IDP Free Agent Report: Week 4
Tryston Ford
September 25, 2012

Week 3 was a meat-and-potatoes week for many IDPers as the majority of points were scored in tackles with 21 players logging 10 total tackles or more. The pickings will continue to get slimmer on your wire as injuries and poor play necessitate changes from all of the teams in your league.  As IDP rosters round into form going into the bye weeks, make sure that you stash your roster with the nuggets you need to complete your depth.

Linebacker Plays

Phillip Wheeler was the star waiver wire choice of last week logging 7 solos, 4 assists, 2 PDs, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery; netting him a top 3 performance amongst LBs. Hopefully, you were able to get him into your lineup or at least beat your league-mates to his coming-out party. KJ Wright also posted a solid game on Monday Night Football. Past WW gems still producing well include Russell Allen and Akeem Ayers. If those options are still available, grab them but be cognizant of the injury situations that are thrusting those guys into the forefront. Colin McCarthy TEN LB is coming back from injury soon and is liable to eat into Ayers’ stats. Daryl Smith JAC LB still looks to be a ways away from returning so Allen may be a bit safer.

Danelle Ellerbe BAL LB – ILB 3-4
It is tough for me to recommend a part-time LB in this column but such is the case with Ellerbe. He plays nickel snaps for Baltimore behind starter Jameel McClain. This is a situation where how a player is deployed directly affects his value. Ellerbe played a lot against the Patriots; much more than the 45% and 68% of defensive snaps he was involved in for the past two weeks. Despite limited playing time, Ellerbe has yet to score less than 10 PPG this year. He won’t win you weeks on his own
Roster Recommendation: Low-end LB2 to Low-end LB3

Bart Scott NYJ LB – ILB 3-4
I am not a Bart Scott fan. I think he is too brash and outspoken for his actual performance on the field. I understand the value that emotion and leadership has on a defense but he’s just not a guy I gravitate to. That said, FF is a business and personal feelings aside; Bart Scott is going to have a lot of opportunity to make tackles in week 4. I think the 49ers are going to be running a lot on the Jets. He could be a guy that you can plug and play for 7 solos.
Roster Recommendation:  High-end LB2 to Low-end LB3

Craig Robertson CLE LB – Nickel LB 4-3
Another part-timer, Robertson doesn’t play very much on base downs but he seems to have evolved into the Brown’s nickel LB. I was a little hesitant to pull the trigger on this guy in anything but my 32 team leagues but he appears to be sticking over the other options that the Browns have on 3rd down/passing downs. With the extensive work that the Browns’ nickel package has gotten in this early season, Robertson may offer you some upside.
Roster Recommendation: Low-end LB2 to Mid LB3

Sneaky Linebacker Plays

Ahmad Brooks/Aldon Smith SFO LB – As I said before, I think the SFO-NYJ game gets ugly. Brooks and Aldon Smith could have a field day. Those needing a homerun could look to one of the SFO rush OLBs.

Jonathan Casillas NOS LB – Two weak defenses and two explosive offenses (although GB hasn’t looked as much lately). Next week’s NOS-GB game has all of the makings of a barnburner. Nickel LB Jonathan Casillas could be a super-sneaky play in a game that is liable to have a lot of IDP scoring.

Nick Perry GBP LB – Drew Brees was terrorized by Justin Houston last week to the tune of 3 sacks. In a game that I expect to see lots of passing in, Nick Perry is a guy likely on your WW that have a chance to produce a sack or two. He is a decent flier, especially in big-play scoring.

Defensive Linemen Plays

Week 3 showed me a few things from the defensive line standpoint. JJ Watt is probably the best end in football. The Seattle pass rush is no joke. Chris Clemons should already be rostered in your league but you need to monitor local bridges to find the guy who probably benched him and his multi-sack performance against Aaron Rodgers. Although it is of little consolation to his owners, Jared Allen was very close to a multi-sack performance as Alex Smith was very close to being a sack victim more than once. Don’t bail yet. Minnesota plays Detroit in week 4. If Allen can’t produce against the Lions, then start to worry.

Will Smith was the best of last week’s recommendations on the defensive line logging 6 tackles and a sack. Kyle Williams also picked up a sack against the Browns but didn’t post the greatest tackle line with 3 total tackles. Cameron Jordan is also continuing his strong play in run defense.

