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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

IDP Sleeper Report - Week 14
Darin Tietgen
December 7, 2005

As those long-haired rockers once said, welcome to the jungle! Now is when every decision really, really matters. It’s playoff time, ladies and gentlemen. Buckle your seat belts. Hold on. Get ready. GO!

This Week’s Sleepers

Linebackers

Chris Draft (CAR) – Dan Morgan hasn’t played in two weeks, and looks like he’ll sit out again, opening the door for Draft to have another solid game. The Panthers face NFC South rival the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. Figure Draft will again be busy tackling.

Donnie Spragan (MIA) – If Zach Thomas is out again (he’s supposedly improving), Spragan may have another good game. Channing Crowder was supposed to step up his game with Thomas out, but it’s been Spragan (6 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 sack last week) who’s been making the plays. Miami faces a surging Charger team here this week, which will feature multi-faceted stud RB Ladainian Tomlinson and TE Antonio Gates. If Spragan gets the start, he could put up some big tackle numbers.

Bart Scott & Tommy Polley (BAL) – There’s a good chance at least one of these guys is still on your league’s waiver wire. They’ve both been performing admirably with Ray Lewis out. Polley has been more consistent, while Scott has come out with monster numbers in a few games. Either way, Baltimore travels to Denver this weekend to face a Bronco team that will throw the kitchen sink – in terms of running the football – at the Ravens.

Others to consider: Chaun Thompson (CLE), Ronald McKinnon (NO)

Defensive Line

Bobby Hamilton (OAK) – Yeah I’ll put him on this list again. This time, I’ll give him top billing. He and the Raiders have a favorable matchup: against the Jets. And, he’s been super-hot: 14 and 15 fantasy points the last two weeks.

Rocky Bernard (SEA) – So he only had 1 tackle last week in the snow against the Eagles, but before that, he turned out efforts of 16 and 9 fantasy points. This week, the Seahawks face the Niners at home. Cha-ching!

Kendrick Clancy (NYG) – OK you can add Philadelphia to the list of “play D-linemen versus this team” list, which includes the likes of Houston, San Francisco, the Jets, and now the Eagles. Eagle QB Mike McMahon may be benched in favor of the super studly Ty (or is it Koy) Detmer. Yikes. Go ahead and play the Giant stud DLs (Umenyiora and Strahan), but don’t be afraid to throw Clancy out there if you’re in a bind. He has put up nearly 10 fantasy points per game over the past month

Others to consider: Ryan Pickett (STL), C.J. Mosley (MIN)

Defensive Backs

Brent Alexander (NYG) – After watching what the Seahawk secondary was able to do against the Eagles on Monday night, you gotta think Alexander and the rest of the Giant secondary should also perform admirably against this struggling Eagle franchise. Oh, and Alexander has averaged 13 fantasy points over his past two games.

Deon Grant (JAC) – Grant had a pretty bland fantasy outing last week, but a very solid outing the week prior. Jacksonville’s defense will need to be firing on all cylinders if they have any chance of contending with the vaunted Colt offense. Figure he’ll be in on a good number of tackles if nothing else.

Eric Warfield (KC) – Warfield was on this list last week, and he didn’t disappoint. This week, the improved Kansas City Chiefs travel to Dallas, to face a team that should at least attempt to air it out a bit.

Others to consider: Carlos Rogers (WAS), Nick Collins (GB)

Last Week’s Sleepers – Report Card

Linebackers

Jeff Posey (BUF)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles

The Skinny: The Dolphins abandoned their normal run-first offense after the Bills jumped out to a big, early lead. That, and London Fletcher was gobbling up tackles faster than leftover turkey.

Brandon Moore (SF)

The Fat: 4 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 2 sacks, 1 pass defensed

The Skinny: I failed to mention last week that Moore had been seeing time at defensive end with the injuries to the Niner front seven. He started at end (although he’s LB-eligible, per MyFantasyLeague.com) and had a huge game. As we all know, the Niner offense is deplorable, so their defense will see a ton of field time, thereby giving more opportunities for Moore and the rest of the Niner D.

