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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 9
Steve Gallo
November 5, 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 this years stats.  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 41 56 3-4 Bill Davis Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington, Greg Toler, Paris Lenon
ATL 57 50 4-3 Brian VanGorder Kroy Biermann, John Abraham, Curtis Lofton,
Sean Weatherspoon, William Moore
BAL 53 47 3-4 & 4-3
Greg Mattison Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, Dwan Landry
BUF 47 57 3-4 George Edwards Paul Posluszny, Andra Davis, Donte Whitner,
Dwan Edwards, Kyle Williams
CAR 46 53 4-3 Ron Meeks Charles Johnson, Jon Beason, James Anderson,
Dan Connor, Charles Godfrey
CHI 45 49 Tampa 2 Rod Marinelli Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Brian Urlacher,
Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings
CIN 52 49 4-3 Mike Zimmer Dhani Jones, Nedu Ndukwe
CLE 47 52 3-4 Rob Ryan TJ Ward, Scott Fujita, Kenyon Coleman
DAL 52 48 3-4 Wade Phillips Jay Ratliff, Bradie James
DEN 50 52 3-4 Don Martindale DJ Williams, Mario Haggan, Brian Dawkins (injured)
DET 51 51 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Kyle Vanden Bosch, Louis Delmas, DeAndre Levy
GB 46 50 3-4 Dom Capers BJ Raji (DT mandatory leagues), Desmond Bishop,
Clay Mathews, Charles Woodson, AJ Hawk
HOU 50 54 4-3 Frank Bush Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans (injured reserve) ,
Bryan Cushing, Zac Diles, Bernard Pollard
IND 55 49 Tampa 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett, Clint Session, Antoine Bethea,
Robert Mathis
JAX 51 51 4-3 Mel Tucker Aaron Kampman, Kirk Morrison, Justin Durant,
Daryl Smith, Sean Considine
KC 53 50 3-4 Romeo Crennel Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry
MIA 52 47 3-4 Mike Nolan Karlos Dansby, Yeremiah Bell
MIN 50 48 4-3 & Tampa 2 Leslie Frazier Jared Allen, EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway,
Antoine Winfield
NE 50 55 3-4 Bill Belichick &
D-Staff
Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung
NO 54 46 4-3 Gregg Williams Will Smith, Roman Harper, Jonathan Vilma,
Sedrick Ellis (DT mandatory leagues)
NYG 54 46 4-3 Perry Fewell Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka (injured), Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Terrell Thomas
NYJ 50 45 3-4 Mike Pettine Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, David Harris, Jim Leonhard
OAK 54 45 4-3 John Marshall Richard Seymour, Tyvon Branch, Matt Shaughnessy, Michael Huff
PHL 52 49 4-3 Sean McDermott Trent Cole, Stewart Bradley, Quintin Mikell
PIT 46 51 3-4 Dick LeBeau James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons,
Troy Polamalu
SD 54 44 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett
SEA 47 50 4-3 Gus Bradley Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, Lofa Tatupu, Chris Clemons
SF 47 52 3-4 Greg Manusky Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Dashon Goldson, Taylor Mays,
Nate Clements
STL 53 47 4-3 Ken Flajole James Laurinaitis, Oshiomogho Atogwe, James Hall,
Bradley Fletcher, Chris Long
TB 48 48 Tampa 2 Raheem Morris Stylez White Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes,
Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib (CB mandatory leagues)
TEN 47 55 4-3 Chuck Cecil Jason Babin, Stephen Tulloch, Alterraun Verner
Chris Hope, Michael Griffin
WAS 46 55 3-4 Jim Haslett London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, LaRon Landry, DeAngelo Hall

REMINDER:  STAR RANKING BOXES ARE COLOR CODED BASED ON THE TACKLE OPPORTUNITIES THE TEAM THEY ARE FACING IS GIVING UP ON AVERAGE THIS YEAR.

QUICK GAME LINKS

BYE WEEK TEAMS: Denver, Jacksonville, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tennessee & Washington

NY Jets at Detroit

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

Eric Smith
Brodney Pool
Mike Devito
Vernon Gholston

JetsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 54

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

David Harris (back) missed practice on Wednesday but was then able to practice fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Calvin Pace (foot) practiced fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

Darrelle Revis (hamstring) practiced fully all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Brodney Pool (head) was limited in practice on Thursday but then returned to a full practice on Friday and is listed as a PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Shaun Ellis should be a nice DL2 play this week as the Lions have given up at least one sack each week this season to an opposing DL.  There is some risk with Ellis though because in his last two games he has logged just 2 solo tackles.  Sione Pouha was thrust into a starting role when Kris Jenkins went down with another knee injury back in week one and for the most part he has been a nice fantasy option.  Outside of back to back poor weeks in week 3 & 4 Pouha has easily been a DL1.  This week he should be able to put up 7-9 points and be a solid DL2 with some upside.

Linebacker: Well, I really whiffed on Calvin Pace last week. While he was able to post 2 solos and 2 assists his value was completely tied to being able to get to QB Aaron Rodgers, something that he didn't do. Pace has plenty of ability and could always go off but the risk is to great to take a chance if the matchup doesn't look really juicy, you know like last week's matchup.   Yeah, so much for that.  If you are going to rely on any Jets LB it is David Harris that has finally turned it up a notch and has shown that he is a regular weekly start.  Over his last 3 games Harris has logged 26 total tackles and a sack. Add in that the Lions have given up some very, very nice games to opposing LBs and you can easily see why I have him as a 4 star play. To be honest I was very close to making him a 5 star play but a back injury kept him out of practice on Wednesday and that is why at this point I have him as a 4 star play.  Check back for the Friday Injury Update to see if there is any additional relevant information about Harris.  Bart Scott has only posted double digit fantasy numbers three times so far this year but with number of teams on a bye he looks to be a good LB3/bye week filler this week.

Secondary:  Early in the season the Lions weren't a very good matchup for opposing safeties but over the last 3 weeks that has changed.  Since week 6 the following safeties have all done very well against the Lions, LaRon Landry (17pts), Kareem Moore (16pts), Deon Grant (25pts), Kenny Phillips (16pts) & Antrel Rolle (15pts) so I think that Leonhard is a very nice play this week and even presents some upside. While it probably won't be a very fantasy friendly outcome on the IDP side of things, from a pure NFL outlook I can't wait to see how Calvin Johnson and Darrell Revis plays out this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
DeAndre Levy
Ndamukong Suh
Louis Delmas
3 STAR

Kyle Vanden Bosch
Ashlee Palmer
Amari Spievey

2 STAR
Julian Peterson
Jonathan Wade
Chris Houston
Alphonso Smith
Cliff Avril
1 STAR
CC Brown (OUT)
Bobby Carpenter

LionsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  46
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 46

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

CC Brown (knee) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Ashlee Palmer (hamstring) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

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

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

Defensive Line: If, as the saying goes, "games are won in the trenches" then the Lions are well on their way to winning much more than they have in their recent past.  Ndamukong Suh truly is playing like a man among boys and to top it off he is putting up fantastic fantasy numbers from what is normally a not very productive DT position.  At this point in time Suh is about as close to  a plug and play DL as there is.  Last week, Kyle Vanden Bosch showed that the rest he got over the bye was definitely beneficial. "KVB" had started to fall of pretty dramatically but his 20 point effort will hopefully jump start his second half.  This week I wouldn't expect 20 points again but a solid 10 points should be attainable. DL Cliff Avril has been something of a dynasty darling for many dynasty league GMs but he has pretty much just left those GMs frustrated but last week he gave a glimpse of what many had hoped from him.  I am not sure that he is ready for prime time just yet but if he is finally healthy and the light has turned on then he very well could be ready to step up into a fantasy relevance. 

Linebacker: Last week was a good news, bad news type of week with regards to DeAndre Levy.  Good news was that he made his way back onto the playing field and didn't suffer any additional injuries.  Bad news is that he was only able to log 4 solo tackles.  However, the fact that he still isn't 100% yet could be looked at as good news too.  This week Levy faces a very good matchup against a Jets team that running the ball on average 34 times/game over their last 6 games.  Ashlee Palmer is starting at WLB for the injured Zack Follett and he should be able to be used as a solid bye week filler this week.

Secondary: CC Brown missed practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury and at this point looks doubtful to play this week.  If Brown can't go you can expect for Amari Spievey to take his place in the lineup.  If it plays out like that I do expect Spievey to put up passable DB3 type numbers.  Louis Delmas hasn't exactly lived up to expectations this year but he has still been a pretty solid fantasy DB, this week I am looking for Delmas to put up around 8-9 combined tackles and if we are lucky we will see him pick off a pass, cause a fumble or recover one.


Tampa Bay at Atlanta

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Barrett Ruud
Geno Hayes
3 STAR

Aqib Talib
Ronde Barber
Cody Grimm
Stylez White

2 STAR

Sean Jones
Quincy Black

1 STAR

Gerald McCoy
Kyle Moore

Buccaneers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 50

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

Kyle Moore (shoulder) practiced fully on Wednesday, then missed practice on Thursday and returned to practice fully on Friday.  Moore is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Stylez White isn't exactly a big time DL but he does have a big time type first name.  Anyway back to fantasy football, White does have a sack and forced fumble in each of his last two games.  This week just on sheer volume he should be able to put up viable fantasy stats.  And if he can get to Matt Ryan then he will even present a bit of upside too.  On the injury front the Buccaneers have placed DT Brian Price on injured reserve.

Linebacker: Barrett Ruud and Geno Hayes haven't quite lived up to expectations this year and part of that can be attributed to the fact that they are facing a below average number of tackle opportunities/game, 48.  This week things to change as they face a Falcons team that is giving up a league best 57 TOs/game.  Should the Falcons be able to control this game like I expect then both Ruud and Hayes should be in for a very nice week.

Secondary: The Falcons have been a pretty good matchup for opposing safeties and that should lead to a good week for Cody Grimm.  I see Grimm putting up a 5-0-0 at worst this week and an upside of 8-3-1 makes him a nice 3 star play.  Also, look for Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber to both be equally as busy this week.  In 3 of their 7 games the Falcons have put the ball in the air 40+ times.  So between the run support and sheer volume of pass attempts that Barber will face makes him a very solid 3 star play.  As for his partner Aqib Talib I won't be shocked to see him pick off a pass or two along with his fare share of tackles to boot.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Curtis Lofton
3 STAR

William Moore
Stephen Nicholas

2 STAR

Kroy Biermann
John Abraham
Brent Grimes
Jonathan Babineaux
Mike Peterson
Eric Coleman
Thomas Decoud

1 STAR
Jamaal Anderson
Dunta Robinson
Sean Weatherspoon

FalconsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 49

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Curtis Lofton (knee), John Abraham (ankle) & Dunta Robinson (head, knee) were all limited in practice on Wednesday but each of them practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and are listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Josh Freeman has been sacked multiple times in all but two games this year but with the inconsistency of Kroy Biermann and John Abraham I have a very hard time ranking either above a 2 star play.  If you are in a very tough bind due to byes I would turn to Biermann for help first.  If you do end up starting John Abraham don't be surprised if you see him with as few as 0-1 tackles heading into the 4th quarter but if the Falcons are up like I expect them to be then that could very quickly turn into a 2-0-2 type day for him.  I just think he is a very risky play but if you do run him out just remember that a game is 60 minutes long.

Linebacker: Sean Weatherspoon was held out of last week's game due to a knee injury and currently he still isn't practicing.  As of this writing he hasn't been ruled out yet but I doubt we see him on the field this week.  If that is the case then I would expect to see Stephen Nicholas put up nice numbers as his replacement.  With the number of teams with top LBs on a bye this week you can certainly look at Nicholas as a solid start.  I think we will see the Buccaneers continue to try and utilize Blount in their running game and that bodes well for Curtis Lofton.  The only concern I have is just how successful the Buccaneer running game will be.  For that reason alone I almost ranked Lofton as a 3 star play so realize that I don't see a ton of upside in his ranking this week.

Secondary:  I have the same outlook for William Moore as I do with Lofton.  I think that Moore will benefit from the improved running game of the Buccaneers, I just don't know how much they will be able to stick to it.  Outside of Moore I think the rest of the secondary is a bit risky.  If you are in need of bye week help I can see running with Brent Grimes.


San Diego at Houston

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Kevin Burnett
Stephen Cooper
3 STAR

Eric Weddle

2 STAR
Paul Oliver/Steve Gregory
Shaun Phillips
Antoine Cason
Quentin Jammer
1 STAR

Luis Castillo
Brandon Siler
Darrell Stuckey

ChargersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 46

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Kevin Burnett (shoulder) practiced fully all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report

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

Linebacker: It is official, the Chargers have cut ties with Shawne Merriman.  Merriman was placed on waivers and picked up by the Bills.  More on that to come in the Bills LB section.  As for the Chargers LBs both Stephen Cooper and Kevin Burnett look to be very nice plays this week against the Texans.  For the most part the Texans have been a very nice matchup for opposing LBs this year.  I mean even Rolando McClain recorded 6 total tackles when he faced the Texans.  I look for both Cooper and Burnett to put up between 15-20 points each this week.

Secondary: The Chargers secondary should have some decent value this week but the return of Steve Gregory sort of muddies up the situation a bit.  At this point there is no telling if Gregory will be given back his starting gig and completely take over for Paul Oliver this week or if he will be eased back in this week and split snaps. So with that in mind I think it is best to leave both Gregory and Oliver on the bench this week.  Eric Weddle should be able to post good enough numbers no matter what how the SS position plays out but the possibility of Gregory returning to full 100% duty would also limit Weddle some so there is some risk there too.  Honestly, if you have other options it is probably best to explore them and just wash your hands of the Chargers secondary this week.

5 STAR
Bernard Pollard
4 STAR
Zac Diles
3 STAR
Brian Cushing
Mario Williams
Glover Quinn
Eugene Wilson
2 STAR
Kevin Bentley
Kareem Jackson
Troy Nolan
Mark Anderson
Antonio Smith
1 STAR
Darryl Sharpton
Xavier Adibi
Amobi Okoye

TexansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2002*-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 49
*1st year in the NFL .

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Mario Williams (hip) missed practice on Wednesday, was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line: Mario Williams owners have to be ready to bang their head into a wall with how poorly he has performed this year.  Luckily this week looks to be a pretty good matchup for Williams.  The Chargers have given up 7 sacks to DL over their last 3 games so this is as good a time as any for Williams to get things going.  Mark Anderson posted a very nice 3-1-1 last week and if you are in a deeper league or have serious bye issues I wouldn't hesitate to plug him into the lineup this week. 

Linebacker: The big winner with the LB shuffle due to the loss of DeMeco Ryans sure looks like it will be Zac Diles.  Brian Cushing replaced Ryans at MLB and failed to make as big an impact in the box score as he usually does.  I am sure that as he gets more comfortable with his role that his play will improve but as it stands now it is Diles that is the LB to own from the Texans.

Secondary:  Phillip Rivers is on pace to throw for something like 293,745,845 yards this year, I jest of course but Rivers is on one heck of a pace.  That should bode well for Bernard Pollard, Glover Quinn and Eugene Wilson. The main concern with regards to the Chargers right now is how beat up their receivers are. If the Chargers passing game ends up limited because of those injuries it still doesn't affect how I look at my ranking for Pollard. However, Quinn and Wilson could be dramatically impacted so realize there is some inherent risk with their 3 star rankings.


New Orleans at CArolina

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Roman Harper
Jonathan Vilma
Will Smith
2 STAR

Malcolm Jenkins
Sedrick Ellis
Jo-Lonn Dunbar
Remi Ayodele
Danny Clark
Darren Sharper

Scott Shanle
Jabari Greer
Scott Shanle

Tracy Porter

1 STAR
Jeff Charleston
Patrick Robinson (OUT)
Alex Brown

Leigh Torrence
Anthony Waters

SaintsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:53
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 50

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Patrick Robinson (ankle) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Tracy Poter (knee) practiced fully all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

Jabari Greer (shoulder) was limited in practice on Wednesday but was able to practice fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

Scott Shanle (hamstring) practiced fully all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Will Smith was able to finally get back into the sack column as he posted 1.5 sacks versus the Steelers. For those keeping track Smith hadn't recorded a sack since he got his first of the season back in week 3.  This week Smith faces a Panthers team that has given up its fare share of sacks to opposing DL.  The one caveat is that since their bye week they  have only surrendered 1 sack to an oppositions DL. If Jimmy Clausen was the QB this week I would probably have ranked Smith a 4 star play but with Matt Moore expected to be under center again I think be a bit conservative with Smith's ranking is the wise thing to do.  As for Alex Brown don't even think about starting him at this point in time.  Since his 11 point outburst in week 3 all that Brown has done is record a total of just 14 fantasy points

Linebacker: The solo drought is over!  Jonathan Vilma finally got back into the solo tackle column after recording nothing but assists over the past two weeks.  Not only did Vilma finally record a solo tackle again he recorded 18 fantasy points on the stregth of a 6-2-1 with a pass defensed boxscore.  This week the Panthers will be without out DeAngelo Williams and that very well could limit their rushing attempts Vilma's fantasy value.  I think if you own Vilma you still need to have him in your lineups but there is plenty of risk this week so temper your expectations some.  On the injury front Scott Shanle returned to the field last week and his 5-3-0 was good for 13 fantasy points. If the Panthers struggle offensively this week then I think that Shanle could struggle to put up more than a 4-1-0 type day.

Secondary:   For the past two weeks Roman Harper has posted subpar numbers and much of that can be attributed to only facing  fewer than 40 combined rushing attempts and pass completions in each game.  This week looks like another lean opportunity week so that 3 star ranking is a bit of a risk. The Saints have been hammered by injuries in their secondary so the fact that they look like they will get Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer back this week is good news.  Of course that is offset a bit by the fact that Patrick Robinson will probably miss this weeks game.  Last week Darren Sharper returned to the football field but he was only able to record one single assist but his nose for the football is still as strong as ever as he also recovered a fumble too.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

James Anderson
Richard Marshall

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

Panthers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 49

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Dan Connor (hip) was limited in practice on Wednesday but practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line: The first time that these two teams faced off this year the Panthers DL didn't have a single DE record more than 1 solo tackle.  Derek Landri was the only DL that was productive as he recorded 5 solos from his DT position.  Even that performance was out of the ordinary for a DL against the Saints this year as only two other DL have recorded more than 3 combined tackles against them (Jared Allen 3-1-0 and Justin Smith 5-1-0).  You would be best served by looking elsewhere for DL help this week.

Linebacker: Accepting that Jon Beason isn't going to give his owners what they expected isn't an easy pill to swallow.  I wouldn't go dropping Beason but I would easily drop my expectations for him.  In dynasty leagues I would definitely be trying to buy Beason if and when I could.  This week I think his upside is limited by the passing attack of the Saints but he should still put up around 5-6 solo tackles.  James Anderson has quieted down a bit but after the hot start he had how could you not expect him to see at least a small decrease in his production.  But even then he has still be a solid LB1 and looks like he will stay that course too.  One thing that I have seen people point out is that the main difference between Beason and Anderson is that Beason isn't making any big plays this year while Anderson is. That is true as Beason has zero sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles & fumble recoveries and only has 2 passes defended. Anderson has made an impact in all of those categories as he has 2.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble & 2 fumble recoveries with 5 passes defended.  As much as that looks to be why Anderson is dwarfing Beason's stats the devil is in the tackle details where Anderson is on pace for 119 solos and 37 assists while Beason is only on pace for 85 solos and 37 assists. Connor has a hip injury that limited him practice on Wednesday but he was able to return to a full practice on Thursday.  The last time the Panthers faced the Saints Connor posted 4 solos with an assist and that is what I see his upside as this week.  Hence his 2 star ranking.

Secondary:  We know that the Saints are going to put the ball in the air and that means that there should be plenty of opportunities for Richard Marshall and Charles Godfrey as they try to help keep the potent Saints passing attack in check.  Let's not forget Chris Gamble either as he put up 9 solos back in week 4 against the Saints.  Actually in week 4 this trio put up a combined line of 24-3-0 with a forced fumble and two passes defended. Both Godfrey and Gamble probably could have been 4 star plays but while I think they will have a nice game I do  have a hard time seeing them replicate their week 4 stats.


Chicago at Buffalo

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Julius Peppers
3 STAR

Israel Idonije
Charles Tillman
Brian Urlacher
Lance Briggs
Tim Jennings

2 STAR
Chris Harris
Danieal Manning
DJ Moore
1 STAR
Nick Roach
Zackary Bowman (OUT)

BearsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 49

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Zachary Bowman (foot) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Lance Briggs (ankle) was limited in practice on Wednesday but practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line:  Julius Peppers has only scored in double digits twice so far this year so seeing him ranked as a 4 star play has to seem a bit odd.  While his production doesn't really warrant a 4 star ranking his potential does.  Add in that the Bills have given up 3 or more sacks in all but two of their games this year and you can see why I am willing to risk ranking Peppers as a 4 star play.  Now with all that said I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Terrell Suggs was only able to put up a 3-3-0 line against the Bills and that Aaron Kampman is the only DL all year to record more than one sack (1.5) against the Bills.  Israel Idonije is a guy that I was on the fence with between ranking a 2 or 3 star play but in the end I think that he will be able to stay busy enough to warrant being a DL2 this week.

Linebacker: Good news, bad news for Lance Briggs owners this week.  The good news is that Briggs is back at practice (practiced fully on Thursday) but the bad news is that worst games that have been had by opposing LBs was when the Bills were at home.  Add in that Briggs is coming off an injury and it is easy to see why I have him as a 3 star play.  I still think that there is some upside in that ranking and expect we will see a 6-2-0 type line this week from Briggs. As for Brian Urlacher it is hard for me to look past the fact that the last time he has put up more than 4 solos in a game was all the way back in week 3.  The only reason I have him as a 3 star play is because there are so many good LBs on a bye this week.  I can see Urlacher easily putting up a 4-2-0 type day, good enough for a LB3 but not much more.

Secondary: Some players just produce no matter where they play and Charles Tillman is one of those players.  He was moved from his former productive LCB position this year to RCB and yet all he has done is to put up 102 fantasy points which is good for 14th among DBs.  This week versus a Bills team that has given up 5 or more solos in each of their last 3 games against opposing CBs I would expect for Tillman to approach his 14.57 PPG average.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Paul Posluszny
Donte Whitner

3 STAR

Dwan Edwards
Kyle Williams

2 STAR

Leodis McKelvin
Jairus Byrd
Drayton Florence
Akin Ayodele
Chris Kelsay
Marcus Stroud

1 STAR
Terrence McGee
Torell Troup
Keith Ellison
Shawne Merriman (OUT)
Andra Davis (OUT)

BillsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  47
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 48

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Andra Davis (shoulder) has been ruled OUT for this week.  With as bad as the Bills rush defense has been I am expecting that Akin Ayodele and not Keith Ellison will replace Davis in the starting lineup.

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

Defensive Line:  The Bills moved from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 scheme and that really benefited fantasy owners as Dwan Edwards and Kyle Williams became fantasy relevant options. This week versus a very sackable Jay Cutler both Edwards and Williams should be good plays.  The thing that I will warn you about is that the Bills went and snagged Shawne Merriman off of waivers this week and that could have the Bills changing schemes, again!  I know that Merriman isn't a DL but he is a pure rush OLB and isn't a fit at all for a 4-3 scheme.  If I was an Edwards or Williams owner I would probably look to sell high if they have very good games this week because it could be back to fantasy irrelevance as soon as the Bills are able to get Merriman back on the field.

Linebacker: Last week I know that some were panicking over a poor week 6 by Paul Posluszny but I said that I fully expected him to bounce back, and bounce back he did as he posted a phenomenal 11-6-0 with a pass defended (29 fantasy points) against the Chiefs. Of course it didn't hurt that he got to play a full OT "quarter" while facing 45 rushing attempts. And just in case you were wondering Posluszny posted a 3-1-0 in OT.  In case you need to hear it, Posluszny is a plug and play LB no matter the position he plays in this year and it also won't matter if the Bills play a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. On the injury front Andra Davis is dealing with a shoulder injury that has kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday.  If Davis can't go this week you should look for Akin Ayodele to replace him in the starting lineup but only in the deepest of leagues would I consider starting Ayodele this week.  More on the Bills acquisition of Shawne Merriman off of waivers; what makes no sense about the acquisition is that Merriman is a rush OLB and all he fits scheme wise is a 3-4, you know the scheme that the Bills scrapped a few weeks ago.  So basically the writing is on the wall that the Bills will at least be running the 3-4 at times this year, that is if they plan to get Merriman on the field.  And all you Posluszny owners can calm down because he has shown that the scheme isn't going to hurt him.

Secondary:  Terrence McGee hasn't been on the football field since week 3 but he has finally returned to practice. Coach Chan Gailey is on record as saying that McGee still isn't 100% and said, "We'll just have to see how it goes.".  Add in that Leodis McKelvin is still taking 1st team reps and it screams to leave McGee on fantasy benches at least for one more week.  Oh and in case you didn't already know it you should just leave Donte Whitner in your lineup and not even think twice about it.  Since week 3 all Whitner has done is averaged 19.40 PPG, tops among all, yes ALL DBs over that timeframe.  I know that I tempered expectations for LaRon Landry when he faced the Bears but that was because Landry has good ability versus the pass and well let's just be nice by saying pass coverage isn't Whitner's strong suit.


Arizona at Minnesota

5 STAR
Paris Lenon
4 STAR
Kerry Rhodes
3 STAR
Daryl Washington
Gerald Hayes
2 STAR
Greg Toler
Darnell Dockett
Calais Campbell
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Adrian Wilson
1 STAR
Joey Porter
Alan Branch
Clark Haggans

Cardinals Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 43

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Defensive Line: Calais Campbell (21st) and Darnell Dockett (23rd) both rank as low level DL2s this year but Campbell has been the much safer play of the two.  This week against a Vikings team that has given up more than 2 solos to just two DEs all year makes both risky starts.  If you are in a bind with byes and have to pick one you might as well make it the more consistent Campbell.

