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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 12
Steve Gallo
November 26, 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
Two-Star Play: Risky Starter/ Sleeper/ 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 42 55 3-4 Bill Davis Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Gerald Hayes,
Greg Toler, Paris Lenon
ATL 57 47 4-3 Brian VanGorder Curtis Lofton, Sean Weatherspoon (injured),
Stephen Nicholas, William Moore
BAL 54 47 3-4 & 4-3
Greg Mattison Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Dwan Landry
BUF 47 56 3-4 George Edwards Paul Posluszny, Donte Whitner, Dwan Edwards,
Kyle Williams
CAR 45 54 4-3 Ron Meeks Charles Johnson, Jon Beason, James Anderson,
Charles Godfrey
CHI 48 47 Tampa 2 Rod Marinelli Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Brian Urlacher,
Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings
CIN 52 48 4-3 Mike Zimmer Dhani Jones, Leon Hall (CB Mandatory leagues)
CLE 48 53 3-4 Rob Ryan TJ Ward, Scott Fujita (injured), Kenyon Coleman
DAL 49 51 3-4 Paul Pasqualoni Jay Ratliff, Bradie James, Keith Brooking
DEN 50 53 3-4 Don Martindale DJ Williams, Joe Mays, Brian Dawkins
DET 52 50 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, DeAndre Levy
GB 48 48 3-4 Dom Capers Desmond Bishop, Clay Mathews, Charles Woodson,
HOU 49 54 4-3 Frank Bush Mario Williams, Bryan Cushing, Zac Diles,
Bernard Pollard
IND 54 51 Tampa 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett (injured), Clint Session (injured),
Pat Angerer, Robert Mathis
JAX 52 50 4-3 Mel Tucker Justin Durant, Daryl Smith, Courtney Greene
KC 53 50 3-4 Romeo Crennel Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry
MIA 50 50 3-4 Mike Nolan Karlos Dansby, Yeremiah Bell
MIN 48 50 4-3 & Tampa 2 Leslie Frazier Jared Allen, EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway,
Antoine Winfield
NE 50 56 3-4 Bill Belichick &
D-Staff
Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung
NO 55 46 4-3 Gregg Williams Will Smith, Roman Harper, Jonathan Vilma,
Sedrick Ellis (DT mandatory leagues)
NYG 55 44 4-3 Perry Fewell Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Terrell Thomas
NYJ 53 46 3-4 Mike Pettine Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, David Harris, Jim Leonhard
OAK 52 47 4-3 John Marshall Richard Seymour, Tyvon Branch, Matt Shaughnessy, Michael Huff
PHL 52 47 4-3 Sean McDermott Trent Cole, Stewart Bradley, Quintin Mikell
PIT 48 50 3-4 Dick LeBeau James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons,
Troy Polamalu
SD 53 46 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett
SEA 47 52 4-3 Gus Bradley Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, Chris Clemons
SF 46 53 3-4 Greg Manusky Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Nate Clements
STL 52 48 4-3 Ken Flajole James Laurinaitis, Oshiomogho Atogwe, James Hall,
Bradley Fletcher, Chris Long
TB 48 48 Tampa 2 Raheem Morris Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes,
Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib (CB mandatory leagues)
TEN 46 56 4-3 Chuck Cecil Jason Babin, Stephen Tulloch, Alterraun Verner
Chris Hope, Michael Griffin
WAS 47 54 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
 
 

New England at Detroit

5 STAR
Jerod Mayo
4 STAR
Patrick Chung
3 STAR
Devin McCourty
Brandon Meriweather
2 STAR

Brandon Spikes
Rob Ninkovich
James Sanders
Tully Banta-Cain
Darius Butler
Jermaine Cunningham

1 STAR
Gary Guyton
Mike Wright
Vince Wilfork

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

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: Jerod Mayo, rinse and repeat, again. If you are new and don't know what I am talking about you will have to check out the previous two week's articles. Not as if you need to hear this but the Lions have been a fantastic matchup for LBs this year.  On the season, a total of 11 LBs have recorded at least 7 solo tackles in a game against the Lions and 7 of those LBs actually recorded double digit combined tackles.  Out of Brandon Spikes and Rob Ninkovich I would expect that Ninkovich should have the better game but he still is to risky to start.  Spikes is a better play against a run heavy team and that is not what the Lions are.


Secondary:  The floor this week for Patrick Chung looks like it should end up being 6 solo tackles. Chung as long as he remains healthy is a must start just like Mayo is.  Brandon Meriweather isn't the safest 3 star play but I have a feeling that Meriweather has a big play in him for this Thanksgiving Day game.  I also like Devin McCourty to have a respectable game as the Lions are going to need to put the ball in the air a ton and that should equate to a nice amount of opportunities for McCourty.

 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
DeAndre Levy
3 STAR

Chris Houston
Alphonso Smith
Ndamukong Suh

2 STAR
Kyle Vanden Bosch
Julian Peterson
Louis Delmas
Amari Spievey
Ashlee Palmer
CC Brown
1 STAR
Lawrence Jackson
Cliff Avril

Bobby Carpenter

LionsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  46
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 44

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

Defensive Line:One would initially think that Ndamukong Suh would be a poor play this week, I know I did.  However, then I dug into the numbers a bit and found that the Patriots have given up 8 sacks to DL this year, 5 of the 8 were to DTs.  Also, the Patriots have surrendered 4 or more combined tackles to opposing DL this season 12 times, 8 of the 12 were to DTs.  So what I am saying is that it looks like Suh is the much better play over Kyle Vanden Bosch this week.  On the injury front, Cliff Avril was a limited participant in Monday & Tuesday practices and Lawrence Jackson who replaced Avril in the lineup last week missed practice on Tuesday due to a concussion.

Linebacker: If you are one of the DeAndre Levy owners who hung in there thru his injuries you are finally seeing a return on your investment.   Over his last 3 games, Levy is averaging just under 16 PPG.  This week I see Levy as a solid 4 star play who could even end up having some upside.  This season starting MLBs are averaging 16 PPG against the Patriots.  Dhani Jones (16 pts), Ray Lewis (16 pts), EJ Henderson (11 pts) & Pat Angerer (21 pts) are the MLBs that faced the Patriots and as you can see their production was all pretty similar.  Henderson had the most pedestrian game of the bunch but much of that is because Chad Greenway was busy racking up a combined 11 tackles.  Don't go and confuse Ashlee Palmer with Greenway either.  Palmer could be in line for a nice day but I wouldn't be willing to bet on it.  More than likely he finishes the day with a 3-0-0 type line.

Secondary: Louis Delmas has been struggling since coming off of his bye.  Over his last 4 games since week 8 he is averaging just 8.50 PPG with just 1 double digit fantasy effort, prior to the bye he was averaging 14.00 PPG and all his games were double digits.  Would you like to guess when DeAndre Levy made his return from injury?  Yep, you got it, week 8. At this point I think it is safest to play it on the safe side and find help elsewhere instead of forcing Delmas into your starting lineup.  Amari Spievey hasn't exactly lit the world on fire since taking over at SS for CC Brown and presents little upside and much more risk, leave him on your bench.


New Orleans at Dallas

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Roman Harper
3 STAR

Jonathan Vilma
Jabari Greer
Scott Shanle

2 STAR

Will Smith
Malcolm Jenkins
Sedrick Ellis
Remi Ayodele
Danny Clark
Darren Sharper

Tracy Porter

1 STAR
Jo-Lonn Dunbar
Jeff Charleston
Patrick Robinson
Alex Brown

Leigh Torrence
Anthony Waters

SaintsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:53
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 52

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

Defensive Line:  Disappointing is the best word to describe the Saints DL this year. Will Smith has failed miserably to live up to expectations from a top 5 performance last year.  Yes, Smith was a top 5 DL in 2009, hard to believe considering his play this year.  Smith has been hampered by a bad groin this year and that surely is a factor.  On the year he has just one double digit fantasy effort and at this point short of a to good to be true matchup he should be left on fantasy owner's benches.  In dynasty leagues he makes for an interesting buy low candidate.  Smith isn't the only Saints DL to disappoint this year,  Alex Brown has been just as much a disappointment, many including myself thought  that opposite Smith, Brown could end up a top 30ish DL.  Didn't happen and just like Smith he has just one double digit game to his name this year.  Even Sedrick Ellis has been a bit of a disappointment.  He got off to a nice start, putting up double digit points in 3 of the first 4 weeks, unfortunately, his last double digit effort came in week 4. This past week Junior Galette logged his first fantasy stats of his career with a solo tackle against the Seahawks.  Galette has no value this year but he is a guy worth stashing in deeper dynasty leagues.

