The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, Guest. You are not logged in.JOINHELP
HOME FANTASY DRAFT KIT IN SEASON ARTICLES NEWS STATS FORUMS TEAMS PLAYERS NFL DRAFT NFL ABOUT myHuddle

FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

IDP Game Breakdowns and Player Rater - Week 17
Darin Tietgen & Steve Gallo
December 26, 2008
Print this page

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
Note:  Scoring system used for these breakdowns – solo tackle (2 pts), assisted tackle (1 pt), sack (3 pts), forced or recovered fumble (3 pts), interception (3 pts) and pass defensed (1 pt). 

St. Louis Rams @ Atlanta Falcons

St. Louis Rams: 
The Rams have absolutely nothing to play for except pride, but it’s pretty evident from their recent play that pride is lacking right now.  The only Ram IDPs worth a shot this week are LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (seeing that someone in the front seven has to tackle) and DB O.J. Atogwe (since there will be plays that get past the LBs).  Everyone else has been useless for weeks.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
O.J. Atogwe (DB)
Pisa Tinoisamoa (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Fakhir Brown (DB)
Chris Draft (LB)
Will Witherspoon
Victor Adeyanju (DL)
Chris Long (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Atlanta Falcons:
John Abraham ranks 3rd in the NFL with 16.5 sacks and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him finish the season with 20 sacks considering he is facing a Rams team that has a penchant for giving up sacks.  Don’t expect Curtis Lofton to come close to posting the amount of tackles (13) that Patrick Willis did last week. 
 
Five-Star Plays:
John Abraham (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:

Keith Brooking (LB)
Lawyer Milloy (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Erik Coleman (DB)
Curtis Lofton (LB)
Coy Wire (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Jamaal Anderson (DL)
Michael Boley (LB)


Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns:
The Browns, like many other teams, have nothing to play for but pride…. But have looked absolutely horrible as of late.  LB D’Qwell Jackson has been a tackling machine, and any other week this may be a great matchup against the run-first Steeler offense, but it’s safe to say that the entire Brown team – including the defense – has mailed it in.  Jackson remains a very safe start though.  DB Sean Jones wraps up a pretty disappointing season but could have value. 

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
D’Qwell Jackson (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Sean Jones (DB)
Brodney Pool (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Andra Davis (LB)
Eric Wright (DB)
Brandon McDonald (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Pittsburgh Steelers:
I am not sure how much the Steelers will be playing their studs but even if they played the entire game you can expect that they won’t see many tackle opportunities.  James Harrison is a safe bet to add to his team record sack total.  If you need to rely on Troy Polamalu this week you may want to look elsewhere as the Browns for the most part have not been friendly to opposing safeties lately.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that I think that Lawrence Timmons will lead the Steelers in tackles this week.  Mainly, because I think he will log a bunch of snaps in the second half when guys like James Farrior are taking a much deserved rest.

Five-Star Plays:
None.
\
Four-Star Plays:
James Harrison (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Lawrence Timmons (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Troy Polamalu (DB)
LaMar Woodley (LB)
Aaron Smith (DL)
James Farrior (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Ike Taylor (DB)


Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

Detroit Lions:
Another team with nothing to play for… except the Lions will be giving 100% to somehow avoid being the only winless team in a season.  Expect the LBs Paris Lenon and Ernie Sims to put forth tremendous effort and log plenty of tackles.  DB Daniel Bullocks is the only Lion DB to consider. 

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Ernie Sims (LB)
Paris Lenon (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Daniel Bullocks (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Leigh Bodden (DB)
Cliff Avril (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Green Bay Packers:
Does the “J” in A.J Hawk stand for Jekyll (as in Jekyll & Hyde infamy)?    If Hawk follows suit on his good game, bad game alternating then this would be a good week to play him.  However, the Lions are not a good matchup for MLBs so I wouldn’t expect this trend to continue.  Nick Collins and Aaron Kampman seem to be the best plays this week versus the Lions.  You know the Packers are going to play inspired on both sides of the ball as they don’t want to be the Lions first victory of the year. 