Linebacker: Gerald Hayes made his way back to the field last week after being on the PuP and he sure did make his presence felt as he returned a fumble 21 yards for a TD.  Hayes will likely continue to take snaps from rookie Daryl Washington but if and WHEN (yes I emphasize when) the Cardinals fall out of playoff contention I could easily see them giving Washington much more playing time.  This week against what should be a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson I see both Washington and Hayes as solid 3 star plays and of course I can't forget to mention Paris Lenon who I think could approach double digit tackles this week.  Clark Haggans is still not practicing and isn't expected to play.

Secondary: If you are a dynasty league player then you know just how frustrating it has been to be a Kerry Rhodes owner over the past few years.  When it comes to year to year consistency there has basically been none but then again that is how the DB position is in general.  This year is an "up" year for Rhodes so as long as he stays as hot as he is you just keep plugging him into your starting lineup.  Last week the biggest head scratcher has to be that Greg Toler posted a big fat zero.  Toler was listed as probable for last week's game with a back injury but this week he isn't listed on the injury report at all.  At this point I am just going to speculate that he was bothered by the back injury and was less than aggressive in wanting to get in on the action (note this is all speculation as I didn't see this game).  If you ahve been starting him all year and have additional options I would probably go with the other option this week so that we can see how he bounces back but if not then take a chance as last week was probably just a oddity.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jared Allen

3 STAR
Chad Greenway
2 STAR
Antoine Winfield
EJ Henderson
Madieu Williams
Asher Allen
Ray Edwards
Ben Leber
Husain Abdullah
Chris Cook
1 STAR
Tyrell Johnson
Jamarca Sanford
Pat Williams
Kevin Williams
Lito Sheppard

VikingsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 52
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 57

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

Defensive Line:  The Cardinals are giving up an average of 3.5 sacks/game and surely you have to think that Jared Allen is going to snap out of his funk this week, right?  I know, I know but I am sorry there is no way that I am benching Allen, especially this week.  Call me crazy if you want but this is the week that we see Allen log multiple sacks, yes I said multiple, along with forcing a fumble or two too.  Just do me a favor, if this dream comes true please don't wake me up.

Linebacker:  Only once all year (week 2, 12 points) has Chad Greenway scored fewer than 19 points so I am sure it seems odd that I am ranking him as just a 3 star play this week.  The problem that I have is that Derek Anderson is going to be the starting QB again and in his previous starts this year the Cardinals only averaged 39 tackle opportunities given up/game (35 if you back out sacks) and the best that any OLB could put up against the Cardinals outside of Sean Weatherspoon's 8-1-0 was Danny Clark posting 5 solos and 1 assist.  Greenway could easily post  6-7 solos with a few assists but there is risk for a 4-2-0 or 5-0-0 type week too.  EJ Henderson has been up and down and with the matchup this week I am recommending that he be left on the bench. 

Secondary:  I am just not sold on the Cardinals offense, especially with Derek Anderson back under center and that is why I have Antoine Winfield, Madieu Williams and the rest of the secondary as no better than 2 star plays this week.  Full disclosure is that I own Winfield in multiple leagues and I will be starting him but they are 16 team leagues and on top of that I am not very happy about having to start him.


New England at Cleveland

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Jerod Mayo
Brandon Meriweather
2 STAR

Brandon Spikes
Rob Ninkovich
James Sanders
Tully Banta-Cain
Devin McCourty
Darius Butler
Vince Wilfork
Jermaine Cunningham

1 STAR
Gary Guyton
Kyle Arrington
Gerard Warren
Mike Wright
Patrick Chung
Jarrad Page (OUT)

PatriotsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  55
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 55

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Jarrad Page (calf) has been ruled OUT for this week.

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

Brandon Spikes (knee) after practicing fully on Wednesday and Thursday Spikes was limited in practice on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

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

Linebacker:  For the same reasons that I am ranking Chad Greenway a 3 star play is why I am ranking Jerod Mayo a 3 star play too.  The Browns have only given up more than 50 tackle opportunities in a game once this year so they aren't proving to be a very good matchup.  Mayo still needs to be in lineups this week but you have to temper your expectations is all.  Outside of Mayo I don't care if you are gambler of all gamblers there is no way that you should be running any other Patriots LB out in your starting lineup.

Secondary:  There still isn't much information about Patrick Chung's knee injury but at least we have the injury report to tell us that he was able to practice in a limited fashion both Wednesday and Thursday but there is still no way to know how or what the Patriots will do with Chung this week.  With the Browns being such a poor matchup it should be an easier pill to swallow to keep Chung on your bench for one more week.  About the only other player I see being a semi safe start this week for the Patriots is Brandon Meriweather but that is only if Chung doesn't play or only plays sparingly.   At best I think you are looking at a 5 solo type day for Meriweather.

5 STAR
TJ Ward
4 STAR
Joe Haden
Scott Fujita
3 STAR

Ahtyba Rubin
Kenyon Coleman

2 STAR

Eric Wright
Abram Elam
Eric Barton
Sheldon Brown
Matt Roth
David Bowens
Chris Gocong

1 STAR

Shaun Rogers

BrownsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 46

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Kenyon Coleman (knee) was limited in practice on Wednesday but then sat out Thursday practice before returning to practice in a limited fashion on Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Defensive Line: The Patriots have actually given up some nice games to opposing DEs this year and believe it or not those DEs have mainly been 3-4 DEs.  That should make Kenyon Coleman a decent enough start this week.  Ahtyba Rubin has posted double digit fantasy points in three consecutive games and as this point I see no issue with keeping him in starting lineups.  In DT mandatory leagues he is an even better start.

Linebacker: Over the past three weeks the Patriots have given up a combined 41 total tackles to Ray Lewis (7-2-0), Stephen Cooper (9-0-0), Kevin Burnett (4-2-0), EJ Henderson (5-2-0)& Chad Greenway (8-3-0) so there looks to be plenty of opportunity for Browns LBs to put up some solid to above average numbers this week.  Scott Fujita isn't in the class of those five LBs but that shouldn't keep him from putting up 6-7 solos this week.

Secondary: The Patriots have been a mixed bag for opposing DBs this year which is why TJ Ward is the only Browns secondary player I have ranked above a 2 star play.  Ward is probably over-ranked by one slot but his production this year (137 tackle pace) coupled with this matchup looks like one that could be huge.


