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IDP Game Breakdowns - Week 6
Steve Gallo
October 16, 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.  In addition the reference chart is color coded to identify teams that are giving up average (highlighted in yellow), below average (highlighted in red) & above average (highlighted in green) tackle opportunities (TOs) based on their season average.  Basically, if your LB is facing a RED team then it isn't a good matchup, conversely a GREEN team would be a GOOD matchup.  The historical average for tackle opportunities is 47 (highlighted in yellow) and anything 46 or less will be in red and above 47 will be in green.  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)).  Good luck & enjoy!

Star Rating System:
Five-Star Play: Studly performance anticipated
Four-Star Play: Above average solid starter
Three-Star Play: Starter
Two-Star Play: Bench ‘em or possible sleeper
One-Star Play: Bench ‘em no matter what
* Star Ratings boxes are now color coded to show the tackle opportunities the team they are facing is giving up:
average (highlighted in yellow), below average (highlighted in red) & above average (highlighted in green)  This will help so that you don't have to continually scroll up to the reference chart and also if you are stuck between who to start out of say two 3 Star players then you will probably want to go with the one that has a "Green" matchup versus a "Red" matchup.

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:  Dallas, Indianapolis, Miami, San Francisco

Tackle Opportunities(TOs) given up by teams offense, Team base schemes, Defensive Coordinators and three down linebackers (remember Scheme Matters)

Team Avg TOs
Given Up/Wk
Three down linebackers
ARZ 46 3-4 Bill Davis Karlos Dansby, Gerald Hayes, Chike Okeafor
ATL 51 4-3 Brian VanGorder Curtis Lofton, Mike Peterson
BAL 51 3-4(Multi Front) Greg Mattison Ray Lewis
BUF 43 Tampa 2/Cover 2 Perry Fewell Paul Posluszny, Keith Ellison
CAR 45 4-3 & Tampa 2 Ron Meeks Jon Beason, Thomas Davis
CHI 45 Tampa 2/Cover 2 Bob Babich Lance Briggs
CIN 48 4-3 Mike Zimmer Dhani Jones
CLE 44 3-4 Rob Ryan D'Qwell Jackson, Eric Barton, Kamerion Wimbley
DAL 46 3-4 Wade Phillips Bradie James, DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer
DEN 51 3-4 Mike Nolan DJ Williams, Elvis Dumervil
DET 50 4-3 Gunther Cunningham Larry Foote, DeAndre Levy
GB 43 3-4 Dom Capers Aaron Kampman
HOU 48 4-3 Frank Bush DeMeco Ryans, Bryan Cushing
IND 50 Tampa 2/Cover 2 Larry Coyer Gary Brackett, Clint Session
JAX 45 3-4 Mel Tucker Justin Durant, Daryl Smith
KC 46 3-4 Clancy Pendergast Mike Vrabel, Tamba Hali
MIA 56 3-4 Paul Pasqualoni Channing Crowder, Jason Taylor, Joey Porter
MIN 50 Tampa 2/Cover 2 Leslie Frazier EJ Henderson, Chad Greenway
NE 53 3-4 Dean Pees Jerod Mayo, Adalius Thomas
NO 55 4-3 Gregg Williams Jonathan Vilma, Scott Shanle
NYG 56 4-3 Bill Sheridan Antonio Pierce, Michael Boley (inj)
NYJ 47 3-4 Mike Pettine David Harris, Bart Scott
OAK 36 4-3 John Marshall Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard
PHL 48 4-3 Sean McDermott Akeem Jordan
PIT 52 3-4 Dick LeBeau James Farrior, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley
SD 42 3-4 Ron Rivera Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett, Sh. Merriman, Shaun Phillips
SEA 54 4-3 Gus Bradley Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry
SF 41 3-4 Greg Manusky Patrick Willis
STL 44 4-3 Ken Flajole James Laurinaitis, Will Witherspoon
TB 43 4-3 Jim Bates Barrett Ruud, Geno Hayes
TEN 45 4-3 Chuck Cecil Keith Bulluck, David Thornton, Stephen Tulloch
WAS 45 4-3 Greg Blache London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, Brian Orakpo


ST. Louis at Jacksonville


James Laurinaitis


Will Witherspoon
Oshiomogho Atogwe
Craig Dahl

Ronald Bartell
James Hall
Leonard Little
Chris Long

RamsWell the first word that jumps into my head when I think about the Rams is craptastic.  I know Rams fans have accepted that they are going to suck this year and that is a good thing because the Jaguars are not as bad as their 41-0 shellacking by the Seahawks would make one think. The Jaguars rank as the 9th worst team in TOs given up but this week I expect them to try and get their running game going in front of their hometown fans.  Look for Solid production from key Rams IDPs even though on paper the matchup looks to be below average.

Defensive Line:  Last week versus the Jaguars, Darryl Tapp led the Seahawk DL with 4 solo tackles and added 1 sack.  This week I would temper expectations for James Hall because he will have to match Tapp's production to be a worthy starter and I don't think we will see him record a sack or log 5 solo tackles.  Chris Long is currently a stash and hold dynasty player, nothing more. 

Linebacker:  Expect the Jaguars to establish their running game this week and James Laurinaitis should be the biggest beneficiary because of it.  Well, outside of MJD owners that is.  Will Witherspoon should also remain a solid yet unspectacular start for his owners.

Secondary:  Craig Dahl and Oshiomogho Atogwe both look to be solid starts again this week.  Last week the two led the team with a combined 13 solo tackles and 2 sacks. Mike Sims-Walker was deactivated for last weeks game but I would expect he got the message and will be in the lineup this week and that should add to the opportunities Dahl and Atogwe see in the secondary.

INJURY UPDATE:  James Butler (knee) did not participate in practice on Friday and is listed as Doubtful for this week's game.

Justin Durant

Daryl Smith
Gerald Alexander
Rashean Mathis
Derek Cox
Reggie Nelson

Quentin Groves
Derrick Harvey
Bryan Smith

JaguarsLast week I blacked the Jaguars out in this article and they got blanked 41-0 by the Seahawks so this week I won't be blacking them out.  That  doesn't mean the network isn't going to black them out.  You know they say things are never as good or bad as they seem and that is true with regards to the Jaguars.  They aren't nearly as bad as last weeks game made them looked but this weeks opponent the Rams really are that bad.  Look for the Jaguars to control the time of possession in this game and that will limit the effectiveness of their IDPs.

