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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 4
Steve Gallo
October 1, 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
Year To Date
Avg TOs
Faced
Year To Date
Defensive
Scheme
Defensive
Coordinator
Fantasy Relevant IDPs
ARZ 39 59 3-4 Bill Davis Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington, Greg Toler
ATL 64 44 4-3 Brian VanGorder John Abraham, Kroy Biermann, Curtis Lofton, Sean Weatherspoon, Mike Peterson
BAL 49 43 3-4 & 4-3
Greg Mattison Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain
BUF 43 55 3-4 George Edwards Paul Posluszny (injured), Donte Whitner
CAR 44 53 4-3 Ron Meeks Charles Johnson, Jon Beason, Dan Connor
CHI 45 49 Tampa 2 Rod Marinelli Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs,
Charles Tillman
CIN 55 43 4-3 Mike Zimmer Antwan Odom, Dhani Jones, Roy Williams, Leon Hall (CB mandatory leagues)
CLE 45 52 3-4 Rob Ryan TJ Ward, Joe Haden (CB mandatory leagues)
DAL 53 43 3-4 Wade Phillips Jay Ratliff, Bradie James
DEN 56 47 3-4 Don Martindale DJ Williams, Mario Haggan, Brian Dawkins
DET 48 56 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Kyle Vanden Bosch, DeAndre Levy (injured), Louis Delmas
GB 50 44 3-4 Dom Capers BJ Raji (DT mandatory leagues), Nick Barnett, Clay Mathews, Charles Woodson
HOU 56 50 4-3 Frank Bush Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Bryan Cushing (suspended weeks 1-4), Zac Diles (during Cushing suspension)
IND 56 50 Tampa 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett, Clint Session (injured), Antoine Bethea, Robert Mathis
JAX 52 48 4-3 Mel Tucker Aaron Kampman, Kirk Morrison, Justin Durant (injured), Daryl Smith
KC 49 46 3-4 Romeo Crennel Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry
MIA 50 47 3-4 Mike Nolan Karlos Dansby, Yeremiah Bell
MIN 51 47 4-3 & Tampa 2 Leslie Frazier Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway, Antoine Winfield
NE 50 54 3-4 Bill Belichick &
D-Staff
Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung
NO 52 53 4-3 Gregg Williams Will Smith, Alex Brown, Roman Harper
Sedrick Ellis (DT mandatory leagues) Jonathan Vilma
NYG 52 53 4-3 Perry Fewell Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Michael Boley, Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips
NYJ 44 50 3-4 Mike Pettine Sione Pouha (DT mandatory leagues), David Harris
OAK 55 44 4-3 John Marshall Trevor Scott, Richard Seymour (DT mandatory leagues), Rolando McClain, Tyvon Branch,
PHL 48 53 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 47 52 3-4 Dick LeBeau James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons,
Troy Polamalu,
SD 53 44 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper (injured), Kevin Burnett, Eric Weddle
SEA 42 55 4-3 Gus Bradley Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, Lofa Tatupu
SF 46 50 3-4 Greg Manusky Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Dashon Goldson
STL 52 48 4-3 Ken Flajole James Laurinaitis, Oshiomogho Atogwe
TB 49 46 Tampa 2 Raheem Morris Gerald McCoy (DT mandatory leagues) Stylez White Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes, Sean Jones,
Aqib Talib (CB mandatory leagues)
TEN 52 51 4-3 Chuck Cecil William Hayes, Derrick Morgan, Stephen Tulloch,
Cortland Finnegan, Chris Hope, Michael Griffin
WAS 41 61 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 THIS YEAR.

QUICK GAME LINKS

BYE WEEK TEAMS: DALLAS, Kansas City, Minnesota & TAMPA BAY

NY Jets at Buffalo

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
David Harris
Jim Leonhard
2 STAR
Sione Pouha
Bart Scott
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 4 opponent: 50

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Darrell Revis (hamstring) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Calvin Pace (foot) is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. He didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday but did participate on Friday in a limited fashion.

Jason Taylor (elbow) was limited in practice all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Sione Pouha up until last week had put up very good numbers for a DT in a 3-4 defense.  But as with most any 3-4 defenses there is always a fair amount of risk in starting their DL.  This week versus what should be a challenged offensive attack just sets up the Jets DL to be very risky starts this week.  In other words leave them all on your bench.

Linebacker: David Harris finally broke out of his early season funk and recorded 7 solo tackles last week.  Harris is still the LB to own on the Jets and I still think he will end up being a top 10-15 LB.  This week you need to temper expectations but Harris should still have no problem being a 3 star play.  Bart Scott has far more NFL value to the Jets than he does to fantasy owners. Scott will have weeks where he can be started but this week isn't one of them.  In big play leagues if you are looking for a swing for the fences play then you might want to look at Jason Taylor and/or Bryan Thomas.  Both Taylor and Thomas very well could get to new Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick multiple times this weekend.

Secondary:  Darrell Revis still isn't practicing but even if he was he wouldn't make for a good play this week.  The only Jets secondary player I would look at starting is Jim Leonard.  There should be just enough Bills offense for Leonard to log 5 solo stops with the outside shot for a big play too.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Paul Posluszny

3 STAR

Donte Whitner
Akin Ayodele
Kyle Williams

2 STAR

Chris Kelsay
Drayton Florence

1 STAR
Dwan Edwards
Marcus Stroud
Keith Ellison
Andra Davis
Terrence McGee

BillsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  47
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 53

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Paul Posluszny (knee) is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report, he was a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday.

Andra Davis (shoulder) has been ruled OUT for this week.  Look for Akin Ayodele to replace him in the starting lineup.

Terrence McGee (knee) has been ruled OUT this week.

Marcus Stroud (ankle) has been ruled OUT this week.

