The playoffs start this week in the vast majority of leagues, so it’s time to forget about the last three months and focus on the next three weeks. That can sometimes mean cutting bait on some players that carried you to a successful season, whether due to injury, tough schedule, or suspension. The latter unfortunately applies to Kwon Alexander, who will drop his appeal and serve his 4-game PED suspension over the last month of the NFL regular season. This is poor timing for owners that have benefitted from his unexpected LB8 production over the first 13 weeks, but all is not lost. The LB position is extremely deep right now, and Alexander’s replacement in Tampa’s lineup might be a good fit for your lineup as well. Bruce Carter has had an injury marred career, but when he’s on the field he has put up stats including 96 tackle season and an admittedly fluky 5 interception season. He’s already recovering from a concussion, so we’re not off to a great start health-wise, but if he’s cleared to play, I like him as a low end LB2. The same applies for Danny Lansanah if Carter can’t go either, but it appears that Carter will get the first crack at it.


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Jason Pierre-Paul – JPP has already won my “most talked about player of the season” award, but until Sunday he hadn’t really done much on the field. That changed against the Jets, where he had by far his best game of the season with 6 tackles and a fumble recovery. He still hasn’t tallied a sack, but that is very likely to change against Miami and Ryan Tannehill this week. There’s a good chance that his owners have gotten tired of carrying him on their roster all year, so if he’s out there and you need a high-ceiling DL option, I’d make JPP your top waiver pickup.

Jerry Hughes – A similarly frustrating player, Hughes has been active all year but has only managed 4 sacks. That’s been a general theme in Buffalo, which is odd under Rex Ryan, so I expect some regression over the final month. That may have started last week, where Hughes had 6 tackles and a sack. He’s always going to be a boom/bust player, but the matchup against Philly looks good on paper, so I’m ranking him the highest I have since September.

James Harrison – The LB leaderboard for Week 13 was full of the usual suspects, as well as one blast from the past in Harrison. He racked up three sacks of Matt Hasselback (I never thought I’d be writing that in 2015), and had 7 total tackles. I know it can be tempting to try to grab a guy like Harrison while he’s on a “hot streak,” and I’ve fallen prey to it before with Harrison specifically, but try to resist. He’s extremely inconsistent on a weekly basis, and has a tough matchup this week to boot. Guys like the Tampa duo mentioned above, or Jake Ryan in Green Bay, are much better options in a do-or-die playoff game.

T.J. McDonald – Another member of the 2015 All Disappointment Team, I haven’t given up on McDonald yet. He’s definitely been hurt by the presence of the rangy linebackers in front of him, including pseudo-safety Mark Barron. But let’s not forget that McDonald was a top 10 DB on the year in 2014, so he has the ability to put up stats. He also faces off against Detroit in Week 14, by far the best matchup for safeties so far this year. So if someone has gotten rid of McDonald, he’s a top 5 streamer for me this week (Barron is likely to have a big day as well).

D.J. Hayden – Unless you’re in a CB-required league, Hayden likely hasn’t been on your radar. Outside of two huge games, he’s been difficult to start over most of the more consistent safeties out there. But when the matchup is right, Hayden can explode. And while Denver hasn’t been as pass-happy as usual with Osweiler under center, Hayden should still see plenty of targets. I don’t know that he’ll break 10 tackles, but 5 tackles and a few interception opportunities are definitely reasonable.

  1. Chicken Dinner says:
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    How’s it going, Kevin?

    I’m in the playoffs and thinking about benching Cooper(@DEN) for Moncrief (@JAX).

    Too cute or straight savvy?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Chicken Dinner:

      That’s too cute in my book, but I’ll defer to Jay and Tehol with their Offensive Player rankings tomorrow.

    • I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:
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      @Chicken Dinner: that’s being pretty cute.

  2. I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:
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    for some reason football outsiders doesn’t have their snap count data out yet, usually they beat your post to this. was wondering about c.johnson and c.campbell (johnson maybe being eased in post injury). neither did much in 13.

