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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 16
Steve Gallo
December 24, 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, Daryl Washington,
Greg Toler, Paris Lenon
ATL 56 47 4-3 Brian VanGorder Curtis Lofton, Sean Weatherspoon, William Moore
BAL 53 47 3-4 & 4-3
Greg Mattison Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Dwan Landry
BUF 47 55 3-4 George Edwards Paul Posluszny, Donte Whitner, Kyle Williams
CAR 47 53 4-3 Ron Meeks Charles Johnson, Jon Beason, James Anderson,
Charles Godfrey
CHI 47 49 Tampa 2 Rod Marinelli Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Brian Urlacher,
Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman
CIN 50 48 4-3 Mike Zimmer Dhani Jones
CLE 47 53 3-4 Rob Ryan TJ Ward, Abram Elam
DAL 52 50 3-4 Paul Pasqualoni Bradie James, Keith Brooking
DEN 48 54 3-4 Don Martindale DJ Williams, Brian Dawkins (injured)
DET 52 50 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Ndamukong Suh, DeAndre Levy
GB 50 47 3-4 Dom Capers Desmond Bishop, Clay Mathews, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams
HOU 51 52 4-3 Frank Bush Bryan Cushing, Bernard Pollard, Kevin Bentley
IND 54 52 Tampa 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett, Clint Session (injured),
Pat Angerer, Robert Mathis
JAX 53 48 4-3 Mel Tucker Kirk Morrison, Daryl Smith, Sean Considine,
Courtney Greene (injured)
KC 53 48 3-4 Romeo Crennel Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry
MIA 51 48 3-4 Mike Nolan Karlos Dansby, Yeremiah Bell
MIN 49 48 4-3 & Tampa 2 Leslie Frazier Jared Allen, EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway
NE 49 54 3-4 Bill Belichick &
D-Staff
Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung
NO 53 48 4-3 Gregg Williams Roman Harper, Jonathan Vilma
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 52 48 4-3 Sean McDermott Trent Cole, Jamar Chaney, Quintin Mikell
PIT 50 48 3-4 Dick LeBeau James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons,
Troy Polamalu
SD 53 45 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett
SEA 46 53 4-3 Gus Bradley Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, Chris Clemons,
David Hawthorne
SF 46 52 3-4 Greg Manusky Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Nate Clements
STL 52 48 4-3 Ken Flajole James Laurinaitis, Oshiomogho Atogwe, James Hall,
Bradley Fletcher, Chris Long, Craig Dahl
TB 48 49 Tampa 2 Raheem Morris Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes, Ronde Barber
TEN 44 58 4-3 Chuck Cecil Jason Babin, Stephen Tulloch, Cortland Finnegan,
Chris Hope, Michael Griffin
WAS 47 53 3-4 Jim Haslett London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, Reed Doughty, 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
 
 

Carolina at Pittsburgh

5 STAR
Jon Beason
4 STAR

James Anderson
Charles Johnson

Charles Godfrey
Richard Marshall

3 STAR
Sherrod Martin
2 STAR
Greg Hardy
Jordan Senn
Nic Harris
Captain Munnerlyn

Tyler Brayton
Derek Landri
1 STAR
Chris Gamble
Abdul Hodge

Panthers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 40

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

Defensive Line: The Steelers have given up more than one sack in 8 of their 14 games this year. Much hasn't gone well for the Panthers this year, but on their DL the play of Charles Johnson has been a bright spot.  Johnson ranks 5th in DL scoring with 136.5 points scored and a 9.75 PPG average. As it stands now Johnson is about as safe a start at the DL position that you are going to find.  If you have injuries and are in a bind of sorts then Greg Hardy is also worth a look this week., especially In deeper leagues.  And if you are in a dynasty league Hardy looks to be a nice stash and hold for next year. 

Linebacker: Jon Beason has reeled off 7 straight double digit scores and over that time is averaging 15.29 PPG.  On Sunday versus the Cardinals Beason was able to rack up 14 points versus what was a very limited Cardinals offense. On the day the Cardinals only gave up 37 TOs which makes the 14 points that much more impressive.  Versus the Steelers I would expect Beason and the Panthers to face well over 50 TOs and if that holds true then a 20 point fantasy day would be very realistic.  James Anderson had his worst game of the year last week, scoring just 5 fantasy points.  The Steelers matchup is much better so I would expect him to bounce back and put up LB1/2 numbers.  Even though Anderson's numbers seem to have fallen off some it should be noted that he still has only scored in single digits just twice this year.

Secondary:  Over the past few weeks the Steelers have given up some huge games to opposing DBs.  Donte Whitner - 18 tackles, Dwan Landry 10 tackles, Roy Williams 9 tackles, Drew Coleman 10 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.  I don't know that I see any of the Panthers DBs hitting double digit tackles but i do think that Charles Godfrey and Richard Marshall will be the most productive of the bunch.  Sherrod Martin has had a nice couple of weeks and versus the Steelers should be able to post his 3rd consecutive double digit score.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
James Harrison
3 STAR
Lawrence Timmons
2 STAR
Ryan Clark
James Farrior

LaMarr Woodley
1 STAR

Bryant McFadden
Ike Taylor
William Gay
Ryan Mundy
Brett Keisel

Evander Hood
Aaron Smith
Troy Polamalu

SteelersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  52
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 60

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

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

Linebacker:  Hopefully you didn't bench Lawrence Timmons last week as he broke out of his slump in a big way.  His 23 points were the 5th most scored by a LB in week 15.  While it was nice to see Timmons breakout you have to realize that this week he presents plenty of risk against a Panthers offense that will find it hard to do much of anything at Heinz Field.  Timmons isn't the only Steeler that faces that risk this week, it applies to each and every Steeler LB as well as their DBs and DLs. With all that said I still think that James Harrison deserves a 4 star ranking.  Rookie Jimmy Clausen is coming off of his first win but he will quickly come back down to Earth.  Harrison should get to Clausen multiple times this weekend and I won't be the least surprised to see him log a forced fumble and fumble recovery too.

Secondary: Troy Polamalu surprisingly only plays like Superman but he isn't the man of steel as a "lower leg injury" kept him from playing last week against the Jets.  What last week helped to point out, is that Polamalu means a ton to the Steelers defense.  This week Polamalu is once again not expected to play and that makes sense because the Steelers will need him if they want to make any noise in the playoffs. Ryan Clark and Ryan Mundy were the starting safeties against the Jets but neither had very good days, Clark - 9pts & Mundy - 6pts.  This week I don't think either are safe starts at all.  The same goes for Bryant McFadden, who actually led the secondary last week with 14 points, Ike Taylor  & William Gay too.


Dallas at Arizona

5 STAR

None

4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Bradie James
DeMarcus Ware
Terence Newman
2 STAR

Mike Jenkins
Sean Lee

Keith Brooking
Orlando Scandrick

Jay Ratliff

Gerald Sensabaugh

Anthony Spencer

1 STAR

Igor Olshansky
Jason Hatcher
Stephen Bowens

CowboysAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2002-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 52

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Keith Brooking (foot), Bradie James (knee), Sean Lee (shoulder, concussion)

Defensive Line: For the most part the Cowboys scheme renders their DL pretty useless.  Look elsewhere for DL help.

Linebacker: Bradie James had his worst game in the last month but he was still able to at least log a double digit score for his owners.  James has scored in double digits for four consecutive weeks now but this week that streak very well could come to an end.  The Cardinals have been pretty hit or miss for opposing LBs and that makes James a slightly risky start this week. He should be good for around 4-5 solos and an assist or two so that would make him an OK LB3 for most. DeMarcus Ware tied his season high in points scored when he recorded 21 points on the strength of 6 solos, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. Ware's two sacks push his total for the year to 11.5.  Ware has now recorded double digit sacks for 5 consecutive years.  The Cardinals are giving up over 3 sacks/game so I am looking for Ware to add to his sack total this weekend.

