IDP Upgrades/Waiver - Week 12
By Aaron Rudnicki
November 19th, 2011

Upgrades

DE John Abraham, ATL (3 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 3 QBH)
Although Matt Ryan threw 5 interceptions, the Falcons still pulled out a win thanks to a dominant pass defense. They allowed just 70 yards in the air to the Cardinals and the play of John Abraham played a huge role. He torched the league's worst offensive line for a couple sacks and 5 combined tackles. This brings him up to 9 sacks and 4 forced fumbles on the year and puts him on pace to finish with some of his best numbers in almost 5 years.

DE Kendall Reyes, SD (3 solos, 2 sacks, 2 QBH)
Despite suffering a tough loss to a division rival this week, the Chargers got some positive signs from their rookie defensive end. Reyes hadn't posted more than a single tackle in a game prior to this one before exploding for 2 fourth quarter sacks of Peyton Manning. His third solo tackle in the game also came behind the line of scrimmage.

DE Elvis Dumervil, DEN (4 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF)
Although he suffered an injury last week and missed practice during the week, Dumervil was healthy enough to play and he had one of his best games of the year. He finished with 6 combined tackles and also added a sack and forced fumble. This gives him a sack in 3 straight games and at least a partial sack in 7 of his past 8 starts. He should add to those totals next week against the Chiefs.

DE Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (3 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF)
The Jets aren't quite as good on defense this year as they normally are, but Wilkerson is looking like a future anchor of their defensive line. He has really been coming on strong of late and has 28 combined tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles in his last 5 games, plus a couple tipped passes and a defensive touchdown.

DT Nick Fairley, DET (4 solos, 3 asst, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 2 QBH)
Fairley took a little while to get going after the Lions picked him in the first round of last year's draft, but he has really come on strong the past couple games. He was dominant this week in a tough loss to the Packers, finishing with 7 combined tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. If he continues to emerge as an impact player, that will force teams to think twice about focusing their blocking assignments around Ndamukong Suh.

DT Ahtyba Rubin, CLE (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 QBH)
After missing most of the last 4 games, Rubin returned to action this week and made his presence felt with a great game. He collected 6 tackles and a sack, and figures to be helped by the return of his fellow DT Phil Taylor in the weeks to come.

DT Fletcher Cox, PHI (7 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF)
The high draft pick had shown some flashes of his ability earlier this year, but this was perhaps his most complete game to date. He's been given a chance to start in recent weeks and his numbers are trending upwards as a result. The Eagles are struggling on both sides of the ball, which means more snaps for the defense and more opportunities for a young player like this to make a name for himself.

ILB Paul Posluszny, JAX (9 solos, 6 asst, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 PD)
The matchup was certainly favorable this week, but Posluszny still impressed with 15 combined tackles along with a forced fumble and interception. Although he may not be considered as one of the best inside linebackers in the league, he's good enough to take advantage of all the tackle opportunities he gets and there have been plenty. Posluszny has been credited with at least 7 solo tackles in 6 of his last 7 games and looks to be on a clear pace to finish in the triple digits.

OLB Von Miller, DEN (7 solos, 3 sacks, 2 FF, 1 QBH)
The great year for Miller just keeps getting better. After posting 3 sacks a couple weeks ago, he followed that up with another 3-sack game this week. This gives him 13 sacks on the year and puts him ahead of J.J. Watt and likely into the conversation for defensive player of the year. In addition to his impressive pass rush skills, Miller is also holding up pretty well against the run and has 19 combined tackles over his last 3 games.

OLB Rob Ninkovich, NE (4 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR)
Despite his move to defensive end this year, Ninkovich is still listed as a linebacker at most league hosting sites. This figured to hurt his fantasy value, but he has managed to remain effective thanks to his playmaking skills. Over the past 9 games, he has posted a sack in 7 of them. Assuming he gets his position officially switched to defensive end during the offseason, he could become even more valuable for 2013.

OLB Anthony Spencer, DAL (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR)
Spencer missed some time with a pectoral injury earlier this year and often gets overlooked playing in the shadow of DeMarcus Ware, but he has been coming on strong lately. He posted a sack and forced a fumble for his second game in a row this week and started to silence some of the critics who have wondered why he hasn't been more productive given the players around him.

OLB Thomas Davis, CAR (10 solos, 6 asst, 1 FF)
Davis got a bump in value once Beason was placed on injured reserve and he earned a full-time role, but he exceeded most expectations with a 16-tackle game against the Buccaneers this week. He's obviously had some bad luck with injuries in recent years, but the former high draft pick is a quality player and seems to have enough of his explosiveness back to make plays all over the field.

S Reshad Jones, MIA (11 solos, 3 asst, 1 FF, 1 PD)
Jones had a great game against the Bills on Thursday night, finishing with 14 combined tackles, a forced fumble, and pass defense. He has quietly been one of the better players on a Dolphins defense that has overachieved for much of the year. Certainly looks like he could be a building block for them and potentially useful for fantasy owners as well.

S Quintin Mikell, STL (8 solos, 1 sack, 1 FF)
Mikell has been an elite fantasy safety in the past, but his production was underwhelming for most of this season. Things have started turning around in a big way of late, however, as he posted 8 solo tackles in back to back games and also added in a sack and two forced fumbles. There are some favorable matchups coming up in the next few weeks so he should be able to build on these games and finish the year strong.

CB Derek Cox, JAX (16 solos, 1 INT, 2 PD)
The numbers that Cox put up in this game are incredible for a cornerback, even though they aren't exactly indicative of a great game. He was matched up with Andre Johnson for most of the game and allowed him to rack up 14 catches. Cox is certainly capable of putting up impressive fantasy numbers though and he picked off his 3rd pass of the year in just 7 games played.

