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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 3
Steve Gallo
September 24, 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. For specific lineup questions please be sure to visit our IDP Forum.  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, Sean Weatherspoon, 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 D'Qwell Jackson (injured)
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, Brian Dawkins
DET 46 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Kyle Vanden Bosch, DeAndre Levy (injured), 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 (injured), Antoine Bethea
JAX 51 4-3 Mel Tucker Aaron Kampman, Kirk Morrison, Justin Durant, Daryl Smith
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, Kenny Phillips
NYJ 51 3-4 Mike Pettine Sione Pouha, David Harris
OAK 47 4-3 John Marshall Trevor Scott, Richard Seymour (DT mandatory leagues), Rolando McClain, Tyvon Branch,
PHL 50 4-3 Sean McDermott Trent Cole, Brandon Graham (stronger dynasty outlook),
Stewart Bradley, 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 (injured), Kevin Burnett, Eric Weddle
SEA 49 4-3 Gus Bradley Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy
SF 45 3-4 Greg Manusky Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Dashon Goldson
STL 48 4-3 Ken Flajole James Laurinaitis, Oshiomogho Atogwe
TB 49 Tampa 2 Raheem Morris 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

San Francisco at Kansas City

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Patrick Willis
Justin Smith

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

49ersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Takeo Spikes (knee) missed practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Justin Smith is looking more and more like, Justin Smith.  Smith is a gritty high motor guy that just seems to be productive.  Let's not forget that he is one of the few 3-4 DEs that has any fantasy value.  This past week wasn't a great matchup for Smith versus the Saints, led by Drew Brees who doesn't take many sacks.  Well Smith wasn't able to get to Brees but he still logged 6 total tackles and scored 11 fantasy points.  This week I look for Smith to get to the QB and to be a strong play.

Linebacker:  Patrick Willis is a beast but of course you already knew that.  On MNF versus the Saints Willis led the Niners with 9 total tackles and a sack.  Of course that doesn't include credit for the tackle he made at the goal line.  We know that the Chiefs will run the ball so look for Willis to have a Patrick Willis type of game.  Sure, Takeo Spikes had a nice 5 solo tackle game versus the Saints but unless you are in a very deep league you won't want to rely on Spikes for week to week production.

Secondary: It is hard to believe that no Niners DB recorded more than 4 solos versus the potent Saint's offense. Michael Lewis led the secondary with 4 solo tackles but I would still rather take a look at Dashon Goldson if I was going to take a chance with one of the Niners

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Derrick Johnson
Eric Berry

3 STAR
Brandon Flowers
2 STAR

Jovan Belcher
Brandon Carr
Tamba Hali
Mike Vrabel
Javier Arenas
Glenn Dorsey

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

ChiefsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Tyson Jackson (knee) missed practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Defensive Line: I warned last week that you wouldn't want to rely on Glenn Dorsey to give you consistent fantasy points.  Well after posting double digit points in week 1 all Dorsey could muster up in week 2 was 1 solo tackle and 1 assist.  Leave Dorsey and the rest of the Chiefs DL on the waiver wire.. 

Linebacker: Derrick Johnson followed up his great week 1 performance with a very nice 7 solo tackle game versus the offensively challenged Browns.  I really think that Johnson is ready to take the next step to fantasy stud but I also still can't ignore the shenanigans that coach Haley has pulled in the past.  Look for Johnson to put up another stellar week against Frank Gore and the Niners.  Jovan Belcher looks like he could end up being a solid LB3/4 in deeper leagues this year.  His 7 combined tackles versus the Browns does look pretty encouraging.

Secondary: Last week I pointed out that rookie Eric Berry was the only Chiefs secondary player that I would be willing to start versus the Browns.  If you got Berry into your lineup you were lucky enough to get 14 fantasy points for his 7 solo tackle effort.  This week I would look for Berry to be another strong play.  If Alex Smith plays as well at QB as he did versus the saints then Brandon Flowers should make a decent DB3 play this week too.


Tennessee at NY Giants

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR

Stephen Tulloch
Will Witherspoon
Chris Hope
Michael Griffin
Cortland Finnegan

2 STAR

Jason  Babin
Vincent Fuller
Colin Allred

1 STAR
Jacob Ford
Jason McCourty
William Hayes

TitansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Jacob Ford (knee) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Tony Brown (knee) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was able to practice fully on Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Cortland Finnegan (thigh) missed practice on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. Missing Friday practice and being listed as PROBABLE don't usually go hand in hand so make sure to keep an eye on the inactive report on Sunday.

Defensive Line: Jason Babin not only got plenty of playing time last week but he also led the team in tackles with 7 solos, 1 assist and 1 sack too.  At this point I think that Babin is still a risky start as his playing time will be likely linked to the health of the Titans DL.  Now with that said, Jacob Ford (knee) and Tony Brown (knee) both missed practice on Wednesday.

Linebacker:  Stephen Tulloch may have been able  to log double digit fantasy points versus the Steelers but considering he faced 33 rushing attempts I would have expected much more than 4 solos and 1 assist.  The Giants used to be a smash mouth running team but it looks as if their offense has definitely evolved.  If the Giants avoid committing to the run this week Tulloch could be challenged to put up solid stats.  As high as I am on Tulloch this week I am taking a bit of a deep breath and tempering my expectations.  Will Witherspoon ended up having a nice week 2 but it surely wasn't due to his 2 solos and 4 assists.  Without Witherspoon notching a sack and forced fumble he would have left his owners disappointed.  This week he should be good for 5 solos so he looks like a low level LB3 this week.

Secondary: It was Chris Hope that led the Titans secondary with 6 solos last week but Cortland Finnegan was busy too as he recorded 4 solos and 3 assists.  Michael Griffin was limited to just 3 solos with 2 assists but this week I think he will but up strong numbers against the Giants passing attack.  Same goes for Hope and Finnegan who I expect to be busy in week 3.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Justin Tuck
3 STAR

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 week 3 opponent: 62

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

Defensive Line:  For his career thru 2009 Vince Young has on average been sacked just 1.39 times/game.  That coupled with realizing how elusive Young can be easily should make one see why Justin Tuck doesn't have the best matchup in the world this weekend.  However, the Giants will be playing at home and Vince Young looks like he had his ego bruised some last week so he could be a bit indicisive this week and that could lead to a nice week for Tuck.  While not a strong 4 star play I still think Tuck is going to have a very good game.  Mathias Kiwanuka was able to add to his sack total versus the Colts, which is no small feat as Peyton Manning only gets sacked at a rate of 1.12 times/game for his career.  The only thing is that Kiwanuka was only able to add 3 solos to his stat line.  Kiwanuka will probably see more time in the Giants big base this week in an effort to keep Chris Johnson under wraps so look for him to have a much better statistical day on Sunday.  Osi Umenyiora has the talent to go off on any given Sunday but at this point in his career he is just to inconsistent to rely on as a weekly starter.

