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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 5
Steve Gallo
October 9, 2009
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Weekly, I will break down each team’s matchup and offer ratings on the more important IDPs.  Preceding the game breakdowns is a reference chart that lists each team’s scheme, defensive coordinator & projected three down linebackers. Ratings are based on a 12-team league that assumes the following starting requirements: 2 defensive linemen (DL) (defensive ends (DE) & defensive tackles (DT)), 3-4 linebackers (LB), 2 defensive backs (DB) (cornerbacks (CB) & safeties (S)).  As the season progresses trends will become apparent and allow me to utilize IDP TOP  ("TOP") as a viable tool for these game breakdowns.  Good luck & enjoy!

Rating System:
Five-Star Play: Studly performance anticipated
Four-Star Play: Above average solid start
Three-Star Play: Decent starter or sleeper
Two-Star Play: Bench ‘em, unless you don’t have better options
One-Star Play: Bench ‘em no matter what

Scoring system used for this article: solo tackle (2), assisted tackle (1), sack (3), forced or recovered fumble (3), interception (3) and pass defended (1).

Teams on BYE in week 5:  Chicago, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Diego

Team base schemes, defensive coordinators and three down linebackers (remember Scheme Matters)

Team Defensive
Scheme
Defensive
Coordinator
Three down linebackers
ARZ 3-4 Bill Davis Karlos Dansby, Chike Okeafor
ATL 4-3 Brian VanGorder Curtis Lofton, Mike Peterson
BAL 3-4(Multi Front) Greg Mattison Ray Lewis
BUF Tampa 2/Cover 2 Perry Fewell Kawika Mitchell
CAR 4-3 & Tampa 2 Ron Meeks Jon Beason, Thomas Davis
CHI Tampa 2/Cover 2 Bob Babich Lance Briggs
CIN 4-3 Mike Zimmer Dhani Jones
CLE 3-4 Rob Ryan D'Qwell Jackson, Eric Barton, Kamerion Wimbley
DAL 3-4 Wade Phillips Bradie James, DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer
DEN 3-4 Mike Nolan DJ Williams, Elvis Dumervil
DET 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Larry Foote, Ernie Sims
GB 3-4 Dom Capers Aaron Kampman
HOU 4-3 Frank Bush DeMeco Ryans
IND Tampa 2/Cover 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett, Clint Session
JAX 3-4 Mel Tucker Justin Durant, Daryl Smith
KC 3-4 Clancy Pendergast Mike Vrabel, Tamba Hali
MIA 3-4 Paul Pasqualoni Channing Crowder, Jason Taylor, Joey Porter
MIN Tampa 2/Cover 2 Leslie Frazier EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway
NE 3-4 Dean Pees Jerod Mayo (inj), Adalius Thomas
NO 4-3 Gregg Williams Jonathan Vilma, Scott Shanle
NYG 4-3 Bill Sheridan Antonio Pierce, Michael Boley
NYJ 3-4 Mike Pettine David Harris, Bart Scott
OAK 4-3 John Marshall Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard
PHL 4-3 Sean McDermott Omar Gaither, Akeem Jordan
PIT 3-4 Dick LeBeau James Farrior, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley
SD 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett, Sh. Merriman, Shaun Phillips
SEA 4-3 Gus Bradley Lofa Tatupu (inj), Aaron Curry
SF 3-4 Greg Manusky Patrick Willis
STL 4-3 Ken Flajole James Laurinaitis, Will Witherspoon
TB 4-3 Jim Bates Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes
TEN 4-3 Chuck Cecil Keith Bulluck,  Stephen Tulloch
WAS 4-3 Greg Blache London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, Brian Orakpo

Cincinnati at Baltimore

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Dhani Jones
Keith Rivers
Roy Williams

3 STAR
Antwan Odom
2 STAR
Leon Hall
Johnathan Joseph
Domata Peko
1 STAR
Rey Maualuga

BengalsHow does a team go from knocking off the defending Super Bowl Champions one week to almost losing to the Browns?  While the Bengals are currently 3-1 and could easily be 4-0 (remember the deflected pass vs Denver) they could just as easily be 2-2 with a loss to the Browns.  This week the Bengals take a trip to Baltimore to visit a Ravens team that will be looking to get back into the win column.  About the only good news in this matchup for the Bengals lies with Bengals IDP owners as the Ravens are giving up the 3rd most tackle opportunities on the season. 

Defensive Line: Antwan Odom bounced back from a poor week 3 performance and showed that he deserves to be a starter in all leagues.  Odom ranks 2nd among all DL in fantasy points scored just 6 points behind leader Jared Allen.  This week Odom runs up against a Ravens team that has given up the 3rd fewest sacks (5) in the NFL this year.  So while he may struggle to record a sack at least he is facing a team that is giving up the 3rd most tackle opportunities.  Robert Geathers currently is ranked as the #15 DL and has averaged 14 ppg the past two weeks but take that with a grain of salt if you expect that production to continue because Geathers has only recorded 6 solo tackles over that time.

Linebacker: It is always nice when your IDPs get a chance in OT to put up additional stats and this past week the Bengals IDPs got a full extra 15 minute quarter.  While Keith Rivers and Dhani Jones had strong games neither took much advantage of the extra frame with each just recording one tackle each in OT.  The Bengals offense will probably have a tough time establishing much ball control so the defense should spend a good amount of time on the field thus making both Jones and Rivers very good plays this week.  Rey Maualuga continues to be hampered by a knee injury that is limiting his practice time.

Secondary:  Last week Roy Williams was inactive due to an elbow injury and Nedu Ndukwe did a good job filling in and filling up the box score.  Williams practiced fully on Wednesday so I have ranked him as if he will start on Sunday.  If for some reason he has a setback Ndukwe should replace him with the same ranking.   Also this could be a good matchup for the Bengals CBs considering that the Ravens rank 5th in the NFL in pass attempts/game this year.  I happen to think we see the Ravens get back to what they are known for, their running game so I would proceed with caution if you decide to start either Leon Hall or Johnathan Joseph.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Ray Lewis
3 STAR
Terrell Suggs
2 STAR

Haloti Ngata
Kelly Gregg

1 STAR
Ed Reed
Tavares Gooden

RavensThe Ravens feel like they were basically robbed by the refs last week and because of that we can expect to see an extra inspired Ravens defense this week.  That won't bode well for Bengals offensive players and will more than likely limit the Ravens tackle opportunities too.  If the Ravens are truly going to show that they are one of the teams to be reckoned with this year they will have to bounce back from their loss to NE.  I for one think they are for real and this week will make it look like they are playing the Bungles of old and not the Bengals team that beat the Steelers just two weeks ago.