Secondary:  Terence Newman posted another nice score this weekend and his 14 points gives him six consecutive double digit performances. The Cardinals have given up some good games to opposing DBs so Newman very well could keep his scoring streak going this weekend.  The only bit of risk that I see is that Captain Munnerlyn' is the only DB over the past 3 weeks to post more than 3 solo tackles (7 for Munnerlyn) against the Cardinals but with how Newman has been scoring of late I think he should be in starting lineups for this tilt.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Paris Lenon
Daryl Washington
3 STAR
Darnell Dockett
Calais Campbell
Greg Toler
Adrian Wilson
Kerry Rhodes
2 STAR
O'Brien Schofield
Mike Adams
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Clark Haggans
1 STAR
Alan Branch
Gerald Hayes
Joey Porter

Cardinals Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 45

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

QUESTIONABLE:  Clark Haggans (groin), Joey Porter (tricep)
PROBABLE:
Calais Campbell (chest)

Defensive Line: Calais Campbell went off last week, scoring 23 fantasy points. Prior to last week and since week 11, Campbell had scored a combined 18 points.  With the Cowboys being a decent matchup for opposing DLs I see no reason to not have Campbell in lineups.  Darnell Dockett on the other hand is another story.  Dockett is as talented if not more so than Campbell but he has been far to inconsistent this season and should be avoided this week. 

Linebacker: Daryl Washington is coming off of back to back 6 solo games as well as posting his second consecutive double digit score.  Versus the Cowboys revived offensive attack he should be able to easily hit the 6 solo level again and best case scenario is that he logs 10 or more total tackles  Paris Lenon might be the top dog at LB this year but next year, look out for Washington.  But right now we are still in this year so by all means make sure you are starting Lenon this week.  Gerald Hayes has been inactive the past two weeks and there is nothing to indicate that his status will change this week. On the injury front, Joey Porter suffered a possibly serious tricep injury.  Right now we are waiting to hear the results on his MRI.  Baring some unexpectedly good news things don't look good or Porter this week.

Secondary: Greg Toler has been on quite the roller coaster ride of late.  After missing weeks 11 & 12 and then logging just 4 points in week 13, Toler exploded for 8 solos tackles.  Those 16 points represents Toler's second consecutive double digit effort. What is surprising is that the Panthers completed just pass attempts.  Of course the 45 times that they ran the ball surely contributed to Toler's nice score.  Kerry Rhodes recorded 11 points last week and now ranks 7th in DB scoring.  Rhodes and fellow safety Adrian Wilson should both be in playoff lineups this week.


Detroit at Miami

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR

DeAndre Levy
Ndamukong Suh

2 STAR
Cliff Avril
Lawrence Jackson

CC Brown
Chris Houston

Nathan Vasher
Julian Peterson

Ashlee Palmer
Turk McBride
Landon Johnson

John Wendling
1 STAR
Louis Delmas
Amari Spievey

Bobby Carpenter

LionsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  46
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 40

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

DOUBTFUL: Louis Delmas (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: 
Landon Johnson (neck)
PROBABLE:
Cliff Avril (rib), Lawrence Jackson (groin), Turk McBride (ankle), Amari Spievy (back)

Defensive Line:When you look at the production that opposing DTs are having against the Dolphins plus add in just how well Ndamukong Suh is playing this year it is easy to see that he needs to be in starting lineups this week.  In DT mandatory leagues bump him up to a 5 star play.  Cliff Avril left the week 13 game with a rib injury and that injury made him a risky play last week.  He played and actually played in excess of 50 snaps but he was only able to log 5 points, all coming off of 1 sack.  I would like to rank him a 3 star play but think the risk is far to great with his up and down scoring over the past month.  Lawrence Jackson got an increase in snaps in week 13 due to Avril's rib injury, and was able to record 10 points, the same number of points he scored last week too.  But this past week he played in fewer than 40 snaps.  One way to look at it is that he is at least making the most of his rotational snaps but the other way is to see the added risk in a guy playing with so few rotational snaps.  You had better be in a bind at DL if you decide to plug him into your lineup.

Linebacker: At first blush you will probably look at DeAndre Levy and think this is a very good matchup for him. If you think that just take a look at how some LBs have fared this year against the Dolphins; Paul Posluszny-wk15 11pts, David Harris-wk 14 9 pts, David Bowens-wk13 10 pts, Rolando McClain-wk12 19pts, Brian Urlacher-wk11 12 pts, Stephen Tulloch-wk10 12 pts, Ray Lewis-wk9 15 pts, Dhani Jones-wk8 9pts & Lawrence Timmons-wk7 8 pts. Those performances all occurred over the last 8 weeks and only Rolando McClain had a big week, Ray Lewis had a solid 4 star game, Posluszny, Bowens & Urlacher just 3 star games and Jones, Timmons and Harris all 2 star games.  Looking at past production I think it is easy to see that Levy will end up with between 9-15 points this week.  So he has the upside of a LB1 and downside of a LB3.

Secondary: The Lions secondary hasn't been a very good option for much of the year and now Louis Delmas is also dealing with a concussion that kept him out of practice on Wednesday.  Chris Houston is probably the safest play in the Lions secondary but honestly I would probably just avoid the situation all together this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Cameron Wake
3 STAR
Karlos Dansby
Yeremiah Bell
2 STAR

Chris Clemons
Channing Crowder

Tim Dobbins

Vontae Davis
Sean Smith
Koa Misi

1 STAR
Kendall Langford
Quentin Moses
Randy Starks
Tyrone Culver
Reshad Jones

DolphinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 15 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:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

DOUBTFUL: Karlos Dansby (toe)
If Dansby can't go then bump up Crowder and Dobbins
PROBABLE:  
Chris Clemons (groin)

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

Linebacker: Karlos Dansby is doing what frustrates fantasy owners more than anything, playing inconsistently, not something you expect or want with player the caliber of Dansby.  After putting up 24 points in week 14 his 5 points last week were a far cry from what fantasy owners were expecting.  Dansby's toe injury kept him from practice on Wednesday and it may have been what limited him last week or it could have been that he faced just 45 TOs.  At this point the reason why doesn't matter, what matters is that in 3 of his last 4 weeks he has scored in single digits.  I am begrudgingly ranking Dansby a 3 star play but honestly I think he probably should be on the bench for owners this week.  Channing Crowder, you want to stat him?  Yeah, didn't think so.  Cameron Wake leads the NFL in sacks with 14. Yes, Wake leads the NFL in sacks, he has more than Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware, Julius Peppers and Jared Allen to name a few.  This week I see Wake adding to his total and wouldn't be surprised if he has 17 by the end of the day but a more realistic day is probably going to be 5-0-2.

Secondary: Last week Yeremiah Bell broke out a two week slump by posting 18 fantasy points, 4 more points than his last weeks combined. Look for Bell to reach double digits again this week.  If for no other reason than the poor/inconsistent play of the Dolphins LBs.  Chris Clemons had put together a nice stretch of games earlier this year but now he has 3 consecutive single digit efforts.  Championship games are all about limiting your risk and at this point Clemons is a risky start. 


New England at Buffalo

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Jerod Mayo
Patrick Chung
Devin McCourty
3 STAR
None
2 STAR

Brandon Meriweather
Rob Ninkovich
James Sanders
Jarrad Page
Tully Banta-Cain
Darius Butler
Jermaine Cunningham

1 STAR
Gary Guyton
Mike Wright
Vince Wilfork
Brandon Spikes (SUSP.)

PatriotsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  55
2000-2009 Versus week 15 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.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Devin McCourty (rib)

Linebacker: So much for the clunker I warned that Jerod Mayo could possibly suffer last week.  Mayo avoided that in what looked to be a poor matchup by logging 26 fantasy points, his 4th best effort of the year.  The Bills could present another tough matchup but it isn't like it matters because Mayo is just producing no matter what.  I am sure that Mayo has carried many teams to the playoffs and I won't be surprised if he carries them to a championship too.  Outside of Mayo you can't trust any other Patriots LB. 

Secondary:  Patrick Chung looks like he is getting back to his early season form.  Well probably not quite that good but still good enough to plug in as a DB1.  I think Chung should be good for around 15 points this week but I like his upside to be 20+ if things go as well as they could.  Devin McCourty ranks 3rd among all DBs since week 10, averaging 16.33 PPG on 98 fantasy points. Against what should be a pass heavy Bills attack McCourty looks primed for another big week. 