  3. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    wow, so in back to back weeks i’m able to waiver c.johnson DE and k.alexander in 20 team dynasty!? (i understand kwon will miss ROS for us in fantasy land, but dude is like 7th LB on season, 11th overall, David is back to being huge and himself is 9th overall IDP for season, AND we start 3. this other owner kept mcclellin and a host of nobodies like
    knighton and klug (DT 3 and 4 for him)
    aikens S (S 3)
    reyes (DE 3)
    over k.alexander, even though he also doesn’t have a LB backup at all.
    my IDP’s now being
    LB david/anthony/kendricks/robinson/k.alexander
    DE heyward/campbell/c.johnson
    DT donald/t.crawford
    S collins/bucannon/parker
    CB breeland/parker/hall
    IR mcdonald
    this makes the team better but with less mobility in case of more injuries somewhere for the time being with robinson being listed as active but not playing in week 13 (zero snaps). Are we buying the David ? tag this late in week?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow:

      Congrats on Kwon! Dropping him is abject insanity in dynasty format.

      David getting downgraded certainly isn’t good news, but I’m not changing his ranking just yet. If he misses practice again today, I’ll move him down a bit, but they NEED him to play, so I think he ends up being active unless the ankle is worse than it sounds. If you’re still competing for the championship, it might be a good idea to pick up Carter or Lansanah for insurance, dropping a guy like Crawford, but if not then worst case you can start Robinson and hope he sees the field this week.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: i’m seeing ellerbe is probable, if david doesn’t play, drop crawford (and go no 2nd DT) for him or carter. lansanah is owned. gotta think a MLB that i know will play (i’d have to see robinson actually be used first of course) does better than a DT who is really completely a stream spot.

        • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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          @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: i’m projected to win by about 20 now (but that’s yahoo’s assuming David plays, and he projects at very high pts each week, this one 22.95 (we score with all sorts of stuff, tackles for loss, very high pts for yardage gained from a TO our guys got (too much really on the yards), ellerbe/carter both between 14-14.5)

  4. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    uh oh, if ellerbe is back would that hurt anthony, or more humber/kikaha?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow:

      I’d definitely pick up Carter for Crawford. He might not play three downs, but he’ll get more snaps than Robinson for sure.

      Ellerbe’s presence hasn’t really affected Anthony at all, it’s been more bad news for Kikaha.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: couldn’t tell from ourlads, they have anthony as the MLB, and he played 100% of snaps last week, but i didn’t know where they slot ellerbe when he’s back either. curious, where do you rank ellerbe now that he looks back?

        • Kevin Kumpf

          Kevin Kumpf says:
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          @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow:

          Unfortunately with Ellerbe and Kikaha active, neither of them are very trustworthy so they won’t crack my top 50 unless I hear something definitive. I have Kikaha slightly above Ellerbe in general due to big play potential. Because it’s Ellerbe’s first game back, and the Saints don’t have much to play for, I’d expect a more modest output than usual for him.

  5. Let us now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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    14 team dynasty where we keep 2. i have a.brown in the 4th and i just dropped garcon for ingram, thinking he’d make a very nice last round keeper. but i just found out we can’t keep anybody drafted in 1st 2 rounds, and he was drafted like 22nd this year. so i need to drop him. PPR. start 3 WR, 2 RB, 1 flex, 1 kicker, in IDP’s 2 DB’s, 2 LB’s, 1 DL.
    rodgers
    j.allen/stewart/hightower/white/duke/b.brown/ingram
    a.brown/evans/snead/hurns/parker
    gates
    ARI kicker
    DB barron/cyprien
    DL griffen
    LB david/collins/kendricks
    keeperwise my other options are
    hurns in the 16th
    david in the 8th
    collins in the 13th
    snead in the 21st
    cyprien in the 21st
    kendricks in the 21st
    i’m guessing in situations like this it’s best to go with offensive guys, unless i had david maybe lower, but maybe he’s best still. a lot of these IDP’s (even good ones) are obtained from FA, making them possible last rounders.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Let us now Praise Famous Death Dwarves:

      The only IDP I would consider keeping from this bunch is Kendricks, as his ceiling is very high and his price is pretty low. But it’s hard for me to argue with Hurns in the 16th in a 14 team league. Given the WR premium (and relatively depth at IDP), I think he’s your better option.

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