Defensive Line:  The Bengals are pretty much middle of the road when it comes to allowing sacks (9) this year and when coupled with the fact that they give up the historical league average in TOs then you might think this is just going to be a ho hum matchup for Ravens IDPs and DL.  Well that may be true for most DLs but when you have a Terrell Suggs you just have to play him.  If you are in a DT mandatory league you should look at leaving Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg on your bench until they start producing consistent startable numbers.

Linebacker:  The Ravens are facing the 5th fewest tackle opportunities per game so far yet Ray Lewis ranks 6th in total tackles with 35.  As a point of reference Patrick Willis has 37 total tackles.  Just imagine the type of game that Lewis is going to have when he sees an above average number of tackle opportunities.  This wont be that week but Lewis should still be a solid LB2 with upside as a LB1 this week.  Brendon Ayanbadejo is a player I pegged as a sleeper last week due to the multi WR sets I expected the Patriots to run.  Well he got injured early in the 4th quarter and has been put on IR by the Ravens with a torn left quadriceps tendon.  The Pro Bowl special teamer has already had the surgery performed on Thursday by super surgeon Dr. James Andrews.  Tavares Gooden practiced fully on Wednesday but still looks like he isn't 100% and that could be the reason he is sharing snaps.  At this point Gooden shouldn't be relied on unless you are in a deeper league and even then he currently looks like a LB4 at best for now.

Secondary:  Pro Bowler and future HOFer Ed Reed led the secondary last week with 4 solo tackles.  Reed as well as his secondary mates don't produce enough stats to be starter worthy so look elsewhere for players that are more consistent with better upside.


Cleveland at Buffalo

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
D’Qwell Jackson
Kamerion Wimbley
2 STAR

Eric Barton
Shaun Rogers
Abram Elam

1 STAR

David Bowens
Kenyon Coleman
Brodney Pool

BrownsThe Browns continue to be among the league leaders in tackle opportunities faced (54/game) and their key IDPs seem to be taking full advantage of it.  Outside of some nice IDP production the Browns unfortunately don't have much to offer and look like they could be challenged to win 2-3 games this year.  Well one of those chances at a win comes this week but even as bad as the Bills might be going into their house isn't going to make for an easy win.  The Browns traded away WR Braylon Edwards to the Jets and got a couple of players and  a couple of picks.  Maybe the Browns will use their first round pick next year on a coach because it couldn't get much worse.

Defensive Line:  Versus the Bengals Shaun Rogers had a pedestrian 1 solo, 1 assist day but he did get his mitts on a couple of kicks that gave the Brownies a chance to pull out the game.  In DT mandatory leagues Rogers is still a safe start at DT. 

Linebacker: Don't look now but D'Qwell Jackson leads the league in solo tackles with 32 and ranks 3rd in total tackles.  Last year Jackson led the league with 154 total tackles.  This year the Browns are 2nd in tackle opportunities so Jackson should end up among the league leaders again but the Bills rank next to last in TOs allowed, so temper expectations this week.  Normally, you won't see me recommend starting many OLBs in a 3-4 defense but this week Kamerion Wimbley looks to be a good matchup versus the not so stout Bills OL.

INJURY UPDATE: D'Qwell Jackson (hamstring) missed both Thursday and Friday practice and is now listed as DOUBTFUL on the injury report.

Secondary:  When you look at the league leaders in tackles among DBs you might expect to see Elam in the top 10 or 15 but then you look closer and realize he is tied for the lead with 31 total tackles.  Just like with D'Qwell Jackson, Elam should remain among the league leaders all year long but this week an offensively limited Bills team could limit his production some.  Brodney Pool can be used in spot starts when there is a good matchup but this week isn't a good matchup.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Aaron Schobel

3 STAR

Marcus Buggs
Chris Kelsay
Terrence McGee
George Wilson

2 STAR
Keith Ellison
Kawika Mitchell
1 STAR
Marcus Stroud
Donte Whitner

BillsHow in the world did this team almost beat the New England Patriots back in week 1.  I know they have had their fare share of injuries but the truth is that they aren't a very good team and played well over their head versus the Patriots.  While there aren't many teams much worse than the Bills this year the good news is that their opponent is one of those teams that is worse.  Wins are going to be few and far between and to be honest I think they could struggle to beat the lowly Browns.  The Bills currently rank 1st in tackle opportunities faced but this week they get a Browns team that is among the leagues worst in giving up TOs.

Defensive Line:  This week the Bills DL get to face a team that has given up the 3rd most sacks in the league.  Aaron Schobel only has 10 total tackles so far but he has recorded 3 sacks.  My guess is that this week Schobel is a difference maker in the box score.  If you are in a DT mandatory league you have to take notice of Marcus Stroud who is currently leading all DTs in tackles but I don't think he is a safe starter versus the Browns this week.  Look for weeks where the Bills will face stronger rushing attacks to plug him into your lineup.

Linebacker:  Last week I said I thought that Marcus Buggs could make a big splash in the box score and he sure did, logging 9 solo tackles in facing 45 rushing attempts.  Just remember that I expected that sort of production because I expected the Dolphins to lean heavily on the rushing game.  This week even if the Browns try to lean on their running game I doubt it has much success.  This week Buggs is startable as a LB3 at best and all other Bills LBs should be on your bench this week.  That includes Keith Ellison who only logged 1 solo and 2 assists last week. 

Secondary:  To say that the Bills secondary is depleted is putting it mildly. Leodis McKelvin is OUT with a broken leg and Bryan Scott missed last weeks game with an ankle injury.  Scott was replaced last week by George Wilson who filled the box score with 8 solo tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble.  This week Scott has been limited at practice and that could open the door for another start by Wilson.  Currently, I am going to rank Wilson as I expect Scott to either miss or be limited in this weeks game.  If news comes out of Buffalo saying that Scott will start and is 100% then plug Scott into Wilson's spot in the rankings.

INJURY UPDATE:  Donte Whitner (thumb) has been officially ruled OUT versus the Browns.


Pittsburgh at Detroit

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
 
3 STAR
James Farrior
James Harrison
2 STAR

Ryan Clark
Lamar Woodley
Tyrone Carter

1 STAR
Brett Keisel
Casey Hampton
Lawrence Timmons

SteelersThe Steelers are playing Jekyl and Hyde football. When they are playing good they look real good and when they are playing bad they look real bad.  It is no wonder that they sit at .500 with a 2-2 record.  The Lions used to be the type of team that you could look at to use as a stepping stone but with the inconsistent play the Steelers have exhibited I am not so sure that will be the case this time.

Defensive Line: Unless you are in a very deep league there is no fantasy relevance on the Steelers DL.

Linebacker:  While Lawrence Timmons has returned to the starting lineup from injury he hasn't made much of an impact in the box score.  It probably makes sense to leave Timmons on the bench until he shows he is back to form and filling the box score with tackles and big plays.  Steady Eddie James Farrior should be a solid play versus a Lions team that is actually giving up above average tackle opportunities.  Out of all the Steelers LBs it is James Harrison that has the ability to put up monster numbers but his inconsistency makes him a tough start.  This week versus a Lions team that is giving up almost 3 sacks/game Harrison could very well have one of those monster games. 