5 STAR
Donte Whitner
4 STAR

Paul Posluszny
Kyle Williams

3 STAR

Akin Ayodele
Leodis McKelvin

2 STAR

Terrence McGee
Bryan Scott
Jairus Byrd
Drayton Florence
Chris Kelsay
Marcus Stroud
Spencer Johnson

1 STAR
Torell Troup
Keith Ellison

BillsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  47
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 45

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Chris Kelsay (knee)

Defensive Line:  Believe it or not but Kyle Williams is still holding strong as the #4 ranked DL.  Williams is just one of four DL on the year that is averaging 10+ PPG.  The other three, Justin Tuck, Terrell Suggs & Trent Cole, that right there is some good company that Williams is keeping. If you aren't sure if Williams is a good play or not this week versus the Patriots just take a look at what some DTs have done against them over the past 3 weeks; Sione Pouha 6-2-0 14 pts, Anthony Adams 4-0-1 11 points & BJ Raji 4-0-2 14 points. So yes, Williams is a very nice start this week.

Linebacker: Paul Posluszny picked a fine time to post his second worst performance of the year.  His 11 points aren't anything to shake a stick at but when you are used to him approaching 15-20+ points weekly it is a bit of a punch in the gut.  Especially in what was a semi-final week for many.  This week if you were fortunate enough pull out a win without Posluszny putting up his best effort then count your blessings as this week looks like a prime matchup.  Akin Ayodele had posted four consecutive double digit scores prior to his 8 point effort last week.  This week I see Ayodele having LB3 type value, his floor is probably that same 8 points but I expect we see him in the 10-12 point range with 15 being his upside.

Secondary:  Donte Whitner bounced back from his 10 point effort in week 14 (his 2nd worst of the year) to post 15.5 points last week.  In doing so he also maintained his ranking atop DBs but TJ Ward is right non his heels, just 2.5 points behind him.  This week Whitner faces a Patriots team that has allowed opposing DBs, namely safeties to fare very well this year.  Considering that Tom Brady last threw an interception back in week 6 I find it easy to say that the upside of the rest of the Bills secondary is somewhat limited this week. 


Washington at Jacksonville

5 STAR
London Fletcher
4 STAR
Rocky McIntosh
3 STAR

Reed Doughty
DeAngelo Hall

2 STAR

Kareem Moore
Brian Orakpo
HB Blades

Carlos Rogers
Macho Harris

1 STAR
Lorenzo Alexander
Phillip Daniels
Andre Carter

RedskinsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 50

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Reed Doughty (head), Brian Orakpo (groin, hamstring) & Kedrick Golston (groin)
QUESTIONABLE:  Lorenzo Alexander (hamstring), Macho Harris (hip), Rocky McIntosh (hamstring) & Kareem Moore (knee)

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

Linebacker:  For the most part, the Jaguars have been very genorous to opposing LBs this year.  This week look for both London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh to have very good games as they try to keep Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars rushing attack under wraps.  Of course that is easier said than done.  Believe it or not but the Jaguars are giving up almost a 1/2 sack more at home than they are on the road this year.  Brian Orakpo owners might want to consider getting him into their lineups this weekend.  Of course you need to remember that starting Orkpo does present a fair amount of risk.  In 14 games this year six times he has scored in single digits and five of those performances went for 4 or fewer points.

Secondary:  Reed Doughty suffered a concussion that knocked him out of last weeks game and could put him in jeopardy of missing this weeks game too.  As of Wednesday he wasn't able to practice because of the concussion. This matchup says 4 star to me but due to the injury I am hedging a bit and making him a 3 star play, but of course that  is assuming he gets back on the practice field and can play this week. Check back for the Friday Injury Update to see how Doughty progresses in practice this week.  If Doughty can't go it will most likley be fomer Eagle, Macho Harris that replaces him in the starting lineup.  DeAngelo Hall continues to frustrate his owners as he once again posted a single digit score.  That gives him 4 single digit and just 2 double digit performances since the Redskins returned from their bye in week 10.  Hall is far to talented and has to much upside to bench but honestly I couldn't fault anyone that decided to sit him down.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Daryl Smith
Kirk Morrison
Derrick Cox
S. Considine/Courtney Greene
Jeremy Mincey
2 STAR

Don Carey
Russell Allen
Rashean Mathis

Tyson Alualu
Terrance Knighton
Austen Lane

1 STAR
Justin Durant
Derrick Harvey
David Jones

JaguarsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 51
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 49

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Justin Durant (groin)
PROBABLE:
Courtney Greene (shoulder) Terrance Knighton (back) & Austen Lane (knee)

Defensive Line:  Considering that last week was Rex Grossman's first of the season it is hard to gauge if the 5 sacks he took will be a trend that continues or not.  But at least it does show that the Jaguars DL could get to him.  Jeremy Mincey has been pretty up and down as a fantasy option but this week I see him having DL2 type value.  In DT mandatory leagues Tyson Alualu can be bumped up to a 3 star play this week.  I know he hasn't done much fantasy wise but the Redskins should run the ball between the tackles enough for him to net 4 solo stops.  On the dynasty watch Austen Lane put up a decent 7 point effort and looks like he could have decent value in the coming year or so.

Linebacker:  Justin Durant's groin injury kept him out of last week's game and also kept him out of practice on Wednesday.  At best he will probably be listed as QUESTIONABLE this week.  Make sure to check back for the Friday Injury Update on him.  If Durant can't go again then Kirk Morrison will be a solid 3 star play with some upside.  Daryl Smith posted a monster 32 point game last week against the Colts. Not that a performance like that needs to be put into perspective but humor me, in his last four games, Smith had scored just a combined 30.5 points.  I wouldn't go chasing the points but I think we should see Smith hit double digits and put up LB3 type numbers this week. 

Secondary: Courtney Greene's shoulder injury landed him on the inactive list last week but this week, at least on Wednesday Greene was able to practice in a limited fashion.  If Greene plays this week then he is the 3 star play and if not then Sean Considine gets the nod as a 3 star play.  Of course Considine got the start last week and his performance wasn't overly impressive but 11 points is still solid enough for a DB3.


NY Jets at Chicago

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Calvin Pace
3 STAR
David Harris
Sione Pouha

Bart Scott
Brodney Pool
Shaun Ellis
2 STAR
Drew Coleman
James Ihedigbo

Mike Devito
Antonio Cromartie
Dwight Lowery

Jason Taylor
Bryan Thomas
Darrelle Revis
1 STAR

Kyle Wilson
Vernon Gholston
Trevor Pryce
Eric Smith

JetsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 50

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Trevor Pryce (hip)
DOUBTFUL: 
Eric Smith (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: 
James Ihedigbo (knee, ankle)
PROBABLE:
Drew Coleman (groin), Antonio Cromartie (groin) & Darrelle Revis (hamstring)

Defensive Line:  The Bears are supposed to be a very good matchup for opposing DL but you couldn't tell last week when the Bears were playing the Vikings. Actually, the Bears have been a good matchup for opposing DLs, the Vikings just happen to be the only team over the past 4 games to not have their DL record multiple sacks against the Bears.  As if you couldn't tell, I started Jared Allen in multiple games last week.  Yes, I am still bitter.  OK, enough of that, and on to the Jets.  Sione Pouha after two very nice double digit efforts could only muster up a 6 point effort last week.  As up and down as Pouha has been I still think he is someone that should be in starting lineups this week.  Shaun Ellis deserves starting consideration just based on the upside of the matchup against the Bears.

Linebacker: LBs have been all over the place against the Bears this year.  There have been some very big games and then some serious clunkers too.  That makes David Harris a slightly risky start but the upside that could present itself is what leads me to give him a 3 star ranking.  His low side is probably 8-9 points but his upside could easily be 18-20 points, especially considering that Harris is dropped into coverage frequently could help to pad his stats against the passing attack of the Bears.  Bart Scott has averaged 12.25 PPG over the past month and all four of his games he has scored in double digits so look at him as a LB3 type value this week.

Secondary:  Dwight Lowery replaced Eric Smith who was inactive due to injury last week.  Unfortunately he only logged 6 points.  If Eric Smith can't go this week I would look for Brodney Pool to lead the secondary in scoring this week.  Yes, Drew Coleman posted 31 fantasy points last week. No, I am not going to tell you to start him this week.  He surely won't replicate that performance, he could post respectable numbers but I wouldn't want to bank on it.  Chase the points if you must but remember you have been warned.  I should also point out that Coleman played in 56 snaps while rookie Kyle Wilson played in just 10.

