Welcome to this week's IDP Hot and Not Report. Here, we’ll take a look at a few linebackers, defensive linemen and defensive backs that are off to hot starts and a few that have stumbled out of the gate a bit. This article is designed to assist the beginning IDP’er or those in “play ‘em once” leagues, or to just foster some discussion about the future prospects of IDPs that were more than likely drafted in most leagues.. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to discuss the players in further detail or recommend a name or two.
David Hawthorne (SEA): The ex-Horned Frog turned in a sick stretch of games in the middle of last season and finished strong. This season, he waited until Week 9 to really matter but apparently is amidst another hot streak. He’s got a great end to his schedule, so he’s a must-start to round out the season.
James Farrior (PIT): The absolute model of consistency, the 35-year old Farrior has four sacks since Week 9 and seemingly always gets you at least 5 solos. Loving the last few games on the schedule, so Farrior should keep up the good work.
Rolando McClain (OAK): As a whole, it’s been a pretty disappointing season for the rookie. He was handed a fantastic position on a silver platter and has been very average, up until the past two weeks where he’s logged 14 solos and got his first INT. If he can shake off a sore foot (it’s apparently tendonitis, not arthritis), he’ll finish the season strong.
Keith Rivers (CIN): Pretty funny exchange on The Huddle’s IDP message board: user “alexgaddis” sarcastically reveled in the fact that Rivers “made a tackle”. Our very own Steve Gallo retorted “It was actually an assist. I am done trying to figure out Rivers”. He finished the game with just three assists and no other stats, and chalk down another who’s done trying to figure him out.
Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer (DAL): Sure, Ware does have a somewhat-quiet 9.5 sacks on the season, but has been held in check to some degree over the past three weeks and Spencer, after a promising tail end to the 2009 season, only has four sacks and is also on a quiet three-game stretch.
HOT DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Charles Johnson (DE – CAR): After logging 6.5 sacks, it’s pretty apparent the Panthers have found their replacement for Julius Peppers, albeit Johnson has a long way to go if he’s going to be the game-changer that Peppers was and still is. After two very disappointing seasons, Johnson appears to have lived up to the hype.
Lamarr Houston (DE/DT – OAK): We pegged Houston as a deeper sleeper in the preseason, relishing his ability to mesh into the Oakland defensive scheme. He has rewarded owners with four sacks, and in leagues where he’s DT-eligible, will become a serious asset in 2011.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Richard Seymour (DT – OAK): Contrary to Houston, Seymour’s game has slid over the past month, totaling only 10 fantasy points over the past three contests. He’s battling a knee injury and isn’t a good prospect to finish the season out.
Greg “Stylez” White (DE – MIA): You see what happens when you give yourself a slick – but official – nickname? White, after a decent 2009, has regressed in 2010, with only two contests in double digit fantasy points.
HOT DEFENSIVE BACKS
Abram Elam (S – CLE): No safety has averaged more fantasy points (in standard IDP scoring) than Elam over the past month. Rookie T.J. Ward has been impressive this season, but Elam’s turning it on in the second half of the season.
Terrell Thomas (CB – NYG): No cornerback (or DB in general) has averaged more fantasy points than Thomas over the past month. In fact, he only has one game in single digits, has a solid 17 pass breakups on the season, and an impressive five picks. The remaining schedule looks favorable, so get Thomas into your lineup, if it’s not already obvious.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE BACKS
Darren Sharper (S – NOS): Saints fans realize that this is certainly not 2009. After a ridiculous 2009, Sharper has been hobbled all season, with Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper holding down the safety spots. Age appears to have caught up with Mr. Sharper.
Deangelo Hall (CB – WAS): After a torrid start to the 2010 season and generally solid output towards the middle of the season, Hall has slowed down significantly, scoring a combined 16 fantasy points over the past three contests. If you have a better/hotter option, you might want to opt for him to end your season.