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IDP Game Breakdowns and Player Rater - Week 9
Darin Tietgen & Steve Gallo
October 31, 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, Steve will take the home teams and Darin 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

Green Bay Packers @ Tennessee Titans

Green Bay Packers: 
The Packer IDPs have been inconsistent and generally disappointing for the entire season.  LB Nick Barnett, typically a fine fantasy LB, has been incredibly disappointing.  Look for him to put up decent tackle totals this week but few game-changing opportunities.  Fellow LB A.J. Hawk is likely the better play.  The best overall play should be DE Aaron Kampman, who’s as steady as they come.  He should be able to get to the statuesque Kerry Collins, no matter how good the Titan OL has been.  The DBs aren’t great plays this week but are serviceable. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Aaron Kampman (DE)
A.J. Hawk (LB)
Nick Barnett (LB)
Aaron Rouse (DB)
Nick Collins (DB)
Charles Woodson (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
None.

One-Star Plays:
None.

Tennessee Titans:
Don’t look now but Keith Bulluck has strung 4 consecutive double digit scoring games up in a row.  He hasn’t returned to his once dominant self but he is posting much better numbers of late and that should continue this week versus the Packers.  Albert Haynesworth has been as big a part of the Titans 7-0 record and his name is even being mentioned by some as a candidate for league MVP.  Kyle Vanden Bosch was inactive last week versus the Colts but is slated to play this week and fantasy owners shouldn’t hesitate to use him in their starting lineup.

Five-Star Plays:
Kyle Vanden Bosch (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
Albert Haynesworth (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)
Cortland Finnegan (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Keith Bulluck (LB)
Chris Hope (DB)
Nick Harper (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
David Thornton (LB)
Stephen Tulloch (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Michael Griffin (DB)


Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams

Arizona Cardinals
Both Cardinal LBs that you’d normally start week-to-week (Karlos Dansby and Gerald Hayes) should have terrific games in St. Louis this week.  They’ll be disrupting the Ram offense and chasing down whatever Ram RB totes the rock.  DB Adrian Wilson has been inconsistent this season (may or may not be due to injury) but should have a solid effort in defending both the pass and run.  The DL will be light on points this week, with Darnell Dockett being the only startable Cardinal lineman. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Karlos Dansby (LB)
Gerald Hayes (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Adrian Wilson (DB)
Darnell Dockett (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Bertrand Berry (DL)
Travis Laboy (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

St. Louis Rams:
Will Witherspoon has been a slight disappointment for his owners this year due to his up and down scoring. Look for Witherspoon to post LB3 type numbers this week.  O.J. Otogwe on the other hand has made his owners very happy campers this year.  Kurt Warner can get sloppy with the football and O.J. could be a main beneficiary.   Leonard Little left the game last week with an injury and has been limited in practice this week.  Leave Little on your bench until he is healthy but look for the rookie Chris Long to make some noise this week.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
O.J. Otogwe (DB)
Chris Long (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Jason Craft (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Will Witherspoon (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Leonard Little (DL)


Houston Texans @ Minnesota Vikings

Houston Texans: 
The Texan defense has played well at home, but face a daunting task on the road this week.  Can they plug up the middle (and for that matter, the ends) against the hard-running Adrian Peterson?  DL Mario Williams is going to have to be a game-changer in this contest for the Texans to keep up.  Figure he and LB DeMeco Ryans have solid games, and surprise performer Zach Diles should pile up some tackles at LB. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Mario Williams (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
DeMeco Ryans (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Zach Diles (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Dunta Robinson (DB)
Amobi Okoye (DL, in DT-mandatory leagues)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Minnesota Vikings:
Look for the entire Viking defense to be energized coming out of their week 8 bye.  Jared Allen looks to be a very good play this week and don’t be surprised to see Allen look more like the Allen from 2007 in the second half of the season.  Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield have been one of the best fantasy scoring CB combos in the league and that should continue this week.  Chad Greenway may not be playing up to the hype that he carried in when drafted but he is putting up solid numbers and should be busy with Owen Daniels this week.