Linebacker:  Michael Boley had an incredible game versus the Colts as he logged 16 combined tackles (12 solos).  However, the reason that Boley was so busy was because the Giants were in a dime defense much of the time basically daring the Colts to run the ball at them.  Well guess what, Peyton obliged and ran the ball and ran the ball and ran it some more and then when the Giants would finally move out of the dime he would hit them with the pass.  Boley should still be busy this week against the rush of Chris Johnson but don't expect another 16 tackle performance.  Keith Bulluck seems to be the odd man out at LB as he is sitting in most if not all sub-packages.  If you find that you are in trouble at LB this week you could look to sneak MLB Jonathan Goff into your lineup.

Secondary: Earlier this year the Giants paid Antrel Rolle a large sum of money and after week 2 he looks like he is paying them back by complaining about the culture of the team.  Tom Coughlin is a control freak so as much as I like Rolle to have a solid week there is some risk involved since Coughlin could sit Rolle down at any time to team him a lesson.  With Chris Johnson trying to break free into the secondary we just might get to see how recovered Kenny Phillips actually is. 


Pittsburgh at TAmpa Bay

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Troy Polamalu
Lawrence Timmons
James Harrison
Lamar Woodley
2 STAR
Ike Taylor
Ryan Clark
James Farrior
1 STAR
Bryant McFadden
Aaron Smith
Evander Hood

SteelersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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: The Steelers defense and DL did a fantastic job of keeping Chris Johnson under wraps on Sunday.  The irony is that you should leave the Steelers DL under wraps because they basically have no fantasy value.

Linebacker:  James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons are two of the main reasons the Steelers sit at 2-0 on the season.  Both are the top two ranked LBs in fantasyland but both do it in different ways.  Harrison can pile up tackles but usually relies on big plays and therefore can be inconsistent.  While Timmons seems to be taking a big step forward and has the looks of a top 5 fantasy LB.  James Farrior and Lamar Woodley may not be in the top 2 but they are far from chopped liver.  This week I am tempering expectations since the Buccaneer offense is still a work in progress.

Secondary:  It is easy to see after just two games exactly what Troy Polamalu means to the Steelers.  While his 12.5 PPG average isn't setting the world on fire but it is still good enough for solid DB2 numbers.  This week look for Polamalu to make a big play or two at the expense of 2nd year QB Josh Freeman.

5 STAR
Barrett Ruud
Geno Hayes
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Stylez White
Sean Jones

2 STAR

Gerald McCoy
Ronde Barber
Kyle Moore

1 STAR

Quincy Black
Aqib Talib

Buccaneers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 57

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

Defensive Line: Stylez White, the DE formerly known as Greg White was able to record his 1st sack of the year in week 2 and quietly ranks as the #16 overall DL too.  With a 59 year old (I know he isn't that old) Charlie Batch under center White and Kyle Moore could both be in line for a nice week 3.  In DT mandatory leagues Gerald McCoy could be a nice play, especially if the Steelers run the ball in excess of 30 times again.

Linebacker: Both Barrett Ruud and Geno Hayes are currently ranked in the top 30 of LBs and that is after facing two poor tackle opportunities in consecutive weeks.  This week I look for both to have fantastic games versus the Steelers rushing attack.

Secondary: Big news about the Buccaneers secondary is that Tanard Jackson has been suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance abuse program again.  Sean Jones looks to have the most value in the Buccaneers secondary but at best as a DB3/4 as the teams defensive scheme plays a big part in limiting his tackle opportunities.


Detroit at Minnesota

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Louis Delmas
Kyle Vanden Bosch
3 STAR

DeAndre Levy
Ndamukong Suh
CC Brown

2 STAR
Julian Peterson
1 STAR
Chris Houston
Alphonso Smith
Jonathan Wade
Cliff Avril
Zack Follett

LionsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  46
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Louis Delmas (groin, biceps & calf) missed practice on Wednesday but was able to practice on a limited basis Thursday and Friday.

DeAndre Levy (groin) was limited in practice all week.  It looks like Levy might actually see the field this week but I recommend that you keep him on his bench until we see how he performs first.

Zack Follett (concussion) hasn't practiced this week and should be OUT this week.

Cliff Avril (finger, knee) was a limited participant in practice all week.

Defensive Line: Last week I wasn't very high on Kyle Vanden Bosch which may have been hard to swallow considering his incredible week 1 performance.  Vanden Bosch ended the day with a total of just 2 solo tackles but by adding 4 assists and 1.5 sacks he was able to salvage the day with a 12.5 point fantasy effort.  Versus a struggling Vikings team I wouldn't hesitate to plug Vanden Bosch into my starting lineup and expect top tier numbers this week.  Outside of Vanden Bosch the only other DL on the Lions roster currently worth starting is rookie Ndamukong Suh.  Suh should be a solid play with some upside versus what should be a heavy dose of running from Adrian Peterson.

Linebacker: DeAndre Levy was once again inactive in week 2 but he could be getting on the field sooner rather than later as he practiced on Wednesday in a limited fashion.  I am ranking Levy as a 3 star play anticipating that he will finally make it onto the field this week.  Just make sure to check back for the injury update and keep an eye on the Sunday Inactive Report too.  Zack Follett was held out of practice on Wednesday due to a concussion and should be left on your bench even if he ends up being cleared to play.

Secondary: With the issues at LB for the Lions the big winner looks to be FS Louis Delmas.  Delmas should easily be busy helping to clean up the mess in front of him that the Lions LBs won't be able to take advantage of.  CC Brown should also be in line for a nice week and should be able to put up solid DB2 type numbers.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Jared Allen
3 STAR
Ray Edwards
Antoine Winfield
Chad Greenway
EJ Henderson
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 week 3 opponent: 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:  Jared Allen owners are most assuredly frustrated after Allen has failed to crack double digits in fantasy points thru two weeks.  Allen did record his first sack of the season last week and will look to build on that this week.  Allen might be struggling to put up big numbers but you have to keep running him out on a weekly basis. Ray Edwards is also off to a slow start but I expect him to take a step forward this week and put up solid DL2 type numbers.

Linebacker:  Two weeks into the young season and EJ Henderson has put up very nice weeks of 17 and then 18 fantasy points.  This week if the Detroit offense struggles like I think it will then you have to limit your expectations for Henderson.  That doesn't mean that I don't think he will still score well just that I don't expect to see him eclipse 15 points this week.  Chad Greenway is also having a nice season and ranks in the top 20 and is also a must play every week at this point.

