It seems like only yesterday that the 2017 season was just beginning.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was healthy and hoping for a rebound season. Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter was looking to build on a breakout 2016. So was Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, who was coming off a Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign.
One of those things happened.
That's how it usually works in IDP. For everything that goes according to plan there are two that don't. Watt, sadly, got hurt again. Hunter was out-shined by batterymate Everson Griffen. But Bosa has been as advertised, posting top-five IDP numbers.
All you can do is roll with the punches and try to get better as the season progresses. That's what we've been doing for 12 weeks this season, navigating the injury minefield, attempting to improve off the waiver wire and searching for the top matchup plays.
Now, here we are. Week 13 – the final week of the regular season in a large percentage of IDP leagues. For many fantasy owners, it's a do-or-die week, too. Win, and it's on to the postseason tournament.
Lose, and that's all she wrote. The season's over. Time to pack it in for the year.
That makes it all the more important that we turn over every rock in IDP Nation this week. Find every shiny nugget.
Let's get to digging.
WEEK 13 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Mike Daniels – DE, Green Bay Packers: The veteran defensive end has never been much more than a low-end IDP matchup play, but he's been hot of late – Daniels' 14 total tackles and two sacks over that span rank inside the top 10 defensive linemen over that span.
Josh Bynes – ILB, Arizona Cardinals: With Deone Bucannon on the shelf with a leg injury last week Bynes stepped into an every-down role in last week's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and wound up leading the Redbirds with nine total tackles.
Miles Killebrew – S, Detroit Lions: With Tavon Wilson out for the rest of the year with a shoulder injury Killebrew will slide into the starting lineup at strong safety. The youngster has shown some potential to post stats when offered the opportunity in the past.
WEEK 13 IDP INJURY REPORT
Adrian Amos – S, Chicago Bears (Questionable – Hamstring): Amos, who has been a valuable IDP asset since taking over at strong safety, left Sunday's blowout loss to Philadelphia with a hamstring injury. His status for the San Francisco matchup on Sunday is unknown.
Robert Ayers – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Questionable – Concussion): Ayers missed last week's loss to the Atlanta Falcons and remains in the NFL's concussion protocol. He'll have to be cleared in order to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Zach Brown – ILB, Washington Redskins (Questionable – Shoulder): Brown's battled several injuries in recent weeks, but he was a limited participant in practice Monday and is expected to play Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys.
Deone Bucannon – ILB, Arizona Cardinals (Questionable – Ankle): It doesn't appear that Bucannon's ankle injury (the same ankle he had surgery on in the offseason) is significant, but he's still iffy to face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13.
Kam Chancellor – S, Seattle Seahawks (OUT – Neck): The Seahawks continue to insist that Chancellor's season isn't over, but he's already been ruled out for Week 13. Frankly, it will be a surprise if Chancellor sees the field again in 2017.
Thomas Davis – OLB, Carolina Panthers (Questionable – Thigh): Davis had a season-high nine total tackles last week before leaving the win over the New York Jets with a thigh injury. The injury isn't believed to be especially serious.
Trey Flowers – DE, New England Patriots (Questionable – Ribs): Flowers, who has been far and away the Patriots' best defensive lineman this year, left late in Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins with a rib injury. The severity of the injury is unknown, because duh – it's the Patriots.
B.J. Goodson – ILB, New York Giants (Questionable – Ankle): Goodson hasn't played since before New York's bye week, and both he and rookie Calvin Munson (Quadriceps) look likely to miss this Sunday's game with the Oakland Raiders.
Anthony Hitchens – OLB, Dallas Cowboys (Questionable – Groin): Hitchens gutted out last week's blowout loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but he wasn't on the practice field for Dallas on Monday ahead of their Thursday-nighter with Washington.
Janoris Jenkins – CB, New York Giants (Doubtful – Foot): Janoris hurt his ankle returning an interception last week for a touchdown, because that's the kind of year it's been in New York. The veteran cornerback's season is probably over.
