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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 13
Steve Gallo
December 3, 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 40 56 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 46 3-4 & 4-3
Greg Mattison Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Dwan Landry
BUF 47 57 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 48 Tampa 2 Rod Marinelli Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Brian Urlacher,
Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings
CIN 51 49 4-3 Mike Zimmer Dhani Jones, Leon Hall (CB Mandatory leagues)
CLE 49 52 3-4 Rob Ryan TJ Ward, Scott Fujita (injured), Kenyon Coleman
DAL 51 51 3-4 Paul Pasqualoni Jay Ratliff, Bradie James, Keith Brooking
DEN 49 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 51 52 4-3 Frank Bush Mario Williams, Bryan Cushing, Zac Diles,
Bernard Pollard
IND 53 51 Tampa 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett (injured), Clint Session (injured),
Pat Angerer, Robert Mathis
JAX 53 49 4-3 Mel Tucker Justin Durant, Daryl Smith, Courtney Greene
KC 54 48 3-4 Romeo Crennel Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry
MIA 52 48 3-4 Mike Nolan Karlos Dansby, Yeremiah Bell
MIN 49 49 4-3 & Tampa 2 Leslie Frazier Jared Allen, EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway,
Antoine Winfield
NE 49 56 3-4 Bill Belichick &
D-Staff
Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung
NO 54 48 4-3 Gregg Williams Will Smith, Roman Harper, Jonathan Vilma,
Sedrick Ellis (DT mandatory leagues)
NYG 54 45 4-3 Perry Fewell Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Terrell Thomas
NYJ 53 45 3-4 Mike Pettine Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, David Harris, Jim Leonhard
OAK 50 49 4-3 John Marshall Richard Seymour, Tyvon Branch, Matt Shaughnessy, Michael Huff
PHL 53 47 4-3 Sean McDermott Trent Cole, Stewart Bradley, Quintin Mikell
PIT 50 49 3-4 Dick LeBeau James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons,
Troy Polamalu
SD 53 46 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett
SEA 45 53 4-3 Gus Bradley Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, Chris Clemons
SF 47 51 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 49 Tampa 2 Raheem Morris Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes,
Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib (CB mandatory leagues)
TEN 45 57 4-3 Chuck Cecil Jason Babin, Stephen Tulloch, Alterraun Verner
Chris Hope, Michael Griffin
WAS 46 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
 
 

Houston at Philadelphia

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

TexansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2002*-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 45
*1st year in the NFL .

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

Defensive Line: Mario Williams inconsistent season continues to be, well, inconsistent. Williams was able to record another sack giving him a sack in 3 of his last 4 games and back to back games too.  Unfortunately, last week he could only supplement the sack with 2 solos which was good for 7 fantasy points. Williams has recorded just 3 double digit scores this year and none have been back to back.  With all that said it stands to reason to that I have to point out just how risky a 5 star play Williams is this week.  But that doesn't change the fact that this is a very, very nice matchup for him this week.  Over the last two weeks the Eagles have given up 28 points to Justin Tuck, 14 to Julius Peppers, 10.5 to Israel Idonije and 9 points to Osi Umenyiora.  Also, all four were able to get to Michael Vick and combined they recorded 5.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.  I know that there hasn't been much confidence with starting Williams much of this year but this week I think you should, just trust the matchup and trust Williams talent.  Antonio Smith even makes for a nice sneaky 3 star play this week. 

Linebacker: For the most part just throw out last week's performance for the Texans LBs.  The Titans were only able to complete 17 passes and only ran the ball 12 times, that is just 29 tackle opportunities (30 TOs for the game).  No wonder that only one player for the Texans, Brian Cushing was able to record more than 3 solo tackles.  Cushing's 6-1-0 is really nothing short of amazing considering how few TOs he faced.  This week Cushing's value very well could come from how successful he is in getting after Michael Vick on his blitzes.  Zach Diles 0-1-0 was very disappointing but can be explained.  Diles only played in 7 snaps but it wasn't like he lost all of his snaps to Daryl Sharpton because Sharpton also only participated in 7 snaps.  It was Cushing and Kevin Bentley that were on the field for the entire game.  Bentley's 2-2-0 may seem disappointing but remember that he only faced 29 TOs, so that isn't such a bad stat line.  Look for him to have a bigger impact in the box score this week.  Until we see that the Texans are going to work Diles back into a full time role he is just to risky to rely on and should be viewed as a 2 star play at best.

Secondary:  I don't expect Glover Quin to come close to repeating the 3 interception performance he had versus the Titans last week but I do see him continuing to put up strong fantasy numbers.  Since the Texans week 7 bye, Quin ranks 7th among DBs with a 16.00 PPG over that time span.  He has also posted double digit scores in 4 of those 5 games.  Ride the hot hand as Quin chases Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and crew down on Thursday night.  I have to apologize to Bernard Pollard owners as I traded for him in one of my leagues back in week 8. Over his last 3 games he has scored a combined, yes I said combined, 20 fantasy points.  Prior to this 3 game funk he was averaging 17 PPG.  That hurts, I know it does.  This week isn't the best matchup for a guy that struggles in coverage versus a team that loves to throw the ball either.  But I just can't see ranking him lower than a 3 star play.  I know I probably should but I just can't.  Run Pollard out in your lineup once again and just cross your fingers and hold your breath that he can get back to putting up numbers like he did early in the season.

5 STAR
Trent Cole
4 STAR
Quintin Mikell
3 STAR

Stewart Bradley
Nate Allen

Dimitri Patterson

2 STAR

Joselio Hanson
Trevard Lindley
Brandon Graham

Moise Fokou
Ernie Sims
Darryl Tapp

1 STAR
Akeem Jordan
Omar Gaither
Kurt Coleman
Asante Samuel
Juqua Parker

EaglesAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 56

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

Defensive Line: Trent Cole cashed in on a great matchup last week and rewarded his owners with his first double digit score since week 7.  Even with Cole suffering thru a mini slump, prior to last week of course, he still ranks 2nd among all DLs in fantasy points scored. This week looks to be another strong matchup for Cole too.  I would say it is probably more of a 4 star matchup with some upside but when guys like Cole, Justin Tuck and Jared Allen start to turn it on their sacks usually come in bunches, which is why I have Cole as a 5 star play.  Well that and the fact that 11 DLs have logged 4+ solos against the Texans this year and have given up 14 sacks to opposing DLs too.  Brandon Graham had a nice week last week too.  Actually he posted 9 fantasy points, the most in any game of his young career.  This week I think that Graham could get to the QB but I am not sure he gets enough tackles in run support to put up 3 star value. Juqua Parker missed practice on Monday and Tuesday and it is doubtful he plays this week. 

Linebacker:  Don't expect Stewart Bradley to reproduce the 11-3-0 line that Stephen Tulloch posted last week against the Texans.  For one the Texans ran the ball 39 times and Bradley just isn't Tulloch.  Actually, Bradley isn't even the Bradley of old since he hurt his knee last year.  Still, since week 4 Bradley has been able to cobble together a decent enough season ranking as a solid LB3 over that time frame.  This week Bradley should provide more of the same, look for a 10-12 point type performance.  Ernie Sims scored 10 fantasy points last week, doubling his fantasy points totals from the previous 2 weeks combined.  Sims has been wildly inconsistent this year and that makes him a very risky play. 

Secondary: How the secondary responds from a fantasy perspective has to do with how I see this game breaking.  The Eagles are coming off of a tough loss in Chicago last week and will look to get back into the win column at home this week.  Against a poor Texans secondary the Eagles should be able to do plenty of damage and that should put the Texans in catchup mode. With that in mind that is why I have Dimitri Patterson a 3 star play and if he wasn't such a bust last week I would easily have him a 4 star play in this matchup.  So yes I do see some upside in this matchup for Patterson.  Nate Allen was putting up better numbers earlier in the year but much of that had to do with him having a nose for the big play.  This week I think Allen is able to take advantage of the Texans if they end up in catchup mode.  Quintin Mikell has been very up and down the past few weeks and this week probably looks like a risky 4 star play, he is.  But I think that Mikell makes out the best in the secondary as he should be plenty busy early trying to keep Arian Foster under wraps.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Mikell log 5-6 solos in the first couple of Texans series and then I could see him bog down if the Texans have to get away from the run.  Asante Samuel was limited in practice on Monday and Tuesday and will most likely be listed as questionable to play against the Texans.  My ranking is based on not expecting him to play this week.


