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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

IDP Sleeper Report - Week 5
Darin Tietgen
October 4, 2006

Linebackers

David Thornton (TEN) – Thornton returns to Indianapolis, where he had a couple big seasons (2003-2004).  With DL Albert Haynesworth in the doghouse, the Titan D will be even more porous than usual.  This could mean big tackle totals for Thornton and the rest of the Titan LBs and DBs.  Thornton has not had less than 11 fantasy points in any game this season and has 29 total tackles thus far.

Victor Hobson (NYJ) – Hobson already has a pair of sacks thus far this season.  He could certainly add to that total against the statuesque Jaguar QB Byron Leftwich.  In case he doesn’t, though, he’ll certainly be busy tackling RBs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. 

Scott Shanle (NO) – With fellow LB Scott Fujita turning all the heads, Shanle has flown under the radar, posting double-digit fantasy points in each of the first four weeks of the season.  Shanle and the rest of the Saint LBs will be running down Buc RB Caddy Williams quite a bit on Sunday.

Others to Consider:  Junior Seau (NE) and Warrick Holdman (WAS)

Defensive Linemen

Tamba Hali (DE – KC) – Hali is now starting opposite Jared Allen and has looked very solid thus far.  He could certainly duplicate his efforts against the Niners last week (3 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble) against rookie Cardinal QB Matt Leinart here this week.

Kendrick Clancy (DT – ARI) – Clancy has games of 13 and 11 fantasy points, respectively, the past two weeks.  He should be able to penetrate the Chief line and get to QB Damon Huard. 

Others to Consider:  Aaron Smith (DE – PIT) and Brian Young (DT – NO)

Defensive Backs

Oshiomogho Atogwe (S – STL) – The man with the very strange name gets another very strong recommendation here this week.  He’s posted no less than 12 fantasy points per game so far this season and will face the gunslinger Brett Favre and the Packers in Week 5.  He has an INT in each of the past two games and could easily make it 3 for 3 with the way Favre has been throwing the ball. 

Richard Marshall (CB – CAR) – Marshall got the start over Ken Lucas, who is nursing a couple of injuries.  The rookie should get the start again after a huge Week 4, against the vanilla offense of the Cleveland Browns.  If, by chance, Lucas’ health improves and gets the start, Marshall shouldn’t be started in fantasy leagues.

Dwight Smith (S – MIN) – Smith has had some “attitude” problems lately, but he’s performed well on the field.  He’s improved his fantasy scoring in each of the three games he’s played so far this season (12, 13 and 14 fantasy points).  In facing the Mike Martz offense of the Detroit Lions, he should have plenty of opportunities in Week 5’s matchup.

Others to Consider:  Antoine Bethea (IND; if Doss is out or traded) and Fakhir Brown (STL)

Week 4 Report Card

Linebackers

Landon Johnson (CIN) – 1 solo tackle, 4 assisted tackles (5 fantasy points).  Interestingly, the Bengals started Johnson on the strong side to match up with Patriot TE Ben Watson, and started Caleb Miller at the weak side.  Miller ended up reaping the benefits Johnson should have had, amassing 13 total tackles and a pass defensed.  Recommendation:  If they continue to start Johnson on the strong side, he will have little to no fantasy value.  If he moves back to the weak side, he’ll remain a solid sleeper.

Shawn Barber (PHI) – 3 solo tackles, 1 pass defensed (7.5 fp).  Barber has moved to the backup LB role, despite a few solid efforts so far this season.  Recommendation:  Leave him on your league’s waiver wire unless there’s a significant injury to an Eagle LB.

Shaun Philips (SD) – 7 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery (22 fp).  Huge day for Philips.  Philips led the team in tackles and logged one of the two sacks on Raven QB Steve McNair.  Recommendation:  In certain situations, Philips is a very solid option as a third LB. 

Thomas Davis (CAR) – 3 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 1 pass defensed (10.5 fp).  I don’t normally recommend strong-side LBs, but Davis has big-game potential.  Not a huge game here, but in a pinch, the double-digit fantasy points could have helped.  Recommendation:  If he starts putting up big numbers, or even consecutive decent numbers, it may be time to add him.

Gilbert Gardner (IND) – 4 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle (9 fp).  Even with fellow LBs Cato June and Gary Brackett having monstrous games, Gardner had a decent day tackling Jet runners and receivers. Recommendation:  Only consider him in the deepest of leagues in certain situations (bye weeks, injury fill-ins).

Defensive Linemen

Tyler Brayton (DE - OAK) – 3 solo tackles, 1 forced fumble (9 fp).  Fellow DE Derrick Burgess had a huge game, but Brayton did well himself.  Recommendation:  As I’ve stated before, DL is super-thin this season, so any edge you can get in picking up hot fantasy defensive lineman could prove big. Brayton’s worth a look if he can continue to tackle and get to the QB.

Victor Adeyanju (DE – STL) – 4 solo tackles (8 fp).  Adeyanju, the rookie DE from Indiana, is now starting with Tony Hargrove having “personal issues”.  Recommendation:  Keep on eye on the rookie.  He’s posted consecutive solid efforts as the starter. 

Keith Traylor (DT – MIA) – 2 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1 forced fumble (8 fp).  Fellow interior lineman Vonnie Holliday had a great game, including a ridiculous 7 solos from the DT spot and a pair of sacks.  But Traylor put up solid numbers as well.  Recommendation:  It’s hard to tell when Traylor or Holliday are going to put up numbers, but with bye weeks, injuries and a shallow talent pool at DL, you could do worse.

Defensive Backs

Pat Watkins (S – DAL) – 4 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 2 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery (16 fp).  Nice game for Watkins.  Had the Titans actually done anything offensively, he may have actually had more tackles.  Recommendation:  Flying a bit under the radar, he will remain a nice weekly sleeper, especially against teams that will pass more than run.

Sean Jones (S – CLE) – 4 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 interception, 2 passes defensed (16 fp).  More games like this and Jones won’t be on waiver wires much longer.  Recommendation:  If you’re hurting at DB, Jones is a solid pickup.

Lewis Sanders (CB – HOU) – 3 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 2 passes defensed (11 fp).  Sanders was tested all day and he performed admirably.  Recommendation:  In leagues that require you start cornerbacks, Sanders is a nice sleeper. 

Marlin Jackson (CB – IND) – nothin’ (0 fp).  Jackson was ruled inactive for this game. Recommendation:  This was a matchup-based recommendation given the fact the Jets have been passing a lot.  Leave him be.

Terrence Holt (S – DET) – nothin’ (0 fp).  Inexplicably, Holt did not make one tackle against the Rams.  Recommendation:  After being included on the pre-season sleeper list and a somewhat strong start, Holt has all but disappeared.  Leave him be.