Here we are entering week 14. For many, this is either the final week of our regular season or the first week of our playoffs. If you are fighting for a playoff spot, hopefully some of these suggestions can help you. If you are in the playoffs and desperate for a starter, hopefully these can help as well. The list is small this week since most of the players I would mention have been mentioned numerous times before. Also, there likely is not much left out there as we head into the fantasy playoffs. Anyhow, good luck folks!
Da’Quan Bowers- Amidst fears that starting DE Michael Bennett might miss a few weeks with some undisclosed injury (likely a groin injury); Bowers started this week and had myself a pretty good game. Bowers put up eight tackles (seven solo) with 1.5 sacks and a pass defensed. He will continue to get playing time with Bennett sidelined and the Bucs D is seeing the field a lot with the offense struggling. Bowers is a sneaky pickup for the fantasy playoffs.
D.J. Smith- Desmond Bishop missed a half of the Thanksgiving Day game and then this week and Smith has filled in nicely. While the length of Bishop’s absence remains unknown, the way Smith has played affords the Packers the luxury of allowing Bishop the time to fully heal without the need to rush him back into action when he is less than 100 percent. Smith has 14 tackles (11 solo) in a game and a half of play. He is set up to continue his success this week against the run-heavy Raiders if Bishop remains sidelined.
Mike Peterson- Peterson is always decent as a spot starter and this week was no exception as he filled in for the injured Stephen Nicholas. Nicholas originally was hurt a week ago and listed with a shoulder injury. However, Nicholas missed this week’s game with a quadriceps injury and he could be out another game. If so, keep an eye on Peterson. In Nicholas’ absence this week he tallied 10 tackles and a pass defensed. While he is not worth much if Nicholas can play, Peterson is worth a desperation spot start if Nicholas remains out.
Mario Haggan- Haggan filled in this week for an injured Von Miller after Miller had surgery on a broken thumb during the week. Haggan did his best Miller impression as he racked up 12 tackles and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. While Miller is not expected to miss another game this week, keep a close eye on the situation. If there is any inclination that Miller may sit one more game, then go out and get Haggan for a one week spot start.
Craig Dahl- Darian Stewart had to sit this game out with post concussion symptoms and Dahl took advantage. With the NFL being quite strict with concussion rules and baseline test evaluations, there is an outside chance that Stewart could miss another game. If so, Dahl is an excellent start. Dahl had 13 tackles (11 solo) and a forced fumble in fill-in duty this week and will have another solid effort trying to slow down Marshawn Lynch next week if Stewart can’t go again.
James Sanders- With William Moore sidelined over the past four games, Sanders has stepped up and filled in adequately. During that four game stretch Sanders has 27 tackles including 18 in the past two games. He is starting to hit his stride and faces the Panthers next week. He should have a pretty decent matchup helping in the box to stop the running game and Cam Newton while also helping with support over the top on Steve Smith on some occasions. If Moore is set up to miss another game with his quadriceps injury then Sanders is worth a long look.
Tracy Porter- Porter just turned in his third straight solid effort this week. Since returning from injury, Porter has compiled 23 tackles (18 solo), two passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble in the last three games. The Saints face off against a Titans team that is slightly above average in points allowed to CBs next week and with the Saints likely to jump out to an early lead, the Titans and the mistake-prone Matt Hasselbeck will have to throw to stick around. Porter could be a prime beneficiary of that.