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IDP Game Breakdowns and Player Rater - Week 8
Darin Tietgen & Steve Gallo
October 24, 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

Atlanta at Philadelphia

Atlanta Falcons:
John Abraham has logged 7 sacks and 17 tackles prior to his bye last week.  However, in two of his three away games Abraham logged just one tackle in each game.  LB’s Keith Brooking and Michael Boley should be plenty busy running down Brian Westbrook (if he plays) and Eagle’s WRs.  Curtis Lofton could have limited opportunities with the multiple WR sets the Eagles run since he isn’t getting all the nickel snaps.  Lawyer Milloy should also be in for a productive day too.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Keith Brooking (LB)
Lawyer Milloy (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Michael Boley (LB)
John Abraham (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Curtis Lofton (LB)
Jamaal Anderson (DL)
Brent Grimes (DB)
Erik Coleman (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Philadelphia Eagles: 
The Eagle D will need to stop RB Michael Turner and the downfield game of QB Matt Ryan and WR Roddy White.  To stop the latter, DEs Juqua Parker and Trent Cole will need to get to the rookie Falcon QB.  Expect both to have solid efforts this week.  The LBs, especially Stewart Bradley should put up good stats in stopping Turner.  The defensive backfield doesn’t have a glut of choices, but Quentin Mikell should again put up good stats and Brian Dawkins is serviceable. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Trent Cole (DL)
Quentin Mikell (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Juqua Parker (DL)
Stewart Bradley (LB)

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

One-Star Plays:
None.


Kansas City at New York Jets

Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs should be getting Donnie Edwards back after he has missed the team’s last three games due to injury.  However, Derrick Johnson and Pat Thomas look to be in for good weeks as the Jets have given up an average of 9.5 tackles to MLB and 7 tackles to SLBs.  Bernard Pollard has been a pretty big disappointment so far but the Jets do present a nice matchup but the question is how much DaJuan Morgan cuts into his opportunity.   Tamba Hali is in the same disappointment boat as Pollard as Hali has yet to register one single sack this year.  Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr will probably have their opportunities limited by the lack of passing the Jets will need to do in the 2nd half of the game.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Pat Thomas (LB)
Derrick Johnson (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Bernard Pollard (DB)
Jarrad Page (DB)
Turk McBride (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Brandon Carr (DB)
Brandon Flowers (DB)
Tamba Hali (DL)
DaJuan Morgan (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Glenn Dorsey (DL)

New York Jets: 
The Jet pass-rushing LBs should score well against the hapless Chiefs this week.  Expect them to keep up with David Harris’ numbers. In the secondary, Kerry Rhodes is the best play.  DL Shaun Ellis is a good play this week with the Chiefs' QB struggles.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
David Harris (LB)
Bryan Thomas (LB)
Calvin Pace (LB)
Kerry Rhodes (DB)
Shaun Ellis (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Eric Barton (LB)
Darrelle Revis (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


San Diego vs. New Orleans

San Diego Chargers:
Stephen Cooper looks to be in for a very good game versus the Saints as ILBs have for the most part faired very well.  Tim Dobbins and Matt Wilhelm look to continue to share snaps thus making both very poor plays.  Drew Brees is one of the harder QBs to sack so don’t expect much from the Chargers pass rush.  Eric Weddle should be able to put up stats close to what Gibril Wilson did (11 tackles) versus the Saints.

Five-Star Plays: 
Stephen Cooper (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Eric Weddle (DB)
Antonio Cromartie (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Shaun Phillips (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Tim Dobbins (LB)
Quentin Jammer (DB)
Clinton Hart (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Matt Wilhelm (LB)

New Orleans Saints: 
The Saints head across the pond to play the Bolts at Wembley Stadium in London, England.  What does this mean to the players, and especially the IDPs?  Not much, really.  Expect LB Jonathan Vilma to still make big tackles, safeties Kevin Kaesviharn and Roman Harper to put up good all-around numbers and the big bookend DEs Will Smith and Charles Grant to pressure the QB and get a few tackles as well.    

Five-Star Plays: 
Jonathan Vilma (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Kevin Kaesviharn (DB)
Roman Harper (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Will Smith (DL)
Charles Grant (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
None.

One-Star Plays:
Scott Fujita (LB)


St. Louis at New England

St. Louis Rams:
The Rams are not the same team since Jim Haslett took over as Head Coach.  With that said their weakness is their secondary.  Look for the Patriots to test Fahkir Brown and Ronald Bartell.  Matt Cassel has taken numerous sacks and the bodes well for Leonard Little owners.  Look for Little to log a multi sack game.  Little’s pressure should also help O.J. Atogwe to add to his INT total.  Over their last three games the Patriots have given up a combined 44 tackles (average 15/game) to MLB/ILBs (Williams, Cooper & Willis) so Will Witherspoon owners should expect a very good week from him.