Linebacker: Jonathan Vilma has been wildly inconsistent over his last 5 games, especially when compared to his first 5 games.  Make no mistake about it that Vilma is a bit of a risky 3 star play because of his inconsistency of late.  To make matters worse the Cowboys have been very hit or miss for opposing LBs.  More than likely if you are a Vilma owner you are going to be hard pressed to sit him so say a prayer and cross your fingers that he doesn't make us (yes I am a Vilma owner (2 leagues)) look like a Turkey this week.  Since returning from injury Scott Shanle has been a pleasant surprise.  Over his last 3 games he is averaging 16.33 PPG and at this point I would try and ride the hot hand.

Secondary:   Over the past 3 weeks the Cowboys haven't been a very good matchup for opposing DBs.  However, early in the season they did give up some very nice games to the likes of LaRon Landry (31 pts), DeAngelo Hall (29 pts), Tillman (20 pts), Bowman 18 pts), Pollard (22 pts), Hope (21 pts), Verner (20 pts) & Winfield (18 pts).  I think that looking at that list of names makes me feel very good about having Roman Harper as a 4 star play and clearly there is upside to 5 star level.  Don't let the last 3 weeks scare you away from Harper just make sure that it tempers your expectations a bit is all.  Outside of Harper I think the only other Saints DB worth rolling with would be Jabari Greer. Since returning from injury all that Greer has done the past two games is put up 16.50 PPG, 18 points in week 9 and 15 in week 11.  Look for Greer to put up 12-15 points minimally this week.  The injury reports shows that both Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sharper were both limited in practice on Monday.

5 STAR

Keith Brooking

4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Orlando Scandrick
Allan Ball
Bradie James
2 STAR

Jay Ratliff
DeMarcus Ware
Gerald Sensabaugh
Anthony Spencer
Mike Jenkins
Terence Newman

1 STAR

Igor Olshansky
Jason Hatcher
Stephen Bowens
Sean Lee

CowboysAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2002-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 48

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

Defensive Line:  For the most part the Cowboys scheme renders their DL pretty useless.  This week versus Drew Brees that gets magnified.  Look elsewhere for DL help.

Linebacker: Both Bradie James and Keith Brooking should be very busy against the Saints offensive attack this week.  James was a huge disappointment in week 11 as he only posted 5 fantasy points.  Of course it was his worst performance of the year so I am looking for him to bounce back this week.  Keith Brooking on the other hand had another great fantasy performance as he posted 18 points last week.  Since week 7 Brooking is averaging 17 PPG and over that span his lowest score has been 15 points. With that type of consistency and production Brooking warrants serious consideration as a must start LB.  Looking at the production of opposing LBs versus the Saints I hate to say it but Brooking has the look of a 5 star play this week.  I think he makes for a much safer 4 star play that would present some upside but I am going to roll with the 5 star ranking.

Secondary:  There are two things we know about the Cowboys secondary, one is that their DBs have been inconsistent from a fantasy standpoint and two they are going to be assaulted by the Saints aerial attack this weekend.   There should be a very good amount of value this weekend but with how erratic the Cowboys DBs have been it makes them next to impossible to rank above a 2 star play.  With all that said I am willing to roll the dice on Orlando Scandrick to build on two consecutive 6 solo tackle games.  Allan Ball has been very up and down but he is the other play that I think will be busy enough to warrant starting this week.


Cincinnati at NY Jets

5 STAR
Dhani Jones
4 STAR
Nedu Ndukwe
3 STAR
Reggie Nelson
Jonathan Joseph
2 STAR
Rey Maualuga
Leon Hall
Jeromy Miles
Michael Johnson
Robert Geathers
1 STAR
Keith Rivers
Antwan Odom
Jonathan Wade

Roy Williams
Chris Crocker (IR)
Frostee Rucker (IR)
Tank Johnson (IR)

BengalsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 44

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

Defensive Line: Last week the Bengals put Jonathan Fanene on injured reserve and this week they have placed Frostee Rucker & Tank Johnson on IR, ending their season.  Hard to believe it but yes the Bengals do have DL they just don't have any fantasy relevance.

Linebacker: Over his last three games, Dhani Jones is averaging 10 combined tackles/game and 18 PPG.  To put that in perspective, over the same time span Jerod Mayo is 5th in PPG average with 18.33 PPG.  Rarefied air for Jones over the past 3 games and this week he faces one of the better matchups for LBs.  The Jets have given up 8 or more combined tackles to 12 LBs this year and of those 12, 6 recorded double digit combined tackles.  Jones is a no brainer must start this week. Not only has Keith Rivers been inconsistent the last three weeks (7,0 & 11 pts) but he hasn't put together back to back double digit fantasy games yet. Before you go an look, Rivers scored 11 points last week.

Secondary:  The Bengals players seem to be dropping like flies.  Roy Williams missed time earlier this season due to a knee injury and last week he suffered a concussion that knocked him out of the game.  So far he has yet to practice this week and is not expected to play this week. Chris Crocker is another of the fallen Bengals, he was placed on injured reserve with a torn MCL. Nedu Ndukwe almost by default looks to be a very nice play this week.  At CB, Jonathan Joseph had a fine week last week and capped it off with 2 interceptions.  Reggie Nelson should see plenty of action with Ndukwe at safety this week and presents a decent 3 star play.  Leon Hall is one heck of an NFL CB, he just isn't a very good fantasy DB if he isn't picking off passes.  For the season, Hall has yet to eclipse 4 solos in any game.  Do yourself a favor and leave Hall on your bench unless you are in a very, very deep league.
UPDATE:  The Bengals have reportedly signed safety Jeromy Miles off their practice squad and there is a very good chance that he could play on Thanksgiving.  He isn't a fantasy option but don't be surprised to see his name show up in the box score.

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

Eric Smith
Brodney Pool
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.

Defensive Line:  This week the Jets DL has a bad matchup but that doesn't even scratch the surface of why no Jets DL is ranked above a 2 star play.  Since the Jets returned from their bye (4 games) their top scoring DL is Mike Devito, with 28 fantasy points scored, 7.0 PPG.  That ranks Devito as a DL3 over that span of time and yes that is the best the Jets DL has to offer.  Shaun Ellis has the second most fantasy points scored over that time, 22 points/5.5 PPG, Sione Pouha is 3rd with just 16 points/4.0 PPG.  Yes, lately it has been that bad and at this point in the season you can afford to risk running any of the Jets DL out in your starting lineups.

Linebacker: For the season David Harris has been a bit of a disappointment for his owners, he ranks 27th in fantasy scoring among LBs but since the bye week he has turned it up a bit.  Since returning from the bye, Harris is the 16th overall LB in fantasy points scored.  That makes him a solid LB2, which is pretty much what he has been for the season, not the LB1 that he was drafted to be.  Two LBs, in the last 3 weeks have registered double digit combined tackles against the Bengals so Harris does have a bit of upside this week. I like Bart Scott as a NFL LB  but as a fantasy LB, not so much.  Scott can put up the occasional solid game but he puts up to many 6 and 7 point efforts for my taste.

Secondary:  Jim Leonhard is quickly turning into one of my favorite players.  He is smart, gritty, plays hard and always seems to be around the ball. Since the bye week, Leonhard is averaging 13 PPG and in 2 of his last 3 games he has scored 16 points. This week I am expecting to see him put up 14-16 points which should make for a solid 4 star play.  Even though the Bengals seem to be putting the ball in the air a ton this year they haven't really been that good of a matchup for opposing DBs.  My 3 star ranking for Antonio Cromartie is a roll of the dice and by that I mean that I am expecting Cromartie to come thru with a big play this week.  That makes him a risky play but I just see Carson Palmer trying to force things to forge a comeback that will most likely fall short.  Yes, I am saying that I think the Jets are going to win this game, big.


Jacksonville at NY Giants

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Justin Durant
3 STAR
Courtney Greene
Daryl Smith
Jeremy Mincey
2 STAR

Kirk Morrison
Sean Considine
David Jones
Rashean Mathis
Tyson Alualu
Terrance Knighton
Austen Lane

1 STAR
Russell Allen
Derrick Harvey
Don Carey
Derrick Cox

JaguarsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 50

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Justin Durant (shoulder) was limited in practice on Wednesday  but practiced fully the rest of the week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  In his second start for the injured Aaron Kampman, Austen Lane logged 2 solo tackles. You must be asking why I would be leading off the Jaguars DL section writing about Lane recording just 2 solo tackles.  Well that is because I want to point out that those 2 solos match the most that former 1st round pick Derrick Harvey has recorded in a game this year.  Actually, those 2 solos put Lane just 5 solos behind Harvey's season total of 7 solos.  Yes, that is how bad Harvey has been.  Lane may not be lighting it up but in dynasty leagues he is a guy worth stashing if at all possible.  As for some real fantasy production we have to give Jeremy Mincey and his broken hand some props.  All that Mincey has done since taking over at DE for Harvey is to put up back to back double digit points, 10 & 12 points respectively. For the season Harvey has scored just 20.5 fantasy points.  So yes, Mincey has scored more points in his last two weeks as a starter than Harvey has all season long.  The Giants haven't really been the best matchup for opposing DEs but Mincey has a mini streak going and I think that is enough to warrant making him a 3 star play.