Buffalo at Minnesota

5 STAR
Donte Whitner
4 STAR

Paul Posluszny

3 STAR

Kyle Williams
Akin Ayodele

2 STAR

Bryan Scott
Leodis McKelvin
Jairus Byrd
Drayton Florence
Chris Kelsay
Marcus Stroud
Spencer Johnson

1 STAR
Torell Troup
Keith Ellison
Reggie Tobor (OUT)
Terrence McGee
Dwan Edwards (OUT)

BillsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  47
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 56

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Dwan Edwards (hamstring) has been ruled OUT for this week and has been put on injured reserve, ending his season.  Spencer Johnson (hamstring) is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report and should replace Edwards in the starting lineup.

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

Defensive Line:  Dwan Edwards suffered a hamstring injury that could cost him the rest of his season.  It is unfortunate considering he was having a very nice fantasy season,  ranking 7th among all DL prior to the start of week 12. Edwards isn't the only one having a great fantasy season on the Bills DL either, teammate Kyle Williams monster 24 point score in week 12 vaulted him to 3rd among DLs in fantasy scoring.  This week Williams should be a solid 3 star play with some upside if he can get to Brett Favre.  Problem is that DL have only gotten to Favre 8 times this year.  Look for Spencer Johnson to replace Edwards in the lineup this week as he is expected back from injury.

Linebacker: As we have covered in previous weeks, Paul Posluszny is a plug and play LB and for much of the year he has played at a 5 star level. Adrian Peterson or no Adrian Peterson I wouldn't be surprised to see Posluszny approach 5 star status again this week.  However, on the season only 3 LBs have logged 10+ combined tackles in game against the Vikings so I am tempering his ranking a bit.  Reggie Tobor suffered a shoulder injury that should keep him out for quite some time. Tobor wasn't fantasy relevant so there won't be any ripple effects from his loss.  Akin Ayodele has put up two double digit scores the past two weeks (11 & 18 points), this week I think we could see him approach the 10-12 point range.

Secondary:  In past weeks there have been times where I said that Donte Whitner ranked here or there over the past X# of weeks.  Well this week I get to say that for the year Donte Whitner is the #1 ranked DB.  His 26 point score last week was also the most by any DB for the week too.  Whitner's matchup this week looks to be more along the lines of a 4 star play but with how he has been playing and now that he has finally ascended to #1 I think he deserves the 5 star ranking.  Terrence McGee aggravated his knee injury and at this point isn't even worth a stash and hold in deeper leagues for the rest of this season.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Chad Greenway

3 STAR
Jared Allen
EJ Henderson
2 STAR
Antoine Winfield
Brian Robison
Ray Edwards
Madieu Williams
Ben Leber
Husain Abdullah
Chris Cook (OUT)
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:

Chris Cook (knee) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Ray Edwards (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was able to return to practice in a limited fashion on Friday, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Last week I pointed out that over his the last 3 games that Jared Allen was the #1 ranked DL well now after 4 weeks, Allen is still ranked #1 over that time frame.  As hard as it might have been for some Allen owners to get to this point I am sure the rewards are sweet.  Opposing DLs haven't had super great success against the Bills so I would temper my expectations some but at this point Allen is the plug and play DL that you drafted.  Word is that Ray Edwards will try to play this week but on a bum ankle I can't recommend putting him in starting lineups.  Brian Robison should see increased snaps but would be a very risky play, even in deep leagues.

Linebacker:  We all know that Chad Greenway has been money this year, after all he is tied for 3rd overall in scoring among LBs.  What you may not have realized is that he is on pace for 157 (119 solos, 38 assists) total tackles all while facing just an average of 49 TOs/game. Only James Anderson, 54 TOs/game and Jerod Mayo, 56 TOs/game have scored more fantasy points and as you can see they are both averaging above average tackles opportunities, unlike the below average TOs that Greenway is averaging.  That just makes Greenway's performance this year all that more impressive.  EJ Henderson continues to hold at a value of around a LB2/3 and this week should be no different.  Henderson while he has been productive he hasn't been able to turn it up a notch like Greenway has. 

Secondary:  Antoine Winfield has shown over his career that when healthy he is one of the best and most productive DBs in the game.  Unfortunately, that isn't the case this year and health doesn't have anything to do with it.  Winfield just flat out isn't producing.  Only once this year has he been able to string together back to back double digit scores and at this point it looks like he really should just be left on fantasy benches.  The Bills have been throwing the rock around plenty and this should be a decent matchup but my advice is to look past that and err on the side of caution with Winfield.


Cleveland at Miami

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
TJ Ward
Abram Elam
3 STAR

Ahtyba Rubin

2 STAR

David Bowens
Kenyon Coleman

Eric Wright
Joe Haden
Eric Barton

Sheldon Brown
Matt Roth
Chris Gocong

1 STAR

Shaun Rogers
Marcus Benard
Scott Fujita
Sabby Piscitelli

BrownsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 54

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Scott Fujita (knee) didn't practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.. He isn't expected to play.

TJ Ward (thigh) missed practice on Wednesday but they was a limited participant the rest of the week.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE but is expected to play this week.

Eric Barton (shoulder), Shaun Rogers (hip, ankle) & Kenyon Coleman (knee) all missed time at practice this week but all three players were limited participants in practice on Friday and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Ahtyba Rubin posted his first single digit score since week he posted just 2 points back in week 4.  Of course last week I pointed out how Rubin had a streak of 6 consecutive double digit scores, guess that I jinxed him.  This week facing a Dolphins team that will look to keep their rushing attack moving forward Rubin should be able to bounce back.  He surely won't face the 49 rushing attempts that the Raiders did last week but I can see him facing around 30 rushing attempts.  Shaun Rogers hasn't been fantasy relevant at all this year but don't take that to mean that he isn't playing well.  Rogers actually leads all NFL DTs in QB hits this year and is top 20 in QB pressures.  Kenyon Coleman has scored the 2nd most fantasy points for Browns DLs this year and ranks 22nd among all DLs in fantasy points scored.  Unfortunately, he doesn't present much upside, having recorded just two double digit scores all year.

Linebacker: Scott Fujita isn't ready to get back on the field yet and without him there the Browns don't really have any LBs that are safe to rely on for fantasy purposes.  Eric Barton and David Bowens have posted some nice numbers but then they throw out clunkers when you least expect or need them.  Matt Roth has actually been sort of productive of late but he to is a risky start.  My recommendation is to wait for Fujita to get back and leave the rest of his teammates on the bench.

Secondary: Well last week I pointed out that TJ Ward had scored in double digits in every week  but that his week 12 matchup could put that streak to an end.  Ward wasn't having any of that and posted 13 fantasy points while facing just 46 TOs against the Panthers.  His consistent production has him firmly entrenched as a top 5 DB and I don't see that changing this week.  What might actually shock you is that over the past month Ward isn't the best DB on his own team, at least not from a fantasy perspective.  That designation goes to Abram Elam, who over the past 4 weeks ranks 1st among all DBs with 78 fantasy points (19.50 PPG). Look for both to be nice options this week.  Sabby Piscitelli is also now a member of the Browns.  He was picked up via waivers after the Buccaneers released him.

5 STAR
Yeremiah Bell
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Chris Clemons
Karlos Dansby
2 STAR

Channing Crowder
Cameron Wake

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: 46

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Channing Crowder (knee) didn't practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report. 

Karlos Dansby (toe) after being limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday was able to practice fully on Friday. Dansby 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: Karlos Dansby had one of his worst games of the season last week, scoring just 4 points.  Dansby is fighting a toe injury and just barely played in more than half the teams defensive snaps last week. He did practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday but he is a risky play if we don't get solid information saying he is not going to be limited this week.  Which is a shame since this looks like a solid matchup versus the Peyton Hillis led rushing attack of the Browns.  Channing Crowder missed practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury and like Dansby he barely played in 50% of the teams defensive snaps last week.  Cameron Wake has 12 sacks on the season but he will be trying to get around Joe Thomas who gives up about 1 sack every four games on average. Thomas has been a pro-bowler for 3 consecutive years and has shut down many a stud DE. While Wake isn't a DE he still should find it to be tough sledding this week. 