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Nick Collins (DB)
Aaron Kampman (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
A.J. Hawk (LB)
Brandon Chillar (LB)
Tramon Williams (DB)
Mike Montgomery (DL)
Charles Woodson (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Brady Poppinga (LB)


Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers:
The Panthers have plenty to play for on Sunday.  Add in the fact that the Saints present good opportunities for all of their big IDPs to make plays and score big points.  Go ahead and start the DBs Chris Harris, Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall with big confidence.  LBs Thomas Davis and especially Jon Beason should be plenty busy and DL Julius Peppers will have to have one of his bigger games of the season if the Panthers are to escape New Orleans with a win.

Five-Star Plays:
Jon Beason (LB)
Julius Peppers (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
Chris Harris (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Chris Gamble (DB)
Richard Marshall (DB)
Thomas Davis (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
None.

One-Star Plays:
None.

New Orleans Saints:
The Panthers will be looking to lock up their division and a 1st round bye so expect them to pound DeAngelo Williams.  That bodes well for Jonathan Vilma owners this week.  I wouldn’t expect much from Will Smith or Bobby McCray this week since the Panthers shouldn’t need to pass much to secure a win.  I would expect Roman Harper to be busy in from his safety position.

Five-Star Plays:
Jonathan Vilma (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Roman Harper (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Scott Fujita (LB)
Usama Young (DB)
Josh Bullocks (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Scott Shanle (LB)
Will Smith (DL)
Bobby McCray (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Randall Gay (DB)


Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts

Tennessee Titans:
The Titans have clinched and will likely sit some starters eventually in this contest.  LB Keith Bulluck has had a somewhat resurgent season and will probably score enough in the first half to warrant a decent start.  DB Chris Hope has been outplayed by fellow DB Michael Griffin; both represent fine starts.  DL Jason Jones takes Albert Haynesworth’s spot and could also produce well.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Chris Hope (DB)
Keith Bulluck (LB)
Michael Griffin (DB)
Jason Jones (DL)

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

One-Star Plays:
None.

Indianapolis Colts:
I sure hope you don’t have to rely on any Colts this week.  There is nothing on the line this week for the Colts so don’t be shocked to see guys like Bob Sanders & Freddie Keiaho
getting a good amount of rest this week.  Buster Davis should be a solid play this week.  Also, of course after putting up back to back donuts Robert Mathis will have a big game after he has already failed most of his owners during two of the most important weeks of the season.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Melvin Bullitt (DB)
Buster Davis (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Matt Giordano (DB)
Tyjuan Hagler (LB)
Robert Mathis (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Phillip Wheeler (LB)
Antoine Bethea (DB)
Dwight Freeney (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Freddie Keiaho (LB)
Bob Sanders (DB)


New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants: 

The G-men have nothing to play for but will likely get enough out of the likes of LB Antonio Pierce (tackling AP) and DLs Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka (going after QB Tarvaris Jackson).  No other Giant IDPs are worth risking a start with.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Antonio Pierce (LB)
Justin Tuck (DL)
Mathias Kiwanuka (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
James Butler (DB)
Michael Johnson (DB)
Fred Robbins (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None. 

Minnesota Vikings:
Expect the Giants to try and pound the rock to help Derrick Ward to surpass the 1000 yard rushing plateau for the season which should help with Chad Greenway’s value this week.  Jared Allen’s health is a concern but if he starts and plays he should be an above average play.  Antoine Winfield should continue his stellar season as he will be busy in both coverage and run support.  Cedric Griffin has quietly put together a fine season too and should be a good start too.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Jared Allen (DL, check injury report)
Antoine Winfield (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Chad Greenway (LB)
Cedric Griffin (DB)
Kevin Williams (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Ben Leber (LB)
Madieu Williams (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Ray Edwards (DL)


Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs have nothing to play for – but they haven’t all season, really.  But they’ll want to go out with a bang against a very beatable opponent.  Their hard-hitting, young secondary should feature a couple of solid starting fantasy DBs in Brandon Flowers and Bernard Pollard.  LB Derrick Johnson has flown under the radar a bit but will be a nice start to end the season.  Fellow LB Rocky Boiman has been productive in the late part of the season and is a decent start.  You’d think that DL Tamba Hali would be a nice start with this matchup but he’s been way too inconsistent.  Start him at your own risk.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Brandon Flowers (DB)
Bernard Pollard (DB)
Derrick Johnson (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Rocky Boiman (LB)

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

One-Star Plays:
None.