Secondary:  The big news this week is that Troy Polamalu practiced both Wednesday and Thursday and is trying his best to get back into the starting lineup.  From a fantasy perspective you should wait until you see Polamalu play before running him out in your starting lineup.

INJURY UPDATE: Troy Polamalu (knee) participated in practice all week in a limited fashion and is listed as Doubtful on the injury report.

5 STAR
Larry Foote
4 STAR
Julian Peterson
Marquand Manuel
3 STAR

Louis Delmas
Anthony Henry

2 STAR
DeAndre Levy
Jason Hunter
1 STAR
Dewayne White
Cliff Avril

LionsWell the celebration of that win was short lived as the Lions went back to their losing ways as the Bears  doubled the Lions 48-24.  Even with that it is easy to see that it looks as if the Lions are headed in the right direction.  Look for the Steelers try to establish the run with second year RB Rashard Mendenhall which should bode well for select Lions IDPs.

Defensive Line:  Dewayne White missed last weeks game due to injury and at this point if you don't have a deep enough bench to stash him until he gets healthy you can go ahead and drop him. OLB Julian Peterson got some snaps in practice at DE and while that shouldn't mean he will play there exclusively it will probably be enough snaps to limit the fantasy relevance of Jason Hunter and Cliff Avril.

INJURY UPDATE: Dewayne White (hamstring) is listed as OUT on the injury report. 

Linebacker:  Last week rookie LB DeAndre Levy started in place of the injured Ernie Sims.  This week Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham has indicated that  Levy will remain in the starting lineup.  What Cunningham hasn't said is who will sit because of it.  Lions beat writer John Niyo suspects it will be former 1st round pick Ernie Sims who takes a seat on the pine and this week it isn't because of injury but instead due to Levy's play.  Larry Foote looks to be a top play this week as he is a very active tackler from his MLB position.  Currently Foote ranks  11th among LBs in total tackles. Normally, due to his current poor play I would say you have to bench Julian Peterson but this week versus a Steelers team that has a penchant for giving up sacks you have to consider running Peterson out as a LB2 or LB3 this week.  The fact that he will probably see situational snaps at DE could help him to log a sack or two.

Secondary:  Don't to worried by the lack of production that Louis Delmas and Anthony Henry had last week as the Bears on presented 38 tackle opportunities.  This week the Lions secondary could be busy against a Steelers team that uncharacteristically ranks 3rd in passing yardage.


Washington at Carolina

5 STAR
London Fletcher
4 STAR
Reed Doughty
3 STAR

Rocky McIntosh

2 STAR

Andre Carter

1 STAR
Brian Orakpo
Chris Horton
Albert Haynesworth

RedskinsThe Redskins may have logged a win last week but it was against a poor Tampa Bay team and the win was anything but easy.  However, that is understandable since winning on the road in the NFL isn't really ever an easy proposition.  Oh wait, that's right the Redskins played in the friendly confines of Fed Ex Field.  Redskins fans look to be in for a very long year.  To make matters worse they are getting a Carolina team that has struggled this year but had a bye week to right the ship and that probably spells trouble for the Redskins.

Defensive Line:  Right now Albert Haynesworth is being paid about 10 million dollars per tackle since he only has 9 total tackles on the season.  I am not sure if the Redskins feel like they got their $100 million dollars worth with Haynesworth but I am pretty sure that fantasy GMs aren't happy. Until Haynesworth shows some life and starts putting up better numbers relegate him to your bench.  Unlike Haynesworth's struggles Andre Carter is holding his own as he is just 3 tackles shy of the DL leaders (Mario Williams & Jared Allen).  The thing holding Carter back is that he has only gotten to the QB for one sack so far this season. Carter makes for better depth to play as a DL2 when the matchup presents itself.

Linebacker:  Prior to the start of the season I thought that London Fletcher was going to have his stats depressed with Albert Haynesworth playing in front of him but that just hasn't been the case.  All Fletcher is doing is leading the league with 52 total tackles thru 4 games.  That puts him on pace for 208 total tackles but you can't expect him to keep up that pace.  This week versus a Panthers team that needs to establish their running game expect Fletcher to put up monster numbers once again.  is still a stud and there really isn't any other way to put it.  The only thing that looks like it will slow Fletcher down is a lack of tackle opportunities and then he will still probably put up solid numbers. At this point in time don't even think about it just keep Fletcher in your lineup. Coming into the season I really thought that the addition of Haynesworth would limit Fletcher's production and so far I have been wrong.  Rocky McIntosh has been solid posting at least 5 total tackles in each game this year.  He isn't flashing some of those big games we have seen in previous seasons from him but he is startable as a LB3 with some upside based on matchup.

Secondary:  Just in case you missed it, Chris Horton has been officially replaced in the starting lineup by Reed Doughty.  If Doughty is available on your waiver wire feel secure in picking him up as he should finish off the year as a top 15-20 DB.  Laron Landry has had some recent successes and currently ranks 6th among safeties in tackles but I wouldn't expect him to keep up that pace either. If you are a Landry owner he is someone I would be looking to sell high.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Thomas Davis 
Jon Beason
3 STAR
Julius Peppers
Richard Marshall
2 STAR
Chris Gamble
1 STAR
Chris Harris
Damione Lewis

Panthers The Panthers are still in search of their first win of the season and will look to get on track at home after their bye week versus a Redskins team that lost to the Lions and also struggled to beat both the Rams and Buccaneers.  Just what the doctor ordered is easily a saying that fits this matchup for the Panthers.  For the season the Panthers are among the league leaders in tackle opportunities faced but this week versus a Redskins team that is middle of the pack key Panther IDPs could see their stats depressed a bit.

Defensive line:  If Julius Peppers wants to sign a big juicy contact next year he had better kick it in high gear and start racking up tackles, sacks and big plays.  Peppers very well could explode this week or he could flop like he has in his past two starts where he logged a combined 4 total tackles with zero sacks. Unfortunately, if you are a Peppers owner you just have to plug him in and hope he bounces back because when he does you just know it will be a big game. In DT leagues Damione Lewis was a pretty solid start in larger leagues last year but this year he hasn't tallied more than 2 total tackles in any game.

Linebackers:  Thomas Davis went into the bye week as one of the hottest fantasy LBs in the league this year.  The question still remains if the production is really due to the scheme change or Jon Beason not being 100% healthy with an injured knee.  Of course it is probably a combination of the two but coming off a bye Beason should be much healthier so we should get a good idea in this game on what to expect for the rest of the season.