Ronald McKinnon (NO)

The Fat: 7 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1 pass defensed

The Skinny: With Courtney Watson out for the season, the veteran McKinnon has stepped in at MLB and has posted admirable stats. As with the Niners, the Saints’ offensive woes have given their defense plenty of time on the field.

Paris Lenon and Na’il Diggs (GB)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle (Lenon)

The Skinny: Well, first of all, Diggs was inactive for Sunday’s game. Second of all, I am through recommending any Packer linebacker not named Nick Barnett. And he’s hardly a sleeper. Move along.

Defensive Line

Anthony Weaver and Jarret Johnson (BAL)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1 pass defensed (Johnson)

The Skinny: Another blown opportunity. Weaver was inactive for Sunday’s game. We all knew the Texans would give up sacks, but it was the Raven “studs” (Suggs, Thomas and Scott) who got to Texan QB David Carr 5 times. Johnson still had a pretty solid tackling game for a defensive lineman.

Richard Seymour (NE)

The Fat: 1 pass defensed

The Skinny: Oh. I forgot just how bad the Jets are. The Patriots didn’t really even have to play pressure defense in this one. No need to tackle guys when they’re falling over each other and/or throwing incomplete passes.

Rocky Bernard (SEA)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle

The Skinny: Oops. Well, umm. I’m sure you all saw Monday Night’s game. It was a mess. If it were a REAL game, perhaps Bernard would have put up some numbers. I’m gonna recommend him again, just so you know.

Rob Meier (JAC)

The Fat: 3 assisted tackles

The Skinny: I still don’t know why the Jags aren’t starting this guy. Perhaps their d-line is really just that good. Either way, this guy serves as a nice spark off the Jag bench, as evidenced by his 3 helper tackles. Not great stats, though, especially since he had a few weeks in a row where he posted pretty big numbers.

Bobby Hamilton (OAK)

The Fat: 5 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

The Skinny: Even with Raider LB Kirk Morrison tackling left and right, and a host of other Raiders posting solid tackle numbers, the big DE still had a nice game tackling, and forced the Bolts’ lone turnover on a sack.

Defensive Backs

Eugene Wilson (NE)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle

The Skinny: See Seymour, above. The Jets stink.

Lamont Thompson (TEN)

The Fat: 4 solo tackles

The Skinny: We all knew that the Colts would probably limit their mistakes (INTs, fumbles, bad passes), but I figured Thompson’s tackle total would be closer to 7 or 8.

Nick Ferguson (DEN)

The Fat: 6 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Those are pretty solid numbers. Only LB Ian Gold logged more tackles (10 solos) for the Broncos. Ferguson, and the rest of the Bronco secondary, is worth a look now that the Denver run D has been pretty good.

Stuart Schweigert (OAK)

The Fat: 5 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: Schweigert continues to post solid, yet unspectacular numbers.

Eric Warfield (KC)

The Fat: 6 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackles, 2 passes defensed

The Skinny: The best stats from a Chief DB. The Chiefs’ D has improved dramatically as of late, partially due to the play of Warfield and the rest of the secondary.

Shawntae Spencer (SF)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle, 1 assisted tackle, 1 pass defensed

The Skinny: Pretty pedestrian stats for a guy whose name was called a bunch of times on Sunday (yeah, I actually watched that game). As discussed above with Brandon Moore, the Niners’ D will be on the field a lot due to their stagnant offense. Consider Spencer when the Niners face St. Louis (Week 15) and Houston (Week 16).

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

* Note: Fantasy scoring used for this column includes forced fumbles or fumble recoveries (3 points), defensive TDs (6 points), interceptions (3 points), passes defensed (1.5 points), tackles (2 points), assisted tackles (1 point), sacks (2 points) and safeties (2 points).