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.
D’Qwell Jackson (CLE): After missing the 2010 season and a good portion of the 2009 season, Jackson has stormed back to post monster numbers for the Browns. He’s been in double digits every game this season and has been posting ridiculous numbers the past couple of weeks. You’ll obviously want him in your lineup for the remainder of the season.
Rolando McClain (OAK): Since the Raider linebacker’s arrest more than two weeks ago, McClain has posted two of his better outings this season. Games against the Lions, Chiefs and Chargers should allow McClain to rack up some tackles. A solid #2 with the potential to put up big numbers.
Jason Pierre-Paul (DE – NYG): I’ll admit it: When the season started, I was reluctant to anoint “JPP” as a potential stud, especially with the studly Justin Tuck holding down one end, the enigmatic but talented Osi Umenyiora on the other, and a solid third pass rusher in Mathias Kiwanuka also available. But when given the time, JPP has excelled. With Umenyiora still out (and perhaps Tuck on a bad toe), JPP is going to be the Giants’ main threat in getting to the opposing QB and making big plays.
Desmond Bryant (DT – OAK): We’ll add a lesser-known DL here in hopes that you may be able to snag him off the waiver wire. The big Harvard grad has been excellent in the past month-plus, racking up five sacks and has eight solos in his past two outings. Listed as the fourth tackle in the Raiders’ rotation, Bryant has been given enough playing time with John Henderson ailing to matter. He’ll have opportunities in the coming weeks, so he’s worthy of starting in leagues that play DT separately from DE.
Malcolm Jenkins (S – NOS): Everyone knows Roman Harper is the heavy hitter for the Saints defense and typically produces big fantasy numbers, but Jenkins has been performing well for this defense, especially over the past month. Both Jenkins and his running mate Harper should put up good stats for the final contests.
Tramon Williams (CB – GBP): Similar situation here with Williams, who plays second fiddle to Charles Woodson. But like Jenkins, Williams has put up good numbers despite the man on the other side being highly productive. The next two offenses the Packers face feature backup QBs that will be wise to avoid the veteran Woodson, giving Williams plenty of opportunities at tackles and big plays.
Digging For Sleepers
These players will be typical free agents in 12 to 16 IDP leagues and should be targeted.
Larry Grant (SFO): Patrick Willis is supposedly in line to return this week, but if he’s not, Grant will once again start in his stead. He’s worth keeping an eye on as the season rounds out, should Willis sit come Week 16 or 17.
Ernie Sims (IND): Colts SLB Philip Wheeler was injured last week and may not be able to run come Week 15. Sims could get some extended action as the Colts’ miserable 2011 season comes to a close.
Jordan Senn (CAR) With all the injuries to the Panther linebacking corps, the undersized special teamer has been running as the team’s WLB. He should put up some good tackle numbers over the final three weeks of the season.
Ray McDonald (DE – SFO): It looked like McDonald was on pace to approach double digit sacks this season but then come mid-season, he cooled off significantly. Two of his past three games have been solid, so we’re hoping that he’s back on track and he could certainly get things going against the statuesque (and hobbled) Ben Roethlisberger this week.
Chris Canty (DT – NYG): Canty should be good for three-plus solos in each of the final three contests, and if the paper-thin DL stock has you worried, Canty seems to be a solid bet to approach double digits.
Amari Spievey (S – DET): Speivey has been consistent over the past three games and we especially like the final three matchups for the Lions. Seems as if he has a good blend of “safe” and “upside”.
Antoine Cason (CB – SDC): Quentin Jammer is not exactly a shutdown corner, but he’s good enough and Cason is on a decent streak of eight passes defended in the past month. He’ll have opportunities for those as well as some tackle chances for the next two weeks especially.
Digging Even Deeper
Here you will find "one injury away" players, or those worth a look in very deep leagues.
Linebackers: Tracy White (NEP), Russell Allen (JAC)
Defensive Linemen: Ryan Pickett (DE – GBP), Marcus Thomas (DT – DEN)
Defensive Backs: Brodney Pool (S – NYJ), E.J. Biggers (CB – TBB)
Looking Ahead – 2012 Linebackers
Michael Boley (NYG): Boley is always underrated but always seems to finish the season with a good number of tackles. Jacquian Williams is likely the future for the Giants here, but Boley probably has another good year or two left. Folks will forget about Boley and you can steal him late, plugging him in as your third LB and he’ll once again approach or enter the top-25 come the end of the season.
Kevin Burnett (MIA): Here’s a guy that will be overshadowed by a “better on paper” linebacker (Karlos Dansby) but over the course of the final six weeks of the season, actually has three more points. Dansby will likely be drafted several rounds ahead of Burnett, and it’ll be Burnett that’s the value in 2012.
Akeem Ayers (TEN): The rookie out of UCLA has had a pretty solid second half to the 2012 season as the Titans’ SLB. Folks will be talking about Barrett Ruud versus Colin McCarthy as the MLB. Will Ruud shift to WLB? Let other owners squabble and overpay. Grab Ayers late as he could be the value in deeper formats.