Linebacker:  This is a pretty difficult matchup to figure out this week because of how thin the Giants are at WR.  It should impact their game plan and make them run the ball more than they normally would and if that is the case then Kirk Morrison could be in for a nice day.  But Morrison has been so hit or miss that I just can't give him a 3 star ranking this week.  If you are in a bind due to injuries then give him a look but if you have a more consistent option I would go that route.  As far as consistency goes both Justin Durant and Daryl Smith have been much more consistent than Morrison.  Since returning from injury in week 6, Durant is averaging 13.40 PPG and has put up double digit points in 4 of his 5 games with his only miss being a 9 point effort in week 10. Smith has put up double digits in 4 of his last 5 games too.  His average isn't as high as Durant's average is but he did have three consecutive 11 point games in weeks 6-8, week 10 was his worst, a 6 point effort but he bounced back with 14 points last week. I think that both are nice LB3 options and that Durant even has a bit of upside. 

Secondary: Like I already pointed out, I think this game is a bit harder to gauge since I anticipate the Giants having to change their game plan due to the rash of WR injuries they have suffered.  I can see Courtney Greene being able to scrape together a solid week but outside of Greene I would pass on the rest of the Jaguars secondary.  There is just far to much risk in the Giants not putting the ball in the air much this weekend.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Justin Tuck
Osi Umenyiora

Antrel Rolle

2 STAR

Terrell Thomas
Kenny Phillips
Michael Boley
Jonathan Goff
Aaron Ross
Corey Webster
Deon Grant
Barry Cofield

1 STAR
Jason Pierre-Paul
Keith Bulluck

GiantsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
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:

Osi Umemyiora (knee) & Justin Tuck (quadricep) both missed practice on Wednesday, were limited on Thursday and practiced fully on Friday, they are listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Hopefully, last week you heeded my advice and kept Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora in your starting lineups. Umenyiora was just solid as he posted 9 fantasy points but as I have pointed out before, 9 points is a decent score for DL. Tuck on the other hand went into beast mode.  All Tuck did was put up a 6-1-3 with 2 forced fumbles, which was good for 28 fantasy points.  Games like that are exactly why you don't bench guys like Tuck.  They can single-handedly put your team on their back and carry you to a win.  I am sure that Tuck owners were growing restless considering that he had gone 4 consecutive games without hitting double digit fantasy points but my guess is that the wait was worth it.  The Jaguars have given up 5.5 sacks to opposing DL over the last 3 games but none of those teams bring it like Tuck and Umenyiora can.  Believe it or not but Barry Cofield ranks as a top 30 DL but with two goose eggs in the last 3 weeks he is far from being a safe start.

Linebacker:  The Giants LBs have been wildly inconsistent this year and basically unreliable fantasy options because of it.  Michael Boley and Jonathan Goff have had the most value and even put up some nice games but at this point I see much more risk than reward in starting them.  Chew on this, over the Giants last 4 games here is the combined, note I said COMBINED stat lines for ALL Giants LBs: week 7: 10-0-1, week 8: bye, week 9: 11-1-0 (1 fumble recovery), week 10: 6-4-0 & week 11: 5-2-0.  Remember, those are the COMBINED stats for ALL the Giants LBs, not just their starters but each and every LB that played and recorded a stat. Those stats for that time span total up to a stat line of 32-7-1 with a fumble recovery, or the equivalent of 77 fantasy points (19.25 PPG).  Over that same time span, Ray Lewis (22.75 PPG), Patrick Willis (22.50 PPG) & Jerod Mayo (20 PPG) have higher PPG averages and more total fantasy points scored than all of the Giants LBs combined.  Yes, it is that bad. 

Secondary: Over the past 3 games the Jaguars haven't really been a great matchup for opposing DBs. Since week 8 (3 games), only 3 DBs have recorded more than 5 solos in a game; Allan Ball (7-0-0), Glover Quin (13-0-0) & Abram Elam (7-0-0). Quin did have a monster game but I don't see anything like that happening in this game.  At best I think you are looking at a 10-12 point game for any of the Giants DBs.  I am rolling with Antrel Rolle, no pun intended, as I think he should approach the 5 tackle level and probably has the best shot at an interception. 


Minnesota at Washington

5 STAR
Jared Allen
4 STAR

Chad Greenway

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

Pat Williams
Kevin Williams
Lito Sheppard

VikingsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 52
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:

Jared Allen (neck) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Chad Greenway (eye) was a full participant in practice all week but is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Don't look now but Jared Allen is back.  I know, I know, you waited long enough for it to happen.  Over the past 3 weeks Allen leads all DL in fantasy points scored (40.5) and in PPG (13.50).  Just like I stated earlier in the NYG DL section when talking about Justin Tuck, this is why you don't bench guys like Allen, Tuck, Super Mario and Peppers.  This week Allen gets to face a Redskins team that has given up 11 sacks to opposing DL in their last 3 games.  Enough said about that, wouldn't you say.  Also, it looks like Allen's recent resurgence is having a positive impact on Ray Edwards. Over the last 3 weeks Edwards has two 12 point games but unfortunately they are sandwiched around a 4 pointer in week 10.  I think that Edwards presents some risk as a 3 star play but the Redskins have been giving up sacks in bunches so I think the reward is enough to justify the ranking.

Linebacker:  Don't hit the panic button!  Yes, Chad Greenway had a very un-Chad Greenway type week.  It is the first time all season that he failed to record at least 8 combined tackles and his 12 fantasy points tied his lowest output of the season (week 2) but there is no reason to worry.  Greenway has been a beast this year and his owners should continue to start him with confidence.  For what it is worth, Greenway ranks 4th in LB scoring and he is the only one in the top four to have scored in double digits each and every week.  I say you keep going to the bank with Greenway because he is, has been and will continue to be MONEY! The Redskins have been a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to giving up points to opposing LBs this year but I think that EJ Henderson should be able to minimally hit the 10-12 point range this week.

Secondary:  Antoine Winfield is generally considered one of the better tackling CBs in the league and I for one agree with that.  Winfield is never afraid to stick his nose in there to lend a hand in run support.  This week I don't know how much or how successful the Redskins will be able to run the ball with the likes of Keiland Williams and James Davis but that doesn't take away from the fact that Winfield should be productive.  Since week 5, there have been 12 CBs that have recorded at least 5 total tackles against the Redskins.  Only Cortland Finnegan (last week) was able to hit double digits as he posted a 10-1-0 with a forced fumble.  Since the bye week Madieu Williams has been alternating single and double digit points.  Last week he posted 11 fantasy points so if that trend holds then he would be due a single digit game this week and believe it or not I think that is highly likely too.

5 STAR
London Fletcher
4 STAR
DeAngelo Hall
3 STAR

Reed Doughty

2 STAR

Kareem Moore
Brian Orakpo
Carlos Rogers

HB Blades

1 STAR
Lorenzo Alexander
Rocky McIntosh
Albert Haynesworth
Phillip Daniels
Andre Carter
LaRon Landry (OUT)
Anderson Russell (IR)

RedskinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 50

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

LaRon Landry (Achilles) has been ruled OUT for this week.

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

Rocky McIntosh (thigh) missed practice on Wednesday and returned in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Linebacker:  Call me crazy but I think that new head coach, Leslie Frazier feeds Adrian Peterson the ball 25+ times this weekend.  That happens and London Fletcher will easily live up to his 5 star ranking.  Rocky McIntosh owners won't get to take advantage of a heavy dose of Peterson as McIntosh is said to be extremely unlikely to play against the Vikings.  Lorenzo Alexander is also a long shot to play this week too.  Neither HB Blades or Andre Carter present much value as McIntosh and Alexander's replacements.  Blades very well could put up 5-7 solos but you won't catch me banking on it.

Secondary:  First let's get the disappointing injury news out of the way, LaRon Landry has been ruled OUT for this week.  Reed Doughty will replace him in the starting lineup.  Doughty has been productive in the past when given the chance and this time should be no different.  New head coach Leslie Frazier has said that he is not going to bench Brett Favre.  However, he didn't say he wouldn't rein him in.  I expect that Frazier will do just that but Favre is still going to be Favre and he will sling it when he shouldn't and DeAngelo Hall is going to be there to make him play.


