One common mistake that all fantasy owners, not just IDP owners, make is to overrate strong performances in the playoffs. On the offensive side of the ball, guys like Josh McCown and Marques Colston had huge weeks, but that doesn’t mean that you’re starting them in the semi-finals over Matt Stafford and DeSean Jackson. The same thing applies on the defensive side of the ball. Matchups determine a lot about IDP stats, and as we saw last week, weather can mean a lot as well.
Here are some guys who put up big numbers in Week 14, and whether I think they can do it again in Week 15:
John Abraham – If you were lucky enough to spot-start Abraham in Weeks 7, 10 and 14, then you probably should start playing the lottery. In those games he combined for 12 tackles and 8 sacks, while being a general terror in the backfield and looking like vintage Abraham. In his other eight games, he’s put up a total of 18 tackles and 3 sacks. Tennessee is in the bottom 10 in sacks allowed this year, so Week 15 looks like it will be one of those weeks where Abraham’s stinkin.
Cameron Heyward – Here’s one where I may be in the minority on, but I think Heyward is finally putting it together. After an extremely disappointing two-plus years and being labeled a first-round bust, Heyward has had 5+ tackles in 6 of his last 7 games, including 10 tackles and a sack against Miami. I watched most of that game, and Heyward had a bit of Ndamukong Suh to his game. He was wreaking havoc in the backfield, cutting off cut-back lanes, and throwing guys down hard. He’ll probably be fined one of these weeks, but it’s still good to see signs of life from someone who looked like they might have been on their way out of football. I like his matchups against the Bengals and Packers the next two weeks as well, so he’s worth a speculative add if you have a deep roster.
Sean Weatherspoon – At first glance, it appears that Weatherspoon and Paul Worrilow had just about equal games against Green Bay. Using standard ESPN scoring, they were within a half point of each other, and they both patrolled the middle in a game where the Packers pounded the ball with Eddie Lacy. Looking a little closer, however, reveals the truth. While Weatherspoon did put up nearly 20 points, he did so primarily thanks to a pass that was literally kicked into his hands for an interception, which he then took back for a touchdown. Outside of that fluky play, he had a relatively pedestrian day with only 7 tackles. Worrilow however, was a beast. He put up 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks (his first of the season), and even kicked the ball into Weatherspoon’s hands! You don’t get points for that, but it just goes to show that there is only one true playmaker in the Atlanta LB corps at the moment.
Audie Cole – It appears that Cole is here to stay. Since making his impressive debut in Week 12, he’s put up 35 tackles in three weeks and has put an end to Erin Henderson’s bid to be a top-10 LB this year. Henderson has his own issues to sort through, but Cole has been one of the best stories over the last few weeks, as he’s risen from 2012 seventh rounder to must-start IDP stud. He gets two nice matchups to end the fantasy season, and I have a feeling he’ll be a bit underrated next year, provided the Vikings don’t make any big moves to replace him.
James Ihedigbo – One of the unsung IDP studs this year has been Ihedigbo, who went from an unheralded replacement to Ed Reed, to a borderline DB1. The reason you probably haven’t heard much about him is because Ihedigbo seems to be extremely averse to big plays. He’s only picked off two passes, which were in the same game against the Bengals, and he’s had no sacks, so unlike his predecessor, Ihedigbo doesn’t show up in the highlight reels. In fact his most famous, or infamous, play of his season was tipping a Hail Mary right to A.J. Green for a touchdown at the end of the aforementioned Bengals game. But have no fear about putting him in your lineups, as Ihedigbo is as consistent as they come in terms of tackles, putting up 5+ in all but four games this year. I prefer my DBs to get tackles rather than rely on big plays, and no one does that better than Ihedigbo.
Week 15 IDP Rankings: