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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 14
Steve Gallo
December 10, 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 56 48 4-3 Brian VanGorder Curtis Lofton, Sean Weatherspoon, William Moore
BAL 53 46 3-4 & 4-3
Greg Mattison Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Dwan Landry
BUF 46 57 3-4 George Edwards Paul Posluszny, Donte Whitner, Kyle Williams
CAR 46 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
CLE 49 52 3-4 Rob Ryan TJ Ward, Scott Fujita (injured), Abram Elam
DAL 52 51 3-4 Paul Pasqualoni Bradie James, Keith Brooking
DEN 48 54 3-4 Don Martindale DJ Williams, Brian Dawkins (injured)
DET 51 50 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, DeAndre Levy
GB 49 47 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 52 Tampa 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett (injured), Clint Session (injured),
Pat Angerer, Robert Mathis
JAX 54 47 4-3 Mel Tucker Justin Durant, Daryl Smith, Courtney Greene
KC 55 47 3-4 Romeo Crennel Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry
MIA 51 48 3-4 Mike Nolan Karlos Dansby, Yeremiah Bell
MIN 50 48 4-3 & Tampa 2 Leslie Frazier Jared Allen, EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway,
Antoine Winfield
NE 49 55 3-4 Bill Belichick &
D-Staff
Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung
NO 54 48 4-3 Gregg Williams Roman Harper, Jonathan Vilma,
Sedrick Ellis (DT mandatory leagues)
NYG 53 45 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
OAK 51 48 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 52 47 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper (injured), Kevin Burnett
SEA 46 53 4-3 Gus Bradley Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, Chris Clemons
SF 46 51 3-4 Greg Manusky Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Nate Clements
STL 53 47 4-3 Ken Flajole James Laurinaitis, Oshiomogho Atogwe, James Hall,
Bradley Fletcher, Chris Long
TB 48 48 Tampa 2 Raheem Morris Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes, Ronde Barber
TEN 43 58 4-3 Chuck Cecil Jason Babin, Stephen Tulloch, Cortland Finnegan,
Chris Hope, Michael Griffin
WAS 46 54 3-4 Jim Haslett London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, LaRon Landry (injured), 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
 
 

Indianapolis at Tennessee

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Gary Brackett

3 STAR
Tyjuan Hagler
Kelvin Hayden
Antoine Bethea
Robert Mathis

Aaron Francisco
2 STAR
Pat Angerer
Kavell Connor
Jacob Lacey

Dwight Freeney
Phillip Wheeler
1 STAR
Clint Session
Jerraud Powers

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

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

Defensive Line: Robert Mathis currently ranks as the 12th overall DL with 105.5 points scored.  That puts Mathis as the lowest DL1 you can have, at least season to date it does.  However, since the Colts bye in week 7 he has had just one double digit performance, a 12 point effort in week 10.  With 5 of his past 6 weeks being single digit performances it is a bit shocking to see that Mathis ranks 15th from week 8-13. At worst it looks like Mathis should be a low level DL1 or mid to high DL2 this week.  Outside of Mathis no other Colt should be started with confidence. Dwight Freeney is the only other Colt DL that has recorded a double digit score since the bye week. Unfortunately, Freeney is very hit or miss but if you are looking to swing for the fences because you need a huge week you can cross your fingers and roll with Freeney.

Linebacker: Last week, Gary Brackett finally got back on the field and from the looks of his performance he will be startable for owners going forward.  Brackett logged 10 total tackles and recorded 16 fantasy points against the Cowboys run heavy offense. The Titans running game has been struggling the past few weeks but the Colts defense is probably just what they need to get it jump started.  I think we should see Brackett produce right around the same 16 points he put up against the Cowboys.  The only thing you will have to keep an eye on is the inactive report to make sure he doesn't have any setbacks.  Brackett was held out of practice on Monday but practiced in a limited fashion on Tuesday.  With Brackett returning to the starting lineup, rookie Pat Angerer back slid back over to the SLB position. Tyjuan Hagler manned the WLB and also saw plenty of time in the nickel defense.  Hagler led all Colts LBs with 21 fantasy points last week.  He also played in approximately 22% more snaps than Angerer did.  I won't be surprised to see Angerer still be productive this week but with Hagler seeing more time in the nickle I think he does present some risk.  Clint Session has missed practice on both Monday and Tuesday.

Secondary:  Starting CB Jerraud Powers broke his forearm against the Cowboys last week and he had surgery this week to have screws inserted into it.  He won't play this week but no indication has been made if he will be put on IR yet or not.  Kelvin Hayden also has what is being listed as a neck injury, he didn't practice on Monday but he was able to practice fully on Tuesday. With the Colts being thin in the secondary they really need to have Hayden in the lineup this week.  As far as fantasy impact goes there isn't much to get excited about this week.  For the most part the Colts DBs have been inconsistent fantasy performers and the Titans haven't exactly been a great matchup ffor opposing DBs either.  Antoine Bethea did have a phenomenal 15 total tackles last week and I can see starting him as a DB3 this week.  Aaron Francisco hasn't put up back to back clunkers yet but the fact that he has had a couple of sub 6 point games does add to the risk of starting him but like with Bethea I see him as a DB3 this week.

5 STAR
Stephen Tulloch
4 STAR

Cortland Finnegan

3 STAR

Alterraun Verner
Chris Hope
Michael Griffin

2 STAR

Jason  Babin
Jason McCourty
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.

Defensive Line: Yes, Jason Babin has had a very nice season but that doesn't lessen the sting of his 2 point fantasy performance last week.  But it wasn't just Babin that had a bad week, the entire Titans DL, outside of Jason Jones (10 points), was just bad.  This week you really should leave each and every Titans DL on your bench and yes that includes Babin too. Over their last 4 games the Colts have given up more than 2 solos to just one DL (Vince Willfork, 4).  And over that time they have only allowed 1 1/2 sacks to opposing DLs.

Linebacker:  Stephen Tulloch scored 32 fantasy points last week, the most of any LB.  Tulloch now finds himself as the #2 overall scoring LB, behind only Jerod Mayo.  Over the last four games Tulloch is actually tied with Paul Posluszny as the top scoring LB with 85 points scored (21.25 PPG). Add in that the Colts have been a great matchup for the opposing teams leading LB and you see why Tulloch is once again a 5 star play this week. Will Witherspoon and Gerald McGrath have both had their shining moments this year but they have also had their struggles too.  That unfortunately makes each a risky play and I would avoid them unless I was in a very deep league.

Secondary: The Colts are going to put the ball in the air this week, that much we know, especially with how poorly they are running the ball. I think it is safe to get Cortland Finnegan, Alterraun Verner, Chris Hope and Michael Griffin all into starting lineups this week.  I know that Peyton Manning is chucking TDs to the the other team at an alarming pace but I don't think we see him do it again this week. But if it were to happen I wouldn't be surprised to see it be Michael Griffin taking it to the house.


Cleveland at Buffalo

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Abram Elam
TJ Ward
3 STAR

Joe Haden
Kenyon Coleman

2 STAR

Ahtyba Rubin
David Bowens
Eric Wright
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: 42

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Shaun Rogers (hip & ankle) & Kenyon Coleman (knee) each missed a day of practice this week and were limited participants in their other practices.  Both are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Eric Barton (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday but practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday.  Barton is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

 

Defensive Line: Ahtyba Rubin has been a waiver wire darling for much of the year but  the last two weeks he has put up consecutive 4 point games.  The only time I want to see a 4 is when it is the hard way on the craps table.  I would say that Rubin looks to be a slightly risky play this week. Sure Kelly Gregg was able to put up a 4-4-0 against the Bills earlier this year but the Bills also ran the ball a season high 35 times that day too.  For the last 4 weeks Kenyon Coleman has been the leading DE for the Browns.  Over that time span he is averaging 9.25 PPG and ranks as a top 9  DL. This week I think you can start Coleman but I wouldn't expect much more than 8-9 points.