Michael Johnson CIN DE – DE 4-3
Normally I don’t go recommending chasing last week’s stats but Michael Johnson’s 3 sack performance had me looking into how many leagues he is available in. Turns out that even in dynasty, Johnson is a free agent in many leagues. With Carlos Dunlap back in the fold as a bookend, Johnson could repeat this performance in weeks to come. Although the Jaguars aren’t the best matchup next week given the sheer lack of opportunity, he is a clear hold.
Roster Recommendation: Low-end DL1 to Mid DL3

Dwan Edwards CAR DT – UT 4-3
I find it difficult to believe that Buffalo couldn’t find a spot of guy like Edwards. All he does is make tackles in run defense and this year, he has been rock solid in rushing the passer beside Ron Edwards. I expect Carolina to be in tough against the Falcons but Edwards is good enough in run support that I think he will post a decent stat line.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DL2 to Low-end DL3

Michael Bennett TBB DE – DE 4-3
Bennett has always been a quality defensive end but he didn’t see enough snaps to post good enough stats to be worth owning in IDP leagues. With Da’Quan Bowers and now Adrian Clayborn out indefinitely with injury, only McCoy and Bennett remain as decent pass rushing options for the Bucs. Bennett’s snap count will go up a ton and fantasy owners should get on board. His 2 sack performance last week won’t happen every week but he is also decent in run support and can carry some tackle stats when he doesn’t get home.
Roster Recommendation: High-end DL2 to Mid DL3

Sneaky Defensive Linemen Plays

Muhammad Wilkerson NYJ DE – A good run support 3-4 end that should post solid tackle stats in a game that I expect SFO to control with short passing and running the football.

Junior Galette NOS DE – Galette posted 2 sacks in an unexpected shootout against Kansas City last week. He is the best pass rusher on the team outside of Will Smith. With Green Bay struggling to pass protect, Galette is a play you can make for first-come-first-serve waivers after priority waivers roll through.

Defensive Back Plays

DB play proved to be inconsistent for many as reliable starters turned in uncharacteristically weak performances. Antoine Bethea (1 PD), Dashon Goldson (3 tackles), Morgan Burnett (2 tackles) and Lardarius Webb (2 tackles, 1 PD) all disappointed their owners with weak performances in week 3. While I wouldn’t hit the panic button on any of those players, it never hurts to have another option to turn to.
Ryan Clark was the best WW option recommended last week with a 7 tackles, 1 INT performance against the Raiders. Grab him if you didn’t last week, he remains a quality option at DB along with past WW recommendation Atari Bigby SDC S (15 total tackles).

Josh Norman CAR CB – 4-3 CB
Rookie corner rule; it happens every year. Josh Norman looks to have a hold on a starting cornerback spot opposite Chris Gamble in Carolina. Eli Manning picked on him constantly in week 3 and Matt Ryan will do the same in week 4 at home. This guy could post 12+ tackles next week.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DB1 to High-end DB3

Patrick Robinson NOS CB – 4-3 CB
As I’ve said before, I don’t see how GB-NOS avoid a shootout game. I expect to see lots of passing in this one and I am finding ways to start my GB and NOS IDPs for this one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this game push 100 throws. Robinson is a likely free agent in your league that could post DB1 numbers this week.
Roster Recommendation: Low-end DB1 to Low-end DB2

Thomas DeCoud ATL S – 4-3 FS
The Falcons defense is a much bigger reason that they are undefeated than many are giving them credit for. New DC Mike Nolan has found a quality scheme to fit the talented players he has and the results have been there. Thomas DeCoud was in on all three turnovers against the Chargers. He won’t do that every week but he can tackle and he has a penchant for big plays. Perfect for a home run swing or bye week coverage.
Roster Recommendation:  Mid DB2 to Low-end DB3

Sneaky Defensive Back Plays

Jamarca Sanford MIN S – Mistral Raymond was injured against the 49ers so Sanford filled in. He is awful in pass coverage but he can tackle. Perfect for a sneaky play.

Matt Giordano OAK S – With the Raiders battling so many cornerback injuries, starting free safety Mike Huff has moved down to starting cornerback. Matt Giordano is the body to backfill those safety snaps. Both safety positions in Oakland generally carry value so Giordano can be a decent flier option until Oakland corners get healthy.

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