Five-Star Plays:
Will Witherspoon (LB)
Leonard Little (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
Fahkir Brown (DB)
O.J. Otogwe (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Ronald Bartell (DB)
Chris Long (DL)
Pisa Tinoisamoa (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
James Hall (DL)
Corey Chavous (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Adam Carriker (DL)

New England Patriots: 
Well now, that’s the Patriot D we’ve come to know and love.  They put a smackdown on the Broncos last week and will likely do the same to the Rams this week.  LB  Jerod Mayo is looking like a superstar and DB Brandon Meriweather takes over for the injured Rodney Harrison.  Look for that pair to score well this week.  LB Adalius Thomas should also put good numbers up, as he’s able to rush the opposing QB. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Jerod Mayo (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Brandon Meriweather (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
None.
Brandon Flowers (DB)
Richard Seymour (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Mike Vrabel (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Buffalo at Miami

Buffalo Bills:
The Bills head down to Miami in what is a big divisional matchup.  Good news for Paul Posluszny owners is that over their last four games the Dolphins have given up an average of 9 tackles/game to MLB/ILBs.  Also look for SS Donte Whitner should be in for a big game too as the Dolphins are giving up an average of 10 tackles/game to the quartet of Jim Leonhard, Brandon Harrison, Eric Weddle & Rodney Harrison.  Aaron Schobel is still in a walking boot so look elsewhere for DL help.

Five-Star Plays: 
Paul Posluszny (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Donte Whitner (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Leodis McKelvin (DB)
Kawika Mitchell (LB)
Marcus Stroud (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)

Two-Star Plays:
Terrence McGee (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Aaron Schobel (DL)

Miami Dolphins: 
The Fins are starting to return to Earth a bit after their 2-0 start.  Part of the reason could be due to the defense.  That doesn’t mean you can’t extract some good fantasy players off this D.  Look for DB Yeremiah Bell and LB Channing Crowder to again be the main scorers, IDP-wise.  DL Philip Merling could have value in larger leagues, and LB Joey Porter could potentially score well, if he’s able to get to the Bills QB Trent Edwards.  Don’t bet on that. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Yeremiah Bell (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
Channing Crowder (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
None.

Two-Star Plays:
Joey Porter (LB)
Renaldo Hill (DB)
Philip Merling (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None. 


Washington at Detroit

Washington Redskins:
There are some that have been less than thrilled with London Fletcher’s production so far this year.  However, Fletcher is on pace for 137 tackles but this week the Detroit Lions do not present a very good matchup.  Jason Taylor and Andre Carter will probably be the best two plays on the Redskin defense this week as they chase Dan Orlovsky around.  The Lions really have been a poor IDP matchup all year long due to their inept offensive play.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Jason Taylor (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Andre Carter (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
London Fletcher (LB)
Rocky McIntosh (LB)
Chris Horton (DB)

One-Star Plays:
LaRon Landry (DB)

Detroit Lions:
Another week, another Lion loss.  Doesn’t get any easier this week, either, as the tough Washington Redskins come to town.  This means good things for the Lion IDPs, though.  LB Ernie Sims will put up studly numbers this week, and the DL pair of Dewayne White and Jared Devries have some value (especially White, who’s been studly as of late).  DB Daniel Bullucks should also put up good – if not great – numbers  this week as he helps against both the pass and run. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Ernie Sims (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Dewayne White (DL)

Daniel Bullucks (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Paris Lenon (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Leigh Bodden (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Tampa Bay at Dallas

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Cowboys will want to try and control this game by establishing Marion Barber so look for Barrett Ruud to be a very good play.  Rhonde Barber and Jermaine Phillips look to be the best plays in the Bucs secondary versus Brad Johnson in his 2nd start of the year.  Gaines Adams should have a solid week but if the Cowboys offensive line doesn’t get it together it could be a huge week.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Barrett Ruud (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Rhonde Barber (DB)
Jermaine Phillips (DB)
Gaines Adams (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
None.

One-Star Plays:
Jovan Haye (DL)

Dallas Cowboys: 
Will Wade Phillips’ play-calling make a difference?  It certainly could.  This matchup is a tough, critical one.  The IDPs, especially LB Demarcus Ware, will have to be game-changers.  Ware should be a top-10 LB this week.  Figure S Ken Hamlin will also lay the hammer, scoring well. 
 