Defensive Line:  Mark Sanchez may have ramped up the Jets passing attack but make no mistake about it that the Jets are a run first team.  This week look for the Jets to run the ball enough to make Kyle Williams a bye week option in normal leagues and a good start in DT mandatory leagues.

Linebacker: Good news for Paul Posluszny owners is that as it stands now it looks as if he will make his return to the field for the Bills this week.  Normally I wouldn't rank a player coming off an injury as a 4 star play but this matchup would be a 5 star play if Posluszny weren't coming off an injury.  Chris Kelsay may not be a good fantasy option at LB but that didn't stop the Bills from rewarding him with a four year contract extension worth in excess of $20 million.  The extension surely shows that the team feels like Kelsay made the needed transition from DE to OLB in their new 3-4 scheme.

Secondary:  I think that for the most part that all of the Bills secondary players are risky plays this week.  However, if you are going to run anyone out into your lineup I would do so with Donte Whitner.


Denver at Tennessee

5 STAR
DJ Williams
4 STAR
Brian Dawkins
3 STAR
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 week 4 opponent: 51

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Brian Dawkins (ankle) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: The Broncos play the fantasy unfriendly 3-4 defense thus rendering their DL useless for fantasy purposes.

Linebacker: Over the Titans last 8 home games they have lost just two games and it is no surprise that in both of those losses Chris Johnson had fewer than 25 touches in each game. Look for CJ to eclipse 30 touches this week and that makes DJ Williams a very strong play.  Mario Haggan doesn't have much big play ability but if CJ does touch the ball as much as I expect look for Haggan to log at least 5-6 solo tackles too. 

Secondary:  Brian Dawkins should be a 5 star play based on the matchup but his erratic play and the fact that an ankle injury kept him out of practice on Wednesday is a bit of cause for concern and why I am only ranking him as a 4 star play.  Outside of Dawkins I wouldn't look to start Champ Bailey or Andre Goodman.  Simply because I just don't see the Titans putting the ball in the air more than 20 times this weekend.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Chris Hope
Michael Griffin
Will Witherspoon

3 STAR

Stephen Tulloch
Cortland Finnegan
Jason  Babin

2 STAR

William Hayes
Vincent Fuller
Colin Allred

1 STAR
Jacob Ford
Tony Brown
Jason McCourty

TitansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 43

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Jacob Ford (knee) missed practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Jason McCourty (forearm) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Defensive Line: Jason Babin came crashing back down to Earth in a big was last week as he only posted 4 fantasy points.  This week against the pass happy attack of the Broncos I would expect that Babin should have a decent bounce back game.  What helps Babin is that Jacob Ford is still not practicing too. 

Linebacker:  Last week was a big week for Stephen Tulloch owners as he recorded 13 total tackles and a pass defended to put up 23 fantasy points (most of all LBs in week 3).  This week I would expect that Tulloch will have his numbers limited a bit by the passing attack of the Broncos.  Yes, Tulloch is a 3 down LB but I just don't see him making the most against a pass happy attack like the Broncos.  On the other hand there is Will Witherspoon who I think will have a very good game and should actually outperform Tulloch this week.

Secondary: Not only have Michael Griffin and Chris Hope had a nice start to the season but this week they face a Broncos team that has given up on average more than 6 tackles/game to opposing starting safeties.  About the only thing that could work against them as well as secondary mate Cortland Finnegan is if the Titans are able to really limit the Broncos time of possession with their running game led by Chris Johnson.


Cincinnati at Cleveland

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR
None
2 STAR
Antwan Odom
Dhani Jones
Leon Hall
Rey Maualuga
Roy Williams
Michael Johnson
Jonathan Joseph
1 STAR
Chris Crocker
Robert Geathers
Keith Rivers
Jonathan Fanene

BengalsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 50

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Antwan Odom (wrist) was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but practiced fully on Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Defensive Line: Antwan Odom was inactive last week but more than likely you didn't miss him in your starting lineup.  So far on the year the Bengals DL has been horrid from a fantasy perspective.  Just how horrid?  Try that Bengal DEs have recorded a combined 9 solo tackles in 3 weeks.  Yep, just 3 solos/game for all the Bengals DEs combined.   At DT it isn't any better.  All of the Bengals DTs combined have chipped in and recorded just 6 solo tackles.  Yep, just 2 solos/game. That makes for a very good argument to sit all Bengals DLs until further notice. 

Linebacker: Last week was a bit of a bump in the road for Dhani Jones as he only logged a combined 5 tackles (3 solo, 2 assists) versus the Panthers.  This week versus what could again be a challenged offensive unit I wouldn't look for Jones to bounce back this week.   Sure the Browns could get their running game going with Peyton Hillis and Jerome Harrison but I am not sure that I would want to bet on it.

Secondary: It is slightly unusual to find a  defensive team that has its CBs recording more tackles than their safeties but currently that is how it breaks out for the Bengals.  So far thru 3 weeks no Bengals S has recorded more than 4 solos in game (Roy Williams, week 1) and relying on Williams, Chris Crocker or Chinedum Ndukwe just wouldn't be wise.  At CB it isn't much better but at least Johnathan Joseph was able to record 6 solo tackles in week 1.  However, there has been no consistency from him because he has only recorded 5 more solos since week 1.  Leon Hall might not be racking up much in the way of tackles but he has been able to nab 2 interceptions over the past 2 weeks.

5 STAR
TJ Ward
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Eric Barton

2 STAR

Chris Gocong
Scott Fujita
Eric Wright
Sheldon Brown
Joe Haden
Matt Roth
Abram Elam
David Bowens
Ahtyba Rubin

1 STAR

Kenyon Coleman
Robaire Smith
Shaun Rogers

BrownsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 50

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Kenyon Coleman (knee), Shaun Rogers (hip, ankle) & Robaire Smith (back) are all listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Short, sweet and to the point, there is no other consistent fantasy value on the Browns DL.  However, if you are in a DT mandatory league you can give some consideration to Ahtyba Rubin who should do relatively well against the Bengals rushing attack.

