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 for those playing in “play one” type IDP leagues. These players are typically must-starts in standard IDP leagues.
James Laurinaitis (STL): Fresh off a bye, he’ll be instrumental if the Rams have any chance against the high-octane Packer offense. Sean Weatherspoon had 20 points and Curtis Lofton 14 against the Pack on Sunday night. Figure Laurinaitis will have at least 14, if not 20-plus.
David Harris (NYJ): The Jet defense will likely pound the Miami Dolphins this week. Harris has had a couple good games in a row after a somewhat pedestrian start. Keep him in your lineup.
Dwight Freeney (DE – IND): The Colts have to think – despite their 3-2 record – that the Bengals are beatable. If the Colts are going to secure their first win of the 2011 season, they’ll be doing it on the strength of their defense, and namely the pass rush of Freeney and fellow end Robert Mathis.
Brian Robison (DE – MIN): The Vikings were fine with letting the under-performing Ray Edwards walk this year, mainly because the up-and-coming Robison was more than ready to step in as the end opposite Jared Allen. Robison is off to a fine start, with 4.5 sacks on the season. Up next: The hapless Bear offensive line. Expect at least one, perhaps two, sacks for the ex-Longhorn.
Roman Harper (S – NOS): Those of you considering benching Harper after his poor Week 5 performance need to re-evaluate your thinking. Harper will have a big game against the Bucs. The Bucs struggled to move the ball this past week and will need to throw to keep up with the Saint offense. Buc QB Josh Freeman is much better as a game manager than prolific passer. Expect Harper to be in on some big plays come Sunday.
Justin King (CB – STL): If you’re looking for that non-household name that might be available in your shallower league, King’s the guy who could get you big points in Week 6. He scored 17 fantasy points in each of the first three games, then a stinker against the Skins in Week 4. He’ll be plenty busy covering various Packer pass-catchers this Sunday. 7-plus solos and a couple pass breakups should be no problem.
Digging For Sleepers
These players will be typical free agents in 12 to 16 IDP leagues and should be targeted.
Brady Poppinga (STL): We’ll stick with the Ram theme here this weekend, assuming this defense will be on the field a lot, allowing plenty of first downs, thereby needing to make plenty of tackles. The strong-side ‘backer for the Rams may be busy with Jermichael Finley and in run support. The ex-BYU’er has 11 solos in his last 2 games, so his short and longer term prospects look good as well.
Jameel McClain (BAL): The Raven WLB has had a couple good games in a row and could prove himself worthy against the Texans here this week. The Raven D has been nasty this season, they’re coming off their bye week, and should punch the decimated Texan offense square in the jaw come Sunday.
Bobby Carpenter (DET): We mentioned the ex-Buckeye last week in the “Deeper Sleeper” category, but he bears a second straight mention, this time in the regular ole sleeper section. Why? Well a couple games in a row with 4 solos gets one to notice. Of course, Carpenter was given increased playing time with Justin Durant out with a concussion. That said, Durant has a bit of an injury history and Carpenter may have played his way into a more increased role even with Durant coming back. Worthy of a stash-and-hold.
Andre Carter (DE – NEP): This is kind of a one-week suggestion here, but if you’re hurting at DL and need a guy who can get you a few solos and a possible sack, Carter tops the list of guys that may be available in your league. He knows the Cowboys, after starting for the Skins for several years. He was active this past week against the Jets, tallying seven total tackles (four solo). Figure he’s good for 4-5 tackles and a sack here this week.
Geno Atkins (DT – CIN): It’s been kind of an odd season thus far in terms of how DLs are scoring. DE is paper thin, but there have been a bevy of DTs that have stepped their games up and are putting up semi-decent fantasy numbers. The group of Bengal DTs in particular have been a real surprise. Leading the way is Atkins, who has 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery to his credit in the 2011 season. We love his potential against the Colts this week, and long term in leagues that force you to start a DT.
Jarrad Page (S – PHI): In case you missed it, the preseason favorite to man the strong safety spot, Jaiquawn Jarrett, didn’t get the job. Nope, it’s been Page, who is racking up the tackles for the Eagle D. No one else in the defensive backfield seems to want to, so it looks like this trend may continue.
Cedric Griffin (CB – MIN): Even if Antoine Winfield is back after injury, Griffin will have some value. He’s a far cry from where his value was a couple years back, but he’s off to a solid start tackle-wise this season and could be busy against the Bears and Packers in the next two weeks.
Digging Even Deeper
Here you will find "one injury away" players, or those worth a look in very deep leagues.
Linebackers: Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin (HOU), Shawne Merriman (BUF)
Defensive Linemen: Marcus Thomas (DT – DEN), Kenyon Coleman (DE – DAL)
Defensive Backs: Jordan Babineaux (S – TEN), Aaron Ross (CB – NYG)
Week 5 Report Card
Let’s take a quick look to see how our Week 5 sleepers performed. They may or may not still be worthy of an add.
Leroy Hill (SEA): 5 solos, 3 assists. Definitely still worth an add as Aaron Curry continues to flounder (although Curry did have a decent Week 5).
Mathias Kiwanuka (NYG): 1 solo, 3 assists, 1 sack. Hey at least he got that sack. He’s worth keeping an eye on if the injury woes continue along the Giant front seven.
Brian Rolle (PHI): 5 solos, 4 assists. Definitely worth an add as the Eagles’ WLB.
Antonio Smith (DE - HOU): Zip, zero, nada. But hey, at least ex-Texan GM Charlie Casserly sang his praises in the Texan pregame radio broadcast. He’s still an underrated performer to keep an eye on, especially with Mario Williams now shelved.
Darryl Tapp (DE - PHI): 2 solos, 1 assist. Even with Trent Cole out, Tapp couldn’t muster much. The pec injury may still be limiting him.
Dashon Goldson (S – SFO): 4 solos, 1 forced fumble. If you were thin at DB this past week, you’ll take the 10 points. He’s a nice add for this coming week against the Lions if you’re still hurting.
David Caldwell (S – IND): 3 solos, 2 assists. He outplayed Joe Lefeged, who was supposedly going to split time with Caldwell until further notice. Hopefully Caldwell gets the nod.