Defensive Line:  The DL line for the Jaguars is one of those yawners for fantasy owners.  So move along because there is nothing of note to see here.

Linebacker: Last week Justin Durant was a very surprising scratch when inactives were announced. Durant had been listed on the Friday injury report as Probable due to a hip injury. Hopefully you had better luck then I did with Durant who I couldn't replace because all my other LBs played in early games.  I am currently going to rank Durant a 3 Star player but I will monitor the injury report and post an update Friday evening once the official injury report is released.  Daryl Smith has been a solid starter this year but the Rams are one of the worst match-ups with regards to tackle opportunities so you should plant Smith on your bench this weekend.  If Durant ends up not going then I would bump Smith up to a 3 Star player.

INJURY UPDATE:  Justin Durant (hip) was a limited participant in practice all week and is listed as Questionable on the injury report.

Secondary: Last week I ranked Gerald Alexander (4 solo, 1 assists) a 3 Star player mentioning how he was taking over the SS position from Sean Considine. Yet I didn't mention anything about FS Reggie Nelson (1 solo) and was called out about it.  Nelson may be the better athlete and player but he will be limited if he is stuck in a traditional FS role while Alexander plays the more productive SS spot.  Due to the Rams struggles on offense, especially with passing the ball you shouldn't even entertain starting any of their secondary players this week.

NY Giants at New Orleans


Antonio Pierce
Chase Blackburn
CC Brown
Corey Webster
Michael Johnson


Justin Tuck
Osi Umenyiora

Mathias Kiwanuka

GiantsThis just in, the Giants are good but so is their opposition this week.  The Giants defense has been very impressive considering the number of injuries they have had to play thru.  This week expect their secondary to be tested by the potent passing attack of the Saints.  The Saints are also giving up the 2nd most tackle opportunities per week. 

Defensive Line:   Justin Tuck looks to be back from a shoulder injury suffered versus the Cowboys but if the Saints pass as often as I think they will have to it will really limit Tuck's stats this week.  Same goes for Osi Umenyiora who has already been struggling of late to put up the big fantasy numbers that we are used to seeing.  Also it should be noted that Drew Brees is on of the hardest QBs to sack in the league.

INJURY UPDATE:  Chris Cany (calf) is OUT for this week.

Linebacker:  Last week MLB Antonio Pierce and WLB Chase Blackburn led the the LBs with 8 tackles each (4solo, 4 assists).  This week both are marginal starters since the Saints will most likely be looking to take advantage of a beat of secondary.

INJURY UPDATE: Michael Boley (knee) is OUT for this week.

Secondary:   Last week I advised that you bench the Giants secondary if you thought " Jamarcus Russell will complete 8 passes in 148 attempts for 65 yards"  Who knew I would only be 135 pass attempts and 35 yards off.  This week is the week to get guys like CC Brown and Michael Johnson along with the rest of the Giants secondary into your starting lineups.  Talk about a defense facing offenses at complete different ends of the spectrum. 

INJURY UPDATE:  Aaron Ross (hamstring) is OUT for this week.  CC Brown was a full participant in Friday practice but is listed as Probable on the injury report.

Roman Harper
Jonathan Vilma
Scott Shanle
Will Smith
Charles Grant

Tracy Porter
Jabari Greer
Darren Sharper

Sedrick Ellis
Kendrick Clancey
Scott Fujita

SaintsThe only thing keeping this from being a match-up of unbeaten 5-0 teams is bye week the Saints had last week.  Good news for Saints fans is that they have had extra time to prepare for this game and even better news for Saints IDP owners is that that Giants are tied for 1st in tackle opportunities given up per week. 

Defensive Line:  Both Will Smith and Charles Grant started the season off very slowly but they got things going in their last two games.  If the Giants are able to control the clock with their running game then that could limit their statistical effectiveness for fantasy owners.  However, if you think the Saints can jump out to a lead and force the Giants into catchup mode then each could put up 4 or 5 Star type numbers.

Linebacker: So far this year Jonathan Vilma has been pretty disappointing for his owners and as a Vilma owner I am speaking from first hand experience.  You are probably asking how I have him ranked as a 4 Star play if his play has been so disappointing.  Well that answer is an easy one, with this matchup he should easily be a 5 Star play so I am actually knocking him down some.  However, I can't lie he is only a 4 Star play by just a hair. Look for Scott Shanle to continue his strong play but at the same time beware now that I am finally giving him his due.

Secondary:  Don't be fooled when you look and see Roman Harper ranked 30th among DBs because you have to remember that he has one less week of production then most other DBs.  Harper is still a DB1 based on his PPG average and this week he very well could be the best DB in the entire NFL.  Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer are both starters in CB mandatory leagues this week but just out of starters range in combined DB leagues.

Baltimore at Minnesota

Ray Lewis
Terrell Suggs
Tavares Gooden
Kelly Gregg

Haloti Ngata

Ed Reed

RavensIf the Ravens truly are going to make any noise that matters this year they will need this game to be a statement game.  Last week, the Ravens gave up 100+ rushing yards to Cedric Benson and it won't get any easier this week versus the Vikings running attack led by Adrian Peterson.  Earlier this season the Ravens traveled to New England and got beat.  They traveled to Cincinnati last week and got beat.  This week they travel to Minnesota and can't afford to get beat. While the Ravens look to have a good shot at making the playoffs this year it won't really matter if they don't prove they can win against good teams on the road.  This week the Ravens actually face a team giving above average tackle numbers and that should bode extremely well for their key IDPs.

Defensive Line:  Terrell Suggs leads all DL in tackles with 26 and this week should easily add to that league leading total.  Brett Favre has been known to take a sack or two in his day so with any luck Suggs will add to his sack total too.  Kelly Gregg is back and healthy and paying dividends if you are in a DT mandatory league.  Gregg currently is 6th in total tackles among DTs.  Gregg's success seems to have come at the expense of Haloti Ngata.  Ngata is a risky start in DT mandatory leagues but is still a nice stash and hold player in dynasty leagues

Linebacker:  The Ravens still rank 5th in fewest tackle opportunities faced per game so far but Ray Lewis just keeps plugging away.  Lewis is among the league leaders in tackles and looks like  he could post back to back double digit tackle weeks.  If you are in a dynasty league you may want to consider selling high on Lewis.  He should continue to have great value this year but father time has to catch up with him at some point in time.  Tavares Gooden seems to have his injury behind him as he played nearly ever snap last week for the Ravens.  If Gooden can continue to be a three down LB then he should remain a solid starting option going forward.  This week he is a strong 3 Star play versus a Vikings team that is giving up 50 tackle opportunities/game.

