2010 IDP Position Battles

Every off-season there are numerous defensive position battles going on in the NFL. Having a firm grasp on these situations can allow you to more easily forecast which player is likely to get the most playing time and fantasy points. I've listed the major IDP position battles below and will update them as the off-season progresses. Feel free to submit any position battles you think should be added to this article.


Arizona Cardinals RILB: Daryl Washington put up a beastly 13 tackles in his first pre-season game last week. Granted it was against 2nd and 3rd stringers, but it proved that Washington is a forced to be reckoned with and that he will likely assume starting linebacker responsibilities sooner rather than later. In redraft leagues, he's not a guy I would use a draft pick on, but he is someone I would definitely be tracking on the waiver wire very closely. In dynasty leagues, he's the #2 rookie linebacker behind Rolando McClain.

Atlanta Falcons LDE: I'll be the first to admit that I was not high on Kroy Biermann heading into the season. But even gurus make mistakes. "Beer man" was impressive in last Friday's game against the Chiefs. He sacked Matt Cassell (granted not that hard to do these days) and also forced a fumble. Biermann isn't currently listed as the starting LDE, but he will be the starter. And he will probably see a healthy amount of snaps especially if the Falcons decide to move him inside on passing situations as opposed to taking him out completely. 1st round best Jamaal Anderson figures to play on passing situations only.

Atlanta Falcons RCB: Typically I don't follow cornerback position battles that intensely, but this one interests me. Brian Williams, Brent Grimes, and Chris Owens are battling it out for the corner position opposite Dunta Robinson and I think whoever wins could have decent value in CB-required leagues. Teams will throw away from Robinson and consequently the opposite corner should see a good amount of balls thrown their way. I'm rooting for Grimes to win the position as I think he offers fantasy owners the most value. He had 6 INTs and 62 solo tackles in a limited amount of playing time last season.

Baltimore Ravens RILB: Earlier in the year it looked like Dannell Ellerbe had the inside track on becoming the starting "Jack" linebacker in Baltimore next to Ray Ray. But the tide has changed and a new man has emerged: Jameel McClain. McClain is drawing comparisons to Bart Scott and could fit into the role well. I don't see a ton of fantasy potential here as he will probably only be a two-down linebacker and won't make a ton of tackles. He may have some big-play potential, however.

Buffalo Bills SS: The most likely turnout here is that Donte Whitner is the starting strong safety come week 1. He's been running with the first team throughout training camp and pre-season. Converted wide receiver George Wilson played extremely well while filling in for Whitner last season and will be the next player in line to start if Whitner falters at all. There is a lot of fantasy value to be had out of this position especially with the Bills moving away from the cover-2 schemes that were previously used under Perry Fewell. This is a situation to closely monitor throughout the season.

Carolina Panthers DEs: Man has Greg Hardy come on like a big dog or what? The 6th round pick out of Mississippi is looking like one of the steals of the draft as he came up with 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss during the Panthers pre-season opener against the Ravens. With Tyler Brayton injured, Hardy has been running with the 1st team at right defensive end. I think that ultimately this is a temporary situation and that Charles Johnson starts at right end and Brayton starts at left end with Hardy getting a decent dose of rotational snaps along with Everette Brown.

Chicago Bears Safeties: The Bears current safety configuration has Danieal Manning starting at strong safety and Chris Harris starting at free safety. Call me a skeptic, but I don't know if I trust Manning to hold on to that starting spot. Major Wright has looked good in pre-season so far and, even though he's out with a fractured index finger, I still wouldn't doubt if he's the starter at free safety before week 5 or 6. If Wright slides into the FS spot, Harris would more than likely move over to strong safety and Manning would join Craig Steltz in a nickel role.

Denver Broncos ROLB: The Broncos injury plagued off-season continued last week when their star linebacker Elvis Dumervil went down with a torn pectoral muscle which is likely going to sideline him for the entire season. Right now Robert Ayers has slid into Dumervil's old position at ROLB and inside linebacker Mario Haggan has slide to LOLB. Jarvis Moss is currently dealing with some injury problems and could vy for an increased role when healthy. Ayers could turn out to be a steal in big-play leagues.

Green Bay Packers SS: Atari Bigby really screwed the pooch this off-season. First he held out for more money, which he didn't get. Then we he decides to actually show up for camp, he injures his ankle and now has to have arthroscopic surgery on it. He will probably be back for the start of the season, but the damage has been done. Impressive rookie talent Morgan Burnett has a firm grab on the starting SS spot and has impressed coaches with his range and coverage abilities. Burnett could turn out to be the top rookie DB this season.

Houston Texans SLB: The suspension of Brian Cushing leaves a vacancy at the SLB position for the first four games of the regular season. Xavier Adibi (if healthy) figures to fill that spot with Zac Diles staying on the weak side. Rookie Daryl Sharpton has been impressive in camp and reportedly has a chance at grabbing Diles starting weak side spot. Veterans Danny Clark and Kevin Bentley may also factor in on the strong side. I don't see much worth here in fantasy-terms until Cushing returns from suspension.

Kansas City Chiefs RILB: Perennial "sleeper" Derrick Johnson just cannot seem to work his way out of head coach Todd Haley's doghouse. The former first round selection has struggled to make a positive impression on Haley and found himself playing with the 3rd stringers into the 4th quarter of the Chiefs first pre-season game. There are now rumors that the Lions are interested in DJ (presumably to fill the hole left at WLB with the departure of Ernie Sims and the season-ending injury to Jordan Dizon). On the bright side, this makes Demorrio Williams a more clear and solid fantasy option. He is someone I will be targeting in my fantasy drafts.

Minnesota Vikings SS: Tyrell Johnson is battling with 2009, 7th round pick Jamarca Sanford to keep his starting strong safety job. I really don't give a crap who wins this battle because they both suck and aren't likely to be rosterable in any IDP leagues.

New York Giants RDE: I've been saying all off-season that Mathias Kiwanuka was going to win the starting right end job over Osi Umenyiora. It has finally happened. He should be a pretty solid bet for top 15 DL numbers this season and he has been one of my favorite targets in fantasy drafts.

San Diego Chargers SS: Rookie Darrell Stuckey has established himself as the starter in San Diego. Apparently, he will be used only on early downs this season with nickel safety Steve Gregory coming in on passing situations. I don't think this will last as Stuckey isn't bad in coverage and is a complete player than Gregory. Stuckey is still one of my top rookie sleepers this season.

St. Louis Rams WLB: Being a huge Cowboys fan, I had the pleasure displeasure of watching Bobby Carpenter play pretend to play football. I was willing to cut him some slack though since he wasn't an ideal fit for the Cowboys 3-4 scheme and I thought he could put up decent fantasy numbers at the weak side linebacker position in St. Louis' 4-3 system. However, it looks like Larry Grant has impressed coaches enough to be the current starter at the position (or Carpenter has been that disappointing). I'm not drafting any linebacker from the Rams unless his name is James Laurinaitis.

Last Updated: August 17, 2010



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2 comments :

bluebelly83 said...

Sweet article man. I am still pretty skeptical about the CAR DE situation. As for DBs, I think I'm with you: just go with SS if at all possible.

Ryan Sitzmann said...

@bluebelly83
Thanks Bluebelly. I really think there is value to be had somewhere along the defensive line in Carolina. It's just a matter of selecting which player is going to breakout. I think Charles Johnson still remains the safe bet.

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