Green Bay at Atlanta

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Charles Woodson
Tramon Williams
Desmond Bishop
3 STAR

AJ Hawk
Nick Collins

2 STAR

Clay Matthews
Brandon Chillar

1 STAR
Frank Zombo
Charlie Peprah
Ryan Pickett
Cullen Jenkins
BJ Raji
Anthony Smith
Atari Bigby

Packers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
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:

Atari Bigby (hamstring) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Clay Matthews (shin) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Charles Woodson (toe)
was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to a full practice on Friday, he is 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: Just on sheer opportunity alone to rush the passer this week, you might think that Clay Matthews is going to be a nice play.  Matthews has been productive fantasy wise of late, averaging 15.33 PPG over his last 3 games, all 3 have been double digits too but this week he faces a Falcons team that has given up just 15 sacks on the season.  Only 4 teams have given up fewer sacks.  That is relevant because Matthews has yet to score in double digits in a game that he hasn't posted a sack in. On the season, only 5 teams have put the ball in the air more than the Falcons average of 37.7 times/game, so Matthews will have his chances if you are willing to take the risk.  Desmond Bishop had his worst game since taking over for the injured Nick Barnett, but Bishop was still able to score in double digits (10 points). The Falcons are giving up the most TOs this year so there is plenty of reason to expect big things from Bishop this week. Of course there is the added risk that he could sit for 15-20 snaps if the Falcons force the Packers into nickle or dime coverages but I think that he should still see enough snaps to put up 15-18 fantasy points this week. AJ Hawk had another single digit performance last week, his 3rd in a row. His lack of production wasn't due to limited playing time as he was in for 62 snaps, tied for most among Packers LBs last week but he was in coverage for almost 50% of those snaps.  The same thing limited Bishop last week as he played in 42 snaps but was in coverage for close to 50% of those snaps.  That is what happens when a team abandons the run like the Vikings had to do last week.

Secondary: This will be simple and short, get Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Nick Collins into your lineups this weekend.  Over the past two games the Falcons have given up 6 or more total tackles to 6 opposing DBs.  Atari Bigby has just 3 solos in the two games he has played and due to a hamstring injury has been ruled out for this week.  He remains a 1 star play for the foreseeable future.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Curtis Lofton
Brent Grimes
3 STAR

William Moore
Dunta Robinson

2 STAR

Stephen Nicholas
John Abraham
Mike Peterson
Eric Coleman
Thomas Decoud

1 STAR
Jamaal Anderson
Kroy Biermann
Jonathan Babineaux
Sean Weatherspoon

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

John Abraham (groin) missed practice on Wednesday, and was limited on Thursday and Friday, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Curtis Lofton (knee) was limited in practice on Wednesday but practiced fully on Thursday on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: As some things change others just stay the same.  Last week John Abraham was inactive and Jamaal Anderson replaced him in the starting lineup.  Anderson managed just 1 solo tackle.  That means that no Falcons DL has put up back to back double digit performances yet this year. Then again when as a unit you only have 4 double digit performances that makes sense.  If you were curious, Abraham has 3 of them and Kroy Biermann the other.  So what changed was Anderson starting, what stayed the same was the Falcons DLs sucking. 

Linebacker: Curtis Lofton sits just outside the top 10 LBs, with just 3 points less than Derrick Johnson, the 10th ranked LB.  Lofton might not be living up to top 5 expectations but he has been extremely consistent.  He remains a strong plug and play option.  Don't over-think things and just keep him in your lineup.  Outside of Lofton I wouldn't really be to excited about starting any other Falcons LB and that does include Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon.  Weatherspoon made his way back on the field last week but didn't record a single fantasy point. It was his first action since week 5 and the Falcons saw fit to play both he and Nicholas, thus killing the value of each last week.  A not so fun fact is that Stephen Nicholas (5 pts), Sean Weatherspoon (0 pts) and Mike Peterson (7 pts) combined scored 3 fewer points than Curtis Lofton. Weatherspoon should be able to work his way back to fantasy relevance but until he completely supplants Nicholas they will both be risky plays.

Secondary:  Brent Grimes has scored in double digits every week since posting 14 points in week 5 against the Browns.  He has easily been the best and safest play in the Flacons secondary.  This week versus the pass happy attack of the Packers I look for Grimes to have another productive double digit game.  Dunta Robinson and William Moore have been anything but consistent and stand to be slightly risky plays but both are coming off their 1st double digit performances in over a month.  This is one of those matchups that should make both fairly safe 3 star plays.  Now if you want to talk Thomas Decoud, that's another thing.  Decoud has been horrid, failing to crack double digits in his last 6 games.  You really don't want a headache like Decoud, so move along.


Carolina at Cleveland

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jon Beason

3 STAR
James Anderson
Charles Johnson
2 STAR
Charles Godfrey
Richard Marshall

Nic Harris

Chris Gamble
Tyler Brayton
Derek Landri
Greg Hardy
1 STAR
Jordan Senn
Jason Williams
Sherrod Martin
Everette Brown
Abdul Hodge

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

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

Defensive Line: Maybe, just maybe the Panthers DL is going to be able to give us a fantasy relevant DL this year.  Charles Johnson has strung together 2 consecutive double digit performances and versus a Browns team that just gave up 5 sacks to the Jaguars he looks to be a solid fantasy option.  Greg Hardy also had a very nice game last week and should be a guy that dynasty leaguers are keeping their eye on.

Linebacker: Heeeee's back!  Jon Beason owners were ready to jump off of buildings after he failed to put up good numbers in week 10 when he took over the starting MLB spot for the injured Dan Connor.  While Beason was able to bounce back  in week 10, scoring a season high 18 points.  Now just as Beason owners are coming back in from the ledge it looks as if James Anderson owners are ready to head out onto that same ledge.  Anderson put up 9 points, his fewest of the season.  Yet, I still see Beason and James Anderson having very nice games against the Browns rushing attack this week.  Nic Harris was the waiver wire darling last week but his 3 fantasy points (2-1-0) wasn't what owners were hoping for.  This week the matchup is a bit better and Harris very well could end up with 5-7 solos but the risk is far to great to rate him anything more than a 2 star play.

Secondary:  I would temper expectations from the Panthers secondary this weekend.  Since week 6 only three DBs have registered more than 5 solos against the Browns.  That makes Richard Marshall, Charles Godfrey and Chris Gamble all risky plays this week. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Ahtyba Rubin
TJ Ward

2 STAR

David Bowens
Kenyon Coleman

Eric Wright
Joe Haden
Abram Elam
Eric Barton
Sheldon Brown
Matt Roth
Chris Gocong

1 STAR

Shaun Rogers
Marcus Benard
Scott Fujita (OUT)

BrownsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 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:

Scott Fujita has been ruled OUT for this week.

Eric Barton (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday & Thursday but returned to practice in a limited fashion on Friday, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Kenyon Coleman (knee) after being limited in practice on Wednesday was unable to practice on Thursday.  He then returned to a limited practice on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line: Ahtyba Rubin has done something that no other DL  has done this year, score in double digit points for 6 consecutive weeks and this week he will look to push it to 7.  Justin Tuck was the next best DL, scoring in double digits 5 times from weeks 1-5.  While Rubin is a relative unknown his last 6 weeks have surely caught the eye of fantasy owners.  This week facing a Panthers team that has more issues than Chad Ochocinco has tweets he will be hard pressed to keep the streak going.  Just in case you weren't aware the Panthers will most likely be starting Keith Null at QB this week.  Outside of Rubin it would be best to just wave high as you walk by the rest of the Browns DL and please keep your hands from inside the cage and don't feed them.

Linebacker: David Bowens replaced the injured Scott Fujita in the starting lineup last week but he did little for fantasy owners.  Bowens was only able to scrape together 5 fantasy points.  Eric Barton on the other hand led the Browns LBs with 12 fantasy points scored and it was his second consecutive double digit performance too.  I know that Mike Goodson did a nice job running the ball for the Panthers last week and Jonathan Stewart could play this weekend too but I just think this is a situation best steered clear of.  In my opinion, the risk far outweighs the reward.

Secondary: Now TJ Ward is a guy that I can get excited about but as excited as I get this matchup does bring me down some.  Something you probably didn't know about Ward is that he is the only DB in the NFL this year to play in every game and to score in double digits in each game.  Yes, LaRon Landry, Donte Whitner, DeAngelo Hall, Bernard Pollard, Patrick Chung and Charles Woodson, just to name a few have all had single digit performances this year.  But not Ward, at least not yet and this week could be the week to put an end to his double digit run of games too. There is no need to talk about the rest of the Browns secondary because if you are thinking about starting any of them I might have to have you committed.