5 STAR
Brian Urlacher
4 STAR
Julius Peppers
3 STAR

Lance Briggs
Israel Idonije
Charles Tillman

2 STAR
Chris Harris
Danieal Manning
Tim Jennings
DJ Moore
Anthony Adams
Henry Melton
Corey Wootton
1 STAR
Nick Roach
Zackary Bowman
Pisa Tinoisamoa

BearsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 47

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee)

Defensive Line:  Julius Peppers had a very respectable 13 points this past Monday against the Vikings but if you were watching the game you know just how close he was to an absolutely monster type game.  As it was he posted a 3-2-0, 1 interception and 2 passes defended but he easily could have had a few more tackles, a sack or two and was so close to another interception that had "TD the other way" written all over it.  If you are a Peppers owner you just have to hold your breath and hope he keeps up the play he has shown over the past five weeks, you know the five weeks where he is the top scoring DL in the NFL.  Over the same five week stretch Israel Idonije has been pretty productive too as he ranks 8th in DL scoring.  I have no issue at all ranking Idonije as a starter for this week.

Linebacker: Brian Urlacher is in beast mode and yes I say that even after he posted his worst game in the last month (15 points).  Against the Vikings, Urlacher posted a stat line of 7-1-0 but what is weird about that line doesn't have anything to do with the raw numbers but rather how he accumulated them.  Of his 8 total tackles just 1 came on a running play to a RB, 2 were on Joe Webb scrambles and the other 5 were on pass completions.  Of course Urlacher also had an interception nullified due to penalty. A 5 star ranking might be a bit high but it isn't like you will sit him if I only rank him a 4 star play.  Lance Briggs isn't posting huge numbers like he has in the past but he is still a LB2/3 type play every week.  If I owned him he would be in my starting lineup, no questions asked.

Secondary: Charles Tillman is currently the only safe play in the Bears secondary and his upside/downside depends largely on what Jets team shows up this weekend.  Chris Harris posted his first double digit score since week 9, expecting him to follow up with another double digit score seems risky to me.


Tennessee at Kansas City

5 STAR
Stephen Tulloch
4 STAR

Chris Hope
Jason  Babin

3 STAR

Alterraun Verner
Cortland Finnegan
Michael Griffin

2 STAR

Jason McCourty
Jacob Ford
Jason Jones
Gerald McGrath
Will Witherspoon
William Hayes

1 STAR
Vincent Fuller
Colin Allred

TitansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 57

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Jason Babin (shoulder) & Jason Jones (shoulder)

Defensive Line: Jason Babin is tied for 3rd in the NFL in sacks with 12.  Not bad for a guy that was slated to be a backup/depth at the start of the year.  Five of those sacks have come since week 11 and he has had at least 1 sack in each game since week 11 except in week 13. Babin is doing well fantasy wise too as he ranks as the #8 overall DL.  For the season the Chiefs are giving up just 1.71/sacks per game but over their last 3 games they are giving up an average of 3/game. Since the trends seems to favor more sacks I think it is safe to rely on Babin as a DL1 this week.

Linebacker:  Stephen Tulloch, start him.  Seriously, consider this matchup a Christmas present because it is about as good as a matchup as you could hope for.  It is just a shame that Will Witherspoon and Gerald McGrath are to risky to rely on due to their inconsistent performances this year.

Secondary: Once again, look for the Titans secondary to be a strong fantasy play this week.  Chris Hope might seem to be an odd fit as the 4 star play in the secondary and honestly he is but I have a gut feeling that this week he leads the Titans secondary in points scored.  Michael Griffin has ascended to the 3rd spot in the DB rankings with 205 points scored and a 14.64 PPG average.  People might think that I am dissing Griffin by only ranking him a 3 star play but I am not.  Griffin as well as Cortland Finnegan and Alterraun Verner should all be in starting lineups this week. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Derrick Johnson

3 STAR
Eric Berry
2 STAR

Brandon Flowers
Brandon Carr
Javier Arenas
Kendrick Lewis
Wallace Gilberry
Glenn Dorsey
Tamba Hali

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

ChiefsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 45

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Donald Washington (ankle)

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

Linebacker: Derrick Johnson's 26 point game last week helped him to leap frog Patrick Willis, Paul Posluszny & DJ Williams to land in the 9th spot in LB scoring.  Johnson has scored above his 16.57 PPG average in 8 out of 14 games this year. Johnson is a no brainer start this week but the same can't be said of Tamba Hali or Jovan Belcher.  Both really should remain on benches but if you need to swing for the fence then plug in Hali and say a fantasy football prayer or three.

Secondary: The Titans performance last week doesn't change the fact that the team is a mess and that makes it hard to really put a finger on what to expect from their passing game and consequently what to expect from opposing secondaries. One thing is for sure and that is that Eric Berry should be in lineups this week. Since week 7, Berry has scored the fourth most points among all DBs.  Brandon Flowers is a very good NFL CB but he hasn't scored in double digits since  week 11 so he remains a risky fantasy play. The other Brandon, Carr has put up back to back double digit scoring weeks but I can't look past the previous 7 weeks worth of single digit performances he had prior to this 2 game run. 


Baltimore at Cleveland

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

Ed Reed
Josh Wilson
Jarrett Johnson
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 15 opponent: 54

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Tom Zibikowski (back)
QUESTIONABLE: Chris Carr (illness)
PROBABLE:
Cory Redding (elbow)

Defensive Line: This is a championship week for most fantasy footballers.  Do yourself a favor and don't over think things.  Plug players like Terrell Suggs into your lineups and just let them do what they do.  Haloti Ngata is a bit riskier of a play due to the 6 straight single digit efforts he has put forth but against the rushing attack of the Browns, led by Peyton Hillis I think you have to get Ngata into your lineups this week.

Linebacker:  Ray Lewis has put up back to back 11 point efforts, pretty pedestrian for a player like Lewis.  But that just means that he is due for an explosion and Hillis and the Browns might just be the perfect storm for fantasy owners.  What I am saying is, START LEWIS and don't even think twice about it.  Jarrett Johnson and Jameel McClain on the other hand I would leave on the bench.  Combined the two have just 5 double digit scoring weeks and neither have been able to post double digits in back to back weeks.  Johnson is coming off of a 19 point effort.

Secondary:  Ed Reed had posted 3 straight single digit scores until hanging 13 points last week. It was also just the 2nd timet his season that he posted more than 4 solo tackles.  Reed is a risky play but against the pass happy attack of the Saints I am willing to gamble on him putting up 15+ points this week. Dwan Landry is a much safer play than Reed and while he 5 star ranking might make you scratch your head it really shouldn't.  Landry has posted consecutive 18 point scores and the Saints have given up 8 or more tackles to 9 different DBs since week 6. 

5 STAR
TJ Ward
4 STAR
Ahtyba Rubin
Abram Elam
3 STAR

Joe Haden
Kenyon Coleman

2 STAR

David Bowens
Eric Wright
Eric Barton

Sheldon Brown

Matt Roth
Chris Gocong

1 STAR

Shaun Rogers
Marcus Benard

Scott Fujita (IR)

Sabby Piscitelli

BrownsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 44

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT: Scott Fujita (placed on IR)
QUESTIONABLE:
Kenyon Coleman (knee) & Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip)
PROBABLE:
Marcus Bernard (shoulder) & Sheldon Brown (shoulder)

Defensive Line: Ahtyba Rubin is rolling, 15 points last week was a nice encore to the 14 points he scored in week 14.  The Ravens should provide plenty of opportunities for Rubin so start him with confidence this week and in DT mandatory leagues you should bump him up to a 5 star play.  Kenyon Coleman continues to post solid yet unspectacular numbers.  I see no reason why he shouldn't be in lineups as a DL2 this weekend.

Linebacker: There initially was some hope that Scott Fujita might be able to return to play in the final two games of the year.  That however won't happen as the Browns placed Fujita on injured reserve.  On paper, Matt Roth is the safest LB left standing on the Browns, for fantasy purposes anyway but even with him posting double digit scores the past two weeks I just can't see relying on him in a championship week.