Linebacker: Last week I wrote that D'Qwell Jackson was practicing and was closer to seeing the field than many realized.  However, Jackson had a setback in practice and ended up being put on season ending injured reserve.  Disappointing to say the least for those that drafted Jackson and were sitting on him while he was rehabbing his injury.  In dynasty leagues I would still stash him on IR if at all possible. That means that there should be some nice stats for someone to step up and grab. Both Chris Gocong and Eric Barton have had nice days but neither has been consistent.  It is a situation I would keep a close eye on but not one I would jump feet first into just yet. 

Secondary:  I wrote last week that Rookie TJ Ward has done well taking advantage of D'Qwell Jackson missing from the middle of the Browns defense.  Well with Jackson now on IR it very well could be a huge boon for Ward.  Look for Ward to approach or surpass 10 total tackles this week. 


Carolina at New Orleans

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jon Beason
James Anderson
Richard Marshall

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

Panthers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 52

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Tyler Brayton (ankle) and Greg Hardy (foot) are both listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.  Both players missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but participated in a limited fashion on Friday.

Jamar Williams (neck) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Defensive Line: Last week Tyler Brayton was able to actually play but his impact was extremely minimal from a fantasy perspective as he only recorded 1 solo tackle and 1 assist.  As of the Wednesday injury report it also shows that Brayton didn't practice and that his fellow lineman Greg Hardy was also a non-participant in Wednesdays practice.  At this point the safest play on the Panthers DL is Charles Johnson and that is only as a low level DL2/3 at this point.

Linebacker: Another week is in the books and James Anderson once again led all Panthers LBs in solo tackles with 5.  Anderson and Beason both combined to log 9 total tackles each but Anderson did have 1 more solo.  Dan Connor had a disappointing 2 solos and 2 assists and this week I wouldn't expect much better numbers.  The Saints passing attack should keep the Panthers in their nickle and dime coverage for much of the game and that will severely limit Connor's tackle opportunities.  As far as it goes with Anderson just keep riding the hot hand.

Secondary:  For the most part secondaries have fared pretty well against the Saints offensive attack.  Richard Marshall hasn't done much as of yet this year but I would look for a breakout type performance this week. Both Charles Godfrey and Chris Gamble should also be good starts this week too.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Will Smith
3 STAR
Jonathan Vilma
Alex Brown
2 STAR

Tracy Porter
Malcolm Jenkins
Sedrick Ellis
Jo-Lonn Dunbar
Scott Shanle
Jabari Greer

1 STAR
Danny Clark
Roman Harper

SaintsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:53
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 51

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Roman Harper (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday and was only able to participate in Friday practice in a limited fashion.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Both Will Smith and Alex Brown had their best fantasy performance of the year in week 3.  Smith racked up 14 fantasy points on 5 solo tackles, 1 assist & 1 sack.  Brown was only 3 points shy of Smith's total and logged 5 solo tackles and 1 pass defended.  This week they should be in line for another good week as they face a Panthers team that has given up 7 sacks to DEs this year.  But if you dig a bit deeper you see that the Bengals DEs who have been horrid only contributed 1 sack against the Panthers and that means that in weeks 1 and 2 opposing teams combined for 3 sacks/game.  The Saints should have no problem getting out to a big lead and that will allow both Smith and Brown to just pin their ears back and get after Jimmy Clausen.

Linebacker: Jonathan Vilma put up another top performance in week 3 and now ranks 10th among LBs in fantasy scoring.  Week 3 also marks the 2nd straight week that Vilma has recorded double digit combined tackles.  This week Vilma will probably come back to the pack some due to the Panthers lack of a credible offense.  However, I think he should at least be able to post a minimum of 10 fantasy points and should remain in lineups this week.  Scott Shanle and Jo-Lonn Dunbar have the ability to be spot starts but this isn't one of those weeks.

Secondary:   The Saints secondary got a bit beat up in last weeks game as Roman Harper missed some plays and Tracy Porter left the game due injuries.  Harper was still able to scrape together a decent 13 point effort for his owners but Porter left his owners high and dry with a 4 point effort.  Neither Harper, Porter or even Jabari Greer make good plays this week.  Especially, Harper who has missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to injury.  Porter wasn't listed on the injury report and should be back on the field this week.


Baltimore at PIttsburgh

5 STAR
Terrell Suggs
4 STAR
Ray Lewis
3 STAR
Jameel McClain
Dawan Landry
2 STAR

Jarrett Johnson
Haloti Ngata
Kelly Gregg
Fabian Washington
Chris Carr
Ladarius Webb

1 STAR
Tavares Gooden (injured)
Tom Zibikowski
Cory Redding

Ravens Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 52

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Defensive Line: The Steelers have given up multiple sacks to opposing DEs in 2 of the 1st three weeks and that just bodes well for Terrell Suggs. Suggs has the ability to log multiple sacks on his own this week.  Sure Charlie Batch had a very good week last week but this week look for him to be running for his ancient life.  In DT mandatory leagues Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg should be solid plays versus the Steelers rushing attack.

Linebacker:  If you want to understand why Ray Lewis is a 4 star play after putting up mediocre numbers in 2 of 3 games so far, look no farther than how other MLBs have performed against the Steelers this year. Year to date MLBs are averaging just under 9 combined tackles/game versus the Steelers.  Lewis should have no problem at all keeping that trend going.  Jameel McClain should also be a solid start as WLBs are averaging just over 6 combined tackles/game versus the Steelers too.

