Here we go!
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Daryl Washington (7-4-1.0) had his best performance to date for the Cardinals defense, an encouraging sign after he had been suffering through inconsistency in recent weeks. Washington sacked Matt Hasselbeck on a 3rd and 1 play in the first quarter. CB Greg Toler (10-2) continued his hot streak in the tackle column – the second year player has now put up a whopping 42 solo tackles in only six games. Toler is a sneaky CB1 who will be peppered with passes consistently with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie playing opposite him. Arizona’s defense had an above average numbers of tackle opportunities in this game as the Seahawks were well in control from start to finish.
Seattle’s journeymen defensive line keeps producing. Colin Cole (6-1) and Chris Clemons (3-0-1.0) both had solid outings on Sunday against a sputtering Arizona offense. Lofa Tatupu (3-0) has been questioned in recent times, but HC Pete Carroll insists that Tatupu has not lost a step and is making a strong contribution to the overall defensive effort despite a lack of box score activity. Watch this situation closely and keep expectations tempered for Tatupu going forward. Tatupu has failed to register more than 5 solo tackles in a game all season long.
Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens
The Bills continued to use 4-3 fronts in this contest, using second round pick Torrell Troup as the 3-technique and Kyle Williams as the NT. Donte Whitner (7-1) was very active in the tackle column as expected going into this matchup against a Ravens team that can move the ball well offensively. Dwan Edwards (5-2-1.0-PD) had his best game of the season in terms of points output and was a very active force. Perhaps the move to the 4-3 has helped him, and the Bills will have no shortage of tackle opportunities for the remainder of the season. Paul Posluszny (4-1-PD) started at the weakside linebacker position with Andra Davis (1-5) starting at the MLB. Davis and Posluszny’s numbers could have been a lot better than they were, but Buffalo’s offense performed remarkably well on the day.
Ray Lewis (14-1-1.0-FR) had a monster day for the umpteenth time, wreaking havoc on Buffalo offensive players all afternoon. Lewis doubled his previous best tackle numbers for the season, so it would be unwise to read too much into this. The safety pairing of Ed Reed (4-0-2 INT-2PD-1 FF) and Dawan Landry (9-1) had very impressive numbers. It is encouraging that Ed Reed managed to pick off two passes in his first game back and make a real impact on the game, but the Ravens defense is one of the best in the league and probably won’t have this many fantasy producers on a week-to-week basis. The return of Reed and his range to the back end of this defense may allow Landry to play a more in-the-box role than previous games this season, so keep a close eye on how he progresses.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Atlanta Falcons
Defenses were not on top in this game, but both teams faced a lot of rushing attempts and that gave Dhani Jones (7-1) and Keith Rivers (7-0) the chance to register nice numbers in the tackle columns. Chinedum Ndukwe (7-0) continued his run as the most reliable IDP safety that nobody talks about. Adam “Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones (5-1-FF-TD) made a spectacular play when he stripped the ball away from Roddy White and returned it for a touchdown.
It is unsurprising when analyzing the box score for the Atlanta defense that three defensive backs were tops in the tackle column. Christopher Owens (10-1) and Brian Williams (5-3-FR) were extremely active as the Bengals had over forty passing attempts. These numbers are skewed due to the Bengals having to play from behind and mostly settling from quick out routes and hitches against Atlanta’s passive two deep zone. Curtis Lofton (6-1-2 FF) continues to be a very solid LB2 for owners, and his two big forced fumbles helped the Falcons cause this week.
Cleveland Browns @ New Orleans Saints
First of all, this was an unbelievable result from the Superdome and if anyone picked the Browns over the Saints, all I can say is that I salute you!
In a bizarre game, former Saint Scott Fujita (10-1-1.0-INT) had a barnstormer of a day in the box score. This was likely due to his understanding of the Saints offensive tendencies and what they try to do to opposing defenses. Ahtyba Rubin (5-1) continues to play the 3-4 NT position very well for the Browns and has been a serviceable option in DT-required leagues. Joe Haden (5-1) did not get the starting nod, but with the number of times the Browns were in their nickel packages, Haden made a mark. He has a real chance to overtake Eric Wright for the starting job. Without a doubt the story of the day was the two David Bowens interceptions. There is nothing funnier, in my opinion, than seeing a big defensive lineman with the football cruising down the field in clumsy fashion.
Malcolm Jenkins (8-1) made the start at FS with Usama Young starting at CB, although it had been rumored to be the other way around pre-game. Jenkins made several nice tackles, including stopping punter Reggie Hodges from scampering into the end zone on a 68 yard run. Jonathan Vilma (0-5) continued his run of poor games and there has to be concerns over his current run amongst fantasy owners. Vilma can only be trusted in very good matchups unless he proves otherwise.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
Jacksonville gave the start to Courtney Greene (6-6) at SS and he didn’t disappoint fantasy owners with a solid outing, although his on-field display left a little to be desired. Justin Durant (7-1) had the tough task of tackling great open field runners Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster but did so very well on many occasions. Aaron Kampman (3-2-1.0-3 QH) is a very steady player for this Jaguars defense that still lacks a bona fide pass rush. Kampman is especially valuable for those of you in big play leagues.
