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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

IDP Game Breakdowns and Player Rater - Week 3
Darin Tietgen & Steve Gallo
September 19, 2008
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Each week, Darin Tietgen and Steve Gallo will break down each matchup and offer ratings on the more important IDPs.  This week, Darin will take the home teams and Steve tackles the away squads.  Hopefully these breakdowns and ratings will help you make some key decisions on who to start this week.  Good luck!

Rating System:
Five-Star Play: Studly performance anticipated
Four-Star Play: Solid start
Three-Star Play: Decent start or sleeper
Two-Star Play: Bench ‘em, unless you need a sleeper in a large league
One-Star Play: Bench no matter what

Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Redskins

Arizona Cardinals:
The Cardinals have been switching up by playing both the 3-4 and 4-3 and in turn dramatically affecting the value of some of their IDP players.  Travis LaBoy had a fantastic week 1 that made him a waiver wire darling that disappointed many in week 2.
The main reason being that when the Cardinals play a 4-3 it is Bert Berry that is being used instead of LaBoy.  Berry’s stat line for week 2 included 4 tackles and a sack.  LaBoy will continue to be inconsistent and really should only be rostered in very deep or large leagues.  Karlos Dansby & Gerald Hayes should be extremely busy getting to know Clinton Portis this week.  Jason Campbell is still getting used to the WCO so don’t be surprised to see Adrian Wilson post a couple of big plays this weekend.

Five-Star Plays: 
Karlos Dansby (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Adrian Wilson (DB)
Gerald Hayes (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Rod Hood (DB)
Darnell Dockett (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Antrel Rolle (DB)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Bert Berry (LB)
Travis LaBoy (LB)

Washington Redskins: 
Linebacker London Fletcher should have yet another strong game, even with this week’s opponents airing it out more than not.  The rest of the linebackers are probably weaker plays this week.  CB Fred Smoot is off to a terrific start and could have another solid game this week in defending the big Cardinal WRs. DEs Jason Taylor and Andre Carter are good plays this week, despite their slow starts.  The Cardinal offensive line has allowed 5 sacks thus far this season.  Figure they’ll give up at least 3 this week. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
London Fletcher (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Fred Smoot (DB)
Jason Taylor (DL)
Andre Carter (DL)
LaRon Landry (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Carlos Rogers (DB)
Chris Horton (DB)
Rocky McIntosh (LB)
Marcus Washington (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Cornelius Griffin (DL)
H.B. Blades (LB)


Carolina Panthers @ Minnesota Vikings

Carolina Panthers:
Versus the Vikings last week Freddie Keiaho and Gary Brackett combined for 19 tackles and this week Jon Beason and Thomas Davis should post very similar numbers.  While Richard Marshall has been a disappointment for many owners this year Chris Gamble has been a pleasant surprise.  This week with a new “real” QB at the helm for the Vikings Gamble looks to be a better play then he would have been with Tavaris Jackson at QB.  Julius Peppers should make owners happy this week when he could easily sack Guy Freotte a couple of times. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Jon Beason (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Thomas Davis (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Julius Peppers (DL)
Chris Gamble (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Ken Lucas (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Tyler Brayton (DL)
Richard Marshall (DB)

Minnesota Vikings: 
The Viking offense could get a spark with veteran QB Gus Frerotte at the helm.  Does this mean much for the Viking IDPs?  Probably not.  Against a surging Panther squad, all of the good Viking IDPs should have solid games. DE Jared Allen is the best Viking IDP play, closely followed by LB E.J. Henderson.  Both should be busy tackling the Panther RBs and pressuring QB Jake Delhomme.  DB Antoine Winfield is the best play in the backfield.  Other DBs are shaky starts.   

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Jared Allen (DL)
E.J. Henderson (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Chad Greenway (LB)
Antoine Winfield (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Ray Edwards (DL)
Cedric Griffin (DL)
Darren Sharper (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Giants

Cincinnati Bengals:
There isn’t much good about the Bengals right now.  However, Keith Rivers is one of the lone bright spots and should have a respectable game versus the Giants.  Dexter Jackson missed last week due to injury and taking his place was Chinedum Ndukwe who was returning from an injury he suffered in the preseason.  Ndukwe
made the most of his first start posting a solid 6 tackles.  Dhani Jones is another good play on the Bengals squad.  Jones is far from a great LB but he is a three down LB that is getting plenty of opportunities and turning them into tackles (20 total tackles).