Secondary:  Chris Harris is still being limited by his knee and needs to be firmly planted on benches until we can see him in game action.  Until that happens I will continue to rank him a 1 Star play.  I have been one of the biggest supporters of Richard Marshall and he didn't exactly come out of the gate with guns blazing but I truly do think we will see more of what we saw in week 3 then what we saw in weeks 1 and 2. He is still worth rostering and looks like a solid play as a DB2/3 this week.  In CB mandatory leagues I would bump him up one level.


Dallas at Kansas City

5 STAR

None

4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Bradie James
DeMarcus Ware
2 STAR

Anthony Spencer
Ken Hamlin
Jay Ratliff
Terrence Newman
Patrick Watkins

1 STAR

Marcus Spears
Gerald Sensabaugh

CowboysI got a real kick out of the following that I read on our message boards, "The main difference between Cowboy and Raider fans...is that Raider fans are no longer in denial about their joke of a franchise".  Now I don't really think I would label the Cowboys organization a "joke" but the truth is that they currently are not a very good TEAM.  They sorely need a leader to step up and that leader sure doesn't look like his name is Tony Romo or Wade Phillips.

Defensive Line:  You have to wonder if Jay Ratliff is as good as he is because he gets to practice avoiding trips and such from Flozell in practice.  Normally in DT mandatory leagues Ratliff is a good play but not this week versus an offensive Chiefs offense. And yes I mean offensive in the worst possible way. 

Linebacker:  This week doesn't look like a good matchup from a tackle opportunity standpoint but still Bradie James can be started as a LB3 this week.  DeMarcus Ware has had a tough start to his season but if ever you were going to stick him in your lineups this would be the week.  Look for Ware to log his first multi sack game of the year.

Secondary:  Gerald Sensabaugh was just starting to look like a solid DB option and then he went and hurt his thumb and had to have surgery.  He will be out at the very least for a few weeks.  Patrick Watkins will start in his place but presents little fantasy relevance this week.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Mike Brown 
Demorrio Williams

3 STAR
Brandon Flowers
Brandon Carr
2 STAR

Tank Tyler
Corey Mays

1 STAR
Tamba Hali
Mike Vrabel
Glenn Dorsey
Tyson Jackson
Derrick Johnson

ChiefsThe Chiefs pinned their hopes on Matt Cassel this offseason and he hasn't yet paid any dividends.  The 0-4 Chiefs will try to log their first win of the season in front of their hometown fans but unfortunately this game could actually make the Cowboys look good.  Chiefs fans didn't seem to have much patience with Herm Edwards so one has to wonder how much patience they will have with this regime.  I think that Todd Haley is the right guy for the job but this team is going to need some time before it is competitive on a weekly basis.

Defensive Line: Earlier this season both Tank Tyler and Glenn Dorsey got off to hot starts but I warned not to expect that to continue as the Chiefs 3-4 would limit their fantasy production.  Combined the two put up 3 solo tackles and 2 assists last week. That is the sort of production you can expect most weeks, if not slightly worse. Look elsewhere for DL help.

Linebacker: OK, I promise that I am going to get off the Derrick Johnson pimp train until he shows something.  He was healthy and active this past week and didn't record a single tackle.  Demorrio Williams seems to be the best bet of the LB bunch but you have to realize there is risk in relying on him.  This team is in flux and it wouldn't take much for Coach Haley to bench anyone in the bat of an eye.  Tamba Hali had a very productive game posting 5 solo tackles with a sack and forced fumble last week but that type of production isn't something you are going to see very often.

Secondary: The Chiefs secondary seems to be very productive and that probably has to do with the quality of LBs in front of them.  Most weeks Mike Brown should be at worst a low level DB1 or high level DB2.  Both corners Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are decent plays as CB1/2 in CB mandatory leagues and as a DB3 in deeper leagues.


Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Barrett Ruud
3 STAR

Ronde Barber
Aqib Talib
Geno Hayes

2 STAR
Tanard Jackson
Sabby Piscitelli
Gaines Adams
1 STAR

Quincy Black

BuccaneersLast week the Buccaneers almost logged their first win of the season versus Washington. Unfortunately, I am not sure that really says much at all.  This week going to face an Eagles team coming off of a bye won't make things any easier.   This season is going to be real long for the Buccaneers but at least their IDPs should have good success.  This week they catch and Eagles team that is ranked in the top 10 in tackle opportunities given up. 

Defensive Line:  If you are a Gaines Adams owner you probably should invest in some Rolaids.  First he got called out by his coach, then he looked iffy to go last week due to injury but he ends up logging 5 total tackles and a sack.  I bet he was on most peoples benches too.  Well now coming off that performance you just have to be eager to get him into your lineups but not so fast.  Adams left Wednesday's practice when he sprained his ankle which also caused him to miss Thursday's practice.  If you are in a bind and need to start Adams you will need to monitor the injury report closely.

INJURY UPDATE:  Gaines Adams (hamstring) missed practice on Thursday but participated on a limited basis Friday and is listed as Questionable on the injury report.

Linebacker:  If you owned Barrett Rudd you were pretty much probably panicked by his production, or should i say lack of production in week one when he only logged 4 solo tackles and then followed that up with only 5 solos but he did at least add 9 assists.  Well now thru 4 full weeks Ruud is 2nd in the NFL in total tackles. As was said earlier the Eagles do rank in the top 10 in tackle opportunities but with how much they like to throw the ball Ruud could see slightly depressed numbers because of it. However, you still need to plug him into your lineup this week.  Don't be surprised to see him with only a few tackles thru 3 quarters to end up with a very good stat line by the end of the 4th quarter because the Eagles should be looking to salt the game away in the 4th quarter by running the ball.

Secondary:  Just in case you didn't know Tanard Jackson is back from a 4 game league imposed suspension and he may play some this week.  That means that if you are a Sabby Piscitelli owner you need to proceed with caution because Jackson could send him back to the bench.  If you have the room on your bench you should take a stab at adding Jackson and see if he does indeed supplant Piscitelli. Both Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib should be very active versus the Eagles passing attack and make solid CB2 starts in CB mandatory leagues.  In a pinch you can rely on each as a DB3 if you have limited options this week.

5 STAR
Trent Cole
Quintin Mikell
4 STAR
Victor Abiamiri
3 STAR
Akeem Jordan
2 STAR

Darren Howard

1 STAR
Omar Gaither
Victor "Macho" Harris

EaglesThis looks to be a good game for the Eagles as a team but not so good a matchup from an IDP perspective.  The Buccaneers are giving up the 2nd fewest tackle opportunities this year so the limited opportunities should limit your expectations. With that said with Josh Johnson getting the 2nd start in his 2 year career could lend itself to some big plays for the Eagles defenders.

Defensive Line: We have seen a handful of DEs log some big multi sack games and this could be one that Coles joins that club with.  He probably won't have many chances to get to QB Josh Johnson but then again he probably won't need them.  Victor Abiamiri looks to be healthy and should also make the most of limited opportunities this week.