Secondary:  In the Ravens secondary the best play this week will be Dawan Landry.  Starting strong safeties are averaging almost 7 combined tackles/game versus the Steelers and that is a pretty strong number considering how many tackles MLBs and WLBs are averaging against the Steelers.  Dunta Robinson, Cortland Finnegan & Ronde Barber all had pretty good games when they faced the Steelers but I wouldn't be willing to put money on Fabian Washington, Chris Carr or even Ladarius Webb doing the same.

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

SteelersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 46

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

Defensive Line: I still stand by my assessment that the Steelers DL doesn't present much if any fantasy value.  Sure Brett Keisel has put up 9 fantasy points and 12 fantasy points in consecutive weeks but there is no way he will be near consistent enough to warrant being a starter unless you are in the deepest of leagues.  Also it should be noted that in accumulating those 21 fantasy points the past two weeks only 4 of the 21 points have come off of 2 solo tackles.  Relying on a player like that for fantasy points will bite you in the rear much more often than not.  Also, my guess is that the big man is still taking oxygen after that 79 yard interception return for a TD versus the Panthers. 

Linebacker:  The Steelers defense has definitely been the contributing factor in them sitting at 3-0.  And in route to that record both Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison have been richly rewarding for fantasy owners.  Timmons is the top dog among all LBs with 22.33 PPG (points/game) average and Harrison is right on his heels (actually Lance Briggs) as he ranks 3rd with 19.33 PPG.  While the two have similar PPG averages the similarities stop there.  Timmons leads all LBs in solo tackles with 26 and in combined tackles with 33.  Meaning he is averaging just under 9 solo tackles and 2.3 assists per game.  Harrison on the other hand tends to do his damage with big plays.  He only has 23 combined tackles, 3 less than Timmons has in solos but he has added 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles to his stats too.  Timmons is easily the safer play due to his penchant for ringing up tackles and that is why he is a 4 star play.  No matter how good Harrison has been so far this year his 3 star ranking comes due to the risk he presents due to his need for big plays to really make noise in the box score.

Secondary:  Last week Troy Polamalu had his worst performance of the year, posting just 8 fantasy points.  The Buccaneers gave up less then stellar tackle opportunities and that shouldn't be an issue this week so look for Polamalu to put up Polamalu like numbers again.  Ryan Clark should also be in line for a good week as starting FSs are averaging right around 6 combined tackles versus the Ravens this year.


San Francisco at Atlanta

5 STAR
Patrick Willis
4 STAR

None

3 STAR
Dashon Goldson
Taylor Mays
Justin Smith
2 STAR
Navorro Bowman
Shawntae Spencer
Nate Clements
1 STAR
Manny Lawson
Parys Haralson
Travis Laboy
Takeo Spikes (benched)
Michael Lewis (benched)

49ersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 50

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Dashon Goldson (knee, foot) was limited in practice all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Half of all starting DEs versus the Falcons this year have recorded 5 solo tackles.  Look for Justin Smith to add to that total.  Outside of Smith I am taking a pass on all other Niners DLs. 

Linebacker:  Something is not right in the universe right now.  And that something is that Patrick Willis doesn't currently rank as the #1 fantasy LB.  Currently Willis ranks 6th in PPG with 18.33/game.  But don't kid yourself, Willis is still money when it comes to starting LBs and this week he should be big money versus the Falcons and their potent offense.  Outside of Willis I am in no way going to start guys like Parys Haralson, Manny Lawson or Navorro Bowman.  Just don't do it.

Secondary: The most important news about the Niners secondary is that Michael Lewis has been benched and rookie Taylor Mays is slated to start in his place.  Mays makes for a bit of a risky 3 star play but if you have any bye week issues he is someone worth considering plugging into your lineup.  Dashon Goldson should also post his best score of the year this week.  I was very close to ranking Goldson as a 4 star play but I feel a bit better ranking him as a 3 star play and saying he presents some upside rather than giving him a no brainer 4 star ranking. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Curtis Lofton
Mike Peterson
Jonathan Babineaux

2 STAR

Brent Grimes
Dunta Robinson
Thomas Decoud
Kroy Biermann
John Abraham
William Moore
Eric Coleman

1 STAR
Jamaal Anderson
Sean Weatherspoon

FalconsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 48

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) was unable to practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Eric Coleman (knee) was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was able to practice fully on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Currently the Falcons DEs have been a severe fantasy letdown and this week it doesn't get any better. No DE has recorded more than 3 solos versus the Niners this year and there is no reason to expect that John Abraham or Kroy Biermann are going to reverse that trend.  Especially with how poor they have played fantasy wise to date.  However, at DT Jonathan Babineaux is a fairly strong play.  Since returning from a week 1 suspension he has put up nice numbers for two consecutive weeks and opposing DTs have had 2 of the best box scores versus the Niners this year.  Look for Babineaux to have a solid 3 star day and in DT mandatory leagues he should be bumped up to a 4 star play.

Linebacker: The Niners fired their OC this past week so there is no telling how that will change their offensive game plan but my guess is that they will want to lean heavily on Frank Gore to try and keep the Falcons potent offense off the field as much as problem.  That in and of itself should make for a very good matchup for Curtis Lofton so you must be wondering why he is only ranked as a 3 star play.  Well it has to do with the risk of not truly knowing what to expect from the Niners offense.  The other 3 star play is Mike Peterson and that must have you scratching your head a bit.  Well the reason that Peterson is the 3 star play and that Sean Weatherspoon is a 1 star play is because Weatherspoon has missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday due to injury.  If additional information comes out and says that Weatherspoon will start and play then I would have no problem raising him to a 3 star play and lowering Peterson to a 2 star play but at this point I don't see that happening.

Secondary:  Eric Coleman has missed the last two games due to injuries and William Moore has filled in pretty well for those games.  This week Coleman is at least practicing again and it looks like he could end up back on the field this week.  However, since there is no telling if the Falcons will spell him with Moore means that neither make good or safe options.  Do yourself a favor and just look elsewhere for DB help this week.