Secondary:  If you think that Shaun Hill is going to throw for 350+ yards again then you can feel free to bump up Antoine Winfield to a 4 star play.  For me I am going to be happy to get 3 star production this week.  The big question is going to be how the secondary reacts if and when Jahvid Best gets loose on them.


Atlanta at New Orleans

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Curtis Lofton
William Moore
Kroy Biermann
Sean Weatherspoon

2 STAR

Brent Grimes
Dunta Robinson
Thomas Decoud
Mike Peterson
John Abraham

1 STAR
Jamaal Anderson
Eric Coleman

FalconsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Eric Coleman (knee) didn't practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.  I expect he will be inactive again this week.

Defensive Line: The blowout win over the Cardinals sure didn't do anything to help the DL.  Normally in a game like that the DEs should be able to pin their ears back and just get after the QB.  While that might be what they did they weren't able to finish with any sacks.  The lone sack came from the LB position.  It is easy to see why Kroy Biermann was only able to log 2 solos and 2 assists when you look at the fact that the Cardinals had just 13 rushing attempts.  But not logging a sack is a bit of a disappointment.  This week won't get any easier as Biermann and John Abraham face the hard to sack Drew Brees.  Look for Biermann to put up solid yet unspectacular stats (meaning don't expect any sacks) this week.

Linebacker: Curtis Lofton owners have to be very upset with his week 2 performance but keep in mind that NFL games are extremely fluid in nature.  By that I mean that you can't expect a MLB that is great in run support to put up big numbers when a team only runs the ball 13 times and is forced to continually air it out due to being down big.  This week Lofton should be plenty involved trying to keep Pierre Thomas in check so don't hesitate to keep him in your lineups.  Now rookie Sean Weatherspoon was just the opposite of Lofton in week 2, he had a fantastic game.  But that should be expected as Weatherspoon has very good speed and range and was able to make an impact on the stat sheet even though the Cardinals were throwing so much.  Weatherspoon has a ton of talent and very well could claim a place in the top 10 someday but as for now temper expectations and realize he will have some occasional clunkers mixed in with performances like he had last week. 

Secondary:  Eric Coleman is still not practicing and my early guess is that he will once again be out this week.  Of course you will need to check back after the Friday injury update to see if things have changed.  William Moore filled in for Coleman last week but he didn't really make much of an impact on the stat sheet as he only recorded 2 solo tackles but he was at least able to log an INT too.  Considering that the Falcons only faced a measly 31 tackle opportunities it is easy to see why everyone on the defensive squad pretty much had a bad game in week 2.  This week versus the potent Saints offense should go a long way towards helping the value of the Falcons secondary players.

5 STAR
Jonathan Vilma
4 STAR
Roman Harper
3 STAR
Alex Brown
Will Smith
Jabari Greer
Tracy Porter
Scott Shanle
2 STAR

Malcolm Jenkins
Sedrick Ellis
Jo-Lonn Dunbar

1 STAR
Danny Clark

SaintsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:53
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Randall Gay (concussion) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Defensive Line:  Neither Will Smith or Alex Brown are currently lighting up the stat sheet and both should be looked at as subpar options until they show some life.  Smith put up a pedestrian 3 solos last week while Brown was only able to log 2 solos.  That just isn't going to cut it for fantasy owners.  With all that said I just can't rank them a 2 star play considering they will be playing at home in the very loud Louisiana Superdome.

Linebacker: MNF games usually has fantasy owners hanging their hopes on a player or two trying to lead them to a last minute victory.  Well this week Jonathan Vilma put forth the type of effort that those owners like to see.  His 10 total tackles and forced fumble accounted for 20 fantasy points.  If a performance like that wasn't enough to eek out a win for you then you probably didn't deserve it anyway.  This week facing a formidable Falcons offense should once again make Vilma an extremely strong play.  Scott Shanle and Jo-Lonn Dunbar aren't really anything to get excited about but with byes right around the corner you should keep an eye on each as they could very well be nice fill-ins depending on the matchup.

Secondary:   Like Vilma, Roman Harper had a very good MNF game and surely his 21 fantasy points had to help an owner or two to a win last week.  This week look for Harper to be very busy as he tries to help in both the run and passing games.  Tracy Porter is starting to really make a name for himself as a ball hawk in the NFL.  He makes a strong start in CB mandatory leagues and a solid start in DB leagues.


Cleveland at Baltimore

5 STAR
TJ Ward
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Chris Gocong
Scott Fujita

2 STAR

Eric Wright
Sheldon Brown
Joe Haden
Matt Roth
Abram Elam
David Bowens

1 STAR

Kenyon Coleman
Robaire Smith

BrownsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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: Short, sweet and to the point, there is no other consistent fantasy value on the Browns DL.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

D'Qwell Jackson (chest) was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but did not practice on Friday and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report. 

Linebacker: D'Qwell Jackson is practicing and is closer to seeing the field than many realize.  So far the Browns LBs have been underwhelming at best but that will change once Jackson is back in the fold.  As hard as it is to do this I have to rank both Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita as 3 star plays this week.  Versus a Ravens team that should have no issues moving the ball these two LBs should see plenty of tackle opportunities.  But let's face it, unless you are in a deep league you know you have to have better options at LB, or so we hope.

Secondary: Rookie TJ Ward has done well to take advantage of a missing D'Qwell Jackson in the middle of the Browns defense.  This week Ward should continue his strong play and is honestly the only bright spot on the Browns entire team as it stands right now.  At least from a fantasy perspective that is.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Terrell Suggs
3 STAR
Ray Lewis
2 STAR

Jameel McClain
Dawan Landry
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 week 3 opponent: 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:

Tavares Gooden (shoulder) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Defensive Line: It doesn't really matter if it is Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace starting at QB this week because Terrell Suggs will get to pin his ears back and do what he does best.  Get after the QB.  Look for this game to be out of reach early and for Suggs to benefit from the number of times Cleveland QBs have to drop back and pass.

Linebacker:  Ray Lewis might be like Superman on the field but this week the Browns could very well be his kryptonite.  And by that I mean that the Browns offensive attack is so weak that Lewis won't have very many opportunities to make tackles and rack up fantasy points.  Still you can't bench him but temper expectations a bit.

Secondary:  If ever an offense was going to render a secondary useless it is the Browns passing attack.  Last week Brandon Flowers led the Chiefs secondary versus the Browns with a whopping 3 solo tackles.  Yeah, bench every single last Ravens secondary player this week and thank me later.


