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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 2
Steve Gallo
September 17, 2010
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Weekly, I will break down each team’s matchup and offer ratings on the more important IDPs.  Preceding the game breakdowns is a reference chart that lists each team’s average tackle opportunities (TOs) given up, defensive scheme, defensive coordinator & fantasy relevant IDPs.  In addition the reference chart is color coded to identify teams that are giving up average (highlighted in yellow), below average (highlighted in red) & above average (highlighted in green) TOs based on their last 3 season averages (2007-2009).  Starting in week 4, TOs will be based off of this seasons statistics.  Basically, if your LB is facing a RED team then it isn't a good matchup, conversely a GREEN team would be a GOOD matchup.  The historical average for TOs is 50 (highlighted in yellow) and anything 49 or less will be in red and anything above 51 will be in green.  Tackle opportunities are described as rushing attempts & pass completions faced plus sacks given up.  Average tackle opportunities are derived from data provided by nfldata.com.  Ratings are based on a 12-team league that assumes the following starting requirements: 2 defensive linemen (DL) (defensive ends (DE) & defensive tackles (DT)), 3 linebackers (LB), 3 defensive backs (DB) (cornerbacks (CB) & safeties (S)). 

Star Rating System:
Five-Star Play: Studly performance anticipated
Four-Star Play: Above average solid starter
Three-Star Play: Starter / Sleeper
Two-Star Play: Bench ‘em unless you don't have other options.
One-Star Play: Bench ‘em no matter what

* Star Ratings boxes are now color coded to show the tackle opportunities the team they are facing is giving up:
average (highlighted in yellow), below average (highlighted in red) & above average (highlighted in green)  This will help so
that you don't have to continually scroll up to the reference chart and also if you are stuck between who to start out of say
two 3 Star players then you will probably want to go with the one that has a "Green" matchup versus a "Red" matchup
(remember Scheme Matters). 

Scoring system used for this article: solo tackle (2), assisted tackle (1), sack (3), forced or recovered fumble (3), interception (3) and pass defended (1).

Follow me on twitter @IDPSteve and if you have any questions, criticisms, or suggestions feel free to e-mail me at IDPSteve@gmail.com. Good luck & enjoy!

Team Avg TOs
Given Up/Wk
2007-2009
Defensive
Scheme
Defensive
Coordinator
Fantasy Relevant IDPs
ARZ 49 3-4 Bill Davis Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington, Adrian Wilson, Greg Toler
ATL 50 4-3 Brian VanGorder John Abraham, Kroy Biermann, Curtis Lofton, Mike Peterson
BAL 52 3-4 & 4-3
Greg Mattison Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain
BUF 47 3-4 George Edwards Paul Posluszny (injured), Donte Whitner
CAR 49 4-3 Ron Meeks Charles Johnson, Jon Beason, Dan Connor, Richard Marshall
CHI 48 Tampa 2 Rod Marinelli Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Zachary Bowman, Charles Tillman
CIN 50 4-3 Mike Zimmer Antwan Odom, Dhani Jones, Roy Williams, Leon Hall (CB mandatory leagues)
CLE 45 3-4 Rob Ryan Chris Gocong (while D'Qwell Jackson is out due to injury),
TJ Ward, Joe Haden (CB mandatory leagues)
DAL 49 3-4 Wade Phillips Jay Ratliff, Bradie James
DEN 50 3-4 Don Martindale DJ Williams, Mario Haggan
DET 46 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril (injured), DeAndre Levy (injured), Zack Follett, Louis Delmas
GB 51 3-4 Dom Capers BJ Raji (DT mandatory leagues), Nick Barnett, Clay Mathews, Charles Woodson
HOU 51 4-3 Frank Bush Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Bryan Cushing (suspended weeks 1-4), Zac Diles (during Cushing suspension)
IND 50 Tampa 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett, Clint Session, Antoine Bethea, Bob Sanders (IF he stays healthy and on the field, SO MUCH FOR THAT)
JAX 51 4-3 Mel Tucker Aaron Kampman, Derrick Harvey, Kirk Morrison, Justin Durant (limited upside this year)
KC 49 3-4 Romeo Crennel Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry
MIA 51 3-4 Mike Nolan Karlos Dansby, Yeremiah Bell
MIN 52 4-3 & Tampa 2 Leslie Frazier Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway,
Antoine Winfield
NE 55 3-4 Bill Belichick & D-Staff Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung
NO 53 4-3 Gregg Williams Will Smith, Alex Brown, Sedrick Ellis (DT mandatory leagues) Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper, Tracy Porter
NYG 51 4-3 Perry Fewell Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Michael Boley, Antrel Rolle
NYJ 51 3-4 Mike Pettine Shaun Ellis, David Harris
OAK 47 4-3 John Marshall Trevor Scott, Richard Seymour (DT mandatory leagues), Rolando McClain, Quentin Groves, Tyvon Branch,
PHL 50 4-3 Sean McDermott Trent Cole, Brandon Graham (stronger dynasty outlook),
Stewart Bradley (injured), Ernie Sims, Quintin Mikell,
Elis Hobbs (CB mandatory leagues with return points)
PIT 52 3-4 Dick LeBeau James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons,
Troy Polamalu,
SD 49 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper, Eric Weddle
SEA 49 4-3 Gus Bradley Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry
SF 45 3-4 Greg Manusky Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Dashon Goldson
STL 48 4-3 Ken Flajole Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, Oshiomogho Atogwe
TB 49 Tampa 2 Raheem Morris Kyle Moore, Gerald McCoy (DT mandatory leagues) Stylez White Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes, Sean Jones,
Aqib Talib (CB mandatory leagues)
TEN 51 4-3 Chuck Cecil William Hayes, Derrick Morgan, Stephen Tulloch, Cortland Finnegan, Chris Hope
WAS 51 3-4 Jim Haslett London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, LaRon Landry,

REMINDER:  STAR BOXES ARE COLOR CODED BASED ON THE TACKLE OPPORTUNITIES THE TEAM THEY ARE FACING IS GIVING UP ON AVERAGE.  FOR THE FIRST THREE WEEKS THE AVERAGES WILL BE BASED ON THE PREVIOUS THREE YEARS (2007-2009).  Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used. 

QUICK GAME LINKS

Baltimore at Cincinnati

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Ray Lewis
3 STAR
Terrell Suggs
Jameel McClain
Dawan Landry
2 STAR

Jarrett Johnson
Haloti Ngata
Kelly Gregg

1 STAR
Tavares Gooden
Chris Carr
Tom Zibikowski
Cory Redding

Ravens Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus Bengals: 48

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Ray Lewis (foot) and Jameel McClain (knee) were both limited in practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. I think that both will play this weekend but make sure to keep an eye on the Sunday Inactive Report.

Defensive Line: Terrell Suggs didn't have a huge came but he did have a very respectable one versus the Jets.  I would look for him to once again put up solid numbers versus the Bengals.  I know that Cedric Benson had a very good time running the ball the last time these teams met but I have a hard time seeing him do so again after the way the Ravens defense played on Monday Night Football.  If you think Benson will have success then bump up Ngata but I think the Bengals will try to take advantage of the Ravens secondary.

Linebacker:  Man beast, that is what Ray Lewis is. If you don't believe me just ask Dustin Keller.  Lewis will easily be the most active Ravens defender as he tries to put an end to the Ravens losing streak to the Bengals.  Jameel McClain posted an unassuming 4 solos and 2 assists versus the Jets but he should put up slightly better numbers versus a much better Bengals offense.