Five-Star Plays: 
None

Four-Star Plays:
Dhani Jones (LB)
Keith Rivers (LB)
Chinedum Ndukwe (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Marvin White (DB)
Domata Peko (DL, in DT required leagues)
Robert Geathers (DL)
Leon Hall (DB, in CB required leagues)
Johnathan Joseph (DB, in CB required leagues)

Two-Star Plays:
Antwan Odom (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Frostee Rucker (DL)

New York Giants: 
The Giant IDPs could certainly put up big numbers against a fledgling Bengal offense.  But they also could have very average stats if the Bengals can’t get anything going offensively.  DE Justin Tuck is one of the better IDP plays this week, as he’ll definitely spend plenty of time in the Bengals’ offensive backfield.  On the other side, Mathias Kiwanuka could have an all or nothing game.  Steer clear unless you have no better options.  LB Antonio Pierce moves down the big board this week, as he’s off to a pretty slow start and this isn’t the best matchup to boot.  The DBs are simply not good plays this week, although the Bengals could be playing from behind and throwing a lot. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Justin Tuck (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Michael Johnson (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
James Butler (DB)
Kenny Phillips (DB)
Aaron Ross (DB)
Antonio Pierce (LB)
Mathias Kiwanuka (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns:
The Browns are another team that has been struggling mightily.  Sean Jones has been lost for a bit of time due to injury but Mike Adams has stepped in and produced nicely.
Adams should be very active in run support versus a run heavy attack from the Ravens.
Andra Davis and Leon Williams are back to sharing duties at ILB thus limiting the value of both.  Don’t expect much this week from either Brandon McDonald or Eric Wright due to what should be limited opportunities due to the Ravens weak passing attack.

Five-Star Plays: 
Mike Adams (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
Shawn Rodgers (DL,in DT required leagues)
Corey Williams (DL, in DT required leagues)

Three-Star Plays:
D’Qwell Jackson (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Eric Wright (DB)
Andra Davis (LB)
Leon Williams (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Brandon McDonald (DB)
Brodney Pool (DB)

Baltimore Ravens: 
The “regular Raven IDPs” worthy of weekly plays are even better plays this week.  Historically, they fare well against the Browns, they’re at home, and have had an extra week of rest and game-planning.  LB Ray Lewis is the best of the bunch, as he’ll create havoc for the Texan offense.  Expect double-digit tackles for Ray Ray.  Fellow LBs Bart Scott and Jarret Johnson (who had a solid Week 1) are marginal starts, at best, however. DE Terrell Suggs should have a solid week, despite the Brown offensive line only giving up 3 sacks thus far.  The defensive backs could be busy defending WR Andre Johnson and TE Owen Daniels.   

Five-Star Plays: 
Ray Lewis (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Terrell Suggs (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Chris McAllister (DB)
Dawan Landry (DB)
Haloti Ngata (DL – for leagues that start DT)

Two-Star Plays:
Bart Scott (LB)
Jarret Johnson (LB)
Ed Reed (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Samari Rolle (DB)


Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers

Detroit Lions:
The coaching staff for the Lions said we could expect to see more of rookie LB Jordan Dizon in week two yet that wasn’t the case.  Play it safe and leave Dizon on your bench until you see that he is actually getting playing time and producing in that time on the field.  Ernie Sims is still a top LB and should be active even against Mad Mike and his pass happy offense.  Look for Leigh Bodden to have a good statistical week this week.  Daniel Bullocks was a monster last week but should come back down to earth a bit this week.  Ikaika Alama-Francis saw his first action of the season in week 2 but should remain on your bench this week.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Ernie Sims (LB)
Leigh Bodden (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Daniel Bullocks (DB)
Cory Redding (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)
DeWayne White (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Paris Lenon (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Jordan Dizon (LB)
Akaika Alama-Francis (DL)

