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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

IDP Sleeper Report - Week 5
Darin Tietgen
October 5, 2005

The NFL is exciting, isn’t it? Plenty of big scores, big upsets, and exciting games. The teams on bye Week 5 aren’t really diluting the sleeper pool, so there should be plenty of options out there for you. Some of the best that may be on your league’s waiver wire are detailed below. Some of them are guys that are likely stashed on your (or on another owner’s) bench. If you don’t own them, maybe now’s the time to get them cheap, because their Week 5 matchups are favorable. Best of luck!

This Week’s Sleepers

Linebackers

Chad Brown (NE) – Brown’s probably not on most IDP leagues’ waiver wire, but in case he is, he’s worthy of picking up. If he’s on your bench and you haven’t been starting him, maybe now’s the time. Through 4 games, Brown has 21 tackles, a number he should build on come Sunday. He hasn’t logged a sack or caused/recovered a fumble, nor has he picked any balls off. The World Champs travel south to Atlanta to face what could be a slightly gimpy Falcon QB Michael Vick. If the Patriots are to win, their defense – especially their linebacking corps – is going to have to come up huge.

Earl Holmes (DET) – Another guy that may not be on your waiver wire, but is due to have a huge game based on the opponent. The Ravens come to Motor City this Sunday after drubbing the Jets this past week. The Lions had a week off to get their act together. Holmes and his linebacker pals will be busy stopping Raven RB Jamal Lewis and containing TE Todd Heap.

Akin Ayodele (JAX) – Ayodele was on this list a couple of weeks ago and had a decent outing. Ayodele had a solid Week 4, and the Jags host the offensive juggernaut of the Cincinnati Bengals (yes, you read that right) in Week 5. If the Jags are to cool down the Bengal offense, Ayodele and his linebacker mates will have to stuff RB Rudi Johnson and contain the short passing game.

Others to consider: Marcus Washington (WAS), Lofa Tatupu (SEA), Demorrio Williams (ATL)

Defensive Line

Kalimba Edwards (DET) – I don’t need to remind you how bad the Lion offense has been this season, so the Lion defense should be on the field plenty. Edwards had a pair of sacks and logged 3 solo tackles last week. He also forced a fumble. Raven QB Anthony Wright has been solid but unspectacular in relief of Kyle Boller. Figure Edwards will be busy helping in run support and could get to Wright at least once this coming Sunday.

Jevon Kearse (PHI) – Kearse makes his second appearance in this column after a solid Week 4 outing where he contributed with 3 solo tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. The Eagles travel to Texas to face their longtime rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. While Cowboy QB Drew Bledsoe has looked rejuvenated – especially moving in the pocket – he is certainly not a shifty, scrambling QB. Kearse could easily have another solid game come Sunday.

Randy Starks (TEN) – Titan DE Kyle Vanden Bosch is on every “hot” or “sleeper” list lately, and DT Albert Haynesworth appears on many weekly DL rankings, yet Starks remains below the radar. If you’re really hurting at DL this coming week, check out Starks. The Titans face the sloppy Houston Texans, who have been giving up sacks they’re going out of style. Starks has averaged 3 tackles per game and has 1.5 sacks on the season. Expect him to build on both his tackle and sack totals this weekend.

Others to consider: Shaun Ellis (NYJ), Monte Reagor (IND), Orpheus Roye (CLE)

Defensive Backs

Mark Roman (GB) – Roman had a pretty quiet game on Monday night, but looks to rebound against the Saints, who will be doing its share of passing.

Kerry Rhoades (NYJ) – Rhodes had a solid outing (7 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle) against the Ravens in Week 4, who really didn’t even pass much (21 attempts). Figure the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who may be without workhorse RB Carnell Williams, will pass much more. Rhoades will be busy on underneath patterns featuring WR Michael Clayton.

Chris Hope (PIT) – Hope has actually out-tackled fellow Steeler safety Troy Polumalu. Come Monday night, Polumalu will probably be quite busy shadowing Charger TE Antonio Gates, leaving Hope to help in stuffing the run and dropping back into pass coverage.

Others to consider: Deon Grant (JAX), Jason David (IND), Lamont Thompson (TEN)

Last Week’s Sleepers – Report Card

Linebackers

Jamie Winborn (SF)

The Fat: Nothing.

The Skinny: Just after press time last week, there were rumors that Winborn was sent packing by the Niners. However, it was learned that he was simply relegated to backup duties, as Andre Carter was going to make the switch from DE to LB (a move we anticipated in the preseason). Winborn was made inactive for the game, and starting in Winborn’s spot, Carter only had 3 combined tackles as Niner LB Jeff Ulbrich was a tackling machine Sunday night, logging 9 solo and 2 assisted tackles.

Ryan Nece (TB)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Once again, LB Shelton Quarles was the star of the show. Nece chipped in with 8 fantasy points (in traditional scoring IDP league formats). Same as LB Derrick Brooks, who was probably one of the first 10-15 LBs drafted in your league. Nece was (and probably still is) a free agent. He’s worth continued looks as a backup if you’re hurting at LB.