Secondary:  Last week I was shocked by something Ed Reed did.  No, it wasn't him intercepting a Carson Palmer pass and returning it for a TD.  Reed seems to have a penchant for taking INTs to the house.  It was the fact that he logged 6 solo tackles and that was only the second time he has logged 6 solo tackles since 2005.  If you are a risk taker and think that Brett Favre will add to his NFL career INT record then stick him in your lineup but that isn't something that I would do.

Jared Allen
Antoine Winfield
EJ Henderson
Chad Greenway
Cedric Griffin
Kevin Williams
Madieu Williams
Tyrell Johnson
Pat Williams
Ray Edwards

VikingsThe Vikings will get one of their biggest tests of this young season this week versus a very good Ravens team.  The Vikings have one of the best defenses in the league but I bet you didn't realize they gave up 400 yards of offense to the Rams.  By all accounts this should be a defensive battle this week but something in my gut tells me that we are going to see a shoot out with a final score in the neighborhood of 35-31.  The question is which side of that score will the Vikings be on. If the Vikings do pull this game out you can bet it will largely be due to the play of Brett Favre.  This week looks to be a great matchup for Viking IDP owners since the Ravens are giving up 51 tackle opportunities/game.

Defensive Line:  If you own Jared Allen put him in your starting lineup and hog tie him there.  Don't ever think about benching him again this season.  The Williams Wall boys will be worth a look in DT mandatory leagues but if the Ravens are going to have success I don't think it will be running inside the tackles.

Linebacker:  This week I expect to see EJ Henderson build on his 10th place ranking in total tackles among LBs.  Henderson isn't the best known name in IDP but when he plays he just produces.  Chad Greenway hasn't lived up to the hype many had for him when he entered the league as a rookie a few years ago but he has evolved into a nice LB3 with upside.

Secondary:  Make no mistake about it, Antoine Winfield is still a stud.  Sure he had a putrid 2 solo tackles last week versus the Rams but you still just need to plug and play him.  Doesn't matter if it is a combined DB league or CB mandatory league just keep him in your lineups.  Cedric Griffin is coming off of a nice performance but has been a slow starter the past two seasons so don't let his current rank of 18th among DBs scare you.  In 2007 after 5 games, Griffin ranked 31st and finished the season ranked 7th, in 2008 after 5 games he only ranked 23 but ended up finishing ranked 9th. 

Detroit at Green Bay

Larry Foote
Julian Peterson

Louis Delmas
Anthony Henry
Marquand Manuel
DeAndre Levy

Jason Hunter
Dewayne White
Cliff Avril
Ernie Sims

LionsI don't know what is more of a shock, that the Lions already have one win and are looking for their second or that the Packers rank as the 5th worst team in giving up tackle opportunities.  Normally, the numbers dictate that this isn't an attractive matchup for your Lions IDPs but I think the bye week for the Packers plus playing at home will mean good things for Lions IDPs.  Of course that also means the Lions will most likely still be looking for their 2nd win come week 7.

Defensive Line:  The Packers OL has been like a turnstile by allowing opposing DEs to pile up sacks this year.  That should mean good things for the Lions DL but truthfully I can't see starting any of them with any sort of confidence.  Both Dewayne White and Jason Hunter did not participate in Wednesday's practice.

INJURY UPDATE:  Neither Jason Hunter (ankle) or Dewayne White (hamstring) practiced this week. Hunter is listed as Doubtful and White is listed as Questionable for their game versus the Packers.

Linebacker:  Look for Larry Foote to be the best Lions LB this week as the Packers should look to get their running game and Ryan Grant going.  Julian Peterson is a bit of a risk as a 4 Star player but his value will come from his pass rush.  The Packers have given up a league leading 20 sacks so far and that is with one less game played then every other team in the top 10.  If you think the Packers were able to fix their woes on the OL then don't start Peterson but me I think he is a good risk/reward player this week.

INJURY UPDATE:  Ernie Sims (shoulder) was a limited participant in practice all week and is listed as Probable on the injury report.

Secondary:  Look for the entire Lions secondary to be productive versus the Packers passing attack this week. Rookie FS Louis Delmas is currently a top 10 DB but much of that has to do with his huge performance in week 1.  Delmas should continue to grow as the season wears on and while he probably won't keep that lofty top ten ranking should remain a solid DB 2 at the very least.

Aaron Kampman

Nick Barnett
Charles Woodson


AJ Hawk
Brandon Chillar
Al Harris


Nick Collins
Cullen Jenkins

PackersHas any team under performed more than the Packers this year?  Probably so but many were still expecting much better things offensively from them and Dom Capers was supposed to transform the defense. Hopefully for Packers fans their team was able to fix their issues on the OL or this season isn't going to be getting better any time soon.  The Lions have been much better than last year and are actually giving up above average tackle opportunities this year.

Defensive Line:  In tackle heavy leagues it really is hard to recommend starting any DL.  Their main job just isn't to get to the QB or the ball carrier.  I wouldn't expect much of anything from the Packers DLs this week.

Linebacker: Up until this week starting any Packers LB has been a risky proposition.  Nick Barnett was on a snap count due to coming back from injury and AJ Hawk has been used in a rotation which is limiting his snaps which has made his production wildly inconsistent.  Then there is Aaron Kampman who up until this year was one of the better DE's in the game but the Packers transformation to a 3-4 defense ended that.  On the season Kampman has just one sack but I think he really steps it up a notch coming out of the bye. 

Secondary: Big news for the Packers secondary this week is that it looks like Atari Bigby will be returning to the starting lineup this week.  With that said I still wouldn't be putting him in my lineup.  As I have pointed out earlier this season, the Packers defense scheme doesn't highlight it's safeties.  Last year Nick Collins racked up 72 tackles but this year he is only on pace for 56 tackles.

Houston at Cincinnati

Bernard Pollard
DeMeco Ryans
Dunta Robinson
Brian Cushing
Amobi Okoye
Mario Williams
Connor Barwin
Antonio Smith

TexansThe Texans sit at 2-3 and are largely a disappointment as many expected them to take another step forward this year and make a run for the playoffs.  It isn't to late but they really will need to step up and knock the 4-1 Bengals off.  This week Texans IDPs get to face a Bengals rushing attack that is 5th in the NFL in rushing attempts and when coupled with the total above average tackle opportunities the Bengals give up it is easy to see that Texans IDPs should fare well.