Secondary: TJ Ward is inching his way closer and closer to the top spot among DBs.  Currently he is just 2.5 behind Donte Whitner for the top spot.  At this point you just plug in Ward and don't even think about it.  Of course it helps that he has a nice juicy matchup against the Ravens this week.  Abram Elam has cooled off the past two weeks and is a bit risky as a 4 star play but I think this matchup does enough to push Elam back towards the 14-15 point level this week.


San Francisco at St. Louis

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Takeo Spikes
Patrick Willis

3 STAR
Nate Clements
Dashon Goldson

Justin Smith
2 STAR
Taylor Mays
Reggie Smith
Shawntae Spencer
Manny Lawson
Tarell Brown
1 STAR
Parys Haralson
Travis Laboy
Navorro Bowman

49ersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  45
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 46

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Nate Clements (knee), Takeo Spikes (hand) & Patrick Willis (hand)

Defensive Line: It is bad enough that Justin Smith has been somewhat struggling of late but getting ejected before you even record a single solitary stat is just like pouring salt on a wound.  I wouldn't blame you if you sat Smith this week but I do believe that he belongs in lineups at the very worst as a DL2. 

Linebacker:  The club cast duo of Patrick Willis (15 points) and Takeo Spikes (19 points) seemed to show no ill effects, at least in the box score, from their heavily casted broken hands.  This week playing in St. Louis could limit their stats a bit, remember the St. Louis crew isn't very friendly with assists, but both are safe to plug and play for your championship.  I know that people are up in arms that a sub-500 team could make the playoffs in the West but I have to tell you, I am rooting for whatever scenario will get the Niners into the playoffs. Why?  Because Takeo Spikes has never in his entire career been to the playoffs and with how he is playing he certainly deserves a shot, even if it ends up being a one and done.

Secondary: The last time these two teams met it was Reggie Smith - 7-1-0 & Nate Clements - 6-1-0 that led the secondary in tackles.  Smith hasn't eclipsed 4 solos in any game since that 7-1-0 and has exactly ZERO assists since then too. That is what I call a bunch of downside with no upside.  Sit Smith this week.  Clements on the other hand has been up and down but at least has posted respectable 5-0-0 and 7-0-0 lines.  I would say that Clements does present some risk this week and at best I see his 3 star ranking as a weak one.  Over the last 3 weeks Dashon Goldson is putting up pretty good numbers and I can see relying on him as a DB3 this week with some upside if he can hit his 3 week average of 14.67 PPG.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

James Laurinaitis
Craig Dahl

3 STAR

Oshiomongo Atogwe
Chris Long
James Hall

2 STAR
Bradley Fletcher
1 STAR
James Butler
Fred Robbins
Ronald Bartell
Larry Grant

RamsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  48
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 53

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

QUESTIONABLE:  Chris Long (thigh)

Defensive Line:  Both James Hall and Chris Long got back into the sack column last week but it didn't help either to post a double digit score.  Hall at least cobbled together a respectable 9 points but Long's 5 points were under whelming at best. Troy Smith is back under center for the Niners this week and that could mean good things for Hall and Long owners.  Smith has started 5 games for the Niners this year and in those games he was sacked 16 times.  The only game he wasn't sacked in was his first game against the Broncos.  This Rams team got to Smith for 5 sacks in their first meeting with Hall putting up a 4-0-1 with a forced fumble, good for 14 points and Long put up a 3-0-1 with a pass defended, good for 10 points.  I would say that each deserves starting consideration this weekend.

Linebacker:  James Laurinaitis is coming off of his first double digit solo tackle performance of the  year, of course that is what happens when you face a juicy matchup against the Chiefs.  His 22 fantasy points also tied his season high.  This week I would scale back my expectations to the 15 point range but that still puts Laurinaitis in the 4 star range.  As for the rest of the Rams LBs, forget they even exist.

Secondary: The last time the Rams and Niners played Craig Dahl led not just the secondary but the entire team in points scored.  His 25 points were also exactly the total combined score for everyone else in the secondary that game.  I doubt we see Dahl hit 25 points again but I do think he has a chance to once again lead the team in points scored. Oshiomongo Atogwe only logged 4 points in the last meeting but his play over the past month is much improved, at least from a fantasy perspective, and I think he should be good to net another double digit scoring week. 


Indianapolis at Oakland

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Gary Brackett

3 STAR
Pat Angerer
Aaron Francisco
Antoine Bethea
Robert Mathis
2 STAR
Clint Session
Kavell Connor
Jacob Lacey

Tyjuan Hagler
Kelvin Hayden

Dwight Freeney
1 STAR
Phillip Wheeler

Colts Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 53

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Al Afalava (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE:
Kelvin Hayden (neck) & Clint Session (elbow)
PROBABLE:
Tyjuan Hagler (illness)

Defensive Line: Well I was wrong last week in predicting big games for Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney against the Jaguars.  Mathis at least logged 9 points and contributed some for his owners,  Freeney, he put up a big goose egg. But it was a big game and the Colts did pull out a win so that means they still have something to play for this week.  They can't afford to falter because the Jaguars are still right on their heels and a loss for the Colts could mean that they miss the playoffs.  Since Mathis isn't playing like a DL1 I can't rank him any higher than a 3 star play and at this point that might even be a bit risky.  Freeney, start him only if you are a gambling man, that or just like to throw darts and see what happens.

Linebacker: Gary Brackett may not have lit the world on fire last week but considering that he and the Colts defense limited the Jaguars to just 22 rushing attempts, their lowest total of the season, it is hard to argue with getting 11 points from him.  This week against the Raiders potent rushing attack I think Brackett is a strong 4 star play.  Last week I speculated that we would see Clint Session return to the field against the Jaguars, but that didn't come to fruition as he was once again declared inactive.  This week I am ranking Session a 2 star play but if he is able to return to the starting lineup then I think he should be bumped up at least to a 3 star play and maybe even 4 stars.  Pat Angerer isn't playing in nearly as many snaps as he was just 3-4 weeks ago but that didn't keep him from logging 6 solos on just 33 snaps played last week of course the week prior he only logged 1 solo on 23 snaps so there is plenty of risk relying on Angerer with how he is currently being used by the Colts.  Proceed with caution is about all I can say.

Secondary:  Outside of one poor game in the past month Aaron Francisco has been the most consistent and solid fantasy DB for the Colts.  Considering the Raiders haven't really given up any big games to opposing DBs I wouldn't expect much more than 10-12 points from Francisco.  Antoine Bethea hasn't been the rock solid safety that he has been in the past for fantasy owners but I do think he too gets into the 10-12 point range this weekend.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Michael Huff
Tyvon Branch
3 STAR

Rolando McClain

2 STAR
Matt Shaughnessy
Richard Seymour
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 15 opponent: 51

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

QUESTIONABLE:  Richard Seymour (hamstring)
PROBABLE:
Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), Chris Johnson (groin) & Mike Mitchell (ribs)

Defensive Line: Matt Shaughnessy broke out of a 4 week single digit scoring slump when he hung 16.5 points on the Broncos last week.  This week against the pass happy Colts and the hard to get to Peyton Manning I wouldn't go expecting Shaughnessy to hit double digits again.  At best I see him putting up 6-7 points, so if you can live with that type of production you plug him in and if you can't, well then you bench him.  Leave Richard Seymour, Lamarr Houston and the rest of the Raiders DL on your bench too.

Linebacker: Rolando McClain after not practicing all week surprisingly played in last weeks game.  He didn't light the world on fire but 11 fantasy points aren't a bad consolation prize if you weren't expect McClain to play at all.  As of this writing the Raiders practice report for Wednesday is unknown so make sure to check back for the Friday Injury Update on McClain's status.  I am ranking him as a 3 star play under the assumption that he plays no matter what this week but against a Colts team that doesn't run the ball much he does present some risk with that ranking.

Secondary:  Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch continue to lead the Raiders secondary with regards to fantasy production.  This week the Colts add plenty of upside to each players 4 star rankings. Outside of Huff and Branch you can forget about the rest of the Raiders secondary and yes that even means Hiram Eugene and his 10 fantasy points he scored last week.  It isn't like he is going to force a fumble and recover one every week, because that is where 6 of his 10 points came from.


