- Jim McCormick, Fantasy Sports
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At this point in the NFL season, most fantasy rosters are simply humorous. Gone are the notable names banked on in August to push your team into fantasy glory, replaced by a collection of seemingly random commodities patched together thanks to months of roster erosion. In your starting lineup, you'll find C.J. Spiller or Maurice Morris in place of Adrian Peterson, and Tim Tebow or Vince Young in place of Matt Schaub; this is if you've been proactive and resourceful. It's not always pretty, but mining for production is part of the job description.
On the defensive side, we find a similar theme play out; names like Colin McCarthy and Robert Quinn are busy producing, while many IDP owners continue to rely on more famous and notable, if less productive, players. The idea is simple, but ultimately useful: Place a premium on production. Seek out results over reputation and numbers over names. We've seen guys such as Drew Bennett and Billy Volek drive teams to fantasy championships with surprising stretches, and there's no shame in winning. It's the playoff push across the fantasy football landscape, and often it's about who is hot at the time.
Front Four: The weekly word on the world of defenders
Denver Duo: It has become a weekly segment over the past month to mention that Elvis Dumervil has found his stride again and is a menacing pass-rusher after a dormant first half for the Denver Broncos. Maybe he has inspired by super rookie Von Miller. Either way, both players are widely available in ESPN leagues and merit immediate consideration as they've been the true fuel to Tebow mania and the team's recent success.
Ram Squad: For those not in the know, and this would pretty much include everyone outside of mid-1990s Philadelphia hip-hop nerds, the Ram Squad was a semi-successful local rap group that hailed from the 215. The new Ram Squad, however, is the wrecking crew emerging in St. Louis, with Chris Long reaching double digits in sacks for the first time in his career, while rookie Quinn is complementing him well as they have regularly pressured the pocket in recent outings. Long is owned in 39 percent of ESPN leagues and has at least one sack in his past five games, while Quinn sits at zero percent owned and has a sack in four of his past five outings.
Go Green: After a slow start to the season, the Minnesota Vikings' Chad Greenway has paid back those jilted investors, or rewarded those who picked him off waivers, with an elite burst of production over the past five weeks. With 31 total tackles in the past two weeks, he's making a charge for the tackles title and is available in nearly 40 percent of ESPN leagues.
Bargain Bin: Each week we'll profile players owned in less than 40 percent of ESPN leagues, and often seek out those dramatically below this ownership threshold. The Oakland Raiders' Kamerion Wimbley is unlikely to produce a repeat of his four-sack outing a few weeks ago versus the San Diego Chargers, but he is proving to be more boom than bust of late. In leagues that richly reward sacks, he's a great option to consider. The aforementioned Colin McCarthy is an emerging rookie force from "The U" who has amassed 28 total tackles in his past three outings and is cementing his role as the future middle man in Tennessee. The Washington Redskins' Perry Riley has played well given the snaps and can be had for the click of a plus symbol in nearly every ESPN league. For those missing Ndamukong Suh while he's "Suh-spended" (sorry it was just so easy) and specifically roster defensive tackles, consider the Minnesota Vikings' Kevin Williams or the Cincinnati Bengals' Geno Atkins as suitable replacements in the meantime. Carolina Panthers safety Charles Godfrey has been consistent and steady throughout the season from a production standpoint and remains available in over 60 percent of IDP leagues. The Buffalo Bills' Da'Norris Searcy is widely available and has proved productive as a punishing safety in the box.
IDP Rankings Week 13: The Top 20 linebackers, linemen and defensive backs
So that we're working from agreed parameters, we'll use what many consider traditional scoring modifiers for an IDP league: Tackle - Solo (0.5), Tackle - Assist (0.25), Sack (3), Interception (3), Forced fumble (3), Fumble recovery (3), Touchdown (6), Safety (2), Pass defended (0.5), Blocked kick (3).
Jim McCormick is a fantasy football analyst for ESPN.com and high school football editor for ESPNHS.com. Contact him at JMcCormickESPN@gmail.com or @JMacPhillies on Twitter.
Jim McCormick highlights some of the top options for IDP leagues in Week 13.