San Francisco 49ers: 
LB Patrick Willis had a huge Week 2, helped mainly by a late INT returned for a TD.  He’ll likely have a solid game this week as well, as the Lions may try controlling the game with the run, despite the presence of their big WR threats.  Safety Michael Lewis is always a pretty solid play, and CB Nate Clements is also a good play as he’ll be matched up against one of the Lion stud wideouts. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Patrick Willis (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
None

Three-Star Plays:
Michael Lewis (DB)
Nate Clements (DB)
Justin Smith (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Walt Harris (DB)
Mark Roman (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Manny Lawson (LB)


Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans

Houston Texans:
DeMeco Ryans owners will be happy to get him back after an unexpected early bye due to Hurricane Ike.  Ryans is a top play versus a Titans team that will look to run the ball and run it some more.  Expect to see Mario Williams keep up his torrid pace as he gets to Kerry Collins a couple of times this weekend.  Zach Diles was a waiver wire darling for many after his tremendous week one but I think those owners are going to be very disappointed at season’s end with his overall production.  Diles may be an ok play this weekend but just as easily could put up a 2 solo 1 assist week too.  Morlon Greenwood has been a huge disappointment for his owners so far but this week Greenwood should put up LB3 type numbers.  Greenwood looks to have lost his 3rd down duties which will limit his upside for the remainder of the season.

Five-Star Plays: 
DeMeco Ryans (LB)
Mario Williams (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Morlon Greenwood (DB)
Fred Bennett (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Zach Diles (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Will Demps (DB)

Tennessee Titans:
The Titans again have a stifling defense, but this season their IDPs have been frustrating fantasy owners.  LB Keith Bulluck is a shell of his former self, and even David Thornton, who produced big-time last season with Bulluck out, is off to a slow start.  That said, DL Kyle Vanden Bosch should have a monster game, as the Texan offensive line gave up 5 sacks in their opener.  The Titan defensive backs, all off to pretty good starts, are all decent plays this week as the Texans will likely be playing from behind.

Five-Star Plays: 
Kyle Vanden Bosch (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Nick Harper (DB)
Cortland Finnegan (DB)
Chris Hope (DB)
Michael Griffin (DB)
Albert Haynesworth (DL; 4-star play in leagues that start DT)

Two-Star Plays:
Keith Bulluck (LB)
David Thornton (LB)
Tony Brown (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars:
Justin Durant is the young up and comer at LB for the Jaguars but he hurt his groin last week and should remain on your bench this week.  Durant is a stud waiting to happen but you will have to be patient.  Mike Peterson was a top 5 LB not too long ago and many seem to have forgotten just how good he was.  Expect Peterson to continue his strong play with what should be a top 10 LB performance this week.  Brian Williams has posted back to back 8 tackle weeks and should continue to be a very strong play.

Five-Star Plays: 
Mike Peterson (LB)
Brian Williams (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
None

Three-Star Plays:
Rashean Mathis (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Reggie Nelson (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Derrick Harvey (DL)
Rob Meier (DL)
Quentin Groves (DL)
Paul Spicer (DL)

Indianapolis Colts: 
Are the Colts turning into a “typical” AFC South team (defense, defense, defense)?  QB Peyton Manning is obviously not himself thus far in the season, but the Colts have been winning with defense (well, they won last week).  Expect their IDPs to have solid, yet unspectacular stats against this Jag offense.  Safety Bob Sanders is out, which is a huge blow to the defense.  Antoine Bethea probably stands to gain the most with Sanders out.  He’s a decent play this week.  The best play is likely going to be LB Freddie Keiaho, who’s off to a terrific start.  His LB mate and fantasy stalwart Gary Brackett is also a solid play.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Freddie Keiaho (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Gary Brackett (LB)
Robert Mathis (DL)
Antoine Bethea (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Clint Session (LB)
Kelvin Hayden (DB)
Dwight Freeney (DL)
Raheem Brock (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Marlin Jackson (DB)


Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta Falcons

Kansas City Chiefs:
Brandon Carr is going to get his first start at CB in place of an injured Patrick Surtain.
FS Jarred Page has posted some good numbers to start the season but don’t expect him to continue that production.  The Chiefs defensive scheme will end up limiting Page’s statistical production.  Pat Thomas will be a good play this week with what should be a heavy dose of Michael Turner.  Derrick Johnson had a very nice 8 tackle game in week 2 and should have another good tackle week and could possibly add to his sack total too.

 Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Derrick Johnson (LB)
Bernard Pollard (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Pat Thomas (LB)
Brandon Carr (DB)
Tank Tyler (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)
Tamba Hali (DL)
Donnie Edwards (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Brandon Flowers (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Glenn Dorsey (DL)

Atlanta Falcons: 
If there was ever a week to throw all your Falcon IDPs in the mix, this is it.  The Chiefs are going to start third-stringer Tyler Thigpen into the fire this week in Atlanta.  The Chief running game has not done anything.  Could be a big week for the likes of John Abraham and Curtis Lofton.  The DBs may even get in on the action as the young Chief QB forces the issue downfield.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
John Abraham (DL)
Curtis Lofton (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Keith Brooking (LB)
Michael Boley (LB)
Jonathan Babineaux (DL; for leagues that start DT)

Two-Star Plays:
Lawyer Milloy (DB)
Erik Coleman (DB)
Jamaal Anderson (DL)
Chris Houston (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots

Miami Dolphins:
Channing Crowder put up Zach Thomas like numbers last week but don’t expect the same versus the Patriots this week.  Some are expecting Matt Roth to follow in Jason Taylor’s footsteps but that is being extremely optimistic.  Expect Roth to be inconsistent so he shouldn’t be anything much more than a LB4 in deeper leagues.  It is a shame that Joey Porter doesn’t produce as well as he talks trash. Look for Yeremiah Bell to bounce back from a poor week.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Channing Crowder (LB)
Yeremiah Bell (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Will Allen (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Matt Roth (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Jason Allen (DB)
Joey Porter (LB)

New England Patriots: 
A new face has stormed upon the scene and an old face has re-emerged for the Patriot defense.  LB Jerod Mayo has 26 fantasy points thus far in the 2008 season, and DB Rodney Harrison has 41, which is the third-highest total for DBs in 2008.  Both players are solid picks this week against the 0-2 Dolphins.  The Fins should have a ton of trouble keeping QB Chad Pennington upright, so DBs not named Harrison should probably ride pine for your IDP squad this week.  Richard Seymour is probably the best DL play, although you probably have better options.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Jerod Mayo (LB)
Rodney Harrison (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Adalius Thomas (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Ellis Hobbs (DB)
Deltha O’Neal (DB)
Richard Seymour (DL)
Mike Vrabel (LB)
Ty Warren (DL)

One-Star Plays:
James Sanders (DB)
Tedy Bruschi (LB)


New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos

New Orleans Saints:
Just in case you missed it or think it’s a mirage, Jonathan Vilma is officially back!  He is a must start every week unless he gets hurt.  Will Smith and Charles Grant look to struggle statistically versus a very mobile Jay Cutler.  Look for Tracy Porter to have another very good week building on his 9 tackles he posted versus the Redskins.
Roman Harper’s status will need to be monitored but even if he plays keeping him on the bench wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Five-Star Plays: 
Jonathan Vilma (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Tracy Porter (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Kevin Kaesviharn (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Will Smith (DL)
Josh Bullocks (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Charles Grant (DL)
Sedrick Ellis (DL)

Denver Broncos: 
Should be a decent week for the Bronco IDPs as they host a Saint team which will throw the ball all over the field (despite the absence of their best wideout) as well as use the run game.  LB D.J. Williams has got off to an alright start, but will need to be on point this week should the Bronco D have any chance at staving off the potent Saint offense.  DB Champ Bailey is probably the best Bronco IDP play this week, as he’ll look to put up two solid weeks in a row.   Look for the other Bronco LBs to put up startable numbers.  The Bronco DL should be avoided, as the Saint OL will protect QB Drew Brees and Reggie Bush tends to bounce outside the tackles on his runs.  And he’s sorta fast.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Champ Bailey (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
D.J. Williams (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Nate Webster (LB)
Marlon McCree (DB)
Elvis Dumervil (DL)
John Engelberger (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Dre Bly (DB)


Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills

Oakland Raiders:
A Bill’s running attack led by Marshawn Lynch will make for a very nice week for both Kirk Morrison and Thomas HowardGibril Wilson should see a bounce back week and post solid stats also.  Derrick Burgess isn’t a flashy big name but he is a very solid DL and a must start this week.