Linebacker: The big news when it comes to the Eagles LBs is that Jeremiah Trotter has rejoined the team after having been out of the NFL for the past 2 years.  There is no telling exactly how the Eagles will utilize Trotter but it will probably be as a run stopper in the base defense.  Akeem Jordan will still remain the best fantasy option at LB and this week is probably best suited as a LB3 due to what should be a limited running attack.  It also wouldn't surprise me to see Jordan get into the sack column too.  Omar Gaither looks to have the most to lose with the addition of Trotter as he will probably only be used on passing downs and to spell Trotter to keep him fresh.

Secondary: Even with one less game due to the bye Quintin Mikell ranks in the top 15 safeties in tackles.  Mikell really has the looks of a plug and play DB no matter what the matchup is.  As a Mikell owner I can safely say that I have no desire to remove him from my starting lineup.


Minnesota at St. Louis

5 STAR
Jared Allen
4 STAR
Antoine Winfield
3 STAR
EJ Henderson
2 STAR
Chad Greenway
Kevin Williams
Cedric Griffin
1 STAR
Madieu Williams
Tyrell Johnson
Pat Williams
Ray Edwards

VikingsSure the talk is all Brett Favre but man did Jared Allen look like a man among boys.  The Vikings most definitely are a team to be reckoned with in the NFC this year.  Imagine what happens when they get Adrian Peterson going too.  Yeah, that is pretty scary to think about.  Now watch them go and falter against the Rams.  Nah, not going to happen but what could happen is that many of the key IDPs could have poor games due to a lack of tackle opportunities they will likely face.  The Rams are tied with Tampa Bay and Buffalo in giving up the 2nd fewest tackle opportunities/game.

Defensive Line:  If you freaked out about Jared Allen's lack of production in week one I wonder how you are reacting now. Allen won't always post numbers like he did versus the Packers but one thing is true and that is that Allen is that good.  Start him every week with confidence and if and when he ever comes up short just look back to weeks like last week when he probably carried your team to a win.  Ray Edwards had been relatively hot to start the season but is now working thru a hamstring injury and could be limited.  Until there is positive information about the hamstring I am keeping him as a 1 Star play.

Linebacker:  Look for all of the Vikings LBs to struggle this week if the Rams aren't able to keep the game close and run the ball.  With that said EJ Henderson should still be in starting lineups but don't expect much more than 5-7 solo tackles.  Chad Greenway is at best a LB4 this week so I would look elsewhere for a better option.

Secondary:  "The Stud" , that is what I think I might just refer to Antoine Winfield as going forward.  All Winfield did was account for almost 25% of the Vikings tackles, logging 10 solo stops in just 43 tackle opportunities.  Cedric Griffin has been a top 10 CB the past two years and he should still end up as one by years end but up until this point the Vikings have faced the 6th fewest average number of tackle opportunities/game.  This week is one of the few weeks I would sit Griffin, even in CB mandatory leagues.

5 STAR
James Laurinaitis
4 STAR

Will Witherspoon

3 STAR

Oshiomogho Atogwe
Craig Dahl

2 STAR
Ronald Bartell
James Hall
1 STAR
Leonard Little
Chris Long

RamsThe NFL has a handful of truly bad teams this year and unfortunately for Rams fans their team is one of them.  This week they get to welcome a rolling Vikings team. Yes, this game will be as ugly if not uglier then what you think it will be for the Rams.

Defensive Line:  James Hall has been a pleasant surprise so far this year and on the other end of the spectrum Chris Long has been an unpleasant surprise.  Leonard Little offers little value beyond the handful full of sacks he will log this year. Do you really have to rely on any of these guys this week?  If so you probably have as many issues as the Rams do.

Linebacker:  They say there is a silver lining in every cloud and if that is the case then rookie James Laurinaitis is the Rams silver lining. This week you couldn't ask for a much better matchup.  Look for Laurinaitis and Will Witherspoon to be very solid plays.  Last week it was Brett Favre for the Vikings but this week I think they Vikings unleash Adrian Peterson to keep "Spoon" and "Little Animal" busy.

Secondary:  Craig Dahl should get another start in place of the injured James Butler and is a solid DB3 this week.  Normally Oshiomogho Atogwe is a guy you just plug and play and this week is no different.  I just think that the Vikings wont need to throw the ball much and that could limit Atogwe just a bit.


Oakland at NY Giants

5 STAR
Kirk Morrison
4 STAR
Thomas Howard
3 STAR

Greg Ellis

2 STAR
Richard Seymour
Michael Huff           
1 STAR
Ricky Brown
Tyvon Branch 

RaidersI know they say "any given Sunday" but come on the Raiders are that bad and it won't even matter if Eli Manning can't go due to his injured foot.  I am sorry but I can't even think I of anything good to say to give Raiders fans hopes.  So instead I will just point out that their defense could spend 50 minutes on the field Sunday.  Plus the Giants are tied for the 2nd most tackle opportunities on average given up per game.  At least Raiders IDP owners can smile about something. 

Defensive Line: I wouldn't expect much from Greg Ellis or any other Oakland DL.  Look for the Giants to establish the run and then run and run some more.  Especially if Eli Manning can't go.

Linebacker: Kirk Morrison came back down to earth some but that had more to do with losing out on nickle snaps to Ricky Brown then anything else.  Remember that there will be a level of risk all season with Morrison as he was close to losing his starting job in training camp.  Still this week looks like a fantastic matchup with the number of rushing attempts that he could face.  Thomas Howard should also benefit from a strong Giants rushing attack.

Secondary:  Tyvon Branch suffered a groin injury in last Sunday's game and has been limited in practice this week because of it.  In what should be a juicy matchup I have no choice but to rank him a 1 Star for fear of how him either missing the game this week or being limited if he does indeed play.

INJURY UPDATE: Tyvon Branch (hip) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as Probable on the injury report.

5 STAR
Osi Umenyiora
4 STAR
Justin Tuck
3 STAR

Antonio Pierce

2 STAR

Michael Johnson

1 STAR
Mathias Kiwanuka

GiantsSome teams get all the breaks, just that some are good breaks and some are bad breaks.  For the Giants they have suffered a ton of bad breaks with a rash of injuries to their team on both sides of the ball.  However, the good break is that they get to face an Oakland Raiders team that will be lucky to win more than 3 games this year. 

Defensive Line:   Look for both Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck to pin their ears back and treat Jamarcus Russell like Jared Allen treated Aaron Rodgers last week.  Sure both have been less than stellar of late but you just have to plug them in versus the inept Raiders that is led by the equally inept Russell at QB.

Linebacker:  Antonio Pierce hasn't produced the studly numbers like he did a few years ago but this week he will be the man at LB for the GMen.  Michael Boley and Brian Kehl both suffered injuries that required surgery.  Boley looks like he will be out for 4 weeks at the very least. 

