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.
Daryl Smith (JAC): Seasoned IDP owners know that in most cases, you want the MLB or WLB for fantasy purposes. Daryl Smith, who’s played all over the Jag line, is currently the team’s SLB but is finding a way to accrue enough tackles to serve as a solid starting LB. And in playing the strong side, he’s getting some opportunities at knocking down some passes, too.
Rolando McClain (OAK): After replacing Kirk Morrison in the middle for the Raiders as a rookie, we figured he’d step right in and put up monster stats. He had a decent enough rookie campaign, but didn’t put up the big tackle numbers. He’s off to a good start to 2011 and is a low-level LB1 in most formats at this point. Very high ceiling for McClain.
Calais Campbell (DE – ARI): Darnell Dockett has been a very serviceable DL for the Cards for a few years, and ever-so-slowly, Campbell has inched up and has finally overtaken him as the guy you want on the Cardinal line. He’s currently the #4 DL in traditional scoring formats and should have a good stat line against the Steelers this week.
Michael Bennett (DE – TBB): Everyone was talking about the rookies Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn as the DEs of the future for the Bucs. While one or both of them may have a solid future for them, it’s been the third-year pro Bennett, out of Texas A&M, who’s started the 2011 season off well. He’s only had one big game, but looks to be a steady presence. An easy start against the Bear OL this week.
Kam Chancellor (S – SEA): Chancellor is built more like a linebacker, and at this point in the 2011 season, is actually putting up stats akin to a linebacker. He’s shown he can make a ton of tackles and has filled the stat line elsewhere as well. After a minor injury and the bye week, Chancellor is ready to put up big stats against the Browns. A solid start.
Chris Houston (CB – DET): Houston is proving you can get your DBs late; even in free agency, and still get big numbers. Houston may be available in some leagues, even. He’s a solid start this week against the Falcons.
Digging For Sleepers
These players will be typical free agents in 12 to 16 IDP leagues and should be targeted.
Phillip Wheeler (IND): We’ve seen the Colt SLB put up good numbers in past years and Wheeler has shown he can put up serviceable stats so far in 2011. He may be drawing Jimmy Graham in coverage a bit come Sunday night, so he’s going to have opportunities. We like him moving forward given the injury issues the Colts have had at LB, too.
Aaron Curry (OAK): He’s probably not available in dynasty formats, but in redrafts, he most likely is. Curry was a bust in Seattle, but there have been experts that noted he was misused there. I will say that he was given opportunities, but perhaps wasn’t given long enough to mature. He’ll be given the opportunity at his more natural WLB spot and could put up good numbers if he can start getting to the QB.
Stephen Nicholas (ATL): Is there enough fantasy production to go around for Sean Weatherspoon, Curtis Lofton AND Nicholas? Maybe, maybe not. But Nicholas had a big Week 6 and may be a decent fill-in this week for those that are bye-week bitten or have injury issues.
Jeremy Mincey (DE – JAC): Mincey has beaten out Matt Roth as the #2 DL for the Jags, despite Roth having decent numbers to start the season. Mincey is making around 3 solos every game and had five assists last week. We like him to accrue some tackles this week and could be a decent fill-in for those that need a DL this week.
Jurrell Casey (DT – TEN): The rookie has looked good in limited action for the Titans to start the season. As he continues to develop, his playing time will increase and thus, so will his fantasy production. Definitely one to watch in leagues that must start DT.
Thomas DeCoud (S – ATL): DeCoud has been a solid backup DB – or starter in larger leagues – for a couple years now. His matchup in Week 7 is very, very good, so if you need a DB this week, he’s a good option.
A.J. Jefferson (CB – ARI): Cardinal corners have been putting up wild fantasy stats for a couple years now, and it looks like Jefferson is the guy who’s going to bust out in 2011. Get him on your roster.
Digging Even Deeper
Here you will find "one injury away" players, or those worth a look in very deep leagues.
Linebackers: Casey Matthews (PHI), Scott Shanle (NOS)
Defensive Linemen: Mark Anderson (DE – NEP), Rocky Bernard (DT – NYG)
Defensive Backs: Sam Shields (CB – GBP), Gerald Sensabaugh (S – DAL)
Week 6 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.
Brady Poppinga (STL): Turns out Chris Chamberlain was the sleeper Ram LB this past week.
Jameel McClain (BAL): Had no value this past week but keep your eye on him. The Raven defense puts up numbers.
Bobby Carpenter (DET): Had a mundane outing but the team is confident he can cover the opposing TE, which means he’ll hopefully continue to get increased playing time.
Andre Carter (DE – NEP): Had a pair of sacks and his 15 fantasy points represent his season high.
Geno Atkins (DT – CIN): Had his worst game of the season. Win some, don’t win others.
Jarrad Page (S – PHI): Kiss of death: I traded for Page in a dynasty league and he summarily gets replaced by Kurt Coleman in the starting lineup. And then, for good measure, Coleman has three picks.
Cedric Griffin (CB – MIN): Six solos and a pass defense would have been a solid bye-week fill-in number.