Buffalo at New England

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR

Terrence McGee
Drayton Florence
Donte Whitner
Andra Davis

2 STAR

Keith Ellison
Akin Ayodele
Chris Kelsay

1 STAR
Dwan Edwards
Marcus Stroud
Kyle Williams
Paul Posluszny (injured)

BillsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  47
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

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

Keith Ellison (knee) was limited in practice on Thursday but was able to practice fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  I said to keep an eye on Kyle Williams but not to expect much from the Bills DL.
Well, Williams was the most productive Bills DL but that was by just posting 3 solos. Williams value lies only in DT mandatory leagues and no other Bills DL is fantasy viable.

Linebacker: Just in case you are keeping score, it was Keith Ellison that started in place of the injured Paul Posluszny.  Ellison put up a respectable 5 solo tackles but Andra Davis put up slightly better numbers by recording 5 solos, 2 assists and recording a forced fumble. The surprise was that Chris Kelsay put up 7 solos and 1 assist.  Don't expect Kelsay to be able to sustain production like that because it just isn't going to happen.  Especially this week versus the Patriots.  Of the three I still think that Davis is the safest play but if the Patriots keep the Bills in their nickle defense then Ellison could surprise and have a very nice game.  As it stands now I would rather err on the side of caution and rank Ellison a 2 star play.

Secondary:  The Bills secondary should get a good workout this week versus the Patriots passing attack.  Look for Drayton Florence to lead the Bills secondary in tackles this weekend.  But  he shouldn't be the only Bills DB to have fantasy value.  Both Donte Whitner and Terrence McGee should both also have good games versus the Tom Brady led Patriots.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Tully Banta-Cain
2 STAR

Patrick Chung

1 STAR
Jerod Mayo
Gary Guyton
Devin McCourty
Darius Butler
Brandon Meriweather
Vince Wilfork
Brandon Spikes
Jermaine Cunningham
Gerard Warren
Mike Wright

PatriotsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  55
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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: If facing a Jets team that ran the ball 30+ times didn't produce any viable fantasy DL for the Patriots then you surely shouldn't expect things to change this week.

Linebacker:  In my opinion, Jerod Mayo is still the LB to own on the Patriots.  Sure he had an abysmal week last week but he should easily be able to shake that game off and get back to leading the Patriots LBs in fantasy value.  However, with that said, he is facing the lowly Bills this week and I would be scared the Bills won't be able to put up much offensively and that will severely limit not just Mayo but all of the Patriots LBs.  That is with the exception of Tully Banta-Cain.  Banta-Cain isn't going to log 10+ solos or anything like that but I fully expect him to get to the Bills QB enough to make him fantasy viable.  Just realize, live by the sword, die by the sword.  There is inherent risk relying on pass rushing OLBs like Banta-Cain.

Secondary:  For the same reasons that I said to not expect much from Mayo and the rest of the Patriots LBs is the reason why Patrick Chung is just a 2 star play.  I know that Chung is going to be hard t o leave on the bench but the risk really isn't worth it.  Not with this matchup and considering just how deep the DB position is.


Cincinnati at Carolina

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR
Dhani Jones
Antwan Odom
2 STAR
Leon Hall
Rey Maualuga
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 week 3 opponent: 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:

Antwan Odom (wrist) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Jonathan Fanene (hamstring) has been ruled OUT this week.

Adam Jones (shoulder) missed practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Defensive Line: So far Antwan Odom has failed miserable to live up to my expectations for him this year.  Two consecutive 3 point efforts just doesn't cut it.  And trust me I know because he has been in a lineup or two of mine.  This week I am going to continue to go against the grain and rank Odom a 3 star play.  With rookie QB Jimmy Clausen slated to start I just think that adds up to some upside for Odom.  Risky but upside nonetheless.

Linebacker: Dhani Jones just continues to do what he does best, put up solid fantasy numbers.  It seems like it has been 100 years that IDPers have been waiting for Jones to be succeeded as the Bengals starting MLB.  It will happen that is for sure but for now Jones has the job and is a safe LB2/3 that should get you 10-15 points each and every week.  The only thing keeping Jones from a higher ranking this week is that I am wary of just how much life Clausen can breath into the Panthers offense. So what would normally look like a strong matchup has me backing off a bit because of that.  Oh and it should be Rey Maualuga that does eventually take over for Jones at MLB.

Secondary:  Look for Roy Williams to have his nose in the box as the Bengals challenge the rookie QB to beat them with his arm.  The only problem is that I think that Clausen will test them and not be very successful so that will limit the chances Williams has.  Sure he could end up with 5 solos but it could just as easily be a 2-3 solo day too.  The only real value among the secondary is in big play leagues because Clausen is going to get picked off and it could be multiple times.  Problem is that you don't want to have to roll the dice and hope for fantasy production to come that way.  If if makes you feel any better as a Leon Hall owner I am sitting him this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jon Beason

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

Panthers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Charles Johnson (calf) is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Tyler Brayton (ankle) was limited in practice all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Right now the Panthers DL is a mess for fantasy purposes.  Tyler Brayton was inactive last week and isn't practicing yet this week.  That should have set up Everette Brown and Greg Hardy to have pretty good games last week.  But unfortunately that didn't happen as the two combined for just 5 solo tackles (Brown 3, Hardy 2).  Both players have nice dynasty value but at this point I wouldn't want to rely on either as a fantasy starter.

Linebacker: (Allen Iverson, talking 'bout practice voice) James Anderson? James Anderson, we talkin' 'bout James Anderson? (/Allen Iverson, talking 'bout practice voice).  Yep, we have to talk about James Anderson who is the starting SLB for the Panthers.  So far thru 2 weeks it is Anderson that is leading all Panthers LBs in fantasy points.  Yes, that includes Jon Beason. Beason isn't putting up stinkers or anything but between Anderson and Dan Connor he is having his upside severely limited.  Now what I want all you Beason owners to do is just take a big deep breath and realize that the cream will eventually rise to the top.  As for Anderson, there is no logical reason why he is leading the Panthers LBs in fantasy scoring from his SLB position.  I am sure part of it is that the Panthers DL isn't siphoning many tackles from the LBs.  What I would do if I was an Anderson owner is just ride him until he hits a wall.  Which at some point I do think will happen.  But until then you ride the hot hand.

Secondary:  Expectations were very high in the fantasy community for Richard Marshall after he finished as a top 15 DB in his first two seasons in the NFL. Especially, considering he wasn't yet a starter.  In 2008 Marshall owners that were just getting on for the ride saw his production fall off a cliff as he ranked a lowly 61st.  Then he teased us again as he rebounded last year to finish as a top 25 DB.  So of course we were expecting to see Marshall take another step forward but so far thru two weeks it has been bad, brutally bad as he has only been able to record 4 solos and 1 assist with a pass defended so far in two weeks.  Until we see Marshall putting up those top 15 numbers again we would all probably be best served to just let him sit on the bench. 


