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Week 14 IDP Sleepers: Fantasy Playoff Producers

Gary Davenport is here with his favorite Week 14 IDP sleepers to help you plug the holes and keep you going that ‘one more week’ as we head into the fantasy football playoffs.

Most of the people reading this column in Week 14 really don’t want to be.

OK, that was a weird intro. But it’s true.

The last thing IDP owners want to be doing as the fantasy playoffs get underway is looking for a sleeper to use to patch a hole in the starting lineup. From here until (hopefully) the championship game, the next loss you suffer will be the one that ends your season.

In many respects, each week is a season all its own at this point.

However, the fantasy gods have a history of choosing not to cooperate at the worst possible time. Just this past week, Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark and New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (the No. 1 player at his position in many fantasy scoring systems) suffered injuries.

What makes things that much worse is that in many IDP leagues, by this late juncture in the season the waiver wire looks like the half-off movies table at a Black Friday sale—picked-over as h**l.

However, all hope is not lost. There are some individual defensive players available in at least 80 percent of the IDP leagues at Fantrax who are capable of helping your team get a pivotal win in Week 14.

Many of these names have appeared in this column at some point this season. But at this point, breaking new ground isn’t nearly as important as piling up fantasy points.

Looking for more Week 14 Reinforcements? Check out our Waiver Wire and FAAB Guide to see which players you should be targeting.


Henry Anderson – DE, New York Jets (vs. MIA) (7 Percent Owned)

The New York Jets have had a miserable season in 2019, but the play of their defense has actually picked up a little since the Jets traded defensive end Leonard Williams to the cross-town Giants. Per Rich Cimini of ESPN, a fair amount of the credit for that improvement belongs to Anderson, who notched his first sack of the season back in Week 11 against the Washington Redskins.

“The sexy headline would be “Jets thrive without Williams” — but it would be misleading because it wasn’t an addition-by-subtraction situation,” Cimini said. “The overall play has improved because the Jets have faced weak to mediocre offenses and because Henry Anderson, who missed Weeks 6 through 8 with a shoulder injury, is healthy and starting to produce like he did last season.”

In 2018, Anderson quietly tied for the team lead in sacks with seven. He’s not going to hit that number in 2019 (and probably won’t come close), but there isn’t a team in the NFL that has surrendered more sacks this year than the 49 given up by the Miami Dolphins.

Taco Charlton – DE, Miami Dolphins (at NYJ) (12 Percent Owned)

After two-plus disappointing seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys cut bait on Charlton earlier this season in order to make room on the roster for fellow edge-rusher Robert Quinn. As Richard Ball wrote for the Landry Hat, it’s a move that’s worked out great for the Dolphins, who snatched Charlton off waivers.

“On September 18 this year, the Cowboys cut defensive end Taco Charlton after he was inactive for the first two games of the year. In his first two years with Dallas, he had 4.0 sacks,” he said. “The winless at the time Miami Dolphins claimed Taco and he now has as many sacks this season (5) in 10 games as Cowboys $105 million defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has in 12 games. While sacks are not the only measure of a player, you have to wonder why Dallas gave up on Charlton so fast.”

Charlton’s fifth sack (along with two tackles and a forced fumble) came in last week’s stunning win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Charlton sat out Miami’s first meeting with the Jets this year, but Gang Green allowed three of the 46 sacks the team has given up in 2019 (second-most in the NFL) in that contest.

James Burgess – ILB, New York Jets (vs. MIA) (13 Percent Owned)

To say that Burgess is a journeyman is putting it mildly. Burgess has spent time with the Dolphins, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Dolphins (again) and then the Jets—in four seasons. However, as Mark Cannizzaro wrote for the New York Post, Burgess has stuck with New York out of necessity after the team was ravaged by injuries at linebacker.

“Burgess — who, by his count, has been cut eight times in his career (including by coach Adam Gase when both were with the Dolphins) — didn’t begin the season with the Jets and was on their practice squad until six weeks ago. He will start his seventh consecutive game at inside linebacker Sunday,” he said.

Has Burgess been a good player in New York? No—he’s been a massive liability in coverage. But ahead of a matchup Sunday with a Dolphins team giving up the 10th-most fantasy points to linebackers this season Burgess has been productive—he’s amassed at least eight total tackles in each of last three games.

Donald Payne – ILB, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. LAC) (0 Percent Owned)

With Myles Jack on the shelf with a knee injury last week, Payne was pressed into action for the first start of his three-year career. The former undrafted free agent came up big, leading the team in tackles and earning the praise of Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone.

“I give Donald a lot of credit,” Marrone said, via John Shipley of Jaguars Maven. “He played a lot of snaps yesterday. He only missed one snap. He was battling his butt off. He really prepared all week and it showed. He had 13 tackles. I thought he did a really good job and especially with the green dot and his communication which is also as equally important to make sure everyone gets the call. So, he did a nice job yesterday, he really stepped up.”

Jack was on the sidelines during practice Wednesday, and given how well Payne played Sunday the Jags may well take things slowly with their high-priced linebacker. The Los Angeles Chargers aren’t a great fantasy matchup for linebackers, but Payne’s every-down role and Week 13 performance affords the former Stetson standout a measure of fantasy upside.

Anthony Harris – S, Minnesota Vikings (vs. DET) (17 Percent Owned)

Harris is having easily the best season of his five-year career in 2019—the 28-year-old has already set a career-high in tackles with 52 and logged his fourth interception (and first career touchdown) of 2019 in last week’s loss to Seattle. Still, Harris told Sid Hartman of the Twin Cities Star-Tribune that there’s still plenty of room for improvement in his game.

“We have to keep continuing to improve, keep looking to improve as far as our technique, our assignments, executing better, being physical from the start at the line of scrimmage and then compete for the ball when it’s in the air,” the fifth-year veteran said. “Whether it’s through receivers’ hands, or delivering a big hit to try and jar some passes loose.”

Admittedly, Harris’ Week 14 matchup isn’t a great one—the Lions rank in the middle of the NFL in fantasy points allowed to defensive backs. But with an undrafted rookie running things now for the Lions, picking up interception No. 5 of the year isn’t out of the question.

Jalen Mills – CB, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG) (18 Percent Owned)

Like most of the Philadelphia pass defense, Mills had a game to forget last week against the Dolphins, surrendering a pair of touchdown passes. Still, according to Paul Bowman of Sports Talk Philly, an argument can still be made that Mills has been the team’s best cornerback in 2019 when healthy.

“Mills has been nothing short of dominant, but had a terrible game on Sunday,” Bowman said. “All cornerbacks do, so there isn’t any reason the Eagles shouldn’t extend him. The penalties on him were occasionally his fault, but with calls like the overturned PI where the receiver falls into him with an uncatchable ball, the uncalled OPI on the touchdown pass, the uncalled OPI on his potential interception in the end zone, there were plenty that had to do with officiating that was not being called evenly on both teams. While Mills was still terrible, there is plenty of reason to believe he can turn it around again sooner rather than later.”

Over the past few seasons, Mills has been one of the more IDP-relevant cornerbacks in the league on a per-game basis. The 25-year-old should have every opportunity to rebound from last week’s dud on Monday night against a Giants team that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to defensive backs in 2019.

Got a few IDP sleepers of your own? Let us know about them in the comments below. You don’t get to say, “I told you so,” if you don’t tell us so. 

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