Linebacker: Scott Fujita remains out this week but he would like to make it back to play in the final 2 regular season games.  Browns LBs haven't been all that inspiring but David Bowens has scored 10 points in his last two games.  I think that Bowens is a risky play as anything more than a LB3/4 and much of that is because I just don't see much upside in this matchup. 

Secondary: Last week I pointed out that Abram Elam was the top scoring DB since week 9.  Elam wasn't the top scoring DB for week 13 but the 16 points that he did score keep him 10 points in front of Donte Whitner for the top scoring DB spot from week 9. Rookie TJ Ward had the lowest scoring week of his professional career in week 13, scoring just 9 points.  What is unbeleivable is that he was able to move from the 4th overall DB in week 13 to now being the #2 ranked DB on the season.  Yes, DeAngelo Hall had that bad a week and LaRon Landry simply missed another game.  Elam and Ward are both very nice plays this week, I am not going to let last week's effort scare me off the rookie.  Even Joe Haden is starting to turn it up a notch.  Over his last 4 games he is averaging 14.5 PPG and against the Bills passing game he should be another solid play in the Browns secondary.

5 STAR
Paul Posluszny
4 STAR

Donte Whitner

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
Terrence McGee

BillsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  47
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 52

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Kyle Williams (neck) missed practice on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.  Williams was kept out as precaution but is expected to be fine to play on Sunday.

Donte Whitner (knee) & Terrence McGee (knee) were both limited in practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

 

Defensive Line:  Spencer Johnson did end up replacing Dwan Edwards in the starting lineup last week.  He also was the only Bills DL to score in double digits.  His 10 fantasy points came off of a 4-2-0 stat line. I wouldn't rush to put Johnson in my lineup because I think there is just a tad to much risk to actually rely on him to produce another double digit score.  Kyle Williams struggled in the box score last week but he has been pretty consistent for much of the year so I would be willing to risk relying on him as a DL 2 this week.

Linebacker: Paul Posluszny owners just have to love that he will be facing Peyton Hillis this weekend.  About the only thing to worry about is if those two will knock the Earth off its access when they collide.  I am also looking for Akin Ayodele to benefit from facing Hillis. Over his last three games Ayodele is averaging 15.3 PPG. This week he should be a solid LB3.

Secondary:  The Browns have NOT completed more than 25 passes in any one game this year.  That makes Donte Whitner the only player in the Bills secondary that I would trust in my starting lineup.  Actually, Whitner could possibly steam some tackles for Posluszny this week since he won't be needed in coverage, much if not at all.  If you are a gambling man you can take a look at Bryan Scott who I have ranked as a 2 star play but I think that we could see Scott busy in the box more than he has been the past two weeks.


Green Bay at Detroit

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Clay Matthews
3 STAR

Desmond Bishop
Charles Woodson

Tramon Williams

2 STAR

AJ Hawk
Nick Collins
Charlie Peprah

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

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Cullen Jenkins (calf) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Clay Matthews (shin) & Charles Woodson (toe, ankle) were both limited in practice all week and are listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Nick Collins (shoulder) was limited in practice all week and he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

Atari Bigby (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday, was limited on Thursday and participated fully on Friday.  Bigby is listed as QUESTIONABLE 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: Desmond Bishop was putting up such good numbers that two of the last three weeks Bishop has left his owners feeling a bit flat.  The two performances were a 10 point effort in week 11 and his 11 point effort last week. You surely could do much worse than a LB that has a floor of 10-11 points and that is what I see as Bishops floor.  He has yet to not put up double digits every week and this week he should minimally hit his floor but I do see some upside in his current 3 star ranking.  So much so that I won't be surprised to see him approach the 20 point plateau. I dogged AJ Hawk earlier this season calling him "fools gold" and then he just kept rattling off good game after good game. Well that didn't last all that long because he has just 1 double digit scoring game since week 8. Maybe I shouldn't have backed off my claim of foots gold.  I can see Hawk posting a 12-15 game this week but just as easily it could be a 6-8 point type day too. To much risk for my blood when more than likely you are looking at a playoff matchup that you need to win.

Secondary: As of Wednesday Atari Bigby is still not practicing and more than likely we will see Charlie Peprah starting for him again.  The problem that I have with Peprah and basically all the other Packers DBs not named Charles Woodson or Tramon Williams is that they are so up and down that it is just to risky to plug them in, in  hopes that you catch them on an up week.  Woodson hurt his ankle in practice this week but he should still be able to play but he could see limited opportunities against the Drew Stanton led Lions.  Also, Williams hasn't exactly been lighting it up since the bye week but he should bounce back and at least put up 10-12 points.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
DeAndre Levy
Louis Delmas
3 STAR

Chris Houston
Nathan Vasher
Cliff Avril
Amari Spievey
Ndamukong Suh

2 STAR
Julian Peterson
Ashlee Palmer
CC Brown
Landon Johnson
1 STAR
Lawrence Jackson
Bobby Carpenter
Kyle Vanden Bosch (IR)
Alphonso Smith (IR)

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.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

DeAndre Levy (groin) & Cliff Avril (quadricep) were both limited in practice all week and are listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:Ndamukong Suh is a bit lighter than he was last week, in his wallet that is.  Suh got tagged by the league office with a $15,000 fine for his "forearm shimmy" to Jay Cutler.  Of course replay vindicated Suh and showed he didn't actually give him a forearm to the head but that didn't stop the league from picking his pocket. Suh might find it a bit tougher over the final 4 games since the Lions have lost DE Kyle Vanden Bosch for the season.  Vanden Bosch was put on injured reserve due to a bulging disc in his neck. If you were a Cliff Avril owner I know you had to be smiling big, I mean BIG after his 4-0-3 day.  Or if you were playing against Avril like I was, well let's just say there weren't any smiles on my face.  Don't expect a repeat performance but without Vanden Bosch in the lineup Avril will get plenty of playing time to make an impact in the box score again.

Linebacker: DeAndre Levy, after stringing together 3 nice games in a row has put up consecutive single digit scores.  This week the Packers should have little problem jumping out to an early lead and that should lead to plenty of second half rushing attempts that Levy will get to pad his stat line with. You aren't going to see him put up 17 tackles like Takeo Spikes did last week but 8-10 total tackles seems reasonable this week.  Outside of Levy I think you have to take a pass on Julian Peterson and the rest of the Lions LBs.  Peterson very well could get to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers but I wouldn't be willing to risk it unless you really have to swing big for the fences.

Secondary: Louis Delmas finally put up another double digit score last week, we can only hope that he is going to return to his early season form.  At this point it is risky to expect it but the Packers do present a decent enough matchup.  Since week 9 the Packers have given up at least 6 tackles to an opposing safety. Fellow safety, Amari Spievey has scored 31 points over the past two weeks and this week he very well could approach that 15.5 PPG average.  Look for veteran Nathan Vasher to replace Alphonso Smith in the starting lineup.  Smith was placed on injured reserve with a dislocated right shoulder. 


