Welcome to another year of fantasy football, IDP-style. This new free agent report will help you identify players that you can add to your team that can give you immediate help or increase the strength of your bench.
Here we’ll take a look at players that are heating things up on defense and can bring your fantasy team some immediate help.
D’Qwell Jackson (CLE): Jackson looks 100% recovered from the pectoral injuries from last year. He was a stud in training camp (no shock) and is off to a great start in 2011. He could easily top 100 solo tackles this season. He’s a must-start each week.
Barrett Ruud (TEN): In his first season with the Titans, Ruud is off to a nice start. He accrued 22 fantasy points in the opener, and with the Titan D likely to spend a bit of time on the field, especially in the early part of the season, Ruud will continue to post solid IDP numbers.
Desmond Bishop (GBP): The ex-Cal Bear, in his somewhat new starting role for the Packers, could gobble up a ton of tackles this season. A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews will eat up some of the stats, but Bishop should have plenty of opportunities to make 7-8 solos every contest.
Terrell Suggs (DE – BAL): Suggs sometimes gets lost in the top DL names like Tuck and Allen, but then ends up putting great numbers out there for his owners. The Baltimore D crushed the Steelers Week 1 and should be doing more of the same against all foes this season.
Jason Pierre-Paul (DE – NYG): With Osi Umenyiora’s injury, it opened the door for this phenom to get extra and significant time. With Justin Tuck also shelved, there were some that thought “JPP” would have difficulty beating double-teaming by the Skins. 5 solos, 2 sacks and a forced fumble later, we’re all sitting here kind of in awe.
Haloti Ngata (DT – BAL): If there’s anyone at the DT spot that’s almost as nasty as Ndamukong Suh, it’s Ngata. As mentioned above with Suggs, the Raven D was fantastic against the Steelers, and Ngata was a reason why. If your league starts DT separately from DE, Ngata is one of the elite.
Patrick Chung (S – NEP): Chung has the wares to become a top-3 fantasy DB this season, that’s for sure. He won’t get you nine solos every outing, but he’ll definitely be a threat to make the big play.
Reed Doughty (S – WAS): With LaRon Landry sidelined, Doughty stepped in and stepped up. He’s done it before, so it’s not a huge shock. If Landry is forced to miss additional time – or goes out again this season – Doughty is a nice fill-in.
Patrick Peterson (CB – ARI): We knew the rookie would get tested, even if by a fellow rookie in Cam Newton. Not only was he tested on the defensive side, but he was a threat in the return game. If your league gives points for return stats, Peterson could end up as a top CB.
Digging For Sleepers
These players will be typical free agents in 12 to 16 IDP leagues and should be targeted.
Dan Connor (CAR): Jon Beason rushed back from an Achilles injury and is now done for the season, and quite possibly may never be the same. Connor has waited patiently behind Beason for his opportunity in the middle for the Panthers, and now he gets it. If he’s somehow on your league’s waiver wire, run, don’t walk and get him now.
Erin Henderson (MIN): Is there a way for three Viking LBs (and two brothers) to put up fantasy stats? Sure looks like it, at least to start the season off. Chad Greenway posts good stats from the SLB spot, and Erin’s brother E.J. mans the middle. Erin’s the WLB and could put up solid tackle stats this season.
Joe Mays (DEN): I mean, the guy IS playing MLB for a 4-3 defense and all! Mays is an average talent, but until D.J. Williams returns – and even possibly after then – Mays is going to have tackle opportunities.
Jarius Wynn (DE – GBP): The Pack has been searching for a dominant pass rusher for several years now. Wynn may or may not be that guy, but he did record 3 solos and a sack, drawing the start over Mike Neal. More games like that and he’ll keep Neal on the bench. Wynn’s worth an immediate look in deeper formats and those in standard sized leagues should just keep an eye on the ex Georgia Bulldog.
Henry Melton (DT – CHI): The Bears desperately need an inside presence on their defense, and brought in Amobi Okoye to back up Melton, as Tommie Harris wasn’t getting it done. Melton’s off to a nice start, recording a pair of sacks against the Falcons. DT is a tough position to fill, so you look to the guys off to hot starts to hopefully continue those trends.
Ed Reed (S – BAL): Reed shouldn’t be on anyone’s waiver wire. He was in my 12-team dynasty, though. Reed might be up there in age and DB is historically a deep position, but a guy like Reed should be rostered, and in most cases, started.
Devin McCourty (CB – NEP): Patriot CBs have always put up only meager fantasy stats. That is, until McCourty had a fabulous rookie campaign just last season. He bust out last night, gobbling up 10 solos and batting down a pair of passes. As teams struggle to keep up with the Pat offense, McCourty could have a ton of tackle opportunities.
Digging Even Deeper
Here you will find "one injury away" players, or those worth a look in very deep leagues.
Linebackers: Jonathan Casillas (NOS), Thomas Williams (CAR), Adrian Moten (IND)
Defensive Linemen: Dave Ball (DE – TEN), Jonathan Fanene (DT – CIN)
Defensive Backs: Jon McGraw (S – KCC), Chris Houston (CB – DET)