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.
Brian Urlacher (CHI): Urlacher had a solid effort in the snow against the Vikings last night, and before that, was on absolute fire, tallying 27 solos, 4 passes defensed, and 2.5 sacks. They’ll need to hold off a feisty Jets team and then the Packers come Week 17 to hold the #2 seed in the NFC. That means Urlacher will continue to play well more than likely.
Derrick Johnson (KCC): He had a couple of stinker weeks over the past 5 games, but has since rebounded and has 18 solos over the past 2 weeks. We like his prospects over the final two weeks, so figure he’ll build on a career season even more.
DeAndre Levy (DET): He was hurt for the first part of the season, and has been hot and cold since he returned. But he’s put together a pair of solid outings and his prospects look more than solid for the final pair of games.
Keith Rivers (CIN): For those of you still hanging on to this guy, you can pretty much cut bait without worry. He’s dealing with a foot issue and hasn’t done anything of note since Week 12.
Keith Brooking (DAL): The vet has been pretty darn solid over the past six weeks, but has cooled significantly, and we simply hate his final two matchups.
HOT DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
John Abraham (DE – ATL): We’ll add him to this list for those of you that play in Week 17. His matchup this week isn’t cherry, although he did tally 9 points against the Saints in their first meeting. But we must note that the Falcons face the Panthers in Week 17, which could be a big smorgasbord for Abraham if the Falcons are still playing for something. We’d throw him out there both weeks.
Corey Redding (DE – BAL): We’ll add another DE to the list here. Redding has been pretty good for the Raven D over the past three games and they now face the Ohio teams, both of which will give up around 2 sacks per game. Redding has two sacks in the past three games, so the chances are good he’ll add one or two more to end the season.
Ahtyba Rubin (DT – CLE): This breakout performer has been fantastic this season, tallying 51 solos from the DT spot. We like his chances at adding 8-10 more solos, which makes him valuable in DT-start leagues.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Justin Smith (DE – SFO): Maybe we now know why Smith was in such a pissy mood on Thursday night. He has only 23 fantasy points over the past 5 contests. Ouch. The final two matchups are pretty decent, so if you don’t have any better option, he may be worth the risk.
Shaun Rogers (DT – CLE): Rubin’s interior line-mate has been pretty worthless this season. He had a 12-point outburst against the Fins, and 25.5 points in all other contests. If you’re holding on to him in DT-start leagues and hoping he’ll have solid efforts against the Ravens and Steelers, think again.
HOT DEFENSIVE BACKS
Michael Griffin (S – TEN): We’ve admittedly been hard on Griffin all season. He’s been solid, yet unspectacular, usually around 12-14 points per game. Consistency is definitely awesome in terms of fantasy value. He should definitely find success against the Chiefs and Colts in the final weeks.
Alterraun Verner (CB – TEN): The rookie has been downright fantastic this season, totaling 67 solos, 11 passes defensed, 3 picks and a pair of fumble recoveries. Not only is this a guy to watch come 2011, but we love his chances at finishing the season strong against the Chiefs and Colts.
“NOT” DEFENSIVE BACKS
Brandon Meriweather (S – NEP): Patrick Chung is definitely the most talented DB the Pats have, and while Chung has been hot and cold over the past month-plus, Meriweather has been no better. These guys seem to vulture points from one another, and it’s advisable to try finding someone with a higher upside for the final pair of weeks.
Javier Arenas (CB – KCC): Maybe your picking up and playing of the rookie got you into the playoffs, but after a pair of ho-hum weeks, it looks like his stretch of good fantasy numbers may have reached its end. Not liking his final matchups, so you should look elsewhere.