Dallas at Houston

5 STAR

None

4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Bradie James
Keith Brooking
Gerald Sensabaugh
Mike Jenkins
Terance Newman
2 STAR

DeMarcus Ware
Jay Ratliff
Anthony Spencer
Allan Ball

1 STAR

Sean Lee

CowboysAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2002-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 47

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

Defensive Line:  Due to scheme the Dallas DL doesn't present much if any fantasy value.  In DT mandatory leagues Jay Ratliff is the only DL worth starting from the Cowboys DL.

Linebacker: Bradie James and Keith Brooking had solid games last week as both tied for the team lead with 5 solo tackles, with James adding and additional assist.  This week the Texans should present more tackle opportunities than the Bears did so both should be safe LB3 or better starts this week.  On a non fantasy football note I must point out that Keith Brooking sure isn't Drew Brees.  By that I mean that when Brooking tries to get the Cowboys fired up when they break huddle that he doesn't hold a candle to how Brees fires up the Saints and the crowd when he does his huddle break chant. Funny, because it sure seems like that Brees-like-fire is what the Cowboys are missing this year.  As for DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer this week I wouldn't risk starting them since QB Matt Schaub is one of the least sacked QBs in the NFL, just 1.01 times/game.

Secondary:  I am sure that Alan Ball was a big pickup in leagues after week 1 but he sure did fall back to earth fast.  Against the Bears passing attack you had to figure Ball would put up much better numbers than the 2 solos he was able to log.  So even though the Texans are bringing a formidable passing attack to this game I wouldn't be so fast to put Ball into my starting lineup.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Mario Williams
3 STAR
DeMeco Ryans
Bernard Pollard
Zac Diles
2 STAR
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 week 3 opponent: 49
*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 a limited participant in practice all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Amobi Okoye (ankle) was a limited participant in practice all week and he too is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Look for Mario Williams to advantage of what should be a rocking home-field advantage this week.  Of course it doesn't hurt that he is white hot after posting 3 sacks last week.  Couple that with the fact that he is one of the best DEs in the game and he is a no brainer start this week.  Outside of Williams I would take a pass on all other Texans DL.

Linebacker: DeMeco Ryans didn't have a very good week last week but there is no reason for panic.  The Redskins ran the ball just 17 times so his limited production is understandable.  Zac Diles didn't light up the scoreboard either but he did put up a respectable 13 fantasy points on 5 solos and 3 assists. If you are a Diles owner you should continue to ride his solid production while you can because Brian Cushing's suspension is half over now.

Secondary:  When it comes to Bernard Pollard I am sure that many owners were expecting a repeat of his top 5 performance last year.  Well thru 2 weeks Pollard is averaging a respectable 15.50 PPG but that isn't top 5 DB type production.  Instead it is solid DB2 production.  There is still plenty of time to rebound but don't be surprised if Pollard doesn't finish top 5 again this year.  This week I think he is in the safe DB2 range again.  If the Cowboys can get their offense going with their running game then he could have some upside too.


Washington at St. Louis

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
LaRon Landry
3 STAR

Rocky McIntosh
London Fletcher
DeAngelo Hall

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 week 3 opponent: 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:

LaRon Landry (wrist) practiced fully all week but is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.  Make sure to check the Sunday Inactive report before leaving Landry in your starting lineup.

Defensive Line:  Washington plays a 3-4 defense that basically renders their DL useless in the realm of fantasy football.

Linebacker:  London Fletcher has been money for years for fantasy owners but it looks like he might actually be passing the torch a bit.  Fletcher should continue to post solid fantasy numbers but it looks like he won't approach the top tier of fantasy LBs from his SILB position in the Redskins 3-4.  However, the torch passing looks like it is shining on Rocky McIntosh as he is excelling from his WILB as he ranks 4th among all LBs in fantasy scoring.  The only issue with McIntosh is if his knees (he has been under the knife) will be able to hold up to the long grind of the NFL season.  The only thing keeping post Fletcher and McIntosh from better rankings is the Rams offense.  Brian Orakpo was able to log another sack last week but relying on him is a risky proposition.  If you are in a big play league I would bump him up a level this week. As for Andre Carter who plays the other OLB position I ask that we all bow our heads in a moment of silence in regards to the fantasy value that the Redskins 3-4 zapped from Carter.

Secondary:  The Rams offense isn't close to high octane yet but you know that they are still going to get Steven Jackson his touches and that means that LaRon Landry will be busy helping to keep him in check.  Landry has performed just as expected once it was announced he would play the more traditional in the box SS role this year.  Thru two weeks his production isn't a fluke and he should at worst finish as a top 5 DB.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR

James Laurinaitis
Oshiomongo Atogwe
James Butler

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

RamsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Craig Dahl (head) missed practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Oshiomongo Atogwe (thigh) was a limited participant in practice all week but is only listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  With the fantasy value that Chris Long and his DL mates provide the Rams might as well switch to a 3-4 and squeeze out all hope for any fantasy value.  Well, that might be a bit harsh and no I don't own Long but he surely has been frustrating compared to expectations.  At least he got into the box score last week with 3 solos.  If you are a Long owner I wouldn't cut him loose just yet, the upside is still there so let's give him a few more weeks before cutting bait.

Linebacker:  If you didn't know, James Laurinaitis is nicknamed Lil' Animal and if you didn't know why it is because his dad was Animal of the Road Warriors.  Well this past week Laurinaitis played like his nickname as he recorded 21 fantasy points by logging 9 solos and a sack.  The Rams defense should be on the field plenty this year and the sky truly is the limit for Lil' Animal.  At this point forward if you weren't looking at him as a plug and play LB I am here to tell you that is what he is. Unless you are in a much deeper league Laurinaitis really is the only Rams LB worth owning.  And this is coming from a Larry Grant owner in two deep leagues.

Secondary:  Oshiomongo Atogwe is the big name in the Rams secondary but at this point in the season he has been point for point by safety Craig Dahl.  Atogwe should end up being the best value in the Rams secondary and this week at worst he should match his 15 PPG average.  As for Dahl he was starting due to injury to James Butler and Butler has been getting more work as each week passed.  This week Dahl (head) has yet to practice and I don't expect him to play.  But I do expect Butler to get back into the starting lineup and pickup where Dahl left off, as well as having a bit of upside since he won't be sharing snaps.