Five-Star Plays: 
Demarcus Ware (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Ken Hamlin (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
None.

Two-Star Plays:
Zach Thomas (LB)
Greg Ellis (LB)
Bobby Carpenter (LB)
Anthony Henry (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Arizona at Carolina

Arizona Cardinals:
Over the past four weeks the Panthers have given up an average of 7 tackles to MLBs so expect solid yet unspectacular production from both Gerald Hayes and Karlos Dansby.  For the most part the Panthers have also been a tough matchup IDP wise.  However, they have given up two good scoring weeks to DBs in the past four weeks so Adrian Wilson could be in for a good day.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Gerald Hayes (LB)
Karlos Dansby (LB)
Adrian Wilson (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Antrel Rolle
Travis LaBoy (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Carolina Panthers:
Should be a shootout in the South this Sunday when the Cards come to Charlotte.  Even with Arizona putting out mainly an aerial attack, LB Jon Beason should still put up gaudy stats.    The big-play DBs Chris Harris, Richard Marshall and Chris Gamble all should have very good numbers.  Also, expect DE Julius Peppers to stay semi-hot and score well.

Five-Star Plays: 
Jon Beason (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Chris Gamble (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Chris Harris (DB)
Richard Marshall (DB)
Julius Peppers (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Thomas Davis (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Oakland at Baltimore

Oakland Raiders:
Oakland IDPs face a prime matchup versus a Ravens team that has been giving up plenty of tackle opportunities this year.  Both Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are very good plays this week.  Derrick Burgess is still fighting the injury bug so look elsewhere for DL help.

Five-Star Plays: 
Kirk Morrison (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Thomas Howard (LB)
Gibril Wilson (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Ricky Brown (LB)
DeAngelo Hall (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Terdell Sands (DL, in DT mandatory leagues move him up to 3 Stars)

One-Star Plays:
Nnamdi Asomugha (DB)

Baltimore Ravens: 
The Ravens D is making thing happen.  And LB Ray Lewis is right in the middle of the action.  Expect him to put up top-3 LB numbers this week.  DL Terrell Suggs has put up great numbers lately, although he’s blabbed too much on talk shows.  Look for him to just make plays this weekend. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Ray Lewis (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Terrell Suggs (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Jim Leonhard (DB)
Bart Scott (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
None.

One-Star Plays:
None.


Cincinnati at Houston

Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals will be without their starting WLB Keith Rivers who was put on IR with a broken jaw.  Brandon Johnson is the player that will see an increase in value this year due to River’s injury.  Dhani Jones is still one of the top tacklers in the NFL this year and the Texans should be another good matchup for him.  Nedu Ndukwe has been a very good play since getting back into the starting lineup from his early season injury.  Marvin White looks to lose some of his value with Dexter Jackson taking some of his snaps.  The Bengals pass rush will be led by, ummm, yeah ummm they will be led by , wait the Bengals don’t really have a pass rush so you will be better served to leave Frostee Rucker, Antwan Odom and Robert Geathers on your bench.  Believe it or not the Bengals have managed just 5 sacks on the year.  The only team worse is the Kansas City Chiefs who have 3 year to date.
 
Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Dhani Jones (LB)
Nedu Ndukwe (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Marvin White (DB)
Brandon Johnson (LB)
Rashard Jeanty (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Dexter Jackson (DB)
Domata Peko (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Antwan Odom (DL)
Frostee Rucker (DL)
Robert Geathers (DL)

Houston Texans: 
Oh man, this should be a smorgasbord for IDP studs Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans.  The Bengal offense should be no match for this defense.  Expect that pair to score big this week.  DB Brandon Harrison has been putting up serviceable numbers and should do so this week too.

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

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Brandon Harrison (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Will Demps (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Cleveland at Jacksonville

Cleveland Browns:
People were expecting Sean Jones to get some limited playing time last week versus the Redskins.  Ten tackles later we realize that Jones is back from injury and is a must start each and every week.  D’Qwell Jackson has double digit tackles in over half of his games this year and looks to have a good matchup versus the Jaguars this week.  

Five-Star Plays: 
Sean Jones (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
D’Qwell Jackson (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Eric Wright (DB)
Shaun Rogers (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)

Two-Star Plays:
Brodney Pool (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Corey Williams (DL)

Jacksonville Jaguars: 
The Jags are yet a good defensive squad but offer few IDP options.  LB Mike Peterson can put up serviceable numbers but nothing spectacular.  DB Brian Williams is likely the best IDP choice.  The DL offers very little in terms of IDP value, with Paul Spicer being the only real option.   