NY Giants at Minnesota

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Justin Tuck
Osi Umenyiora

Terrell Thomas
Antrel Rolle
Kenny Phillips

2 STAR

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

1 STAR
Keith Bulluck

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Osi Umenyiora (knee) was limited in practice on Wednsday and Thursday but practiced fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: It is playoff time and at playoff time you keep guys like Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora in your lineup.  It doesn't matter how good or bad the matchup is you just plug them in and don't think twice about it.  Not knowing if Brett Favre will be under center does create some uncertainty about this matchup.  Yes, I am saying that I am not sure if Favre will play this week.  I know he wants to but I really do think the streak could be halted. So Tuck and Osi are easy but the monkey wrench comes in the form of Jason Pierre-Paul. Paul has scored 42 fantasy points the past two weeks, 12 points more than the next best DL. Pierre-Paul has all the tools to be a stud in this league in the future and while he has posted crazy good numbers the last two weeks he still remains a very, VERY risky play.  Over the past 2 weeks he has barely played in 60 combined snaps.  To put that in perspective, Tuck has played in almost twice as many snaps.  The way I would handle Pierre-Paul this week would be to look at my matchup and if I really needed a huge performance from my team then and only then would I have him in my lineup but if you have a decent matchup and just need some solid points I would probably keep him on the bench for a guy with a lower floor and limited upside.

Linebacker:  Streaky is the word that probably best describes Michael Boley and the rest of the Giants LBs.  Well maybe not the rest but at least Boley and Goff.  Boley has put up double digit scoring in 6 of 12 games this year and each time he has put up back to back double digit efforts but those were then followed by three single digit efforts, then another back to back double digit output, then three more in single digits and lastly in weeks 12 and 13 back into double digits.  Do you have enough faith that Boley will finally string together 3 straight double digit scores?   Well if it was going to happen it would probably be against what should be a heavy rushing attack by the Vikings but honestly I don't have that much faith. Hence, Boley gets a 2 star ranking.

Secondary: Terrell Thomas is a top 5 DB.  Did you hear that?  Terrell Thomas is a top 5 DB, yep that is what I said.  I know it shocks me too.  But it is what it is and as long as Thomas keeps playing like he is he should be in all starting lineups.  If both Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks were going to be 100% and assured of playing this week I would probably have Thomas as a 5 star play, minimally I would have him as a 4 star play.  But as of this writing there isn't anything concrete on Smith or Nicks.  Even without those two I think Thomas has some upside built into his 3 star ranking.  Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips both warrant 3 star rankings over Deon Grant.  Grant's 2 star ranking might seem a bit odd considering Grant outscored both last week but what hurts Grant is how inconsistent he has been.  Grant falls into the category of risk/reward so good luck if you decide to roll with him.

5 STAR
Chad Greenway
4 STAR

EJ Henderson

3 STAR
Jared Allen
Antoine Winfield
2 STAR
Brian Robison
Madieu Williams
Ben Leber
Husain Abdullah
1 STAR
Tyrell Johnson OUT
Jamarca Sanford
Asher Allen

Pat Williams
Kevin Williams
Lito Sheppard
Ray Edwards
Chris Cook OUT

VikingsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 52
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 Cook (knee) & Tyrell Johnson (knee) have both been ruled OUT for this week.

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

Defensive Line:  Jared Allen now has pushed his number 1 ranking to the last 5 weeks, be it tied with Charles Johnson but still he ranks #1 over that time.  A far cry from what he was giving owners thru week 8.  Now for the buzz kill, this week the Vikings are facing a Giants team that has given up ZERO sacks over their last 5 games.  The last team/ player to record a sack against the Giants was Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware.  The matchup says 2 star but there is no way that you can bench a guy like Allen at this point, especially with how he has been playing.  I know I am relying on him in 2 playoff games this weekend so I surely hope that he can pull something together this weekend.  Ray Edwards missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to an ankle injury, look for Brian Robison to replace him in the starting lineup.  Just don't expect much production.

Linebacker:  Chad Greenway still ranks in the top 5 of LB scoring but over the past three weeks he hasn't been able to hit his scoring average.  Granted his 13.3 PPG the last 3 weeks isn't bad it just isn't what his owners had become accustomed to.  This week against the Giants and their rushing attack Greenway should have little problem approaching and even possibly eclipsing the 20 point plateau. I know the past three weeks that opposing LBs have been limited compared to the production that early season LBs were putting up but I really think we see Greenway hit the early season type production.  EJ Henderson is a bit riskier as a 4 star play but like Greenway I think he hits the early season type production versus that the Giants have been giving up of late.

Secondary:  Prior to the start of the season I published an article about IDP player turnover and it showed that DBs are easily the hardest position to repeat top performances in.  Antoine Winfield missed multiple games due to injury last year so it isn't like he is falling out of the top 10, 20 or even 50 but easily expectations by many was that Winfield would be a top 10-20 DB at worst this year.  Instead of ranking that high Winfield barely ranks inside the top 50.  His 10 fantasy points last week was his first double digit score in 3 weeks.  That makes Winfield a bit risky as a 3 star play but it is the playoffs and I am going to err on the side of the cream always rises to the top.  Outside of Winfield I think that you should avoid the rest of the Vikings secondary. 


Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

5 STAR
Dhani Jones
4 STAR
Roy Williams
3 STAR
Nedu Ndukwe
Jonathan Joseph
2 STAR
Carlos Dunlap
Rey Maualuga

Leon Hall
Michael Johnson
Robert Geathers

Jonathan Wade

Reggie Nelson
1 STAR
Keith Rivers
Jeromy Miles
Rico Murray (IR)

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

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Rico Murray (ankle) has been ruled OUT for this week as the Bengals have placed him on IR.

Jonathan Joseph (ankle) missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday but was a limited participant in practice on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.


Defensive Line: While some things change, others stay the same.  The change this week, the Bengals didn't put any DL on injured reserve. What stayed the same?  The Bengals DL still stink for fantasy purposes.

Linebacker: A very small part of me thinks that the Bengals are going to actually go into Pittsburgh and upset the Steelers this week.  Now if that did play out then my rankings are going to be way off.  But like I said it was a very small part of me, so instead of ranking on that small bit I am going with the other side of the coin where the Steelers should absolutely dominate this game and their running game should get a very good workout in this one.  That is why I have Dhani Jones a 5 star play well that and the fact that the Steelers have been giving up great production to opposing LBs all season long.  In their last matchup earlier this year Jones recorded 9 total tackles and scored 15 fantasy points.

Secondary:  As good as the Steelers have been as a matchup for LBs is about as up and down as they have been for opposing DBs.  In their last meeting Roy Williams scored 12 fantasy points but those points didn't come from him racking up tackles as he only recorded 2 solos and 1 assist.  He supplemented his score by recovering a fumble, picking off a pass and getting credit for pass defended on the INT.  The fact that Williams struggled in the tackle department makes him a slightly risky 4 star play but I still think it is the correct ranking for him this week.  Nedu Ndukwe's 10 points were the most that he scored since week 7 but this week I expect him to improve on those numbers. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
James Harrison
Troy Polamalu
3 STAR
Lawrence Timmons
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: 55

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Troy Polamalu (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but practiced fully on Friday. Polamalu 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:  Earlier in the year if you were going to nickname Lawrence Timmons after a song you could have gone with Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel but over the past few weeks you would probably want to change his song nickname to something like Free Falling by Tom Petty. Thru week 8 Timmons was the #1 ranked LB with 153 fantasy points scored and a 21.86 PPG average but since week 9, Timmons has scored just 57 points with a 11.4 PPG average.  Oh and his ranking over that time frame, 36th. That makes Timmons a low level LB3 over his last 5 weeks.  At this point with his production, or should I say lack of production and the struggling Bengals  as his opponent he actually makes for a slightly risky 3 star play this week. James Harrison has been the model of consistency, especially compared to Timmons. Thru week 8 Harrison ranked as the 10th best LB and weeks 9-13 he ranked as, get this, the 10th best LB.  This week Harrison should be able to hit 15+ points as he pins his ears back and gets after Carson Palmer.