Secondary:  Look for the Bengals and Carson Palmer to do something that the Jets didn't do last week, challenge the Ravens secondary.  Dawan Landry should be the safest play and if the Bengals have any success he even presents a bit of upside.  Now just because the Bengals should challenge the Ravens secondary doesn't mean that they will be overly successful doing so.  That is why Landry is the only viable start this week.  The rest of the secondary presents to much risk.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Dhani Jones

3 STAR
Antwan Odom
Leon Hall
Rey Maualuga
2 STAR
Roy Williams
Michael Johnson
Jonathan Joseph
1 STAR
Chris Crocker
Robert Geathers
Keith Rivers

BengalsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus Ravens: 48

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Keith Rivers (foot) missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Antwan Odom didn't do much at all in week 1. Expecting Odom to flash last years brilliance isn't wise but being able to start him as a DL2/3 should be something that will pay dividends as the season progresses.  I may be a glutton for punishment but I am giving Odom a 3 star ranking again this week.

Linebacker: Look for the Ravens to get Ray Rice and their running game going this week and that means that I expect Dhani Jones to have a very nice week.  Sure, Jones has his limitations but this week he also looks to be in line to face a good number of tackle opportunities too.  Keith Rivers suffered a foot injury that kept him out of practice on Wednesday so until there is more information on his injury and what to expect for this week I am ranking him a 1 star play.  Check back late Friday evening for an update on his status based on the official injury report.  With Rivers ailing I am going to give Rey Maualuga a starting 3 star ranking.

Secondary:   Last week I thought that Roy Williams could be a bit risky of a play versus the high flying passing attack of the Patriots but in the end he still put up a respectable 10 fantasy points.  This week he should be busier in the box trying to help control Ray Rice so look for Williams to at the very least hit 10 fantasy points again.  Last week I whiffed on ranking Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph.  Hall put up a measly 4 fantasy points while Joseph recorded 6 solo tackles, good for 12 fantasy points.  This week it looks like I still haven't learned my lesson as I think that Hall is going to be the better play.


Tampa Bay at CArolina

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Barrett Ruud
Geno Hayes
3 STAR

Kyle Moore
Stylez White
Sean Jones

2 STAR

Tanard Jackson
Gerald McCoy
Ronde Barber

1 STAR

Quincy Black
Aqib Talib

Buccaneers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus Panthers: 51

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

Defensive Line: This week the Buccaneers DL could be looking across the line at a rookie QB, Jimmy Clausen.  If that is the case I have a good feeling that both Stylez White and Kyle Moore will be in for decent fantasy days.  Clausen might at some point develop into a good NFL QB but right now I would be willing to bet he doesn't have a firm grasp of the NFL clock QBs need to have in their heads.

Linebacker: Normally, versus what should be a very good Panthers rushing attack I would have both Barrett Ruud and Geno Hayes ranked as 5 star plays but because I expect we could see the rookie at QB I think the Panthers offense could sputter and that will limit the tackle opportunities for Ruud and Hayes.  I was very close to ranking both a 3 star play so they aren't the strongest 4 star play.

Secondary: Last week EJ Biggers filled in for the suspended Aqib Talib and Biggers had a very nice day posting 16 fantasy points by picking off a pass, recording 5 solos, 1 assist and defending 2 passes.  This week Talib should send Biggers back to the bench but because I am not sure if Talib will play 100% of the time or not I am ranking him as a 1 star play.  Sean Jones should be the only safe play in the Buccaneers secondary as he plays in the box to help stop the Panthers running game.  Ronde Barber might be able to pick off a pass this weekend but I doubt the Panthers will complete enough passes to make him startable.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR
Jon Beason
Dan Connor
Chris Gamble
2 STAR
Richard Marshall
Charles Johnson
Charles Godfrey
Sherrod Martin
James Anderson
Greg Hardy
1 STAR
Jamar Williams
Everette Brown
Tyler Brayton

Panthers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus Buccaneers: 46

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

Defensive Line: Neither Charles Johnson or Everette Brown did anything special last week.  But at least Johnson was able to log 4 solos for 8 fantasy points.  This week I wouldn't expect much more than that from Johnson.  I think it is going to be glaring this year just how much the Panthers miss Julius Peppers.  Rookie Greg Hardy had a nice week 1 with 3 solos, 1 assist and a forced fumble, good for 10 fantasy points.  At some point in the future Hardy could help to make Panther fans forget about Peppers but it won't be this year.

Linebacker: The Buccaneers are still the Buccaneers which means that they don't have a formidable offense, at least not yet. So that is why Jon Beason is only a 3 star play this week.  Both him and Dan Connor did very well for their owners last week and each should be solid starts this week just make sure to temper expectations due to their opponent.

Secondary:  Richard Marshall is another DB that I completely whiffed on in week 1.  I still think the Marshall will be a top option at DB this year so I am not letting week 1 worry me but the Buccaneers offense worries me enough to only rank him a 2 star play this week. Charles Godfrey was the only Panthers DB to post solid numbers last week but there were a ton of tackles divided among all of the Panthers DBs. For that reason I would be leery of starting Godfrey until we see a bit more of how the Panthers secondary is going to shake out.


Arizona at Atlanta

5 STAR
Daryl Washington
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Adrian Wilson
Calais Campbell
Darnell Dockett
Greg Toler
Paris Lenon
2 STAR
Clark Haggans
Joey Porter
1 STAR
Kerry Rhodes
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Cardinals Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus Falcons: 44

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

Defensive Line: Last week both Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell scored well.  Dockett was the better of the two posting 12 points to Campbell's 8 points but both performances look good for DL that are primarily viewed as DL2.  This week versus the Falcons rushing attack both should once again be able to record solid scoring weeks.

Linebacker: Rookie LB Daryl Washington had a nice welcoming to the NFL as he recorded 6 solo tackles in week 1.  This week I might be a bit to high on Washington but at worst he is a 4 star play.  Last week believe it or not, journeyman Paris Lenon outscored Washington by posting 1 additional tackle and an assist.  Don't read to much into that as Lenon will not out score Washington this season.  He could however have value as a LB3.  This week he should be a safe 3 star play.

Secondary: Look for Adrian Wilson to be very active in run support as the Cardinals try to keep Michael Turner in check much like the Steelers did the last week.  The big surprise last week in the Cardinals secondary was Greg Toler and his 13 solo tackles and 1 forced fumble.  Toler could be in for a nice season if teams continue to avoid throwing at Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Curtis Lofton
William Moore
Kroy Biermann

2 STAR

Brent Grimes
Dunta Robinson
Thomas Decoud
Sean Weatherspoon
Mike Peterson
John Abraham

1 STAR
Jamaal Anderson
Eric Coleman

FalconsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus Cardinals: 52

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Eric Coleman (knee) didn't practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.  I am bumping Coleman down to a 1 star play due to his lack of practice this week.  A sneaky play in larger leagues if you need to replace Coleman would be William Moore.

Defensive Line: Both John Abraham and Kroy Biermann were able to notch their first sack of the year in week 1enroute to a 7 point effort for each player.  Derrick Anderson isn't nearly as athletic as Dennis Dixon so there could be a nice opportunity to pad their sack stats.  Biermann is a high motor guy and I like him as the better play of the two this week.

Linebacker: The Cardinals offense doesn't inspire much confidence in me and is the major reason why I only have Curtis Lofton as a 3 star play.  It would make sense that the Cardinals would look to try and establish their running game to open up the passing game but at this point I wouldn't be confident that they can.  Mike Peterson might be playing what should be the more productive WLB spot but rookie Sean Weatherspoon outscored Peterson 15 fantasy points to 14.  The same logic applies in the two of them getting a 2 star ranking as it did with Lofton getting a 3 star ranking.  If you disagree and think the Cardinals offense will perform this week then feel free to bump each player up one level.