Seattle at St. Louis

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Earl Thomas
Lawyer Milloy
Lofa Tatupu

2 STAR

Kelly Jennings
Aaron Curry
David Hawthorne
Red Bryant
Chris Clemons

1 STAR
Brandon Mebane
Jordan Babineaux
Marcus Trufant

SeahawksAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 47

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Aaron Curry (hamstring) progressed from not practicing on Wednesday to participating fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Chris Clemons (ankle) missed practice on Thursday and was a limited participant on Friday.  He is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Marcus Trufant (ankle) missed practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Leroy Hill has been placed on season ending IR.

Defensive Line: Only Darnell Dockett (6 solos) and Maake Kemoeatu (5 solos) are the only 2 DL to have had good games against the Rams so far this year.  Red Bryant and Chris Clemons have both but together some decent games this week but due to what looks like a poor matchup I have ranked both as a 2 star plays. However, I fully expect that one of them will post decent numbers but figuring out who it will be is the risky part right now.  If you held a gun to my head and said I had to pick who has the better performance I would pick Clemons.

Linebacker:  As it stands now trying to figure out the Seattle LB situation with regards to fantasy is far from an easy proposition.  At this point only Lofa Tatupu has consistently put up good numbers and that is why he is the only LB with a ranking higher than 2 stars.  David Hawthorne has a ton of talent and fantasy owners have even loftier expectations for him.  Well last week Hawthorne put up a huge 18 point effort but more than likely it was on owners benches after 2 very poor games in weeks 1 and 2.  I wouldn't recommend trying to chase points with Hawthorne and would leave him as well as Aaron Curry on your bench.

Secondary:  Both Earl Thomas and Lawyer Milloy have been treating their fantasy owners very well this year and this week should be no different.  Most DBs haven't fared well against the Rams but LaRon Landry and Kareem Moore were both able to log 6 combined tackles each last week versus them.  Thomas and Milloy should be able to pull that feat off too.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR

James Laurinaitis
James Butler

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

RamsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 50

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Oshiomongo Atogwe (thigh) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was able to practice on a limited basis Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Craig Dahl (head) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Opposing DLs have done very poorly versus the Seahawks this year and expecting James Hall or Chris Long to change that trend isn't wise.  I still hold out hope that Long will be able to work his way into a solid low end DL2 but at this point I will be waiting on the sidelines with him.

Linebacker:  James Laurinaitis is among the league leaders at LB with 20 solo tackles but his 1 lonely assist doesn't do much to additionally pump up his stats.  His upside this week is limited mainly due to the fact that the Rams official scorer is stingy when it comes to assists and Laurinaitis is probably looking at 5-7 solos only because of that reason.  Larry Grant should be left on benches, that is if he is even rostered in your league.

Secondary:  Oshiomongo Atogwe is fighting a thigh injury that has kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday.  If Atogwe ends up practicing on Friday and looks like he will play you can bump him up to a 3 star play.  But at the moment it doesn't look good for him so look for James Butler to pick up the slack and post a very nice stat line this weekend.


Detroit at Green Bay

5 STAR
Louis Delmas
4 STAR
Kyle Vanden Bosch
CC Brown
3 STAR

Ndamukong Suh
Chris Houston
Julian Peterson

2 STAR
Jonathan Wade
1 STAR
Alphonso Smith
Cliff Avril
Zack Follett
Landon Johnson
DeAndre Levy

LionsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  46
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 51

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

DeAndre Levy (groin) missed practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Kyle Vanden Bosch (back) missed practice on Friday but is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

CC Brown (forearm) and Louis Delmas (groin, biceps, calf) are both listed as PROBABLE on the injury report after being limited in practice all week.

Chris Houston (knee) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: If you look at the box score for the Packers game last week you will see that Aaron Rodgers wasn't sacked even once against the Bears.  But that also doesn't tell the entire story because there were more than enough holding calls that basically saved Rodgers from ending up on his back.  The same could happen this week but with the pressure was getting to Rodgers I have to rank Kyle Vanden Bosch as a 4 star play.  Ndamukong Suh has been a nice play for a rookie at a normally unproductive DT position and this week I would look for him to keep up his solid play.

Linebacker: Julian Peterson has yet to log his first sack of the season yet he has still put up 2 double digit fantasy efforts.  This week I expect that Peterson will get his 1st sack and should be a good play as a bye fill in.  As for DeAndre Levy he looks to still be fighting a groin injury as he didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday.  Levy did get back on the field last week but his 2 solos aren't exactly awe inspiring, leave Levy on your bench until we can see that he is healthy and going to produce solid fantasy stats.  If  Levy doesn't play this week look for Landon Johnson to replace but don't look for Johnson to provide any sort of fantasy relevant points.

Secondary: Versus a very potent Packers offense I am expecting to see Louis Delmas and CC Brown to have very nice games this week.  Delmas is nursing multiple injuries and actually missed practice on Wednesday but over the past weeks Delmas hasn't let his injuries slow him up and unless there is a major setback there is no reason to think he won't be a very strong play this weekend.  Brown should also reap rewards for his owners as he faces the Packers but there is some risk associated with him since he is far from what I would call a good safety. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Charles Woodson
Nick Barnett
Clay Mathews

2 STAR

Morgan Burnett
Nick Collins
Tramon Williams

1 STAR
Ryan Pickett
Cullen Jenkins
AJ Hawk
Brad Jones
Frank Zombo
Brandon Chillar
BJ Raji

Packers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 50

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

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: Last week Clay Mathews showed exactly why it is risky to rely on rush OLBs.  It was the first week t hat Mathews didn't record double digit fantasy points and it isn't a coincidence that it was also the first time this year that he didn't record any sacks.  I am still ranking Mathews as a 3 star play but I see plenty of downside with him if he doesn't get to the QB.  I don't see much upside at all for any other Packers LB facing the Lions this week, that is other than Nick Barnett.  I still don't see much if any upside for Burnett but he should at least be able to put up 5-6 solos tackles this week.  Frank Zombo has been making the most of his playing time but Brad Jones is practicing and if he makes it back that should end up pushing Zombo back into a reserve role.