Derrick Johnson (3-3-INT-3 PD) had a pick six in this game when he stayed disciplined in his zone and read Bouman’s intentions on a short pass, taking it back to the house. Johnson’s numbers may not have been his best and he hasn’t been the most consistent option at LB, but he is reliable enough to keep starting. Jovan Belcher (6-1) made some good tackles on the elusive Maurice Jones-Drew. Tamba Hali is keeping up his momentum as a pass rusher, registering another sack and 3 quarterback hurries on Bouman.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Chad Greenway (10-2-FF) was everywhere on Sunday night, putting on a clinic at the LB position, making several key stops and tackles for loss. Antoine Winfield (6-1) is one of the most sure-fire startable CBs in IDP leagues. Whoever ends up starting opposite him with Cedric Griffin out for the year will be valuable, although 2nd round pick Chris Cook didn’t help himself with this performance. Jared Allen (1-0-INT) has yet to have that monster game that his owners (like me) are expecting from him, but be patient. His biggest days are ahead of him.
A.J. Hawk (6-5-INT) really stepped up his game against the Vikings, and he stood out as I watched the game on numerous occasions. Granted the interception he got was a gift from Favre, but he was in the right place at the right time. Desmond Bishop (5-3-INT) managed to score a touchdown on another Favre errant pass. Overall the Packers linebackers looked no worse for ware having lost Nick Barnett for the year. SS Charlie Peprah (6-0) may not be the most talented safety out there, but for IDP purposes he has registered 15 solo tackles in the last two games.
New England Patriots @ San Diego Chargers
A strong showing from the Patriots ILB crew of Gary Guyton (7-1) and Jerod Mayo (10-1) underlined how well the Patriots played the Chargers running game. No other Patriots defender made a significant dent in the box score for IDP owners to get excited about. Pat Chung (1-0) exited the game in the 2nd quarter with a knee injury and his status for this week’s game against Minnesota is uncertain. Brandon Meriweather (5-0) had a decent fantasy performance due to the Chargers downfield passing game. All but one of Meriweather’s tackles came on deep passes from Rivers.
Stephen Cooper (9-0) had the best box score numbers this week in the never ending story that is the Chargers ILB. Kevin Burnett took a backseat with 4 solo tackles. Shaun Phillips (5-0-1.0) had his pass rushing moves working as he got around the edge and pressured Brady a lot, although it did not register in the box score. His sack was a thing of beauty as he relentlessly pursued the Patriots QB and took him down. With Shawne Merriman a distant memory now to Chargers fans, little known Antwan Applewhite (5-0) made a minor blip on our radars and could be worth watching for those favorable pass rushing matchups.
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos
The Raiders came out in this game with a base 3-2-6 formation, presumably to counter the Broncos pass heavy offense, which incidentally did not show up on the day as you know by now, I’m sure. The story here is the continued poor box score numbers from Rolando McClain (1-1-0.5). The consensus top LB in the NFL Draft has been nothing special for owners this year and patience is beginning to wear thin in the IDP community. No Raider defender really stood out on the day in the box score. The team was so dominant on the field and on the scoreboard that the defense did not play as many snaps as you would have expected.
Six Broncos defenders registered more than 5 solo tackles on the day as the Raiders offense completely dominated on the field. ILB D.J. Williams (7-0-1.0) was one of the brighter stars on a dull day for the Broncos organization. Marcus Thomas (7-3) and Mario Haggan (7-1) rounded out the best box scores for the Broncos defense. I can’t see this defense playing this badly again, so take the numbers here with a grain of salt.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Tennessee Titans
DT Antonio Dixon (6-1-1.0) is a name not many IDP owners will know, but he is one you should become familiar with. He was a disruptive force in this game, clogging Chris Johnson’s running lanes constantly. The usual suspects produced for the Eagles, with Trent Cole (5-0-1.0) putting up a sack. Quintin Mikell (4-1-1.0) also managed to sack the immobile Kerry Collins.
Stephen Tulloch (10-2) continues to be a LB1 for owners as he has been one of the most reliable players in IDP leagues since Week 1. Tulloch has not failed to register at least 5 solo tackles in any game this year. He is a very active and instinctive player who, in his first year as a three down LB, has been uber productive. William Hayes (3-1) was encouragingly back in the lineup more often and registered some tackles as he recovers from the injury that held him back early in the season. The rotation along the defensive line for the Titans makes it difficult to pinpoint where the production will come from, as Dave Ball (3-0), Jason Jones (4-0) and Jason Babin (2-1) were all active.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins
The Steelers most productive LB this season so far has been Lawrence Timmons (3-0), who has quite simply been a beast in IDP leagues. The defensive backs such as Bryant McFadden (5-1) were picked on by Chad Henne. McFadden saw more targets as he matched up against Davone Bess, a quick and savvy route runner. With the injury to key DE Aaron Smith, former first round pick Evander Hood will need to contribute more for this team. No player really managed to have a stellar IDP performance for the Steelers in what was a very close game.
