Welcome to the third installment of The Huddle’s IDP Hot and Not. Check us out every other week, where we’ll give you a flavor of what IDPs are hot and look to continue their streaks and which ones are not that you might consider benching in coming weeks or dropping altogether.
Zach Diles (HOU) – While it may not be advisable to play Diles in leagues that only start a couple of IDPs, those in regular IDP league that start multiple linebackers should look at Diles as a solid #2 fantasy LB. He doesn’t line up in the most productive spot, traditionally, but is putting up consistent tackling numbers. The Texans have matchups that favor their IDPs in the next several weeks, so get him in your lineup.
Dhani Jones (CIN) – Jones isn’t necessarily “hot”, but he’s darn consistent. No less than 14 fantasy points thus far in the 2008 season, and can easily put up 20+ holding down the MLB spot for one of the NFL’s worst teams. The Bengals’ IDPs should put up good stats in their next few matchups, so feel free to plug Jones in your lineup and get an easy 15 fantasy points.
Stephen Cooper (SDC) – I answered a reader’s question about adding Cooper or sticking with the Titans’ John Thornton. At first, I started to answer the question with Thornton as my choice. He’s a steady tackler on a terrific defense. But then analyzing a bit further, it became evident that it was all Thornton was really capable of: tackling. He, unlike Cooper, appears unable to fill up the stat box in terms of forcing or recovering fumbles, picking off passes, etc. With Cooper (especially with Shawne Merriman gone for the season), you have a guy that can change the game. In his first game back, Cooper had 7 solos and an assist. Look for him to continue tackling well (and getting “other” stats) as he gets back to game speed.
Mike Vrabel (NEP) – Vrabel’s been a serviceable fantasy LB for years, and appeared to be so again this season after scoring 15 fantasy points in the Patriots’ opener. Since then, he’s put up a total of 12 fantasy points. Go ahead and dump the vet in most leagues. He should only be kept/benched in larger leagues.
John Abraham (DE – ATL) – Yet again, the DL position shows you can’t really rely on the true studs to put up consistent numbers every week. Abraham has been studly in the past, and is showing at least some level of consistency this season. Aside from one stinker week and one average week, Abraham has put up pretty good stats. His money-maker is the sack. He gets to the QB and he’s able to put up fantasy stats. Get Abraham in your lineup, especially against teams that allow their share of sacks.
Robert Mathis (DE – IND) – Just like Abraham and most other DLs, Mathis’ big, telling stat is the sack. He gets to the QB with regularity and does benefit from the active Dwight Freeney patrolling the other side. Get Mathis in your lineup this week against the Ravens.
Julius Peppers (DE – CAR) – Uh oh. Is Peppers showing signs of suffering the same fate as Dwight Freeney? Wildly talented, capable of changing the game on the defensive side of the ball, but can disappear when facing double teams. Peppers had a fantastic opportunity to put up big fantasy points against one of the NFL’s worst last week and only managed 7 fantasy points. We’re not advising that you drop Peppers, but if you have better options, it might be time to chill him on your bench.
Cortland Finnegan (CB – TEN) – Did you see Finnegan getting into it with LB Keith Bulluck this past Sunday? Gotta love that passion, even though some will say that you can’t have teammates going at it like that. Each season, an athletic CB comes along and puts up great fantasy stats (usually through intercepting the football). Finnegan has 4 INTs on the season and will likely add to that total after the Titans’ bye, as they face the Chiefs in Week 7.
Eric Weddle (S – SDC) – We’ve seen Rodney Harrison excel here. We’ve even see no-names excel here. Weddle’s a talented young safety who is putting up good (and consistent) stats for the Bolt D. Weddle has terrific IDP matchups for the next few weeks. Get him in your lineup.
Chinedum Ndukwe (S – CIN) – Gotta love the Cincy IDPs. Their offense can struggle. So too can their defense. That means there’ll be increased opportunities for their IDPs to make tackles (and hopefully make big plays). Ndukwe, since being out Week 1, has scored in the double digits each week. The Bengal IDPs have good matchups for the next few weeks, so look for Ndukwe to continue that streak.
Nate Clements (CB – SFO) – Clements is a good CB who typically gets more tackles than the regular corner. He had a solid Week 2, but in other weeks, the solos have been sparse. Until Clements gets back to his tackling ways, it might be prudent to bench him.
Scoring system used for this report – solo tackle (2), assisted tackle (1), sack (3), forced or recovered fumble (3), interception (3) and pass defensed (1).