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.
Chad Greenway (MIN): Prior to a major injury, it was thought that E.J. Henderson was the elite Viking LB, whereas Greenway was the steady but unspectacular Robin to Henderson’s Batman. Well, a couple years later, it’s Greenway that’s putting up the steady and spectacular stats. 109 solos last year and well on his way to approaching triple digits in that category in 2011, Greenway has been a tackling machine. He should be in all lineups every week, and is a good bet to put up excellent tackle numbers next season as well.
Colin McCarthy (TEN): McCarthy was given some early playing time, as a touted rookie out of Miami, but didn’t show that he was ready for prime-time. Now, after a couple months’ worth of film room, practice and most importantly, an injury to Barrett Ruud, McCarthy has got his shot. Ruud may need more time to heal, so McCarthy – who put up 17 solos in his past two – could get the nod in Week 13. A must-start if that’s the case.
J.J. Watt (DE – HOU): For a rookie, Watt is playing like a seasoned pro. He had a huge Week 12 game and we love his Week 15-17 matchups. Right when you’ll need his points most. DL has been an inconsistent position in terms of production this season, so you may need to swing for the fences with a guy like Watt.
Sione Pouha (DT – NYJ): Those in leagues that start DT will relish Pouha’s recent steady production. Averaging 10.5 points in his last 4 contests, Pouha has excellent matchups in his remaining 5 games. You know what they say: Slow and steady wins the race.
Kurt Coleman (S – PHI): Since taking over full-time at the FS spot for the Eagles, Coleman has put up 4 monster efforts. His Week 15 and 16 matchups each have the potential to be similar to those. And he’s worth putting in your lineup for the other three remaining games as well, since his upside is pretty limitless.
Patrick Peterson (CB – ARI): It was no secret that the rookie from LSU had oodles of talent and could make an immediate impact in the NFL. He’s currently the #5 overall DB (that’s with safeties included) and is obviously more valuable in leagues that score for kick/punt returns. He’s got excellent matchups to round the season out, so he should be in your lineup.
Digging For Sleepers
These players will be typical free agents in 12 to 16 IDP leagues and should be targeted.
Connor Barwin (HOU): Along with fellow youngster J.J. Watt, the second-year Barwin had his biggest game of 2011 this past week. He set a single-game Texan record with 4 sacks, and chipped in with 7 solos to boot. His remaining schedule is favorable, so those looking for a LB with some upside to slide into their lineup should not look past Barwin.
Sam Acho (ARI): We listed Acho here before, and feel we should do it again given his remaining schedule and ability to sack the QB. After a 2-sack effort against the Rams, Acho now has 5 on the season and could get a few more to close out the season. If you’re struggling to find a third LB, Acho could be your guy.
Phillip Wheeler (IND) We all know how much the Colts’ defense has been on the field this season, and there’s no reason to think things will change in the final weeks of the 2011 season. The strong-side ‘backer has always put up good tackle numbers when given the chance.
Cory Redding (DE – BAL): Any time you play opposite a mega-stud like Terrell Suggs, you’re going to have opportunities at making plays. Redding had his biggest effort of the season last week and with two games against the Browns and one against the Colts left on the schedule, the opportunities should be there again.
Robert Geathers (DE – CIN): When given adequate playing time, Geathers has the potential to get himself in the sack column. With five very sackable QBs left to face, Geathers could supply DL2 level points for the rest of the season in leagues that separate DE and DT.
Ryan Clark (S – PIT): Troy Polamalu should be fine for Week 13, but if he’s not, Clark’s value jumps incrementally. Even if Polamalu plays, Clark is a decent start, as he’s nearly guaranteed to reach double digits every week.
Kyle Arrington (CB – NEP): Arrington has put up good numbers for the Patriots, as opposing offenses struggle to keep up with the Pat offense. Arrington had 10 solos and a couple of pass breakups last week, and will have a chance to increase his NFL lead in interceptions with excellent matchups.
Digging Even Deeper
Here you will find "one injury away" players, or those worth a look in very deep leagues.
Linebackers: Na’il Diggs (SDC)
Defensive Linemen: Ray McDonald (DE – SFO), Brandon Mebane (DT – SEA)
Defensive Backs: Amari Spievey (S – DET), Richard Sherman (CB – SEA)
Week 12 Report Card
Let’s take a quick look to see how our Week 12 sleepers performed. They may or may not still be worthy of an add.
Jameel McClain (BAL): Put up 11 points with Ray Ray out. A good bet to put up numbers if there are ever injuries to Raven starting LBs.
Antwan Barnes (SDC): Barnes’ value really jumps when he’s able to get to the QB. If he’s without any sacks, he’s in the 2-8 point range. Risky, but could pay off.
Scott Shanle (NOS) Shanle either puts up 12-20 points, or 2-5 points. Problem is figuring out when he’ll do what. If you’re in a huge league and there’s just nothing left on the wire, Shanle could help.
Thomas Keiser (DE – CAR): No sacks, no love. Keep an eye out, though, in dynasty formats.
Geno Atkins (DT – CIN): Second straight double digit effort for Atkins. He’s becoming a solid start in leagues that play DT separately.
Major Wright (S – CHI): Six solos and a pass breakup will get you good points in any league format. Wright is becoming a solid performer for the Bears defense.
Kelly Jennings (CB – CIN): Had his first two pass breakups of the season with Leon Hall now out. If you’re desperate, Jennings could provide CB depth.