San Diego at Cincinnati

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Kevin Burnett
3 STAR

Stephen Cooper
Shaun Phillips
Steve Gregory

2 STAR
Antonio Garay
Eric Weddle
Paul Oliver

Antoine Cason
Quentin Jammer
1 STAR

Luis Castillo
Darrell Stuckey
Brandon Siler

ChargersAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 49

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Stephen Cooper (knee)
Brandon Siler and Kevin Burnett should start at the ILB positions.
PROBABLE:
Brandon Siler (ribs)

Defensive Line: The Chargers 3-4 scheme doesn't offer consistent fantasy value for it's DL. The Antonio Garay watch shows that he has now failed to hit double digits in 5 straight games.  But to be fair he did score 9 points and logged a sack.  Still not a DL you want to rely on in week 16.

Linebacker: Kevin Burnett bounced back in a big way in week 15, scoring 19 points.  Not bad at all considering his combined total the previous two weeks was just 9 points.  Normally, swings like Burnett has had the past 4 weeks would shy me away from a player but with how he has performed for much of the year I am willing to give him a pass and confidently rank him as a 4 star play this week. Stephen Cooper presents a bit of risk even as a 3 star play but I think the Bengals try to force their running game enough early to help him get to the double digit points plateau. And that risk exists because it would be his first double digit score since week 12.  Since the Chargers bye in week 10, Shaun Phillips has been a pretty solid LB3, that is with the exception of his goose egg in week 14.  This week I see Phillips once again hitting LB3 value and if the Chargers can get a big lead Phillips might be able to sneak into the 15-20 point range.

Secondary: Steve Gregory not only was back on the field but this time he actually got back in the box score too.  His 14 points led the Chargers secondary but they were his first points scored since week 9.  Relying on Gregory this week is a bit risky so if you have other options I would look at them first.  Eric Weddle was able to put up a productive 10 points but I see him as being a risky play this week too. 

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

Carlos Dunlap
2 STAR
Rey Maualuga
Leon Hall
Michael Johnson
Robert Geathers
Jonathan Wade
Reggie Nelson
1 STAR
Keith Rivers
Jeromy Miles

BengalsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 53

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

QUESTIONABLE: Jonathan Wade (knee)

Defensive Line: Last week I suggested that Carlos Dunlap was worth taking a look at due to his recent production.  Well, Dunlap was only able to log just 2 tackles but he made the most of them as they were both sacks, good for a total of 10 fantasy points.  Dunlap is really hot and as hard as it might be to rely on a rookie DL I would find it hard not to start him.  Over the last 4 games he has recorded 6 sacks.  If you are dynasty leaguer then you should take note because Dunlap looks every part the keeper. 

Linebacker: It happens and it stinks every time it happens, clunkers, I am talking about clunkers. What makes them sting even more is when they looked to be a prime matchup.  That is what happened to Dhani Jones last week. It looked like he would get to feast against the running game of the Browns, led by Peyton Hillis.  But no, the Browns only rushed the ball 14 times total on the day and only presented 37 TOs to boot.  All that adds up to a very disappointing 7 point scoring day for Dhani Jones.  But like I said, it happens and if you are a Jones owner at least it has only happened twice to you this year, and honestly I have a hard time calling his 9 points in week 8 a clunker.  The Chargers have the looks of another prime matchup for Jones so I would just shake off last week's performance and keep Jones plugged into my starting lineup.  In case you missed it, Keith Rivers, he posted another donut.

Secondary:  Roy Williams didn't light the world on fire last week but his 12 points did lead the Bengals secondary.  He was also the only one to post a score in double digits. Williams is sort of a last man standing with all the injuries that the Bengals have had in their secondary this year.  This week Williams should once again be right there as one of if not the leader in points scored for the Bengals secondary.  The one thing that scares me is that he is so poor in coverage and we know the Chargers like to throw the deep ball.


Houston at Denver

5 STAR
Bernard Pollard
4 STAR
Glover Quin
3 STAR
Brian Cushing
Kevin Bentley
Mark Anderson
Antonio Smith
2 STAR
Jason Allen
Zach Diles

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

TexansAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2002*-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 50
*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:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Mark Anderson (knee) Brian Cushing (knee, ankle & foot) & Damione Lewis (illness)

Defensive Line: Last week I said that I thought that Mark Anderson was a sneaky play and called him a "swing for the fences" type play.  Well, on one hand I was correct in that he was a sneaky play but on the other I was wrong, he wasn't a swing for the fences type play.  Anderson logged a very respectable 9 fantasy points.  The same total that Antonio Smith logged.  This week versus the Broncos look to both players if you are in need of a DL2 type play.

Linebacker: After five straight double digit scoring weeks Brian Cushing had a 5 point clunker in week 15 against the Titans.  Cushing hasn't really gotten back to his rookie way but he has been more than productive enough for me to still keep him ranked as a starter this week. Kevin Bentley also put up a stinker but his was at least 1 point better than Cushing's was.  Bentley is a bit of a risky play since the Broncos could be without their 1st round RB but then again they are plugging Saint Tebow in at QB so Bentley and Cushing will have plenty of opportunities to tackle the RB, ummm excuse me I mean QB.

Secondary:  Glover Quin is a very risky 4 star play because I think that the Tebow led passing attack could very well flounder and limit the number of opportunities Quin sees.  The reason for me ranking him as a 4 star play has everything to do with me seeing him picking off Tebow and possibly hitting on a big, big play.  If ever there was a week for Bernard Pollard to get back to putting up big numbers this would be it.  There should be little if any reason for Pollard to be needed in coverage this week and he should be very busy getting to know the Broncos rookie 1st round QB, named Tim Tebow.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
DJ Williams
3 STAR
Mario Haggan
David Bruton/Brian Dawkins
2 STAR

Darcel McBath
Champ Bailey
Jason Hunter
Robert Ayers
Renaldo Hill
Perrish Cox
Kevin Vickerson

1 STAR
Marcus Thomas
Wesley Woodyard
Andre' Goodman

BroncosAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 53

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

QUESTIONABLE: David Bruton (ribs), Brian Dawkins (knee) & Darcel McBath (quadricep)

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

Linebacker: The only thing keeping DJ Williams from a 5 star ranking is the status of Arian Foster's glute.  Foster is expected to play so I am going to rank Williams a 4 star play but  a lot can happen bewteen now and Sunday so I don't feel 100% confident in giving him a higher ranking.  Mario Haggan should also be a pretty good play this week, that is if Foster is able to play.  If not then I would bump Haggan down to a 2 star play. Jason Hunter and Robert Ayers both scored in double digits last week but neither are consistent enough or present enough upside for me to feel any sort of confidence in ranking them above a 2 star play.

Secondary:  Brian Dawkins missed yet another game, three in a row if you are keeping count at home, but he did practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday.  Normally, if  a player missed 3 games in a row like Dawkins has I would recommend giving him a week to see how he fares upon his return but with Dawkins, if he gets the nod to start this week I can see plugging him in as a DB3.  Just make sure that you check back for the Friday Injury Report Update and also keep your eye on the game day inactives.  If Dawkins is a no go again then look for David Bruton to be the 3 star play.


NY Giants at Green Bay

5 STAR
Terrell Thomas
4 STAR
Justin Tuck
3 STAR

Osi Umenyiora
Antrel Rolle
Kenny Phillips
Jason Pierre-Paul

2 STAR

Michael Boley
Jonathan Goff
Barry Cofield
Deon Grant
Aaron Ross
Corey Webster

1 STAR
Keith Bulluck

GiantsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 54

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Will Blackmon (knee) & Dave Tollefson (knee)
PROBABLE: Osi Umenyiora (knee)

Defensive Line: Justin Tuck may have put up a 2 point clunker in week 15 but last week he rebounded nicely, with a 6-1-1.5, good for 17.5 points against Michael Vick and the Eagles.  Tuck was actually the only Giants DL to post a score in double digits. Osi Umenyiora put up a paltry 5 points. Jason Pierre-Paul was able to put up 7.5 points but I am sure if you were starting JPP you were expecting much more.  This week the Giants will look to get some redemption for their heartbreaking last second loss to the Eagles as they head to Green Bay to face a Packers team that will be getting their starting QB back from a concussion.  One has to wonder if Rodgers will be willing to take off and run like he has in the past or will his latest concussion make him more prone to trying to stay in the pocket.  If Rodgers gets cement feet in the pocket that should mean good things for the entire Giants pass rush.  As far as fantasy goes I see Tuck having the best day but both Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul should also be in for DL2 type days at the worst.

