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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

IDP Report - Week 12
Brent Clement
November 25, 2004

Interesting Tidbits

With the high powered offense of the Indianapolis Colts, its easy to look past their defense this season. But in the last 2 weeks they have caught fire scoring 2 defensive touchdowns, forcing a total of 9 turnovers along with 9 sacks. This week vs. Detroit could be another strong play for the improving Colts defense.

Over the last 3 weeks, Carolina LB Will Witherspoon and Chicago LB Lance Briggs are 1-2 in basic scoring for the LB position. What is significant about this is they are stepping up for injured team mates Dan Morgan and Brian Urlacher, and should be strong plays the rest of the season.

Who’s Hot

Defensive Linemen

IND- Robert Mathis – Over the last 3 weeks Mathis has put up monster numbers for the Indy defense. He is currently 3 rd in basic scoring over this time frame behind only Julius Peppers and Alex Brown.

NE - Ty Warren – Warren had his best game as a pro, recording 2 sacks, 7 tackles, and a forced fumble for the Patriots on Monday night vs. a very good KC offense. Warren is seeing more an more snaps and is fast becoming the player New England was hoping for when they selected him in the 2003 draft.

DAL – Greg Ellis - Ellis is getting his second wind and starting to post numbers comparable to early in the 2004 season. Ellis this past week vs. Baltimore had his most productive game in 6 weeks and is slowing, week by week, increasing his activity in the stats sheet.

Linebackers

BUF - Takeo Spikes – Spikes has really turned his season around and has even outplayed fellow LB London Fletcher the last 6 weeks. Spikes early on was giving way to Fletcher and posting average games. But the last 6 weeks he is averaging just over 8 combined tackles a week.

NYJ - Eric Barton - Barton was a huge disappointment early on this season, but has found his niche in the Jets defense and is turning it on at the right time for fantasy owners. Barton is averaging 7.5 tackles and 3.5 assists over the last 3 games.

NYG - Nick Greisen – Greisen has been a strong play since returning from being bench early on this season. The loss of Michael Strahan upfront has given the LB’s more opportunities to make plays, and since the Giants bye week, Greisen has been the #1 LB for the Giants, in the last 5 weeks.

Defensive Backs

MIN – Antoine Winfield- Winfield entered a crowded Minnesota defensive backfield this off season and midseason he struggled to keep his production equal to his past seasons. But over the last 6 weeks he has been the 2 nd best DB to All-Pro SS Rodney Harrison.

CAR- Chris Gamble- The rookie was mentioned last week, but his performance on Sunday needs to be mentioned as well. Gamble has played himself into the top 10 DB’s over the last 3 weeks with incredible production since cracking the starting lineup for the Panthers. Gamble last week recorded 6 tackles, 3 pass defense, an assist, and another Interception. Gamble is definitely turning into a quality start and not just a taxi squad player for the future.

SEA – Marcus Trufant – Trufant has been consistently solid all season long, but especially good as of late. Trufant had another monster game in Week 11, posting 9 solo tackles and a pass defense. Trufant is also on the cusp of cracking the top 10 Dbs for the season, which for a CB is rare and impressive.

Who’s Not

Defensive Linemen

CLE – Ebenezer Ekuban - Ekuban was a waiver wire pickup a few weeks back for posting exceptional numbers for the underachieving Brown defense, but lately Ekuban has been a disappointment to owners who picked him up.

NE – Richard Seymour - When is a stud no longer a stud. When Bill Belicheck puts his best DL at fullback to block for Corey Dillon at the goal line instead of turning him loose on opposing teams Qbs. Seymour has exactly 1 tackles in his last 2 ball games. A far cry from the production we expect from a DE with his ability.

Linebackers

GB – Nick Barnett – Barnett has really been struggling lately. Barnett is averaging 3 tackles a game over his last 3 ball games and has dropped off considerably from his early season dominance. I’m not sure what has gotten into Barnett but he can’t be counted on as of late.

MIN – Dontarrious Thomas - The rookie LB has been unimpressive as of late. 1 assist last week and only a solo tackle and an assist total for the week before. This is not promising for a rookie who showed so much upside early on. DT needs to be on your bench until has proves worthy to be inserted back into your lineup.

Defensive Backs

ATL - Kevin Mathis - Mathis went from a top 10 DB in the league to dropping out of the top 30 over the last 3 weeks.. Mathis has recorded a total of 2 tackles in his last 2 ball games. That is heartbreaking to owners who have been riding him this long.

GB – Darren Sharper - Sharper is a top 10 DB without question when he is healthy, but lately he hasn’t been and he hasn’t been putting up quality stats for his fantasy owners. Sharper has 3 tackles total in his last 5 week, with one of those the Packers Bye week. He has played in 3 ball games averaging only 1 tackle in each of them.

Key Injuries

Defensive Line

Dolphins DE Jason Taylor suffered back spasms during Week 11's game against the Seahawks, according to MiamiDolphins.com. Taylor is questionable for week 12.