PIttsburgh at Buffalo

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

SteelersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 53

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. 

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Troy Polamalu (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to practice fully on Friday, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Linebacker:  For the season the Bills are only giving up an average of 47 TOs/game but over their last 5 games they are giving up 54 TOs/game.  So the Bills aren't exactly the poor matchup that they might seem at first blush.  Lawrence Timmons isn't on the injury report and is a plug and play LB no matter the matchup.  James Harrison should be in line for a nice day too but keep in mind that the Bills have only given up 1 sack in each of their last 3 games.

Secondary: Troy Polamalu won't take a back seat to anyone from an NFL perspective in the Steelers secondary but as far as fantasy football goes he has been surpassed by Bryant McFadden.  Since returning from a week 5 bye all that McFadden has done is put up 6 consecutive double digit performances and racked up 91 fantasy points, the most among ALL NFL DBs.  That is 27 more points than Polamalu has scored over the same time.  Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor and William Gay very well could put up 10+ points but are just a bit to risky to plug into most teams starting lineups.

5 STAR
Donte Whitner
Paul Posluszny
4 STAR

None

3 STAR

Kyle Williams
Dwan Edwards

2 STAR

Bryan Scott
Leodis McKelvin
Jairus Byrd
Drayton Florence
Akin Ayodele
Chris Kelsay
Marcus Stroud
Reggie Tobor
Terrence McGee

1 STAR
Torell Troup
Keith Ellison
Shawne Merriman (OUT)

BillsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  47
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 41

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Shawne Merriman has been ruled OUT for this week.

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

Kyle Williams (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday but returned to practice fully on Thursday and Friday, he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  For the season, Dwan Edwards (7th) and Kyle Williams (11th)  both rank in the top 15 of DLs.  Something that no one saw coming.  However, the last few weeks have been a bit hit or miss with the duo.  Last week they combined for just 9 fantasy points scored. Each has only scored in double digits once in the past 3 weeks too.  Their up an down performance of late makes them a bit of a risk but against the Steelers they should be safe 3 star plays.

Linebacker: Of course by now we should all know that Paul Posluszny is a mandatory plug and play LB.  The only thing that I will add to make you feel good about his matchup this week is that Rolando McClain had 7 total tackles against the Steelers. That is the same Rolando McClain that was averaging 2.75 total tackles over his last 4 games.  Akin Ayodele may have put up a double digit game last week but don't be fooled into starting him as he still presents plenty of risk and could easily put up a 2-1-0 line again.

Secondary:  Since a 2 point effort in week 2 Donte Whitner has rattled off 8 consecutive double digit fantasy efforts and over that time span he has scored more fantasy points then any other DB and his 17.38 PPG average over that span is tops too. Whitner had one of his lower point totals (12) of the season last week but look for him to bounce back up to the 17+ point range this week.  Terrence McGee may have worked his way back onto the NFL field but he hasn't done nearly enough to work his way back into fantasy lineups. For owners that are dealing with injury issues, Bryan Scott could be a slightly sneaky play this week .


Tennessee at Houston

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Stephen Tulloch

3 STAR

Cortland Finnegan
Chris Hope
Michael Griffin
Jason  Babin

2 STAR

Jason McCourty
Alterraun Verner
Jacob Ford
Jason Jones
Gerald McGrath
Will Witherspoon
William Hayes
Dave Ball

1 STAR
Vincent Fuller
Colin Allred
Tony Brown

TitansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 49

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Dave Ball (concussion) missed practice all week and is lsited as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Tony Brown (knee) & Jason Jones (knee) both missed practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Jason Babin lived up to his 3 star ranking last week as he put up 10 fantasy points for his owners. Babin wasn't the only Titans DL to put up double digits last week either.  He was joined by Dave Ball (10 pts), Jacob Ford (15 pts) & Jovan Haye (11 pts).  Pretty crazy production from a team that prior to last week in weeks 8 thru 10 had just one double digit performance from all of their DL combined.  I still think that at this point only Babin is the safe start of the bunch.  Sure any of them can put up a good game, as shown last week but their inconsistency is what makes me shy away.

Linebacker:  Since week 3 Stephen Tulloch has recorded at least 8 total tackles in every game and for the season has 96 total tackles.  That puts Tulloch on pace for 154 total tackles this year.  It is no wonder he is a top 10 LB and a weekly must play for his owners.  The Texans have been a good but not great matchup of late for opposing LBs so I wouldn't expect Tulloch to go off with a monster game this weekend but he should be in the 15 point range when all is said and done.  Both Will Witherspoon and Gerald McGrath posted double digit scores last week but plugging them in and relying on that production is risky at best.

Secondary: I have already pointed out how productive the Titans DL and LBs were last week, well the DBs joined the party too.  Chris Hope (13 pts), Michael Griffin (14 pts) & Cortland Finnegan (24 pts) all scored in double digits for the day.  Rookie Alterraun Verner (9 pts) just narrowly missed joining in on the double digit party.  This week I think that Finnegan, Hope and Griffin are all the safe 3 star plays and I wouldn't be surprised if Verner joined in this time too.  The main thing is that the Titans offense could struggle to put up points with a rookie QB leading the way and that could limit the opportunities the secondary gets.

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

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:

Troy Polamalu (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to practice fully on Friday, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Brian Cushing (knee), Zach Diles (illness) & Kevin Bentley (knee, shoulder) are all listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.  Diles and Bentley practiced fully all week and Cushing was limited on Friday.

Mario Williams (groin) didn't practice on Wednesday and was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday, he is listed QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Well, a few weeks ago I did it to Jared Allen and it worked and last week I did it to Mario Williams and it worked.  Yes, I am a bit superstitious but whatever as long as it works.  As much as I didn't want to rank Williams below 3 stars I just had to last week and well he finally went off again, posting 14 fantasy points.  In his previous 4 games combined he scored just 13.5 fantasy points. So now all we can hope is that Williams can continue to build on his performance from last week.  Allen did so let's just cross our fingers that Williams does too.  With a rookie QB starting for the Titans he surely will have a shot at a very nice week.  That is if he is able to play because his groin kept him from practicing on Wednesday.  Check back for the Friday Injury Update to see if and how much Williams was able to practice on Thursday and Friday.  Also look for Antonio Smith to have a solid game too.

Linebacker: Late last week Zach Diles ended up at the hospital and wound up being scratched for week 11. He practiced fully on Wednesday and is expected to play this week.  After two disappointing games in week's 8 & 9 Brian Cushing bounced back with two consecutive double digit scoring games and this week versus the Titans rushing attack he should be able to make it three consecutive weeks.  Also, look for Cushing to get to rookie QB Rusty Smith on at least one blitz this week.  Since moving into the starting lineup at MLB, Kevin Bentley has put up 13 and 21 fantasy points in consecutive weeks.  DeMeco Ryans of course has been productive in the past from the Texans MLB spot and Bentley looks like he too will be a productive option moving forward.

Secondary:  The Texans secondary is just downright horrible, from a NFL standpoint that is. Well and actually pretty much from a fantasy perspective.  The only DB worthy of weekly starting is Bernard Pollard who ranks in the top 5 of DBs.  But even Pollard has struggled the last two weeks.  For the season he has a 14.8 PPG average but in weeks 10 & 11 he has only scored a combined 12 points, 3 and 9 points respectively.  Hopefully the Texans are able to utilize Pollard in the box to try and contain RB Chris Johnson. Glover Quin has posted two consecutive double digit scores but this week his opportunities should be limited with Rusty Smith under center.


Kansas City at Seattle

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Eric Berry
Derrick Johnson

3 STAR
Javier Arenas
Tamba Hali
2 STAR

Brandon Carr
Kendrick Lewis
Wallace Gilberry
Glenn Dorsey

1 STAR
Mike Vrabel
Jovan Belcher
Tyson Jackson
Demorrio Williams
Corey Mays
Jon McGraw
Brandon Flowers

ChiefsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 55

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Brandon Flowers (hamstring) missed practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report. 

Jon McGraw (head) missed practice on Wednesday and practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: For the most part the Chiefs DL doesn't provide consistent fantasy production. 

