Baltimore @ Atlanta
- Ray Lewis (4-1) was knocked out of this game early, but came back in and had his usual polished display at LB for the Ravens.
- Terrell Suggs (4-0-2.0) played with a fire in his belly that I have not seen for a while and looked really good out there. His two sacks were the result of his tremendous effort and never-say-die attitude.
- Don’t get too excited about the numbers of the Ravens cornerback tandem of Josh Wilson (6-1) and Lardarius Webb (6-0). Atlanta’s game plan called for a lot of underneath passes against the Ravens man coverage. Webb and Wilson were the benefactors of the short, high percentage passing game of Atlanta.
- John Abraham (4-0-2.0) rededicated himself in the off-season to losing some weight and restoring some of the quickness to his game. It appears to have worked. The 32 year old Abraham has eight sacks on the season now. Atlanta’s record is helping and their offensive philosophy of ball control allows the defense to be fresh when they come on to the field, so I expect Abraham’s good season to continue. He looked quick, powerful and demonstrated a Dwight Freeney-esque body lean in his pass rushing.
- Jonathan Babineaux (1-1) had a massive role in Atlanta’s strong defensive display. He was a constant harasser of Flacco and the Ravens offensive line found it hard to handle the big man.
- Curtis Lofton (8-2) is playing out of his mind right now at Mike for the Falcons. His 60 solo tackles are very solid so far after nine games played, which projects to 109 roughly over the entire season. Not too shabby
Detroit @ Buffalo
- In the absence of DE Cliff Avril, former first round pick Lawrence Jackson (4-4-1.0) stepped up in a big way. His sack was the result of relentlessness on his part to get to the quarterback and he was very active against the run as well.
- DeAndre Levy came back down to earth with a 3-3 performance after we saw signs of life last week against the Jets. It’s no reason to panic – Levy looked good out there and for the most part made good reads – but was just a tad late sometimes. If those assists were solo tackles, it would be a different story.
- Take note, those of you who use a platoon system with your DBs. SS Amari Spievey (4-2) could be a decent option in the coming weeks. The Lions SS position is one that IDP owners must take advantage of.
- NT Kyle Williams (3-1) is having a Pro Bowl season without a doubt. Put him in a 3-4 or a 4-3 and he’ll produce. He’s a really fiery individual out there, and on the very first play he powered into the backfield and took Jahvid Best out for a four yard loss.
- IDP owners of Paul Posluszny (11-2) should be kissing his feet right now. This kid is flat out balling and playing like a true stud MLB for the Bills. He made a lot of great tackles in this one to stuff the Lions rather anemic rushing attack. Poz is a man!
- Dwan Edwards (3-4) is a sneaky add in leagues. He has been remarkably consistent this year and snagged an interception for himself in this game.
Minnesota @ Chicago
- Jared Allen (5-0-1.0) had a sack in this game to go along with five solo tackles, which is much more like what we expect from a DE1. Allen had a solid performance against the Bears, and on a few occasions was only a split second away from Cutler. Allen probably on paper should have done better in such a favorable pass rushing matchup, but we'll take it.
- Rookie 2nd round pick Chris Cook got the start at cornerback for the Vikings in place of Asher Allen and did well for the most part. Cook is a very imposing figure at CB, sort of in the mould of Miami’s Sean Smith. Cook, despite that size, has deceptive speed. If Cook can avoid any costly errors down the stretch, he could compete for a starting job next season.
- This was a good game for both Vikings every down linebackers, Chad Greenway (9-0) and E.J. Henderson (9-1), mainly due to the Bears offensive philosophy. The Bears had 32 rushing attempts from their running backs and a further six from Cutler/Bennett, providing the Vikings with ample tackle opportunity. The play of the Vikings linebackers should not be overlooked. Henderson’s return from the dreadful broken leg he suffered has been a great story, and Chad Greenway is simply a monster out there. Keep riding these linebackers and you won’t be sorry.
- Brian Urlacher (7-0) had one of those good games that his owners have been expecting from him. Sure, he didn’t make any splash plays, but his pursuit to the ball was good, he diagnosed plays quickly and had a decent game.
- Lance Briggs had a key interception to essentially dash any hope of a Vikings win when he dove to the turf to secure the ball. It looked like the ball hit the ground, but with video review you just never know and the call was upheld. Briggs and the Bears defensive players showed what kind of camaraderie exists amongst them in the celebrations after the play.
- Tim Jennings got the starting nod at CB opposite Charles Tillman with Zachary Bowman still out. My advice is to keep an eye on this situation as there is value to be had at the Bears CB position. Remember to keep scheme in mind as you weigh up one player over another. The Bears Cover 2 defense requires cornerbacks to make tackles often.