Secondary:  Eric Coleman is probably one of the best DBs that most of you never heard of.  Last week I pointed out how well Coleman has performed over the past five years and in week 1 he posted 16 fantasy points so it looks like he is in line for another very nice year. The only thing concerning for this week is that Coleman (knee) didn't practice on Wednesday.  Make sure to check back on Friday evening for an injury update.  As for the rest of the secondary bench them unless you think you can figure out who Derrick Anderson will throw two INTs to.


Philadelphia at Detroit

5 STAR
Trent Cole
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
None
2 STAR

Ernie Sims
Ellis Hobbs
Quintin Mikell
Nate Allen
Asante Samuel
Brandon Graham
Omar Gaither

1 STAR
Akeem Jordan
Stewart Bradley

EaglesAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus Lions: 55

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Stewart Bradley (concussion) has been ruled OUT for this week. Look for Omar Gaither to replace him but I wouldn't start Gaither versus the Lions either.

Defensive Line: Trent Cole has been one of the most productive DEs since he entered the NFL.  Last week he had another wonderful performance as he logged 6 solos and recorded his 1st sack of the young season.  Look for Cole to have a monster game versus the Shaun Hill led Lions passing attack.  Rookie Brandon Graham has a ton of high expectations surrounding him as he starts his young career and last week he failed to register a single stat.  But that doesn't mean that he isn't having an impact with his play. From where I sit I see Graham as adding more value this year to Cole than having much of a fantasy impact. 

Linebacker: The Eagles missed Stewart Bradley last year and just 2 weeks into the season and they look like they will be missing him for at least a week as he deals with concussion issues.  I doubt that Bradley plays this week but even if he does I wouldn't start him. Ernie Sims isn't hurt but I wouldn't be running him out into my lineup this week either.  Basically the same criteria applies here as does with the Cardinals.  I see the Lions really struggling on offense with Hill at QB and that should severely limit tackle opportunities. 

Secondary: To say that rookie Nate Allen had a nice game in week 1 would be putting it mildly.  Allen was one of 5 rookies nominated for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award. Allen looks like he could end up being a legitimate DB for fantasy purposes but this week all bets are off versus what should be an anemic Lions offense.  Just in case you are keeping score at home the other 4 rookies that were nominated are: DT Tyson Alualu Jax, RB Jahvid Best Det, WR/PR Dexter McCluster KC & WR Mike Williams TB.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Louis Delmas
Ndamukong Suh

2 STAR
Kyle Vanden Bosch
Zack Follett
Julian Peterson
CC Brown
1 STAR
Chris Houston
Alphonso Smith
Jonathan Wade
Cliff Avril
DeAndre Levy

LionsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  46
2000-2009 Versus Eagles: 46

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Cliff Avril (finger, knee) has been ruled OUT for this week.

DeAndre Levy (groin) was able to practice on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday but is still listed as QUESTIONABLE for this week.

Louis Delmas (groin, biceps, calf)
was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE.   At this point with all the injuries Delmas is working thru I would probably bump him down to a 2 star play this week.

CC Brown (forearm)
was also limited in practice all week but is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: White hot is what Kyle Vanden Bosch was in week 1.  He posted a mind blowing 10 solos and added an assist to boot.  Overall Vanden Bosch was the top scoring DE in the NFL in week 1.  This week should be much different.  The Eagles as we know are not a running team and to top it off the fleet footed Michael Vick will be starting for the concused Kevin Kolb.  If for some reason Kolb is able to miraculously recover from his concussion symptoms I would bump Vanden Bosch up on ranking.  Cliff Avril is reported to have had surgery on his finger and looks like he will be OUT this weekend.  In DT mandatory leagues I would run not walk to get Ndamukong Suh in my lineup.  The Eagles OL has issues and one is that they lost their starting center to a season ending injury.  The biggest issue for Suh will be if the Lions DEs can set the edge to keep Vick in the pocket. 

Linebacker: So far as of Wednesday DeAndre Levy is still not practicing due to his groin injury.  Until some good news comes out of Detroit and we see that Levy will in fact be back on the field he should remain on your bench.  This week don't expect Julian Peterson to have much success getting to the QB (if it is Vick) and that is where most of Peterson's value comes from.  Zack Follett had a putrid week 1 recording just one measly little solo tackle. At this point I would have to  see Follett actually put some solid play together before I could even think about ranking him as a 3 star play or better.

Secondary: Louis Delmas was dealing with injury last week but he was able to get on the field and actually pay some dividends for his owners.  Delmas recorded 19 fantasy points by logging 8 solos and forcing a fumble.  Delmas was held out of practice on Wednesday so make sure to check back here late Friday for an injury update and it probably would be wise to keep a close eye on the Sunday inactives too.


Chicago at Dallas

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Julius Peppers
Lance Briggs
3 STAR

Brian Urlacher
Zackary Bowman
Charles Tillman

2 STAR
Chris Harris
Israel Idonije
Danieal Manning
Mark Anderson
1 STAR
Nick Roach

BearsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus Cowboys: 50

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Lance Briggs (ankle) was able to participate fully in practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Well it didn't take long for Julius Peppers to make an impact for the Bear as Peppers is responsible for knocking Matthew Stafford out when he sacked him.  Peppers posted 8 fantasy points but all of those points came on that one play.  Unfortunately, Peppers seems to have his fair share of days like that.  Of course conversely at least he is good enough to make that type of impact on one play versus putting up a goose egg.  Peppers plays RDE for the Bears but if the Cowboys have to start Alex Barron at RT I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bears try to take advantage of that matchup.

Linebacker:  Last week Lance Briggs was the top fantasy scoring LB, logging 9 solos, 1 assist, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery & 1 pass defended. Briggs may not have the big plays this week but he surely will be busy flying around the field.  Brian Urlacher also had a fine week one that saw him post 19 fantasy points by logging 8 solos and 1 sack.  As long as Urlacher can stay healthy he should be a LB2  with upside to reach LB1 status. Briggs and Urlacher have done it before and there is no reason right now to think they can't do it again.  Hunter Hillenmeyer has been put on season ending IR due to a concussion.

Secondary: Last week I pointed out that Zackary Bowman was now playing the more valuable RCB position.  However, in week 1 both Bowman and Charles Tillman both posted 11 fantasy points. But dig a bit deeper and you see that Tillman needed an interception to help with his stats and that Bowman did indeed out-tackle him.  Versus the Cowboys offense both players should be in for solid weeks with some upside.

5 STAR

None

4 STAR
DeMarcus Ware
3 STAR
Bradie James
Gerald Sensabaugh
Mike Jenkins
Terance Newman
Allan Ball
2 STAR

Keith Brooking
Jay Ratliff
Anthony Spencer

1 STAR

Sean Lee

CowboysAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus Bears: 45

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

DeMarcus Ware (head) practiced fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Due to scheme the Dallas DL doesn't present any safe fantasy value this week.

Linebacker: As of Thursday there are conflicting reports on DeMarcus Ware (head) practice.  On the official Wednesday injury report he was listed as non participating.  It is worth keeping an eye on but I would bet on Ware being ready to go come Sunday.  Normally, I am not going to recommend starting a rush OLB due to how inconsistent they can be but this week is different.  This week Ware is facing a Mike Martz offense that puts the QB in peril with all of the deep drops it requires.  I see Ware getting to Cutler multiple times this week. Bradie James should be a safe start as a LB3 this week but if you have a better option I can see sitting James. 

Secondary:  The Cowboys secondary should be plenty busy this weekend as Mad Mike and Jay Cutler unleash a pass happy attack.  What keeps any of the secondary from garnering better than a 3 star ranking is the fact that I expect they will cannibalize each others stats some.