Secondary: So tell me, did the Troy Polamalu sack, forced fumble put a smile on your face on Sunday night or was it a kick in the gut?  For me it was a straight up kick in the gut.  I was in a battle for the division title and a bye in week 14.  Both of us had players left for the MNF game, him, Jerod Mayo, me, David Harris and Santonio Holmes.  But I had a feeling that the Polamalu play was going to be the nail in my coffin.  When the final seconds ticked off on MNF I indeed had lost, by 4.67 points.  That Polamalu play, when it was all said and done was worth 8.8 points, his total for the game was 17.1. There are two points to this story, first, I am still not over my loss and second, Polamalu is a damn fine player and has the ability to save your fantasy butt with just a play or two.  Get him in your lineups this week.  Bryant McFadden has cooled off the past two weeks but I expect him to bounce back with a decent game against the Bengals.  Worst case scenario he gets the bulk of his points during garbage time.


Oakland at Jacksonville

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Rolando McClain
Tyvon Branch
3 STAR

Michael Huff
Matt Shaughnessy
Richard Seymour

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

Raiders Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 47
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 46

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Tyvon Branch (shoulder), John Henderson (knee) & Chris Johnson (groin) were all limited participants in practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday and was a limited participant the rest of the week.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: I am not sure but I think that half the Raiders DL took a vacation and went to Bermuda or something last week and the other half well they were in lala land. Combined, Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, Matt Shaughnessy, Lamar Houston, John Henderson & Desmond Bryant scored just 14 total points.  Seymour, Shaughnessy & Bryant all had goose eggs on the day.  It is with trepidation that I am ranking both Seymour and Shaughnessy 3 star plays. 

Linebacker: So it looks like Rolando McClain is a late bloomer.  Over his last 3 games he is averaging 14.67 PPG and ranks as the 17th most productive LB over that time.  At this point in time that is mostly good news for dynasty owners as McClain's early season production probably was enough to cripple most teams and have them on the outside looking in at the playoffs.  But if you are lucky enough to be in the playoffs and are a McClain owner you should be very excited about this matchup.  Start him with confidence as he should be very busy trying to contain Maurice Jones-Drew. 

Secondary:  For the most part both Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff have been DB1/2 this year.  Branch is coming off of his worst performance of the year with just 6 points but I would expect him to bounce back to post low level DB1 or high level DB2 numbers at worst.  Huff has three single digit performances this year but each was good for 8 points so he has a pretty high floor.  I would start him with confidence this week too.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Sean Considine
3 STAR
Justin Durant
Daryl Smith

Kirk Morrison
Jeremy Mincey
2 STAR

Rashean Mathis
Tyson Alualu
Terrance Knighton
Austen Lane

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

JaguarsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 51
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 48

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Courtney Green (shoulder) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Justin Durant (ankle) was limited in practice on Thursday but was able to return to a full practice on Friday, he is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  Since returning from the bye week, Jeremy Mincey has posted 32 fantasy points good for an 8 PPG average and that is with a very bad 2 point performance in week 12.  Those 32 points ranks Mincey as a top 20 DL.  I don't think you will see Mincey go crazy but he has the looks of a perfect DL2.  Outside of Mincey forget about starting any other Jaguars DL.  But don't forget to keep an eye on Austen Lane if you are in a dynasty league.

Linebacker:  Tell me that Kirk Morrison hasn't had this game circled on the calendar since the schedule was released.  I think Morrison could be in for a very big game but his inconsistent play makes it hard to rank him any higher but I will say that I see plenty of upside for Morrison this week.  If the Raiders run the ball like their are capable of then both Justin Durant and Daryl Smith should also be able net 5-6 tackles this weekend.

Secondary: Courtney Greene has a shoulder injury that will keep him from playing this week.  Sean Considine makes for a nice plug and play with Greene out this week.  Don Carey will continue to start at FS and not put up numbers worth looking at.  Rashean Mathis and the rest of the secondary make for a risky play this week. You can't be that desperate, right?


Atlanta at Carolina

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Curtis Lofton
John Abraham

2 STAR

Sean Weatherspoon
William Moore
Brent Grimes
Dunta Robinson
Kroy Biermann
Mike Peterson
Eric Coleman
Thomas Decoud

1 STAR
Jamaal Anderson
Jonathan Babineaux
Stephen Nicholas

FalconsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
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:

Curtis Lofton (knee) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but he was able to pracitce fully on Friday.  Lofton is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

John Abraham (groin) & Kroy Biermann (ankle) are both listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: The number 5 tells exactly how bad the Falcons DLs have been overall this year from a fantasy perspective.  The number 5 signifies how many times a Falcon DL has scored in double digits this year.  John Abraham has 4 of those games and Kroy Biermann the 5th. Well, if there is a way to get your DL going it would be by facing the Panthers who have given up 36 sacks on the year, only the Bears (45) and Cardinals (40) have given up more.  If Abraham or Biermann were producing better this year this easily would have been a 4/5 star type matchup for them but you just can't look past their struggles.

Linebacker: Unbelievably, the Panthers have given up some very big games to opposing LBs this year.  However, I just can't get past the fact that the Panthers are a bad team and could very well crap the bed at any moment.  It isn't like you are going to bench Curtis Lofton, not that I would suggest so but I do think you need to temper expectations for him this week.  And then take solace in knowing that there is indeed upside in his ranking.  Outside of Lofton I just don't see Sean Weatherspoon or any other Falcons LB being a safe start this week.

Secondary:  Just like to opposing LBs the Panthers are surprisingly giving up some very nice games to DBs.  William Moore and Brent Grimes could easily post 6-7 solos each this week but with how deep the DB position is I just can't see taking the risk with either.  I myself own Moore and I am starting Louis Delmas, Antoine Winfield and Quintin Mikell over him.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

James Anderson

3 STAR
Richard Marshall
Jason Williams

Charles Godfrey
Jon Beason
2 STAR
Charles Johnson
Sherrod Martin
Nic Harris
(OUT)
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: 48

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Nic Harris (head) has been ruled OUT for this week.

John Beason (knee) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but practiced in a limited fashion on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Captain Munnerlyn (shoulder) missed practice on Thurdsay and was a limited participant in practice on Friday.  He is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Jason Williams (knee) missed the first two days of practice but returned to full participation on Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line: The Panthers are facing the 5th most tackle opportunities/game this year and I am sure that is part of what is driving Charles Johnson's production but the other part is that Johnson is talented and starting to give his owners what they had always hoped for.  With as hot as Johnson has been I know it is going to be hard to sit him down but the Falcons aren't exactly the best matchup for opposing DL.  Over the past 3 weeks not a single DL has recorded more than 2 solo tackles against the Falcons.  That in and of itself makes Johnson a risky play this week but if you decide to plug him in just look to the 4-0-2 that Terrell Suggs posted and then close your eye and say a prayer.

Linebacker: Jon Beason is nursing a knee injury that has kept him out of practice on both Wednesday and Thursday.  Make sure to check back for the Friday Injury Updates to see if Beason is able to practice on Friday.  If it weren't for the knee injury I would have him ranked higher but there is a good shot that he should be dropped down to a 2 star play or worse.  James Anderson looks to be a safe 4 star play against the Falcons rushing attack and if Beason can't go I would look at Anderson as a 5 star play.  Jason Williams has taken over at MLB and looks like a safe 3 star play this week too.  Williams was limited in practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury but he was able to practice fully on Thursday. 

