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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

IDP Sleeper Report - Week 2
Darin Tietgen
September 14, 2005

Greetings fellow IDPers. Hope you all enjoyed the kickoff to this NFL season. Hope you’re all 1-0! I must admit, I did alright in picking sleepers for last week, as evidenced by the “Report Card”, below. Hopefully I’m able to extract some gems this week for you to use in dominating your opponents. So, without further ado:

Linebackers

Karlos Dansby, ArizonaPerhaps one of your league mates scrambled to pick up Dansby, who had a heck of a game (3 solo tackles, 1 sack, 2 passes defended and 2 INTs) against the Giants last week. Maybe not, though, in which case you should certainly consider him if you’re thin at LB. Dansby could again be busy this Sunday against the Rams.

Paris Lenon, Green Bay – If for nothing else, pick the guy up for his name. If starter Na’il Diggs is still hurt, Lenon is worth a look. If the Packers are to win their home opener, it will be because the defense limits the Browns’ offensive opportunities. Packer LB Nick Barnett can’t make ALL the tackles.

Shelton Quarles, Tampa Bay – Coaches Gruden and Kiffin will not let Buffalo QB J.P. Losman have his way like he did this past Sunday. Expect LBs Derrick Brooks and Quarles to be attacking Losman all day – and paying special attention to stud RB Willis McGahee. There will be plenty of opportunities for the Buc LBs to make plays come Sunday. Quarles, however, is the only one likely on your waiver wire.

Others to consider: Randall Godfrey (SD), David Pollack (CIN), Kailee Wong (HOU)

Defensive Line

Marcus Spears, Dallas – Is this the week Spears breaks out? Quite possibly. Expect another low-scoring, ugly game from the Redskins. Brunell’s not quite the scrambler he once was, although he may be forced out of the pocket quite a bit. Spears has the athleticism to get to him. Expect more than just one measly tackle (as he had in Week 1) from Spears come Monday night.

Jevon Kearse, Philadelphia – The Freak isn’t what he once was, that’s for sure. But he still has talent, and the Eagle defense will always make big plays. Sorry Niner fans, last week was a complete mirage. Time to come crashing back to Earth. With Trotter back stuffing the run up the middle, Kearse will have more room to rush from the edge. Expect a decent, if not huge, game from Kearse.

Brentston Buckner, Carolina – Poor Carolina. They lost stud run stuffer Kris Jenkins AGAIN. Sure, they have mega stud Julius Peppers on one side, and underrated Mike Rucker on the other, but the beef inside (Buckner included) was very unheralded in the success of the Panther DEF. With Jenkins out, the Panthers will need Buckner to step up, especially against a ball-control offense like the Patriots. Patriot RB Corey Dillon loves running between the tackles, so Buckner may find himself with several tackling opportunities on Sunday.

Others to consider: Reynaldo Wynn (WAS), Anthony Hargrove (STL), Bryan Thomas (NYJ)

Defensive Backs

Chris Hope, Pittsburgh – Hope actually outperformed fellow safety Troy Polamalu in Week 1 (5 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 pass defended and 1 fumble recovery). The Texan offense is REALLY struggling, but may look to air it out a bit more. Look for Hope to have another solid outing.

Bhawoh Jue, San Diego – Try saying that name three times fast. Whoever’s announcing the Denver-San Diego game may be saying it a few times on Sunday. That is, if the San Diego defense keeps allowing opposing offenses to move the ball via the pass. Jue could once again log a significant amount of tackles. Fellow Bolt safety Terrence Kiel is the undisputed leader of the secondary, but Jue, after moving over from Green Bay, has been better than average for the Bolts. As we all know, the Denver-San Diego matchups are always shootouts featuring tons of passing, so Jue will be kept busy.

Kerry Rhodes, NY Jets – It was Rhodes, not my Jet sleeper pick from Week 1 (Oliver Celestin) that had the huge game last week. The Fins may not air it out as much as the Chiefs, but expect the defenses to come up big in this rivalry game.

Others to consider: Charles Woodson (OAK), Derrick Gibson (OAK), Michael Hawthorne (STL)

Last Week’s Sleepers – Report Card

Ian Gold, LB (DEN)

The Fat: 6 solo tackles and 1 fumble recovery

The Skinny: Gold led the vaunted Denver LB corps in tackles, despite a lousy effort from the Bronco defense as a whole. Look for Gold to continue to reap the benefits of having two solid LBs beside him.

Jeff Ulbrich, LB (SF)

The Fat: 6 solo tackles and 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Ulbrich led the Niner LB corps in tackles. Would have probably racked up more, had the Rams been ahead as most expected. Bulger was forced to pass to catch up, and some tackling opportunities may have been taken away as a result. Look for Ulbrich to put up decent numbers, as the Niner D should see the field a lot this season.

