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.
Pat Angerer (IND): The Colts strong-side LB is currently the #1 LB in traditional scoring formats. As we all know, the strong side is typically the worst linebacker to own for fantasy purposes but Angerer is racking up the tackles from that spot.
Lance Briggs (CHI): Maybe Briggs is ticked off that he didn’t get his fat contract extension, maybe it’s just that he’s a real good linebacker. But whatever it is, his owners will certainly take it. He lines up next to one of the best ‘backers in the game, and yet has 20+ point potential every week.
Mason Foster (TBB): The rookie from Washington is impressing coaches enough to perhaps keep him on the field as a three-down linebacker. He was a tackling machine at UW and has 16 solos in three contests thus far.
Jared Allen (DE – MIN): Allen had a “down” year last year after “only” recording 10 sacks. He already has 4.5 (including three this past Sunday) and is also adding “other” stats (pass breakups, forced fumbles, etc.). If he can keep up the steady tackle numbers, Allen could easily end up as the #1 DL once again.
Ahtyba Rubin (DT – CLE): With the switch in scheme, we figured Rubin’s bust-out year from 2010 was going to be a fading memory. DT Phil Taylor got off to a hot start but Rubin – behind a huge Week 3 – is also putting up good numbers. In DT-start leagues, he’s certainly a good option.
Chris Clemons (DE – SEA): The Seahawks have absolutely no pass rush outside of Clemons, so it’s not a great bet that he’ll approach 14.5 sacks again. But 10 or 11 is not out of the question. He already has a pair and he has a decent schedule forthcoming.
Jairus Byrd (S – BUF): The Bill free safety had a nice 2010 campaign in part-time duty and is picking right up where he left off here in 2011. He is a consistent tackler, but will need to add some “other” stats if he’s to be relied on every week. For now, he’s certainly “hot” and has good matchups prior to the Bills’ Week 7 bye.
Antrel Rolle (S – NYG): With all the various injuries suffered in the Giant secondary, Rolle stands alone as the guy who needs to make plays. He’s making tackles, but like Byrd, will need to add some fumble recoveries or INTs to become an elite fantasy performer.
Jason McCourty (CB – TEN): McCourty has apparently surpassed Cortland Finnegan as the do-everything CB for the Titans. He has 2 picks, 3 pass breakups and even has a sack. Oh, and he’s getting around 5 solos every game too.
Digging For Sleepers
These players will be typical free agents in 12 to 16 IDP leagues and should be targeted.
Jo-Lonn Dunbar (NOS): Dunbar started in the middle for Jonathan Vilma, who was nursing a bum knee last week. Vilma has a history of knee issues, so Dunbar may not have seen his last start in the middle. Worth a shot even if you have to stash him.
K.J. Wright / Leroy Hill (SEA): Wright has supposedly taken over for Aaron Curry at WLB, but it was Hill that put up the stats with Curry running as a backup. In fact, Wright did a whole lot of nothing last week. Add Wright if you have a taxi squad and keep your eye on Hill if you have a dire need at LB.
Wesley Woodyard/Joe Mays (DEN): D.J. Williams was supposed to play this past weekend but did not. Both Mays and Woodyard have put up stats in his absence. Mays is the guy you want to own but Woodyard might be stashable especially if you own Williams.
Jayme Mitchell (DE – CLE): As mentioned above with respect to Ahtyba Rubin, the Brown DL has been playing well this season and Mitchell had a big game Week 3. His next three matchups are cherry so if you’re looking for a nice sleeper DL, look Mitchell’s way.
Antonio Garay (DT – SDC): Garay had a solid 2010, coming up with six sacks and 38 solos in his first year of full-time action. The Bolt front line rarely has fantasy value but Garay looks like a nifty plug-and-play DT.
Eric Smith (S – NYJ): He’s holding off the veteran Brodney Pool and is doing more than just making tackles, which makes him an intriguing add.
Tim Jennings (CB – CHI): Charles Tillman has been a good fantasy DB and Jennings is off to his best start yet opposite Tillman. Looks like both CBs can have value in the Bears defensive scheme.
Digging Even Deeper
Here you will find "one injury away" players, or those worth a look in very deep leagues.
Linebackers: Omar Gaither and Jason Williams (CAR), Kavell Conner (IND), Larry Foote (PIT)
Defensive Linemen: Raheem Brock (DE – SEA), Sedrick Ellis (DT – NOS)
Defensive Backs: Thomas DeCoud (S – ATL), Marcus Trufant (CB – SEA)