Secondary:  Charles Godfrey and Richard Marshall have both been decent as DB2/3 plays and this week should be no different.  Both should end up in the 12-14 point range when it is all said and done.  Captain Munnerlyn has taken over at CB for Chris Gamble but Munnerly missed practice on Thursday with what is being listed as a shoulder injury. Check back for updated injury info on Munnerlyn after the Friday Injury Update is done.


Tampa Bay at Washington

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

Barrett Ruud
Sean Jones
Geno Hayes
Stylez White

2 STAR

EJ Biggers
Ronde Barber
Gerald McCoy
Adam Hayward
Quincy Black

1 STAR

Dekoda Watson
Aqib Talib (IR)

Buccaneers 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:

Quincy Black (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was able to practice fully on Friday.  Black is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Defensive Line:  I doubt that you really want to start Stylez White but if you were every going to plug him into your lineup this would be as good a week as any.  Over their last 8 games the Redskins have given up 30 sacks, that is an average of almost 4 sacks/game. 

Linebacker: Challenging is what this matchup will be for Barrett Ruud and Geno Hayes.  When you look at some of the past performances against the Redskins and you see that Stephen Tulloch and Chad Greenway were each only able to post 6-3-0 stat lines then you should understand what I mean.  I think of the two, Ruud is the safer 3 star play but much will depend on if Ryan Torain is actually able to play this week or not. 

Secondary: The Buccaneers lost talented 3rd year CB Aqib Talib for the season with a torn hip tendon, EJ Biggers will replace him in the starting lineup.  Biggers started back in week one while Talib served a league imposed suspension.  In that week 1 contest Biggers put up 16 fantasy points. I am looking for Sean Jones to lead the Buccaneers secondary this weekend against the Redskins.  Jones has increased his production the last two weeks, scoring 12 and 18 points. He should end up somewhere between those two scores this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
London Fletcher
Rocky McIntosh
3 STAR

Reed Doughty

2 STAR

DeAngelo Hall
Kareem Moore
Brian Orakpo
HB Blades

1 STAR
Lorenzo Alexander
Phillip Daniels
Andre Carter
Carlos Rogers
LaRon Landry

Albert Haynesworth (susp.)

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

LaRon Landry (achilles) & Carlos Rogers (hamstring) were unable able to practice on Wednesday and Thursday but both returned to a limited participation in practice on Friday an are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

Kareem Moore (knee, biceps)
was limited in practice all week and 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. Oh, and the Redskins finally suspended Albert Haynesworth.

Linebacker:  Since week 9 at least one opposing LB has posted 10 combined tackles or more against the Buccaneers. Between London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh I think that Fletcher has the better odds to be the one to log 10+ total tackles but both LBs should be very nice 4 star plays.

Secondary:  LaRon Landry and Carlos Rogers have both missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.  Initially, it sounded like Landry was going to be able to put his Achilles injury behind him and play this week but now it doesn't look so good for that to happen.  Actually, there is now talk that either one or both of Landry and/or Rogers could end up being put on injured reserve. If Landry is inactive again then Reed Doughty makes for another nice play this week.  DeAngelo Hall had been on a team for most of the year, he currently ranks 3rd among all DBs but his last 3 weeks have been horrible.  Scoring just 5, 6, & 4 points in each of the last 3 weeks just doesn't cut it but if you own him it isn't easy to bench him.  This week against the Buccaneers it would probably be wise to actually do just that and bench him.


St. Louis at New Orleans

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Bradley Fletcher

3 STAR

James Laurinaitis
Craig Dahl
Oshiomongo Atogwe

2 STAR
Chris Long
James Butler
James Hall
1 STAR
Fred Robbins
Ronald Bartell
Larry Grant
Na'il Diggs
(IR)

RamsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 51

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Ronald Bartell (neck) didn't practice all week and is listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Oshiomongo Atogwe (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday, was limited on Thursday and practiced fully on Friday.  Atogwe is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Defensive Line:  Both James Hall and Chris Long have been in 3 game slumps. Between the two they have 6 straight single digit performances.  And this week with the Saints on the schedule things won't get much easier.  Drew Brees is perennially one of the least sacked QBs so I would recommend looking elsewhere for DL help this week.

Linebacker:  James Laurinaitis looks to be a solid play this week and for the most part I honestly see him right smack dab in the middle of a 3 and 4 star play.  So I felt that the 3 star ranking would be best and just saying that I see some upside in the ranking would work best. The Rams lost Na'il Diggs for the season due to injury. He was placed on injured reserve after tearing his right pectoral muscle.

Secondary:  The Saints have been a pretty good matchup for opposing DBs, not great but still pretty good.  James Butler is supposedly healthy but has only played in a handful of snaps the past couple of weeks.  Craig Dahl on the other hand has been playing and filling up the box score.  If it weren't for a knee injury limiting him in practice on Wednesday and Thursday I would easily have Dahl as a 4 star play this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Roman Harper
Jonathan Vilma
3 STAR

Tracy Porter
Scott Shanle

2 STAR

Jabari Greer
Malcolm Jenkins
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: 49

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

Defensive Line:  Sedrick Ellis remains the most consistent DL on the Saints but I still see to much risk trying to rely on him.  As for Will Smith and Alex Brown, as they say in NY, fuggedaboutit.

Linebacker: The Rams have been a good matchup for opposing LBs and this week should be no different as they should try to utilize their running attack to keep the potent Saints offense off the field.  Jonathan Vilma appears to be over the struggles he had back in weeks 4-7, since week 7 Vilma is averaging just under 15 PPG.  This week I can see Vilma approaching that exact average.  Scott Shanle is averaging 14.0 PPG since week 8 but he has been a bit inconsistent having scored in single digits in two of those weeks.  I am ranking Shanle as a 3 star play but I don't have a ton of confidence in the ranking.

Secondary:   When it comes to the Saints secondary it all comes down to Roman Harper.  Harper is far and away the best fantasy option and is a nice plug and play option.  Harper might be the top dog in the secondary but Tracy Porter is also a playmaker and has a good nose for the ball too.  I think that even Jabari Greer and Malcolm Jenkins could be in line for a nice week but I think that each of them have a bit more risk than Harper and Porter do.


Seattle at San Francisco

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
David Hawthorne
Chris Clemons
3 STAR

Earl Thomas
Lawyer Milloy

2 STAR

Aaron Curry
Walter Thurmond
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: 55

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Chris Clemons (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday but practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report. 

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

Defensive Line: Chris Clemons has the makings of another very nice matchup this week.  The Niners have given up 16 sacks over their last 4 games. Yes, that sounds pretty juicy.  Clemons didn't go crazy with his matchup last week but he still put up a solid 10 points. This week I expect to see Clemons put up another double digit score. 

Linebacker:  The matchup looks slightly poor but with how David Hawthorne has been playing I don't see how you can keep him out of your lineup.  Over the last 5 games Hawthorne is averaging 20.0 PPG and only Paul Posluszny (101) has scored more points than the 100 that Hawthorne has scored.  Lofa Tatupu has put up good games for consecutive weeks but I have a very hard time giving him the benefit of the doubt like I did with Hawthorne.  I can understand why you might want to run him out this week but I just think it would be best to look around for help somewhere else.