Secondary:  With Karlos Dansby and Channing Crowder looking to be less than 100% Yeremiah Bell should get plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this week.  Add to it that Bell is a top 10 DB and it makes plenty of sense to expect 5 star performance from him this week.  Chris Clemons returned last week after missing week 11 due to injury and posted a nice 12 point fantasy score.  This week look for Clemons to at least post 10-12 fantasy points and realize that there is some upside with him 3 star ranking too.


Jacksonville at Tennessee

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Courtney Greene
Justin Durant
Daryl Smith

Kirk Morrison
2 STAR

Jeremy Mincey
Sean Considine
Rashean Mathis
Tyson Alualu
Terrance Knighton
Austen Lane

1 STAR
Russell Allen
Derrick Harvey
Don Carey
Derrick Cox
David Jones

JaguarsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 51
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:  After two very nice double digit scoring weeks Jeremy Mincey fell flat with a 2 point effort against the Giants last week.  Mincey should be more reliable than that going forward but like many other DLs he is always a risk to come up on the short end of the stick.  This week I don't expect a repeat performance of last week but his matchup isn't a very favorable one either.  I think that Mincey makes a decent DL2 in deeper leagues but that is about it.  Look for him to score around 7-8 points at  best.   Rookie Tyson Alualu looks like he will be a nice player but as far as the fantasy landscape goes he has yet to post a double digit score in any week and isn't even really viable in DT mandatory leagues, at least not yet.

Linebacker:  Believe it or not but the Titans haven't been the best matchup for opposing LBs this year.  Don't get me wrong they are giving up enough 3 star performances to start LBs against but there aren't many "BIG" days given up if you know what I mean.  The last time the Jaguars and Titans faced off was in week 6 and Justin Durant, Daryl Smith and Kirk Morrison all posted double digit scores. Morrison's 13 points led the way, followed by Smith with 11 and Durant with 10. Considering the Jaguars faced 39 rushing attempts in that game I would have expected slightly better numbers so understand if the Titans can't get their running game going this week that those 3 could possibly struggle in box score.

Secondary: Courtney Greene posted just 4 solo tackles back in week 6 when these teams played earlier this year but since then Greene has been on a bit of a tear.  From week 7 thru 12 he has posted double digit scores in 4 of his 5 games, ranks 14th in fantasy points scored by a DB and has a 14.80 PPG average.  I think that minimally Greene should be good for 10-12 points this weekend.  Outside of Greene I would be leery of plugging Sean Considine as he has only scored 9 combined points over the past two weeks.

5 STAR
Stephen Tulloch
4 STAR

None

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: 50

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Jason Babin (ankle) after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday was able to practice fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

Dave Ball (concussion) missed practice on Wednesday but practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Jason Jones (knee) missed practice on Wednesday, was limited on Thursday and practiced fully on Friday. He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Tony Brown (knee) didn't practice on Wednesday but practiced fully on Thursday however on Friday he wasn't missed practice again.  He too is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Jason Babin is second among ALL DEs with 10 sacks on the season.  Only Mario Williams (11) has more.  Babin has also scored in double digits in each of the past two weeks.  The Jaguars have given up a sack to an opposing DE in 3 straight games and I like Babin to make it four this week.  I am being a bit cautious with his 3 star ranking so that does mean that I see some possible upside to it.  I just don't think he will put up a 6-2-2 with 2 forced fumbles like Jason Piere-Paul did last week. Actually, I pretty much doubt it but I could see a 4-1-2 with a forced fumble as his upside and that would push him up to a 4-5 star play.  William Hayes had posted his first double digit score of the year last week.  His 4-0-1 line was padded with a forced fumble but I wouldn't get to excited about his performance just yet.
UPDATE: Babin is nursing an ankle injury that has kept him from practicing on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday practice will give a much better idea of what to expect from Babin this week.

Linebacker:  Stephen Tulloch needs a nickname.  When you are on pace for a 160 total tackles I just think that Tulloch deserves one.  If not for good at least for his 11-3-0 performance against the Texans last week. How does the Tullenator sound?  Well, we can work on the nickname but for now just keep Tulloch plugged into your lineups.  Will Witherspoon hasn't been very productive or consistent this year but imagine how much better his stats would look if he didn't lead all NFL LBs in missed tackles with 12 which is one more than Lofa Tatupu and 2 more than both David Hawthorne and Brian Urlacher.

Secondary: For the season the Jaguars have given up some pretty good numbers to opposing DBs and last week they gave them up to just about the entire Giants secondary. Michael Griffin has fought his way to the #5 overall scoring spot among DBs and Cortland Finnegan, well he just fought.  Griffin should have no problem continuing his strong play.  Cortland Finnegan ranks as a top 16 DB and would have posted a much better score last week had he not been ejected for fighting.  Finnegan should have no problems keeping up with any of the Jaguars fleet footed WRs as he will be carrying $25k less to slow him down.  Chris Hope has put together a string of 3 consecutive double digit scores since the bye week and that should continue this week too.


Denver at Kansas City

5 STAR
DJ Williams
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Renaldo Hill
Joe Mays
Perrish Cox
David Bruton
2 STAR

Champ Bailey
Jason Hunter
Mario Haggan
Wesley Woodyard
Marcus Thomas
Kevin Vickerson

1 STAR
Brian Dawkins (OUT)
Darcel McBath
(OUT)
Robert Ayers
Andre' Goodman (OUT)

BroncosAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 52

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Brian Dawkins (knee) , Darcel McBath (quadricep) & Andre' Goodman (hip) have all been ruled OUT this week. 

Defensive Line: For the most part the Broncos DL have little to no fantasy value. 

Linebacker: DJ Williams looks to be back on track as he posted 14 fantasy points last week.  The same total he posted for the previous two weeks combined. After the DUI and concussion I am sure that Williams owners were a bit concerned but as it stands now it looks as if he will be able to be relied upon as a top LB option for those heading into the playoffs.  The Chiefs present a great matchup so don't hesitate plugging him in your lineups.  Joe Mays is now working on three consecutive weeks of double digit scoring and he should at the very least be able to keep that streak alive this week.  The only problem that I see that could hurt Mays is that he played approximately 20 less snaps than Williams and Mario Haggan did last week.  If it weren't for that I would easily have Mays as a 4 star play. Regarding Haggan, he has now gone two consecutive weeks without reaching double digits in scoring.  With his new role at OLB his value will fluctuate wildly if he isn't getting to the QB. At this point he isn't the same LB3 type play that he was earlier in the season.

Secondary:  Brian Dawkins is a warrior but when you are a 110 year old warrior your body just doesn't hold up like it did when you were younger.  Dawkins suffered a knee injury that has kept him from practicing on Wednesday and Thursday and it looks like he will be doubtful to play this week.  That's a shame for his owners too as the Chiefs present a Grade A matchup.  David Bruton should replace Dawkins but I don't see him just picking up the tackles that Dawkins would have but that doesn't mean he won't be productive.  Actually I think without Dawkins in the lineup that both Bruton and Renaldo Hill will put up solid 3 star type numbers. Champ Bailey posted phenomenal numbers that last two times these teams met but I don't expect a repeat performance. Simply I don't see the Broncos going into Arrowhead and doing what they did to the Chiefs in Denver back in week 10. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Eric Berry
Derrick Johnson

3 STAR
Javier Arenas
Tamba Hali
Brandon Carr
2 STAR

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: 49

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Defensive Line: For the most part the Chiefs DL doesn't provide consistent fantasy production so look for help elsewhere.