Sean Lee – OLB, Dallas Cowboys (Questionable – Hamstring): Lee did not practice Monday, and there's never been any realistic hope that the star linebacker would be able to play on Thursday night against the Washington Redskins.
C.J. Mosley – ILB, Baltimore Ravens (Questionable – Shoulder): Mosley came into Week 12 with an ankle injury and left the win over Houston with a stinger and to be checked for a concussion. He returned and finished the game, winding up with 12 total stops.
Telvin Smith – OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Questionable – Concussion): Smith, who leads all AFC linebackers in fantasy points this season, is in the NFL's concussion protocol and the definition of questionable for Week 13.
Martrell Spaight – ILB, Washington Redskins (Questionable – Ankle): Spaight missed the team's Week 12 win over the New York Giants, but he practiced in a limited fashion on Monday and may be able to return to action in Dallas.
Danny Trevathan – ILB, Chicago Bears (Questionable – Calf): Trevathan hasn't played since hurting his leg back in Week 8. At this point it's fair to wonder if at some point soon the Bears won't simply shut the veteran linebacker down for the season.
Nick Vigil – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (Questionable – Ankle): Vigil's been a solid fantasy producer for most of 2017, but he's iffy for next Monday's matchup with the Steelers after hurting his ankle early in the team's Week 12 win over the Cleveland Browns.
T.J. Ward – S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Questionable – Concussion): Ward, who has been reduced to a part-time role with the Buccaneers, was forced from the Week 12 loss with a concussion and is in the NFL's protocol.
Tavon Wilson – S, Detroit Lions (IR – Shoulder): As I mentioned earlier, after re-injuring his shoulder the Lions decided on surgery for Wilson. His 2017 season is over. Miles Killebrew will start at strong safety the rest of the way.
Derek Wolfe – DE, Denver Broncos (Questionable – Neck): Wolfe sprained his neck in last week's loss to Oakland, and reports from the Mile-High City indicate the defensive end could be shut down for the rest of the season pending the results of an MRI.
THE WHAT THE HECK DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE WAIVER PLAY OF THE WEEK
Avery Williamson – ILB, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)
Back in the summer, Williamson told Jim Wyatt of the team's website that he had big plans for 2017. “I want to have more splash plays this year,’’ Williamson said. “I have been working on making sure I solidify the plays, and I am comfortable out there now. So now it is maybe taking chances more, going ahead and doing things, and not being scared to make those big plays. I want to make more game-changing plays.”
That hasn't happened – in fact, Williamson's been reduced to a part-time role as Wesley Woodyard as emerged as the team's best IDP option. There has been the occasional big game in a favorable matchup, such as Williamson's 9 stops with a sack last week against the Colts. Williamson played 61 percent of the snaps last week (his highest percentage in weeks) and gets another top-10 IDP matchup in Week 13 against the Texans. It's admittedly a desperation play – but one with some fantasy upside.
GUYS I LIKE IN WEEK 13
Jurrell Casey – DE, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU): If you watched Tom Savage turtle last week against the Baltimore Ravens then that's all the explanation you need regarding why Casey is a solid IDP play when the Texans come to Nashville in Week 13.
David Irving – DT, Dallas Cowboys (vs. WAS): After six sacks over his first three games Irving's now gone three straight without one. But Thursday night he gets an injury-ravaged Redskins line that leads the NFC in fantasy points allowed to defensive linemen.
Yannick Ngakoue – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND): It's gotten lost in Calais Campbell's DPOY season in Jacksonville, but Ngakoue has quietly amassed 10 sacks in his own right ahead of a matchup with a Colts team that leads the NFL with a staggering 47 sacks allowed.
Jon Bostic – ILB, Indianapolis Colts (at JAX): Bostic has revived his NFL career this year as easily the Colts best inside linebacker, and in Week 13 the Colts get a Jaguars team that runs the ball a ton and ranks third in fantasy points per game allowed to linebackers.
Myles Jack – OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs, IND): Jack's numbers have tailed way off of late. This week sets up well for a rebound – especially if Telvin Smith sits this game out. The Colts have been very kind to opposing linebackers this season.
