Free Agent Focus

Week 13 IDP Free Agent Focus

By Matt Schauf 9:29pm EST 12/1/13

You'll find even less uniformity among IDP leagues than you will on the offensive side of the ball.  Defensive-player lineups come in all different sizes and many more fantasy players know little about the real players on this side of the ball.

The result: a wide variance in the kind of options available on the waiver wire.  Keep that in mind as you read this.  Not every player listed will make sense in your specific league.  Feel free to fire any IDP add/drop questions to info@draftsharks.com.

Now on to this week's picks ...

Olivier Vernon, DE, Dolphins

Please say that this guy has been owned for a while in your IDP league.  Even better if you picked him up at some point ... and played him in Week 13. 

Vernon racked up 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks in Sunday's win over the Jets -- both season highs.  It was his 2nd straight game with 2+ sacks, his 3rd straight with at least 1 sack and the 7th time in the past 9 contests that Vernon registered a sack or more.

We've mentioned him in this space more than once, but we feel the need to emphasize him 1 more time after such a dominant week.  Vernon faces 3 teams over the next 3 weeks that rank among the league's top 13 in sacks allowed.

Michael Brockers, DT, Rams

Brockers posted 7 tackles and 2 sacks in Sunday's loss at the Niners, the 2nd time this season he has done so in a single game.  That speaks to Brockers' personal upside.  Week 14 adds a favorable matchup.

When he faced the Cardinals way back in Week 1, Brockers earned what still ranks as his best single-game rating of the season from Pro Football Focus.  His run D carried that grade, as he tallied 5 solo stops.

This week's rematch brings an Arizona squad that just surrendered 5 sacks to the Eagles.  That makes 3+ allowed in 3 straight games and 5 of the past 6.

Audie Cole, MLB, Vikings

Erin Henderson sat out Week 12 while reportedly tending to a personal matter.  When he returned for Week 13, seemingly everyone figured he'd reclaim his starting MLB job.  Not so.

The Vikings started Cole in the middle for the 2nd straight week, and he responded with 9 tackles and a pass breakup that he probably should have intercepted.  HC Leslie Frazier said afterward that the change "was more about Audie" and added that "he played another good ballgame."

Sure sounds like Minnesota has found a new starter in the middle.  Henderson's fantasy numbers were good, but his on-field performance has lagged well behind his stats.  Cole delivered 13 tackles (11 solo) and a sack a week ago at Green Bay and flashed big-play ability as far back as his 1st preseason.  Cole returned 2 INTs for 2 TDs in the 2nd exhibition game of 2012, a week after notching a sack in his debut.

Go ahead and dump Henderson -- whose "personal matter" turned out to be a DWI arrest -- in your IDP league and jump on Cole.

Donald Butler, ILB, Chargers

Butler's groin issues likely got him dropped in many an IDP league through the middle of this season.  But he has turned back into a dependable option at least in tackle-friendly formats.

Butler has tallied 7+ solo stops in 3 of his past 4 games, including 2 straight.  Sunday's loss to the Bengals included 10 total tackles, with 9 solos matching his season high.  Butler has also defensed 2 passes over his past 4 games.

Week 14 finds him in an upside matchup with the Giants, who rank among the 10 friendliest opponents to fantasy LBs over the past 5 games.  Week 16 brings a Raiders squad that ranks top 5 for the season as a LB matchup.  Week 15 at Denver is less favorable, but Butler did collect 7 solos against the Broncos in Week 10.

Trent Cole, OLB, Eagles

CSN Philly's Geoff Mosher said that Cole "made an adjustment in his rush the last few weeks" after tallying just 1 sack over the 1st 8 games.  It's working.

Cole racked up 2 sacks in Sunday's win vs. Arizona, his 2nd straight 2-sack game.  That makes 5 sacks over the past 4 games, plus another QB hit and 7 hurries before Week 13, according to Pro Football Focus.

A Week 14 matchup with the Lions looks tough.  Detroit has only allowed 1 opponent all year to surpass 2 sacks.  But then come the Vikings, who allowed 11 sacks over their past 2 games.  Week 16 brings the Bears, who PFF ranks worst in the league in pass-blocking.

John Cyprien, S, Jaguars

Against Houston in Week 12, Cyprien notched his 1st 2 pass breakups of the year.  That prompted us to say that Week 13 vs. Brandon Weeden "could be a good time for his 1st career INT."  Guess what: He delivered.

Along with that INT came 9 tackles (8 solo), his 2nd best tally of the season.  It marked the 2nd time in 3 weeks that Cyprien reached 8 solos.

Week 14 brings a rematch with those aforementioned Texans, who rank as the 3rd most favorable DB matchup on the season.  Then come the Bills (#5).

Andrew Sendejo, S, Vikings

If you're looking for a guy to make some plays in coverage, don't bother with Sendejo.  Through 7 starts, he has yet to defense a pass.  But he has delivered 10+ tackles in 3 of his past 4 games, including Sunday vs. the Bears.

His next 3 contests include 2 teams -- Philadelphia and Cincinnati -- that rank among the top 10 matchups for fantasy DBs.  Week 14 brings Baltimore, which ranks 2nd in the league in allowing pass breakups to DBs.  Seems like a good time for Sendejo to notch his 1st.

Nate Allen, S, Eagles

Allen has failed to deliver regular fantasy production this year, but he provided 8 tackles (7 solo) against the Cardinals on Sunday, when Carson Palmer attempted 41 passes.

A Week 14 matchup with the Lions presents upside in a QB averaging 41.7 attempts per game.  Matthew Stafford has racked up 46+ attempts in 4 of his past 6 games and thrown 2+ INTs in 3 of those.

Dynasty-League Option

Devin Taylor, DE, Lions

The rookie notched 2 sacks in the Thanksgiving Day blowout of Green Bay despite playing just 15 defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.  For the season, Taylor has tallied 3 sacks and forced 2 fumbles while adding 3 more QB hits and 10 pressures over just 210 snaps to date.

It's too early to know whether Taylor will factor into the starting lineup next year.  Ziggy Ansah's clearly a long-term starter at DE, and Jason Jones (on IR since September) has 2 more years on the free-agent contract he signed in March.  But he has lacked durability throughout his career across 3 stops now.  And even with Jones and Ansah healthy, there could be room for Taylor in a rotation.

Detroit has liked this guy a lot since the summer.  He's worth a flier in your dynasty IDP league if he's available.

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