Linebacker: Derrick Johnson made the most out of very few TOs last week The Seahawks were only able t provide 34 TOs and of those only 10 were runs by non-QBs (Hasselbeck had 2 rushes). That would normally be a recipe for disaster for a LB but Johnson was able to piece together 18 fantasy points by putting up a 5-1-1 with a forced fumble and pass defended in the box score.  This week he faces a Denver team that just 3 weeks ago he compiled 12 solo tackles against.  I wouldn't expect him to repeat that production but a 7-3-0 seems possible.  Outside of Johnson you could look at starting Jovan Belcher or Tamba Hali but I wouldn't.  Hali hasn't scored in double digits since week 8 and Belcher hasn't hit double digits since week 7.

Secondary: Eric Berry had his 5 game steak of double digit scoring come to an end last week.  But as pointed out in the LB breakdown that shouldn't be much of a surprise considering how few TOs the Seahawks provided.  This week Berry should bounce back and start another streak.  Berry logged 5 solos the last time these teams met and I think he betters that this time.  I am expecting more of a 6-2-0 type stat line.  Javier Arenas was the only player to have any success for the Chiefs last week as he posted 14 fantasy points.  However, he saw increased playing time due to Brandon Flowers being out due to injury.  Flowers is at least practicing on a limited basis this week (Wed. & Thurs.) and could be back on the field this week.  If that happens then Arenas should be bumped down to a 2 star play and Flowers can be looked at as the 3 star play.


Washington at NY Giants

5 STAR
London Fletcher
4 STAR
Reed Doughty
Rocky McIntosh
3 STAR

DeAngelo Hall

2 STAR

Kareem Moore
Brian Orakpo
HB Blades

1 STAR
Lorenzo Alexander
Albert Haynesworth
Phillip Daniels
Andre Carter
Carlos Rogers (OUT)
LaRon Landry (OUT)

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

LaRon Landry (achilles) & Carlos Rogers (hamstring) have both been ruled OUT for this week. 

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

Linebacker:  Did you know that London Fletcher has played in 203 consecutive games? That is the most of any current active LB in the NFL.  Yes, I said 203 and that is almost the equivalent of 13 NFL seasons.  And as if you didn't know you don't play in 203 straight games just because you are healthy, you play in that many because you are damn good.  Fletcher is coming off of his worsts performance of the year after posting just 9 points last week but he still ranks as the #10 overall LB in fantasy scoring.  Look for Fletcher to get back to posting Fletcher top 10 like numbers this week.  Rocky McIntosh looked like he wasn't going to be able to play last week but in the end he did and he played well posting 14 points on the strength of a 5-4-0 stat line.  This week he should be able to do much of the same against the Giants.

Secondary:  LaRon Landry is still being held out of practice due to his Achilles injury. Hopefully, he can practice on Friday but if not then you have to suspect that he will indeed miss his 3 consecutive game.  DeAngelo Hall is having one heck of a season but this week against the depleted WRs of the Giants he could be a bit challenged to put up big numbers like he has been.  And when I say has been I am referring to weeks 1-10 because his last two weeks haven't been very good as he has posted just 11 combined points in weeks 11 and 12.  Reed Doughty's ranking is completely based on the expectation that Landry won't be able to go this weekend.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Justin Tuck
Osi Umenyiora
3 STAR

Terrell Thomas
Antrel Rolle
Kenny Phillips

2 STAR

Michael Boley
Deon Grant
Jonathan Goff
Aaron Ross
Corey Webster
Barry Cofield
Jason Pierre-Paul

1 STAR
Keith Bulluck

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

Osi Umenyiora (knee) was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but practiced fully on Friday.  He is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report and is expected to play this week.

Defensive Line: I know that you want to do it but you shouldn't.  Come on you know what I am talking about.  Just admit it you want to chase the big week that Jason Pierre-Paul had last week.  Surely it was a nice week and it would be great to be able to chase it and catch another 6-2-2 with 2 forced fumbles but that just isn't realistic.  Especially, when you realize that he played in fewer than 30 snaps and is simply a rotational player at this point in his career.  In dynasty leagues, sure go get him but don't start him.  Keep plugging Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora in your lineups.  Tuck didn't do damage like Pierre-Paul did in week 12 but week 11 is why you keep a guy like Tuck in your lineup.  Umenyiora has been limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but there is no current reason to think he won't be able to play this week.

Linebacker:  Both Michael Boley (14 pts) and Jonathan Goff (12 pts) were able to post double digit scores last week but at this point I can't see taking the risk and starting either.  Boley has only strung together back to back double digit games twice this year and Goff hasn't even done that once yet.  Due to their inconsistency I think it is best to look at them as a 2 star play at best but if you are really stuck or in a deep league then at best you could look at Boley as a LB4 and well if you want to rely on Goff you better have some serious injuries to your LBs.

Secondary: Last week the Giants secondary tore it up with 5 players scoring in double digits.  Terrell Thomas led the secondary with 23 fantasy points but that shouldn't be much of a surprise as he ranks 8th overall among DBs in fantasy scoring.  Thomas has scored in double digits in all but one game this year so he should be a very safe 3 star play this week.  Deon Grant was next with 19 points scored but of the bunch that scored in double digits he is one of the risky to rely on starting.  Antrel Rolle wasn't far behind Grant with his 17.5 points.  Rolle is also a safer start as he has scored in double digits in all but two games this year.  Kenny Phillips put up 12 points and Corey Webster 11, both have been a bit inconsistent but I think that Phillips is the safer play and gets the 3 star ranking because of it.


New Orleans at Cincinnati

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Roman Harper
Jonathan Vilma
3 STAR

Tracy Porter
Jabari Greer
Scott Shanle
Malcolm Jenkins

2 STAR

Will Smith
Sedrick Ellis
Remi Ayodele
Danny Clark
Darren Sharper

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: 51

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

Defensive Line:  Yes, Will Smith put up a very nice 16 point game last week but take that with a small grain of salt.  It took a good amount of big plays, a sack, interception, forced fumble and a pass defended. It was also Smith's first double digit game since week 8.  I still think he is a risky play and would advise that you look for DL help elsewhere.  Outside of Smith you really shouldn't even be considering any other Saints DL.  I mean Sedrick Ellis also had a nice game posting 14 points but that was just 10 fewer than he had in his last 6 games.  I think you get what I am saying or at least I hope so.

Linebacker: Jonathan Vilma and Scott Shanle have been putting up pretty solid numbers for the past four games.  Vilma is averaging 15.00 PPG and Shanle 15.75 over that time frame.  The Bengals haven't been running the ball very well but they have at least continued to run it.  While Shanle has been a bit more productive over the past 4 games I see Vilma taking the lead this week. 

Secondary:   Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer may  not be household fantasy names but they are both productive when they are on the field.  The Bengals will no doubt end up in catchup mode in this game and that is when Greer and Porter should rack up their stats.  Roman Harper on the other hand should be busy from the first whistle.  For the season Harper currently ranks 12th among DBs in fantasy points scored and he is a guy that I have no issues with just plugging and playing each and every week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Dhani Jones
Nedu Ndukwe
3 STAR
Jonathan Joseph
Roy Williams

Keith Rivers
2 STAR
Carlos Dunlap
Rey Maualuga

Leon Hall
Michael Johnson
Robert Geathers

Jonathan Wade

Reggie Nelson
1 STAR
Antwan Odom
Jeromy Miles

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Roy Williams (head) practiced fully all week and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. Look for him to return to the starting lineup this week.

Defensive Line: Like clock work, another week has passed and the Bengals have lost another DL for the year.  This time it is Antwan Odom who won't see the field again this year.  If you really want to know how bad that Bengals DL has been for fantasy purposes all you need to know is that Domata Peko is their top scoring DL and for the season he has scored just 48.5 points which is just 4.41 PPG.  Yea, it's that bad. At least in dynasty leagues it does look like Carlos Dunlap could be a bright spot in the future.

Linebacker: Dhani Jones just keeps plugging along as he posted a fine 21 points last week.  Jones ranks 16th in LB scoring, yes 16th and his owners know just how solid he has been.  Jones is one of only three LBs that is averaging at least 20 PPG over the past 3 weeks.  Patrick Willis and Jerod Mayo are the other two.  And over those 3 weeks Jones has just one less point than Mayo and 5 less than Willis. Outside of Jones starting any other Bengals LB is a risky proposition.  If you don't think so in the not so very far past I think I ranked Keith Rivers a 4 star play and he put up a big ZERO that week.  Well this is a week that I actually think that Rivers should be able to put up a double digit game, just realize the risk associated with taking that leap of faith when you put him in your lineup.