Secondary:   If you think that Jamarcus Russell will complete 8 passes in 148 attempts for 65 yards then you have to pass on the entire Giants secondary.  The only saving grace would be if Russell throws 3-4 interceptions but I am not even convinced he can complete a pass to the defense either.


Atlanta at San Francisco

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Curtis Lofton
3 STAR

Mike Peterson
John Abraham

2 STAR

Stephen Nicholas
Eric Coleman

1 STAR
Brian Williams

FalconsThe Falcons are coming off of a bye week and heading out west to face a strong San Francisco team. Prior to the start of the season I thought that the Falcons would struggle with what I saw as a difficult schedule.  So far I have been proven wrong as the Falcons are 2-1 but this week will go a long way to showing if the Falcons are for real or not this year.  As far as it pertains to the Falcons IDPs they will be facing a San Francisco team that is in the bottom five in tackle opportunities given.  So with that in mind temper your expectations for Falcons IDPs this week.

Defensive Line:  San Francisco has given up the 3rd most sacks in the NFL this year and that bodes well for John Abraham and his owners.  Outside of Abraham there are no other fantasy relevant DLs for the Falcons.

Linebacker: Curtis Lofton currently is ranks as the #1 LB in ppg (23.333) and is a must start each and every week.  Just keep in mind that he will be seeing fewer tackle opportunities then he has seen to date.  Mike Peterson flanks Lofton  and has been a pleasant surprise this year as he too ranks in the top 5 in LB scoring with just under 20 ppg. SLB Stephen Nicholas has also performed at the level of a LB3 so far.  Just note that the Falcons have faced the 4th most tackle opportunities/game this year.

Secondary:  Eric Coleman is the fantasy point leader in the Falcons secondary but this week versus what is a slightly anemic San Francisco passing attack he and his secondary mates are in line for a tough matchup.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Patrick Willis

3 STAR
Michael Lewis
2 STAR
Nate Clements
1 STAR
Justin Smith
Takeo Spikes

49ersLast week the Niners put a serious shellacking on the Rams, shutting them out 35-0.  To top it off the Niners defense scored more than their offense did.  The Niners are a prime example of how effective leadership can change a teams culture and put them on the right path to winning games and being successful in the NFL.

Defensive Line:  If you are still waiting for Justin Smith to put up fantasy relevant numbers it is time to just accept the fact that it isn't going to happen.

Linebacker:  Patrick Willis this, Patrick Willis that, don't people ever get tired of talking about how great Patrick Willis is?  Of course not that is unless you were facing him.  Willis is another one of those rare studs that you just plug and play and forget about. Willis is on pace for just shy of 150 combined tackles and that is a pace that he can keep up.  The rest of the LB squad is nothing more than waiver wire fodder unless you are in an extremely deep league and even then you would have to be desperate to start any of them.

Secondary:  Look for Michael Lewis to be busy in run support trying to contain RB Michael Turner.  So far Lewis is among the league leaders in tackles by a safety, just 7 behind league leaders Abram Elam and Chris Hope.  Nate Clements can be bumped up to a 3 Star play in CB mandatory leagues.


Houston at Arizona

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
DeMeco Ryans
Brian Cushing
2 STAR
Amobi Okoye
Mario Williams
1 STAR
Connor Barwin
Antonio Smith

TexansThe Texans are coming off of a bye week where they were awarded a win (they played the Raiders). This week will be a bit more challenging as they head into the desert to face a Cardinals team coming off a bye (they didn't play KC or Cleveland they actually had a bye).  Momentum his huge in sports so it will be interesting to see if the Texans can keep theirs going. This looks like it could be a 45-48 shoot out but watch it end up being a defensive battle.  The Cardinals present an average number of weekly tackle opportunities so this is a pretty neutral matchup for Texan IDPs.

Defensive Line:  Mario Williams is one of the premier defensive ends in the league but this week he is being hindered by a shoulder injury. That injury has kept him from practicing both Wednesday and Thursday and even thought Coach Kubiak is optimistic that he will be able to play on Sunday you have to be willing to bench him if he doesn't practice on Friday.

INJURY UPDATE: Mario Williams (shoulder) was limited in practice on Friday and is listed as Questionable on the injury report.

Linebacker:  DeMeco Ryans is the big name at LB for the Texans but his owners are frustrated with his lack of production.  Rookie Brian Cushing has actually produced more than Ryans at this point in the season.  Ryan currently sits as a LB3 which is far from the lofty top 5 perch that many envisioned him obtaining and Cushing is a solidly producing at a lower level LB2.  I still have doubts that Cushing will keep his production up and that Ryans will continue to struggle but at this point it is what it is.

Secondary:  Dynasty owners had high hopes when Bernard Pollard finally found a home after being cut by the Chiefs earlier this  year.  However, it doesn't look like Pollard is going to be a consistent producer that many had hoped for but if you waited and held him this long a few more weeks to get a better read won't be so hard to stomach.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Karlos Dansby
3 STAR
Adrian Wilson
Gerald Hayes
Antrel Rolle
2 STAR
Darnell Dockett
Chike Okeafor
1 STAR
Calais Campbell

CardinalsThe defending NFC Champions come out of their bye with a disappointing 1-2 record.  To make matters worse they are chasing a San Francisco team that looks to be for real.  This week Cardinals IDPs face a Texans team that is giving up 1 tackle/game less than the historical per game average.  It is hard to call a game this early in the season a must win game but that is what this game looks like for the Cardinals.

Defensive Line: If your league awards points/tweets then you need to start Darnell Dockett without hesitation.  However, if your scoring system deducts points for spelling errors then cut Dockett now otherwise you will be looking at a negative points scored.  In all seriousness there isn't really any fantasy value on the Cardinals DL.

Linebacker: Karlos Dansby has been very consistent this year scoring 13, 16 & 16 fantasy points in his three games played.  That has him ranked 22nd in ppg which is far below preseason expectations but you just can't overlook his solid consistent production.  The big plays will come and so will big scores.  Just keep plugging Dansby into you starting lineup.  Gerald Hayes is another one of those not so sexy players that usually puts up workman like solid numbers.  He should be able to be relied upon as a LB3 this week.

Secondary: Adrian Wilson is not a stud any more.  He has seen his best playing days pass him bye.  The defensive back position is the deepest there is in fantasy football and if you have better options with better match ups don't be scared to drop Wilson for one of them.  There I just cursed myself by slamming Wilson and he is going to have a huge week this week.  Actually, there is some truth to what I wrote in that Wilson's best fantasy days seem to be behind him.   This week you should be able to start him and Antrel Rolle as DB2s because of the Texans passing attack.


New England at Denver

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
None
3 STAR
Brandon Meriweather
Gary Guyton
2 STAR

James Sanders
Mike Wright
Adalius Thomas
Leigh Bodden
Shawn Springs

1 STAR
Ty Warren

PatriotsEarly on this season it looked as if the Patriots might be on the ropes but they have persevered thru some injuries and poor play and currently are 3-1 as they travel to face the Broncos.  This is another one of those games that will go a long way to show what teams are for real this season.  Will the Patriots roll over a Broncos team that is an impressive 4-0 or will they be headed back to New England wondering what just happened to them? 