Defensive Line:  Due to his injured shoulder, Mario Williams is still being limited in practice this week.  Williams started off the season nicely but has struggled since.  Expect Williams to come around sooner rather than later but if you have quality depth you might want to consider using it until Mario shows more life.  Amobi Okoye has been a very pleasant surprise in DT mandatory leagues but this week is a below average play as the Bengals have not given up much to opposing DTs.

INJURY UPDATE:  Mario Williams (shoulder) practiced fully on Friday and is listed as Probable on the injury report..

Linebacker: "What is wrong with DeMeco Ryans?" That seems to be a very popular question among Ryans owners and one that led me to do some additional research on Ryans.  What I found out is that his IDP TOP has declined each year since he entered the league (2006: .200, 2007: .165, 2008: .153 & 2009: 1.43).  To make matters worse for Ryans owners he has been limited in both Wednesday and Thursday's practices.  Ryans isn't the only Texans LB being limited at practice as Brian Cushing was limited on Wednesday and did not practice at all on Thursday.  Initially, I had both listed as 3 Star plays but bumped Cushing down as it seems he has taken a turn for the worse with his foot injury.

INJURY UPDATE:  DeMeco Ryans (shoulder) was a limited participant in practice all week and is listed as Probable on the injury report.  Brian Cushing (foot) missed practice on Thursday and was a limited participant in Friday practice, he is listed as Questionable this week.

Secondary:  Finally, Bernard Pollard made some noise on the football field this year posting 8 total tackles last week versus the Cardinals.  Unfortunately, I bet that many of his owners had him still firmly planted on their bench.  The part I find most interesting is that Pollard is known for his inadequacies in coverage yet he played 59 of 60 snaps versus the pass happy Cardinals.  Look for Pollard to be very active in run support this week.

INJURY UPDATE:  Nick Ferguson (knee) is OUT for this week.


Roy Williams

Dhani Jones
Leon Hall
Johnathan Joseph
Keith Rivers
Rey Maualuga
Antwan Odom
Domata Peko

BengalsDo Bengals fans know that just because their mascot is a "big cat" just like the Jaguars mascot that they don't have to act like Jags fans.  I mean I am having a very hard time believing that the 4-1 division leading Bengals are in jeopardy of having their game "Jaguared" Out. 

Defensive Line: Antwan Odom has been up and down the past few weeks and is a risky start this week. Outside of a 9 solo, 4 assist week from Raiders DL Tommy Kelly no other DL has logged more than 4 tackles versus the Texans.  I am not trying to dismiss that Kelly put up 13 total tackles but you do need to realize that the Texans ran the ball 41 times that week.

Linebacker: Last week Keith Rivers put up a big goose egg for his owners. So far for the season Rivers is barely playing in more than 50% of the Bengals defensive snaps and with so few snaps it really adds to the risk that is inherent in starting Rivers.  Dhani Jones should have a solid afternoon versus the potent Texans offense.  Rookie Rey Maualuga had what looked to be a breakout game logging 8 total tackles last week but he still only played in just 29 of the teams 55 defensive snaps and is a risky start.  That is until he eventually takes over the MLB position but probably will  not happen this year.

Secondary:  Leon Hall has done a superb job at shutting down opposing teams #1 WRs so far but this week he faces Andre Johnson who isn't your average #1 WR.  Johnson is arguably the best WR in the game today and he will keep both Hall and Johnathan Joseph busy this weekend.  Saying that Roy Williams struggles in coverage is putting it mildly but his play has been very productive for fantasy owners and this week should be no different.

INJURY UPDATE:  Roy Williams (forearm) was a limited participant in Friday practice and is listed as Questionable on the injury report.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh

D’Qwell Jackson
Abram Elam
Kamerion Wimbley
Eric Barton
Shaun Rogers

Brodney Pool


David Bowens
Kenyon Coleman
Brodney Pool

BrownsIt can't really get any worse for the Browns, or can it?  Wait, the Browns actually won last week.  That is if you actually want to call a final score of 6-3 with your QB completing 2 of 17 passes for 23 yards a win.  I think we should just stick to Browns IDPs because I start to feel ill thinking about their offense.  This week the Browns face a Steelers team that is among the league leaders in tackle opportunities given up per game.  So yes, the Browns ineptness on offense will be a very good thing for their IDPs this week.

Defensive Line:  Shaun Rogers should be very active with Rashard Mendenhall leading the Steelers rushing attack.  Rogers put up 76 total tackles last year but this year is on pace for almost 1 tackle less/game this year.  Still, this week Rogers is a solid 3 Star player in DT mandatory leagues. 

Linebacker: Maybe D'Qwell Jackson should be listed as doubtful on the injury report every week if that is what it takes for him to log 13 total tackles.  Jackson could very easily top those tackle numbers this week.  Kamerion Wimbley is another one of those rush OLBs that I don't really like to rely on in tackle heavy leagues but this week versus a Steelers team that has a penchant to give up sacks I think he is a very nice play.  Eric Barton is also a safe start as a LB3 with some upside this week.

INJURY UPDATE:  Both D'Qwell Jackson (hamstring) and Eric Barton (neck) were limited participants in practice this week and are listed as Questionable on the injury report.

Secondary:  Last week I rated Elam just 2 Stars and that was because I expected a limited number of tackle opportunities versus the Bills.  Hopefully, you heeded my warning as Elam only logged 1 solo and 1 assist last week.  Well this week I like Elam a ton versus the Steelers and wouldn't hesitate at all to put him in my starting lineup.

James Harrison

James Farrior

Brett Keisel
Casey Hampton
Lawrence Timmons
Lamar Woodley
Ryan Clark
Tyrone Carter
Troy Polamalu

SteelersThe Steelers have played like anything but Super Bowl Champs so far this season but still stand on the positive side of .500 with a 3-2 record.  Last weeks final score was much closer then what many may have expected so that may leave some people wondering just how good or bad the Steelers actually are.  This week should be a cake walk to move their record to 4-2.  However, the Browns offense is so bad that it is hard to recommend playing any Steelers IDPs this week.

Defensive Line: No fantasy value here.  However, this week the Steelers did place Aaron Smith on injured reserve. Smith has much more NFL value then fantasy value and this could be a very costly loss for the Steelers.

Linebacker:  With as little as the Browns offense will probably have the ball this week each and every Steeler LB is a very risky play.  James Harrison is about the only one that I would feel safe playing this week and that is simply because I think he could log a couple of more sacks.  Just don't forget that Jared Allen pretty much got shutout by the Browns back in week 1.