Cincinnati Bengals:
Look for Nedu Ndukwe to have a big game versus a much improved Chiefs offense.  Brandon Johnson has been a very nice play as of late but if the Chiefs continue to pass as much as they have then I would temper my expectations from him and also Dhani Jones.  Yes, Leon Hall had a huge week last week but without those 3 interceptions he logged one measly solo and assist.   He should have more tackles this week but forget about a multiple interception game.

Five-Star Plays:
Nedu Ndukwe (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
Leon Hall (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
None.

Two-Star Plays:
Brandon Johnson (LB)
Dhani Jones (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Antwan Odom (DL)


New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots:
The Pats will look to spank their division opponents en route to another AFC East title.  The LB corps is a bit banged up so look for rookie Jerod Mayo to lead the squad, with grizzled vet Junior Seau also contributing.  DB Brandon Meriweather will lead the secondary this Sunday and into the next seasons. 

Five-Star Plays:
Jerod Mayo (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Brandon Meriweather (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Junior Seau (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Lewis Sanders (DB)
Ellis Hobbs (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Mike Vrabel (LB)

Buffalo Bills:
Expect Paul Posluszny to finish his season strong as he faces a Patriots team that should be running the ball a ton by the start of the 2nd half.  Leodis McKelvin and Terrence McGee should be very busy early in the game versus the Matt Cassel led Patriots passing attack.  Buffalo started the season off hot and then the bottom fell out.  You can bet your bottom dollar they would like nothing more than to knock the Patriots out of playoff contention.

Five-Star Plays:
Paul Posluszny (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Terrence McGee (DB)
Leodis McKelvin (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Kawika Mitchell (LB)
Ryan Denney (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Keith Ellison (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Marcus Stroud (DL)


Oakland Raiders @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Oakland Raiders:
This Raider squad is young and doesn’t travel well.  Doesn’t bode well for them in terms of gaining a victory in this last week of the season.  But could bode well for sure-fire IDPs like DB Gibril Wilson and LB Kirk Morrison.  Start them with confidence.  LB Thomas Howard could actually post good numbers too.  But don’t expect too much out of DLs Derrick Burgess and Jay Richardson, although one or both could surprise and post decent stats.  Tommy Kelly, plugging up the middle, could also be serviceable, especially in leagues that must start DT.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

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

Three-Star Plays:
Derrick Burgess (DL)
Thomas Davis (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Eugene Hiram (DB)
Tommy Kelly (DL)
Chris Johnson (DB)
Jay Richardson (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
This is a must win for the Buccaneers so you can feel safe starting Barrett Ruud and Ronde Barber.  This could be Derrick Brooks final regular season game in Tampa Bay so if he plays, which it looks like he will (he is on the injury report as limited participation) there could be a little extra giddy up in his step. 

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Barrett Ruud (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Ronde Barber (DB)
Derrick Brooks (LB)
Gaines Adams (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Sabby Piscitelli (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Tanard Jackson (DB)


Chicago Bears @ Houston Texans

Chicago Bears:
In what should be one of the more exciting games of the week, the Bear defense looks to stay hot against a pretty solid Texan offense (performing especially well at home).  Expect the Bear LBs Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher to have a big bounce in their steps as they attempt to chase down super rookie RB Steve Slaton and keep up with TE Owen Daniels.  DLs Alex Brown and Adawale Ogunleye will have to have huge efforts against the Texan OL to both produce fantasy points and make a difference in winning this game.  DBs Charles Tillman and Kevin Payne will also produce solid fantasy numbers against this versatile offense.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Lance Briggs (LB)
Brian Urlacher (LB)
Charles Tillman (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Kevin Payne (DB)
Alex Brown (DL)
Adawale Ogunleye (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
None.
One-Star Plays:
Corey Graham (DB)