Linebackers

Zach Thomas did not play in the second half of last Sundays game with Seattle, due to a hamstring injury.

Chad Brown underwent surgery this week to remove loose cartilage in his knee. Seattle is hopeful he can return before seasons end.

Kendrel Bell re-aggravated an old groin injury during Week 11's game according to Steelers.com. Cowher said. "I don't think it was anything that was ripped or torn or anything like that, so it could be a few weeks with him."

Defensive Backs

Indy rookie DB Bob Sanders is expected to miss between 3-to-6 weeks of action after suffering a sprained MCL Sunday, Nov. 21.

Start em

Thursday, Nov. 25

Indianapolis at Detroit, 12:37 p.m. - DB Nick Harper, LB Cato June, DL Shaun Rogers, LB Teddy Lehman.

Chicago at Dallas, 4:35 p.m. - DL Alex Brown, LB Lance Briggs, DB Mike Green, LB Dat Nguyen, DB Roy Williams.

Sunday, Nov. 28

Cleveland at Cincinnati, 1:00 p.m. - LB Andra Davis, DB Robert Griffin, DL Justin Smith, DB Madieu Williams.

Jacksonville at Minnesota, 1:00 p.m. - LB Mike Peterson, DL Kevin Williams, LB EJ Henderson, DB Antoine Winfield.

Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants, 1:00 p.m. - DL Jevon Kearse, DB Brian Dawkins, DB Michael Lewis, LB Nick Greisen.

San Diego at Kansas City, 1:00 p.m. - LB Donnie Edwards, LB Steve Foley, DB Terrance Kiel, LB Kawika Mitchell.

Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1:00 p.m. - LB Derrick Brooks, DB Ronde Barber, DL Julius Peppers, LB Will Weatherspoon, DB Mike Minter

Tennessee at Houston, 1:00 p.m. - LB Keith Bullock, LB Jamie Sharper, LB Jay Foreman.

Washington at Pittsburgh, 1:00 p.m. - DL Cornelius Griffin, LB Antonio Pierce, LB James Farrior, DB Troy Polamalu.

New Orleans at Atlanta, 4:05 p.m. - LB Orlando Ruff, DL Patrick Kerney, LB Keith Brooking, DB Bryan Scott.

Baltimore at New England, 4:15 p.m. - LB Ray Lewis, DB Ed Reed, LB Tedy Bruschi, DB Rodney Harrison.

Buffalo at Seattle, 4:15 p.m. - DL Aaron Schobel, LB London Fletcher, LB Takeo Spikes, LB Isaiah Kacyvenski.

Miami at San Francisco, 4:15 p.m. - , LB Zach Thomas (questionable), LB Derek Smith, DB Tony Parrish.

N.Y. Jets at Arizona, 4:15 p.m. - DL John Abraham, LB Jonathon Vilma, DL Bert Berry, DB Adrian Wilson.

Oakland at Denver, 8:30 p.m. - LB Danny Clark, DB Marques Anderson, LB DJ Williams, LB Al Wilson.

Monday, Nov. 29

St. Louis at Green Bay, 9:00 p.m. - DL Leonard Little, DB Adam Archuletta, LB Nick Barnett.

Next in Line

Defensive Linemen
SEA - Chike Okeafor
CAR - Mike Rucker
CAR - Julius Peppers
NYJ - Shaun Ellis
JAX - Marcus Stroud
TBB - Greg Spires
JAX - John Henderson
DET - James Hall
NOS - Darren Howard
BAL - Marques Douglas

Linebackers
JAX - Akin Ayodele
CIN - Landon Johnson
IND - David Thornton
NYJ - Eric Barton
STL - Tommy Polley
ATL- Matt Stewart
NYG - Kevin Lewis
PHI - Jeremiah Trotter
CIN - Brian Simmons
SF - Jamie Winborn

Defensive Backs
BUF - Lawyer Milloy
NEP - Eugene Wilson
CAR- Chris Gamble
BAL - Gary Baxter
CHI - Todd Johnson
NYG - Gibril Wilson
WAS - Ryan Clark
WAS - Fred Smoot
KCC - Greg Wesley
GBP - Darren Sharper

Team Defense - Top 5 Plays of the Week

Philadelphia vs. NY Giants. Philly is a good play most weeks, but with Eli getting blitzed every down, they are a great play this week

Chicago vs. Dallas. All signs lead to Henson’s first start for the Cowboys. The Bears have been playing great defense before running into last weeks buzz saw that is the Indianapolis Colts.

Dallas vs. Chicago. The Bears are downright awful on offense and the Cowboys D will attempt to give him all the defensive support he may need as their very jobs may depend on it.

Indianapolis vs. Detroit. Indy is a solid play once again, this time vs. the Lions. Detroit still hasn’t been able to get Roy Williams going again, and Kevin Jones isn’t enough to get it done.

NY Jets vs. Arizona. The Cardinals will have a hard time running the ball on the Jets D, and their QB carousel will be ineffective as well on the Jets secondary.