Brian Simmons (CIN)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 sack

The Skinny: Simmons led the Bengal LB corps in tackles and got in on the sack party, as the Bengals got to Texan QB 7 times on Sunday. Simmons certainly has talent, and while the Bengal defense continues to play well and force turnovers, he’ll be worth a look each week.

Coby Bockwoldt (NO)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle

The Skinny: I’ve given the young Saint LB a couple of chances here in this column, and he hasn’t produced. Tough matchup for the Saints’ LBs, though. The defensive front 7 had little success stopping Bill RB Willis McGahee on Sunday, as evidenced by Saint DBs Fred Thomas, Mike McKenzie, Josh Bullocks and Dwight Smith all finishing as the 5 of the top 6 Saint tacklers on Sunday.

Jeff Posey (BUF)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle, 3 assisted tackles, 2 passes deflected

The Skinny: Not a huge game for Posey, but not a terrible one either. With LB Takeo Spikes out for the season, I anticipated Posey stepping up his game. Who I should have listed as the sleeper Bill LB was Spikes’ replacement, Angelo Crowell, who logged 5 solo tackles and a couple of assisted tackles. Keep an eye on both Crowell and Posey moving forward.

Robert Thomas (GB)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles

The Skinny: It was the Nick Barnett Show on Monday night (13 tackles). Heck, even the usual light-tackling KGB logged 7 solos. Thomas will continue to be a solid sleeper, as the Packers continue to struggle and their defense will be relied upon to make plays.

Defensive Line

Terrell Suggs (BAL)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 5 assisted tackles, 0.5 sack

The Skinny: Well, well, well. Look who finally showed up with a sack (well, just a half sack). Good game for Suggs, as expected, as the Ravens controlled the decimated and hapless Jets. The Ravens defense got a huge boost in playing the Jets, and will continue to dominate as the season progresses.

Raheem Brock ( IND)

The Fat: Nothing.

The Skinny: The Indianapolis defense is for real, folks. They controlled and even toyed with the Titan offense all day. What was a mild surprise is they only got to Titan QB Steve McNair twice on Sunday. With DE Dwight Freeney commanding attention on the other side, Brock’s worth the risk any week, as he’s adept at sacking the QB.

Mike Rucker (CAR)

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

The Skinny: That stat line would certainly have helped out any fantasy team stuck in a bind at DE Week 4. As expected, the Packer offensive line was overly worried with stud DE Julius Peppers, and Rucker was able to get to QB Brett Favre.

Ryan Pickett (STL)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles

The Skinny: The Giant offensive line did a superb job of holding off the Ram front 7 on Sunday.

Grant Wistrom (SEA)

The Fat: 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: Hello? Mr. Wistrom? Are you there? Wow. What an utter disappointment. As expected, the SEA/WAS matchup was a hard-fought battle, and it was expected the defenses would win (or lose) the game. Wistrom had no luck in stuffing Redskin RB Clinton Portis or getting to the veteran QB Mark Ryp… I mean Brunell.

Marques Douglas (SF)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: I guess you could have done worse (see Wistrom, above). It was a mild surprise that Cardinal QB Josh McCown had so much success on Sunday night. I guess the Niners pass defense (secondary AND pass rush) is pretty bad.

Defensive Backs

Eugene Wilson (NE)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: SS replacement Guss Scott stepped in for the injured Rodney Harrison and outperformed the Patriot FS Wilson. Both Scott and Wilson will be worth a look in most IDP leagues. One more game from Scott like this past Sunday’s (5 solo tackles and 2 assisted tackles), and he won’t be on your league’s waiver wire long.

Darrent Williams (DEN)

The Fat: Nothing.

The Skinny: Williams was made inactive for Sunday’s game, and his replacement, rookie Dominique Foxworth, had a stellar game (6 solo tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery). The Bronco secondary’s situation is almost as frustrating as their RB situation normally is. Steer clear until further notice.

Nick Harper ( IND)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles

The Skinny: As discussed above (Raheem Brock), the Titans had no chance of keeping up with the Colts on Sunday. A little more success from the Titan passing game, and Harper’s tackle total could have been much higher.

Keion Carpenter (ATL)

The Fat: Nothing.

The Skinny: How can a starting SS on a good defensive team, facing a team that throws the ball 34 times not have a single tackle? Carpenter shadowed Viking TE Jermaine Wiggins, who only had 3 catches, logging only 25 yards, which leads you to believe he was tackled by the Falcon LB corps, before he could get into Carpenter’s coverage.

C.C. Brown (HOU)

The Fat: 6 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Finally, one of my deeper sleepers comes to play! As mentioned before, the Texan defense is going to be on the field a ton this season, as their offense continues to sputter like a 1972 Pinto.

Will Allen (NYG)

The Fat: 4 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: You could have done worse (see Carpenter, above). As far as DBs go, you typically want to go with safeties, but in leagues where you MUST start CBs, Allen is certainly worthy of being a weekly sleeper, if not more.

Got a comment? Suggestion? Deep sleeper I’m missing or should keep an eye on? Email me at huddledarin@yahoo.com.