Five-Star Plays: 
Kirk Morrison (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Thomas Howard (LB)
Derrick Burgess (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Gibril Wilson (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
DeAngelo Hall (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Nnamdi Asomugha (DB)

Buffalo Bills: 
The Bill defense has looked darn good to start the season, holding opponents to an average of 13 points per game.  LB Paul Posluszny is looking like a star, and is one of the best IDP starts this week as he defends both the run and the pass.  Hard-hitting DB Donte Whitner will also be a good play as he comes up to help against the run.  DL Aaron Schobel is a must-start every week, and should rebound from a pretty weak Week 2.  None of the other Bill IDPs are startable, unless you’re in a bind, or your league scores for kick returns (CB Terrence McGee has been solid thus far).   

Five-Star Plays: 
Paul Posluszny (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Aaron Schobel (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Donte Whitner (DB)
Terrence McGee (DB; in leagues that give points for kick return stats)

Two-Star Plays:
Kawika Mitchell (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Marcus Stroud (DL)


Pittsburg Steelers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburg Steelers:
Troy Polamalu should be very busy this week versus the pass happy Eagles.  James Harrison won’t have a week like he did in week one but a 4-5 tackle day is likely.  Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden should also have productive days in the Steelers secondary.  James Farrior showed he isn’t done but he surely isn’t the stud he once was.  Farrior will probably struggle to meet the production that Zach Thomas had last week versus the Eagles.

Five-Star Plays: 
Troy Polamalu (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
Ike Taylor (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Bryant McFadden (DB)
James Harrison (LB)
James Farrior (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
LaMarr Woodley (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Larry Foote (LB)

Philadelphia Eagles: 
Another week, another tough matchup for the Eagles and their IDPs.  Last week they had to contend with Barber, Witten, and that TO guy in a Monday Night shootout.  This week, it’s a far different set of tasks, but difficult nonetheless.  LB Stewart Bradley started the season off hot, but had a bad Week 2.  He should return to form this week, especially if he can somehow keep up with Fast Willie Parker.  DL Trent Cole has been a total disappointment this season, and you shouldn’t expect a huge game here.  The DBs should have some opportunities to make plays, with Quintin Mikell and Asante Samuel being the best bets.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Stewart Bradley (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Quintin Mikell (DB)
Asante Samuel (DB)
Trent Cole (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Omar Gaither (LB)
Brian Dawkins (DB)
Mike Patterson (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Asante Samuel (DB)


St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks

St. Louis Rams:
Will Witherspoon looks to be poised for a big game at LB this week.  Versus the Seahawks Patrick Willis had a phenomenal game and “Spoon” should follow suit.
The Rams secondary has been torched but this week you have to ask yourself if the Seahawks will even have WRs to run into the Rams secondary.  James Hall has done a good job subbing for an injured Leonard Little and versus the Seahawks he should continue his solid production.

Five-Star Plays: 
Will Witherspoon (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
James Hall (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Corey Chavous (DB)
O.J.  Atogowe (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Tye Hill (DB)
Pisa Tinoisamoa (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Chris Draft (LB)

Seattle Seahawks: 
Should be another cupcake matchup for the Seahawks, both on offense and defense, against the Rams.  DL Patrick Kerney is off to a good start, possibly in part to rookie Lawrence Jackson running rough-shod on the other side.  Both are fine starts this week.  LB Lofa Tatupu hasn’t had a big game yet, but could easily break out this week.  The DBs may not be great plays as the Ram offense will struggle mightily.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Patrick Kerney (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Lawrence Jackson (DL)
Lofa Tatupu (LB)
Julian Peterson (LB)
Marcus Trufant (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Leroy Hill (LB)
Rocky Bernard (DL)
Darryl Tapp (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Tampa Bay Bucaneers @ Chicago Bears

Tampa Bay Bucaneers:
Derrick Brooks consecutive starting streak was in jeopardy last week but he did play but was a statistically poor play.  Brooks was once a no brainer start but that is no longer the case and this week you should look for a better option.  Gaines Adams logged two sacks last week and he should harass Kyle Orton this week.  Rhonde Barber like Brooks used to be a no brainer must start but again that isn’t the case anymore.  Look for Barrett Ruud to continue to build on a very nice start to the season.  Jovan Haye has been a disappointment but against a strong Bears running game expect Haye to make owners happy this week.