Linebacker:  Michael Boley once again led the Giants LBs in scoring and he was also the only one to score in double digits.  The thing with Boley is that you just never know what you are going to get scheme wise from the Giants and that makes him a risky play.  The only way that I recommend starting Boley is if you are in a deep league and can rely on him as a LB3/4 type play. 

Secondary: Look for Terrell Thomas to keep on rolling, especially against the passing attack of the Packers.  Last week against the Eagles, Thomas put up 17 points, marking the 4th time in 5 weeks that he has posted 17 or more points.  Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle should also be viable plays this week.  Phillips hit double digits last week, while Rolle just missed out and posted 8 points, his first single digit score since week 9.

5 STAR
Desmond Bishop
4 STAR
Charles Woodson
3 STAR

Clay Matthews
AJ Hawk
Tramon Williams

2 STAR

Nick Collins
Charlie Peprah
Atari Bigby

Frank Zombo

1 STAR
Ryan Pickett
Cullen Jenkins

BJ Raji
Anthony Smith

Packers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  51
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 43

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Cullen Jenkins (calf)
DOUBTFUL:
Frank Zombo (knee)
QUESTIONABLE:
Nick Collins (ribs)
PROBABLE:
Clay Matthews (shin), Ryan Pickett (knee) & Charles Woodson (toe)

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: I don't think that I need to point out just how well Desmond Bishop has played since taking over starting duties for the injured Nick Barnett but just in case I do; since taking over in week 5 Bishop has posted 173 fantasy points, the 7th most by a LB and his 17.3 PPG ranks as the 6th best average over that span of time.  This week against a Giants team that has given up big time games to Jamar Chaney - 31 points, Dan Conner - 26 points, David Hawthorne - 24 points, Stephen Tulloch - 23 points, Ashlee Palmer - 22 points, James Anderson - 21 points & Bradie James - 21 points (week 7) & 20 points (week 10), I just don't see how Bishop is anything but a 5 star play.  At worst his floor is in the 15-19 point range where the likes of Ryans (19), Brooking (18), Beason (17), EJ Henderson (15) & Justin Durant (15) have all scored this year.  AJ Hawk has been very up and down since the Packers returned from their bye but this week I think the matchup is strong enough for him to warrant a 3 star ranking.  Clay Matthews is 2nd in the NFL with 12.5 sacks and for him to be a 3 star play he is going to have to add to that total.  DeMarcus Ware posted a 3-0-1 with a forced fumble and fumble recovery against the Giants earlier this year and i can see Matthews having a similar type line this week.

Secondary: Opposing DBs aren't putting up huge numbers like opposing LBs are against the Giants but they are still producing good fantasy numbers  for the most part.  Charles Woodson isn't putting up the big numbers like he did last year but this week he should be a strong play against the Eli Manning led passing attack of the Giants.  Woodson has a nose for the ball and Manning hasn't exactly protected the ball great all year.  Tramon Williams has really tailed off of late and his 2 points last week are of course accounts for his worst game of the season.  Williams does present some risk, but in the end when it is all said and done I think we see him put up 10-12 points this week.



Seattle at Tampa Bay

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
David Hawthorne
3 STAR

Lawyer Milloy
Aaron Curry
Earl Thomas

2 STAR

Chris Clemons
Walter Thurmond
Lofa Tatupu
Colin Cole
Kelly Jennings

Jordan Babineaux
Marcus Trufant
Kam Chancellor

1 STAR
Brandon Mebane
Kentwan Balmer

SeahawksAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 47

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Chris Clemons (ankle), Lofa Tatupu (knee) & Marcus Trufant (back)

Defensive Line: Chris Clemons ranks 15th among DL in fantasy scoring but he has really been a boon or bust type player this year. This week, looks like it could be another of those bust type weeks.  The Buccaneers did give up 3 sacks to the Lions DL last week but that was the 1st time since week 7 they have surrendered multiple sacks to an opposing teams DL and only the 2nd time they have done so all year long.  As good as he has been some weeks I just can't recommend starting Clemons this week.  Do yourself a favor and find DL help elsewhere.

Linebacker:  David Hawthorne's production has come back down to Earth some over the past couple of weeks but he is still scoring in double digits and is a LB that I would easily be plugging into my starting lineup this week. Aaron Curry is also on a nice streak of his own as he now has pushed his consecutive weeks scoring in double digits to 7.  Even Lofa Tatupu was able to hit double digits last week but with Tatupu and how erratic he has been this year I would be hesitant to put much into that and would leave him on the bench this week.  The Buccaneers are running the ball on average 29.4 time/game over their last 8 games so the Seahawks LBs should see plenty of opportunities to rack up stats this weekend.  Since week 10, Nic Harris (11), Patrick Willis (13), Takeo Spikes (12), Ray Lewis (12), London Fletcher (11) & DeAndre Levy (11) have all posted 10+ total tackles against the Buccaneers. 

Secondary:  DBs haven't fared nearly as well against the Buccaneers but then again how can they when the LBs are racking up as many tackles as they are.  With that said there is enough history of decent production to expect that Earl Thomas and Lawyer Milloy will put up solid 3 star numbers this week.  Thomas was able to break out of a mini 2 game slump last week and his 12 points were actually tops among the Seahawks secondary.  Milloy might seem a bit risky as he hasn't scored out of single digits in 2 consecutive weeks but in those weeks he did hit 7 points each time so his floor is pretty high with him being just a 3 star play.  Outside of Thomas and Milloy I am taking a pass on Marcus Trufant and the rest of the Seahawks secondary.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Barrett Ruud
3 STAR

Ronde Barber

2 STAR

Sean Jones
EJ Biggers
Geno Hayes

Adam Hayward
Dekoda Watson
Stylez White

1 STAR

Michael Bennett

Buccaneers Average Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  49
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 51

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

PROBABLE: Dekoda Watson (ankle)

Defensive Line: Over their last 7 games the Seahawks are giving up just 1.4 sacks/game and with how poorly the Buccaneers DL ha performed this year it is best to just take a pass and look elsewhere for help. I mean the Buccaneers DL is so bad fantasy wise that as a unit they combined to score just 21 fantasy points.

Linebacker: If there is a player that is safe to play this week against the Seahawks it has to be Barrett Ruud but even he has some risk with a 4 star ranking.  I think the Seahawks could really struggle offensively this week in Tampa and that very well could limit the number of opportunities that Ruud faces.  I see his ceiling in the 15 point range but think his floor is around 12 points this week.  As far as WLB, Geno Hayes goes, I think you have to leave him on your bench this week.  The matchup isn't prime and Hayes has been inconsistent at best this year. And I had such high expectations for Hayes this year too. 

Secondary: Ronde Barber put up one heck of a stat line last week as he recorded 9 solo tackles en route to a 18 point day. For Barber it was his second consecutive double digit performance.  This week his upside is limited but look for him to be active in run support and he should once again hit double digits.  I like EJ Biggers who is filling in for the injured Aqib Talib but as I said earlier I think the Seahawks will struggle offensively this week and that in turn will limit the number of TOs the defense faces and is why I have Biggers as a 2 star play.


Minnesota at Philadelphia

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Jared Allen
Chad Greenway

3 STAR
EJ Henderson
2 STAR
Husain Abdullah
Asher Allen
Antoine Winfield
Ray Edwards

Brian Robison
Ben Leber
1 STAR
Madieu Williams
Tyrell Johnson
Frank Walker
Jamarca Sanford

Pat Williams
Kevin Williams
Lito Sheppard

VikingsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009: 52
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 51

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Tyrell Johnson (knee)
QUESTIONABLE:
Madieu Williams (concussion)
PROBABLE:
Jamarca Sanford (concussion) & Frank Walker (hamstring)

Defensive Line:  Jared Allen sure did pick a fine time to put up his lowest score since week 6. Not only his lowest since week 6 but his 3rd lowest of the year.  I know it is hard to complain considering that  Allen dug his way out of an early season slumber to help carry his owners over the past month and a half or so but still it was a semi final week for many and complaining about it is understandable. Especially , when it was a prime matchup against the Bears and their porous pass protection.  Over the last month the Bears were giving up 3.25 sacks/game and year to date (prior to last weeks game of course) they were giving up 3.36/game, yet the Vikings could only muster up one measly sack.  This week Allen once again has a prime matchup, let's just hope he doesn't fall flat on his owners in what is a Super Bowl week for many.  Ray Edwards, you don't really want to rely on him in a championship game but if you decide to at least know it is a good matchup.

