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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

IDP Sleeper Report - Week 16
Darin Tietgen
December 21, 2005

Big congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely moved on to the next (and most likely final) round of your fantasy league’s playoffs. Since you’ll need to squeeze out every last point to secure a championship, hopefully these sleepers will help you out if you’re looking for a boost or injury replacement. It’s been a fantastic inaugural season for The Huddle’s IDP Sleeper Report. I honestly hope it’s helped you and you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing it to you every Wednesday.

This Week’s Sleepers

Linebackers

Larry Foote (PIT) – It’s been rather difficult (outside of James Farrior) to determine which Steeler LB is on track for a big game week to week. Well, Foote has put up three straight weeks of double-digit fantasy scoring (increasing his totals each week), and the weather in Cleveland Saturday calls for very chilly temperatures, rain and snow showers. That equals out to plenty of running from the Browns, and probably a few turnovers.

Leroy Hill (SEA) – Hill gets a repeat week on the IDP Report. The Hawk rookie LB has generally flown under the radar, as fellow rookie LB Lofa Tatupu gets all the ink (rightfully so). But Hill has three straight weeks of double-digit fantasy scoring himself. Plus, the Hawks host the 13-1 Indianapolis Colts, who will apparently be resting starters.

Trev Faulk (STL) – The “other” Faulk in St. Louis is starting in the middle for the Rams’ defense that seems to always be on the field due to the fact they give up so much yardage. Faulk had 10 solo tackles against the hapless Eagles last week; I wouldn’t be shocked to see him put up those kind of numbers against the equally as hapless Niners this week.

Others to consider: Shawne Merriman (SD), Nick Greisen (NYG)

Defensive Line

Ty Warren (NE) – For the second week in a row, the pickin’s are ultra-thin at IDP sleepers, especially at DL. Warren, to his credit, has averaged around 7 fantasy points per game over the past three weeks, decent for a DL. Facing an up-and-down Jets offense on the final ABC Monday Night Football may bring out the best in all Patriot defenders.

Trent Cole (PHI) – After a huge Week 11 (6 tackles, 2 sacks), the rookie defensive end out of the University of Cincinnati hasn’t logged less than 6 fantasy points per game. Not mind-blowing numbers, but consider the Eagles face the Josh McCown-led Arizona Cardinals in sunny Tempe this week.

Raheem Brock ( IND) – All indications are that Indy will be sitting its starters Week 16. Even if they weren’t, Brock would be a good choice this week with both DEs Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney nursing injuries.

Others to consider: Bobby Hamilton (OAK), Richard Seymour (NE)

Defensive Backs

Nick Collins and Mark Roman (GB) – Both have been IDP Sleeper Report mainstays due to their “no-name” status and the fact that the Packer D gives up so many yards and opportunities to the opposing offense. Both had huge Monday night games last week, and facing a Rex Grossman-led Bear team at chilly Lambeau Field this week should spell out big numbers for both yet again.

Josh Bullocks (NO) – Why not? 2 straight weeks with 12 fantasy points scored in each, facing the Lions this week. The rookie will look to cement his spot in the starting roster next year with a couple of solid weeks to finish off this nightmare of a season for the Saints.

Dre’ Bly (SF) – The veteran had a big Week 15, and should roam free in the Lion secondary this week, defending – or simply picking off – Saint QB Todd Bouman passes and coming up to help stop the run.

Others to consider: Nathan Vasher (CHI), Bruce Thornton (SF)

Last Week’s Sleepers – Report Card

Linebackers

Shantee Orr (HOU)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle, 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: Well yuck. I guess Orr and the rest of the Texan LB corps would have had more tackling opportunities if this were a closer game. But the Texans shockingly blew the Cardinals out, aided by a Kurt Warner injury and Josh McCown “illness”.

Leroy Hill (SEA)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 6 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Wow, 6 assists? Hill was all over the place on Sunday, leading Seahawk LBs in total tackles.

Scott Fujita (DAL)

The Fat: 6 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackles

The Skinny: In most IDP scoring formats, that’s 13 points. Could have helped in a pinch as a 3 rd LB. Bradie James led all Dallas IDPs with 9 total tackles.

Victor Hobson (NYJ)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Pretty off day for the Jet LBs, even Jonathan Vilma (4 solos, 2 assists). Look for the Jet LBs to increase their output next week against the Pats.

Ronald McKinnon (NO)

The Fat: 8 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: For some odd reason, McKinnon didn’t start this game. But he certainly played well. In other Saint news, DL Charles Grant came alive with 7 solo tackles, 4 assisted tackles and a fumble recovery. If by chance he got dropped this season, he can help you out next week.

Defensive Line

Paul Spicer (JAC)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle

The Skinny: Maybe the Jags SHOULD bring this guy off the bench. When he’s a sub, he puts up good numbers. He started against the Niners this past week, given his nice streak of games, and only put up one tackle. Ugh.

Bobby Hamilton (OAK)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles

The Skinny: Holy moly the Raiders are bad. Just bad. He’ll remain a solid sleeper for the rest of the season given his propensity to get to the QB.

Chike Okeafor (ARI)

The Fat: 2 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: The Texans somehow contained Okeafor. They did give up 3 sacks (2 to the other DE Antonio Smith), though.

Marcus Tubbs (SEA)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle

The Skinny: There really wasn’t much to choose from in terms of DL sleepers (and IDP sleepers in general) last week. Took a stab in the dark with Tubbs, who had been getting his share of sacks recently. The Hawks, leading the NFL in sacks, surprisingly didn’t sack QB Steve McNair once.

Vonnie Holliday (MIA)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle, 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: Many of the chosen DL sleepers were obviously still sleeping this week. Vonnie, on the other hand, simply took a holiday.

Defensive Backs

Nick Ferguson (DEN)

The Fat: 4 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles

The Skinny: Despite the pretty pedantic numbers, Ferguson’s 7 total tackles led the Broncos defense. In other Bronco IDP news, Al Wilson awoke from his slumber and tallied 5 solos, an assist, a sack, and defensed 3 passes.

Jordan Babineaux (SEA)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles

The Skinny: If your league requires you to start a cornerback, those 8 points could have helped you out a bit.

Shawntae Spencer (SF)

The Fat: Bzzzzzzt

The Skinny: Mr. Spencer was declared inactive for this game. Rookie Derrick Johnson started at RCB in his stead, and logged 7 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle and 2 passes defensed.

Brian Kelly (TB)

The Fat: 1 solo tackle

The Skinny: Kelly was burnt all day. Stick a fork in him. He’s done.

Pierson Prioleau (WAS)

The Fat: 3 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle

The Skinny: According to NFL.com, Prioleau started at weakside linebacker. That may have affected his stats. In other Skin IDP news, they were able to sack QB Drew Bledsoe SEVEN times (4 by Phillip Daniels, 2 by Marcus Washington).


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).