Five-Star Plays: 
Jared Allen (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
Antoine Winfield (DB)
Kevin Williams (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)

Three-Star Plays:
Cedric Griffin (DB)
Chad Greenway (LB)
Ben Leber (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Daren Sharper (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 
The Buc D has solid IDPs but they will likely have slightly lower fantasy stats this week as they face a struggling Chief squad.  Look for LB Barrett Ruud to have a decent outing and the surging safety Sabby Piscitelli will be impressive.  Fellow DB Ronde Barber could be the best play, though, as he disrupts the Chief offense both on the ground and through the air.  He’ll be locked up with WR Dwayne Bowe, who should see many targets this Sunday.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Ronde Barber (CB)
Barrett Ruud (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Sabby Piscitelli (DB)
Gaines Adams (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Philip Buchanon (DB)
Derrick Brooks (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Kansas City Chiefs:
Tamba Hali actually broke into the sack column for 2008 last season.  Maybe now that he has one under his belt he will start to live up to preseason expectations.  Nah, I wouldn’t bet on it.  Hali will still log a few more sacks this year but don’t expect to see him post consistent fantasy numbers.  Donnie Edwards was back in the lineup last week after missing over a month due to injury.  He logged a measly 4 tackles and I wouldn’t expect much more this week.  Over his last four games Derrick Johnson has put up tackle numbers that would equate to over a 100 tackle season.  However, the Bucs may present his worst matchup in over a month.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Derrick Johnson (LB)
Bernard Pollard (DB)
DaJuan Morgan (DB)

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

One-Star Plays:
Pat Thomas (LB)
Donnie Edwards (LB)
Jarrad Page (DB)


Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns

Baltimore Ravens: 
Could be another big week for LB Ray Lewis.  He actually had his worst outing of the season against Cleveland during Week 2.  Don’t count on a measly 9 fantasy points again this week.  He’ll be attacking the Brown OL, QB and RBs.  DL Terrell Suggs will be a game-changer as he attacks from the edge.  And finally, LB Bart Scott represents a typical third LB that could put up LB2 type numbers this week. 

Five-Star Plays: 
Ray Lewis (LB)
Terrell Suggs (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
None.

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

Two-Star Plays:
Frank Walker (DB)
Ed Reed (DB)
Haloti Ngata (DL, in DT-mandatory leagues)

One-Star Plays:
None. 

Cleveland Browns:
Shaun Rogers had a game for the ages last week and this week that tremor you are going to feel is Rogers coming back down to Earth.  He should be in for a decent game in leagues that require you to start a DT.  Sean Jones has looked very good since returning from injury and remains a must start this week.  D’Qwell Jackson is quietly having a very good year and should continue in his success versus the Ravens.

Five-Star Plays: 
Sean Jones (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
D’Qwell Jackson (LB)
Shaun Rogers (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)

Three-Star Plays:
Brandon McDonald (DB)
Kamerion Wimbley (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Brodney Pool (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Eric Wright (DB)


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati Bengals

Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Jags always have a solid D with few IDP options.  This season, it’s been LB Mike Peterson, as always, but DB Brian Williams has been a fine option as well.  Williams will likely put up great stats this week as he plays center field against the Cincy offense.  DB Rashean Mathis has been serviceable and will likely put up good stats this week as he shadows the Bengal WRs. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

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

Three-Star Plays:
Rashean Mathis (DB)
Reggie Nelson (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Justin Durant (LB)
Paul Spicer (DL)
John Henderson (DL)
Derrick Harvey (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Daryl Smith (LB)

Cincinnati Bengals:
Brandon Johnson filled in well last week for Keith Rivers.  Expect to see Johnson, Dhani Jones and Rashad Jeanty have very good weeks versus the Jaguar rushing attack.
Domata Peko should be an above average start in DT mandatory leagues this week too.  Dexter Jackson made a splash last week with 8 tackles but much to his owners dismay he has now landed on IR.  Marvin White owners now get back all the value that they thought they were losing.  Nedu Ndukwe should continue to be one of the better DB starts on a weekly basis.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

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

Three-Star Plays:
Brandon Johnson (LB)
Rashad Jeanty (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Antwan Odom (DL)
Marvin White (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Robert Geathers (DL)


Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions: 
LB Ernie Sims should be a busy Lion this Sunday, as the Bears will likely pound the rock against the Detroit defense.  That, and if the Lions have any chance against their rivals from across the lake, Sims will have to make game-changing plays.  Fellow LB Paris Lenon should also rack up the tackles.  DL Dewayne White has been a nice surprise this season, and is definitely startable this week.  Daniel Bullucks represents the best DB play for the Lions. 
 
Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Ernie Sims (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Dewayne White (DL)
Paris Lenon (LB)
Daniel Bullucks (DB)
Leigh Bodden (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Jared Devries (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Chicago Bears:
This is going to be a very poor matchup for Bears IDPs this week.  The Lions have been so bad on offense that they just aren’t giving opposing defenders enough tackle opportunities to post respectable stats.  So with that said don’t be shocked to see Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs have poor weeks.  Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown will have big weeks if they are able to get to Detroit QBs multiple times.  Charles Tillman has been an uber stud at DB this year but this week he will look like a mere mortal unless Calvin Johnson can catch 7 plus balls this weekend.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Adewale Ogunleye (DL)
Alex Brown (DL)
Charles Tillman (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Bran Urlacher (LB)
Lance Briggs (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills

New York Jets:
The Jet LBs have been vulturing fantasy points from one another all season, and that trend won’t likely end this week as they face the balanced Buffalo offense.  Look for Eric Barton, Calvin Pace, and Bryan Thomas to all score well with David Harris likely shelved for this weekDB Kerry Rhodes should have a fine game as he protects against the run and pass. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Kerry Rhodes (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Eric Barton (LB)
Calvin Pace (LB)
Bryan Thomas (LB)
Shaun Ellis (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Dwight Lowery (DB)
Darrelle Revis (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Buffalo Bills:
Paul Posluszny is quietly on pace for 110 tackles while averaging over 14 PPG this year.  “Poz” has put up double digit fantasy points every week so far and that should continue this week. Kawika Mitchell looks to put up another good scoring week too.  The injury report still shows that Aaron Schobel isn’t participating in practice and should remain on fantasy benches until he gets into a game and shows he his healthy.  Speaking of the injury report, Terrence McGee was able to get off the report and into the game last week and he did well in his return.  Look for more good from McGee this week.

Five-Star Plays: 
Paul Posluszny (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Terrence McGee (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Kawika Mitchell (LB)
Donte Whitner (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Keith Ellison (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Chris Kelsay (DL)
Ryan Denney (DL)


Miami Dolphins @ Denver Broncos

Miami Dolphins: 
This is an interesting spot for the Dolphins.  They typically play the Broncos tough, but this one’s in the Mile High City and could be a shootout.  DB Yeremiah Bell is likely the best Fin play, as the Broncos should be throwing the ball a ton.  LB Channing Crowder’s game has been up and down this season, and he’s a decent #3 fantasy LB this week.  Joey Porter is probably the best LB play, as he’s got 9.5 sacks on the season and is likely to get to Jay Cutler this week in his return home to Colorado. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Yeremiah Bell (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Joey Porter (LB)
Channing Crowder (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Renaldo Hill (DB)
Vonnie Holliday (DL)
Akin Ayodele (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Denver Broncos:
D.J. Williams should be busy adding to his tackle numbers while he is chasing down both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.  All that Williams has done this year since moving to WLB is average 18.857 PPG.  That would be 2.201 PPG more then what he averaged last year when he was playing MLB.  There are two types of Williams owners this year (in dynasty leagues) 1) those that are glad they didn’t/couldn’t trade him in the offseason and 2) those that are glad that they did trade for him.  Nate Webster isn’t close to the football player that D.J. is but he is still putting up 16 PPG from the MLB spot.  Elvis Dumervil finally broke into the sack column in the Broncos last game before the bye.  Marquand Manuel isn’t a top notch NFL talent but he produces good fantasy numbers when he is playing.  This week should be no exception.

Five-Star Plays: 
D.J. Williams (LB)
Nate Webster (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Marquand Manuel (DB)
Marcus Thomas (DL, in DT mandatory leagues)

Two-Star Plays:
Elvis Dumervil (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Dre Bly (DB)


Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks

Philadelphia Eagles: 
The Eagles’ LBs and DBs likely won’t need to offer much in the way of big plays this week with the ho-hum offense of Seattle as their opponent.  Play DLs Trent Cole and Juqua Parker with plenty of confidence, but LB Stewart Bradley and DB Quentin Mikell are going to have quieter performances. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Trent Cole (DL)

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

Two-Star Plays:
Omar Gaither (LB)
Darren Howard (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Seattle Seahawks:
Normally, in the past when someone was talking about the best Seattle LB to start you would know they were talking about Lofa Tatupu.  However, this year it is more than likely that that they are talking about LeRoy Hill. Hill is quietly on pace for 137 tackles this year.  Now I don’t think he can keep that pace up but this week he will be very busy versus the Eagles.  Tatupu has missed some time the past couple of weeks due to injury and that is a key factor in him being only a 2 star play this week.  Patrick Kerney is another Seahawk fighting the injury bug and should remain on your bench until you see him back in the lineup healthy.  Josh Wilson should be a very good start this week, especially in leagues that score kickoff return yards.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
LeRoy Hill (LB)
Josh Wilson (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Marcus Trufant (DB)
Daryl Tapp (DL)
Julian Peterson (LB)
Brian Russell (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Lofa Tatupu (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Rocky Bernard (DL)


Atlanta Falcons @ Oakland Raiders

Atlanta Falcons: 
The Falcon D will have some serviceable starters this week, led by rookie LB Curtis Lofton.  DL John Abraham has had a resurgent season and could go off against the Raiders.  Of course, he could post a goose egg too.  Veteran LB Keith Brooking is playable in larger leagues this week, as is the veteran safety Lawyer Milloy.