INJURY UPDATE:  James Farrior (elbow) was a full participant in Friday practice but is listed as Probable on the injury report.

Secondary:  Good news for the Steelers defense is that Troy Polamalu is still practicing with the team and it looks likely that he will play on Sunday.  Even if this was a juicy matchup I wouldn't be ranking Polamalu any higher than 2 Stars until we see him actually back on the field.

INJURY UPDATE:  Troy Polamalu (knee) practiced fully all week and is listed as Probable on the injury report.

Kansas City at Washington


 Demorrio Williams

Mike Brown

Brandon Flowers
Brandon Carr
Tank Tyler
Corey Mays

Tamba Hali
Mike Vrabel
Glenn Dorsey
Tyson Jackson

ChiefsThe Chiefs came oh so close to getting their first win of the season last week versus the Dallas Cowboys.  Unfortunately, Chiefs defenders decided they would rather tickle Miles Austin then actually tackle him.  This week they draw another NFCE foe but luckily for the Chiefs it happens to be the weakest team in the division.  Wait, the Chiefs already played the Cowboys last week didn't they.  Well, that is neither here nor there because the Redskins defense should be good enough to keep the Chiefs looking for their first win.

Defensive Line: Tank Tyler came out of the gates on fire posting 6 and 7 total tackles respectively to start the season.  However, over the last 3 weeks he has only logged 8 total tackles combined. Even in DT mandatory leagues I would be looking for help elsewhere.

Linebacker: Sure the Redskins offense is struggling but still look for them to try and establish the run with Clinton Portis.  Demorrio Williams will be the biggest beneficiary if the Redskins are able to commit to the run and give Portis the ball 20+ times.  Cory Mays should only be looked at as a starter in very deep leagues.

Secondary: Mike Brown is still healthy, which is no small feat for him, so he is still a safe starter at DB.  Currently, Brown is a top 15 DB but that is largely due to two very nice weeks sandwiched around 2 sub par ones.  This week there is some risk in starting Brown if you think the loss of Redskins OL Chris Samuels will really hinder the Redskins offense then bump Brown down one star level.


London Fletcher
Andre Carter


Reed Doughty
Rocky McIntosh

Brian Orakpo
Chris Horton
Albert Haynesworth

RedskinsIf Jim Zorn isn't currently looking over his shoulder he very well should be.  A loss this week to the Chiefs will give the Redskins a 2-4 record and might just be the straw that breaks the back of owner Daniel Snyder.  To make that possible 2-4 record even worse you should realize the Redskins will be the 1st team in history to face 6 consecutive win less opponents (yes, the week 1 Giants count as a win less team).  The Chiefs are giving up just below average tackle opportunities so this week could still be productive for key Redskins IDPs.

Defensive Line:  Andre Carter vaulted into the top 10 of DLs with a fantastic performance last week versus the Carolina Panthers.  As with most DLs when they are hot you have to ride them and Carter is someone that should be in starting lineups this weekend.  The Chiefs haven't been able to get their running game in gear and that should severely limit Albert Haynesworth. 

Linebacker:  London "Fountain of Youth" Fletcher isn't just plugging along he is pretty much playing lights out.  All Fletcher is doing right now is leading the NFL in total tackles with 59.  Don't expect Fletcher to match his season average of almost 12 total tackles this week but he still should put up solid low level LB1 or high level LB2 numbers this week.  I would temper expectations from Rocky McIntosh this week in what should be limited opportunities due to the Chiefs ineptness on offense.

Secondary:  Last week Reed Doughty crapped the bed in what looked to be a strong matchup and this week isn't a very good start.  Look for DB help anywhere but from the Redskins this week.  If you think the Horton will get his job back just because Doughty didn't light up the box score you couldn't be more wrong.  Doughty is starting over Horton due to Horton's inability to stay disciplined.  As long as Doughty plays solid disciplined football the starting job will remain his.

Carolina at Tampa Bay

Julius Peppers
Thomas Davis
Jon Beason
Richard Marshall
Chris Gamble
Chris Harris
Damione Lewis

Panthers Last week the Panthers got of the schneid with a win versus the Redskins.  This week the Panthers will look to build some momentum as they head to Tampa Bay to face a Buccaneers team with as many wins as a neutered dog has n*#s. What could be good for the Panthers win column will be bad for Panthers IDPs as the Bucs are the 4th worst team in tackle opportunities allowed.

Defensive line:  Last week when the Eagles played Tampa Bay only Trent Cole put up above average fantasy numbers and that could mean that Julius Peppers owners could be in for some very nice production.  The only thing keeping Peppers from a 5 Star ranking is the fact that he has been very inconsistent this year but he put up a good game last week so ride him while he is hot.

Linebackers:  Coming off the bye week last week Thomas Davis pretty much picked up right where he left off but what was noteworthy is that Jon Beason was atop the box score logging 10 total tackles and a sack.  Both should be solid starters this week but temper expectations since Keith Brooking, Bradie James and Keith Ellison are the only LBs to record more than 5 solo tackles versus the Bucs this year.

Secondary:  Chris Harris finally returned to the starting lineup and he produced a very fine 7 solo tackles to lead the  secondary.  Last week I ranked Quintin Mikell a 5 star play based on the above average production that other safeties had versus the Bucs but Mikell only logged 1 solo and 2 assists.  This week if you don't have better options there is a strong argument that can be made to start Harris but I am going to err on the side of caution and have only ranked him as a 2 Star player.

Barrett Ruud

Tanard Jackson
Geno Hayes

Ronde Barber
Aqib Talib
Sabby Piscitelli
James Wilkerson

Quincy Black

BuccaneersThe Buccaneers went from almost getting a win versus the Redskins two weeks ago to getting shellacked by the Eagles last week.  This week you would expect a more competitive game versus a Panthers team that just notched their first win of the season but the truth is that the Panthers aren't quite as bad as their record indicates.  If the Panthers can get their rushing offense going that should spell good things for the Bucs IDP owners.

Defensive Line: Before you go running out to your waiver wire to add Jimmy Wilkerson you need to realize a few things.  Wilkerson is a 7 year vet that has never had more than 24 total tackles or 5 sacks in any season.  Wilkerson will not repeat his 6 tackle, 3 sack performance again, not just this year, ever.  Wilkerson is starting so he should finish with career highs this year but I just don't see him being able to post fantasy relevant numbers on a consistent basis.  Start him at your own risk, this week and going forward as I don't expect him to record 5 or more tackles in more than 4-5 games max the rest of the way.  Gaines Adams went back to looking pedestrian this past week but I think you need to be patient with Adams as I still expect him to turn the corner this year.