Secondary:  Alex Smith is back under center this week.  Start Earl Thomas, yes it is that simple.  Lawyer Milloy also looks to be getting back into a groove with four consecutive double digit scoring efforts.  The Niners have been a bit of a mixed bag for opposing DBs so beyond Thomas and Milloy there isn't anyone else worth looking at in the Seahawks secondary.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Patrick Willis

3 STAR
Justin Smith
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: 46

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

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

Defensive Line:  Justin Smith has picked one heck of a time to get cold for his owners.  More than likely it won't improve much this week either.  Well at least not on the sack front.  Since giving up 8 sacks to the Raiders in week 8, the Seahawks have only given up 7 sacks in their last 5 games, that's just 1.4/game. The problem is that if you own Smith you more than likely have to start him.  I am still going to rank him as a 3 star play but I have to note just how hesitant I was to rank him that high.

Linebacker:  Patrick Willis did something last week that he hasn't done since week 11way back in 2007, fail to score in double digits. His score in 2007 was just 7 points and last week was 9 points.  Let that sink in for a minute, yeah, that is how good he is.  No reason whatsoever to think that Willis won't bouce back this week.  Takeo Spikes did go nuts last week but he could struggle to match his week 13 production over the next 3 weeks.

Secondary: Last week I said that I thought that Nate Clements was the best shot at producing for the Niners secondary and he ended up getting back into double digits with an 11 point effort.  I also said that Dashon Goldson or Shawntae Spencer could possibly put up a nice game, Spencer flopped with 3 points but Goldson did rack up 7 solos and post score of 14 points.  This week I am going to hang my hat on Clements again but I am going to shy away from Goldson.  If you really want to see how risky a play Goldson is just look at his last 8 games; 14, 2, 14, 2, 4, 12, 2 &14.  That is about as inconsistent as you can get.


New England at Chicago

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

Brandon Spikes
Brandon Meriweather

Rob Ninkovich
James Sanders
Jarrad Page
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: 51

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: Remember earlier how I said Troy Polamalu kicked me in the gut?  Well I can't say where Jerod Mayo kicked me.  But I have to say that I did expect it because Mayo has been money all year long.  If you are a Mayo owner, you keep plugging him in and know that your opposition is probably trying to put a voodoo hex on him.  Last week I said that Brandon Spikes looked like a sneaky play and he ended the MFL tilt scoring 15 points.  This week I think we see Spikes return to single digits due to the pass happy nature of the Bears offense.

Secondary:  Of course we all know that Patrick Chung missed week 8 and 9 due to injury.  He returned in week 10 and from week 10 thru week 12 he played on average around 60 snaps/game.  Last week in what looked to be a prime matchup against the Jets all that Chung could muster up was 2 solo tackles, good for just 4 fantasy points.  The thing is, for some unknown reason he only played in 26 snaps and of those snaps he was in coverage for about 80% of them. Considering we won't get anything out of New England about him he makes for a risky play this week. I know that Chung is the kind of player that is very hard to sit because he is the kind of player that is hard to rank lower than 3 stars.  Proceed with caution is about all I can say.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Lance Briggs
Brian Urlacher
3 STAR

Julius Peppers
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: 53

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:  Since their week 8 bye Julius Peppers has ramped it up and now ranks 5th among DL with 59 fantasy points scored and a 11.8 PPG average.  This week against the Patriots I would severely temper expectations for Peppers.  I know you don't want to hear it but he is probably looking at 7-8 points at best this week.  But like all the top DL, you just keep him plugged in your lineup because even in the worst matchup they have the ability to go crazy and carry your team to a win.  Peppers is that type of player so plug him in, temper your expectations, take your vitamins and say your prayers, especially since I am starting Peppers in a playoff game this week and I sure would like to see him outperform this matchup.

Linebacker: Brian Urlacher is as they say on ESPN, enfuego.  Over his last two games he has posted 9-1-0 and last week an ungodly 9-8-.5 stat line.  With all the points that he Patriots are scoring lately you would think that they are giving up a ton of tackle opportunities but season to date they are actually giving up just 49 TOs/game.  That hasn't made opposing LBs bad plays but it has limited their upside some.  This week I think we can expect both Urlacher and Lance Briggs to make the most of the number of opportunities that they get.  This is a big time game for the Bears and both Urlacher and Briggs are big time players.

Secondary: The Patriots have been on fire offensively of late but what I bet you will find hard to believe is that over their last 3 games the most passes they have completed is21.  So in what looks at first blush as a very good matchup actually looks like a so so matchup at best.  Charles Tillman hasn't been very Tillman like since the Bears bye week, posting just 2 double digit scores and 3 single digit ones.  I think we see Tillman bounce back into double digits this week but honestly his inconsistency is exactly why he is only a 3 star play.


Miami at NY Jets

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

Tim Dobbins
Cameron Wake

Vontae Davis

1 STAR
Sean Smith
Kendall Langford
Quentin Moses
Randy Starks
Tyrone Culver
Reshad Jones
Al Harris (IR)

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

Karlos Dansby (toe) & Channing Crowder (knee) were both limited in practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Linebacker: I could be crazy but I still am buying the Jets as a Super Bowl favorite.  With that in mind I expect to see them bounce back and really pound the rock at the Dolphins this week.  Of course if you are a Karlos Dansby owner you have to like the sound of that.  Add in that there has only been one game where an opposing LB didn't log 8 total tackles against the Jets and you can see just how good this matchup is for Dansby.  And if Dansby wasn't fighting injury and inconsistent play of late he would easily be a 5 star play this week.  Channing Crowder missed last week due to injury but he at least practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday. Even if he does play he is a risky 3 star play.  If Crowder ends up not being able to play then Tim Dobbins should once again start for him and you can then bump him up to a 3 star play.

Secondary: The Jets haven't been a great matchup for opposing DBs but they  have been pretty solid.  Yeremiah Bell easily has the most value among the Dolphins secondary but Chris Clemons should also be able to post solid starting numbers this weekend.  The Dolphins also placed Al Harris, formerly of the Packers on season ending injured reserve.

 

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

Bart Scott
Kyle Wilson
Jason Taylor
Bryan Thomas
Darrelle Revis
1 STAR

Vernon Gholston
James Ihedigbo OUT

JetsAverage 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:

James Ihedigbo (knee, ankle) has been ruled OUT for this week. 

Defensive Line:  The Dolphins have given up 10 sacks in their last 3 games and that could be just what the Jets need because they don't seem to be getting to the QB like they should be.  I am pretty sure that the Dolphins will try to get their running game going early and that should help Sione Pouha put up 3 star numbers.  Shaun Ellis has the name but he hasn't been a very good fantasy player of late.  Actually since week 9, Mike Devito leads the Jets DL in fantasy points scored.  Yes, I said Mike Devito.

Linebacker: David Harris might not be living up to preseason expectations but he is playing very well.  Fantasy wise he might not be putting up big numbers but week 1 is the only week that he hasn't scored in double digits, so at least he has been extremely consistent.  This week probably gives us more of the same too, a 10-14 point type week.  Bart Scott is another one of those LBs who doesn't show his NFL worth in his fantasy stats.  Scott is basically Harris without the consistency and that makes him a risky play, which is why he is only a 2 star play.

Secondary:  Eric Smith stepped into the starting lineup for Jim Leonhard and unlike Harris and Scott, Smith put up numbers but they don't show how bad he was.  But if you own him in fantasy you don't have to worry about him hitting the pine because the Jets don't really  have a better option.  Smith should once again be plenty busy but hopefully for Jets fans he has a better impact NFL wise. Darrell Revis and Antonio Cromartie could each end with an interception this weekend but starting them probably isn't going to be the most prudent of moves.