Secondary: The Packers safeties will occasionally post a decent stat line but for the most part the Packers 3-4 scheme limits their production and basically renders them useless for fantasy purposes.  CBs Charles Woodson should be a solid start and an above average start in CB mandatory leagues.  Don't be surprised to see Woodson pick off an errant pass this weekend.


Houston at Oakland

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

TexansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2002*-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 41
*1st year in the NFL .

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Mario Williams (groin) practiced fully all week but is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

DeMeco Ryans (quadricep) practiced fully all week and is also listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: In what looked to be a good matchup for Mario Williams last week ended up being nothing more than a disappointing week where he put up a big goose egg.  Simply put, it happens.  Don't second guess it just keep plugging Williams into your starting lineup.  He is listed on the injury report with a groin injury but it hasn't kept him from practicing fully on Wednesday and Thursday.  Outside of Williams no other Texans DL is worthy of starting consideration.

Linebacker: Both DeMeco Ryans and Zac Diles have been solid starting options for owners this year.  Diles has scored in double digits all 3 weeks and Ryans in 2 of the 3 weeks with his only non-double-digit performance being his 8 point effort in week 2.  This week the Raiders should continue to try and run the ball and that means that both Ryans and Diles should be in line for solid fantasy scores.  It should also be noted that this is the final week in Brian Cushing's league imposed suspension.

Secondary:  The Raiders have given up some huge performances to opposing safeties this year and when coupled with how good Pollard has been playing it is no wonder why I have him as a 5 star play.  Look for Pollard to surpass 12 combined tackles versus the Raiders.  Eugene Wilson's hamstring injury kept him from practicing on Wednesday and Thursday.

5 STAR
Tyvon Branch
4 STAR
Rolando McClain
3 STAR

Richard Seymour

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

Raiders Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 47
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 49

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Richard Seymour (hamstring) was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: When it comes to the Raiders DL the only one currently worth starting is Richard Seymour.  However, Seymour has a hamstring injury that kept him out of practice on Wednesday.  Monitor the Friday Injury Report Update and if Seymour looks like he will play then he can stay a 3 star play but if not then of course he gets bumped down to a 1 star play.  It also doesn't help the Raiders DL that Matt Schaub is one of the hardest QBs to sack in the league.

Linebacker: With the Texans having their main offensive weapon, Andre Johnson at less than 100%, I fully expect to see them lean heavily on their rushing attack in attempt to get back into the win column after suffering a tough loss to the Cowboys last week.  If the Texans can establish their run with Arian Foster I expect to see Rolando McClain easily have the best game of his young NFL career.  I am sure that most owners will want to bench McClain but I think that would be a big mistake this week.

Secondary:  The fact that the Texans passing game could be severely limited due to Andre Johnson's injury will limit the Raiders secondary some.  But Tyvon Branch is active enough that he should still be able  to have a very big game even if the Texans don't pass much. 


Indianapolis at Jacksonville

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

None

3 STAR
Robert Mathis
Antoine Bethea
Gary Brackett
2 STAR
Jerraud Powers
Kelvin Hayden
Melvin Bullitt
Dwight Freeney
Cody Glenn
Tyjuan Hagler
1 STAR
Phillip Wheeler
Clint Session (injured)
Kavell Conner (surgery)

Colts Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 47

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Clint Session (hamstring) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday but is still listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Gary Brackett (back) practiced fully all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Jerraud Powers (foot) practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday but didn't participate in practice on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Things don't look like they will be improving anytime soon for the Jaguars.  The Colts lead the series with the Jaguars 14-4 and have won 5 of the last 6 times they have played.  Much of the reason for the Colts recent success versus the Jaguars is due to the play of Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.  Freeney is a very inconsistent fantasy scorer and that is why he is a 2 star play.  Mathis on the other hand is much more consistent fantasy wise and that is why he is a 3 star play.  The thing that scares me most is just how bad the Jaguars have looked so far this year.  There is  good chance that the Jaguars offense could be so bad that Mathis won't have many opportunities to make an impact in the box score. 

Linebacker: Gary Brackett should be a decent play this week as the Jaguars will most assuredly try to get MJD going in an effort to keep the high octane Colts offense off the field.  Outside of Brackett you are going to have a hard time finding another Colts LB worth starting. Clint Session is still fighting a hamstring injury and Kavell Conner who had replaced him in the starting lineup underwent surgery for a broken bone in his foot.  Cody Glenn and Tyjuan Hagler will both probably be used to fill in for Session this week.

Secondary:  Antoine Bethea makes for a bit of a risky 3 star play when you consider that only 2 DBs  have recorded more than 4 solos versus the Jaguars so far this year.  Outside of Bethea starting Kelvin Hayden, Jerraud Powers or Melvin Bullitt is something that I wouldn't recommend.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Daryl Smith
3 STAR
Kirk Morrison
David Jones
Gerald Alexander
2 STAR

Anthony Smith
Courtney Greene
Rashean Mathis
Aaron Kampman
Derrick Harvey
Sean Considine

1 STAR
Austen Lane
Justin Durant (injured)
Derek Cox (benched)

JaguarsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 51
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 48

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Sean Considine (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday then was a limited participant on Thursday but on Friday missed practice again.  He is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Aaron Kampman is performing better than I thought he would this early in the season but this week isn't the best matchup for him.  Facing Peyton Manning pretty much assures us that Kampman or Derrick Harvey aren't going to log any sacks this week. 

