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IDP Interactive - Week 11
Steve Gallo
November 15, 2008
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Welcome to our week 11 edition of IDP INTERACTIVE.  In our IDP Forum you will find a thread entitled "IDP INTERACTIVE" pinned to the top where you can submit your questions for consideration.  If you question is not chosen to be answered in this column every effort will still be made to answer your question in the IDP Forum.

Let’s take a look at what question forum member csrulz16 has this week.

csrulz16  wrote,
“What's the deal with Napoleon Harris? He had 1 solo, 1 assist and 1 sack last week. Does he come out on passing downs?

My other options are Peppers, Dacus, June, Shanle, Poppinga, Durant, Leber, or Dobbins.

Solo - 2, assist - 1, sack - 4”

First thing we will get out of the way is the Napoleon Harris question.  Harris has only been with the Vikings for the past three games.  He started the season with the Chiefs and didn’t play in a single game for Kansas City this season after posting 116 tackles last year for them.  The Chiefs released Harris in early October and shortly after he found himself playing for the Vikings again.  So while Harris is playing MLB he isn’t playing in their nickel defense.  The nickel linebackers for the Vikings are Ben Leber and Chad Greenway. 

Now let’s take a look at the other options that available.

Cato June:  Since taking over as the SLB for the Buccaneers last year June’s statistical performance has been subpar.  In a re-draft league June is barely rosterable but in dynasty leagues is a good stash and hold, which is why he was the player highlighted in the IDP Dynasty Watch article this week. 

Weston Dacus:  Dacus has been thrust into the Chiefs lineup due to injuries but isn’t a player that I would pin my hopes on.  There are easily better options among the players that were listed.  The LB on the Chiefs that looks to benefit most from the injuries to Pat Thomas and Derrick Johnson is Donnie Edwards.

Brady Poppinga:The big news out of Green Bay is the loss of MLB Nick Barnett and that A.J. Hawk will be taking over at MLB.  Poppinga is slated to continue starting at SLB with Brandon Chillar taking over Hawk’s duties at WLB.  Prior to last week Poppinga had only exceeded 5 tackles twice so far this year. With Hawk taking over at MLB I wouldn’t expect Poppinga’s numbers to see any sort of significant increase.

Scott Shanle:  In 8 out of 9 games this year Shanle has recorded fewer than 5 solo tackles and his best game maxed out at 5 solo tackles.  While Shanle does offer up some consistent scoring, unfortunately that scoring is pretty paltry and not someone I would look to start with better options to pick from.

Ben Leber:  Outside of weeks 5 & 6 where Leber posted consecutive 7 tackle efforts he has been a major disappointment for his owners.  In his other 7 games he has failed to log more than 3 tackles.  With odds like that I would leave Leber on the bench.

Tim Dobbins:  Dobbins is another LB that I like in dynasty formats but he is also showing some value for this year too.  Dobbins didn’t start the season out as a starter but took over as starter at one of the inside linebacker positions back in week 6.  His last two games have been pretty productive and this week looks to be a good matchup for both Dobbins and Stephen Cooper.  Still, with Stephen Cooper manning the more productive ILB spot I would temper expectations on how much upside to expect from Dobbins.  While he would be in my final 3 choices he would be the first of those three that I would bench.

So, after going thru the above players that leaves us with Julius Peppers and Justin Durant to decide between.

Justin Durant:  Just last week I addressed how I felt about Justin Durant and here is exactly what I wrote:

“Justin Durant:  In a dynasty league there is no way that a guy like Durant should be on any waiver wires but alas Alchico is in a re-draft league.  Durant is now healthy and should see a continued improvement in his production.  What makes Durant even more attractive is the fact that Mike Peterson was sent home by head coach Jack Del Rio this week.  Both Peterson and Del Rio are said to have met and discussed the situation but Del Rio won’t say if Peterson will play this week or not.  Speculation is that Del Rio wasn’t happy about Peterson celebrating a sack when the Jaguars were down 20-3.  If Peterson is out Durant’s value truly does go thru the roof.  Last year when the Jaguars lost Peterson for the final 6 weeks of the season all Durant did when given the chance to start was average 7 tackles per game a pace that would have put him at 112 tackles for a full season.  Don’t forget that was as a rookie too.  So with or without Peterson Durant would be a nice acquisition with very little downside and very nice upside.  In dynasty leagues I view Durant as a future LB1 and if Peterson were out for an extended period of time Durant could achieve LB1 status much sooner than later.”

It is easy to see that I am a big fan of Justin Durant and thanks to Mike Peterson being permanently benched by Jack Del Rio you can see that I think his future is now and I expect Durant to start posting stud LB numbers.  This week Durant gets to face a Titans team with an extremely strong running game and I really think we will see Durant have a huge game this week.  Just to clarify so there isn't a misunderstanding; Daryl Smith will be taking over at MLB for Peterson and not Durant.  However, that shouldn't matter.  Smith has taken over the MLB spot previous times when Peterson was injured and he was pretty pedestrian playing MLB.  Durant is the type of player that is going to be all over the field and with a less than stellar option at MLB Durant should make the most of Peterson's benching. For the season, Tennessee has given up 68 tackles to their opponents WLB’s which is just shy of 8 tackles/game.  In week one Durant recorded 5 tackles so that should be the floor for Durant’s production this week.   However, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him match the production that Lance Briggs had last week versus the Titans (13 tackles).

Julius Peppers:  Peppers is easily coming off of his best game of the year where he posted 7 tackles and 3 sacks.  He is an explosive player that can explode any given time just like he did last week versus the Raiders and this week he gets a juicy matchup versus a Detroit Lions team that is tied with the 49ers for the dubious distinction of giving up the most sacks in the NFL with 34 sacks allowed.  However, when considering starting a player versus the Lions you have to realize that they are giving up just 38 tackle opportunities per game and that can easily limit a players upside versus them.  To go hand in hand with that the Lions have the worst TOP(time of possession) in the league at just 26:01/game.  The Lions also have the 3rd fewest of offensive plays (505) in the NFL.  So while Peppers very well could have another multi sack week the fact that the Lions are so poor on offense that he could just as easily end up with 2 solos and no sacks.

The Final Answer!
With the scoring system that csrulz16 has Peppers is a very tempting play this week but facing a Lions squad that is so poor on offense adds a larger element of risk in starting him.  Considering that the scoring system still awards 2 points for a solo tackle and 1 point for an assist Justin Durant makes for a very strong start.  Durant is probably still available on some re-draft waiver wires but after this week I think he will be the hot pickup next week.  I expect to see Durant post between 15-20 points in the supplied scoring system this week.

Csrulz16, you have some pretty good options this week so hopefully this article is beneficial for you and you win your game this week.

I hope that everyone has enjoyed our first installment with IDP Interactive and I look forward to seeing more questions in the coming weeks.  If you have any comments or recommendations on what you would like to see in IDP Interactive you can email me at idpsteve@gmail.com

Other Features
IDP Game Breakdowns & Player Ratings
IDP Player Rankings
IDP Dynasty Watch
IDP Sleepers
IDP Hot and Not
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