Houston Texans:
Houston will be looking to play spoilers against the Bears and for that to happen Mario Williams will need to have a big game.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams post a multiple sack game.  DeMeco Ryans has been playing much better over the latter half of the season and should be a very good play versus the Bears and their rushing attack.  Omobi Okoye finally recorded his first sack of the year last week but I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance from the inconsistent lineman.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

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

Three-Star Plays:
Nick Ferguson (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Morlon Greenwood (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Omobi Okoye (DL)


Washington Redskins @ San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins:
The Skins have nothing to play for and the Niners may actually put forth some effort in trying to close out their season on a positive note.  That said, LB London Fletcher should have some value this week as he approaches double-digit tackles.  And aside from DB Chris Horton and perhaps DL Jason Taylor, the rest of the Skin IDPs are risky at best.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
London Fletcher (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Chris Horton (DB)
Jason Taylor (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
H.B. Blades (LB)
LaRon Landry (DB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

San Francisco 49ers:
The Redskins season is done as is the 49ers but you can bet that both coaches want to go out on a good note with a win.  Patrick Willis will be a top play as always no matter if Clinton Portis or Ladell Betts are running the ball.  Expect Michael Lewis to continue to be a good play but don’t expect a repeat of last week’s performance (13 tackles).  Nate Clements should see enough in the passing game and run support to be an adequate start this week.

Five-Star Plays:
Patrick Willis (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Michael Lewis (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Nate Clements (DB)
Takeo Spikes (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Justin Smith (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Mark Roman (DB)


Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

Miami Dolphins:
Here’s a game with a ton of playoff implications.  The Fin LB corps will likely be without Channing Crowder and new signee Derek Smith could fill in.  Joey Porter represents the best Fin LB at this point.  But if there’s a Fin IDP you want this week, it’s DB Yeremiah Bell, who should have a ton of tackling opportunities against the Jet offense. 

Five-Star Plays:
Yeremiah Bell (DB)

Four-Star Plays:
Joey Porter (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Renaldo Hill (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Channing Crowder (LB)
Derek Smith (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

New York Jets:
This should be a very good game as each team fights for a playoff berth.   Look for David Harris to be a strong play this week.  Eric Barton has lost much of his luster since Harris has returned to the lineup but he should be a safe start this week.  Also look for Kerry Rhodes to have the type of game that owners were hoping for when they drafted him.

Five-Star Plays:
David Harris (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Kerry Rhodes (DB)
Eric Barton (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Kris Jenkins (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Calvin Pace (LB)


Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas Cowboys:
Not only do these teams hate each other, but there’s huge playoff implications here.  The Boys will likely need a huge effort from the defense regardless of the health of their QB on the other side of the ball.  Figure LB Demarcus Ware will make an effort to catch the season sack record, but will likely not reach it.  The Cowboy LB to have this week is definitely Bradie James, who has been huge this season and especially winding down the end.

Five-Star Plays:
Bradie James (LB)

Four-Star Plays:
Demarcus Ware (LB)

Three-Star Plays:

Ken Hamlin (DB)
Jay Ratliff (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Anthony Henry (DB)
Terence Newman (DB)

One-Star Plays:

Philadelphia Eagles:
We all know there is no love loss between these two teams so expect a very physical hard hitting affair.  Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson will bring pressure and Trent Cole should continue to be a top play from his DL position.  Look for Brian Dawkins to have his best game of the season since this could very well be his final game in an Eagles uniform.  Akeem Jordan has firmly supplanted Omar Gaither at the WLB position and is a nice option for this week as well as the future in dynasty leagues.

