the over-the-top help when the Patriots want to take someone out of the game so I think that Chung is the better play than McCourty.
Roster Recommendation: High-end DB2 to High-end DB3
Glover Quin DET S – FS 4-3
While James Ihedigbo is the safety to own in Detroit, Glover Quin is in line for a big game on Thursday. Teams need to throw on the Lions to move the ball and when they can work shallow routes effectively like the Patriots did, Quin can log tackles like the 8 solos he got on Sunday. With the Lions hosting Chicago on Thanksgiving, I expect that the Bears will need to throw the ball to have a shot to win this game. Quin’s big games have all been against teams that throw the ball well this season. This week shouldn’t be any different.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DB2 to Mid DB3
Danny Gorrer BAL CB – CB 3-4
Not many people would have predicted that Danny Gorrer would be playing significant snaps for the Baltimore Ravens at the beginning of the season. After a few injuries and the debacle of a showing that the Ravens’ defense had against Pittsburgh where Ben Roethlisberger threw 6 TDs, Baltimore started from scratch with their corners. As such, journeyman Danny Gorrer is now starting opposite Lardarius Webb. With the Baltimore run defense looking as stout as ever, it wouldn’t surprise me if their week 13 opponent San Diego Chargers throw as often as they can at Gorrer. He saw plenty of action against the Saints as evidenced by his 8 solo tackles.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DB2 to Low-end DB3
Sneaky Defensive Back Play
Kurt Coleman KCC S– I wish I didn’t have to put this one in here given the circumstances but the fact remains that Eric Berry being out for the year leaves a hole in the Chiefs defense at strong safety. Former Eagle Kurt Coleman has been the third safety all year for the Chiefs and represents some decent tackle upside going up against the Broncos in week 13.