Karlos Dansby (7-2) had one of his best statistical performances of the season, but this might be his ceiling. His importance to this Dolphins defense comes down to a lot more than what you see in the box score. Safety tandem Chris Clemons (6-3) and Yeremiah Bell (5-1) made dents in the box score as well as the Steelers came away with a narrow and somewhat fortuitous victory. Cameron Wake (3-1) didn’t manage to get a sack to his name, but the former CFL star is a leading contender for DPOY.
San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers
Patrick Willis (8-3) is an amazing football player. I watched the entirety of this game and he continued to display amazing technique, great instincts to find the ball and form tackling. Nate Clements (8-1) bore the brunt of a revived Panthers passing offense as Smith and Gettis routinely beat him for short completions. Dashon Goldson (7-0) also had a terrific game.
James Anderson (6-1-2, PD) just keeps performing week in and week out, producing from the strong side linebacker position against all odds. As a Panthers fan, I can tell you that Anderson does this simply because he is a good all-around player with good fundamental skills and good instincts. Richard Marshall (5-1-INT) has returned to relevance after a slow start for his IDP owners. This is yet another example of why patience pays off. Thomas Davis hopes to return in Week 10, allowing Jon Beason (4-0), who simply can’t make the kind of impact he wants at WLB, to move back to MLB. Charles Johnson (4-0-1.0) is a steady producer at DE, and his sack knocked Alex Smith out of the game.
St. Louis Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Rams defense has really improved in 2010 as Steve Spagnuolo begins to get the right personnel for his system. James Laurinaitis (7-1) keeps making plays and is as reliable a LB as you can find in IDP leagues. Chris Long (1-1-1.0) and James Hall (4-1-0.5) are good bookends on this Rams defensive line and both got sacks on Sunday. With 47 tackle opportunities, the Rams had the usual suspects produce.
Ronde Barber (9-1) just won’t go away and remains a viable starting CB in CB-required leagues. When Barber hasn’t produced in the tackle column this season, he has always made up for it for interceptions. All three Tampa Bay linebackers were productive on the day, but WLB Geno Hayes (4-0) still hasn’t reached the level he was at last season, and owners will have to remain patient with him.
Washington Redskins @ Chicago Bears
Rocky McIntosh (6-2-1.0-FF) has solidified his status as an every down player and the trendy pre-season sleeper has not failed to produce. Nothing needs to be said about DeAngelo Hall (7-0), who in one league of mine put up a whopping 61 points for his four interception display, including one for a touchdown. Brian Orakpo (3-1-2.0) aka “O-sack-po” lived up to his nickname, tormenting the Bears offensive tackles and sacking the vulnerable Cutler twice. Albert Haynesworth (2-1-1.0) even got in on the act and by all accounts played quite well.
Cover 2 corners produce in the tackle column, and Charles Tillman (7-1-FF) has been the poster boy for that reasoning this year. Israel Idonije (3-2-1.0) had a good game against a suspect offensive line for the Redskins, but Idonije’s numbers are too hard to predict on a week to week basis, so consider him a DE3/flex at best. Keep a close eye on Brian Iwuh (3-0-1.0) who had to replace an injured Lance Briggs. He could have value if the Briggs misses any more time.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Michael Boley (4-0-1.0) not only got on Sportscenter with his hit on Romo that fractured his clavicle, but also had a very good game on Monday night. Boley is the most reliable bet for production amongst the Giants linebacking corps. The real value here is of course along the defensive line. Chris Canty (3-0) and Barry Cofield (2-0-1.0-FF) made their mark on the Dallas offense throughout the game. Justin Tuck (1-0) had a quiet game statistically, but he will have better days, and it should be noted that a struggling Dallas offense gave the Giants less tackle opportunities than normal.
Dallas, conversely, had a plentiful amount of tackle opportunities as Eli Manning and the Giants offense methodically drove down the field time after time. Bradie James (6-3-FF) and Keith Brooking (5-1-INT) were particularly productive in the box scores, but they won’t produce like this every week. DeMarcus Ware was held in check for most of the game, but did manage to register a sack late on. With Jon Kitna at quarterback now, the Dallas offense will not be as potent and the defense will have to see the field a lot more, so expect the numbers of certain players to take a spike.
Written by David Larkin
If you have any questions for David, feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter. Also, feel free to post any questions or comments for David in the comments section of this post.
Last Updated: October 27, 2010