Linebacker:  It looks like Justin Durant is going to miss another game due to an ankle injury.  He missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday.  Kirk Morrison has been a bit of a disappointment so far this year but at least last week he was able to log his first double digit performance of the year.  Hopefully he can get things going but as it stands now it looks like Daryl Smith is the best fantasy option on the Jaguars.  This week Smith should be very busy versus the Colts offense.

Secondary: Sean Considine is far from a great football player but he finds a way to put up good fantasy numbers.  The reason he is a 2 star play this week is because he missed practice on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury.  The Jaguars also re-signed Gerald Alexander and it looks like the Considine injury could land Alexander in the starting lineup this week.  Courtney Greene had gotten into the starting lineup due to an Anthony Smith injury but Smith isn't listed on the injury report this week and could very well be back as the starter this week.  The only thing that I would recommend would be to leave both Smith and Greene on fantasy benches to see exactly how they are used this week.  If Considine shows improvement in practice this week then I will swap him and Alexander  in the rankings.


Washington at Philadelphia

5 STAR
LaRon Landry
4 STAR
Rocky McIntosh
3 STAR

London Fletcher
DeAngelo Hall
Kareem Moore

2 STAR

Andre Carter
Carlos Rogers
Brian Orakpo

1 STAR
Albert Haynesworth
Phillip Daniels

RedskinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 47

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Kareem Moore (knee) and DeAngelo Hall (back) are both listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Linebacker:  This looks like it is the year that we are starting to see kinks in the armor of London Fletcher.  He should be a solid 3 star play this week but the vertical passing game of the Eagles and their lack of a running attack will limit Fletcher's production this week.  Rocky McIntosh had his worst performance of the year last week but still ranks as a top 10 LB.  McIntosh is barely a 4 star ranking due to what I perceive as a poor matchup but he should still bounce back and put up 15-17 fantasy points this week.

Secondary:  While I am sure that LaRon Landry owners are aware that he is having a beastly season I bet they didn't realize that Landry actually leads the NFL in tackles.  Landry has easily become a plug and play DB this year.  If you own him ride him hard and if you don't own him you should be trying to acquire him.  Kareem Moore came back from injury and posted respectable stats last week.  This week versus the Eagles vertical passing attack he should once again post solid numbers and can be looked at as a nice bye week player.

5 STAR
Trent Cole
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Quintin Mikell
Nate Allen
Stewart Bradley
2 STAR

Ernie Sims
Ellis Hobbs
Asante Samuel
Brandon Graham

1 STAR
Akeem Jordan
Omar Gaither

EaglesAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 51

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Brandon Graham (ankle) practiced fully all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: For the most part the Redskins have been pretty stingy against opposing DEs this year. And that might have you asking how can Trent Cole be a 5 star play.  Well for starters Cole is coming off a monster game last week and ranks 1st among all DLs in fantasy scoring.  The other reason is that Mario Williams was able to tear up the Redskins to the tune of 3 sacks. I don't see anyway that Cole isn't a 5 star play this week.  Especially considering the game is in Philly.

Linebacker: There looks like there will be some changes at the Redskins RB position this week and I am not sure how productive the Redskins running attack will be.  Stewart Bradley has the most to gain and the most to lose among the Philly LBs but I think at a minimum Bradley should be able to log 5-6 solo tackles.  As far as starting Ernie Sims I just wouldn't do it this week.

Secondary: The Redskins haven't been the best matchup for opposing DBs this year and ranking both Quintin Mikell and Nate Allen as 3 star plays is probably a bit risky.  I fully expect Mikell to have the better day of the two but Allen has really showed he is a play maker I will admit it is more of a gut feeling as to why I have him ranked as I do.


Arizona at San Diego

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

Cardinals Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 45

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Paris Lenon (pelvis) missed practice on Thursday and was limited on Friday and is QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Considering that the Chargers haven't given up more than 4 solos to any DL this year I look at Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett as risky plays this week and that is why they are only ranked as 2 star plays.  Chris Clemons was able to log 2 sacks versus the Chargers last week but expecting either to repeat the performance this week would be a bit much.

Linebacker: The Chargers have given up some nice games to LBs this year and I see no reason why Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington shouldn't be good starts this week.  The one thing that currently makes Lenon a risky start is that he popped up on the Thursday injury report with a pelvic injury that kept him from practicing on Thursday. 

Secondary: Outside of Lawyer Milloy and Walter Thurmond the Chargers have been pretty stingy to opposing DBs.  Greg Toler has seen his production decrease each week and when coupled with the trends of DBs versus the Chargers it was an easy decision to rank him as a 2 star play.  Kerry Rhodes is a bit of a risky 3 star play but he has been playing well the past 2 weeks and I look for him to continue that trend.

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 4 opponent: 54

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Larry English (foot) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Shawne Merriman (calf) missed practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Darrell Stuckey (hamstring) missed practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

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

Linebacker: Stephen Cooper has been fighting a knee injury but he was able to practice in full on Wednesday so the prospects for him getting back on the field this week looks pretty good.  I just wouldn't be to quick to get him back into fantasy lineups before seeing him testing that knee in a game.  Kevin Burnett has been solid yet unspectacular so far this year and versus the Cardinals he should at the very least be a decent LB3 option.  Brandon Siler looks to lose the most value if Stephen Cooper can go full bore this week.

Secondary: DBs have been pretty hit or miss versus the Cardinals so far this year but Eric Weddle and Steve Gregory should both be solid DB3 options this week.  However, the challenged Cardinals passing attack should be enough to zap away any and all upside the rest of the secondary would normally have.