Defensive Line: Vince Wilfork played last week after being questionable with an injury.  In DT mandatory leagues Wilfork makes for a solid play only if you think the Broncos can keep the game close or will win the game outright.

Linebacker:  Good news for the Patriots defense and linebacker corps is that Jerod Mayo is practicing again.  I know Mayo owners can't wait to be able to plug him back into their lineups but just stand pat until we see that he is not only going to play but play significant snaps before you insert him in your lineup.  Gary Guyton should still remain a solid start for at least one more week so milk him for all he is worth this week.

Secondary:  Brandon Meriweather ranks in the top 6 in tackles by a safety but this week versus a Bronco team that doesn't throw the ball very much as evidenced by them having the 6th fewest passing attempts in the NFL this year.  Shawn Springs had a big week last week but has been limited in practice this week due to a knee injury.

5 STAR
DJ Williams
4 STAR
Andra Davis
Brian Dawkins
3 STAR
Elvis Dumervil
Champ Bailey
2 STAR

None

1 STAR
Robert Ayers

BroncosOK, admit it you can't believe the Broncos are 4-0 either.  This week they face what should be by far their most difficult opponent of the season. Who will win?  The student or the teacher?  Truthfully, the teacher has a better team so this shouldn't to hard a win but the Broncos defense has been playing well and if they can pressure Tom Brady then they will have a legit shot to pull off the upset this week to move to 5-0..

Defensive Line: This is what I said last week and it still applies now, In Mike Nolan's 3-4 the defensive line isn't highlighted with regards to the box score.  The play up front sets the tone for the rest of the defense and the DLs play is  easily one of the most surprising things so far this season.

Linebacker:  Good news if you are a DJ Williams owner.  This week he faces a Patriots team that is ranked 2nd in average tackle opportunities/game given up.  All that Williams has done so far is rank 8th in fantasy points scored and he has accomplished that while facing the 5th fewest tackle opportunities/game. Outside of one poor game Andra Davis has been a very good play which is what he is this week.  Rush OLBs are very hard to rely on in tackle heavy formats but Elvis Dumervil has been on a pretty good tear.  I happen to think that Brady is a bit "antsy" in the pocket and could see Dumervil having a good week this week.  Just make sure if you are starting him that you have other solid options to pick up the slack if he fails to get to Brady.

Secondary:  Brian Dawkins continues to play at a high level and versus the Patriots he should be in your lineup at worst as a low level DB1.  Champ Bailey is still a top flight corner and should see plenty of action versus Randy Moss.


Jacksonville at Seattle

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Justin Durant
3 STAR
Daryl Smith
Gerald Alexander
2 STAR

Rashean Mathis
Derek Cox

1 STAR
Quentin Groves
Derrick Harvey
Bryan Smith

JaguarsThe Jaguars are a tough team to figure out as they have been so inconsistent.  At least this week they get to travel to Seattle so they will play in front of more then 129 fans.  None of this actually matters because I am going to black it out like Jaguars home games normally are.  Not sure who will find it funny but it is a shot that just has to be taken.  I  was born in raised in the Philly area where we had all 4 major sports and it was just a 45 minute ride to the stadium.  Now I live in a part of the country where there isn't a major sports team of any kind without traveling over 2 hours.  And know I don't consider major college sports a major sports team.

The above write-up has been blacked out due to a lack of Jaguar fans.

Defensive Line:  With the Jaguars transition to a 3-4 there were some questions as to if, where and how Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves would be used.  Well, Harvey looks to be splitting time at OLB and DE but Quentin Groves is now basically just a special team player according to coach Jack Del Rio.  Bryan Smith has replaced Groves in the starting lineup but he nor any other Jaguars DL have much if any fantasy relevance.

Linebacker: I really liked Justin Durant coming into this season and that was even before he was announced as being moved to the starting MLB position but when the Jaguars started to transition to a 3-4 I had a small fear that it could depress his numbers some.  All that Durant has shown is that he is a very capable play maker as he is still producing fantastic numbers even in the Jaguars new 3-4 defense.  Even Daryl Smith is having decent success playing inside in the 3-4 this year. 

Secondary: Groves isn't the only starter that has lost his job.  Sean Considine has lost his starting gig to Gerald Alexander who should be a solid DB3 play this week.  Rookie Derek Cox has put up pretty good fantasy numbers but could be limited this week if the Seahawks are forced to start Seneca Wallace again.  Same goes for Rashean Mathis but with Mathis if you are i a big play league he is always worth a look as he could pick off a pass or two if Wallace is forced to start.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Lofa Tatupu
3 STAR

Aaron Curry
Darryl Tapp

2 STAR

Lawrence Jackson
Will Herring
Josh Wilson

1 STAR
Deon Grant
Patrick Kerney
Jordan Babineaux

SeahawksThe Seahawks look their season is being derailed by injuries again but at least this week it looks as if they will get Matt Hasselbeck back.  If the Seahawks hope to notch their 2nd win of the season they indeed will need not only Hasselbeck but also their vaunted "12th man".  Of course the "12th man" will be a huge advantage because the Jaguars aren't used to playing in front of more than 129 fans at a time.

Defensive Line:  Patrick Kerney has missed practice on Thursday due to a groin injury and is doubtful to play versus the Jaguars.  That would be good news for Darryl Tapp owners as he should see an increase in his snaps with Kerney out.  As long as Kerney is out Tapp should be a safe start as a DL2 but if and when Kerney returns to the starting lineup Tapp becomes a risky start based on what would be a decrease in snaps played.

INJURY UPDATE: Patrick Kerney (groin) did not practice all week and is listed as Questionable on the injury report.

Linebacker:  Lofa Tatupu seems to be back at full strength as evidenced by his team leading 11 total tackles he logged in week 4 versus the Colts.  Leroy Hill remains out due to injury and that has allowed Aaron Curry to become a three down linebacker and Curry is making the most of the opportunity for his owners. Both should be good starts this week with Tatupu having more upside as the two try to keep MJD in check.

Secondary:  Jordan Babineaux isn't listed on the injury report this week and looks to be a safe play.  Last week Babineaux led the secondary in tackles with 10.  Josh Wilson is coming back from an injured ankle and practiced fully on Thursday and could be a sleeper play this week but I would rather wait to see how Wilson responds in a live game first.


Indianapolis at Tennessee

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Antoine Bethea
Gary Brackett

3 STAR
Clint Session
Melvin Bullitt
Robert Mathis
2 STAR
Jerraud Powers
1 STAR
Tyjuan Hagler
Bob Sanders

Colts Back when the schedule was released I know that many people probably looked at this as a possible preview of the AFC Championship game this year. However, four weeks into this young season things could be much different than that initial thought.  The Colts roll in 4-0 while the Titans are a surprising 0-4.

