Week 14 IDP Free Agent Focus
Randy Gregory, DE, Cowboys
According to Jon Machota of The Athletic, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday that Gregory has a “real good chance” of returning for the Week 14 visit to Washington. Gregory delivered QB hits in each of his past 5 games, before suffering the calf injury in practice that landed him on IR. That stretch included 4 games of 2+ hits and 5 sacks. He’d face a Washington offense that allowed 3+ sacks in 4 of the past 6 games.
Sheldon Richardson, DL, Vikings
Richardson saw his 2nd straight start at right DE in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. He didn’t do anything special statistically (3 solos), but Richardson ranked 2nd among Vikings D-linemen with 62 snaps played. There’s upside to his Week 14, Thursday night matchup with the Steelers. Pittsburgh allowed 3 sacks to 2 of the past 3 opponents and ranks among the top half of the league in fantasy points per game supplied to linemen -- 10th friendliest in that category over the past 5 weeks.
Azeez Al-Shaair, LB, 49ers
Al-Shaair likely didn’t hit Week 13 available in IDP leagues of significant depth, but he carried a modest scoring profile that included just 2 games of 6+ solos all season. With multiple LB injuries around him, though, Al-Shaair exploded or 16 tackles (11 solo), a half-sack and a forced fumble in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks. Even if Fred Warner (hamstring) is ready to return for Week 14, Dre Greenlaw’s injury should keep Al-Shaair among the team’s top 2 LBs for next Sunday’s visit to Cincinnati.
Kwon Alexander, LB, Saints
Alexander has now topped 75% playing time in 3 straight games and 4 of his past 5. He hasn’t topped 83% in any of those outings, so he’s not for all leagues. But Alexander has been making plays. That included 2 tackles for losses (among 7 total tackles) at Philly in Week 11 and an INT in the Thanksgiving night loss to the Bills. Alexander then collected a season-high 9 tackles (7 solo) in last Thursday’s loss to Dallas. A Week 14 visit to the Jets finds an offense that hasn’t been especially generous with tackles for LBs but loves to give up big plays -- both sacks and turnovers.
Nick Vigil, LB, Vikings
Vigil is a conditional inclusion on this list. If Minnesota gets both Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr back next week from injuries that kept them out of Sunday’s loss to the Lions, then Vigil will go back to being waiver fodder. But the continued absence of either should keep the veteran in a full-time role for another week. And the quick turnaround to a Thursday night meeting with Pittsburgh can only hurt the return chances for both guys. Vigil racked up 15 tackles and a QB hit against Detroit and opened the year as a strong fantasy performer as Barr missed time.
Germaine Pratt, LB, Bengals
Logan Wilson left Sunday’s game in the 1st half with a shoulder injury that Dr. David Chao projected to be dislocated. In Wilson’s absence, Pratt played a season-high 97% of the snaps -- well ahead of Joe Bachie (61%), who matched his total tackles and beat Pratt in solos. Pratt would be the LB bet here in an upside Week 14 matchup with the 49ers if Wilson remains out. We’ll see about the expected return timeline for Wilson.
Drue Tranquill, LB, Chargers
Tranquill’s 82% snap share in Week 12 marked an upturn in playing time. He did even better by playing 88% in Sunday’s win over the Bengals and delivered a strong fantasy outing. Tranquill tied Kyzir White for the team tackle lead with 10 -- including a sack -- and broke up a pass. That followed a mere 4 tackles against a run-heavy Denver team the week before, so Tranquill is no lock for production going forward. The Giants have also been nothing special as a LB-scoring matchup. So Tranquill’s no lock for good Week 14 production. But he’ll likely land somewhere inside our top 40 LBs for the week.