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.
Stephen Tulloch (TEN): Mark me down as someone who doubted Tulloch’s skills and potential to end up as a top-tier LB once he was “the man” for the Titan LB corps. Didn’t think he had near the kind of talent Keith Bullock had. I was wrong. He’s the #1 LB in traditional formats and should continue to post solid, LB1 numbers from here on out.
A.J. Hawk (GBP): Hawk was fading into complete bust status before a 4-week blow-up. Coupled with a little bit of a decline from Clay Matthews, Hawk has posted terrific numbers, catapulting him into the top-15 of LBs in traditional IDP scoring. Might be a good time to sell high on Hawk, though, since he’s never shown any kind of consistency.
James Anderson (CAR): Dan Connor has fallen out of the top-25 and Jon Beason is hanging on by a string. Anderson, on the other hand, has remained strong and appears to be the best Panther LB to own. Might be another sell-high candidate, although we wouldn’t be shocked if he continued to score better than Beason moving forward.
Lofa Tatupu (SEA): It’s funny, you would have thought that the only way Tatupu would end up here was if David Hawthorne and/or Aaron Curry were putting up numbers. Actually, it’s Tatupu that leads all Seahawk LBs in points; too bad it’s only good for a ranking around #70.
Rolando McClain (OAK): Best LB in this summer’s draft class? Check. Stepping into a starting spot that had traditionally netted huge fantasy points? Check. Somewhere around the 60th-best fantasy LB? Check there, too. Ouch.
HOT DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Justin Smith (DE – SFO): His move to the Bay Area signaled a huge jump in value, and despite a couple disappointing seasons, is off to a solid start this year and should finish in the top 10 with his upcoming schedule.
Haloti Ngata (DT – BAL): IDP stalwarts have been waiting a long, long time for this. Ngata has all the talent in the world, and is on a defense that tends to “make things happen”. It’s only this season that he’s decided to put it all together and currently ranks as the #3 overall DL in traditional scoring formats. An obvious choice in leagues that start DT.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Stylez White (DE – TBB): Maybe he should change his name back to “Greg”. There should always be opportunities for the lead pass rusher in the Tampa-2 scheme. White is doing very little, if anything, with that role.
Jay Ratliff (DT – DAL): This guy was a force last season, and he and the entire Cowboy defense have been real disappointments this season.
HOT DEFENSIVE BACKS
T.J. Ward (S – CLE): No other rookie DB is anywhere close in terms of fantasy output. Ward was supposedly a liability in pass coverage, but is posting solid fantasy stats. There’s no one else that’s challenging him for his job and should continue to post 13-14 fantasy points per week from here on out.
DeAngelo Hall (CB – WAS): Wow, in most scoring formats, Hall and his fellow secondary mate LaRon Landry lead all DB scoring. Opposing QBs will continue to test the somewhat aggressive Skin secondary, and Hall will make the most of those chances.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE BACKS
Tom Zbikowski (S – BAL): With Ed Reed back and Big Z himself nursing an injury, the honeymoon is all but over.
Nnamdi Asomugha (CB – OAK): If for nothing else, his inclusion on this list is but to remind you that the best, shutdown corners are usually not fantasy options.