Chicago at NY Giants

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Lance Briggs
Brian Urlacher
Charles Tillman
3 STAR

Julius Peppers
Tim Jennings

2 STAR
Chris Harris
DJ Moore
Danieal Manning
1 STAR
Israel Idonije
Nick Roach
Mark Anderson
Zackary Bowman (benched)

BearsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 54

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

Defensive Line:  It might not be much to console Julius Peppers owners but his biggest enemy last week was the almighty penalty flag.  And I don't mean because Peppers was jumping offsides or hitting the QB late but because the Packers were continually holding Peppers in order to keep Aaron Rodgers upright.  Of course that doesn't translate into fantasy points but the way that Peppers is playing it is easy to see that the fantasy points will come.  It might be a tough pill to swallow but if you are a Peppers owner you just need to keep him plugging him into your starting lineups.  And as a Peppers owner I can say that I won't be sitting him anytime soon.

Linebacker: Currently Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher both rank in the top 5 of all LBs.  Briggs and Urlacher surely had to carry many owners to wins with their performances on Monday Night Football.  There should be no reason whatsoever that both Briggs and Urlacher shouldn't approach 20 fantasy points scored this weekend versus the Giants.

Secondary: Strong fantasy performances don't always equate to good NFL performances and that is why players like Zackary Bowman can end up getting benched.  Prior to week 3 Bowman was a top 25 fantasy DB and he was averaging 8 total tackles/game.  Tim Jennings ended up replacing him and put up a very nice 16 fantasy points.  If Jennings can keep the LCB job he should be able to be relied upon as a solid DB2 option for owners.

5 STAR
Justin Tuck
4 STAR
Michael Boley
Antrel Rolle
3 STAR

Mathias Kiwanuka
Kenny Phillips

2 STAR

Aaron Ross
Corey Webster
Jonathan Goff
Osi Umenyiora

1 STAR
Jason Pierre-Paul
Keith Bulluck

GiantsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 52

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Mathias Kiwanuka (neck) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Keith Bulluck (toe) didn't practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Osi Umenyiora (knee) missed practice on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  So far this year the Bears have done a pretty good job protecting Jay Cutler, as he has only been sacked 7 times so far this year.  Considering how susceptible the Mike Martz offense makes the QB to sacks that really isn't as bad as it may seem.  But this week Cutler will be facing one of the best DEs in the league in Justin Tuck.  I am looking for Tuck to have a huge week where he should be among the top 2-3 scoring DEs for the entire week. 

Linebacker:  The passing attack of the Bears should keep the Giants in their nickle package quite a bit this weekend and that will go a long way towards making Michael Boley a strong play.  Keith Bulluck is fighting a toe injury that has kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday so he looks like a risk to even play this weekend.

Secondary: For the most part, the Giants haven't been the best matchup for opposing safeties this year but Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips should  be exceptions to the norm and both belong in starting lineups.  In week 1, Louis Delmas and CC Brown were both able to put up good numbers so I don't see any reason why the duo of Rolle and Phillips can't do the same.


New England at Miami

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

Tully Banta-Cain

1 STAR
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 4 opponent: 51

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

Defensive Line: The Patriots 3-4 scheme limits the fantasy value of their DL and therefore none of their DL are safe starts.

Linebacker:  The top ILB for each team versus the Dolphins this year has recorded a minimum of 7 solo tackles. That makes this a prime matchup for Jerod Mayo.  The Dolphins threw the ball very well against the Revis less Jets last week but I think they will look to get their running game going this week so that gives Mayo a bit of upside too.  Tully Banta-Cain can get after the QB but being able to put up consistent fantasy points is another thing.  Unless you are in a serious bye week bind i would leave Banta-Cain on the bench.

Secondary:  When you look deep at the matchup you will see that no safety has recorded more than 5 solo tackles versus the Dolphins this year.  But Chung has pretty much been playing lights out this year and with basically just Jerod Mayo in front of him he should have plenty of opportunities to rack up tackles.  If the Dolphins throw the ball around like they did versus the Jets then I easily will have the rest of the secondary ranked wrong but I highly doubt we see a repeat of Chad Henne putting the football in the air 44 times again this week.

5 STAR
Yeremiah Bell
Karlos Dansby
4 STAR
Jason Allen
3 STAR
Channing Crowder
2 STAR

Cameron Wake
Vontae Davis
Chris Clemons

1 STAR
Sean Smith
Kendall Langford
Randy Starks
Jared Odrick
Bobby Carpenter
Tim Dobbins

DolphinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 4 opponent: 47

Notes: Star ranking boxes are now color coded based on tackle opportunities given up by opponent for the 2010 season.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Channing Crowder (groin) was limited in practice on Thursday but then missed practice on Friday.

Defensive Line: Last week I said that all Dolphins DLs should really be avoided for fantasy purposes and I still feel strongly about that statement.  Unless you are in a very deep league you should take a pass on the Dolphins DLs.

Linebacker: Karlos Dansby is continuing to put up very strong fantasy numbers and at this point is easily a plug and play LB. I expect that Dansby will be all over the field versus the Patriots.  Channing Crowder practiced some last week but was still unable to get back on the playing field for game action.  This week Crowder is again practicing in a limited fashion but until we see him in an actual game he should remain firmly planted on fantasy benches.  Once he does get back into the starting lineup I do think we will see him put up LB3 type numbers but at this point we are in a holding pattern with him.

Secondary:  Yeremiah Bell has put up top notch numbers all year so far and this week should be no different for him.  The Patriots have only given up more than 5 solo tackles to one safety this year but that doesn't concern me one bit with where I have Bell ranked this week.  Jason Allen is also having a very good year but it is bolstered largely by his 27 point effort in week 2.  This week Allen presents a bit of risk as a 4 star play so that means I don't see any upside in his ranking. 


 
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