Just two more weeks of bye week blues and fantasy owners will finally be in the clear as they prepare for their playoff run. As we head into the late regular season of fantasy football, every game becomes “must win” so you aren’t on the outside looking in when it comes time for playoffs. Whether you’ve got a Cardinal, Brown, Packer or Redskin on a bye this week or you’re just looking to add some depth to an injury-prone squad, here are some names you can potentially find on your league’s waiver wire.
Looking at last week’s recommendations, Kuechly was the big winner as he put up a monster 9 solo tackles and 6 assists. James-Michael Johnson put up a decent 4 solos and 2 assists, and Demario Davis posted 3 solos, 3 assists and 1.5 tackles for loss. The sneaky play of the week in Mark Herzlich ended up being a great one, as he posted 6 solo tackles and 2 assists. Keep an eye on Chase Blackburn and Keith Rivers’ health throughout the week, as Herzlich could be in for another impressive outing against Cincinnati.
Kelvin Sheppard BUF LB – MLB 4-3
This week’s top LB recommendation has done a decent job flying under the radar in many leagues so far. A 2nd year player out of LSU, Sheppard was probably owned in your league until his Week 3-5 stint, where he combined for only 4 tackles and an assist. The good news is, he’s ready to turn a corner and he’ll be on your roster when he does. Sheppard has stepped into the MLB role in the Bills’ 4-3 defense, and is presented with a lot of tackle opportunities. He’s posted 5 solo tackles or more in 50% of his games this season, and heading into Week 10, he’ll have the opportunity to redeem himself from his worst performance of the season against NE in Week 4. In Week 8, Rams MLB James Laurinaitis was able to record 5 solos against the Pats’ run game – anticipate at least that from Sheppard on Sunday.
Roster Recommendation: Low-end LB1 to Mid LB2
Anthony Spencer DAL LB – OLB/DE 3-4
The Eagles have given up 27 sacks so far this season, including an outrageous 7 on Monday Night Football against the Saints, and for the sake of Michael Vick and Andy Reid’s jobs they can’t afford to give up many more. The Eagles will do everything they can to keep the ball away from DeMarcus Ware this week, which means they’ll be running right at Spencer. Despite having a relatively quiet season so far, Spencer will be a solid play Week 10 and would provide some great depth for a playoff run.
Roster Recommendation: Mid LB2 to high-end LB3
Miles Burris OAK LB – WLB 4-3
Our Week 1 Sneaky Play returns. After starting the season at WLB in place of the injured Aaron Curry, Burris quickly began to turn heads with his nose for the ball and work ethic. Combine that with MLB Rolando McClain’s poor play, and the first year outside linebacker out of San Diego State quickly became an every-down player for the Raiders. Most recently you can see Burris eating dust in the background of all of Doug Martin’s highlights, but the rookie will get a chance to correct his mistakes this week against Ray Rice. Burris will consistently get decent numbers for the remainder of the season, and could add a big game or two along the way.
Roster Recommendation: Low-end LB2 to Mid LB3
Sneaky Linebacker Plays
DJ Williams DEN LB – Returning from a nine game suspension, the Broncos are dedicated to getting Williams back on the field. The biggest obstacle right now is how they’ll go about that – WLB Wesley Woodyard is having a season that’s nothing short of stellar, and shifting second-year pass rusher Von Miller out of SLB wouldn’t make much sense either. The best fit might be at MLB for the time being, but Keith Brooking has done more than enough to earn his keep there, and Williams has previously been vocal about his disliking for playing in the middle. While it might take some musical chairs at LB (or a few glimpses at a 3-4 defense) to get Williams on the field, he’s ready to come in and have the big impact he’s always provided the Broncos’ defense.
Defensive Linemen Plays
Looking back at last week’s recommendations, Kam Wimbley had the best showing as he posted a tackle, a TFL and a sack. The Eagles’ Fletcher Cox had a disappointing debut, only earning a tackle and two assists. Don’t give up on him though – as it was his first outing as a full time starter and it may take him a few games to get in the swing of things. Kroy Biermann wasn’t quite as sneaky as we’d hoped, only logging a tackle and an assist in the Falcons win over Big D, and Antonio Smith gave fantasy owners an ugly goose egg.
