With 14 weeks of the NFL season having passed, it feels like every living defensive player has been analyzed at least once. Still, there remains a few yet-to-be-touched IDPers basking in your free-agent pool and who can help you in the final two or three weeks of your fantasy quest. So, without further ado, here are your pickups heading into Week 15.
David Harris, LB, Jets: Harris, who had missed five straight games with an injured groin, played for the first time last Sunday since being hurt in Week 8 and posted 13 tackles to go with a half-sack. He's a must-add for any team in need of an available linebacker. The second-year pro out of Michigan averaged over eight tackles per contest in games that he has completed and also has the potential to add another sack to his stats before the season ends.
Ryan Clark, FS, Steelers: Not all Steelers defensive players are automatic starts. Still, it doesn't hurt to get guaranteed snaps for such an effective unit, and Clark has taken advantage. Clark, playing in the shadow of Troy Polamalu, doesn't have a sack or an interception, but he has accumulated a lot of tackles. He had a season-high-tying nine against Dallas last week and, with 71 tackles on the season, would be on track to reach 100 by the end of the year had he not been inactive with a dislocated shoulder in Week 9.
Jacob Ford, DE, Titans: The Titans rotate defensive lineman, making them all effective. Dave Ball was mentioned in this space a few weeks back, and he has been an IDP stud the past month-plus. Ford is another Titan who deserves mention. He has shown great consistency in the second half of the season, logging a sack in each of the past two games, three in the past four games and five in the past six, in addition to two forced fumbles in that span. Ford should continue to get opportunities to take down opposing quarterbacks the next two weeks against Houston and Pittsburgh -- two teams that give up a fair share.
Gerald Hayes, LB, Cardinals: Hayes, who entered the IDP scene in 2006 and progressed with an even better 2007 season, has been a relative disappointment this season, meaning he's probably available. Hayes is coming off the best game of his season, having compiled 11 tackles and a half-sack to go with two forced fumbles against St. Louis. Hayes will get plenty of tackle opportunities against the Vikings in Week 15 as they look to give Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor a heavy dose of carries, and it also should be noted that Peterson has fumbled seven times this season, a league-high among non-quarterbacks.
Donte Whitner, SS, Bills: Whitner's campaign for IDP owners might have new life in the final few weeks. He has been banged up for the majority of the second half of the season, but he returned in his first healthy game in awhile in Week 14 and had a fine six-tackle performance. Owners in need of a late-season pickup in their defensive back corps should think about Whitner, who will be a consistent contributor for tackles and also has a chance to nab his first interception of the season, facing the not-so-conservative Brett Favre and Jay Cutler the next two weeks.
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Baraka Atkins, DE, Seahawks: Atkins has appeared on the IDP radar ever since Patrick Kearney went on injured reserve. Atkins saw the most extensive playing time of his career against the Patriots on Sunday and responded with a career-high five tackles and the first two sacks of his career. Lawrence Jackson might continue to start, but Atkins has earned himself an increased amount of playing time and could get to Marc Bulger at least once in Week 15.
Desmond Bishop, OLB, Packers: Bishop started in place of Brandon Chillar last week and could start again in Week 15. Think about adding Bishop for the week if that happens. Bishop had a monster performance in his first career start last Sunday, finishing with 12 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. It wasn't Bishop's first productive game of the season, as he also posted nine tackles and a forced fumble in Week 10, and you can feel comfortable about having him active in your lineup as long as Chillar is sidelined or limited in his playing time.