TRADE UPDATE: Gaines Adams has been traded to the Chicago Bears for a 2010 2nd round draft pick.

Linebacker: Don't look now but Barrett Ruud is on pace to record 157 total tackles this year.  Ruud should have no problem approaching his 10 tackle average this week.  Quietly, Geno Hayes is on pace to record just shy of 100 tackles this year.  Hayes could cool off some but this week he is a solid start and should continue to be a LB3 at worst as the season progresses.

Secondary: Tanard Jackson made his season debut last week versus the Eagles and led the secondary in tackles (3 solo, 1 assist).  Sabby Piscitelli has put up decreasing fantasy points for 3 consecutive weeks now (9>8>2) and the return of Jackson will only continue to eat into Piscitelli's production.  Aqib Talib could be a sneaky play versus Jake Delintercepcihomme this week.

Arizona at Seattle

Karlos Dansby
Adrian Wilson
Gerald Hayes
Antrel Rolle
Chike Okeafor
Darnell Dockett
Calais Campbell

CardinalsLast week the Cardinals were able to pull off what really was a must win for the Cardinals versus the Texans.  This week they get to visit Seattle to face a very confident Seahawks team that is coming off of a 41-0 drubbing of the Jaguars.  Surprisingly, the Seahawks offer up the 3rd most tackle opportunities/game so far this year and that should bode well for Cardinals defenders.

Defensive Line: Since week 1 no Cardinal DL has recorded more than 4 tackles in any one game.  Simply put, pass on all Cardinals DLs.

Linebacker: Karlos Dansby continued his consistent ways this past week logging 7 solo tackles.  Thru four weeks Dansby has recorded 6, 6, 9 & 7 total tackles.  Look for Dansby to eclipse 10 total tackles this week.  After playing in less than 50% of the teams defensive snaps in week 2 Gerald Hayes has played in over 80% of the snaps in the last two games and is averaging just under 7 tackles/game.  This week look for Hayes to be a solid LB3 with some upside as a low level LB2.

Secondary: We know that Adrian Wilson isn't going to be putting up 5 Star numbers like he has in the past but that doesn't mean he isn't still a solid starter in DB leagues.  This week Wilson should be able to log at least 5 solos.

Josh Wilson
Jordan Babineaux

Lofa Tatupu
Aaron Curry
Darryl Tapp


Lawrence Jackson
Will Herring

Deon Grant
Patrick Kerney

SeahawksLast week the Seahawks had all cylinders clicking versus the Jaguars.  This week they will need to play equally as well if they want to stay in the race for their division title. Look for the 12th man to be a major factor in this game.  Don't expect another shutout but we could very well see another shoot out.  The Cardinals are giving up slightly below tackle opportunities so the matchup isn't as bad as like facing the Raiders would be.

Defensive Line: Kurt Warner has been sacked (244) more times then he has thrown TD (188) passes in his career.  Look for Darryl Tapp to be a solid start and for him to add to Warner's career sack totals.  Patrick Kerney is still being limited by his groin injury and should remain on benches until he shows he is close to 100%.

Linebacker:  Last week Aaron Curry showed why the Seahawks took him so early in this past NFL draft.  Curry saw his role increase once veteran Leroy Hill went out earlier this season due to a groin injury.  Expect Curry to continue to be a very solid starting LB, especially while Hill is out.  Lofa Tatupu may not be the stud that some had hoped for but he is a solid weekly starter.

Secondary:  Josh Wilson saw his first action since being injured in week 2 and he logged 4 solo tackles, 1 sack and a pass defended.  Expect Wilson to be very active versus the Cardinals potent passing attack.

Philadelphia at Oakland

Trent Cole
Akeem Jordan
Victor Abiamiri

Quintin Mikell
Omar Gaither
Jeremiah Trotter

Darren Howard

EaglesAfter disposing of the Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field last week the Eagles will travel cross county to California to face a Raiders team that Coach Reid says is just an inch away.  Really?  Yeah, I am not even going to get into that anymore than I already have.  The Eagles should have more trouble with the TSA at the airport then they will with the Raiders.  The Raiders are giving up by far the fewest tackle opportunities/game so don't expect much fantasy production from Eagles defenders this week.

Defensive Line: The last two weeks the Raiders have given up 10 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles to their opponents top DE.  That means that there is hope for Trent Cole to have a very good week this week.  Victor Abiamiri is a bit riskier play but I expect the Eagles to really pressure Jamarcus" Bust"le.

Linebacker: Last week Akeem Jordan was able to log a respectable 5 solo tackles versus the Buccaneers and should be just productive enough to be starter worthy this week.  Last week Jeremiah Trotter saw his first NFL game action in over 2 years.  Look for Trotter to see his role increase over the next few weeks but don't expect starter production this week.

Secondary: Quintin Mikell has been solid all year long, except for last week that is.   I still expect Mikell to finish the year ranked among the top of all DBs but this weeks matchup dictates that Mikell be left on your bench unless you have absolutely no other options.  Last week "Bust"le was only able to complete 8 passes and none to the the defense but this week I wouldn't be surprised to see Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown to both log INTs again this week.

Kirk Morrison
Thomas Howard
Tyvon Branch

Greg Ellis

Richard Seymour
Michael Huff   

RaidersAs bad as it is in Raider land at least their fan base is still supporting them.  What they don't realize is that Al Davis is actually a cyborg from the future who has a short in one of his circuits that isn't repairable.  The Eagles don't run the ball very much but their short passing game should ensure that key Raiders IDPs will do well this weekend.

Defensive Line: Greg Ellis will probably put up starter DL numbers but just because James Wilkerson put up 6 solos with 3 sacks last week doesn't mean you should expect the same from Ellis.  Ellis has missed practice this week so I will update his status on Friday after the official injury report is released.

Linebacker: Before you expect Kirk Morrison to repeat his 13-3 stat line from last week you need to realize that the Eagles will not be running the ball 41 times like the Giants did. I think that just due to sheer volume of tackle opportunities you can expect above average production from both Morrison and Thomas Howard.  Ricky Brown is OUT this week with an ankle injury.

Secondary:  If you need help at DB, Tyvon Branch remains an above average weekly play.  If you find yourself in a pinch due to byes look at Chris Johnson this week as he should be extremely busy with the Philly WRs.