Miami at Baltimore

5 STAR
Karlos Dansby
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Chris Clemons
Channing Crowder
2 STAR

Yeremiah Bell (from 4 star)
Vontae Davis
Sean Smith
Cameron Wake
Jason Allen

1 STAR
Kendall Langford
Quentin Moses
Randy Starks
Bobby Carpenter
Tim Dobbins
Reshad Jones (OUT)

DolphinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 9 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:

Yeremiah Bell (toe) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABABLE on the injury report.   Earlier in the week the Dolphins had declared Bell OUT for the week but then changed their injury report.  At this point you will have to monitor the inactive report on Sunday and even then if Bell plays there is a good amount of risk in starting him.

Channing Crowder (thumb) practiced fully all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: The Dolphins play a 3-4 scheme that basically renders their DL fantasy irrelevant.

Linebacker: The Ravens are giving up the 4th most tackle opportunities in the league this year (54/game) and that should help Karlos Dansby to post what should be one of if not his best games of the year this week.  The last three WILB to face the Ravens racked up the following stat line, 28-20-0 (average of 9.3/6.7/0), yes that is what you call eye popping. Believe it or not but Channing Crowder got injured again last week.  He dislocated his thumb but this injury isn't keeping him out of practice and he is expected to start this week.  I think it is safe to look at Crowder as a LB3 with some upside this week.

Secondary:  As good as a matchup as the Ravens have been for WILBs recently the DB position has been a bit more hit or miss.  However, there are enough positive performances to expect Bell to be very productive this week.  About the only thing that concerns me is that Bell is listed on the injury report with a toe injury. So far the injury has limited Bell in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Ray Lewis
3 STAR
Terrell Suggs
Haloti Ngata
Dawan Landry
2 STAR

Ed Reed
Chris Carr
Jameel McClain
Jarrett Johnson
Kelly Gregg

1 STAR
Tavares Gooden
Tom Zibikowski (OUT)
Cory Redding
Fabian Washington

Ravens Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 51

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Tom Zibikowski (foot) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Defensive Line: As it stands I am sure that Terrell Suggs owners aren't 100% happy with his performance so far this year but to that I say, you are lucky you don't own Jared Allen or Mario Williams.  At least Suggs ranks 14th among DLs and is putting up almost 10 PPG.  This week Suggs doesn't have a very good matchup as no DE has posted more than 3 solos against the Dolphins this year.  Actually only two DL have had decent games against the Dolphins and both of those DL were DTs (Raji, 6-1-0 & Kyle Williams, 3-4-0).  That should make Haloti Ngata a decent 3 star play this week.

Linebacker:  Ray Lewis just keeps chugging along and this week he has what looks to be a pretty prime matchup too.  The Dolphins are unbelievably 4-0 on the road this year and winless at home but this week will be a tough road matchup for sure.  For the season the Dolphins are only running the ball on average 28 times/game but if you look deeper at the numbers you will see that on the road that they are running the ball 35 times/game versus just 21 times/game when they are at home.  If the Dolphins can keep that trend going it is easy to see why Lewis is in for a big game.  If you are in a bye bind I even think that you could rely on Jameel McClain but there is some risk involved if the Dolphins get behind and have to abandon their running game.

Secondary:  The Dolphins look to be a pretty solid matchup for Dwan Landry this week. As a 3 star play I actually see him with very little downside and a fair amount of upside. I can't write about the Ravens without at least including something about Ed Reed.  Reed came off the PuP and saw his first action of the season last week and sure enough he picked off a pass that he almost ran back for a TD.  Reed is a no doubt about future HOFer, what he brings to the Ravens defense can't be measured statistically but make no mistake about it his impact will be great.  Unfortunately, for fantasy owners his fantasy production will be inconsistent at best.  Only if you are in very deep or big play leagues should you consider starting Reed.


NY Giants at Seattle

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Justin Tuck
3 STAR

Osi Umenyiora
Michael Boley
Kenny Phillips
Antrel Rolle

2 STAR

Terrell Thomas
Jonathan Goff
Aaron Ross
Corey Webster
Deon Grant

1 STAR
Jason Pierre-Paul
Keith Bulluck

GiantsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 54

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Osi Umenyiora (knee) missed practice on Wednesday but then practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday and was finally able to participate fully in Friday's practice and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Thirteen.  Yes, thirteen is the number a big ugly number that represents how many sacks the Seahawks have given up over the past two weeks.  Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora have to be licking their chops knowing that they will have fresh meat to chase down at the QB spot when Charlie Whitehurst lines up under center for the Seahawks this week. And you know that the odds are very good that if Umenyiora logs a sack that he is also going to force a fumble too.

Linebacker:  Saying that Michael Boley has been up and down this year is putting it mildly but this week I see Boley as being more up than down.  I don't think there is much upside past 5 solos but the Seahawks are a different team at home so Boley should see enough tackle opportunities to put up LB3 numbers at worst.  Jonathan Goff and Keith Bulluck, come on you don't really want to be tempted to start either player and if you are just go grab some leftover Halloween candy and eat that instead.

Secondary: Trying to figure out how the Giants DBs will fare if far from easy but there is one thing that I feel very confident in saying, Deon Grant is a risky, risky play.  He has only had one good tackle week all year and if you think that he will replicate his performance last week where he had a sack, fumble recovery and a pass defended you are seriously fooling yourself.  At this point with Charlie Whitehurst being announced as the starter I probably should bump both Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle down to 2 star plays.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Lawyer Milloy
Marcus Trufant
3 STAR

Lofa Tatupu
Chris Clemons
Earl Thomas

2 STAR

Kelly Jennings
Aaron Curry
David Hawthorne
Colin Cole (OUT)
Jordan Babineaux

1 STAR
Walter Thurmond
Brandon Mebane
Red Bryant (injured reserve)

SeahawksAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 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:

Colin Cole (ankle) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Brandon Mebane (calf) missed practice on Wednesday and then was was limited in practice the rest of the week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Red Bryant was put on injured reserve after having surgery to repair the MCL he tore in last week's game.  From a fantasy perspective Bryant's loss won't hurt but from an NFL perspective Bryant was viewed as a very integral part of the Seahawks defense and his loss is definitely going to sting.  On the fantasy side of things Chris Clemons ranks 18th among DLs with just under 9 PPG.  This week Clemons doesn't have the best matchup but with byes he should continue to be a solid DL2.  In DT mandatory leagues don't overlook Colin Cole as he should face enough of a Giants running attack to post 4-5 solos.

