Wow, the past 5 weeks have just flown by. Definitely some surprises out there, team-wise and fantasy stat wise. Injuries have really bitten many teams and that will affect both sides of the ball on a game-by-game basis. Go ahead and put those Cardinals, Packers, Eagles and Niners on your bench this week, unless your league scores for hours napped or square feet of grass cut. Those teams are on bye. Now, after that nugget of wisdom, my sleepers should sparkle like diamonds. Good luck to you in Week 6. May your DL guys log many sacks, your LBs many tackles, and your DBs many picks.
This Week’s Sleepers
DeMarcus Ware (DAL) – The stud Dallas rookie only has 15 tackles through 5 games, but has logged 3 sacks. Expect the Dallas front seven to try and put pressure on the surging QB Eli Manning. The Cowboys may not have the speed on the other side of the line to contend with TE Jeremy Shockey and pass-catching RB Tiki Barber, so Ware may be doing more than just pressuring the QB.
Angelo Crowell (BUF) – Sort of a “no duh” upgrade/sleeper here, as he’s replaced LB Takeo Spikes and has certainly made the most of it. Their Week 6 opponent, the Jets, will look to control the ball with RB Curtis Martin and the West Coast inspired short passing game. Crowell and his linebacker buddies should have a busy afternoon.
Junior Seau (MIA) – This inter-state battle should be a defensive struggle, and with whichever Buc RB gets the majority of the carries, the Dolphin LBs should be busy. Rookie RB Carnell Williams is a tough inside runner, which will mean the Fin LBs will be busy in run support. Backup Buc RB Michael Pittman is more of an outside guy and pass receiver, so the Fin LBs would certainly be asked to spy on the multi-dimensional RB. Seau was limited by a calf injury prior to last week’s game, but should be good to go come Sunday.
Others to consider: David Thornton (IND), Daryl Smith and Akin Ayodele (JAC)
Jared Allen (KC) – The Chiefs’ Week 6 opponent, the Redskins, will certainly look to control the ball on the ground to keep the high-flying Chief offense off the field as much as possible. Look for Allen to step up in run support and get to Redskin veteran QB Mark Brunell.
Osi Umenyiora (NYG) – This guy should not be eligible for this list, that is, if you were going off preseason rankings, but he’s been somewhat disappointing thus far. That said, if he’s on your leagues’ waiver wire, he’s certainly worth a look. Fellow DE Michael Strahan appears to be healthy and back to his dominant ways. That should open things up on the other side for Umenyiora. Should be an exciting battle against their rivals from Dallas, Texas.
Bryce Fisher (SEA) – Lemme just throw this blanket statement out there: go ahead and start any worthy IDP against Houston. Especially solid sack-artists, as Houston gives up sacks left and right. Fisher has 3 sacks in 5 games. Expect that number to go up.
Others to consider: Ian Scott (CHI), Chris Kelsay (BUF), Mike Rucker (CAR)
Derrick Gibson (OAK) – Rivalry game alert!!! The Silver & Black host their AFC buddies from Southern California, the San Diego Chargers. This game is ALWAYS exciting, with big plays on both sides of the ball. With Charger RB LaDainian Tomlinson finally getting the workload he deserves, he will have the ball often. That said, Gibson, who has 25 tackles thus far in 2005, will be asked to provide run support and support in the short passing game. If by chance Gibson’s on your league’s waiver wire, this is the week to pick him up and use him. If he’s on your bench, you should seriously consider starting him unless you have ultra-studs ahead of him.
Marlon McCree (CAR) – Who? Yeah, thought so. Well, if Lion QB Joey Harrington is his normal Joey Harrington self, you might hear this name more than once come Sunday. The Panther SS, who has effectively replaced rookie Thomas Davis as the starting SS, has 26 tackles and a couple picks already this season. He should have a solid outing.
Daylon McCutcheon (CLE) – Hey this guy is on the waiver wire in my 10-team IDP league, so he might be on yours. Here’s a news flash: Raven QB Anthony Wright isn’t very good. Another news flash: Cleveland’s defense has been playing pretty good. Add those together and you might just see McCutcheon with 5-6 tackles and a pick on Sunday.
Others to consider: Charles Tillman (CHI), Michael Hawthorne (STL), Kelly Herndon (SEA)
Last Week’s Sleepers – Report Card
Chad Brown (NE)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles
The Skinny: It’s rather difficult picking which Patriot LB is going to have the “big game”. In this case, it surely wasn’t Brown. Didn’t help that Falcon QB Michael Vick sat this one out. Brown may have seen a higher tackle total in chasing down the speedy Falcon signal caller.
Earl Holmes (DET)
The Fat: 4 solo tackles, 4 assisted tackles, 1 forced fumble
The Skinny: A very solid effort from Holmes. If he’s somehow still on your league’s waiver wire, get him now. If he’s been on your bench, maybe you should consider starting him.