Pittsburgh at Tennessee

5 STAR
Troy Polamalu
4 STAR
Lawrence Timmons
3 STAR
Ryan Clark
James Farrior
James Harrison
Lamar Woodley
2 STAR
Ike Taylor
1 STAR
Bryant McFadden
Aaron Smith
Evander Hood

SteelersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus Titans: 48

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

Defensive Line: If the Steelers hope to keep Chris Johnson in check they will need some very good performances from their DL.  However, that performance won't include actually trying to tackle Johnson but tying up blockers for the LBs to flow to the ball. In short the Steelers DL fantasy outlook is bleak.

Linebacker:  Last week all four of the Steelers starting LBs scored 10 or more fantasy points.  Lawrence Timmons led the way with 21 points, followed by James Harrison (16), Lamar Woodley (12) and James Farrior (10).   This week all four should again be solid starts with Timmons being the best play and Harrison and Woodley having a bit of risk considering they are facing the elusive Vince Young.

Secondary:  Just like the Steelers will need their DL to step up if they hope to keep Chris Johnson in check so will Troy Polamalu.
I was stuck between a 4 and 5 star ranking but considering that Chris Johnson could touch the ball 30+ times I decided to give Polamalu the top ranking. Ryan Clark is a bit risky but should be able to hit 10 fantasy points this week. I don't see the Titans throwing the ball nearly as much as the Falcons did last week so I am a bit cool on their CBs.

5 STAR
Stephen Tulloch
4 STAR

None

3 STAR

Will Witherspoon
Chris Hope

2 STAR

Michael Griffin
Vincent Fuller
Colin Allred
Cortland Finnegan

1 STAR
Jacob Ford
Jason McCourty
William Hayes

TitansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus Steelers: 52

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Tony Brown (knee) and William Hayes (knee) were each able to practice fully on Friday but both are still listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.  If you are planning to start either make sure to check the Sunday Inactive Report.

Defensive Line: Due to injury both Dave Ball and Jason Babin started at DE for the Titans versus the Raiders.  Babin put up a respectable 10 points.  This week William Hayes one of the normal starters at DE was held out of practice on Wednesday so Babin and/or Ball look like they could see field again this week.  At this point in time I would just rather avoid the Titans DL.

Linebacker:  Last week the Steelers ran the ball 31 times and will more than likely look to hit the 30 carry plateau again this week.  If they do then look for Stephen Tulloch to be very busy racking up tackles.  Will Witherspoon missed some practice time last week but was still able to post a strong 15 fantasy points by recorded 6 solos and adding a sack too. Witherspoon won't present a ton of upside this year but he makes for a nice solid LB3 as it stands right now.

Secondary: Last week I thought that Chris Hope would end up being a DB2 but said DB3 at worst.  Well he logged 13 fantasy points and finished as a DB3.  Look for more of the same this week.  Cortland Finnegan wasn't as productive as I expected and versus what could be a limited Steelers passing offense I would leave Finnegan on the bench this week.


Kansas City at Cleveland

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR
Derrick Johnson
Eric Berry
2 STAR

Jovan Belcher
Brandon Carr
Tamba Hali
Mike Vrabel
Brandon Flowers
Javier Arenas

1 STAR
Glenn Dorsey
Tyson Jackson
John McGraw
Kendrick Lewis
Demorrio Williams
Corey Mays

ChiefsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus Browns: 54

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

Defensive Line: Normally the Chiefs DL will present little to no fantasy value and this week is no different.  Sure last week Glenn Dorsey did score 11.5 points but I wouldn't want to bet on Dorsey putting up consistent numbers like that. 

Linebacker: The Chiefs came out with a burning intensity on Monday Night Football versus the Chargers and that was in large part what allowed them to get out with a win.  Make no bones about it but Derrick Johnson had a huge hand in the intensity the team showed.  Johnson was flying all over the field and was the one that forced the fumble by rookie RB Ryan Mathews.  If Johnson continues to play this way and keep Demorrio Williams on the bench he very well could end up a top 10-15 LB this year.  The only thing keeping him from a higher star ranking this week is his opponent who might be starting their backup QB.

Secondary: Rookie Javier Arenas was electric in the return game and that bodes well for those in leagues that reward return yardage.  The only problem is there is no way to tell how often he and fellow rookie Dexter McCluster will share return duties.  The only player in the secondary I would feel comfortable versus the Browns this week is Eric Berry and I still only look at him as a DB3 at best.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Chris Gocong
Matt Roth
Scott Fujita

2 STAR

Eric Wright
Sheldon Brown
Joe Haden
TJ Ward
Abram Elam
David Bowens

1 STAR

Kenyon Coleman
Robaire Smith

BrownsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus Chiefs: 49

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

D'Qwell Jackson (chest) has been ruled OUT again but he could return in week 3 or 4.

Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was able to practice on a limited basis Friday. He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Shaun Rogers (hip, ankle) is still not practicing and until he gets back on the field should remain on the bench.  And even then once he is back on the field he may only have value in DT mandatory leagues.  There is no other consistent fantasy value on the Browns DL.

Linebacker: As expected D'Qwell Jackson (chest) was unable to play in week 1 and as it stands now he is still not practicing.  While he has yet to be officially ruled OUT for this week I look at it as not if but when.  I have Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita ranked as 3 star plays but they do present a fair amount of risk playing the Chiefs.

Secondary: Matt Cassel and the Chiefs passing attack was far from good on Monday night. Even if it was pouring rain.  The Chiefs should improve on their passing game but I still am concerned enough to not rank anyone in the secondary above a 2 star play.


Miami at Minnesota

5 STAR
Yeremiah Bell
4 STAR
Karlos Dansby
3 STAR
None
2 STAR

Cameron Wake
Bobby Carpenter
Tim Dobbins

1 STAR
Channing Crowder
Sean Smith
Vontae Davis
Chris Clemons
Kendall Langford
Jared Odrick

DolphinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus Vikings: 49

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Channing Crowder (groin) and Jared Odrick (ankle) have both been ruled OUT this week.

Defensive Line: Last week I pointed out that the Dolphins scheme was prohibitive in creating fantasy value for their DL.  Week one looks like ti helped to drive that point home.  No Dolphins DL scored more than 2 fantasy points versus the Bills last week.

Linebacker: ILB Channing Crowder is still not practicing so that bodes well for Karlos Dansby to have less competition for tackles with Crowder's backup playing next to him.  Speaking of Crowder's backup, it wasn't Tim Dobbins like everyone expected, instead it was newly acquired Bobby Carpenter. Yup, that Bobby Carpenter the one that joined the team the Monday prior to their Sunday game, the same Bobby Carpenter who was released by the Rams before ever playing a regular season snap for them.  Oh yeah, and the same Bobby Carpenter that the Cowboys finally gave up on.  Now we have come full circle, guess who drafted Bobby Carpenter when he was in Dallas.  Yep, you guessed it Bill Parcells.  Oh and for what it is worth, Carpenter scored an entire 4 fantasy points.  OLB Cameron Wake was able to get to the QB last week and that is what helped him to eclipse the 10 point barrier where he logged 3 solos, 2 passes defended and a sack.  So it is easy to see why a rush OLB like Wake makes for a risky play because without that sack he ends up scoring just 8 points.  This week I don't see him getting to the QB so hence his 2 star ranking.

Secondary:  With no one other than Karlos Dansby making tackles in the front seven I see Yeremiah Bell making a huge impact in the box score this week. The five star ranking means that I really see the Vikings leaning heavily on Adrian Peterson this week.

5 STAR
Antoine Winfield
4 STAR
Chad Greenway
EJ Henderson
Jared Allen
3 STAR
Ray Edwards
2 STAR
Madieu Williams
Ben Leber
Asher Allen
Pat Williams
Kevin Williams
1 STAR
Tyrell Johnson
Jamarca Sanford
Husain Abdullah

VikingsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 52
2000-2009 Versus Dolphins: 56

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used. 