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

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

Two-Star Plays:
Paul Spicer (DL)
Rashean Mathis (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Seattle at San Francisco

Seattle Seahawks:
Lofa Tatupu suffered a concussion in last week’s game but looks like he is going to be good to go this week.  The 49ers have given up 19 tackles to MLBs over the last two games so that is a good sign for Tatupu owners.  If you are in a league that rewards for return yards you have to be happy with the production that Josh Wilson has put up.  The Seahawks did resign Justin Forsett so there was a worry that Wilson could lose his kickoff duties but he still returned 4 of 5 kickoffs last week.  Still it is something to keep an eye on.  LeRoy Hill has also been a pleasant surprise this year and both he and Julian Peterson should get a good shot at recording a sack versus the 49ers.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Lofa Tatupu (LB)
Julian Peterson (LB)
Patrick Kerney (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
LeRoy Hill (LB)
Rocky Bernard (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)
Marcus Trufant (DB)
Jordan Babineaux (DB)
Daryl Tapp (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Brian Russell (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

San Francisco 49ers: 
The Niners are actually a sneaky team D play this week, as the Seahawks continue to struggle offensively without their QB and main WR threats.  Look for the IDPs to also score well individually.  LB Patrick Willis may not put up big-time tackle stats, but could score elsewhere.  Ditto with hybrid DL Justin Smith.  DB Michael Lewis could also put up startable numbers as he comes up into the box.  LB Takeo Spikes has put up #2 fantasy LB numbers, but he’s more of a #3 fantasy LB this week. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Patrick Willis (LB)
Justin Smith (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Takeo Spikes (LB)
Michael Lewis (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Nate Clements (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


New York Giants at Pittsburgh

New York Giants:
Antonio Pierce missed last week’s game due to injury and Chase Blackburn filled in with 10 tackles, 1 sack and a forced fumble.  On the injury report Pierce is listed as having had full participation in practice so he should be good to go this week and the matchup versus the Steelers looks to be his best of the year.  Don’t expect Justin Tuck and company to slow down versus a Steelers offensive line that has given up the 6th most sacks in the NFL this year.

Five-Star Plays: 
Justin Tuck (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
Antonio Pierce (LB)
Fred Robbins (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)

Three-Star Plays:
Mathias Kiwanuka (DL)
Aaron Ross (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
James Butler (DB)
Kenny Phillips (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Michael Johnson (DB)

Pittsburgh Steelers: 
The Steeler D is playing well as a team, and their IDPs have scored well.  LB James Harrison has been the heavy hitter, scoring-wise, and DB Troy Polamalu can always lay the hammer.  Tough matchup this week, so these two should be on the tops of their game.  Look for LBs Lamarr Woodley and James Farrior to also put up decent, if not good, numbers.  DL Aaron Smith can also be considered, especially in larger leagues. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
James Harrison (LB)
Troy Polamalu (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
None.

Two-Star Plays:
Lamarr Woodley (LB)
Aaron Smith (DL)
James Farrior (LB)
Ike Taylor (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Indianapolis at Tennessee

Indianapolis Colts:
I can’t remember the last time the Colts had a must win this early in the season but that is what this game is.  The Titans will continue with their run 1st game plan which should make Freddy Keiaho, Gary Brackett & Clint Session all good plays this week.  Melvin Bullitt has filled in admirably during Bob Sanders injury and looks to have another good week. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Freddy Keiaho (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Gary Brackett (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Robert Mathis (DL)
Clint Session (LB)
Marlin Jackson (DB)
Antoine Bethea (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Kelvin Hayden (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Dwight Freeney (DL)

Tennessee Titans: 
Expect a hard-fought Monday night game.  The Titans defense has been ridiculously good, but the Colts have been playing much better offensively.  Which side has the stronger will?  Either way you slice it, the Titan IDPs should put up good numbers.  Topping the list are DLs Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth.  Haynesworth, like most weeks, is the top DT play of the week.  LB Keith Bulluck is not putting up gaudy stats this year, but at least he’s doing better than last year.  DBs Chris Hope and Cortland Finnegan should both score well this week, and Michael Griffin can be started in larger leagues.

Five-Star Plays: 
Albert Haynesworth (for DT-mandatory leagues)

Four-Star Plays:
Kyle Vanden Bosch (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Keith Bulluck (LB)
Chris Hope (DL)
Cortland Finnegan (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
None. 

One-Star Plays:
David Thornton (LB)

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IDP Sleepers
IDP Dynasty Watch
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