Philadelphia at Jacksonville

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Trent Cole
3 STAR
Ellis Hobbs
Stewart Bradley
2 STAR

Ernie Sims
Quintin Mikell
Nate Allen
Asante Samuel
Brandon Graham

1 STAR
Akeem Jordan
Omar Gaither

EaglesAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Stewart Bradley (concussion) practiced fully this week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.  Bradley is expected back in the starting lineup this week.

Brandon Graham (shoulder) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Trent Cole didn't have a great fantasy game last week but he still ranks as a top 10 DL.  If you are a Cole owner and don't already know it he is a plug and play DL.  That can't be said about many DL (T Cole, M Williams, J Tuck, J Allen & T Suggs) so if you own one of those guys you just live and die with their weekly production.  Brandon Graham continues to look like a great dynasty prospect but his weekly prospects will be very up and down.  This week due to a shoulder injury he was limited in practice on Wednesday but was able to return to a full practice  on Thursday.

Linebacker: Good news for the Eagles defense and fantasy owners is that Stewart Bradley (concussion) is practicing fully this week and looks like he will be back in the starting lineup.  Versus a struggling Jaguars offense I wouldn't look for Bradley to have much upside this week but he should be good to garner at least 5-6 solo tackles.  Hopefully you aren't one of those guys that looks at the weekly numbers and jumps on the top scorer looking for a repeat without looking at the situation.  If you are that guy you will probably have Omar Gaither in your lineup after he posted 22 fantasy points last week while recording 11 solo tackles.  The think is that Gaither's production came while he was holding down Bradley's MLB job.  This week it is back to both the fantasy and NFL bench for Mr. Gaither.

Secondary: In the secondary it sure looks like the Eagles have a keeper in Nate Allen.  Allen again recorded an interception and looks the part of a NFL playmaker.  This week depending on what David Garrard shows up Allen could be in line for a big game.  After that performance last week by Garrard I think the coaches will have drilled ball security into his head the point that he isn't going to be taking much if any risks.  That s why I have Allen as a 2 star play.  Ellis Hobbs is a fringe 3 star play this week but if your league gives points for return yards then he makes for a solid play.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Daryl Smith
3 STAR
Sean Considine
David Jones
2 STAR

Kirk Morrison
Anthony Smith
Courtney Greene
Rashean Mathis
Aaron Kampman
Derrick Harvey

1 STAR
Austen Lane
Justin Durant
Derek Cox

JaguarsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Justin Durant (ankle) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Daryl Smith (thigh) was limited in practice on Wednesday but was a full participant on Thursday and Friday and he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Anthony Smith (foot) was also limited on Wednesday and a full participant on Thursday and Friday but he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Even though Aaron Kampman is still looking for his first double digit fantasy performance of 2010 it sure looks like he is easily going to have the most value of all the Jaguars DL.  Of course that should be Derrick Harvey but Harvey has yet to show anything to make us think he is ready to turn the corner and be fantasy relevant yet.  This week if the Jaguars want to have any defensive success against the Michael Vick led Eagles the Jaguars DEs are going to need to make sure they have containment against Vick and that surely should limit their fantasy value.

Linebacker:  So far fantasy owners have to be completely frustrated with Kirk  Morrison.   Expectations were high when he came over to the Jaguars from the Raiders, where he was a tackle machine.  But so far Morrison isn't playing in the nickle and has faltered horribly for fantasy owners. Even without nickle snaps you would expect Morrison to put up better than 4 solos when the Chargers backs ran the ball 29 times.  I wouldn't cut ties but if you have better options you might want to look at using them until Morrison shows something.  One thing that could help Morrison's production is that Justin Durant hurt his ankle and was in a boot after the game last week.  So far Durant isn't practicing this week and it looks like he will be replaced by Russell Allen in the starting lineup.  As it stands now Daryl Smith looks like he is going to be fantasy relevant again this year.

Secondary: The Jaguars were without 2 of their 4 starters in the secondary in week 2.  One being Derek Cox was because he was benched in the 2nd half of week 1 and ended up being inactive due to a coaches decision.  Cox did have a foot injury he has fought through this year so there could be some hope that if and when he can get back into a groove that he might be able to reclaim his starting job from David Jones.  Courtney Greene got the start at SS for Anthony Smith last week who was also inactive.  Greene had a great game in his steed too.  But unlike Cox, Smith was inactive due to an injury.  This week Smith is practicing in full so there is no telling right now who will get the start at SS.  If either is announced as the starter early enough I would have no problem bumping him up to a 3 star play.


San Diego at Seattle

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Kevin Burnett
Steve Gregory
Eric Weddle

2 STAR
Stephen Cooper
Quentin Jammer
Antoine Cason
Shaun Phillips
Brandon Siler
1 STAR

Luis Castillo
Darrell Stuckey
Shawne Merriman

ChargersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Stephen Cooper (knee) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Linebacker: Good news for the Chargers is that Stephen Cooper (knee) practiced on Wednesday, be it on a limited basis but he still practiced.  I wouldn't look at putting Cooper back in my starting lineup until we see him get back on the field on gameday.  Kevin Burnett owners probably wouldn't mind seeing Cooper take his time getting back as he was able to post 5 solos and an interception last week.  But it was Brandon Siler who actually replaced Cooper in the starting lineup and out-produced Burnett by recording 6 solos and an interception.  If Cooper returns to the lineup Siler will most certainly lose most if not all of his fantasy value.

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.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Earl Thomas
Lawyer Milloy
3 STAR

Kelly Jennings
Marcus Trufant

2 STAR

Lofa Tatupu
Aaron Curry
Chris Clemons
David Hawthorne
Red Bryant
Jordan Babineaux

1 STAR
Brandon Mebane

SeahawksAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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: Red Bryant and Chris Clemons are the Seahawks starting DEs but they are far form inspiring fantasy options.  Unless you are in a very deep league I would leave them both on the bench.  Actually, unless you are in a deep league they should be on your waiver wire.

Linebacker:  While the Seahawks LBs are the strong point of their defense they aren't exactly lighting up the fantasy box scores.  No Seahawks LB ranks higher than 50th among LBs in PPG.  Lofa Tatupu is the one that ranks 50th and he is followed by Aaron Curry who ranks 73rd and then there is David Hawthorne who ranks a lowly 107th with just 5.5 PPG.  At this point starting any Seahawks LB is a risky proposition.  The Chargers should put up a decent amount of tackle opportunities but at this point I can't rank any of those guys above a 2 star play.

Secondary:  There was much talk about Pete Carroll passing on Taylor Mays for Earl Thomas this past year during the draft but it sure looks like Carroll made a good move by selecting Thomas.  Currently Thomas is averaging 14 PPG which makes him a high end DB3.  Thomas should be a strong play this week versus the Chargers too as he should be plenty busy with Antonio Gates.  Lawyer Milloy put his week 1 eye issues behind him and racked up an impressive 18 fantasy points versus the Broncos last week. Look for Milloy to continue putting up strong stats this week too.