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Chris Cook (knee) and Cedric Griffin (knee) were both limited participants in practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Last week I advised that you should temper expectations for Jared Allen because he was facing Drew Brees who doesn't give up many sacks.  I also said I knew that Allen wasn't someone that could be benched so to hope for the best.  At the end of the day he scored just 7 points which wasn't  so bad considering the poor matchup.  This week I like him much more versus the inexperienced Chad Henne. Ray Edwards was the one that really hurt his owners last week with a 2 point performance so hopefully you listed about the tough matchup and left him on your bench.  This week Edwards should be a much better start and can be looked at as a DL3 at worst.

Linebacker:  Many were worried about starting EJ Henderson last week because he was coming back from a broken leg last year.  The injury didn't scare me and hopefully you started Henderson as he scored 16 fantasy points and looked solid.  This week Henderson should be very busy against the Dolphins running attack. Last week I said that Chad Greenway had been solid yet unspectacular since entering the NFL and I looked for him to have a solid day versus the Saints.  Well Greenway was anything but unspectacular as he accumulated 21 fantasy points and was a top 10 LB for week 1.  I don't think he will keep up a top ten ranking but I do look for him to have another very good week this week.

Secondary:  Antoine Winfield didn't quite live up to my expectations in week 1 but then again 16 fantasy points isn't anything to sneeze at either.  I might be a bit bullish on Winfield again but at worst you are going to see 16 points again and there is upside for a 20+ fantasy point output this week.  Last week Husain Abdullah did end up getting the start at one of the safety positions and actually made the 1st tackle on the night when Marques Colston hauled in a 28 yard pass from Drew Brees. This week versus the Dolphins I doubt we see Abdullah starting but it really won't matter because outside of Antoine Winfield there isn't a fantasy worthy DB in the Vikings secondary.  On the injury front Cedric Griffin is progressing and could end up seeing the field sooner rather than later.


Buffalo at Green Bay

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Andra Davis
Donte Whitner

3 STAR

Terrence McGee
Drayton Florence

2 STAR

Keith Ellison
Akin Ayodele
Chris Kelsay
Dwan Edwards

1 STAR
Marcus Stroud
Kyle Williams
Paul Posluszny (injured)

BillsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  47
2000-2009 Versus Packers: 55

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Paul Posluszny (knee) has officially been ruled OUT for this week.

Defensive Line:  Both Kyle Williams and Marcus Stroud actually posted respectable numbers for a DL in week 1.  However, I highly doubt either will be consistent enough to rely on.  In DT mandatory leagues Williams is worth keeping an eye on.

Linebacker: Paul Posluszny was on his way to a monster game on Sunday when he came up lame with a leg injury.  Yep, another year another injury for Posluszny.  Luckily, if you want to call it that, it looks like he will only miss a couple of games.  Cross your fingers because I will.  There is going to be some value associated with whoever replaces Posluszny in the starting lineup but that is about as clear as mud right now.  Will it be Keith Ellison?  Will it be Akin Ayodele?  Well the last report I read is that we can expect Ellison to start in Posluszny's spot at ILB.  Unfortunately, I think there is to much risk in a rotation with Ayodele and can't rank either above a 2 star play.  Look for Andra Davis to actually benefit the most while Posluszny is sidelined.

Secondary:  One thing is for sure, the Bills secondary will probably be pretty busy this weekend.  That should setup Donte Whitner, Terrence McGee and Drayton Florence for a good fantasy Sunday.  Just don't expect Florence to repeat his 20 fantasy point effort from week 1.

5 STAR
Clay Mathews
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Charles Woodson

2 STAR

Nick Barnett

1 STAR
Morgan Burnett
Ryan Pickett
Cullen Jenkins
AJ Hawk
Brandon Chillar
Nick Collins
BJ Raji
Tramon Williams

Packers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus Bills: 51

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Clay Mathews (hamstring) was limited in practice all week but is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Charles Woodson (toe) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to a full practice on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE.

Defensive Line:  The Packers DL play a vital role in the success of their 3-4 but that doesn't mean there is any fantasy value to be found.  Plus the DL is pretty banged up already.

Linebacker: Clay Mathews has been in beast mode for his past 10 or so games.  This past week he not only recorded 3 sacks but also knocked Kevin Kolb out of the game. Everyone already knows my stance about not liking to rely on rush OLBs but Mathews is so hot right now that there is no way to keep him out of fantasy lineups at this point.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Mathews knock his second QB in 2 weeks out of the game.  Outside of Mathews right now, Nick Barnett is the best fantasy LB option on the Packers.  The problem is that I can't see the Bills getting anything going this week on offense and that will severely limit what Barnett can do.

Secondary: If Woodson weren't such a dynamic playmaker I would have him ranked as a 2 star play. As I already said I just don't see the Bills doing much on offense but I do have a feeling that Woodson has a big play or two in him this week.


St. Louis at Oakland

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR

James Laurinaitis
Oshiomongo Atogwe
Chris Long

2 STAR
Larry Grant
1 STAR
James Hall
Bradley Fletcher
Na'il Diggs
James Butler
Craig Dahl
Ronald Bartell

RamsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus Raiders: 61

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

Defensive Line:  Chris Long put up a big fat goose egg last week. Goose eggs are never any good but don't overreact to one week either.  Last year, the top 2 ranked DL even posted a goose egg in a week. No, I am not comparing Long to Jared Allen or Justin Tuck but just pointing out that goose eggs do happen.  Long showed promise over the final 5 games of the season last year where he actually ranked just inside the top 30 of DLs.  I expect that Long will start to make strides and at worst he should be able to rise up to a DL2/3 type player.  Outside of Long there isn't much fantasy value at all on the Rams DL.

Linebacker:  James Laurinaitis had a pretty ho-hum day versus the Cardinals where he was only able to log 5 solos for 10 fantasy points.  The thing that probably shocked most people was that Larry Grant actually outscored Laurinaitis.  Grant put up 17 fantasy points, logging 4 solos, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.  If not for the big plays Grant would have put up a mediocre 8 points.  The Raiders should play better than they did last week but with as bad as they looked I am limiting expectations for both Laurinaitis and Grant.

Secondary:  It won't matter how active Oshiomongo Atogwe is if the Raiders offense flounders like it did versus the Titans.  Atogwe should be able to scrape together a solid fantasy day but the Raiders play last week keeps him from being a 4 or 5 star ranking.  Last week Craig Dahl got the start at the other safety spot as James Butler is still being limited due to injury.  Dahl was able to post 11 points but Butler did play so starting either at this point is a bit risky.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Tyvon Branch
Rolando McClain
Richard Seymour

2 STAR
Trevor Scott
Lamarr Houston
Quentin Groves
Matt Shaughnessy
Kamerion Wimbley
Stanford Routt
1 STAR
Michael Huff 
Nnamdi Asomugha
Mike Mitchell

Raiders Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 47
2000-2009 Versus Rams: 40

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used. 

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Richard Seymour (hamstring) missed practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. Check the Sunday Inactive Report before putting Seymour into your lineup.

Defensive Line: The Raiders DEs didn't do much of anything versus the Titans last week.  Trevor Scott was moved from WLB back to a starting DE spot yet he only logged 4 fantasy points. With Scott moving back to DE that meant that we could expect Matt Shaughnessy would move into a backup role.  Well from that backup role he ended up recording 9 fantasy points.  Lamar Houston started at the other DE position and he didn't fare to well either as he logged just 5 fantasy points.  I did say that Richard Seymour was really the best DL option for now on the Raiders but then pointed out that was really only in DT mandatory leagues too.  Well, Seymour did end up scoring 12 fantasy points so he was indeed a good play, not only in DT mandatory leagues but in our scoring system too.

