The biggest news coming out of Sunday Night Football is that the Patriots finally lost. The second biggest news is the fortunately non-serious injury to Gronk. But for IDP purposes, the news that matters the most is that Dont’a Hightower went down with an MCL sprain and is likely out for the rest of the fantasy season. He joins Jamie Collins (still out with a mysterious illness) on the shelf, which leaves a lot of opportunity for stats in New England. Jonathan Freeny has stepped in nicely so far, and is very possibly owned in your league. But the more intriguing name to me is Jerod Mayo, who is thrust back into the spotlight after an extremely disappointing season so far. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to a large increase in snaps, but he’s got one of the highest ceilings of any available LB in most leagues.
Jared Crick – I don’t typically recommend streaming the DL position, especially this year, but if you are streaming, Crick is a nice option for Week 13. His stats have been terrible over the last month, but prior to that he was having a very respectable season. His more famous counterpart has been on an absolute tear, with 9.5 sacks in the last five games, so any offense is going to plan their entire week around stopping Watt. That should only be a good thing for Crick, who gets to face off against Buffalo’s top ranked matchup for DEs.
Brandon Marshall/Danny Trevathan – They’ve traded weeks of domination and disappointment all season, and I’m done trying to predict who will score more in a given week. Denver gets a great matchup for LBs in the Chargers this week, and at least one of these guys is going to put up huge numbers. I’m absolutely hedging by putting them each at low end LB2, but that feels about right in terms of how confident I am in them individually.
Philip Wheeler/Justin Durant – Another pair of teammates who are primed for big numbers, at least these two Falcons don’t share the field at the same time. Durant had his share of big games earlier this year, but then went down with injuries. That eventually opened the door for Wheeler, who exploded for 10+ tackles in each of the weeks that he saw extended playing time. Regardless of who suits up for Atlanta, they face top 5 matchups for LBs in each of the three playoff weeks, so whoever is seeing time opposite Paul Worrilow is a sneaky top 20 play.
Tyrann Mathieu – Arizona’s secondary is similar to Denver’s LB situation in that it’s hard to predict who will have a big game in a given week. The difference is in the positional expectations. Linebackers are supposed to be high scorers, but there is an expectation of consistency from your studs. Defensive backs are more volatile in general, so it’s often worth gambling on a high ceiling player at the risk of a potential dud. The Honey Badger embodies this boom/bust potential, and he rewarded owners last week with 13 tackles and a pick. You can’t rely on this type of output on a weekly basis, but that’s what makes pairing Mathieu with a more consistent tackler like Corey Graham or Barry Church a great combo at DB.
Morgan Burnett – He was the DB1 overall not too long ago, but Burnett has been battling injuries for over a year, and has recently been overshadowed by the great play of teammate Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Over the last month, however, Burnett has gotten healthy and has started putting up consistently solid numbers. Solid, but not spectacular. This presents an opportunity if he’s not owned in your league, because he has a top matchup against Detroit on Thursday, where Matthew Stafford has been dishing out DB stats all season long.