Denver at Arizona

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
None
2 STAR

DJ Williams
Mario Haggan
Wesley Woodyard
Darcel McBath
Champ Bailey
Jason Hunter
Renaldo Hill
Perrish Cox
David Bruton

Marcus Thomas
Kevin Vickerson

1 STAR
Brian Dawkins OUT
Robert Ayers
Andre' Goodman
Joe Mays
(IR)

BroncosAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 3 opponent: 57

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Brian Dawkins (knee) has been ruled OUT for this week.

Darcel McBath (quadricep, ankle) & Andre' Goodman (quadricep) were both limited in practice all week and are listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.

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

Linebacker: DJ Williams very possibly has a bursa sack injury and that could easily hurt his effectiveness.  But that isn't why he and all the other Broncos LBs are ranked as 2 star plays.  It is because the Cardinals offense is bad, really, really bad.  Especially when you consider that they Cardinals as of Thursday don't even know who will be starting at QB for them this week.  If you are a gambling man you could look at Jason Hunter as a sleeper pick but understand his value has the come from getting to the QB.  Me, I am not that much of a gambler but hey, maybe you are.  The thing I would recommend doing this week with the Broncos is watching to see how they handle Williams with his elbow injury and who plays inside with him.  I am expecting that we see some combo of Mario Haggan and/or Wesley Woodyard getting playing time inside with Williams.

Secondary:  Brian Dawkins knee kept him out of practice on Wednesday and won't play this week versus the Cardinals.  David Bruton played the majority of SS snaps last week and in the process put up a respectable 13 fantasy points.  The problem this week is their opponents anticipated lack of offensive production. So my final word is to sit the entire Broncos secondary this week.  The risk just isn't worth it.

 

5 STAR
Paris Lenon
4 STAR
Gerald Hayes
3 STAR
Adrian Wilson
Kerry Rhodes
2 STAR
Greg Toler
Daryl Washington
Joey Porter
Darnell Dockett

Calais Campbell

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Clark Haggans
1 STAR
Alan Branch
O'Brien Schofield

Cardinals Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 39

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

Defensive Line: Calais Campbell's ankle has kept him to a limited practice on both Wednesday and Thursday.  While Darnell Dockett's shoulder injury hasn't kept him from fully practicing this week.  Both Campbell and Dockett have been inconsistent this year and each ranks just outside of DL2 range.  This week unless you are really in a bind due to injuries I would leave both on the bench.

Linebacker: This week the Broncos fired Head Coach Josh McDaniels.  You might be wondering why that needs to be mentioned in the Cardinals LB section.  Well the reason it is important is because the Broncos interim coach is Eric Studesville.  Studesville is/was the RB coach.  That is good news for not just Moreno owners but also Paris Lenon and Gerald Hayes owners too.  I say that because I would think that Studesville will stick to what he knows, running the ball.  If you feel differently then you should knock Lenon and Hayes down one level.

Secondary: Greg Toler is practicing fully but I am not going to tell you to start him. The only players that I can safely recommend starting is the duo fo Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes.  Rhodes broke out of his 3 game slump and posted a very nice 22 point effort and Wilson kept his string of 5 straight double digit scores going with a 14 point effort.



Kansas City at San Diego

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Eric Berry
Brandon Flowers

Derrick Johnson

3 STAR
Brandon Carr
2 STAR

Javier Arenas
Kendrick Lewis
Wallace Gilberry
Glenn Dorsey
Tamba Hali

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

ChiefsAverage 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.

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

Linebacker: Derrick Johnson is picking a very bad time to start putting up poor numbers and being inconsistent week to week just makes it worse. I know that a 4 star ranking might seem like a stretch but take a look at what opposing LBs have done against the Chargers since week 7, there have been 4 that have posted 10+ total tackles and at least 1 LB has posted 7 total tackles in each game.  That leads me to believe that Johnson should be able to post a 7-1-0 or 8-3-0 type stat line this week.  Outside of Johnson I am not starting Jovan Belcher, Tamba Hali or any other Chiefs LBs.

Secondary: Phillip Rivers has been nothing short of incredible for most of the season and this week while facing a good Chiefs defense he should still put the ball in the air enough to make Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers strong plays.  The rookie bounced back with a nice 17 point score after suffering thru his worst output of the season the previous week. Flowers return from injury was less than stellar as he only posted 5 fantasy points.  Flowers played in 50 snaps so his production was limited due to being eased back onto the field.  Still I look for him to bounce back and put up 14-15 points this weekend.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Kevin Burnett
Brandon Siler
3 STAR

None

2 STAR
Steve Gregory
Antonio Garay
Eric Weddle
Stephen Cooper
Paul Oliver

Shaun Phillips
Antoine Cason
Quentin Jammer
1 STAR

Luis Castillo
Darrell Stuckey

ChargersAverage 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 Siler (rib) missed practice on Thursday and was a limited participant in Friday's practice, he is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report.   Siler should now be bumped down to a 2 star play.

Stephen Cooper (knee) missed practice on Wednesday but was able to participate in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday he practiced fully.  He is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.  I would now bump Cooper up to a 3 star play.

Defensive Line: The Chargers 3-4 scheme doesn't offer consistent fantasy value for it's DL. IF you are keeping score Antonio Garay posted his 3rd consecutive single digit score.

Linebacker: For only the second time this year Kevin Burnett failed to score in double digits.  His 8 points last week was one fewer than the 9 he scored back in week 6.  Burnett should have no problem bouncing back against the run heavy attack of the Chiefs this week.  About the only thing that could hurt him is if Matt Cassel actually can't play due to the appendectomy he had earlier this week.  If Brodie Croyle is forced to start that could limit the KC offense and lessen the number of TOs that Burnett and Brandon Siler get to face.  Yes, Brandon Siler, he of the 21 point score from week 13.  Siler started in place of injured Stephen Cooper and it looks like Cooper very well could miss week 14, making Siler a strong play.  So far, Thursday is  the only day that Cooper was able to practice and that was in a limited fashion.  Shaun Phillips has been on a nice tear the last 3 weeks but he is always going to be a slightly risky play considering he needs to get to the QB to get his points.  If Brodie Croyle gets the start at QB I would bump Phillips up to a 4 star play.  The other thing I would say is that if you need to swing for the fences then Phillips is a prime guy to do it with.

Secondary: Steve Gregory looked like he had a chance to play last week but in the end he was held out of the game.  This week he practiced fully on Wednesday and it looks like he really could return to the field this weekend. The main issue with starting him at this point is that he hasn't played in a game since week 9.  I think the matchup says 3 star but with the time he has missed I think it is best to let him sit for a week.


Philadelphia at Dallas

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Quintin Mikell
3 STAR

Trent Cole
Stewart Bradley
Nate Allen

Dimitri Patterson

2 STAR

Asante Samuel
Joselio Hanson

Trevard Lindley
Brandon Graham

Moise Fokou
Ernie Sims
Darryl Tapp

1 STAR
Akeem Jordan
Omar Gaither
Kurt Coleman
Juqua Parker

EaglesAverage 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:

Asante Samuel (knee) was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday but then didn't practice on Thursday or Friday and is listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. At this point Samuel looks like a long shot to play and should be bumped down to a 1 star play.

Defensive Line: Trent Cole currently sits as the #2 DL for the season but since the Eagles bye he has really fallen off.  Over his last 5 games he only scored in double digits twice and from week 9 he ranks as the 17th DL with a PPG average of just 7.40.  But Cole fits the bill of the stud DL that you just keep plugging into your lineup and honestly I think it is a plus that he is facing a division foe like the Cowboys.  One reason to temper expectations some is that the Cowboys are giving up just 1.5 sacks/game over their last 4 games.  This is a money week for fantasy footballers so as much as I like Brandon Graham you aren't going to get me to move him above a 2 star ranking.  Just not worth the risk.