New York Jets @ Cleveland
- Bart Scott (3-1) and David Harris (5-1) said prior to this game that they would be able to take the punishment from Browns RB Peyton Hillis, when in reality they had a lot of trouble against “Peyton the Powerhouse”. He shed their tackles quite often, leaving Jim Leonhard (5-1) to clean up.
- In good news for the Jets, Calvin Pace (6-1-1.0) had a nice game as he is still re-adjusting to returning to the game after his suspension.
- Ahtyba Rubin (5-4) may be one of the most disruptive, in-your-face nose tackles that nobody knows about. Like Kyle Williams of the Bills, he works his tail off for the team and gets constant push on the offensive line to compact the pocket. He has been a steady IDP contributor all season long, so trusting him down the stretch is advisable.
- T.J. Ward (4-3) wasn’t able to be a big contributor in the box score, and in fact he was out of position on a TD pass from Sanchez to Cotchery, losing his bearings entirely as Sanchez’ movement out of the pocket enticed him closer to the line of scrimmage. Ward was physical in run support when he had the chance, though.
Cincinnati @ Indianapolis
- CB Rico Murray (7-1) and his box score numbers are an aberration against a Colts offense that often lines up in three-wide sets. Don’t be a stats chaser!
- Dhani Jones (12-1) was absolutely everywhere for the Bengals on Sunday. His positional instincts are one of the reasons he has remained as the middle linebacker for this team, and he showed that innate ability to be in the right place at the right time a lot.
- Always start Dwight Freeney (3-0-1.0) at home on the artificial turf in Indianapolis. He can get better speed rushes off the edge and generally performs better.
- With 42 passing attempts, the Colts cornerback tandem of Kelvin Hayden (5-4-INT) and Jerraud Powers (4-4) had an above average number of tackle opportunities. This isn’t unusual for the Colts cornerbacks, however, who always come up and play physical in their Cover 2 scheme. I am a fan of trusting Hayden and Powers for the stretch run.
- And for those of you wondering how Pat Angerer looked, he did a fine job. If I have any criticism of him, it is that he was a little slow in making his reads on run plays and he got too caught up in the wash on one play action bootleg from Palmer. Other than that, he did an outstanding job.
Houston @ Jacksonville
- Zach Diles (7-1) and Brian Cushing (9-0) owners had to be rejoicing on Sunday after their performances. Both played quite well against a Jacksonville offense that used a lot of two tight end sets to pound the ball right at the Houston defense. Cushing and Diles filled well in terms of gap responsibility, but had a few mistakes as well, especially on misdirection.
- Glover Quin (13-0) and his insane thirteen solo tackles are a flash in the pan. Quin hasn’t topped 5 solo tackles this season, so the likelihood of him repeating this feat is slim to none. Quin’s tackles were mostly as a result of short passes – screens to Mike Thomas, quick outs and the like – and a generous scorekeeper. Don’t be a stats chaser!
- With Aaron Kampman unfortunately on IR, two rookie defensive ends are going to get their chance. Austen Lane and Jeremy Mincey are names not many of you know, but Mincey (5-0) is a guy who made a big impression this week. He tackled well, got good push with his pass rush and appeared to be heavily involved in terms of the number of snaps played. He is a deep dynasty stash, and don’t give up on Lane yet.
- The Jacksonville linebackers didn’t produce in the box score as the Texans trailed in this game and went downfield pretty often, allowing Courtney Greene (7-0) to put up very solid solo tackle numbers. Daryl Smith (3-0) and Justin Durant (3-0) were quiet, but don’t be discouraged.
Tennessee @ Miami
- We’re still seeing solid production from the Titans defensive ends, but not from trendy preseason sleeper William Hayes (2-0), who just hasn’t hit his stride yet. The Titans are constantly rotating their ends and tackles, so it’s hard to pinpoint the value here, but Dave Ball (3-1) and Jason Babin (3-1) had the better lines this week.
- Alterraun Verner, the rookie cornerback out of Cal, burst onto the scene a few weeks ago when the Titans played the Cowboys. He had his first career interception in that game. Verner and his seven solo tackles are something his owners want to see. He is a reliable CB for owners in any week in my opinion as offenses try to avoid Cortland Finnegan.
- Vontae Davis (2-1) did a terrific job on Randy Moss all day, for any of you wondering why Moss didn’t explode for massive yardage. Davis is a very gifted young cornerback who, if he played in a bigger market, would get a lot more attention.
- Yeremiah Bell (8-0-1.0-FF) recovered from his two solo performance at Baltimore last week and rewarded the patience of his owners with this eight solo game. Bell looked a lot better than last week and his owners should put that blip of last week behind them.
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
- James Anderson (5-2) recovered a fumble and played another all around solid game for the Panthers defense, although they had a big problem stopping Blount. Anderson is a player the Panthers should resign to a long term deal and IDP owners should take note of this gifted player despite the fact he plays SLB.