Linebacker:  Lofa Tatupu currently ranks 74th among LBs in fantasy points scored.  Tatupu started off the year posting 4 consecutive double digit fantasy efforts but since the bye week he has totaled just 10 total fantasy points.  If there was a week for Tatupu to get it going again it would be this week.  I see him having LB2 type upside this week and if his past two games weren't so bad I would easily have ranked him a 4 star play this week.  Outside of Tatupu I am going to be passing on both Aaron Curry and David Hawthorne.  Both could easily post very good numbers but they have both been so inconsistent that I just can't recommend playing them at this point in time.

Secondary:  So far this year the Giants have been a pretty good matchup for opposing DBs and this week should be no different.  Lawyer Milloy looks to have the most upside in tackle heavy leagues but rookie Earl Thomas has shown a nose for the football and in bigger play leagues can probably be bumped up to a 4 star play. 


Indianapolis at Philadelphia

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Robert Mathis
Pat Angerer
Kelvin Hayden

3 STAR
Dwight Freeney
Gary Brackett
Antoine Bethea
2 STAR
Tyjuan Hagler
Aaron Francisco
Phillip Wheeler
1 STAR
Jacob Lacey
Jerraud Powers
Clint Session

Colts Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 54

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Clint Session (elbow) did NOT practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. He has yet to be officially ruled out but Adam Caplan of Fox Sports has reported that the Colts will NOT place Session on injured reserve due to his dislocated elbow and fractured forearm.  Yes, I said dislocated elbow and fractured forearm. Tyjuan Hagler will move into a starting role this week due to the injury but I am going to go out on a limb and rank Pat Angerer as a 4 star play as I think that the Colts will slide him into the WLB spot usually manned by Session.  I know that Session hasn't been officially ruled out as of yet but I just don't see him playing this week.

Jacob Lacey (foot) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday after being limited in Wednesday's practice, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Jerraud Powers (foot) missed practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  We all know that Michael Vick is an elusive runner but that hasn't stopped him from being one of the more sacked QBs in the NFL (active QBs).  Coming off of an injury Vick has said (paraphrased) that he is going to be more cautious running with the ball.  To me a cautious Vick equals a tentative Vick and that equals good things for Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.

Linebacker: Gary Brackett should be in line for a very good week versus the Eagles this week.  In the Eagles last two games they have faced teams that ran a 4-3 scheme and their two starting MLBs (Lofton and Tulloch) have averaged 10.5-2.5-0 against them.  Clint Session has been on fire in his last 3 games as he has recorded 23 solos, 5 assists, 1 sack and a pass defended.  As hot as Session has been is why I have him ranked above Brackett but there is some risk as Session has an elbow injury that has kept him from practicing on both Wednesday and Thursday.  Check back for the Friday Injury Report Update for additional information on Session.

Secondary:  Aaron Francisco has had two consecutive very nice games but this week I think he is a risky play against the Eagles.  For starters since week 4 only one safety has posted more than 5 solos in a game.  That also means that Antoine Bethea makes for a risky play this week too.  I know that Bethea has had two poor showings in a row but I do think he should be able to put up a 4-2-0 or 5-1-0 type week at worst.

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

Brandon Graham
Moise Fokou
Ernie Sims
Asante Samuel

1 STAR
Akeem Jordan
Omar Gaither
Ellis Hobbs (OUT)

EaglesAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 51

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Ellis Hobbs (hip) has been ruled OUT for this week.  Dimitri Patterson will replace Hobbs in the starting lineup.

Defensive Line: Trent Cole currently sits as the top DL in the NFL and as we should all know by now, he is a weekly plug and play no matter the matchup.  Well this week that will get tested because the Colts don't give up many sacks and well their running game could be non-existent this week.  If things do break this way then Cole could easily end up with a 2 solo tackle day but even with that said you can't bench him, you just can't.

Linebacker: With the production of LBs against the Colts this year I really should have Stewart Bradley as a 4 star play or better this week but with the Colts running game in question I can't help but think that Bradley could be in for a slightly tough scoring day.  Ernie Sims got hit with a fine by the NFL for a hit of his own against the Titans last week.  Sims shouldn't be anything more than bench fodder for fantasy teams.  The most tackles that Sims has recorded in any game this year is 5 and he has only done that twice.

Secondary: Look for Nate Allen and Quintin Mikell to be extremely busy this week as they try to help limit the Peyton Manning led Colts passing attack.  Asante Samuel likes to take risks in trying to jump routes and gets burnt at times but one way or another a whiff doesn't score fantasy points and we know that Manning isn't going to throw many if any INTs.  Ellis Hobbs has missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to a hip injury.  Check back for the Friday Injury Update to see if it looks like Hobbs will be able to give it a go this week or if the Eagles are going to have to put a lamb out to slaughter against Peyton Manning.


Kansas City at Oakland

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Derrick Johnson
Eric Berry

3 STAR
Glenn Dorsey
2 STAR

Brandon Flowers
Brandon Carr
Mike Vrabel
Jovan Belcher
Javier Arenas
Tamba Hali
Kendrick Lewis
Wallace Gilberry

1 STAR
Tyson Jackson
John McGraw
Demorrio Williams
Corey Mays

ChiefsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 50

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Kendrick Lewis (hamstring) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: For the most part the Chiefs DL doesn't provide consistent fantasy production.  This week against a run heavy Raiders team Glenn Dorsey can be looked at as a sleeper if you are in a bind due to byes.

Linebacker: Simply put, get Derrick Johnson in your lineup this week. The Raiders are running the ball an average of 46 times/game over their last two games. In deeper leagues where you are starting upwards of 45+ LBs you can look at Jovan Belcher as a LB3 this week. 

Secondary: Last week I said that Eric Berry needs to remain on fantasy benches until he either showed something or had a matchup that was to great to pass up.  Well last week he showed something, posting 7 solos, 3 assists, 1 INT and a pass defended and to top it off this week is one of those too good to pass up type matchups.  I don't own Berry in any leagues but if I did I can tell you I would be starting him with the utmost confidence this week.  As far as Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr go I see them as risky plays this week because not many CBs have done well at all against the Raiders.

5 STAR
Tyvon Branch
4 STAR
Michael Huff
Richard Seymour
3 STAR

Matt Shaughnessy

2 STAR
Rolando McClain
Trevor Scott
Quentin Groves
Kamerion Wimbley
Stanford Routt
Mike Mitchell
1 STAR
Nnamdi Asomugha
John Henderson (OUT)

Lamarr Houston

Raiders Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 47
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 50

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

John Henderson (foot) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle) missed practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Defensive Line: There is a good chance that the Chiefs and Raiders could combine to run the ball 90-100 times this weekend. And with how much the Chiefs run the ball I didn't even flinch in ranking Richard Seymour as a 4 star play.  Matt Shaughnessy is probably a bit of a risky 3 star play this week but with 16 total tackles and 3 sacks over his last 4 games makes him hard to sit.