Secondary:  Roy Williams looks like he will return to the starting lineup this week.  Unfortunately, the pass happy Saints don't make for the best matchup for the coverage challenged Williams.  Look for Nedu Ndukwe to start along side Williams and to be the best fantasy option in the Bengals secondary this week.  Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall should both be pretty busy too but the Saints like to spread the ball around so much that I think only Joseph will post starter worthy numbers.


Chicago at Detroit

5 STAR
Julius Peppers
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Lance Briggs
Brian Urlacher

Charles Tillman

2 STAR
Chris Harris
Israel Idonije
Danieal Manning
Tim Jennings
DJ Moore
1 STAR
Nick Roach
Zackary Bowman
Pisa Tinoisamoa (OUT)

BearsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
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:

Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Defensive Line:  Julius Peppers seems to be hitting his stride at just the right time for playoff bound teams.  Peppers followed up his 21 point effort in week 11 with a 14 pointer in week 12 and this week looks like another very nice matchup.  Drew Stanton has to be saying, "thanks Shaun, thanks a lot!".  Israel Idonije makes for a slightly risky play as the Lions have only given up 2.5 sacks to opposing DL over their last 3 games.  Well that and Idonije isn't the player that Peppers is but then again few are.

Linebacker: Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are both top 30 LBs, with Urlacher ranking 16th and Briggs 29th in fantasy points scored.  Briggs has missed time due to injury but Urlacher still has a higher PPG average of 15.09 compared to the 13.70 of Briggs.  Something that you probably didn't know is that between the two they have missed a combined 19 tackles this year.  Urlacher has missed 10, the second most of all ILBs this year and Briggs has missed 9 which is tied for 3rd most among all OLBs.  I don't think that either will miss many tackles this week because they will probably see very few as I look for the Lions offense to be pretty stagnant with Stanton at the helm.

Secondary: With Drew Stanton under center for the Lions I think the Bears secondary makes for a risky play this week.  I am still giving Charles Tillman a star ranking but realize there is a good amount of risk and very little upside (unless he can pick a pass or two off this week) with that ranking.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Julian Peterson
Ndamukong Suh
3 STAR

DeAndre Levy/Landon Johnson
Chris Houston

Cliff Avril
Louis Delmas

2 STAR
Amari Spievey
Ashlee Palmer
CC Brown
1 STAR
Kyle Vanden Bosch
Lawrence Jackson

Bobby Carpenter

LionsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  46
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:

Kyle Vanden Bosch (neck) missed practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

DeAndre Levy (groin) was a limited participant in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line:After looking like the Bears had possibly fixed their protection issues when they only gave up 1 sack in consecutive games in weeks 9 & 10 they reverted back to their sieve like performances from early in the season. The last two weeks they have given up 7 total sacks. Unfortunately, what looks like a very, very nice matchup is one that Kyle Vanden Bosch owners won't get to take advantage of.  Vanden Bosch missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with what is listed as a neck injury and it looks like he will be doubtful to play this week.  Cliff Avril will have his shot but with the way he has played this season I would probably not let the matchup influence me enough to start him.  Now after all that I still have him ranked as a 3 star play. Well the upside is there so I guess if you need to gamble you could do worse.  Ndamukong Suh recorded the first sack of his NFL career way back in week 1 against the Bears and that accounts for 1 of the 8 sacks the Bears have given up to DTs this year. The times I rank a DT a 4 star or better play are few and far between but this is one of those times.

Linebacker: DeAndre Levy has been limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday by a groin injury.  I guess it was just a matter of time before Mr. Glass wound up back on the injury report.  As it stands now Levy will probably be questionable for the game but Friday's practice should give a good indication if he will be able to play on Sunday or not.  If Levy can't go look for Landon Johnson to fill in for him at MLB. Julian Peterson is the player that I am looking for to have a big game this week. Peterson can get to the QB and well we know that the Bears do a good job of letting that happen too.  I actually even see some upside in Peterson's ranking this week, just realize that there is some risk when you rely on a rush OLB that doesn't consistently get tackles.

Secondary: Louis Delmas season has been polar opposites from the start to where we are currently. He started out scoring in double digits in 6 straight but has been in single digits in 4 of his last 5.  With the pass happy Bears and DeAndre Levy possibly not playing this week I think that Delmas warrants a 3 star ranking this week.  What helps is that Jay Cutler can at times be, let's say a little loose with the ball and well Delmas does have a good nose for it. 


San Francisco at Green Bay

5 STAR
Patrick Willis
4 STAR

Justin Smith

3 STAR
Nate Clements
Takeo Spikes
2 STAR
Taylor Mays
Reggie Smith
Dashon Goldson
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: 39

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Shawntae Spencer (quadricep) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.  On Friday he was a limited participant on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Even after posting just 11 combined points the last two weeks Justin Smith is still tied for the 8th best DL with 103 fantasy points and a 9.36 PPG.  I know you will probably be looking at other options over Smith but I wouldn't.  Just keep him plugged into you lineup.  The Niners are coming off of a short week and have to travel east and play in the cold confines of Lambeau Field.  I see this defense being on the field a ton and Smith should benefit from it.

Linebacker:  Patrick Willis, 5 star. End of story.  Seriously.  If you need more than that I am going to get in touch with Mr. Willis and see if he can't make a special visit to knock some sense into you.  Takeo Spikes has been putting up some pretty good numbers lately and can be viewed as as decent LB3 option this week.

Secondary: One thing that we know is that the Packers are going to chuck the pigskin and the other thing we know is that Aaron Rodgers also likes to spread the ball around.  The best option in the Niners secondary should be Nate Clements but I wouldn't be surprised to see Shawntae Spencer or Dashon Goldson post decent numbers this weekend.  I just don't think I would be willing to bank on it is all.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Desmond Bishop
Clay Matthews
3 STAR

Charles Woodson
Tramon Williams
AJ Hawk

2 STAR

Nick Collins
Charlie Peprah

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

Brandon Chillar (IR)

Packers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 59

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Atari Bigby (hamstring) & Anthony Smith (ankle) both missed practice all week and are listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report. 

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

Charles Woodson (toe) practiced fully on Wednesday but then was limited in practice the rest of the week.  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: The Packers have lost another LB to injury and have placed Brandon Chillar on season ending injured reserve.  That means that Desmond Bishop should hardly if ever come off the field and that should help elevate him to a solid LB1 with top 5 upside the rest of the way.  His four star ranking this week might be a bit high considering that the Niners are without Frank Gore and their offense could struggle.  Clay Matthews posed his first single digit score in four games last week but this week I am looking for him to have a big game.  Niner OL Joe Staley being out is a big reason for that.

Secondary: The Niners don't have much of a passing attack and with the pressure that Clay Matthews and company will be applying the Packers secondary could find it tough sledding with regards to TOs this week.  That makes both Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams slightly risky 3 star plays this week.  Atari Bigby missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to a balky hamstring.  Look for Charlie Peprah to get the start once again, just don't bank on much production this week.


Oakland at San Diego

5 STAR
Tyvon Branch
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Michael Huff
Matt Shaughnessy
Richard Seymour
Rolando McClain

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

Raiders Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 47
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 45

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Rolando McClain (foot) missed practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Tyvon Branch (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday but then returned to practice in a limited fashion the rest of the week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle)  missed practice on Wednesday but then practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Richard Seymour (knee) missed one practice this week but was able to practice in a limited fashion on Friday and he too is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. 

Defensive Line: Lost in all the attention that Phillip Rivers is getting with his assault on Dan Marino's single season passing record is that the Chargers have run the ball on average 33 times/game over their last 4 games.  One would think that a DL would be able to fare pretty well against that many runs but only 2 opposing DL have logged more than 3 solos against the Chargers over that time span. On top of that the Chargers have only given up 5 sacks in those 4 games and you see that there isn't much upside for Matt Shaughnessy or Richard Seymour.  Actually, an argument can probably be made that the two should be ranked as 2 star plays this week. 

