Week 14 waiver-wire pickups for IDP leagues
Now's the time to look for defense players who can shine in the fantasy playoffs, and Ross Miles has some ideas for who to target.
Week 14 waiver-wire pickups for IDP leagues
If you’re reading this, congratulations, you’ve almost certainly made it to your fantasy playoffs. Otherwise you’re just some sort of sadist who is reading about potential IDP pickups you can’t make, in which case… Each to his or her own, I guess.
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Kony Ealy, Carolina Panthers
While Ealy hasn’t had the season he would have perhaps liked from a personal development level, he is a player worth considering for your fantasy playoff run. Ealy began the season as a starter and held that role for six weeks, before being demoted to a rotational role follow the Panthers’ bye week, but has found a rich vein of form in recent games. Over his last six appearances, Ealy has registered three sacks and a forced fumble, including two of his best three performances this season in his last two games, as per our analysts. This week Carolina face off against San Diego, an above-average matchup for edge rushers, so Ealy is an intriguing boom-or-bust play at the top end of the DL3 tier.
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New England Patriots ends
For our second defensive lineman recommendation this week, we’ll want to turn to the Patriots, and assess who on their roster is available, and grab whomever the highest ranked of that ensemble is. Since Week 8, Trey Flowers has been a high-end DL2 thanks to some solid tackle returns and a pair of two sacks performances, but he has seen his playing time fall in the last two weeks despite retaining a starting job. I’d expect him to play 60-70 percent of snaps this week. Don’t sleep on Chris Long either. The former No. 2 overall pick has been our most effective pass-rusher over the last seven weeks, charting two sacks, two hits and 19 hurries on just 119 pass rush snaps. Long is a volatile scorer, but if you’re scraping the barrel you can definitely do worse. Rob Ninkovich might be available in your league as he started the season with a four-game suspension, and then turned in four games without a sack. That’s enough to turn anyone away from a veteran edge threat. His last four weeks though have yielded three sacks and a forced fumble, so he’s getting back up to full speed. Considering Ninkovich has been a low-end DL1 for several seasons now, he’s worth adding if by some chance a more impatient owner has dropped him.
Korey Toomer, San Diego Chargers
I recommended Toomer a few weeks back, and if you listened, you haven’t been disappointed. It has taken the Chargers several attempts to find the right guy to man the middle for them, but thanks to multiple injuries they’ve finally been forced to hand the job to Toomer and he doesn’t look to be relinquishing it. He’s posted double-digit fantasy points in six of his last seven games, double-digit tackles in the last three and added three forced fumbles and one recovery over that period. Since Week 6 he’s been a low-end LB1. I don’t feel I need to sell him any harder to you. He’s the top pickup this week and is worth a sizeable portion of your FAAB as the best add this week.
Kyle Van Noy, New England Patriots
This is a pickup for those among you more willing to take on play with a little risk attached. The Patriots play the top matchup for linebackers this week in the Ravens, and Van Noy has seen his playing time trend up last week. In his first two games for New England, Van Noy saw the field for just under 50 percent of snaps, but last week that figure jumped to 78 percent and he turned it into five total tackles and an interception. Conversely Dont’a Hightower’s snap count fell to 65 percent from 100. If you’re in a real bind in a deep league, take a chance on Van Noy, but be warned, it’s not a lock his positive trend continues.
Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Jones has been a point-scoring machine in recent weeks, posting double-digit fantasy returns in five of his last six appearances. Even better for us fantasy mavens is that his scoring has come via predictable and repeatable tackle performances, as he’s averaged 7.8 tackles per game over his last six. This makes him an easy recommendation in a spot like this if he is still available in your league.
Tavon Wilson, Detroit Lions
Wilson has been a revelation for fantasy owners in the second half of the season, and has quietly recorded five consecutive games now with over ten fantasy points. Three of those performances were courtesy of at least eight tackles in a game, the other two were four and five tackle displays, supplemented with an interception. While I prefer Jones, Wilson is not a bad second option, so don’t overpay to get the Cowboys man if your league uses FAAB.
Ross Miles is a lead fantasy writer on PFF Fantasy. He contributes IDP content to the site. He was the 2011 winner of the FantasyPros IDP Expert Rankings contest for both weekly in-season rankings and also for pre-season rankings and finished second in IDP rankings in 2012 and 2015. Ross is also a member of the FSWA.