Linebacker: Derrick Johnson looks to have a decent matchup this week against the Seahawks.  Over the last 4 games against the Seahawks there have been 5 opposing LBs that scored in double digits.  Scott Shanle was the biggest producer, scoring 27 points last week on the strength of a 9-3-0 stat line that was padded with a forced fumble and fumble recovery too.  Johnson is a much more athletically gifted LB than Shanle but his production will have more to do with what the Seattle offense can or can't do.  Luckily for Johnson owners the Seahawks tend to play better at the friendly confines of Qwest Field.  Outside of Johnson the only other Chefs LB that I like this week is Tamba Hali.  Hali clearly comes with risk since he is a rush OLB and will need to get to the QB to have 3 star value this week.  A couple of weeks ago I expected Joey Porter of the Cardinals to have a good game against the Seahawks and he ended up disappointing and ended the day with a 1-2-0 stat line but looking at what some other 3-4 OLBs have done this year versus the Seahawks makes me feel good about giving  Hali a 3 star ranking.  In case were wondering, Kamerion Wimbley, Shaun Phillips & Travis Laboy combined to put up a 10-2-4 stat line against the Seahawks this year. 
Yes I know i typed CHEFS, been wanting to do that for a very long time too.

Secondary: Five weeks and counting with Eric Berry posting double digit fantasy scores.  The rookie has become a solid DB2/3 as the season has progressed.  This week Berry should have no problem pushing his scoring streak to 6 games, it will probably be in the 10-12 point range but double digits nonetheless.  On the injury front it looks like the Chiefs best CB and 2nd best fantasy option in their secondary is going to miss this week's game due to a hamstring injury.  Look for rookie Javier Arenas to make the start in place of Flowers and if that happens look for the Seahawks to test the rookie CB often.  Jon McGraw also looks like he will miss his third consecutive game.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Earl Thomas
David Hawthorne
3 STAR

Lawyer Milloy
Walter Thurmond
Aaron Curry

2 STAR

Chris Clemons
Lofa Tatupu
Kentwan Balmer
Kelly Jennings

Jordan Babineaux
Kam Chancellor

1 STAR
Marcus Trufant
Brandon Mebane
Colin Cole (OUT)

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 has been ruled OUT for this week.

Chris Clemons (ankle) after missing practice on Wednesday returned to practice in full the rest of the week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Marcus Trufant (concussion) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to practice fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Lofa Tatupu (knee) missed practice on Wednesday but practiced fully on Thursday and Friday, he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Last week I warned that Chris Clemons could be in for a tough day and said not to be surprised to see him post just a 2-1-0 or 3-0-0 type stat line.  Well, Clemons came up even short of that, posting a 0-1-0 with a pass defended stat line.  This week Clemons makes for another risky start as he faces a Chiefs team that has given up the 2nd fewest amount of sacks (15) in the NFL this year.  Even with that I was very close to making Clemons a 3 star play.  Mainly my thought process surrounds how hard it is for opposing teams to play in the loudest stadium in the NFL .

Linebacker:  Man I must have had to much turkey or something for Thanksgiving dinner because I have both David Hawthorne and Aaron Curry ranked as starters this week.  The Chiefs like to run the ball and that should hopefully allow Hawthorne to be on the field for more plays than normal. Curry is a bit riskier as he hasn't eclipsed 4 solo tackles twice this year and will more than likely have to get to the QB to help supplement his fantasy scoring.  As much as I would like to give Lofa Tatupu a 3 star ranking I just can't because he has been so inconsistent. 

Secondary:  Earl Thomas is starting to really come on after posting two consecutive nice games where he scored 16 and 19 fantasy points. Thomas has shown he nose for the ball this year as he has 5 interceptions on the year and now he seems to be having a better nose for the ball carrier too, averaging 7 solos the past two weeks.  Thomas should be in line for an above average to very good game this week as the Chiefs have been a very nice matchup for opposing safeties this year.  Lawyer Milloy has put together consecutive 11 point games after being in a bit of a funk for about a month.  He probably carries a bit of risk as a 3 star play but he should be able to put together a 4-2-0 at the very least.  Marcus Trufant had been on a nice 6 game stretch with posting double digit scores but he suffered a concussion that knocked him out of the game early.  Walter Thurmond replaced him and went 9-0-0 on the day. Trufant hasn't been officially ruled out yet but I am ranking him and Thurmond as if he will not play. Check back for the Friday Injury Report Update to see if there is any additional news released.


Miami at Oakland

5 STAR
Karlos Dansby
4 STAR
Yeremiah Bell
3 STAR
Cameron Wake
Channing Crowder
Chris Clemons
2 STAR

Vontae Davis
Sean Smith

1 STAR
Kendall Langford
Quentin Moses
Randy Starks
Tim Dobbins
Al Harris
Tyrone Culver
Reshad Jones

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:

Karlos Dansby (toe) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Chris Clemons (groin) 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: For the season, Karlos Dansby is the #14 ranked LB but since week 7 he is averaging 17.80 PPG and ranks 6 in fantasy points scored. The Raiders have given up some very nice games to opposing LBs this year and when coupled with how Dansby has been playing it was easy to rank him a 5 star play this week.  Now let's hope that Tom Cable commits to the run like he hinted at this week.  Channing Crowder is a risky 3 star play but against what should be a heavy rushing attack he should be able to hit 5 solos and put up LB3 numbers.  Cameron Wake had a huge game last week and while the Raiders have given up multiple sacks in every game this year I just think that the Raiders will really play a conservative game this week and that makes Wake a less desirable play.

Secondary:  Yeremiah Bell has put up at least 5 or more total tackles in all but one game this year which has helped him to a #9 ranking among DBs.  The Raiders have given up some big games to opposing safeties and Bell looks to be the next in line to do the same. Chris Clemons groin injury kept him out of last week's game but he practiced fully on Wednesday and looks like he should be good to go this week. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Richard Seymour
3 STAR

Michael Huff
Matt Shaughnessy
Tyvon Branch

2 STAR
Rolando McClain
Quentin Groves
Kamerion Wimbley
Stanford Routt
Mike Mitchell
1 STAR
Nnamdi Asomugha
Chris Johnson
John Henderson

Lamarr Houston
Trevor Scott (IR)

Raiders Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 47
2000-2009 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:

Chris Johnson has been ruled OUT for this week.

Nmandi Asomugha (ankle) was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to practice fully on Friday, he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

Tyvon Branch (shoulder) was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to a full practice on Friday, he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Right or wrong, Richard Seymour did what a lot of people would have liked to do to Ben Roethlisberger.  Now you just have to wonder if it actually knocked any sense into him, probably not. Enough of that, Seymour knows that what he did hurt his team (his wallet too) and I think that will make him be a little more focused and looking to right his wrong.  As far as this matchup goes I think that it is more of a 2 star matchup for Seymour but with the extenuating circumstances I am willing to bump him up to a 4 star play.  Matt Shaughnessy is quietly putting together a very nice season, a top 20 type season to be exact.  Shaughnessy should be able to put up DL2 numbers or better this week.

Linebacker: Welcome back to double digits Rolando McClain.  Last week McClain scored 11 fantasy points, most undoubtedly on many fantasy benches.  It was his first double digit score since a 12 point performance way back in week 5.  The Dolphins might want to run the ball more but that haven't shown that they can or will and to top it off McClain has been so bad for much of the year that I am not willing to buy that last week's performance is a preview of things to come just yet.  I say leave him on the bench again this week and if he hits double digits again then we can revisit my stance next week.  Trevor Scott tore the ACL in his left leg and has been placed on season ending injured reserve. 

Secondary:  Tyvon Branch has been a slight disappointment for owners that were expecting him to put up numbers like he did last year but even then at least Branch is putting up top 15 numbers.  The past week against the Steelers he had a slightly disappointing 10 fantasy points in what looked to be a prime matchup. Branch took the long road to cobble together those points, putting up a pretty odd looking stat line of 1-5-0 with a forced fumble.  Branch doesn't appear to have the best matchup this week but he should be able to put up 10-12 points this week and my guess is that it will be a bit more of a conventional stat line that we see next week too.  Michael Huff owners also suffered thru a disappointing week last week as Huff failed to post a double digit score for the first time since week 2. Branch has made the most of his opportunities this year and I expect we will see him do more of the same this week.


Philadelphia at Chicago

5 STAR
Trent Cole
4 STAR
Stewart Bradley
Quintin Mikell
Dimitri Patterson
3 STAR
Nate Allen
Brandon Graham
Joselio Hanson
2 STAR

Moise Fokou
Ernie Sims
Darryl Tapp

1 STAR
Akeem Jordan
Omar Gaither
Kurt Coleman
Ellis Hobbs (IR)
Asante Samuel
Juqua Parker

EaglesAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 55

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Juqua Parker (hip) & Assante Samuel (knee) both missed practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line: If you are a Trent Cole owner you just have to be smiling big with the matchup he has this week.  The Bears are giving up just under 4 sacks/game for the year and that bodes very well for not just Trent Cole but also rookie Brandon Graham.  Graham won a starting job prior to the start of the season but then lost it to Juqua Parker.  Well Parker is injured and Graham is slated to start in his place this week.  Granted he is a risky 3 star play this week but the matchup is just to good to ignore.  Yes, I know that in their last 3 games the Bears have only given up 5 total sacks but that doesn't change my outlook for Cole or Graham in the least.