Linebacker:  While it probably isn't shocking to hear that the Eagles have the #1 passing offense in the NFL it might be a bit shocking to realize that they are the # 4 rushing team averaging just shy of 150 yards/game.  I expect that we see Chad Greenway in the 15 point range this week and EJ Henderson should be good for around 6 solos and 12 points or so.

Secondary:  Here is the deal, the Eagles aren't giving up huge numbers to opposing DBs but they are giving up decent enough fantasy production.  My issue this week doesn't lie with what the Eagles are giving up but with how inconsistent the Vikings DBs have been.  One week you have Asher Allen lead the secondary with 11 total tackles and then he follows it up with just 3.  And it isn't just Allen, the secondary for the most part all year has been upside down and unpredictable.  I know that I am starting Antoine Winfield in 2 leagues this week, one is a Super Bowl and the other is for 3rd place, I am not happy about starting him at all.  Don't follow my lead, leave Winfield and the rest of the risky Vikings secondary on the bench this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Quintin Mikell
Jamar Chaney
Trent Cole
3 STAR

Dimitri Patterson

2 STAR

Kurt Coleman
Asante Samuel

Joselio Hanson

Trevard Lindley
Moise Fokou
Ernie Sims
Darryl Tapp
Juqua Parker
Derrick Burgess

1 STAR
Akeem Jordan
Omar Gaither
Nate Allen (IR)

EaglesAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 48

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

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT UPDATE:

Due to the Christmas Holiday I am just listing a players status and not how much they did or did not participate in practice this week. 

Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

OUT:  Stewart Bradley (elbow) & Nate Allen (placed on IR)
Rookie Jamar Chaney will once again start for Bradley & Kurt Coleman replaces Allen in the starting lineup.
DOUBTFUL:
Keenan Clayton (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE:
Mike Patterson (knee)
PROBABLE:
Moise Fokou (wrist) & Asante Samuel (knee)

Defensive Line: After two subpar weeks Trent Cole posted a nice 13 point score for his owners in week 15.  Surprisingly Cole recorded a total of 10 combined tackles and no sacks but what is the most surprising is that 7 of those tackles were assists. A 3-7-0 line is always going to look a bit odd but especially when it comes from a DL.  The good thing I take from that is that Cole was around the ball, a lot. Last week, Julius Peppers showed that you can be productive against the Vikings and I would have zero reservations about plugging Cole into starting lineups this week but outside of him I would skip over the rest of the Eagles DLs.

Linebacker:  There were some questions about how the Eagles would use Jamar Chaney but let's just say that they were but to rest after last week's performance.  All Chaney did was put up a massing 31 point day, hopefully you were lucky enough to be able to pick him up and play him last week.  If not I wouldn't expect another 30 point performance or even 20 point performance but I do think he should be good for 15 points and if Adrian Peterson plays then we could see him approach the 20 point plateau. 

Secondary: Bad news regarding the Eagles secondary is that rookie safety Nate Allen was lost for the season when he tore is patellar tendon last week against the Giants.  Allen's loss means that Kurt Coleman will take his place in the lineup. Make no mistake that Coleman doesn't bring to the table what Allen does and the Eagles defense does take a hit with his loss.  Asante Samuel finally returned to the field but his 4 fantasy points were of no note and he is a risky play this week.  Dimitri Patterson on the other hand put up another nice game but when teams are taking aim at you because of poor play, well that is when big fantasy numbers follow. 


New Orleans at Atlanta

5 STAR
Roman Harper
4 STAR
Jonathan Vilma
3 STAR

Malcolm Jenkins
Tracy Porter

Jabari Greer

2 STAR

Scott Shanle
Will Smith

Sedrick Ellis
Remi Ayodele
Danny Clark
Alex Brown
Darren Sharper

1 STAR
Jo-Lonn Dunbar
Jeff Charleston
Patrick Robinson
Leigh Torrence
Anthony Waters

SaintsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:53
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 53

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

Defensive Line:  Will Smith and Alex Brown both approached scoring in double digits last week but both fell just short, Smith scored 8 and Brown 9 points.  This week I wouldn't expect to see them do any better.  The Falcons are giving up just 1.5 sacks/game this year and in 33% of their home games they haven't surrendered a single sack.  If you are in a DT mandatory league then I recommend starting Sedrick Ellis but as for the rest of the Saints DL, leave them on the bench or waiver wile or scrap heap, doesn't matter where just keep them out of your lineup this week.

Linebacker: Jonathan Vilma owners have what looks to be a pretty good matchup this week.  It isn't a Chiefs kind of good matchup but still a good one nonetheless. For the season the Falcons are averaging over 31 rushing attempts/game and Michael Turner tends to run the ball better in the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome too. I would like to think that Vilma can hit 6-7 solos this week but full disclosure on Vilma means that I have to tell you that I am starting him in my Super Bowl and I tend to have crappy luck in the playoffs.  As much as I would like to think that Scott Shanle is in for a good week this week his performance over the past 3 weeks has me saying to steer clear of him.

Secondary:   Roman Harper is about as consistent and solid a DB as there is.  If you own him, start him and don't even think twice about it.  Harper may not have posted a huge day last week but his 11 points led the Saints secondary and he was also the only DB for them to score in double digits.  I have to be honest, the more I look at the 3 star rankings I gave Malcolm Jenkins, Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer the more I start to feel uneasy about them.  So here is how I see it, if you see this game turning into a shootout then start any of the 3 with confidence but if you see this is a tightly played low scoring divisional game then you would be best served to look elsewhere for DB help. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Brent Grimes
William Moore
Curtis Lofton
3 STAR

Stephen Nicholas

2 STAR

John Abraham
Dunta Robinson
Kroy Biermann

Mike Peterson
Eric Coleman
Thomas Decoud
Sean Weatherspoon

1 STAR
Jamaal Anderson
Jonathan Babineaux

FalconsAverage Tackle Opportunities/Game Given Up
2007-2009:  50
2000-2009 Versus week 15 opponent: 46

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

Defensive Line: John Abraham his having a very nice season and currently tied with Jason Babin for 3rd in sacks with 12.  From a fantasy standpoint Abraham is a bit of a risk, yes he currently ranks 22nd in DL scoring but he is very boon or bust on a weekly basis.  This week with him facing Drew Brees, who has been sacked the 3rd fewest times among starters that have played in all 14 games this year, I have to say that he should be benched.  As for Kroy Biermann, maybe next year but not this week.

Linebacker: Curtis Lofton may not be living up to the expectations that his owners had for him but he has been about as steady as you can get at the LB position.  He has scored in double digits each and every week outside of a hiccup 6 point effort way back in week 2.  In the first matchup between these two teams Lofton went 6-2-0 and there is no reason to think he should be about the same this go round.  The player to watch out for if you are looking for a sneaky play would be Stephen Nicholas.  The Saints multiple WR sets should get Nicholas on the field plenty this weekend and if you find yourself in a bit of a bind he looks like he could be a nice play. All of that also means that Sean Weatherspoon is a risky play.  The team has been easing him back in since his injury and there hasn't been any indication that he is going to be used in a full capacity yet. 

Secondary:  We know that the Saints are going to chuck the ball around the field and that should mean good things for Brent Grimes.  Since week 5 Grimes ranks as the 4th best DB in fantasy points scored and has a 14.7 PPG average to boot.  During that time frame Grimes has scored in double digits in all but one week.  No reason to expect him to not hit double digits against the Saints pass happy attack.  William Moore has been pretty hot of late too with 5 straight double digit scoring games to his name.  Over that time frame he ranks as a top 30 DB so his value is more of a DB3 but this week I do see upside against the Saints.


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