Da’Quan Bowers TB DL – DE 4-3
After tearing his right Achilles tendon in May, Bowers is back on the field and ready to make an immediate impact for the Bucs. Tampa’s coaching staff has expressed their reservations in rushing Bowers back to the field, but in his debut against Oakland he was able to manage 2 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and a sack with limited playing time. Bowers will quickly work his way back to being an every-down lineman and will be a great late season addition to any fantasy squad looking for some extra help on the defensive line.
Roster Recommendation: Low-end DL2 to Mid DL3
Muhammad Wilkerson NYJ DL – DE 3-4
Outside of three quiet games, Wilkerson has been a great option for fantasy owners. In the upcoming weeks he has three struggling NFC West offensive lines in Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona and will be facing the Jaguars, Titans and Chargers during most leagues’ playoff stretch. If he’s a free agent, snag him – because he could be your best friend as you make your championship run.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DL2 to High-end DL3
Sneaky Defensive Linemen Plays
Israrel Idonije CHI DE – Despite rookie Shea McClellin showing promise, Idonije has been able to hold on to some playing time. He left Sunday’s game against the Titans with a leg injury, but should be good to go this week against the Texans. After losing Matt Schaub for their playoff run last season, the Texans will really emphasize keeping Julius Peppers away from him with the post-season looming. Look for Idonije to capitalize and have a big day like he did in Week 3 against the Rams.
Defensive Back Plays
Ronde Barber led the pack for our Week 9 recommendations, recording 4 tackles, 2 assists and 2 deflections against the Raiders. Decoud didn’t quite live up to expectations in Week 9, only snagging 3 tackles for his fantasy owners. And while Nate Allen might have had a great showing against Drew Brees on Monday Night Football, the Eagles decided to rest his hamstring and not play him.
The sneaky plays did pretty well with McClain getting 4 tackles and 2 assists and Webster getting 2 tackles, a pick and 2 deflected passes but Griffin was only able to record a tackle.
Nolan Carroll MIA CB
Coming out of the bye week, Carroll has had two monster games in a row combining for 17 tackles, an assist, a TFL, a forced fumble, a sack and 4 passes deflected. Don’t expect that to slow down as the Dolphins take on Tennessee in Week 10. Even if Carroll comes down to earth a little bit, he’ll still be a big contributor on your team.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DB1 to Mid DB2
Dunta Robinson ATL CB
Playing opposite of Asante Samuel, Robinson sees quite a bit of action. In Week 10, he’ll match up against the Saints’ aerial assault for the first time this season. Eagles CB Rogers-Cromartie benefited from the Saints avoiding Nnamdi Asomugha on Monday Night Football, and hopefully (for Robinson’s numbers) they’ll approach Atlanta the same way. Keep your fingers crossed for another double-digit scoring day from Robinson.
Roster Recommendation: Low-end DB1 to Mid DB2
Eric Wright TB CB
Yes, Eric Wright is back on the list. We last mentioned him two weeks ago as a Mid DB2, and he’s failed to live up to it. The good news is that means he’s still a free agent in many. The even better news? With Talib heading out to New England, Wright is going to get a lot of balls thrown his way. Look for our original Mid DB2 prediction to come back full circle and help your DB depth late in the season.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DB2 to Mid DB3
Sneaky Defensive Back Plays
Ed Reed BAL SS – Reed had a solid game against the Browns in Week 9 and looks to keep that rolling against Oakland on Sunday. The Raiders will continue to hit TE Brandon Myers over the middle, and Reed will be there waiting.
Captain Munnerlyn CAR – It’s hard to be sneaky with a name like Captain, but Munnerlyn could be a great free agent snag for you as you try to shore up your roster’s depth this late in the season. He’s found lots of tackle opportunities, and will have even more this week against Peyton Manning’s passing game.