Oakland at Arizona

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Tyvon Branch

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

Raiders Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 47
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 57

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) was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday but practiced fully the rest of the week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Last week the Raiders DL all had poor weeks. Of course that doesn't include Richard Seymour but only because he was inactive due to a balky hamstring.  John Henderson got the start with Seymour ailing but only posted 3 solos and this week due to a foot injury he was unable to practice on Wednesday. Seymour on the other hand was at least able to practice on a limited basis.  Now after all that, don't do anything crazy just keep the Oakland DL on your bench or allow them to languish on the waiver wire.

Linebacker: Wether you drafted Rolando McClain in a rookie draft or early in your redraft league you are sure to be disappointed with his performance after just two weeks.  McClain should be able to right the ship but it might take him a few weeks to get his "NFL legs" under him so he can start just playing instead of thinking.  Versus the Cardinals McClain and all Raiders LBs are extremely risky plays and should be left on fantasy benches.  The main reason is that the Cardinals offense looks horrible and last week they only gave up 31 tackle opportunities, the NFL average is 50. If Beanie Wells can make a go of it that would be a big help but it still isn't something I would be willing to hang my hat on to start any Raiders LB.

Secondary:  Tyvon Branch made the most out of just 35 tackle opportunities but in all honesty it was the sack he recorded that salvaged his day.  Otherwise his 4 solo and 1 assist output would have been a big disappointment for fantasy owners.  This week looks to be more of the same so while I have Branch listed as a 3 star play it is far from a strong 3 star ranking and his upside this week is probably limited to a DB3 at the very best.

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

Cardinals Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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: So far it looks like Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell are alternating good fantasy performances.  If the trend holds then Dockett should be the one with better numbers this week. The thing that should at least be noted is that these two really are making the most of their opportunities by ranking in the top 22 of all DLs (Campbell 20, Dockett 22).  For 3-4 DLs that is no small feat.

Linebacker: Rookie LB Daryl Washington followed up his solid week 1 performance with a huge 10 solo tackle effort in week 2.  Washington looks like he is going to be a major player at LB for a long time and has a ton of dynasty value.  This week versus the Raiders I would temper expectations some.  His 3 star ranking does have some upside but if he struggles this week don't be surprised.  Paris Lenon was also able to put up a fantastic 9 solo and 2 assist effort but when you face 45 rushing attempts expecting much less wouldn't say much.  Yes, you read that right, the Cardinals faced 45 rushing attempts last week.  That isn't happening this week and they will be lucky to see a combined 45 tackle opportunities.

Secondary: Greg Toler put up another strong tackle effort as he logged 7 solos and 1 assist on the 66 tackle opportunities the Falcons put up.  With 66 tackle opportunities it is easy to be very peeved with the 4 solos that Adrian Wilson put up.  This week the Raiders will look to give their passing game a shot in the arm as they are starting the gritty Bruce Gradkowski,  I am just not sure the shot will  be enough to make the Cardinals secondary safe plays this week.


Indianapolis at Denver

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jerraud Powers
Antoine Bethea

3 STAR
Robert Mathis
Gary Brackett
Melvin Bullitt
Kavell Conner
2 STAR
Kelvin Hayden
Dwight Freeney
1 STAR
Phillip Wheeler
Clint Session

Colts Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Clint Session (hamstring) missed practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.  I expect him to be inactive again this week.

Gary Brackett (back) missed practice on Wednesday but was a full participant the rest of the week and he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Jerraud Powers (foot) practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday but missed Friday's practice and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.  Make sure to check the Sunday Inactive Report before inserting Powers into your lineup.

Defensive Line:  Last week Dwight Freeney had a monster game when he racked up 17 points by recording 2 solos, 1 assist, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.  The problem with Freeney can be seen just by looking at his week 1 versus week 2 production.  Inconsistency is the word with Freeney, he is easily one of the best DEs in the game today but when it comes to fantasy football he is a risky start.  On the other hand there is Robert Mathis who is a much better fantasy DE as can be seen by his performances in week 2.  Mathis currently ranks as the 2nd best fantasy DL and while he won't keep up that pace he should easily end up as a DL2 at worst this year.  This week Mathis should be a safe play for his owners.

Linebacker: Gary Brackett (back) missed practice on Wednesday but the good news is that on Thursday he was able  to fully participate in practice.  Brackett has yet to post a double digit fantasy performance this year and has been far from the safe solid fantasy LB that he has been in the past.  I wouldn't cut ties with Brackett just yet but his situation is one worth monitoring.  Clint Session (hamstring) was inactive last week and this week he has missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday so it doesn't look good for this week either.  Kavell Conner started in place of Session last week and while he didn't have a spectacular game his 5 total tackles are respectable when you realize that the Giants only gave up 38 tackle opportunities.  The Broncos should be able to put up at least that many tackle opportunities and if they can approach 50 tackle opportunities than he should be a safe 3 star play.

Secondary:  Antoine Bethea is once again holding down the secondary for the Colts with Bob Sanders out due to injury.  Bethea might just be one of the best DBs that most people never heard of.  All he has done the past 2 years is put up consecutive top 15 performances. 2010 is no different with currently ranking 14th among DBs.  This week with what looks to be a pass happy Broncos team as his opponent I would look for Bethea to keep up his current production level.  Melvin Bullitt had a tough 6 point effort last week but the matchup this week looks like it is good enough to rank him as a 3 star play. The Broncos have given up 5 solo tackles to each teams top scoring CB in consecutive weeks. Jerraud Powers is a strong tackler and should have no problem reaching the 5 solos at a minimum and could easily rack up 7+ solos this week.

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

Champ Bailey

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

BroncosAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 44

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.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Champ Bailey (foot) and Andre Goodman (thigh) both missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but each was able to participate in a limited fashion on Friday which has both listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: The Broncos play the fantasy unfriendly 3-4 defense thus rendering their DL for the most part useless. Believe it or not but the top 2 Broncos fantasy DL have scored a whopping 6 total points thru 2 weeks.  With numbers like that I won't even embarrass them by mentioning their names.

Linebacker: Don't let DJ Williams 7 point fantasy output dampen your spirts about his fantasy outlook for this year. Williams should still be looked at as a plug and play top 5 type LB.  His production last week was severely limited by the 40 tackle opportunities the Seahawks gave up.  Mario Haggan was also limited for the same reason but this week versus the Colts he should see enough opportunities to be a low level 3 star play. 