Linebacker: Six LBs have recorded 10 or more combined tackles against the Chargers over their last four games.  Three of those were Colts in last weeks game.  Pat Angerer led the way with an 8-4-0 line while Kavell Connor but up a 7-3-0 from his WLB spot and Phillip Wheeler chipped in a 5-5-0 from the SAM.  Now that should be enough to make you feel really good about starting Rolando McClain this week.  Well it doesn't for me.  I am sorry but McClain has just been far to disappointing this year and yes I know he has two consecutive double digit scores to his credit.  So it is with much hesitance that I give McClain a 3 star ranking. 

Secondary:  This might be hard to believe but since week 7 only three DBs have logged more than 5 solos tackles against the Chargers. Considering that Rivers is on pace for over 5000 yards passing I surely can understand the puzzled look that is probably on your face at this point.  But it is what it is. That trend probably says that Tyvon Branch is ranked to high as a  5 star play but I think that with the lack of tackling that the Raiders LBs do would end up benefiting Branch this week.  Michael Huff bounced back from a single digit performance in week 11 and this week he should once again be able to hit double digits, I just would temper my upside expectations is all.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Kevin Burnett
Steve Gregory
3 STAR

Quentin Jammer
Eric Weddle

2 STAR
Stephen Cooper
Paul Oliver

Shaun Phillips
Antoine Cason
1 STAR

Luis Castillo
Brandon Siler
Darrell Stuckey

ChargersAverage 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:

Stephen Cooper (knee) missed practice on Wednesday and Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Steve Gregory (shoulder) went from a full practice on Wednesday to a limited participation the rest of the week and 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. Antonio Garay had put together a nice 4 game stretch earlier this year but his 3 and 4 points in weeks 11 and 12 respectively show why you don't want to rely on the him or any other Chargers DL.

Linebacker: Kevin Burnett has been quietly having a nice season for his owners.  Well, I should say quietly until last week when he intercepted Peyton Manning and took it to the house for a TD on National TV on MNF.  Cooper currently ranks in the top 15 (14th) in fantasy points scored with 168.  The only risk in his 4 star ranking is if the Chargers jump out to a huge lead and the Raiders are absolutely putrid on offense.  I don't see it playing out that way but that is where the risk lies with Burnett.  Due to a knee injury Stephen Cooper missed practice on Wednesday and as of this writing their Thursday practice report wasn't completed.  Check back for the Friday Injury Update to see how things look for Cooper this week. 

Secondary: Steve Gregory missed the last two games due to injury but he practiced fully on Wednesday and it looks like he should get back on the field this week.  If he doesn't then I would easily bump Eric Weddle up to a 4 star play as well as bumping Paul Oliver up to 3 stars.  The Raiders haven't really given up any huge tackle games to opposing DBs since giving up 11 total tackles to Bernard Pollard back in week 4.


Atlanta at Tampa Bay

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Curtis Lofton
3 STAR

Sean Weatherspoon
William Moore
Brent Grimes

2 STAR

Dunta Robinson
John Abraham
Mike Peterson
Eric Coleman
Thomas Decoud

1 STAR
Jamaal Anderson
Kroy Biermann
Jonathan Babineaux
Stephen Nicholas

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

John Abraham (groin), Curtis Lofton (knee), William Moore (thigh) & Kroy Biermann (ankle) were all able to practice fully on Friday and are listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: John Abraham missed practice on Wednesday due to a groin injury but he returned to a full practice on Thursday.  That tells me that the groin shouldn't be an issue this week.  Abraham has been productive with 3 double digit scores over his past 4 games played.  The reason that I have Abraham ranked as a 2 star play is because I think that the Buccaneers are actually going to win this game.  Now if you disagree and think the Falcons are going to take it to the Bucs then and only then would I bump Abraham up to a 3 star play.  The reason for that is because I think if the Falcons have a big lead and he gets to pin his ears back and get after the QB.  I don't see it playing out like that, hence the 2 star ranking.  Kroy Biermann, another game another single point effort.  His last difference making game was when he put up 14 points way back in week 5 against the Browns.

Linebacker: It isn't like you need a reason to stat Curtis Lofton but here is a little something to chew on anyway.  Over the past three weeks, the following LBs have all recorded 10+ total tackles against the Buccaneers; Ray Lewis (12), Jarret Johnson (10), Patrick Willis (13), Takeo Spikes (12) & Nic Harris (11).  Like I said, you don't really need a reason to start Curtis Lofton but it might make you feel better about running Sean Weatherspoon in your starting lineup.  Weatherspoon still shared time with Stephen Nicholas last week but Weatherspoon did play in around a dozen more snaps.  This week he should see his snaps increase even more so he makes for a sneaky, yet risky play.

Secondary:  Over the past 4 games against the Buccaneers only one DB has logged more than 5 solos against them.  That player?  Try the Falcons very own Brent Grimes.  Grimes put up a 6-0-0 with an interception and pass defended.  I don't know that he will pick off another Josh Freeman pass but he should be good for 10+ fantasy points.  William Moore only put up 1 solo and 2 assist the last time these teams met but LaGarrette Blount coming off his big 120 yard rushing effort the prior week only carried the ball 13 times for 46 yards.  Look for Blount to carry the ball more this week and for Moore to benefit from those carries. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Barrett Ruud
Aqib Talib
3 STAR

Ronde Barber
Geno Hayes

2 STAR

Sean Jones
Gerald McCoy
Adam Hayward
Quincy Black
Stylez White

1 STAR

Dekoda Watson
Cody Grimm (IR)

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Quincy Black (ankle) missed practice on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Dekoda Watson (hamstring) missed practice on Thursday and was limited on Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Football really is a game of inches and to make that point look no farther than at Stylez White.  White has scored just 69.5 fantasy points this year, good for a 6.32 PPG average.  And let's face it, when it comes to fantasy it is all about the numbers that a player puts up but here is where the game of inches comes into play for White.  Based on those numbers you would have to think that he just hasn't been very effective.  He does have 5 sacks but did you know that only six DL have more QB hits than he does. White has 11 QB hits, the same as Julius Peppers.  The following DL all have more, Terrell Suggs (15), Jason Babin (15), Aaron Kampman (14), Trent Cole (13), Mario Williams (13) & Jared Allen (13).  Those are all some pretty talented DL to say the least. I am not saying that I would start White but figured I would at least give his owners and dynasty owners a tidbit to make them feel a bit better. 

Linebacker: In the past two weeks Desmond Bishop (10) and James Laurinaitis (11) posted double digit combined tackles against the Falcons.  In their previous meeting this year Barrett Ruud was able to log 7 total tackles and this week he should be able to minimally do the same.  Geno Hayes had a solid 5-0-0 line back in week 9 and should be able to replicate that this week.  Now if you think that I am off on my prediction that the Buccaneers are going to win this game I would advise that you bump both Ruud and Hayes up one level each.

Secondary: Win, lose or draw the Falcons should put the ball in the air plenty. I see Aqib Talib building on his strong performance from week 12. Ronde Barber has had 2 consecutive poor weeks but against the Falcons he should bounce back enough to deliver at the very least 10-12 fantasy points. Rookie safety Cody Grimm fractured his leg in last week's game and has been put on injured reserve. 


Dallas at Indianapolis

5 STAR

None

4 STAR
Bradie James
3 STAR
Sean Lee
2 STAR

Orlando Scandrick
Terence Newman

Allan Ball

Jay Ratliff

DeMarcus Ware
Gerald Sensabaugh
Anthony Spencer
Mike Jenkins

1 STAR

Keith Brooking
Igor Olshansky
Jason Hatcher
Stephen Bowens
Sean Lissemore (IR)

CowboysAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2002-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 45

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Keith Brooking (foot) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but he was able to practice in a limited fashion on Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Linebacker: Bradie James should be plenty active this week, be it defending the few runs the Colts give up to keep teams honest or helping to keep Jacob Tamme and the rest of the underneath receivers in check.  The big news with regards to the Cowboys LBs is that Keith Brooking hurt his foot early in last week's game and hasn't been able to practice on Wednesday or Thursday.  Brooking is actually in danger of missing t his week's game and if that were to happen it would put and end to his 155 consecutive games played, the 2nd longest active streak for LBs. I have ranked Brooking with the expectation of him missing this game and Sean Lee gets bumped up to a 3 star level.  That might sound risky but the rookie should be in line to see plenty of snaps if Brooking can't go.  If you have injury issues or are just in need of a sleeper with upside I think Lee fits the bill this week.

