Reading the Defense: Week 12

A weekly look at IDP trends with a mix of metrics, film study and matchup strategy


I'm going to continue rotating through the tier series once more and then focus on playoff matchups in Week 14 before cycling through the tiers one final time. Time limitations will prevent me from providing the same amount of context as I do in the offseason, but this should provide a snapshot of where I feel these players are currently. During the season, I approach my lineups and roster with three categories in mind -- matchup independent every week starter / matchup play / too much upside to cut. Everyone else is on the watch list.

I'm going to roll through these team-by-team.

ARIZONA   Kevin Minter Alex Okafor (Deep Big Play Dynasty)
ATLANTA Paul Worrilow, Justin Durant    
BALTIMORE C.J. Mosely, Daryl Smith    
BUFFALO Preston Brown Nigel Bradham  
CAROLINA Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis   Shaq Thompson (Dynasty)
CHICAGO   Shea McClellin Christian Jones (Deep), Jonathan Anderson (Deep)
CINCINNATI   Vinny Rey Vontaze Burfict
CLEVELAND Karlos Dansby    
DALLAS Sean Lee Rolando McClain  
DENVER Brandon Marshall, Danny Trevathan Von Miller  
DETROIT   Stephen Tulloch  
GREEN BAY   Clay Matthews, Nate Palmer Jake Ryan (Deep Dynasty)
HOUSTON Brian Cushing   Benardrick McKinney, Jadeveon Clowney (Big Play)
INDIANAPOLIS D'Qwell Jackson, Jerrell Freeman    
JACKSONVILLE Telvin Smith Sr, Paul Posluszny    
KANSAS CITY Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston Tamba Hali Ramik Wilson (Dyn) 
MIAMI     Jelani Jenkins 
MINNESOTA Eric Kendricks   Anthony Barr
NEW ENGLAND Dont'a Hightower   Jamie Collins Sr
NEW ORLEANS Stephone Anthony   Hau'oli Kikaha 
NEW YORK GIANTS     Devon Kennard (Deep Dynasty)
NEW YORK JETS   David Harris, Demario Davis   
OAKLAND Malcolm Smith Khalil Mack Ben Heeney (Deep Dynasty) 
PHILADELPHIA     Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso, Jordan Hicks (Dynasty)
PITTSBURGH Lawrence Timmons Ryan Shazier  Bud Dupree (Big Play Dynasty) 
ST. LOUIS   James Laurinaitis Alec Ogletree
SAN DIEGO   Manti Te'o Denzel Perryman
SAN FRANCISCO NaVorro Bowman  Michael Wilhoite, Aaron Lynch  
SEATTLE Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright     
TAMPA BAY Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander    
TENNESSEE Avery Williamson Wesley Woodyard   
WASHINGTON   Will Compton  Keenan Robinson



ARIZONA Kevin Minter : Deone Bucannon Alex Okafor Daryl Washington (susp)  
ATLANTA Paul Worrilow : Justin Durant      
BALTIMORE C.J. Mosley : Daryl Smith Elvis Dumervil : Courtney Upshaw Terrell Suggs (IR)  
BUFFALO Preston Brown : Nigel Bradham      
CAROLINA Luke Kuechly : Thomas Davis      
CHICAGO Shea McClellin   Pernell McPhee McClellin healthy enough to play every down, Jones/Anderson rotate
CINCINNATI       Five man rotation continues 
CLEVELAND Karlos Dansby      
DALLAS Sean Lee Rolando McClain   McClain near every down vs MIA last week
DENVER Brandon Marshall Von Miller : Danny Trevathan DeMarcus Ware  
DETROIT   Tahir Whitehead DeAndre Levy (IR) Whitehead 86%, Tulloch and Bynes 60-70% 
GREEN BAY Clay Matthews Julius Peppers : Nate Palmer Sam Barrington (IR)  
HOUSTON Brian Cushing Whitney Mercilus    
INDIANAPOLIS D'Qwell Jackson : Jerrell Freeman      
JACKSONVILLE Paul Posluszny : Telvin Smith Sr      
KANSAS CITY Derrick Johnson : Justin Houston Tamba Hali    
MIAMI Kelvin Sheppard   Jelani Jenkins : Koa Misi Jenkins will be 100% when healthy, Misi 80-90%
MINNESOTA Eric Kendricks : Anthony Barr      
NEW ENGLAND Dont'a Hightower Jonathan Freeny Jamie Collins Sr  
NEW ORLEANS Stephone Anthony   Hau'oli Kikaha : Dannell Ellerbe  
NEW YORK GIANTS   Devon Kennard : Jonathan Casillas Jon Beason (IR)  
NEW YORK JETS David Harris : Demario Davis      
OAKLAND Malcolm Smith Khalil Mack Aldon Smith (susp) Heeney seeing more playing time, but not every down 
PHILADELPHIA   Connor Barwin : Brandon Graham Jordan Hicks (IR) ILB rotation w/ Kendricks, Alonso, Ryans continues 
PITTSBURGH Lawrence Timmons      
ST. LOUIS James Laurinaitis : Mark Barron   Alec Ogletree (IR-R)  
SAN DIEGO Melvin Ingram III Manti Te'o   Return of Te'o (76%) and Perryman (52%) sent Butler and Conner to minor roles 
SAN FRANCISCO NaVorro Bowman Aaron Lynch : Ahmad Brooks    
SEATTLE Bobby Wagner : K.J. Wright   Bruce Irvin  
TAMPA BAY Lavonte David : Kwon Alexander     Alexander appealing four game suspension, watch for Carter v Lansanah
TENNESSEE Avery Williamson Brian Orakpo Derrick Morgan Morgan nickel only last week due to shoulder injury 
WASHINGTON Will Compton Ryan Kerrigan : Perry Riley Keenan Robinson  

I'll update this table every week between now and Week 17.


I'm checking the waiver wire in a mix of my most and least competitive leagues, including expanded lineups. If there's someone on your list who hasn't made mine, shoot me a note and I'll add them here.

It's a short list of priorities this week. 

Charles Johnson is back for Carolina on an improving defensive line. He'll rotate early, but could find his stride during the playoffs. He's a speculative add in moderately deep leagues. With Kwon Alexnander about to be suspended for four games, the Buccaneers will have to decide whether to roll with Bruce Carter (their preseason choice) or Danny Lansanah as an every down linebacker. I'd lean toward adding Lansanah, mostly because Carter isn't likely to be a consistent fantasy option.  Finally, Prince Amukamara is back for the Giants this week. He's a must add in any CB-required league if available and could immediately become DB2+ worthy in all tackle-heavy DB setups.

Subscribe to The Audible on iTunes or download our weekly IDP podcast here every Thursday for injury updates, player analysis and matchup discussion. Follow and ask questions on Twitter @JeneBramel.

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