Five-Star Plays: 
Barrett Ruud (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Jovan Haye (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)

Three-Star Plays:
Jermaine Phillips (DB)
Rhonde Barber (DB)
Cato June (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Tanard Jackson (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Derrick Brooks (LB)

Chicago Bears: 
After putting the smack down on the Colts Week 1, the Bear defense took a step back in allowing the Carolina Panthers (without WR Steve Smith) 20 points.  This should be a bloodbath as the Bears pressure QB Brian Griese into making bad throws.  LB Brian Urlacher has been a bit disappointing, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him top 20 fantasy points this week.  Fellow LB Lance Briggs is a great play, as will be Charles Tillman as he faces off against an under-matched WR corps.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Brian Urlacher (LB)
Lance Briggs (LB)
Charles Tillman (CB)

Three-Star Plays:
Adawale Ogunleye (DL)
Alex Brown (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Kevin Payne (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Tommie Harris (DL)


Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers

Dallas Cowboys:
Don’t buy into the Adam Jones hype mainly because he has been demoted from the starting lineup.  Zach Thomas has posted decent numbers and should be a solid start versus the Packers.  DeMarcus Ware is an inconsistent option at LB and this week he finds himself with a tough matchup versus a mobile Aaaron Rodgers.  Pat Watkins will replacing Roy Williams (broken forearm) due to injury but his statistical production should be limited.  It is Ken Hamlin that looks to be the best play at safety for the Cowboys.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Zach Thomas (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
DeMarcus Ware (LB)
Ken Hamlin (DB)
Terrance Newman (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Greg Ellis (LB)
Anthony Henry (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Adam Jones (DB)

Green Bay Packers: 
The Packer defense has looked pretty good in its first two games, but faces a huge challenge in hosting the high-flying Dallas offense to the not-so-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field on Sunday night.  If last week – a matchup of two pretty solid defenses in the Eagles and Cowboys – was any indication, this game should be a shoot-out.  But that doesn’t mean you sit your IDPs.  They will figure into this ball game.  Expect LBs Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk to be supremely busy as they defend TE Jason Witten and (somehow) take down RB Marion Barber.  CB Charles Woodson has looked pretty good thus far in 2008, but faces the daunting task of running with TO.  The safety position is affected by injury and should probably be avoided unless you have no better options.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Nick Barnett (LB)
A.J. Hawk (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Aaron Kampman (DL)
Charles Woodson (CB)

Two-Star Plays:
Aaron Rouse (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


New York Jets @ San Diego Chargers

New York Jets:
David Harris seems to be short changing owners on what they expected from him this year.  However, what many don’t realize is that while Harris isn’t posting monster games like last year he is on pace to log 104 total tackles.  Expect to see Harris make owners realize why they drafted him as early as they did this year.  Eric Barton has been a pleasant surprise but expect him to come back down to earth.  Kris Jenkins is healthy and a must start in leagues that require DT’s.  LT may not be 100% but the Jets will still see their fair share of running plays this week.  You might be surprised to know that so far this year Eric Smith has out tackled Kerry Rhodes.  Expect to see the Chargers test Dwight Lowery which could lead to a very good week for the rookie.

Five-Star Plays: 
David Harris (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Kris Jenkins (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)

Three-Star Plays:
Eric Barton (LB)
Dwight Lowery (DB)
Eric Smith (DB)
Kerry Rhodes (DB)
Darrelle Reevis (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Bryan Thomas (LB)
Calvin Pace (LB)
Kenyon Coleman (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Shaun Ellis (DL)

San Diego Chargers: 
The Bolts are 0-2 after two extremely heartbreaking weeks.  Look for them to come out with guns blazing, despite the loss of their “heart and soul” on defense.  Without a “true leader”, however, the stats could be spread out amongst their defenders. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Matt Wilhelm (LB)
Shaun Phillips  (LB)
Clinton Hart (DB)
Quentin Jammer (DB)
Antonio Cromartie (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Eric Weddle (DB)
Jyles Tucker (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Luis Castillo (DL)

Other Features
IDP Player Rankings
IDP Sleepers
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