Secondary:  Brian Dawkins had a fantastic game considering the limited opportunities he faced.  His 18 fantasy points is what owners were hoping to see more of this year.  Look for Dawkins to  keep it rolling this week as the potent Colts offense rolls into town.  Champ Bailey has a foot injury that kept him out of practice so he is a risky start this week.  Andre Goodman looks like a risky 3 star play considering he is coming off of a 1 solo effort last week but with Peyton Manning across the line he should be able to put up much better numbers this week. 


NY JEts at Miami

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

Eric Smith
Brodney Pool
Darrelle Revis

JetsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Darrell Revis (hamstring) and Calvin Pace (foot) have both been ruled OUT for this week.

Defensive Line: Sione Pouha continues to put up very strong fantasy numbers.  This week while facing just 40 tackle opportunities versus the Patriots he was still able to log 6 solo tackles which actually led all Jets players.  Yep hard to believe but true.  At this point it is hard to sit Pouha but expecting him to keep up this type of production just isn't wise.  However, in DT mandatory leagues he should be bumped up to a 5 star play and looked at as an every week start until he starts to show otherwise.  As for this week if there is one thing that we know it is that the Dolphins are going to run the football.  Outside of that the interesting story is that of Jason Taylor returning to play his former team.  Taylor will probably be fired up and looking to make the Dolphins realize that they shouldn't have let him go but the risk is still to great to give him more than a 2 star play.

Linebacker: At LB David Harris has been a bit of a letdown so far this year as he has only logged 6 solos and 4 assists thru 2 weeks.  If there is ever a week that Harris should shine this is the week as the Dolphins will look to control the ball with their running game.  If Harris was playing better this would normally be an easy 5 star play.  As a Harris owner I am still holding out hope that he will rebound and have a very productive year this year.  Bart Scott will be a  bit inconsistent in fantasy scoring but this week he should be able to fill a LB3 role for most owners.

Secondary:  The big news about the secondary is that Darrell Revis will miss this week due to his hamstring injury that he reagravated against Randy Moss and the Patriots.  As far a good fantasy play in the Jets secondary the only player I would be wiling to bet on this week would be Jim Leonard.

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

Cameron Wake
Channing Crowder

1 STAR
Sean Smith
Vontae Davis
Chris Clemons
Kendall Langford
Randy Starks
Jared Odrick
Bobby Carpenter
Tim Dobbins

DolphinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Jared Odrick (ankle) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Channing Crowder (groin) was a limited participant in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Kendall Langford posted the best fantasy performance (10 points) of any Dolphins DL this season in week 2 versus the Vikings.  However, that isn't really saying much and to be honest all Dolphins DLs should be avoided.  And yes that includes Randy Starks too.

Linebacker: Channing Crowder is finally practicing again, albeit on a limited basis. As far as the fantasy prospects of Crowder I would easily wait to see him on the field to see how he performs coming off his injury.  While Crowder has yet to get on the field Karlos Dansby has not only been there but been a difference maker too.  From a fantasy perspective you have to love the consistency he has shown thru 2 weeks.  Posting 15 fantasy points in week 1 and then 16 in week 2.  This week if the same Jets team that beat the Patriots shows up then Dansby should have little problem meeting his 15.5 PPG average  and seeing him crack 20+ points wouldn't be surprising. 

Secondary:  Jason Allen has started the season off on fire but I expect we will see him fall back to earth sooner rather than later.  While Allen has scored more fantasy points than Yeremiah Bell so far I wouldn't expect that to continue.  Bell is currently a top 10 DB and I fully expect him to stay in that range for the entire year.  This week versus the Jets Bell should have a fantastic game that should have the Jets leaning heavily on their running game.


Green Bay at Chicago

5 STAR
Clay Mathews
4 STAR
Charles Woodson
3 STAR

Nick Collins
Nick Barnett

2 STAR

Morgan Burnett

1 STAR
Ryan Pickett
Cullen Jenkins
AJ Hawk
Brandon Chillar
BJ Raji
Tramon Williams

Packers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Charles Woodson (toe) was limited in practice on Friday.

Clay Mathews (hamstring) injury hasn't kept him from being a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday.

Defensive Line:  The Packers DL play a vital role in the success of their 3-4 scheme but offers little to no fantasy value.

Linebacker: Clay Mathews is the epitome of white hot right now.  Not only has he racked up 5 sacks thru 2 games but he has also added 12 solos with 6 of them being tackles for a loss.  DeMarcus Ware wasn't able to log any sacks versus the Bears last week but that doesn't change the fact that I think Mathews will log multiple sacks again this week.  Don't be surprised if Mathews breaks the NFL sack record in his sophomore season.  I know I won't be surprised because he is that good and that hot right now.  Nick Barnett should also be productive enough versus the Bears offensive attack to put up solid 3 star numbers.

Secondary: If one thing is going to be true this week it is that the Bears will test the Packers secondary.  So far Jay Cutler has only thrown 1 interception this year.  I said so far, I fully expect to se the Packers to add to that total this week. Look for Charles Woodson to be very busy and for him to put up a strong 4 star effort.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Zackary Bowman
Charles Tillman
3 STAR

Brian Urlacher
Julius Peppers

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

BearsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 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:

Lance Briggs (ankle) missed practice on Thursday but was able to practice in a limited fashion on Friday.

Defensive Line:  Julius Peppers has been a severe disappointment thru two weeks.  Peppers is one of the best DEs in the game today but so far his NFL ability isn't translating into fantasy points.  More than likely if you are a Peppers owner you can't sit him so you have to keep running him out there and hope he can bust out of his fantasy funk.  I would fee better about that happening if the Packers were giving up sacks like they were last year, but they aren't.

Linebacker: Lance Briggs currently ranks 9th among LBs but an ankle injury kept him out of Wednesday's practice.  With the Bears playing on MNF we won't have an update on the Bears 3rd practice of the week which is a good indicator of if a player is going to play or not in the upcoming game.  Look for a Friday injury update but understand that if Briggs doesn't practice on Friday that he will make for a very risky play.  The added risk comes from him playing on MNF which means if he can't go most teams will probably be out of replacement options to cover him.  These risks are exactly why Briggs is a 2 star play instead of the 4 star play that he should be.  If Briggs can't go on Monday night I would look for Brian Urlacher to put up 4 star numbers instead of 3 star type production.  Urlacher might not be the top 5ish type LB that he used to be but seeing him but up top 15 numbers is encouraging.

Secondary: So far with Charles Tillman changing sides it has yet to really slow down his fantasy production as he is averaging 15.5 PPG.  Zachary Bowman is playing what should be the more productive position and his 14.5 PPG is solid but still less than Tillman. No matter the position both CBs should be very strong plays versus the Packers potent passing attack.


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