Defensive Line:  Well it was widely reported that Dwight Freeney would miss at least a few games due to a quadriceps injury but he proved everyone wrong by playing in last weeks game.  He did play on a limited basis but he made the most of his limited opportunities logging 2 solo tackles and a sack.  Robert Mathis on the other hand had a huge game recording 6 total tackles, 3 sacks and forcing 2 fumbles.  Mathis currently ranks 5th among all DL in ppg.  Even if Freeney plays i more snaps then last week he is a risky start but Mathis is a plug and play at this point.

Linebacker:  Gary Brackett will return to the lineup this week and should be a solid play against the Titans rushing attack.  Freddie Keiaho subbed in for Brackett last week and should be a solid start in the future should Brackett miss any more time.  The Colts will need Clint Session to play well if they hope to contain RB Chris Johnson.

Secondary:  Good news for the Colts is that Bob Sanders practiced this week.  While Sanders could possibly play this week the smart money is on a week 7 return after the Colts bye week. If you own Antoine Bethea you know that he has been a very solid steady producer so far and the good news is that he should continue to put up good numbers.  Quietly, Bethea has but up upper echelon DB1 numbers this year.  If you own Melvin Bullitt his time as a starter is numbered with Sanders due back but just remember that Sanders is always at risk of going out again so see if you can get the Sanders owner to bite on a trade.

5 STAR
None
4 STAR

Chris Hope

3 STAR

Keith Bulluck
Stephen Tulloch
Nick Harper

2 STAR

David Thornton
Tony Brown
Kyle Vanden Bosch

1 STAR
Michael Griffin
Vincent Fuller

TitansDisappointing is about the only way to put the Titans season so far.  The one thing that you have to admire is that the Titans are not panicking and there is no talk about canning one of the best coaches in the league.  The Titans are a good organization and even if they can't salvage this season you can bet that they will right their ship sooner than later.

Defensive Line: I have said it before and I have to say it again, the Titans really miss Albert Haynesworth.  At this point in time I would recommend staying away from the entire Titans DL.  If Kyle Vanden Bosch or any others start to show a pulse then and only then should you consider starting them again.

Linebacker: Stephen Tulloch looks like he is going to stick as a high level LB2 while former top 5 stud Keith Bulluck is putting up viable LB3 type numbers.  Until the play of the DL improves expect both to keep up their current production levels.  Just realize that in putting up those numbers they have done so by facing the 2nd most tackle opportunities/game.

Secondary: Nick Harper practiced this week and looks good to go Sunday versus he Colts.  Both Harper and Chris Hope lead the secondary with 31 total tackles with Harper leading all NFL CBs too.  Both should be good plays this week and if not for the injury Harper is fighting he too would be a 4 Star play.

INJURY UPDATE: Cortland Finnegan (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis on Thursday but did not participate in practice on Friday and is listed as Questionable on the injury report.


NY Jets at Miami

5 STAR
David Harris
Kerry Rhodes
4 STAR
Bart Scott
3 STAR
Kris Jenkins
2 STAR
Jim Leonhard
Darrell Revis
1 STAR

Vernon Gholston

JetsMark Sanchez is human after all as he and his Jets suffered their first loss of the season in New Orleans last week.  This week to get things cooking all Coach Ryan has done is verbally spar with Dolphins starting LB Channing Crowder. To me it seems like Coach Ryan wanted to deflect attention away from his team, namely his young rookie starting QB to himself.  And is seems to have worked. It is one thing to come in and win like Sanchez did prior to the Saints last week and yet another to see how he bounces back on the road after a loss.  The kid looks like he has "IT" so I think he bounces back well.  As far as it goes for Jets IDPs they face a juicy matchup versus a Dolphins team that is giving up the most tackle opportunities/game this year (fwiw, the Saints rank 2nd to the Dolphins).  So expect big games from the key Jets IDPs.

Defensive Line: Kris Jenkins should make for a very good start in DT mandatory leagues this week.  However, outside of Jenkins there isn't much fantasy value on the Jets DL.

Linebacker: Last week versus the Saints David Harris racked up 12 total tackles.  This week versus the Dolphins I could see him approaching 15-20 total tackles.  The Dolphins ran the ball 45 times last week and allowed Marcus Buggs to put up 9 solos.  Expect the Dolphins to continue to try and protect their new young starting QB Chad Henne with their running game.  Bart Scott should be able to match the 7 solo, 1 assist numbers that Kawika Mitchell posted last wee. 

Secondary: With little threat of a passing attack expect Kerry Rhodes to be very active in run support and to be a top play at DB this week.  Darrell Revis is a much better NFL CB than he is a fantasy CB and he will have limited opportunities this week so leave him on the bench this week. 

5 STAR
None
4 STAR
Channing Crowder
Yeremiah Bell
3 STAR

None

2 STAR

Joey Porter
Charlie Adams

Cameron Wake

Gibril Wilson

1 STAR
Jason Taylor
Akin Ayodele

DolphinsThe Dolphins were forced into starting QB Chad Henne when the other Chad, Pennington was injured and lost for the season.  Luckily, for the Dolphins they were able to ease Henne into things versus a weaker Bills team.  They also protected him by running the ball 67% of the time.  This week the Jets defense will pose a much more difficult opponent but if the Dolphins are to have any chance of pulling off a win they will need to run effectively and run often.

Defensive Line:  The Dolphins are another one of those 3-4 teams that don't present any fantasy value from their DLs.  Even if you are at the bottom of the barrel and fighting injuries you would do better looking elsewhere for DL help.

Linebacker:  Channing Crowder owners have to be frustrated so far with his lack of production and as a Crowder owner I am speaking from experience but I still can't look past just how few tackle opportunities/game the Dolphins are facing.  This week should be one of the better tackle opportunity weeks that Crowder and the rest of the Dolphins have faced.  Last week, Joey Porter was unable to go due to injury and former CFL player Cameron Wake saw enough snaps (Charlie Anderson started) to log 6 tackles with 3 sacks and a forced fumble.  Just don't fall in love with those numbers because Wake can't keep up that sort of pace and if and when Porter returns to the lineup Wake won't be playing such meaningful snaps.  I will say that if you are in a dynasty league and have bigger play scoring you could consider trying to stash Wake on your roster.  Porter did return to practice so if he is active this week he can be bumped up to a 3 Star play and then Adams and Wake should be downgraded to 1 Star plays.

Secondary:  Once again, Yeremiah Bell produced very good numbers, 8 solo tackles which led the team last week.  Then on the other end of the spectrum you have Gibril Wilson putting up another unimpressive game, 2 solo tackles.  The DB position is easily the deepest fantasy position there is so if you are still rostering Wilson it is time to really look hard at dropping him for a better option.

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