Linebacker: Rolando McClain had a pretty uneventful debut as he was only able to record 10 fantasy points. Surely, owners were expecting more from him, I know I was.  If Steven Jackson is healthy enough to play this week I would probably be willing to bump McClain up one level.  Quentin Groves play in the preseason was the reason the Raiders were able to move Trevor Scott back to DE. His play in week one accounted for 11 fantasy points.  The Raiders WLB position has been productive in the past so Groves is someone to watch closely.  He could easily end up as a LB3 with some upside. Like McClain if Jackson does play this week then bump him up one level too.

Secondary:  Tyvon Branch pretty much picked right up where he left off last year.  Branch scored 16 fantasy points while racking up 7 solos and 2 assists.  Look for him to keep piling up the stats and to be the only consistent fantasy producer in the Raiders secondary.  Stanford Routt got the start at CB opposite of Nnamdi Asomugha and that could lead to Routt being a nice play depending on the matchup.


Seattle at Denver

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Lofa Tatupu
Earl Thomas
Lawyer Milloy
Kelly Jennings
Marcus Trufant

2 STAR

Chris Clemons
Aaron Curry
David Hawthorne
Red Bryant
Jordan Babineaux

1 STAR
Brandon Mebane

SeahawksAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus Broncos: 52

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Chris Clemons (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday but was able to fully practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE for this week.

Defensive Line: Get this, the starters at DE for the Seahawks this year will be Chris Clemons and Red Bryant.  Clemons could surprise but for week 1 I would leave both Clemons and Bryant on the bench.  In DT mandatory leagues you can take a look at Brandon Mebane.

Linebacker:  The Seahawks LBs are easily the strong point of their defense but trying to figure out exactly who will have the most fantasy value isn't going to be easy.  Lofa Tatupu has been a top IDP option in the past but injuries have zapped some of his luster.  Then there is second year LB Aaron Curry who has a ton of talent but could see his fantasy value stymied by playing SLB.  David Hawthorne has made plenty of noise in the past when filling in for Tatupu but will now get the chance to do so at WLB due to the suspension of Leroy Hill.  My money is on Hawthorne keeping his starting gig and ending up as the most valuable Seahawks LB this year too.

Secondary:  Talk about a disparity in age, at one safety spot will be 36 year old Lawyer Milloy (SS) and the other will be manned by 21 year old rookie Earl Thomas.  Thomas should be a nice playmaker for the Seahawks but look for Milloy to have the better fantasy value this year.  Kelly Jennings and Marcus Trufant will be the starters at CB but both are far from reliable consistent fantasy performers.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
DJ Williams
3 STAR
Brian Dawkins
Mario Haggan
2 STAR

Champ Bailey
Andre Goodman

1 STAR
Robert Ayers
Jason Hunter
Ryan McBean
Justin Bannan
Jarvis Moss

BroncosAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus Seahawks: 55

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.  Star OLB Elvis Dumervil is on IR due to a torn pectoral muscle.

Defensive Line: The Broncos play the fantasy unfriendly 3-4 defense thus rendering their DL for the most part useless. If you need any further convincing look no further than week 1 where no Broncos DL scored more than 4 fantasy points.  .

Linebacker: Last week I had DJ Williams ranked as a 5 star play and he certainly lived up to that billing as he posted 20 fantasy points. In doing so Williams recorded 9 tackles and 2 assists.  This week Williams is another top play but considering the Seahawks only ran the ball 23 times last week I just can't rank him as a 5 star play again.  I ranked Mario Haggan as a 3 star play and said I didn't see why he couldn't average the same 11 points that Andra Davis averaged last year from the same ILB position. Well Haggan didn't quite get to 11 points but 10 sure is close.  I see Haggan being right around the same 10-11 point range this week.  Last week I said not to expect much from Jarvis Moss or Robert Ayers this year.  Well I was right about Moss because he posted a big fat goose egg.  But then again, that is probably because Jason Hunter got the start over him. I still wouldn't want to rely on Hunter.  Ayers on the other hand did have a decent week 1 as he was able to get a QB sack which helped him to compile a 12 point weekend.  Ayers is talented for sure but I still stand by my week 1 comments about him.

Secondary:  I warned last week about the risk associated with Brian Dawkins and expecting him to repeat his top 5 performance from a year ago. I am sure his 7 point output wasn't what many were expecting when they drafted him.  However, last year there were two weeks where Dawkins scored 7 points of fewer (7 & 6) so there is hope that Dawkins could still approach last year's totals. But for me the concerning part is that last week the Jaguars did give up 50 tackle opportunities and in that there were 31 rushing attempts.  With those numbers I really would have expected a much better week.  On his past performance he still warrants a 3 star ranking but there is a reason to be concerned.  Champ Bailey showcased his shut down corner skills as he held Mike Sims-Walker without a catch but from a fantasy perspective he doesn't make a good play.  The rest of the Broncos secondary also performed poorly so at this point keep everyone not named Dawkins on your bench.


New England at NY Jets

5 STAR
Patrick Chung
4 STAR
Jerod Mayo
3 STAR
None
2 STAR

Tully Banta-Cain
Gary Guyton
Devin McCourty
Darius Butler
Brandon Meriweather
Vince Wilfork
Brandon Spikes

1 STAR
Jermaine Cunningham
Gerard Warren
Mike Wright

PatriotsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  55
2000-2009 Versus Jets: 52

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

Defensive Line: The Patriots 3-4 defense doesn't look like it is going to make any fantasy stars this year.  No Patriots DL scored more than 6 points in week 1.  At best, Vince Wilfork could be a solid start in DT mandatory leagues this year but his 6 points in week 1 weren't anything to right home about.

Linebacker:  Jerod Mayo got off to  a fantastic start in week 1 scoring 20 fantasy points by recording 8 solos and 4 assists.  This week the Jets will have t o establish their running game so Mayo should be in line for another very good week.  The only thing that could limit Mayo's production is poor play by QB Mark Sanchez.  The biggest surprise at LB for the Patriots had to be that Rob Ninkovich was the second leading fantasy scorer, putting up 13 fantasy points.  Don't go running to your waiver wire because I would say Ninkovich is more of fools gold then gold.  Especially when you look deeper and see he only recorded 2 solo tackles.  I won't be surprised if Tully Banta-Cain can get to Mark Sanchez multiple times but I think he is a bit to risky to rank as a 3 star play.

Secondary:  Patrick Chung easily lived up to his 5 star ranking in week 1 and this week my only reservation about his 5 star ranking is the Jets offensive offense.  However, no matter what happens this week you can take it to the bank that Chung is for real and is headed for a top 5 finish at DB this year.  As for the other Patriots secondary I say to act like they don't exist. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
David Harris
Kyle Wilson
3 STAR
Bart Scott
Shaun Ellis
Jim Leonhard
2 STAR
Darrelle Revis
Jason Taylor
Antonio Cromartie
Bryan Thomas
Sione Pouha
1 STAR

Eric Smith
Brodney Pool

JetsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus Patriots: 52

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Calvin Pace (foot) has been officially ruled OUT again.

Brodney Pool (ankle) practiced all week in a limited fashion and is listed as QUESTIONABLE to play this week.

Darrelle Revis (hamstring) was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday but is listed as PROBABLE and is expected to play.

Defensive Line: You have to feel really bad for Kris Jenkins the person.  He put in the work to come back from a torn ACL last year only to tear the ACL in his other league in the first half of week 1 versus the Ravens.  Sione Pouha filled in more than admirably but looking for him to put up consistent fantasy numbers wouldn't be a wise proposition. Shaun Ellis is one of the few 3-4 DEs that puts up decent fantasy numbers and this week I look for him to put up low  level DL2 numbers.