Buffalo at NY Jets


George Wilson


Paul Posluszny
Keith Ellison
Marcus Stroud
Donte Whitner

Aaron Schobel
Terrence McGee
Chris Kelsay

BillsI hate to say it but I think that the Bills need to change their Buffalo logo to that of Old Yeller in hopes that someone puts them out of their misery.  Seriously, the Bills lost at home to a Browns team that completed just 2 passes for 23 yards.  To make matters worse the Bills lost two more LBs to season ending injury in the game.  This week they get to travel to visit a Jets team that is coming off of back to back losses and you know what that means.  It means it is going to be ugly, real ugly for the Bills.  Look for the Jets to establish their running game and really lean on it in the 2nd half of the game.  If there are any healthy Bills left to play defense they should be able to rack up good fantasy numbers.

Defensive Line:  I am a big fan of Aaron Schobel but this week I think you would be best served looking for DL help elsewhere.  Chris Kelsay has only had one game where he was starter material and is best left on benches this week due to his overall poor fantasy production.

Linebacker:  Just when Kawika Mitchell owners thought they would see a boost in his stats because he was going to be taking over starting MLB duties he went and injured his knee and has been lost for the season.  Marcus Buggs then replaced Mitchell at MLB and he too was lost for the season.  Paul Posluszny looks like he could return to the starting lineup this week.  The Bill also signed veteran LB Chris Draft but he is nothing more than depth at this point in time.  If Posluszny can't go this week it will be Keith Ellison who starts at MLB.

INJURY UPDATE:  Keith Ellison (knee) missed practice on Friday and is now listed as Questionable on the injury report.
INJURY UPDATE:  Paul Posluszny (forearm) participated fully in practice on Friday and is listed as Proable for this Sunday.

Secondary: Terrence McGee missed practice on Wednesday but participated in a limited fashion on Thursday and is expected to play on Sunday.  Bryan Scott on the other hand did not practice either day and will not play this week.  Look for George Wilson to fill in again and expect an above average week from him.

INJURY UPDATE:  Both Donte Whitner (thumb) and Terrence McGee (knee) practiced fully on Friday and are listed as Probable for this week.

David Harris
Calvin Pace
Kris Jenkins
Bart Scott
Kerry Rhodes

Jim Leonhard
Darrell Revis

JetsSure the Jets have lost two in a row but there is no sense of panic and the adversity of losing two games back to back will just serve to help mature rookie QB Mark Sanchez.  The Jets should have little trouble dispatching of the Bills. Man the Bills are so bad right now I can't even take any jabs at them but I will say this, Dick Jauron isn't good enough to coach in the UFL let alone the NFL.  Seriously, he is that bad.  The worst thing that the Jets will see this week is that their defenders will not see much in the way of tackle opportunities in this game.

Defensive Line: Shaun Ellis (knee) has missed practice this week but isn't a safe fantasy starter anyway.  Kris Jenkins is normally a decent option in DT mandatory leagues but this week you would be better off looking for another option.

Linebacker: David Harris has worked his way back to being  an every week no brainer start at LB.  Now with that said this week don't expect much more than just nominal starters value.  Bart Scott will be a safe start most weeks but the Bills just wont present enough opportunities for Scott to be fantasy relevant this week.  Calvin Pace saw his first action of the year last week and he put up a solid 5 solo tackles.  This week I think he very well could be another one of those rush OLBs that puts up 2 or 3 sacks in a game.  So there is some risk with starting him but the reward could be oh so sweet too.

Secondary: If you thought that Rob Ryans defense shut down the Bills passing game last week just wait til you see what twin brother's team does.  With the pressure that Ryan's team will bring I wouldn't expect to see any Jets secondary player put up starter worthy stats this week.

Tennessee at New England


Chris Hope
Stephen Tulloch


Keith Bulluck
David Thornton
Jason McCourty


Tony Brown
Kyle Vanden Bosch
William Hayes

Michael Griffin
Cortland Finnegan

TitansThe Titans very well may be the best 0-5 team in the history of the NFL.  There can't be much solace in that for Titans fans but this team should bounce back and I wouldn't be surprised to see them actually contend for a wild card spot before it is all said and done.  Now with that said the Titans will need to string together a bunch of wins and they will need to start this week in New England.  Having a depleted secondary surely won't help but this is when players need to step up and pick up the slack.  The Patriots are giving up the 4th most tackle opportunities/game so that should bode well for key Titans defenders.

Defensive Line:  Starting DEs Kyle Vanden Bosch and William Hayes will need to put pressure on Tom Brady if they hope to pull off an upset this week.  If they can't keep the pressure on Brady the Titans defense will have little chance.

Linebacker: Last week versus the Colts all three starting LBs (Keith Bulluck, Stephen Tulloch & David Thornton) combined to play in all but 5 of the defensive snaps.  Expect the same this week due to the injuries the Titans have in their secondary. 

Secondary: Nick Harper (forearm) is OUT this week and and both Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin are listed as Questionable after missing practice on Thursday.  Chris Hope is coming off of his worst performance of the year last week but he should bounce back in a big way this week.  Also, look for rookie CB Jason McCourty to be picked on mightly by Tom Brady and that should lead to a very productive tackle day for McCourty.

INJURY UPDATE: Nick Harper (forearm) is OUT this week. Vincent Fuller (forearm) was a limited participant in practice all week and is listed as Doubtful to play this week.  Cortland Finnegan (hamstring) did not participate in practice at all this week but is listed as Questionable on the injury report.  Michael Griffin (neck) was a full participant in practice on Friday but is listed as Questionable to play versus the Patriots.

Jerod Mayo
Brandon McGowan
Gary Guyton

Leigh Bodden
Shawn Springs

Adalius Thomas
Brandon Meriweather

Ty Warren
James Sanders
Mike Wright
Junior Seau

PatriotsThe Patriots may not look like their once dominant self but they are still a playoff caliber team.  This week they get a desperate Titans team but luckily it will be in the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium.  While the Patriots have given up the 4th most tackle opportunities/game they have faced the 4th fewest and this week they get a Titans team that is giving up below average TOs.

Defensive Line: I wouldn't expect to see Vince Wilfork or any other Patriots DL put up great numbers this week.  QB Kerry Collins isn't the most mobile QB but he seems to know when to get rid of the ball to avoid the sack.  Not to mention I doubt we see the Titans trying to run much between the tackles this week.

