Welcome to this week's IDP Hot and Not Report. Here, we’ll take a look at a few linebackers, defensive linemen and defensive backs that are off to hot starts and a few that have stumbled out of the gate a bit. This article is designed to assist the beginning IDP’er or those in “play ‘em once” leagues, or to just foster some discussion about the future prospects of IDPs that were more than likely drafted in most leagues.. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to discuss the players in further detail or recommend a name or two.
James Anderson (CAR): Wow, who would have expected the 5th-year LB to lead the fantasy standings come end of Week 4. It appears that it’ll be Anderson, and perhaps not Dan Connor, who will continue to get the Beason leftovers with Thomas Davis shelved. If you were lucky enough to grab Anderson off waivers – ‘cuz let’s face it, he probably wasn’t drafted – then you got a gem.
Curtis Lofton (ATL): After a pair of ho-hum games during Weeks 2 and 3, Lofton jumped back on the stud-wagon and turned out a big Week 4. He’s got a trio of good matchups upcoming so get him in your lineup.
Clay Matthews (GBP): Some fantasy football owners are fickle, bottom line. Matthews started the 2010 season on fire, but has dropped off significantly in the past two games. The Packer D doesn’t have much of a pass rush outside of Goldilocks, so opposing OLs are able to key on stopping Matthews. But not so fast; eventually, Matthews is going to have some big games. If you’re able to steal him away from a disappointed (read: fickle) owner, it could be a minor coup. Especially if your league weighs sacks a bit heavier.
Stewart Bradley (PHI): He’s been dealing with a concussion, and perhaps could still be feeling some pain from his knee injury last season. Either way, this was once a linebacker with stud potential that’s been relegated to your bench.
Andre Carter (WAS): A poster-child for the “hybrid” LB/DL whose move – technically – to LB absolutely killed his value. Even if he were DL-eligible, you would rather not have to deal with 6 fantasy points per game. Seek help elsewhere.
HOT DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Chris Clemons (DE – SEA): Maybe I should have waited to include Clemons, since after all, twice in a row could be coincidence, and three times in a row is a trend. Right? Well Clemons has posted back-to-back 14-point fantasy efforts, and while you won’t be able to use him this coming week (Seattle’s on bye), he’ll be a nice option during Week 5 against the (gulp) Bears and Week 6 against the Cards. Sweet.
Barry Cofield (DT – NYG): Aside from the Ravens’ Haloti Ngata, no other DT has put up as many fantasy points as the big G-man. Hasn’t scored less than 8 fantasy points in any outing thus far, which is a solid stat for a DT. Has a few solid matchups prior to the Giants’ Week 8 bye. If you’re in a league that starts DT, he’s a must-start.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Jamaal Anderson (DE – ATL): This cat has freaky talent, but at this point you can pretty much ink him in as a bust. Did I mention freaky talent? Dude has 2 sacks in 3+ years. This guy had freaky Julius Peppers talent coming out of Arkansas, but just hasn’t translated any of that freaky talent into NFL love. Miss.
Amobi Okoye (DT – HOU): Speaking of freaky talent, let’s look at this potential game-changer that has really just served as a decoy for Mario Williams in his 3+ seasons. He busted out with 5.5 sacks as a rookie, but has a whopping 2.5 since. In dynasty leagues, you really have no choice but to hold on to this man-child, since he could bust out at any time.
HOT DEFENSIVE BACKS
Patrick Chung (S – NEP): And with that, the talented Pat sits atop the DB heap. We caught some flack for ranking Chung so high a week back, after claims were made that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to make plays against a poor team like the Bills. Well, he made plays then, and obviously made plays on MNF against the Fins. Definitely a solid DB1 moving forward.
Greg Toler (CB – ARI): With the Card offense sputtering like a Ford Pinto, their defense will see plenty of time on the field. The obvious benefactor thus far in the Cards’ ineptitude is the 2nd-year corner from the football powerhouse St. Pauls College. Currently the 8th-best DB (in “traditional” formats), Toler is getting plenty of tackle opportunities, has 2 forced fumbles and even a sack. Yet another example of “wait on DB”.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE BACKS
Eric Weddle (S – SDC): We’ve fallen into the Weddle Trap more than a few times here at The Huddle. He’s been a top DB performer for couple years now, but has really fallen off this season. He’s shown flashes, and will likely start putting up better numbers, but can you really afford to wait around? May be a “buy low” candidate if you’re bargain hunting.
Champ Bailey (CB – DEN): He’s the elder statesman in terms of being a “shutdown corner” and is a perfect example of these kinds of players just not being very good fantasy options. He currently ranks #136 overall in DBs. So if you’re in a 70-team league, he’s a low-end DB2. Otherwise, he should be at the very far end of your fantasy bench in dynasty formats.