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IDP Hot and Not - Week 16
Darin Tietgen
December 16, 2008
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Welcome to the final installment of The Huddle’s IDP Hot and Not.  Hopefully this bi-weekly column was able to pinpoint the players making the biggest splashes in your league, giving you insight on matchups down the road to exploit. 

LINEBACKERS

HOT

Bradie James (DAL) – James has had a huge season and is finishing it off in grand style.  If you have him locked up on your roster, feel good about his Week 16 matchup despite getting banged up last week.  The Ravens come to town this week and will be pounding the ball straight at James.  Figure he’ll have at least 5 solos. 

Gerald Hayes (ARI) – Hayes has two monster games in a row after two months’ worth of pretty lousy outings.  He’s heating up just in time for your league’s Super Bowl, and has a terrific matchup against the Patriots this week. 

Keith Brooking  (ATL) – The veteran has steadily been tackling opposing runners and catchers for most of the season and has a solid matchup against AP and the Vikes this week.  He may get his paws on a couple Tavaris Jackson tosses as well.

NOT

Thomas Howard (OAK) – Howard has been a solid #3 (or perhaps #2) fantasy LB this season but his game has dropped off significantly over the past three weeks.  To boot, he’s got a so-so matchup this week.  If you have a better option at your #2/#3 LB, it might be time to put Howard on the bench.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

HOT

Shaun Ellis  (DE – NYJ) – No DL has been hotter than Ellis over the past two weeks.  He posted huge numbers last week and stands for a repeat this week against a bad Seahawk squad.  He’s a must-start. 

Mathias Kiwanuka (DE – NYG) –  The Giants face off with the hot Panthers this week in a huge NFC battle.  All eyes will likely be on Justin Tuck, so Kiwanuka could slip through the cracks in the usually solid Panther OL.

NOT

Albert Haynesworth (DT – TEN) – The big guy has had a terrific season – both fantasy and NFL wise – but is out for the final two weeks of the season.  Even if he was healthy, he’d be a risky start this week, as he had a few quiet games to end the season.   

DEFENSIVE BACKS

HOT

Ronde Barber (CB – TBB) – The veteran is coming on strong over the past month and has a nice matchup against the Bolts this week.  Chief CB Brandon Flowers posted an impressive 24 fantasy points last week against the Bolts.  Figure Barber to gain about the same.

Brandon Meriweather (S – NEP) – This kid – along with Jerod Mayo – will be the heart and soul of the Patriot defense in a year or two.  Maybe he already is.  He’s steadily improved this season, especially once given the starting gig.  He’s got a terrific matchup against the high-flying Cards this week, so feel good about popping him into your lineup.

Nick Harper (CB – TEN) – There may a bit of a concern with Harper’s health, but if he’s deemed good to go, there’s no reason you should bench him, especially with a terrific matchup against the Steelers three-headed passing attack.  He had 10 solos last week and could approach that number again this week.

NOT

LaRon Landry (S – WAS) – Landry was on pace to be a solid fantasy – and NFL – safety.  He may be solid NFL-wise, but he’s been disappointing fantasy-wise this season.  The emergence of Chris Horton hasn’t helped.  The matchup against the Eagles isn’t too bad, but if you have better options you may want to explore them this week.

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).

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