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.
Patrick Willis (SFO): This is why you spent an arm and a leg to get this guy. 20.5 points per game over the past month’s worth of games (granted, one week was a bye week). He’ll get you no less than 8 solos every outing and as the matchups improve down the stretch, the “big play” stats will come.
Mario Haggan (DEN): He’s been on The Huddle’s sleeper lists a couple times, and now deserves a mention here on the who’s-who of IDPs. He’s only scored less than double digits once this season, and has seriously heated up over the past month, including a 3-sack outburst this past week against the Chiefs. He’s a solid 2nd LB in the Denver scheme and will be a value pick for the rest of the season.
Keith Brooking (DAL): So much for this guy getting old and giving way to rookie Sean Lee. With all due respect to Lee, who will at some point in the next few years will be a stud, but Brooking is tearing it up right now. Ever since Week 7, Brooking has put up consistent numbers. The Cowboys’ IDP schedule isn’t ideal moving forward, but Brooking has done plenty with limited opportunities all season, so no reason to think his output will dip at all.
Jonathan Goff (NYG): Antonio Pierce was a solid fantasy LB for the G-men for several years, and they’ve literally been looking for a replacement ever since he retired. Michael Boley has been decent (at best) for them, fantasy-wise, but it was Goff that we had the high hopes for. He’s been painfully average since a couple solid early season efforts.
Demarcus Ware (DAL): He’s one of those LBs that your plan on having a backup for, because you know he’ll go on cold streaks. He’s on one now, after not having a sack since Week 7, and only heated up last week due to a season-high 7 solo tackles. Dude has 8 sacks on the season, so it’s not like he’s having a bad year. But he’s on one of his cold streaks and does have a few bad matchups coming up. If you have better options, might be time to keep him on your bench.
HOT DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Charles Johnson (DE – CAR): When Julius Peppers left Carolina for the Bears, we really had no idea who’d step up for the Panthers as a pass-rusher. High hopes were had for Johnson, a local-ish product who had shown plenty of promise in college and as a 2nd-year player (6 sacks, 7 passes defended). He has 3.5 sacks on the season and logged a career-high 6 solo tackles last week. Good matchups are on the horizon, so maybe here’s where we see a star being born.
Richard Seymour (DT – OAK): Seymour, as most IDP league vets know, is a defensive tackle stuck in a defensive end’s body due to defensive scheme. He’s put on some LBs (that’s pounds, not linebackers) for his new position, but still has the foot speed and knack for getting to the passer. He’s been pretty consistent all season and has heated up a smidge over the past 3 games. We like the upcoming matchups, so in DT leagues, he’ll be a must-start.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Kroy Biermann (DE – ATL): John Abraham was supposed to have a down season (again) and Biermann was supposed to build on a promising 2009 campaign. One sack and less than 2 solos per game later, we’re wondering what the heck happened.
Jonathan Babineaux (DT – ATL): This dude was an absolute stud beast in DT leagues last season, but has completely fallen off this season. Only one game with more than one solo tackle, and only 2 sacks. He’s digressing quick.
HOT DEFENSIVE BACKS
Donte Whitner (S – BUF): From the “where did you come back from” files, we pull out Mr. Whitner. Dude just puts up consistent points every single week. With the Bills giving up yardage in massive chunks, Whitner has put up consistent solo tackle numbers and will always be a good bet to knock down a pass or two. The rest of the schedule looks cherry for Whitner, so he’s a must-start moving forward.
Devin McCourty (CB – NEP): Quick, name the last Patriot cornerback to matter more than a hill of beans in a season or for more than a few-game stretch. Well, the Pats are ultra-high on this rookie, and he’s been more than solid over the past 3 games. The kid can tackle, hit and knock back passes. Love the upcoming games, so dynasty owners who have him chillin’ on the taxi squad may have an interesting option if they’re in contention.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE BACKS
Erik Coleman (S – ATL): He’s been a stalwart in the Falcon secondary for a few years now, but has significantly dropped off with the solid play of both William Moore and Thomas DeCoud. Moore’s play, especially, has relegated Coleman to spot duty and as a result, he only has two games with any points this season. He’s fantasy irrelevant at this point and should be dropped if you’re holding him for some reason.
Tracy Porter (CB – NOS): Do you own one of last year’s Super Bowl heroes? Is it Porter? If the answer is yes, my follow-up question is… why? He’ll consistently knock down a pass every game, but won’t do much else. The Saint secondary isn’t the playmaking corps it was last year. Porter isn’t worth much, if anything, at this point.