Linebacker: After a player has a bad performance in week 1 many owners over-react/panic and drop players that the shouldn't.  Don't be fooled by the lack of production that David Harris had in week 1.  I surely expect to see him bounce back and when all  is said and done he should finish among the top 10-15 LBs this year.  Bart Scott looked good in week one and this week the Jets should see enough tackle opportunities to make Scott a safe 3 star play.  Jason Taylor and Bryan Thomas did a pretty good job manning the OLB spots but neither are worth fantasy consideration this week.

Secondary:  You can bet your bottom dollar that the Patriots will look to target rookie Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie this week.  Wilson falls under the "rookie CB rule" this week.  If you aren't familiar with that rule it simply means that you can expect the opposing QB to throw early an often at rookie CB and with the mistakes that Wilson made in week 1 it will be baptism under fire this week too.  Cromartie is another player that should be overly targeted but the penalties that he commits will remove his tackle opportunities. 


Houston at Washington

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Mario Williams
3 STAR
DeMeco Ryans
Bernard Pollard
2 STAR
Zach Diles
Glover Quinn
Eugene Wilson
Kareem Jackson
1 STAR
Antonio Smith
Darryl Sharpton
Xavier Adibi
Amobi Okoye

TexansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2002*-2009 Versus Redskins: 52
*1st year in the NFL .

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Mario Williams (groin) was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but practiced fully on Friday. He is listed as PROBABLE and expected to play this week.

Defensive Line: Look for Mario Williams to make some noise this week against Donovan McNabb and the Redskins.  Williams had a better NFL week than he did a fantasy week but his NFL play is what helped lead the Texans to their second win ever against the Colts.  Connor Barwin dislocated his ankle and has been put on season ending IR.

Linebacker: Last week both DeMeco Ryans (20 fantasy points) and Zach Diles (21 fantasy points) had stellar weeks for fantasy owners.  With production like that you would think that they Colts put up well above average tackle opportunities but the truth is that the Colts on gave up 50 tackle opportunities and of those 50 on 10 were on rushing plays.  Yet between Ryans and Diles they combined for 17 solo tackles.  This week I would like to rank both of them a bit higher but I fear the Redskins will be challenged to give up 45 tackle opportunities.

Secondary:  Bernard Pollard didn't show any effects of a top five hangover from the previous year as he posted 20 fantasy points.  This week I would easily temper expectations for Pollard and the rest of the Texans secondary.

5 STAR
London Fletcher
LaRon Landry
4 STAR
DeAngelo Hall
Rocky McIntosh
3 STAR

None

2 STAR

Andre Carter
Carlos Rogers
Brian Orakpo

1 STAR
Albert Haynesworth
Phillip Daniels
Reed Doughty

RedskinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus Texans: 50

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Albert Haynesworth (ankle) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Well the 3-4 has once again claimed another victim as the Redskins DL are now completely off limits as fantasy options.  No DL scored more than 6 points versus the Cowboys.  Keep an eye on the Haynesworth situation but more for the dramatic appeal than its fantasy appeal. 

Linebacker:  Both London Fletcher (18 fantasy points) and Rocky McIntosh (22 fantasy points) were great in week 1.  This week against the high powered Texans offense look for both to continue to put up fantastic numbers.  Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo are great at getting after the QB but trying to rely on them weekly would be a tough thing to do.  The safe bet would be to leave both on the bench this week.

Secondary:  Last week I said just how much I liked LaRon Landry for this season and he surely lived up to the hype by leading all DBs in scoring with 31 fantasy points.  Landry most certainly won't record 17 total tackles again this week but I wouldn't be surprised to see another 20 point effort either.  Landry may have been the one racking up a ton of stats but DeAngelo Hall also was racking up his fare share of stats including the game changing 32 yard TD return after he stripped Tashard Choice of the ball with just 4 seconds to go in the 1st half.  Hall should be busy again as I expect a much improved Texans passing attack this week.


jacksonville at San Diego

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Kirk Morrison
3 STAR
Aaron Kampman
Sean Considine
Derek Cox
Daryl Smith
2 STAR

Anthony Smith
Rashean Mathis
Derrick Harvey
Justin Durant

1 STAR
Austen Lane

JaguarsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 51
2000-2009 Versus Chargers: 53

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Anthony Smith (foot) missed practice on Wednesday but returned to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday. He is listed as QUESTIONABLE.

Defensive Line:  Outside of Aaron Kampman (9.5 fantasy points) and Tyson Alualu (9 fantasy points) the rest of the Jaguars DL were pretty much non-existent.  Derrick Harvey put up a disappointing 5 fantasy points and until he starts putting up numbers he shouldn't be looked at as much more than just depth for fantasy owners. On a good point, Alualu's performance did get him nominated as one of the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week candidates.   Rookie Austen Lane was inactive in week 1.

Linebacker:  Kirk Morrison was a big disappointment for fantasy owners last week as he only posted just 9 fantasy points.  The thing that is even more concerning is that Morrison evidently didn't play in nickle snaps.  It is a situation worth monitoring but this week I doubt the Chargers run enough multi WR sets to negate Morrison's fantasy value.  Daryl Smith was the big producer in week 1 as he logged 19 fantasy points.  Make no mistake that Smith was a nice fantasy option last year but expecting Smith to keep up that type of production is a bit of a pipe dream.  One thing is that much of his 19 points came from big plays as he only recorded 5 solo tackles, one more than Morrison did.

Secondary: The Jaguars safety position should yield at least one viable fantasy option this year.  My bet would be that Anthony Smith ends up as the player but after week one it was Sean Considine that put up the big numbers (19 fantasy points) to Smith's so-so numbers (9 fantasy points).  In CB mandatory leagues Derek Cox looks like he should be a solid steady option.  In week 1 he didn't post huge numbers but his 10 fantasy points were solid. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Stephen Cooper
Kevin Burnett
Steve Gregory

2 STAR
Quentin Jammer
Antoine Cason
Shaun Phillips
Brandon Siler
Eric Weddle
1 STAR

Luis Castillo
Darrell Stuckey
Shawne Merriman

ChargersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus Jaguars: 51

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Stephen Cooper (knee) did not practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL for this week. Bump Cooper down to a 1 star play and move Brandon Siler up to a 3 star play.

Shawne Merriman (achillies) practiced fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: The Chargers 3-4 scheme doesn't offer fantasy value for it's DL.

Linebacker: I wasn't surprised that Shaun Phillips led the Chargers LBs in fantasy points scored because he is a wildly talented LB.  Unfortunately, he plays a rush OLB position and that makes him an inconsistent fantasy option at best.  What did surprise me a bit was that Kevin Burnett outscored Stephen Cooper, 13 fantasy point to 7 fantasy points.  The MJD led rushing attack should help both to be viable LB3 options as 3 star plays this week. 

Secondary: Eric Weddle's week 1 output of 3 fantasy points was a far cry from the 12.69 PPG he averaged last year. Some like myself had hope that rookie Darrell Stuckey would be able  to land the starting SS job and end up being a solid fantasy option.  Unfortunately, with regards to Stuckey he was inactive in week 1.  The flip side of that is that Steve Gregory was the starter at SS and didn't have to worry about any sort of rotation.  That of course contributed  to Gregory posting a respectable 14 fantasy points by accumulating 7 solo tackles.  What is even more remarkable about that is the fact that the Chiefs only gave up 36 tackle opportunities. The Jaguars should easily put up more tackle opportunities than that so Gregory makes for a safe 3 star play  with some upside.  The only risk is if Stuckey does get back into the mix and starts to steal snaps from Gregory.