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Curtis Lofton (LB)
John Abraham (DL)
Keith Brooking (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Lawyer Milloy (DB)
Michael Boley (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Erik Coleman (DB)

Oakland Raiders:
Gibril Wilson is a must start this week just like every other week and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Wilson nab an INT this week too.  Kirk Morrison has been his same old consistent self this year where he is averaging just under 15 PPG.  Surprisingly, 2.7 PPG is all that separates Thomas Howard from Morrison.  Howard is also a solid play this week as is DeAngelo Hall.  This would have been a very nice matchup for Derrick Burgess but he is still injured and not even practicing yet.

Five-Star Plays: 
Kirk Morrison (LB)
Gibril Wilson (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
Thomas Howard (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Jay Richardson (DL)
DeAngelo Hall (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Nmandi Asomugha (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.


Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

Dallas Cowboys: 
The Cowboy D has been a total disappointment.  So much so that Wade Phillips has assumed the play-calling for the defense.  Like the move or not, it shouldn’t matter much this week as they face the surging Super Bowl champions.  LB Demarcus Ware is the safest bet this week, but DB Ken Hamlin is likely the best candidate for double-digit fantasy points.  LB Zach Thomas could perform well, or he could disappear. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.
Charles Woodson (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Demarcus Ware (LB)
Ken Hamlin (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Zach Thomas (LB)
Greg Ellis (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Keith Davis (DB)
Mike Jenkins (DB)

New York Giants:
This game is going to be all about the Giants defensive line led by Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka.  Both are must starts versus a Cowboys offensive line that has been having its problems.  Expect Brad Johnson to get tired of being pulled up off the carpet this weekend.  Anotnio Pierce and Danny Clark should lead the Giants LBs this weekend but neither are studly plays.

Five-Star Plays: 
Justin Tuck (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
Mathias Kiwanuka (DL)

Three-Star Plays:
Antonio Pierce (LB)
Aaron Ross (DB)
Kenny Phillips (DB)
James Butler (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Danny Clark(LB)

One-Star Plays:
Sammy Knight (DB)


New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots: 
Look for LB Adalius Thomas to have a solid game against the Colt offense.  He’s by far the best Patriot IDP not named Jerod Mayo, who is having a nice rookie season.  DB Brandon Meriweather, a converted corner playing safety, fills in for Rodney Harrison and should produce. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Jerod Mayo (LB)
Adalius Thomas (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Brandon Meriweather (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Mike Vrabel (LB)
Richard Seymour (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Tedy Bruschi (LB)

Indianapolis Colts:
Thanks in part to a poor interior defensive line Gary Brackett ranks as the 4th overall LB this year in PPG.  Brackett as well as Freddy Keiaho should be very good starts versus the Patriots.  Look for Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis to get to Matt Cassel multiple times this week.  This is a BIG BIG game for the Colts after losing to the Titans on Monday nite and big hitting Bob Sanders looks to return this week versus the Patriots.

Five-Star Plays: 
Robert Mathis (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
Gary Brackett (LB)
Bob Sanders (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Freddy Keiaho (LB)
Dwight Freeney (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Tim Jennings (DB)
Antoine Bethea (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Kelvin Hayden (DB)


Pittsburgh Steelers @ Washington Redskins

Pittsburgh Steelers: 
The Steeler D, at times, looked like world-beaters against the defending champs last week.  LBs James Harrison and James Farrior should both perform well, that is, unless the young Lamarr Woodley has another big effort.  All three LBs are worthy of starts in most leagues.  Even rush specialist Lawrence Timmons, another LB, is worthy of consideration.  Figure DB Troy Polamalu is a good bet this week too. 

Five-Star Plays: 
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
James Harrison (LB)
James Farrior (LB)
Lamarr Woodley (LB)

Troy Polamalu (DB)
Aaron Smith (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Lawrence Timmons (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Washington Redskins:
London Fletcher owners should expect a big week from him versus the Steelers.  Chris Horton missed last week but should be back in the Redskins starting lineup and should be in fantasy owners lineups too.  LaRon Landry could be a big beneficiary from a strong pass rush from Andre CarterJason Taylor is listed as OUT which is a shame since this would have been such a great matchup for him. Don’t be surprised to see Carter and Taylor have their best games of the year versus the Steelers and also look for Landry to pick off a Big Ben pass too.

Five-Star Plays: 
London Fletcher (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Chris Horton (DB)
Rocky McIntosh (LB)

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

Two-Star Plays:
Marcus Washington (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Carlos Rogers (DB)

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