The playoffs are nearing and it’s that time to gear up and make a run. Every move is amplified and every point is more critical – if it doesn’t get your fantasy blood boiling – nothing will! An important tip this time of the season is to watch who gets dropped because of bye weeks. Too often a fantasy player will get antsy and fill the offensive spots, dropping defensive players instead so keep an eye out and get ahead of the curve.
For advice on defensive teams to stream, please check out our article and I apologize that you have to read about diva quarterbacks to get to the real meat and potatoes!
Ziggy Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions
Ziggy’s back baby! Ansah has been a maddening player to own over the years due to inconsistency but he’s a player that can win you a week with a monster game. He finally returned to the Lions lineup in Week 9, contributing 2 tackles and a sack. Playing time will increase and he has a juicy stretch of games coming up and going into fantasy playoffs. Ansah is a must add if he is available and a potentially inexpensive trade target.
Markus Golden, DE, Arizona Cardinals
Golden is a talented lineman I pushed for earlier in the season but he took some time to get going. He exploded in Week 9, wrangling in 9 tackles, a sack, and also a pass deflection on just 60% of defensive snaps. Golden faces a tougher schedule for defensive lineman for the rest of the season but is a difference-making defensive end that will draw better offensive line assignments opposite Chandler Jones.
Shaq Lawson, DE, Buffalo Bills
Lawson got the start with Trent Murphy out and performed well, 7 tackles and a deflection. He has always flashed talent but not enough to break through on the Bills defensive line. He should be in line for at least one more start with Murphy likely out but if Murphy plays, Lawson will be relegated to a lesser role. Lawson would make a great fill-in this week versus the Jets, monitor the situation and start him if Murphy is out.
Jatavis Brown, LB, Los Angeles Chargers
Brown will likely remain in the middle of the Chargers defense with Kyzir White out for the rest of the season and responded with 11 tackles (7 solos) during the Week 9 match with the Seahawks. Brown has been solid in a starting role in the past and should provide your IDP squad with a nice 7-8 tackles floor and possibly more in favorable matchups. He should be your top target if you need LB help.
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Cowboys
When Sean Lee is in, Vander Esch is relegated to a lesser role despite how well he has played this season but once again, Lee is hurt. In 87% of the defensive snaps Week 9, Vander Esch gathered in 9 tackles (6 solos) and showed an impressive range and tackling while in the game. He continues to impress and will man the middle for Dallas with Jaylon Smith for many years – the window to buy Vander Esch is closing rapidly.
Genard Avery, LB, Cleveland Browns
This is a gut call, the Browns are hurting at linebacker with Joe Schobert out and Christian Kirksey placed on injured reserve. Avery has been hovering around 50% of snaps played and that will jump now, he’s going to see a significant jump and I believe he’s now the second most talented linebacker behind Jamie Collins. If you are hurting at LB, grab Avery now and he will be a good LB2/LB3 for you rest of season.
Tedric Thompson, S, Seattle Seahawks
It has taken a little time but Thompson has stepped into the role of the defensive back to own in Seattle. Roaming the secondary in the free safety role, Thompson is a good source of tackles for the rest of season if your DBs are struggling. He has great range and is still raw but a bright future under the tutelage of Ken Norton Jr. and the defensive backs coaches in Seattle. Thompson is likely still available and will give you a solid floor of 5 or 6 tackles with a deflection or two each week.
P.J. Williams, CB, New Orleans Saints
Few cornerbacks are startable in leagues under the DB designation, but Williams has entered that territory. He is being targeted more opposite Marshon Lattimore and the Saints secondary is getting tested in the shootouts they are going to be a part of more. Williams racked up 6 tackles and 3 passes defended in Week 9 and will continue to be tested and have opportunities for similar stat lines.
Good luck to everyone on your playoff run, lock up good IDP players that can help you down the stretch and they can carry your offense in a down week. Thank you everyone, please give me a follow on Twitter!