CB Alfonzo Dennard, NE (4 solos, 1 INT, 2 PD, 1 TD)
Dennard replaced Kyle Arrington at corner on the second series of the game for the Patriots and helped slow down Andrew Luck and the Colts after a hot start. He further helped his case with a pick-6 in the fourth quarter to give him 3 interceptions in his last 4 games.

CB Aqib Talib, NE (5 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD, 1 TD)
The newest Patriot played a huge role in their win over the Colts on Sunday. The game was turned around in part thanks to his interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter. It appears that he will serve as the Patriots new #1 corner with Devin McCourty being moved to safety. Pretty nice start and it looks like he could help solidify a secondary that has been a sore spot for the Patriots.

Downgrades

DE Charles Johnson, CAR (1 PD)
The hot streak had to end at some point. He had posted 5 sacks in his previous 3 games, but was nearly held off the scoresheet completely this week despite the game going to overtime. Johnson apparently left the game briefly with a head injury but checked out fine and was allowed to return. Monitor his status during the week to ensure it wasn't anything more serious.

DE Robert Quinn, STL (1 solo)
Quinn has been showing signs of improvement this year but needs to become more consistent. His numbers early in the year were very good, but he has become less of a factor in recent weeks. Over his last four starts, he has 2.5 sacks but just 6 solo tackles and 2 assists. Fortunately, he gets to face the Cardinals next week so look for a quick turnaround.

DE Calais Campbell, ARI (DNP)
Although he had a chance to rest up during the team's week 10 bye, Campbell was held out of action this week with a calf injury. Recent reports suggest that he should be able to return next week, but keep an eye on the practice reports to make sure.

DE Chandler Jones, NE (0 tackles)
The rookie from Syracuse has been very impressive this year, but his production has dropped off of late. He was held to just an assisted tackle last week and followed that up with a goose egg this week. His lack of production this week was due to an ankle injury that knocked him out of the game early and his status for next week looks uncertain.

DE Lamarr Houston, OAK (1 QBH)
The young pass rusher had a promising start to his career with 5 sacks as a rookie back in 2010, but he hasn't been able to replicate that success since then. He posted just a single sack last year and has just 1 sack all season in 2012. Houston's tackle numbers are solid, but that usually leaves him as little more than a backup or depth player in most scoring systems.

OLB Mario Haggan, STL (0 tackles)
Haggan has been a productive player at times and emerged again with a huge game against the 49ers a week ago. Unfortunately, he suffered an elbow injury this week that looks like it might keep him out for the rest of the year. As a 32-year old player, his chance for significant playing time might be coming to an end as well.

OLB Whitney Mercilus, HOU (0 tackles)
Mercilus was a 1st round pick of the Texans this year and started to flash his talents with sacks in back to back games recently. In the past two games, however, he's only come up with a single solo tackle combined. Looking once again like this will be more of a developmental year for him, but none of the Texans outside linebackers have been quite as productive as you'd expect for such a great defense.

OLB Jerry Hughes, IND (1 solo, 1 PD)
Hughes has made some plays for the Colts this year and likely salvaged his career from the bust status he was headed for. With Robert Mathis back, however, he also figures to see a reduction in playing time though and that makes him tougher to rely on for any type of consistent production.

ILB Ernie Sims, DAL (1 solo, 1 asst)
With Dan Connor healthy again, he returned to the starting lineup for the Cowboys this week and that pushed Sims back to a backup role. Sims probably did look better at times, but he was playing out of position and still learning the nuances of the Cowboys scheme. If they wind up splitting time inside, then that will obviously devalue both players.

ILB Curtis Lofton, NO (1 solo, 2 asst)
Lofton was one of the best and most consistent linebackers in the league during the first half of the season but he has now put up two relative clunkers in a row. Part of it was likely due to the matchups as the Saints faced over 50 pass attempts in their matchup with the Falcons last week and 40 attempts from Carson Palmer and the Raiders this week. Look for him to rebound next week as the 49ers come to town.

S Adrian Wilson, ARI (1 solo)
Wilson wasn't in the starting lineup this week for the first time since 2008 and the Cardinals came up with 5 interceptions as a unit. Given the success they had after making a big change like that, it could be tough for Wilson to earn his spot back. At 33 years of age, he has clearly lost a step and is somewhat of a liability in coverage. He mainly saw time in the team's base package and finished with just a single solo tackle.

S Thomas DeCoud, ATL (1 solo)
The Falcons have not gotten the same type of playmaking production from their secondary in recent weeks that they got early on. DeCoud is a great example of this as he posted 4 interceptions in a 3-game stretch earlier this year, but he's gone 5 games without one now. He's playing pretty deep in the secondary as well, which has led to him posting just 7 solo tackles, 3 assists, and no big plays in his last 3 games combined.

S Ed Reed, BAL (2 solos, 1 FR)
Reed was suspended for 1 game by the NFL due to repeated safety violations. This was in response to a hit to the head on Emmanuel Sanders in the Sunday night game. He reportedly will appeal the suspension, but could be forced to miss next week's matchup with the Chargers.

CB Terence Newman, CIN (0 tackles)
Newman had been coming on for the Bengals lately as he posted 7 solo tackles last week and 2 interceptions a week earlier. He was held without a tackle this week, however, as he was forced to leave the game early with a concussion. The Bengals have a very favorable matchup coming against the Raiders next week, but it looks like there's a chance he could miss it.

CB Nolan Carroll, MIA (1 solo, 1 asst)
After posting 23 solo tackles over a recent 3-game stretch, Carroll has picked up just 2 combined tackles in the 2 games since then. He struggled to cover anybody against the Bills on national television this week and was flagged 5 times for either holding or pass interference in the game.

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