Linebacker: Since week 4, Stewart Bradley has recorded at least 5 total tackles in all but one game and in 2 of his last 3 games he has recorded at least 7 total tackles.  Couple that with the big games that the Bears have given up to opposing LBs and you have a perfect storm to rank Bradley as a 4 star play and I was very close to pushing it up to a 5 star play too.  Outside of Bradley I can't see relying on Ernie Sims or Moise Fokou as starters, leave them on the bench where they belong.

Secondary: Since an injury to Ellis Hobbs forced Dimitri Paterson into the starting lineup back in week 9, Paterson has been very productive.  So productive that he ranks as the #2 DB from week 9 thru 11 with 50 fantasy points scored and a 16.67 PPG average.  Patterson should be very busy against the Bears passing attack this week.  The only reason I don't have him a 5 star play is because Asante Samuel looks like he won't be able to play this week due to a sprained MCL.  That means that Joselio Hanson will get the start for Samuels and Hanson could end up with a big target on his back.  Nate Allen should also be in lineups this week.  Allen won't light up the box score with tackles but we all know how much Jay Cutler likes to throw the ball to the guys in the wrong jersey. 

5 STAR
Julius Peppers
4 STAR
Lance Briggs
Charles Tillman
3 STAR

Brian Urlacher
Israel Idonije

2 STAR
Chris Harris
Danieal Manning
Tim Jennings
DJ Moore
1 STAR
Nick Roach
Zackary Bowman
Pisa Tinoisamoa

BearsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 45

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

Defensive Line:  Julius Peppers, MY MAN!  Peppers exploded last week as he put up 21 fantasy points on a 5-1-3 with a pass defended stat line.  That is why you don't bench guys like Julius Peppers.   Justin Tuck showed that you can get to Michael Vick and while Peppers very well could put up a 2-0-0 line this week you can't ignore the game he is coming off of or the game that just happened against his opponent.  I for one am starting Peppers in multiple leagues this week and will keep my fingers crossed that he can keep it going.  Israel Idonije hasn't been very consistent but rates a 3 start ranking based on this matchup. 

Linebacker: Since returning to the starting lineup after missing time due to injury Lance Briggs has 3 consecutive double digit scoring weeks and is averaging 15.33 PPG.  The Eagles have been boon or bust for opposing LBs but there have been enough boon performances for me to feel good about ranking Briggs as a 4 star play.  Brian Urlacher has been solid the past 3 weeks but he did have a stretch where he was tackle challenged.  He looks to be a bit risky as a 3 star play but his recent production pushed me over the edge to rank him as a 3 star play.

Secondary: For the most part opposing CBs have scored very well against the Eagles this year and Charles Tillman is one of the best fantasy CBs around.  Tillman should be very busy and I expect we could see a 8 solo week from him.  Outside of Tillman I think I would take a pass on the rest of the Bears secondary this week. 


Tampa Bay at Baltimore

5 STAR
Barrett Ruud
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Geno Hayes
Aqib Talib
Ronde Barber
Cody Grimm

2 STAR

Sean Jones
Gerald McCoy
Adam Hayward
Quincy Black
Stylez White

1 STAR

Dekoda Watson
Kyle Moore
(OUT)

Buccaneers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 44

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Kyle Moore (shoulder) has been ruled OUT for this week.

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

Defensive Line:  Over the last three weeks the Buccaneers DLs have combined to put up one, ONE, yes, ONE double digit score among them all.  And it was Gerald McCoy who put it up in week 10.  Kyle Moore missed his second consecutive game due to a shoulder injury and didn't practice on Wednesday so don't be shocked to see him miss another week. If I were you I would leave Stylez White, McCoy and the rest of the Buccaneers DL the bench because even by playing they won't score much more than the zero that Moore gets for not playing.

Linebacker: Two weeks ago Barrett Ruud looked like he had a terrible matchup and he went off and this past week looked like a great matchup and he puts up a 9 point stinker.  I am going to shrug off last week's performance and still rank Ruud as a strong 5 star play this week.  Geno Hayes was able to bounce back from a pitiful 2 point performance two weeks ago by posting 12 fantasy points last week.  This week I think that Hayes should be good for another 12-15 points but his up and down performances keep me from ranking him as a 4 star play.  Quincy Black missed the last two games due to an ankle injury but he practiced fully on Wednesday and looks like he should be back on the field this week. That means that Dekoda Watson moves back into a reserve role.

Secondary: Both safeties and CBs have had success against the Ravens this year, which is why I think that the trio of Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib and Cody Grimm are in line for a good game this week.  Barber and Talib have been up and down so they each possess a bit of risk but Grimm for the most part has been solid since the Buccaneers bye week.

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

Dawan Landry
Ed Reed
Jarrett Johnson
Josh Wilson
Kelly Gregg

1 STAR
Fabian Washington
Chris Carr
Jameel McClain
Tavares Gooden
Cory Redding

Ravens Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 50

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

Defensive Line: Good or bad it doesn't matter what type of matchup it is make sure you keep Terrell Suggs in your starting lineup.  Over his last two games Suggs has 10 solo tackles and 3 sacks.  You shouldn't need any other reasons to start Suggs.  Haloti Ngata has been solid for much of the season but over the past two weeks he has a combined 8 fantasy points. Of course his production tailed off after I pointed out just how well he was playing.  Ngata isn't the no brainer start like he was earlier in the year but I do think the matchup is strong enough to risk running him out in starting lineups this week.

Linebacker:  When Ray Lewis finally retires the Energizer Battery Company should retire their rabbit and replace it with Ray Lewis.  Because Ray just keeps producing and producing and producing.  With Lewis you don't even worry about the matchup you just keep him in your lineups.  For the season the Ravens have faced the 3rd fewest TOs and yet Lewis still ranks as the 6th best scoring LB in the league. Jarrett Johnson and Jameel McClain, leave 'em planted on the bench.

Secondary:  Dwan Landry didn't have a great day last week in the tackle column and if not for an interception return for a TD he would have posted just 9 fantasy points.  Lately opposing DBs have struggled to rack up tackles against the Buccaneers so Landry could be in for a rough week this week.  As big a fan I am of the unheralded Landry I think it will be best to keep him out of starting lineups this week.  Ed Reed continues to be Ed Reed and if you are in a big play league then I would bump Reed up but in tackle heavy leagues I think he too should be left on the bench.



St. Louis at Denver

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Bradley Fletcher

3 STAR

James Laurinaitis
Chris Long
James Hall
Oshiomongo Atogwe

2 STAR
Craig Dahl
James Butler
Larry Grant
1 STAR
Na'il Diggs
Fred Robbins
Ronald Bartell

RamsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 47

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

Defensive Line:  The Broncos have given up 4 or more sacks in 3 of their last 4 games.  That makes both Chris Long and James Hall safe 3 star plays.  Also, I should point out that last week was the first time since week 6 that either Long or Hall hasn't recorded a sack in a game for the Rams.

Linebacker:  James Laurinaitis ranks just inside the top 20 for the year at 18 with 143 fantasy points scored (14.33 PPG).  He has been a perfect LB2 posting double digit scores in every week except for week 4.  The thing that hurts "Lil' Animal" is playing his home games in St. Louis where the scorekeeper doesn't like to give out assists.  This week playing in Denver actually gives him some upside in his 3 star ranking.  As far as fantasy relevance goes he is the only LB with any fantasy value on the Rams.

Secondary:  Oshiomongo Atogwe has been a huge disappointment of late for his owners.  Unfortunately, putting my finger on exactly what has caused his drop in production has been a fruitless proposition.  With the depth at the DB position I would advises looking for other options at this point.  Of course that goes against the grain of my 3 star ranking.  The thing is that Atogwe wasn't struggling I would probably have him as a 4 star play this week. So if you want to give him one more shot this is the week to do it but if he flops again then it will be time for the bench, probably for good this year.  James Butler was practicing last week and was listed as probable on the injury report and looked like he was going to be good to go but then was ruled inactive.  Butler isn't on the injury report this week so he should get back on the field but there is no telling how much if any of a rotation he could be in with Craig Dahl.  I would suggest leaving both Dahl and Butler on the bench this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Brian Dawkins
Joe Mays
Perrish Cox
2 STAR

DJ Williams
Champ Bailey
Jason Hunter
Mario Haggan
Wesley Woodyard
Marcus Thomas
Renaldo Hill
Kevin Vickerson

1 STAR
Darcel McBath (OUT)
Robert Ayers
Andre' Goodman (OUT)
Brandon Flowers

BroncosAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 47

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Andre' Goodman and Darcel McBath have both been ruled OUT for this week.