Linebacker:  Jerod Mayo returned to the field last week which is good news for his owners.  This week isn't the best matchup for him but I know after waiting for him to get healthy you have to get him into your lineup.  The other big news at LB is that the Patriots have re-signed Junior Seau who will now be playing in his 20th NFL season. Keep an eye on how much Guyton is used as he could still keep some of his value or completely lose it all in the blink of an eye.

Secondary:  Brandon McGowan was second in secondary with 9 tackles last week, with Leigh Bodden leading the way with 11 stops. McGowan should be the better play of the two this week.  Look  for Brandon Meriweather to also be a startable DB most of the season but this week I would be leaving him on the bench.

INJURY UPDATE:  Both James Sanders (shoulder) and Shawn Springs (shoulder) were limited participants in practice this week and each is listed as Questionable on the injury report.

Chicago at Atlanta

Lance Briggs

Danieal Manning
Charles Tillman
Adewale Ogunleye
Alex Brown
Nick Roach

Al Afalava
Zachary Bowman
Hunter Hillenmeyer
Kevin Payne
Gaines Adams

BearsThe Bears are coming off a much needed bye week so that they could rest their injured LBs.  This week one of these teams very well could fall 2 games back of their division leader.  The Bears will find things a bit tougher as they have to travel to the Georgia Dome but this game will still probably come down to who has the ball last. As far as Bears IDP value this week they face a Falcons team that is giving up 51 tackle opportunities/game.

Defensive Line:  Alex Brown was limited in practice back in week 4 but is practicing fully again and is a solid play this week.  Adewale Ogunleye is another one of those DEs that you just have to keep plugging into your lineup and reaping the rewards.

TRADE UPDATE: The Bears have sent a 2nd round draft pick in 2010 to the Buccaneers for DE Gaines Adams.

Linebacker:  It looks as if the bye week wasn't long enough for Hunter Hillenmeyer (ribs) to get well.  Nick Roach looks like he will get another start at MLB and should have a very productive game versus the Michael Turner led rushing attack of the Falcons. Lance Briggs looks to be healthy and is someone to just plug in and forget about.

INJURY UPDATE:  Hunter Hillenmeyer (ribs) hasn't practiced all week and is listed as Doubtful on the injury report.

Secondary: With the Falcons passing more look for Danieal Manning and Charles Tillman to be very effective in filling up the box score this week.  Rookie Al Afalava has yet to top 4 solo tackles in a week and should be left on your bench unless you have no other possible options.

Curtis Lofton

Mike Peterson
John Abraham
Eric Coleman
Brian Williams


Stephen Nicholas

Jamaal Anderson

FalconsI have to give the Falcons props at this point for being 3-1 as I thought they would have a hard time to win 8 games this year. I am not saying that they couldn't still falter but they do look better than I anticipated.  A fun fact, if the Falcons can win 9 games this year it will be the first time in their history they have had back to back winning seasons.  This week they get a Bears team that surprisingly is giving up below average tackle opportunities.  I would expect the Bears to try and establish their running game this week and if they can that will mean good things for the Curtis Lofton led defense.

Defensive Line:  John Abraham is the only fantasy worthy DL on the Falcons team but even he will have weeks where he disappears and others where he puts up a monster game.  If you have him you have to start him and hope for the best.

Linebacker: Curtis Lofton has really stepped it up this year and is producing regardless of matchup. From this point forward if you aren't already treating Lofton like Patrick Willis you should.  Mike Peterson should put up solid starting numbers against what should be a healthy dose of Matt Forte this week.

Secondary:  We all know that Jay Cutler likes to sling it and that bodes well for Brian Williams and Eric Coleman owners.  Dynasty owners should still hold out hope for rookie William Moore it just probably looks like it will be next year before he is able to make an impact.

Denver at San Diego

DJ Williams
Brian Dawkins
Andra Davis
Champ Bailey

Elvis Dumervil
Wesley Woodyard

Robert Ayers

BroncosWow the Broncos really are 5-0 and beat a real NFL team in the Patriots.  Prior to the start of the season it sure looked like the defense wouldn't be able to stop a team of one legged running backs but just this past week they held the Patriots to less than 100 yards rushing and just 215 yards passing.  Remember too that was versus the New England Patriots and not the Cleveland Browns.  This week the do face a tough test heading to San Diego to face a Charger team coming off of a bye week. 

Defensive Line: The defensive line is playing well by NFL standards but their DL aren't worth much fantasy wise.

Linebacker: DJ Williams has quietly climbed the LB rankings and currently sits at #7.  This week should be another solid week for DJ, especially if LT was able to get healthy over the bye and is ready to lead the Chargers rushing attack.  Elvis Dumervil will have games where he completely goes off and then completely disappears.  This week looks like it will be the latter.  Wesley Woodyard will see some snaps against the Chargers multi WR sets but not enough to be worth starting.

Secondary:  If you are trying to figure out what one of the major reasons the Broncos have been able to go 5-0 look no further than Brian Dawkins as a major reason.  Champ Bailey may not be the best shut down corner in the league any more (Nnamdi Asomugha) but he still should be active enough to warrant a start in CB mandatory leagues.

Eric Weddle
Stephen Cooper

Quentin Jammer
Kevin Burnett

Shawne Merriman

Larry English

ChargersBefore the start of the season if I said to you that after week 6 the second place team in this division would be 3 games out of first place in the loss column you probably wouldn't have blinked, that is until you realize that 2nd place team could be the Chargers.  To call this a must win for the Chargers is putting it mildly.  The Broncos are giving up below average tackle opportunities so temper your expectations some this week.

Defensive Line: Different week same statement: look for DL help somewhere else.

Linebacker:  Shawne Merriman is the big name on the Chargers defense but when it comes to fantasy production Stephen Cooper is the lead dog for the Chargers.  Merriman has been anything but his old dominant self and isn't a safe start unless it is a very juicy matchup.  Kevin Burnett has been up and down but this week looks like he should be at least a LB3 value. Keep an eye on how much the Chargers use Larry English coming out of the bye. 

INJURY UPDATE:  Stephen Cooper (knee) did not participate in practice on Thursday. The Chargers have not released their Friday practice report yet.

Secondary:  The big news is in the secondary this week is that the Chargers released starting SS Clinton "don't call me Cory" Hart. Keep a close eye on the situation this week to see who and how the Chargers replace Hart.  Eric Weddle is still the guy to own in the Chargers secondary and this week he most definitely should be in your starting lineup.

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