Linebacker:  The Cowboys have been a different team over he past month and it shows in the production they are giving up to opposing LBs.  Why?  Because they are running the ball more, to the tune of 36 times/game over their last 3 games.  Over those games MLBs are averaging 9.3 total tackles/game.  Stewart Bradley should be in line for a good day but if the Eagles are able to get out to a big lead that could limit the Cowboys rushing attack and in turn hurt Bradley's production.  That risk is why he is a 3 star instead of a 4 star play.  Ernie Sims has put up back to back double digit scores but his ceiling versus his floor makes him to risky to insert into starting lineups.  At best Sims is going to put up 10-11 points so as you can see there wouldn't be much reward to offset the risk.

Secondary: Asante Samuel went from being a limited participant in practice on Wednesday to missing practice on Thursday.  Samuel very well could miss another game and that would open the door for Joselio Hanson to get another start.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  Check back for the Friday Injury Update and we will take a look at if Samuel can practice on Friday and what it looks like for him on Sunday.  Dimitri Patterson should see plenty of action, with or without Samuel in the lineup and makes for a solid DB3 with some upside this week.  But the best play should be SS Quintin Mikell.  Mikell will surely be involved in helping to keep the Cowboys rushing attack in check.  I can easily see Mikell logging 7-8 solos this week.

5 STAR

None

4 STAR
Bradie James
3 STAR
Terence Newman
Mike Jenkins
DeMarcus Ware
2 STAR

Keith Brooking
Sean Lee

Alan Ball

Jay Ratliff

Gerald Sensabaugh
Anthony Spencer

1 STAR

Igor Olshansky
Jason Hatcher
Stephen Bowens
Orlando Scandrick

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.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Bradie James (knee), Keith Brooking (foot) & Sean Lee (shoulder) are all listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.  They all practiced fully on Friday.

Orlando Scandrick (concussion) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but practiced fully on Friday and is listed as PROBABLE on the injury report.

Gerald Sensabaugh (thigh) missed the first two days of practice and only practiced 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 by default looks to be the best Cowboys LB this week.  Keith Brooking is still fighting his foot injury.  He missed practice on Wednesday but was able to participate in a limited fashion on Thursday.  Sean Lee won't repeat his performance but he does have a bright future.  He has also been limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to a shoulder injury.  Four different LBs have recorded 10+ total tackles against the Eagle this year so James even has some upside in his 4 star ranking.

Secondary:  The Eagle are definitely a passing team but it isn't as dink and dunk as it was in the past.  Terence Newman has easily been the best fantasy DB for the Cowboys this year.  His overall ranking of 50 year to date is far from good but over the past 4 games he is averaging 13.75 PPG.  Looking at Newman as a DB3 with upside this week seems like a safe expectation.  Orlando Scandrick has been held out of practice due to concussion symptoms.  Look for Mike Jenkins to be plenty active this week, minimally I see him hitting 10-12 points.


Baltimore at Houston

5 STAR
Ray Lewis
4 STAR
Terrell Suggs
Dawan Landry
3 STAR
Haloti Ngata
2 STAR

Ed Reed
Jarrett Johnson
Josh Wilson
Chris Carr
Kelly Gregg

1 STAR
Fabian Washington
Jameel McClain
Tavares Gooden
Cory Redding

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

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

Defensive Line: Terrell Suggs is really having a great season for his owners this year.  Suggs is also hot at the right time of year.  In his last 4 games he is averaging 13.62 PPG, which is still good for 3rd best over those 4 games.  Haloti Ngata was having one heck of a season, that is until I pointed out just how good a season he was having.  He has now gone 4 straight games without scoring in double digits.  At least last week he posted a solid 8.5 points but he isn't the no brainer start that he was earlier in the year.

Linebacker:  Love him or hate him you just have to tip your hat to how good Ray Lewis is.  Lewis currently ranks 3rd among LBs in scoring and what is more amazing is that for probably the past 4 years people keep saying that he is to old to keep it up. But that is what he is doing, just keeping it up.  I say ride it while you can.  The Texans are going to feed Arian Foster the ball at least 20 or more times so Lewis will be plenty busy.  This should be another 10+ tackle week for him.  Jarrett Johnson has put up some nice numbers but his production has been about as consistent as the Refs flagging for illegal hits.  But don't worry the league office saw fit to find Johnson $40,000 for his hit on Heath Miller.  And yes, he deserved the fine and there should have been a flag.

Secondary:  Ed Reed came off the PuP running and put up 3 straight double digit scores but now he has 3 consecutive single digit efforts where he hasn't recorded more than 6 points in any of the games.  Inconsistent production like this is what makes Reed a risky play in tackle heavy leagues.  You need a big game this weekend? Weak at DB?  Want to gamble?  Plug Ed Reed in your lineup.  Need a solid safe 10 points from your DB position?  Then don't plug Reed into your lineup. Dwan Landry is coming off of a strong 18 point effort last week and this week he should be very active against the Texans.  Landry reminds me a lot of Antoine Bethea from the past few years where all he does is put up nice games but no one else really notices.  So, I have to ask, have you noticed or is Landry as under the radar as I think he is?

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Bernard Pollard
Brian Cushing
3 STAR
Mario Williams
Kevin Bentley

Glover Quin
2 STAR
Jason Allen
Antonio Smith

Zach Diles

Darryl Sharpton
Eugene Wilson
Kareem Jackson
Amobi Okoye
1 STAR
Troy Nolan
Xavier Adibi
Mark Anderson

TexansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2002*-2009 Versus week 9 opponent: 47
*1st year in the NFL .

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Mario Williams (groin) missed practice on Thursday but practiced in a limited fashion on Friday.

Defensive Line: Mario Williams continues to put up poor scores but you know you can't not play him.  The smart move would be to bench him and the stupid move would be to bench.  Yes, that is the riddle that Mario Williams has become this year.  Look if you made it this far with Williams you will absolutely kick yourself if you bench him and he goes off.  Of course conversely if he stinks it up again you will feel like banging your head on a wall while you say you knew better.  Sorry but I can help with the therapy and you are going to probably just need to flip a coin on  what to do with him. Yes, he has me that perplexed too.

Linebacker: Brian Cushing should be a very strong play this week.  For the season 15 times a LB has recorded at least 8 total tackles against the Ravens. Cushing will be looking for his 5th consecutive double digit score, over his previous 4 games he is averaging just under 14 PPG.  Zach Diles is still playing sparingly since having to visit the hospital a few weeks ago.  Kevin Bentley is filling in with all the injuries the Texans have suffered at LB but the last two weeks he has struggled in the box score and posted just 6 and 7 points recpectively.  Of course prior to those 2 clunkers he had nice games of 13 and 21 points but I think Bentley is closer to posting 7 points than he is the 21.  But with the Ravens in town I am willing to give Bentley a bit of a pass and look for him to hit 12 points, making him a solid 3 star play but with plenty of upside due to who he is facing.

Secondary:  I know what you are thinking!  And all i can say is DONT DO IT!  You know what I mean, no point chasing!  I am not buying that Jason Allen is going to come close to replicating what he did last week when he recorded 22 fantasy points.  Glover Quin had what looked to be a good matchup but only posted 9 fantasy points and snapped his streak of 3 straight with double digit scoring.  I know that Allen more than doubled Quin's production last week but I still like Quin as the better play this week.  And it's not like the Ravens have been giving up huge games to opposing DBs this year so I see limited upside no matter which DB scores the most points.


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