DJ Williams (concussion) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line: For the most part the Broncos DL have little to no fantasy value.  Yes, I know that Kevin Vickerson has put up double digit scores each of the past two weeks.  That doesn't change how risky of a play he is.  Don't chase the points, just don't do it! 

Linebacker: DJ Williams suffered a concussion in last weeks game that forced him out of the contest.  With the added focus on concussions I and I am sure many others expected that Williams would be held out this week but he was able to practice on Wednesday. His last two weeks are far from what his owners have come to expect from him so while normally hearing he would be good to go would be good news this week it is a bit bittersweet.  That is because he is one of those guys that you just can't take out of your lineup but his recent production says to bench him.  If you are like me and own Williams and Joe Mays then you really have a head scratcher on your hands. Especially when you see that Mays has posted 14 and 19 fantasy points the past two weeks.  As it stands now I think that Mays is the safer play this week and I am backing that up as I have Mays currently in my starting lineup and Williams on the bench. 

Secondary:  The Rams have been a less than stellar matchup for opposing DBs this year.  Brian Dawkins hasn't exactly been the Brian Dawkins of old but lately he has been putting up DB2/3 type numbers and this week should be no different.  Perrish Cox has 14 total tackles over his last 2 games and this week he should be able to put up 10-12 fantasy points.  I would expect that rookie QB Sam Bradford will know to not test Champ Bailey so there is little to no value with Bailey this week. 


San Diego at Indianapolis

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Eric Weddle
Antoine Cason
3 STAR

Kevin Burnett
Stephen Cooper
Quentin Jammer

2 STAR
Paul Oliver/Steve Gregory
Shaun Phillips
1 STAR

Luis Castillo
Brandon Siler
Darrell Stuckey

ChargersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
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:

Steve Gregory (shoulder) practiced fully all week but is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

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

Linebacker: The Colts have had a LB record double digit tackles against them in 6 of 10 weeks so far this year.  That shows that there is plenty of upside for either Stephen Cooper or Kevin Burnett to seize.  The problem is that neither has been the consistent performer this year.  They seem to be tacking turns with who leads the LB core in tackles.  So I am hedging my bet and instead of ranking one LB a 5 star play and the other a 3 star play I am just ranked both 3 stars.

Secondary: WARNINNG, PROCEED WITH CAUTION!  Ok, here it is the Colts are a good matchup for opposing DBs but the Chargers have secondary has been way inconsistent this year. Antoine Cason leads the secondary in fantasy points but he also has 5 games where he scored in single digits.  Eric Weddle hasn't been able to string more than 2 double digit score together and Steve Gregory just can't get on the field. If ever you were going to take a risk and start an inconsistent player or two I would say that Weddle and Cason are worth the risk this week.  If Steve Gregory ends up healthy enough to play I would also bump him up to a 3 star play and then bump Weddle down a level too.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jerraud Powers
Aaron Francisco

3 STAR
Robert Mathis
Kavell Connor
Kelvin Hayden
Pat Angerer

Antoine Bethea
2 STAR
Tyjuan Hagler
Jacob Lacey

Dwight Freeney
Phillip Wheeler
1 STAR
Clint Session
Gary Brackett

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Gary Brackett (toe) & Clint Session both missed practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line:  The Chargers have given up a sack to an opposing DL in 6 straight games.  That bodes well for Robert Mathis owners too.  On top of that this has the makings of a serious shoot out so Mathis and Dwight Freeney will have many opportunities to pin their ears back and get after Phillip Rivers.

Linebacker: As of this writing the Colts practice report has yet to be published and with the number of injuries they have it is hard to say how things play out until that list is published.  Currently I ranked players with the expectation that Clint Session and Gary Brackett will both be out again.  Check back for the Friday Injury Update and I will update the injury status and this paragraph too.
UDPATE: After Gary Brackett and Clint Session missed practice all week it looks like Pat Angerer and Kavell Connor will be in the starting lineup again this week. Angerer will man the MLB position and Connor should start at WLB but look for Tyjuan Hagler to get time there too.

Secondary:  The Chargers have been a mixed bag for opposing DB production this year.  I am ranking Jerraud Powers and Aaron Francisco based on my expectation that we are going to see a shootout on Sunday night.  Depending on how the practice/injury report looks I will possibly move Jacob Lacey up to a 3 star play.


San Francisco at Arizona

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Patrick Willis
Justin Smith

3 STAR
None
2 STAR
Taylor Mays
Reggie Smith
Dashon Goldson
Nate Clements

Takeo Spikes
Shawntae Spencer
Manny Lawson
1 STAR
Parys Haralson
Travis Laboy
Navorro Bowman

49ersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 48

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

Defensive Line:  Last week I warned that Justin Smith probably wouldn't get to the QB but that he should still produce.  Smith didn't get to the QB last week and was only able to log 3 solos so the 6 fantasy points that he scored wasn't very good.  It was the 1st time since week 6 that he didn't score in double digits.  I would expect Smith to bounce back in a big way this week.  The Cardinals are giving up over 3 sacks per game so Smith shouldn't have any problem getting to the QB and putting up another double digit score.

Linebacker:  Where did the owners that were disappointed with the play of Patrick Willis earlier this year go?  If they were smart they held on to Willis and kept running him out in their lineups.  Willis now ranks as the 5th best LB on the season and get this, since week 7 his 22.50 PPG is second only to the 22.75 PPG of Ray Lewis. Any other LB would warrant a 3 star ranking at the very most this week and probably more likely a 2 star ranking but Willis is back to being Willis so he gets a 4 star ranking.  Start him with confidence but understand this could be a challenging week.

Secondary: Surprisingly the Cardinals have given up some decent games to opposing DBs.  I just have a hard time ranking Nate Clements, Dashon Goldson, Taylor Mays or even Reggie Smith above a 2 star play this week.  I know that the Niners aren't living up to expectations this year but I just have a sinking feeling that Derek Anderson has a 10-28 125 yard type game in him this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Paris Lenon
Kerry Rhodes
3 STAR
Gerald Hayes
Adrian Wilson
2 STAR
Daryl Washington
Joey Porter

Darnell Dockett

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Greg Toler
1 STAR
Calais Campbell
Alan Branch
Clark Haggans
O'Brien Schofield

Cardinals Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 53

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Calais Campbell (ankle) missed practice on Thursday and Friday.

Darnell Dockett (shoulder) was a limited participant in practice on Thursday and Friday.

Defensive Line: Calais Campbell suffered a leg injury in last week's game and his availability for this week has yet to be determined. With the holiday and this being a Monday night game there is no practice information currently available so look back for a special update on Sunday about Campbell.  Darnell Dockett returned to the starting lineup after missing week 10 due to an injury.  Unfortunately, he wasn't productive in the box score, posting just 3 fantasy points.  At this point in time I think it is best to avoid the Cardinals DL.

Linebacker: Last week Paris Lenon had what appeared to be a very strong matchup against the run heavy Chiefs. Unfortunately, that strong matchup never materialized.  The Chiefs had been giving up an average of 57 TOs/game over their last 5 games but against the Cardinals only managed to give up 44 TOs.  That might explain why Lenon only scored 8 fantasy points but it doesn't make it any more palatable.  Gerald Hayes did slightly better than Lenon as he put up 10 fantasy points.  Both should do much better this week against the Frank Gore led rushing attack, at least I hope so. The thing that I keep wondering is when the Cardinals are just going to throw Daryl Washington in and let him learn this year.  The answer is probably when they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.  If you can buy Washington cheap in dynasty leagues I would say jump on him while you can.

Secondary: If you are a Greg Toler owner you need to realize that you are playing with fire if you try to keep him in your lineup.  He was benched earlier this season and last week he was inactive due to a foot injury. Bad CBs get picked on and in the process can put up good fantasy numbers.  When that happens and the player continually gets burned they eventually lose playing time and maybe even their job.  Toler is that type of play, proceed with caution.  Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes are not players like that.  Wilson is far from the DB he was a few years ago when he was the DB to own but the past 3 weeks he has been putting up numbers like he used to.  Might as well ride him while he is hot.  Kerry Rhodes on the other hand has struggled the past couple of weeks but he has been the much better play for most of the year as he ranks 11th in fantasy points among DBs.  I might be a bit to bullish on Rhodes this week but I think we see him bounce back this week and wouldn't be surprised to see him pick off a pass this weekend too.


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