NY Giants at Indianapolis

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Justin Tuck
Michael Boley
Mathias Kiwanuka
Kenny Phillips
Antrel Rolle

2 STAR

Aaron Ross
Corey Webster
Keith Bulluck
Jonathan Goff
Osi Umenyiora

1 STAR
Jason Pierre-Paul

GiantsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus Colts: 45

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Osi Umenyiora (knee) practiced fully on Thursday after missing practice on Wednesday but then didn't practice again on Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. Make sure to check the Sunday Inactive report before putting Osi in your lineup.

Defensive Line:  Last week the Giants had 3 DL score in double digits.  Justin Tuck 10, Osi Umenyiora 15 & Mathias Kiwanuka 16.  Umenyiora probably surprised me the most and not because I doubt his talent but because we really didn't know what to expect in the way of playing time.  What ended up happening was that Umenyiora saw plenty of snaps at DE with Tuck while Kiwanuka slid to SLB for a good number of plays.  If the Giants continue to run plays like this then all 3 of these players could end up as top 15 DL this year.  As far as this week goes you have to look at the Giants opponent and realize that Peyton Manning doesn't take many sacks so you should temper expectations this week.

Linebacker:  It looks like my preseason expectation that Michael Boley could make a jump into the top 10 of LBs this year was a little premature.  Boley was still the top scoring LB with 11 fantasy points but his upside could be limited by the Giants new defensive fronts.  Keith Bulluck was clearly impacted by the Giants rotating Kiwanuka to SLB and until Bulluck can put up on the field he should remain firmly planted on the bench. 

Secondary: Last week Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips led the Giants secondary in fantasy points scored.  Rolle was able to outpoint Phillips 15 to 12 but I wouldn't expect for that to be a weekly trend.  Both should be solid options this week against Peyton Manning who will be trying to keep the Colts from starting a season 0-2 since his rookie year.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Clint Session
Antoine Bethea

3 STAR
Robert Mathis
Gary Brackett
Jerraud Powers
Melvin Bullitt
2 STAR
Kelvin Hayden
Dwight Freeney
1 STAR
Phillip Wheeler

Colts Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus Giants: 47

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Bob Sanders (biceps) has been officially ruled OUT for this week.

Gary Brackett (back) is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report after missing practice on Friday. Brackett will be a wildcard to play this week so be sure to check the Sunday Inactive Report. If Brackett doesn't play then Pat Angerer could be a sneaky play for those in deep leagues.

Clint Session (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday but then returned on a limited basis for Wednesday's practice but then was held out again on Friday. He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report too.

Jacob Lacey (head) practiced fully all week but is still listed as QUESTIONABLE to play.

Defensive Line:  Dwight Freeney said that Peyton will usually give the defense a little bit of a pep talk and tell them to get after the opposing QB.  This week with the opponent being Manning's little brother Freeney doesn't expect to get that talk.  That of course doesn't mean that Freeney and Robert Mathis won't be doing their best to knock the younger Manning off his game.  If the Colts want to bounce back after last week's bad loss to the Texans they will need their DL to step up.

Linebacker: Gary Brackett suffered a hand injury last week but doesn't appear on the injury report for Wednesday.  The hand injury wasn't what limited Brackett as much as the Texans FB who supposedly had a very good game and was all over Brackett in the running attack.  Brackett might not be flashy nor have much long term value but he should bounce back with a solid week against the Giants this week.  Clint Session didn't live up to my expectations last week but his 10 fantasy points scored were still at least solid. 

Secondary:  Bob Sanders is hurt again.  No seriously, he really did get hurt in week 1. Last year a torn biceps ended his season and this year he tore the opposite biceps.  The only difference is that this time it might not end his season. Bill Polian said in a press conference that Sanders could possibly be ready to return in 12-13 weeks.  If that does indeed happen it could be just in time to help the Colts solidify a playoff spot.  Until then look at Antoine Bethea as a very good option.  In deeper leagues Melvin Bullitt should have value as a starting DB.


New Orleans at San Francisco

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Roman Harper
Will Smith
Jonathan Vilma
Tracy Porter
Scott Shanle
2 STAR

Malcolm Jenkins
Jabari Greer
Sedrick Ellis
Alex Brown

1 STAR
Jo-Lonn Dunbar
Danny Clark

SaintsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:53
2000-2009 Versus Niners: 49

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used. 

Defensive Line:  The Saints DL didn't hit Brett Favre like they did in the NFC Championship game last year and that contributed to poor performances by Will Smith (3 fantasy points) and Alex Brown (1 fantasy point).  I would look for both to be more productive this week with Smith having low end DL1 potential and Brown DL2/3 potential.  DT Sedrick Ellis actually led the DL with 11 fantasy points scored and this week could be a good play in DT mandatory leagues.  That means you can bump Ellis up a level in those types of leagues.

Linebacker: Jonathan Vilma didn't get off to a great start in week 1 considering the matchup looked so juicy.  Still 12 fantasy points is nothing to sneeze at. Also realize that in those 12 points there was only 8 points for 4 solos but considering that he Vikings only gave up 38 tackle opportunities that actually isn't so bad.  Scott Shanle made the best of moving back over to WLB as he led the team in LB fantasy points with 12.  Vilma and Shanle do present some upside this week but it really depends on how effective the Niners offense ends up being.

Secondary:   Roman Harper wasn't nearly as strong as his 4 star ranking last week would have indicated but he was able to at least put up 10 fantasy points.  And like I said earlier considering the lack of tackle opportunities that the Vikings gave up that isn't bad at all. I was very close to ranking Harper a 4 star play this week so that at least means that I do see some upside with him.  Malcolm Jenkins clearly was playing a deep FS position and that was the big reason he was only able  to record 4 fantasy points.  Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer combined to score 21 fantasy points with Greer being the high scorer of the two with 12 fantasy points scored.  I still see Porter as the better fantasy play but I will keep an eye on the situation and it could be very fluid where Greer ends up being the better fantasy play.

5 STAR
Patrick Willis
4 STAR

Dashon Goldson

3 STAR
Shawntae Spencer
Nate Clements
2 STAR
Takeo Spikes
Michael Lewis
Justin Smith
1 STAR
Manny Lawson
Parys Haralson
Travis Laboy

49ersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus Saints: 47

Notes: Star rankings are currently based of stats from 2007-2009. Starting in week 4, data from this year will be used.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Patrick Willis (knee, thumb) was limited in practice on Thursday.

Defensive Line:  Justin Smith's 8 fantasy points might not look like much but don't forget that the Seahawks only gave up 41 tackle opportunities.  He remains the only real fantasy option on the Niners but this week versus Drew Brees you would be better served to leave him on your bench.

Linebacker:  Patrick Willis has been a super stud since entering the NFL and his 2010 season looks to continue the trend.  In week 1 Willis logged 10 solo tackles which was good for 20 fantasy points.  Unfortunately, outside of Willis the Niners just don't have any consistent fantasy scoring LBs to rely on.  Yes, I know that Travis Laboy scored 12 fantasy points but he didn't even start and those 12 points could very well be the most he scores in a game this year.  Start Laboy at your own risk, you have been warned.

Secondary: Outside of Dashon Goldson and Nate Clements the Niners secondary stunk up fantasy land last week.  Goldson led the Niners secondary in fantasy points last year and in week 1 his 13 fantasy points has him out in the lead again.  Clements put up just 9 fantasy points but no other Niners secondary player put up more than 3 points, including Michael Lewis (3 fantasy points).  One major factor is that the Seahawks did only give up 41 tackle opportunities and only 23 were rushing attempts. At this point I would go into a holding pattern on all Niners DBs not named Goldson but with the high flying Saints offense in town this week I find it hard not to rank both Nate Clements and Shawntae Spencer at least 3 star plays.


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