Secondary:  This is probably a cop  out but the Cowboys secondary is so hit or miss with who produces and who doesn't that i just can't see safely ranking any above a 2 star play.  The safest of the bunch is Terrance Newman but he has had his share of clunkers and that makes me feel to uneasy making him a 3 star play.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jerraud Powers
Aaron Francisco

3 STAR
Pat Angerer
Kavell Connor
Kelvin Hayden
Antoine Bethea
Robert Mathis
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: 54

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Gary Brackett (toe)) progressed to all week and practiced fully on Friday but he is still listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Clint Session (elbow) missed practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Aaron Francisco (thigh) missed a day of practice on Wednesday but practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday and practiced fully on Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Kelvin Hayden (neck) missed practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Robert Mathis owners are used to seeing him put up DL1 numbers in past years but this year he is a bit off and currently is a solid DL2.  That doesn't mean he doesn't have the ability or the upside to put up DL1 numbers, because he does.  This week I think he is a safe DL2 but I don't see to much upside, especially when you realize that the Cowboys have only given up 4 sacks over their past 3 games.  Now if the Colts can get up big on the Cowboys there aren't many better than Mathis and Dwight Freeney at pinning their ears back and being at home in noisy Lucas Oil Stadium only helps.

Linebacker: Last week all three of the Colts starting LBs, Pat Angerer, Kavell Connor and Phillip Wheeler posted 10 or more total tackles. We won't see that happen this week and there is a chance that Connor could get pushed to the bench by Angerer if Gary Brackett is able to get back on the field this week.  Of course we are far from knowing if that will happen but Brackett was able to at least return to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday.  The first day he has practiced in quite some time.  As of now I am going forward expecting the Colts to keep Brackett out for one more week.  If that changes I of course will update during the Friday Injury Update.

Secondary:  Opposing DBs have been hit or miss against the Cowboys but this week I think that overall the Colts entire secondary looks like they should score pretty well.  Aaron Francisco has put up nice numbers since being thrust into the starting lineup due to injury.  Jerraud Powers had a poor week last week but his two prior weeks were solid 12 point efforts.  The Colts DEs might not be able to get to John Kitna but their pressure should open up things for the secondary to make plays on the ball. 


St. Louis at Arizona

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Chris Long

3 STAR

James Laurinaitis
James Hall

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

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

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

Defensive Line:  The Cardinals have given up sacks hand over fist for much of the season but in their last two games they have given up just 3 combined.  Chris Long is playing some really good football and I am not going to be shocked to see him log multiple sacks this week.  On the season no other player in the NFL has more QB pressures than the 47 that Chris Long has.  Trent Cole is second with 45.

Linebacker:  James Laurinaitis is a pretty risky 3 star play this week.  Just look at the past two weeks against the Cardinals and you will see why.  Patrick Willis posted just 4 solos and 1 assist and Derrick Johnson just 2 solos and 2 assists.  Willis at least was able to get a QB sack and pass defended to put up a double digit score but it is easy to see why Laurinaitis is a risky play.

Secondary:  The Cardinals are  team in complete disarray and really aren't playing good football at all.  Top it off that they are coming off of a short week and getting their rear ends kicked on MNF and you can see that this could be another very ugly offensive performance for the Cardinals.  QB Derek Anderson had a meltdown after the game and I have zero confidence that he bounces back this week.  If you think I am crazy ranking all of Rams secondary 2 star or worse so be it but I see zero reason to risk starting any of them this week.

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

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
1 STAR
Calais Campbell
Alan Branch
Clark Haggans
Greg Toler

O'Brien Schofield

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Calais Campbell (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday but then was able to practice in a limited fashion the rest of the week and he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Darnell Dockett (shoulder) was limited in practice early in the week but practiced fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Greg Toler (foot) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Clark Haggans (groin) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: Calais Campbell didn't practice on Wednesday but he did return to a limited practice on Thursday and looks like he could get back on the field this week.  Even if he does I would probably leave him on the bench for a week to see just how healthy his ankle is.  Darnell Dockett has as many games missed, as he does double digit scores, one, since the bye in week 6.  I would recommend looking elsewhere for DL help this week.

Linebacker: Since week seven there have been 8 LBs that have recorded at least 7 or more total tackles in a game against the Rams.  Expecting Paris Lenon to be number 9 doesn't seem like much of a stretch.  Lenon has put up double digit points in 4 of his last 5 games and last week his 17 point effort was the best of those weeks.  I don't expect to see Lenon approach 20 points this week but he should be able to hit the 15 point plateau.  Since returning from injury Gerald Hayes has played in 5 games and all but one of those games have been double digit scores.  Hayes isn't flashy but he makes for a nice LB3 and this week is no exception. 

Secondary: Greg Toler missed his second consecutive game due to a foot injury last week and this week he practiced in a limited fashion on both Wednesday and Thursday. He most likely will be a GTD once again and I would recommend staying away until we see him back on the field again. Kerry Rhodes is currently the top scoring fantasy DB on the Cardinals team but he has also now gone 3 straight games without hitting double digit points.  I am willing to give Rhodes one more shot as a 3 star play before I say he needs to be planted on the bench.  While Rhodes as been more famine the past 3 weeks, Adrian Williams has been feasting.  Over his last three games Wilson has put up double digit points in each game and is averaging 15.67 PPG.  I am sure that many are having visions of the Adrian Wilson of old.  While I don't think we have that Wilson back I do think we have a very safe DB2 with some upside as it stands right now.



Carolina at Seattle

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jon Beason

3 STAR
Richard Marshall
Jason Williams

Charles Johnson
2 STAR
James Anderson
Sherrod Martin
Charles Godfrey

Nic Harris

Captain Munnerlyn
Tyler Brayton
Derek Landri
Greg Hardy
1 STAR
Chris Gamble
Jordan Senn
Everette Brown
Abdul Hodge

Panthers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
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:

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

Defensive Line: Charles Johnson has worked his way to a top 7 ranking among DL in fantasy points scored and over the past three weeks he is actually the most productive fantasy DL in the game.  Over the last three he has put up double digits in each game and is averaging 17.00 PPG.  This week going into a hostile Qwest Field won't make things easy but he should at least be able to put up low level DL1  or high level DL2 type numbers.  Outside of Johnson I am taking a pass on the rest of the Panthers DL.  I still think that Greg Hardy is a buy for dynasty leaguers but I don't see him as a safe play this year. 

Linebacker: James Anderson just might not be Superman.  Anderson was listed as missing practice on Wednesday due to a concussion but he was able to return to a limited participation in Thursdays practice.  With the risk associated with a concussion I am being cautious with his ranking and suggesting you look for another option this week. I have Jon Beason ranked as a 4 star play assuming that Anderson won't be as effective as he has been.  Jason Williams got the start at WLB over Nic Harris last week and he actually led the LBs in total tackles with 7. 

Secondary:  The Seahawks have been a bit of a mixed bag for opposing DBs, they have given up some big games but then there were those clunkers too.  I think we are more likely to se Richard Marshall put up a 6-0-0 type line this week than we are a 9-3-0.  Since the bye in week 6 all that Marshall has done is put up 89 fantasy points which ranks as tied for 3rd most over that time and his PPG average over that time is 14.83.  Sherrod Martin had a big 20 point effort last week and is averaging 12.17 PPG since the bye but what makes me rank him as a 2 star play is that I see him as a risky play due to the 3 and 5 point games he has posted during that same time frame.  Chris Gamble has been benched for Captain Munnerlyn.