Akin Ayodele (JAX)
The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 fumble recovery
The Skinny: An all-around solid effort for Ayodele. Would have liked to see more tackles, though, especially with stud Jag LB Mike Peterson having a pretty quiet night.
Marcus Washington (WAS)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 3 solo tackles
The Skinny: Strange game. The Redskins really didn’t have anyone with high tackle totals, including Washington. In other news, frequent IDP Sleeper Report veteran Darrent Williams (Bronco DB) had a huge day (7 solo tackles and a pass defended). Thanks for showing up a week late, pal.
Lofa Tatupu (SEA)
The Fat: 9 solo tackles, 1 INT/pass defended
The Skinny: The Yahtzee of the week. If by chance he’s STILL on your league’s waiver wire, go get him. He was slated as a sleeper in the preseason, and he’s had good games and he’s had so-so games. He’s got skills – grab him if you can.
Demorrio Williams (ATL)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 1 INT/pass defended
The Skinny: Even with fellow Falcon Keith Brooking having an outstanding day, Williams turned in a great effort. LB Edgerton Hartwell was supposed to be the budding star for the Falcon defense, but it’s turning out to be Williams. Give him a look.
Kalimba Edwards (DET)
The Fat: 4 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 sack
The Skinny: Looking for a solid sleeper DL? Here’s your guy. Detroit’s D is not that bad, and especially when they play teams like the Ravens, with obvious offensive issues, Edwards and a host of other Lion defenders are solid plays.
Jevon Kearse (PHI)
The Fat: 1 assisted tackle
The Skinny: Huh? Whoa, what happened? Well, many pundits said the Eagles may be looking past the up-and-down Cowboys in this game, and darnit, they were right. The Cowboys totally controlled this game, and the Eagle D looked confused. Kearse is definitely not the player he once was. Stay far away until further notice.
Randy Starks (TEN)
The Fat: 1 solo tackle
The Skinny: Playing next to the white-hot Kyle Vanden Bosch, I thought Starks would have more opportunities to get to Texan QB David Carr and/or log a good number of tackles. Maybe next week?
Shaun Ellis (NYJ)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, ½ sack
The Skinny: Not a huge outing for Ellis, but if you were in a bind and picked him up, he was definitely a nice surprise.
Monte Reagor ( IND)
The Fat: 4 solo tackles, 1 sack
The Skinny: A very solid outing for Reagor. Another IDP Sleeper Report veteran, Robert Mathis, also had a solid outing at the DL slot (6 combined tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pass defended and 1 forced fumble).
Orpheus Roye (CLE)
The Fat: 5 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackles
The Skinny: This guy is logging a ton of tackles from the DE spot. If Kyle Vanden Bosch has been grabbed in your league (which is likely), and you desperately need a solid DE with good tackling stats, take a look at Roye.
Mark Roman (GB)
The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 pass defended
The Skinny: Wow, what a complete shock. Sure, we all knew the Saints had troubles, but then again, so did the Packers. Roman had a pretty average statistical day, so he might still be on your league’s waiver wire. If so, he’s a solid add as a strong safety on a defense that should see its fair share of field time.
Kerry Rhoades (NYJ)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle
The Skinny: The Jet linebackers dominated the tackle statistics on Sunday in a hard-fought battle with the Bucs. With Buc rookie RB Caddy Williams in the shop for repairs, it was assumed QB Brian Griese would do his fair share of passing, thereby giving Rhoades and fellow safety Erik Coleman plenty of tackling opportunities. That ended up not being the case.
Chris Hope (PIT)
The Fat: 7 solo tackles
The Skinny: This one was all about the safeties. Stud DB Troy Polamalu was all over the field on Monday night, and fellow safety Hope had himself a very solid game indeed. If you wanna get a piece of the Pittsburgh D, you might just find Hope on your league’s waiver wire.
Deon Grant (JAX),
The Fat: 6 solo tackles
The Skinny: In most IDP leagues, where tackles are worth 2 points, Grant’s 12 points would have been a solid bye week or injury replacement.
Jason David ( IND)
The Fat: No tackles, but intercepted a pass and defended 2 others
The Skinny: Like we all anticipated, the rookie Niner QB Alex Smith had a rough outing. Would have been better if he completed more than 9 of his 23 passes; thereby allowing David and his defensive backfield mates to log some tackles.
Lamont Thompson (TEN)
The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackles
The Skinny: Nothing special here. Keith Bulluck, once again, was a tackling machine. Plus, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch was all over the place in controlling the run and rushing Texan QB David Carr.
Got a comment? Suggestion? Deep sleeper I’m missing or should keep an eye on? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.