Five-Star Plays:
Trent Cole (DL)

Four-Sar Plays:
Stewart Bradley (LB)
Brian Dawkins (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Quintin Mikell (DB)
Akeem  Jordan (LB)
Juqua Parker (DL)
Sheldon Brown (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Chris Gocong (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Asante Samuels (DB)


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Baltimore Ravens

Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Jags want to escape this disappointing season unscathed, and they’ll likely be getting out of the way of the hard-hitting Raven offense.  LB Mike Peterson could have a big game, or he could disappear.  Just been one of those seasons for Peterson and the Jag defense in general.  The entire lot of Jag IDPs are just risky starts this week. 

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
None.

Two-Star Plays:
Mike Peterson (LB)
Justin Durant (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Reggie Nelson (DB)

Baltimore Ravens:
Terrell Suggs owners should be licking their chops at this matchup.  Ray Lewis has lost a step but he still has what it takes to get it done and he should be a solid play this week.  Look for Ed Reed to do what Ed Reed does, make big plays!  Jim Leonhard has been a very nice player the past few weeks and should be a solid play again.

Five-Star Plays:
Terrell Suggs (DL)

Four-Star Plays:
Ray Lewis (LB)


Three-Star Plays:

Ed Reed (DB)
Jim Leonhard (DB)
Bart Scott (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Marques Douglas (DL)

One-Star Plays:
Fabian Washington (DB)


Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals

Seattle Seahawks:
Ugly.  That’s all we can say about the Seahawks’ season.  The Cards have looked horrible in their past two games, so they’ll likely want to challenge the Seahawks as much as possible.  Figure LB Lofa Tatupu will have solid stats even if the Cards tend to throw the ball more than pass.  DLs Darryl Tapp and Lawrence Jackson are young and talented and could get to the Card QB(s) a few times. 

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Lofa Tatupu (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Darryl Tapp (DL)
Rocky Bernard (DL)
Lawrence Jackson (DL)
Josh Wilson (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Julian Peterson (LB)

One-Star Plays:
None.

Arizona Cardinals:
Supposedly the Cardinals won’t be resting players but I still think you should proceed with caution no matter what their coach says.  If you are going to start anyone look to plug in Karlos Dansby and Gerald Hayes since they should be the safest plays.  Adrian Wilson has been up and down at times so it looks to be safer to leave him on the bench this week if you have a better option.

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
None.

Three-Star Plays:
Karlos Dansby (LB)
Gerald Hayes (LB)
Darnell Dockett (DL)

Two-Star Plays:
Adrian Wilson (DB)
Antrel Rolle (DB)

One-Star Plays:
Bert Berry (LB)


Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers

Denver Broncos:
And in the final game of the regular season, a huge, for-all-the-marbles matchup against a couple of teams that have had some tough battles in the past.  The Bronco LB pair of Jamie Winborn and D.J. Williams will likely be the busiest and best Bronco IDPs this week. DB Champ Bailey is healthy enough to play and matter.  And unless you own DL Elvis Dumervil in a large league, you can stay away from the rest. 

Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
D.J. Williams (LB)

Three-Star Plays:
Champ Bailey (DB)
Jamie Winborn (LB)

Two-Star Plays:
Elvis Dumervil (DL)

One-Star Plays:
None.

San Diego Chargers:
Denver has been a challenging matchup for MLB/ILB’s so temper your expectations for Stephen Cooper this week.  Look for Eric Weddle, Quentin Jammer & Antonio Cromartie to busy versus the Broncos potent passing attack.  Don’t expect much from Shaun Phillips or Jyles Tuckers when it comes to sacks this week.
Five-Star Plays:
None.

Four-Star Plays:
Eric Weddle (DB)
Quentin Jammer (DB)

Three-Star Plays:
Antonio Cromartie (DB)

Two-Star Plays:
Stephen Cooper (LB)

One-Star Plays:
Jyles Tucker (LB)
Shaun Phillips (LB)

Other Features
IDP Player Rankings
IDP Sleepers
IDP Dynasty Watch
IDP Deep Sleepers
a d v e r t i s e m e n t