Linebacker: Yes this looks to be a very very very good matchup this week but I just can't bring myself to rank Rolando McClain higher than a 2 star play.  His play has just been far to poor this year.  I mean if you find yourself having bye week issues then you could take a chance on McClain.

Secondary:  Look for both Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff to be the Raiders leaders in tackles this weekend.  Branch looks like he could put up 8-10 solos this week and I can see Huff putting up 6-7 solos with either an INT or forced/recovered fumble too.  On the injury front the Raiders could be without Nnamdi Asomugha and that could lead to Huff sliding over to CB and allowing Mike Mitchell to take Huff's safety spot.


Dallas at Green Bay

5 STAR

None

4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Bradie James
2 STAR

Keith Brooking
DeMarcus Ware
Gerald Sensabaugh
Allan Ball
Anthony Spencer
Mike Jenkins
Terance Newman
Jay Ratliff
Sean Lee

1 STAR

Marcus Spears
Igor Olshansky
Jason Hatcher (OUT)
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (OUT)

CowboysAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2002-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 47

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (ankle) & Jason Hatcher (groin) have both been ruled OUT for this week.

Bradie James (knee) practiced fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Terance Newman (ribs) practiced fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  I came into this breakdown expecting to give it my best but then I looked up at the Cowboys helmet and I caught the quit and just don't want to write anything about their DL now..

Linebacker: With the way the Cowboys played last week and by that I mean with no heart I think I would have a hard time starting any of their players at this point.  Usually it is much later in the season when I say to just sit an entire team because they are to risky to play but the Cowboys have checked out about half a season early.  Start Bradie James or any other Cowboy at your own risk.  Oh and DeMarcus Ware, really?  I mean seriously, really? Wow, that really is all I can say.

Secondary:  The Packers are going to put the ball in the air this weekend and in doing so they are going to abuse the Cowboys secondary.  Don't abuse yourself by putting any of the Cowboys secondary in your starting lineup.  Maybe it is a cop-out on my part but I don't think you could pay me to start any Cowboy at this point in time.

 

5 STAR
Clay Matthews
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Desmond Bishop

2 STAR

AJ Hawk
Brandon Chillar
Charles Woodson
Tramon Williams
Nick Collins

Frank Zombo
Charlie Peprah

1 STAR
Ryan Pickett
Cullen Jenkins
BJ Raji
Anthony Smith
Brad Jones (injured reserve)

Packers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 52

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Clay Matthews (shin), Charles Woodson (toe), Cullen Jenknins (calf) & Nick Collins (knee) were all limited in practice all week and all four are listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

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: Here is the deal, the Packers are facing a Cowboys team that looks to have completely quit and expecting them to be productive just seems like a pipe dream at this point in time.  If the Cowboys can muster any sort of offense then Desmond Bishop would be a 4 or 5 star play this week but this easily could be Bishops worst game of the year since taking over for Nick Barnett.  Clay Matthews hasn't done much of late but this week just screams 2-3 sacks has he "chases" down Jon Kitna all game long.

Secondary: Sure Kitna could throw for 300+ again but i think that playing in Green Bay is going to be severely limiting for the Cowboys offense.  Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams both probably should be 3 star plays but I have a gut feeling that they will each struggle.  But then again Charles Woodson could also take a pick or two to the house this weekend too. You of course can't bank on that but don't be surprised if it does happen.


Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

5 STAR
Lawrence Timmons
4 STAR
Troy Polamalu
3 STAR
Ryan Clark
LaMarr Woodley
James Harrison
2 STAR
Ike Taylor
Bryant McFadden
William Gay
James Farrior
1 STAR
Brett Keisel
Evander Hood

SteelersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 55

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

Defensive Line: The Steelers run a 3-4 scheme that basically renders their DL useless for fantasy purposes. 

Linebacker:  For the season the Bengals are giving up above average tackle opportunities/game (52/game) but believe it or not at home that isn't the case as they are only giving up 47 TOs/game.  Now you would think that I would let that influence my rankings but as far as Lawrence Timmons goes he has shown that he is going to produce no matter the situation.  Currently I have James Harrison as a 3 star play but I do wonder if being fined for a 3rd time this year for an illegal hit is going to start to make him a bit more tentative. Harrison tentative? Yeah, right.

Secondary: Since week 3 at least one opposing safety has recorded at least 9 combined tackles each week against the Bengals.  That means that Troy Polamalu should be involved in a large number of tackles this weekend. I also think that we will see Ryan Clark active in run support and that should net him at least 5-8 total tackles this week. 

5 STAR
Dhani Jones
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Rey Maualuga
Keith Rivers
Leon Hall
2 STAR
Roy Williams/Nedu Ndukwe
Chris Crocker
Jonathan Joseph/Morgan Trent
Michael Johnson
Robert Geathers
1 STAR
Domata Peko 
Jonathan Fanene (OUT)

BengalsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 46

Notes: Star rankings are based off of average tackle opportunities given up by current week's opponent.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Nedu Ndukwe (knee), Roy Williams (knee) & Jonathan Joseph (ankle) all practiced fully on Thursday and Friday.

Defensive Line: Same story just a different week so just continue to pretend that the Bengals play a 3-4 that keeps their DL from having fantasy value.  Sad that their DL are performing so poorly.

Linebacker: Dhani Jones has been up and down this year and this week should add to his up total.  So far he has logged 7 solos in three of  his games and this week should easily make that four games.  And i honestly won't be surprised to see Jones post between 8-10 solos, which would be his best performance year to date. Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers probably make for risky 3 star plays but with the number of top LBs on a bye this week and coupled with the fact that I think that their matchup is one of the better ones this week I have no real issues ranking them as a 3 star plays.  Just realize that their value is as a LB3.

Secondary:  Last week the Bengals secondary was decimated with injuries.  Nedu Ndukwe and Jonathan Joseph were both inactive against the Dolphins. Ndukwe looks like he is going to be able to get back on the field this week but so does Roy Williams.  In case you forgot, Williams injury was why Ndukwe was in the starting lineup.  As it stands now I would wait to see how the Bengals use Williams and Ndukwe before I would put either back into my starting lineup.  Morgan Trent put up a fantastic stat line of 9-2-0 with an INT and pass defended but if Jonathan Joseph returns to the starting lineup that will basically kill Trent's value.  And as it stands now it looks like he will be fine to go this week as he practiced fully on Thursday.


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