5 STAR
Chris Clemons
4 STAR
Aaron Curry
3 STAR

Earl Thomas

2 STAR

Lawyer Milloy
Walter Thurmond
David Hawthorne

Lofa Tatupu

Kentwan Balmer
Kelly Jennings

Jordan Babineaux
Kam Chancellor

1 STAR
Marcus Trufant
Brandon Mebane
Colin Cole

SeahawksAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 54

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Chris Clemons (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday but then was able to practice fully the rest of the week and he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Lofa Tatupu (knee) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to a full practice Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

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

Defensive Line: As bad as I thought Chris Clemons matchup last week is how good I think it is this week.  Qwest Field is easily one of the hardest places to play in the NFL and I can't see Jimmy Clausen or whoever the Panthers try to run out at QB having any success at all.  Clemons should have no problem adding to the 44 QB hits and 8 sacks that he has logged so far this year.  His 44 QB hits are 3rd most in the NFL.

Linebacker:  You aren't going to get a much more risky 4 star play than you are with Aaron Curry this week.  Curry has done little to give owners the confidence to start him but this week I think that we see Curry make an impact in the sack column, multiple sacks wouldn't surprise me in the least. But he will need to get to the QB because I just don't see many tackles to go around for the Seahawks this week.  That is the main reason that I have both Lofa Tatupu and David Hawthorne as 2 star plays.  In case you missed it, I pointed out in the Titans LB breakdown that Lofa Tatupu and David Hawthorne are among the league leaders in LB for missed tackles.  Tatupu ranks 2nd with 11 missed tackles and Hawthorne tied for 3rd with 10 missed tackles.

Secondary:  Last week Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy and Marcus Trufant were all able to post double digit scores. This week I think that TOs will be few and far between.  I think that even Thomas will struggle in the tackle column but I see him saving his day with a interception.  At best I wouldn't expect more than 12 points from him.


Pittsburgh at Baltimore

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

Brett Keisel
Evander Hood
Aaron Smith (OUT)

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

Aaron Smith (triceps) has been ruled OUT for this week. 

Troy Polamalu (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday but then was able to practice fully the rest of the week and he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

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

Linebacker:  Lawrence Timmons has cooled off some after his torrid start to the season but this week he has what should be a very good matchup to put up big numbers with.  The Ravens have given up at least 9 total tackles to an opposing LB in every game except for one this year.  In their last game back in week 4 Timmons posted 7 solos and 8 assists and racked up a monstrous 25 point day.  I see Timmons hitting the 18-20 point plateau this week.  James Harrison had another big game and got another big fine, some things just never change.  This week I predict another big game and yep, another fine. Harrison should be careful because a suspension can't be far off. 

Secondary: I swear I think that i just jinx some guys when I point out how well they have been playing.  For that I apologize to Bryant McFadden owners. Troy Polamalu is coming off his second consecutive 17 point game and this is a big, big, BIG game for the Steelers.  If there is one thing we have learned is that over his career, Polamalu shows up big in BIG games. I don't think the Steelers get out of Baltimore with a win but it won't be because Polamalu isn't making plays all over the field.

5 STAR
Ray Lewis
4 STAR
Terrell Suggs
3 STAR
Ed Reed
Haloti Ngata
2 STAR

Dawan Landry
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.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Dwan Landry (head) was limited in practice all week and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: It is being reported that Ben Roethlisberger has a broken bone in his foot.  He has been limited in practice and has been wearing a boot so the report very well could be true.  The Steelers were able to win early in the season when Roethlisberger was suspended but make no mistake about it they need him for this game but if he is going on a bad wheel that will bode well for Terrell Suggs. I probably should actually have Suggs as a 5 star play but I would rather call him a 4 star with some upside.  If there is a broken bone in that foot the Steelers will try to lean on their running game and that should help Haloti Ngata put up respectable numbers this week too.

Linebacker:  We all know that Ray Lewis is a beast and a plug and play LB but what you might not realize is just how impressive him ranking 5th in fantasy points among LBs is.  For the season, Lewis and the Ravens are facing an average of just 46 TOs/game which is tied for the second fewest in the  league. Just imagine what he would be doing if he was facing 56 TOs/game (2nd most) like Jerod Mayo has.  Jarrett Johnson is coming off a very nice 16 point game last week but he is far to inconsistent to rely on.  Lewis, Ray Lewis, that is all you need to know about when you talk Ravens LBs.

Secondary:  Ed Reed has had some times in his career where he has trouble consistently putting up tackles and that makes him a slightly risky DB play.  This week I see the Steelers needing to press things and big play Ed Reed is going to be there to make them pay.  I really like Dwan Landry for this week and want to rank him as a 4 star play but he has been listed as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to what is being listed as a head injury.  If Landry is given a clean bill of health I have no issue at all bumping him up to a 4 star play.


NY Jets at New England

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
David Harris
Eric Smith
Antonio Cromartie
Sione Pouha
2 STAR
Brodney Pool
Calvin Pace

Mike Devito
Shaun Ellis
Bart Scott
Kyle Wilson
Jason Taylor
Bryan Thomas
Darrelle Revis
1 STAR

Vernon Gholston
Jim Leonhard (OUT)

JetsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 45

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Jim Leonhard broke his tibia in practice on Friday needs surgery.  He of course will not play this week. Eriic Smith and Brodney Pool will be the starting safeties.

Shaun Ellis (knee) has been limited in practice on Thursday and Friday.

Defensive Line:  Since week 7 just two DL have posted more than 3 solo tackles against the Patriots and both of those were just 4 solo games. With as hard as it is to get to Tom Brady and the fact that the Patriots aren't giving up many tackles to opposing DL I can't bring myself to rank Shaun Ellis or Mike Devito above 2 star plays.  Sione Pouha I have swapped back and forth between a 2 star and 3 star play about 10 times now but at this point I am going out on a bit of a limb and say I expect him to hit the 5 solo mark.  Risky, yes so proceed with caution is really all I can say.  I guess I should also point out that back in week 2 when these teams last played Pouha did log 6 solos.

Linebacker: David Harris is another guy I am having a tough time ranking this week.  Back in week two he was only able to record 4 solos and 2 assists but he did add a fumble recovery too. For some reason I actually see the Patriots leaning on their running game to keep the Jets off the field and if it plays out like that then I can see Harris putting up a 7-3-0 line but at worst I think we see a repeat of this 6 total tackles he got back in week 2.  Calvin Pace has two 16 point games in the past 3 weeks and I actually think he is a big key to the Jets success this week but I just see him as to risky to rank as a 3 star play. However, if you are in a matchup where you really need a homerun from your lineup I can see running Pace out as a starter because while I see him as risky I could also see him putting up a 5-2-2 type week too.

Secondary:  Jim Leonhard keeps plugging along and scored in double digits for the fourth straight game.  He isn't lighting up the box score but he is putting up solid DB3 type numbers.  This week I think that is his floor and I see some upside in his 3 star ranking. As for Antonio Cromartie and his 3 star ranking I have to be honest and admit that i am not 100% completely sold on it.  And that is mainly because I really think the Pats change things up and go to a ball control run game this week. Crazy, I know.

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

Brandon Meriweather
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: 55

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 is another one of those guys I don't have to sell you on starting but I have to give you something so here you go. For the season, among LBs, Mayo ranks 1st in fantasy points scored, since his bye in week 5 he ranks 1st in fantasy points scored and over the past month, get this, he ranks 1st in fantasy points scored.  Yep, Mayo is not just a stud but has been a stud all year long.  If you have been paying attention this year you should know that Brandon Spikes has been very hit or miss.  Well this week against the running game of the Jets he should be a hit.  Of course he is a risky play but I think he is a sneaky nice play nonetheless.

Secondary:  If it weren't for the two games that he missed due to injury Patrick Chung would rank much higher than the 18th that he currently ranks.  However, his PPG average of 15.56 does rank him as the 5th most productive DB/game.  This week Chung very easily could hit the 20 point plateau.  In their week 2 meeting Chung tallied just 11 fantasy points as he put together a 5-1-0 line.  I know that doesn't look like he should approach 20 points but I just see him being a big part of how the Patriots try to limit the Jets rushing attack.  This might be hard to believe but Devin McCourty is tied with Patrick Chung in fantasy points scored (140) this year.  McCourty has also been putting up very nice numbers since week 8 and is averaging 16.80 PPG over that time frame and the only player that has scored more than his 84 points is Donte Whitner, who has scored 86 points.  Hmmm, I just talked myself into a 4 star ranking for McCourty. 


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