Chris Draft, LB (CAR)

The Fat: 0 tackles and 1 fumble recovery

The Skinny: Oh well, can’t get ‘em all right. At least he pounced on a fumbled Brooks ball. Fellow Panther LB Will Witherspoon wasn’t in a tackle-sharing mood, apparently, logging 11 solos. Draft is decent, but with tackle-gobbling LBs Morgan and Witherspoon as well as almost-LB Julius Peppers making most of the plays, he might not merit another look unless one of the stud LBs go down.

Kailee Wong, LB (HOU)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles and 4 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Not bad. Led the Texans’ LBs in tackles against a Buffalo team that really spread the ball around on Sunday. Wong will continue to be a nice weekly sleeper if you’re in need of a 3 rd LB or bye week filler

Brad Kassell, LB (TEN)

The Fat: 7 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: Cha-ching! Can you believe he out-tackled stud teammate Keith Bulluck? Of course, Bulluck left the game in the third quarter due to a minor injury. Perhaps this won’t be a rare event, though, should opposing offenses continue to concentrate on Bulluck, allowing Kassell to roam free and make plays.

Orlando Ruff, LB (ARI)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles and 1 sack

The Skinny: Not bad. Led the Cardinal LBs in tackles in a lopsided affair with the Giants. Arizona’s D, despite this 42-19 drubbing, has improved, and Ruff may continue to post decent numbers.

Colby Bockwaldt, LB (NO)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: Pretty ho-hum, but if you watched the game, you saw that he was active and made some plays. Keep an eye out.

Darren Howard, DL (NO)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle, 1 fumble recovery

The Skinny: Since this game didn’t go as most thought (including the stunned Panthers), Stephen Davis wasn’t used to pound the ball (only 13 carries), and as such, Howard wasn’t run-stuffing. Fair enough.

Alvin McKinney, DL (CIN)

The Fat: 4 solo tackles and 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Hey, not bad for an interior lineman, eh? Fellow lineman Orpheus Roye, bashed a bit by me last week, went nuts with 5/5. Keep an eye on these guys, especially since the Brownies will be down a lot this season and opponents’ offenses will be pounding the ball to run out the clock, allowing guys like McKinney the opportunity to run-stuff and pile up tackles.

Chike Okeafor, DL (ARI)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle, 1 pass defended

The Skinny: OK, I’m allowed a few duds each week, right? But come on, the NY/ARI game was a mess.

Ty Warren, DL (NE)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Hey, not bad for a big lineman not necessarily known for tackles. Especially against a pass-happy Raider team.

Robaire Smith, DL (HOU)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Hmm, what got into these big boys this week? Houston didn’t look very good on Sunday. Comments related to McKinney, above, may apply to Smith here.

Reynaldo Wynn, DL (WAS)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle

The Skinny: Way to show up, Reynaldo. The Skins’ LBs did all the tackling on Sunday anyways.

Mike Rucker, DL (CAR)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: Rucker will have his share of good games, this just wasn’t really one of them. Of course, the game plan got thrown out the window when the Saints proved they can play.

Shaun Ellis, D (NYJ)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle

The Skinny: Not many good things to say about the Jets on Sunday.

Samari Rolle, DB (BAL)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 1 pass defended

The Skinny: Well, hey, at least fellow Raven DB Ed Reed only had 3 solos, too. Rolle merits watching, as he’s been a playmaker his entire career and is now on the best defensive team in the NFL.

Randall Gay, DB (NE)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles

The Skinny: While Gay didn’t get the start, it this was a bit of a surprise that Gay didn’t get in on more tackles. Maybe if Raider QB Kerry Collins completed more than just 18 out of 40 passes, Gay and the other Patriot DBs would have had more tackling opportunities.

Corey Chavous, DB (MIN)

The Fat: 4 solo tackles, 6 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Chavous and fellow DB Darren Sharper were the lone bright spot for the otherwise dim Vikings on Sunday. Keep an eye on Chavous, as he’d be a must-add should Sharper get injured.

Darrent Williams, DB (DEN)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle, 1 pass defended, 3 kick returns (average 26.3 yards per return), 1 punt return (13 yards)

The Skinny: Williams left the game late in the third quarter with leg cramps, as did many other Broncos. Williams merits watching, especially if you get points for return yards/TDs.

Walt Harris, DB (WAS) / Al Harris, DB (GB)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles and 3 passes defended / 3 solo tackles and 2 passes defended

The Skinny: Both Harrises were unspectacular, tackle-wise. But at least they made some plays on the ball.

Oliver Celestin, DB (NYJ)

The Fat: Zip, zero, nada.

The Skinny: The Jets’ D was a complete and utter disappointment on Sunday.

Marcus Coleman, DB (HOU)

The Fat: 6 solo tackles, 1 pass defended

The Skinny: Another cha-ching. With SS Glenn Earl out, Coleman made the most of it. Expect Coleman to put up decent numbers for the remainder of the season, especially if the Texan offense continues to struggle.