Tahir Whitehead – OLB, Detroit Lions (at BAL): Whitehead's been hot of late (he's averaging 10 tackles a game over the last three weeks) and travels to face a Baltimore Ravens team in Week 13 that leads the NFL in fantasy points surrendered to linebackers.
Budda Baker – S, Arizona Cardinals (vs. LAR): IDP owners disappointed because Baker didn't post a jillion tackles last week need to shake it off. His pace was unsustainable, and that matchup was lousy. This week's, on the other hand, is tres bien.
Micah Hyde – S, Buffalo Bills (vs. NEP): Hyde was invisible in last week's win over the reeling Kansas City Chiefs, but it's short memory time – this week he plays a Patriots squad that leads the NFL in fantasy points given up to safeties.
Andrew Sendejo – S, Minnesota Vikings (at ATL): Sendejo doesn't get much IDP run, but he's a great high-floor DB2 when he's healthy. The veteran safety is now, and the icing on the cake is a top-five road matchup in Week 13 with the Falcons.
GUYS I DON'T LIKE IN WEEK 13
Carlos Dunlap – DE, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT): Dunlap has just 4.5 sacks this year after piling up eight in 2016 and 13.5 the year before that. That trend isn't likely to reverse against the Steelers, who are 30th in FPPG allowed to DL and have given up just 11 sacks this season.
Myles Garrett – DE, Cleveland Browns (at LAC): Garrett's a rarity in Cleveland – a first-round pick that wasn't a total waste. But Philip Rivers has never taken a ton of sacks, and the Chargers are 29th in fantasy points allowed to d-linemen in 2017.
Olivier Vernon – DE, New York Giants (at OAK): Vernon is healthy(ish) again and coming off arguably his best game of the season, so of course in Week 13 he gets the absolute worst pass-rush matchup in the NFL. Because that's the kind of year it's been for the Giants.
Eric Kendricks – ILB, Minnesota Vikings (at ATL): Kendricks is a rock-solid NFL linebacker, but he's always been a tad matchup-dependent for IDP purposes. This week's big tilt in Atlanta is a bad one – the Falcons are dead last in fantasy points allowed to the position.
Darron Lee – ILB, New York Jets (vs. KCC): The Chiefs weren't an especially good fantasy matchup for linebackers when they were firing on all cylinders early in the season. Now the offense is in the toilet, and the matchup has gotten even worse.
Blake Martinez – ILB, Green Bay Packers (vs. TBB): After posting 15 total tackles with an interception and a forced fumble last week, IDP owners aren't thinking bout sitting Martinez. Maybe they should – the Buccaneers are the second worst linebacker matchup in the NFL.
Miles Killebrew – S, Detroit Lions (at BAL): Yes, I like Killebrew as a waiver wire add in Week 13. I hate him as a starter though. The Ravens have no passing game and are last in the AFC in fantasy points given up to safeties.
Devin McCourty – S, New England Patriots (at BUF): It isn't hard to figure out why McCourty has gone ice-cold. He was blowing up because no one in front of him was making tackles. They are now. Good for the Patriots, Bad for fantasy owners.
Bradley McDougald – S, Seattle Seahawks (vs. PHI): McDougald might appear a decent spot-start in Week 13 given how well the Eagles are playing offensively, but no team has given up fewer fantasy points to safeties in 2017.
THE SCRAP-HEAP STREAMING CORNERBACK PLAY OF THE WEEK
In recent years the number of dependable weekly fantasy starters at the cornerback position has dwindled to just about zero. So as a service to those hearty souls who play in IDP leagues that require them, each week I’ll point out a player at that position available in many leagues who should serve as a fine streaming option.
Trevor Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. CLE): Williams has been an under-the-radar success story in 2017, emerging as a steady starter at cornerback opposite Casey Hayward for the Bolts. This week Williams and the Chargers play host to the Cleveland Browns, who rank third in fantasy points allowed to cornerbacks. In the time it took me to write this column, DeShone Kizer was intercepted 34 times.