- I watched this game in its entirety (as a suffering Panthers fan) and I was really impressed with DE Charles Johnson (6-1). Johnson plays with good strength at the point of attack, anchors well in the run game and has the speed and determination to chase down the ballcarrier, which he did against Tampa Bay a couple of times. Johnson is still young and could be a valuable DE2 for years to come.
- Nic Harris got the start at WLB and produced an 8-3 box score, which isn’t too shabby. Take into account, however, that the Buccaneers had a very successful running attack and that allowed Harris to make plenty of plays against the run. Harris is not a three-down LB, so trust him at your peril.
- Third overall pick DT Gerald McCoy (5-0-FF) played a pretty good game, the first time all season I have seen him be so active and influential on the defensive line. McCoy forced the fumble that led to the Bucs first points of the day.
- It was disappointing to see WLB Geno Hayes (1-0) with only one solo tackle in a matchup that was unexpectedly good for the Bucs as the Panthers managed to establish some offense on the ground and through the air. Hayes, on closer inspection, didn’t play all that badly. Barber (5-0-1.0) and Talib (7-1) were simply everywhere and often picked up the pieces from Hayes and the LBs.
Kansas City @ Denver
- We saw a lot of crazy numbers in the box score for this game, which was all about offense on both teams, as the scoreline might suggest. Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson (12-0), new contract in tow, did a really solid job, typical of his play this year. Haley won’t be shuffling those inside linebackers around again, I’m guessing.
- It’s noteworthy as well that Tamba Hali (2-1) didn’t register any sacks in this game, but his pressure was good for the most part.
- How could Mario Haggan (6-0-3.0) not stand out after that performance? Haggan played what can only be described as a lights out game, although he looked better than Shawne Merriman, let me tell you. He’s probably never going to have another three sack game in his career. The game situation contributed, of course, but don’t take anything away from Haggan’s display.
- Champ Bailey (9-1) struggled with Dwayne Bowe all afternoon, but his box score numbers are a reflection of the number of short completions that Cassel was forced to take against Bailey.
- As the Guru pointed out in his waiver wire pickup column this week, Joe Mays (7-0) looked pretty decent out there with D.J. Williams in the doghouse following his DUI. We all know how much of a grudge bearer Josh McDaniels can be, so watch this one carefully.
Seattle @ Arizona
- Chris Clemons (4-1-2.0) really came to play for this defense on Sunday. His edge rushes were extremely disruptive and forced Anderson to move off the spot in the pocket. Clemons has 7.5 sacks on the season so far, and is definitely worth a pickup in your leagues.
- Remember first round pick Aaron Curry? You know, that top 5 pick of the Seahawks a couple of a years back? Curry (7-0-1.0) hasn’t come close to this level of production in 2010 until now, so I would temper my expectations somewhat. Still, it is a positive sign to see him playing so well and getting after the quarterback, something he was quite adept at in college.
- Owners of Greg Toler (8-0) should take note that he did get benched in this game after giving up several long completions. I think it was more a product of the entire Cardinals defense playing poorly and being out of position in some cases, but IDP owners better hope Toler keeps playing, because he has been a goldmine for points this season.
- Calais Campbell (3-3-1.0) stood out for me on tape many times. He creates havoc, pressure and mayhem for the quarterback. I think the kid is a star in the making.
Dallas @ New York Giants
- As if by clicking his fingers, Jerry Jones changed the culture in Dallas in the span of a week, and the defense of the Cowboys responded big time to their new head coach this week. We saw good production from both inside backers, with Brooking (8-2) and James (7-6) putting up very respectable numbers and playing well. The Giants were on the field a lot and in catch up mode, so Brooking and James’ work in the second half was mostly tackles on underneath routes.
- Rookie CB Bryce McCann took an Eli Manning interception back 100 yards for a touchdown in what might be his career highlight. If Mike Jenkins - who got injured in this game - misses any time, we could see an increased role for McCann, but cornerbacks are hard to predict week to week, so proceed with caution.
- The lights were on (sometimes) for the Giants, but no-one was home. The Giants secondary were torn up by Jon Kitna. Say that out loud. As usual, the Giants linebackers were hard to trust, and Michael Boley’s 2-1 line is disappointing given his every down role.
- Safety tandem Kenny Phillips (5-0) and Antrel Rolle (5-0) found themselves making plenty of tackles in the middle of the field after several big pass plays from Dallas. In a game that the Giants defense played quite poorly, no IDP studs really “stood” out.
St. Louis @ San Francisco
- In what was a very entertaining game, the Rams defensive players did quite a solid job for the most part, especially against Frank Gore. Chris Long (3-0-1.0) had perhaps his best game as a pro. Long could have had many more sacks to his name if not for a plethora of holding calls against San Francisco. Long gave RT Anthony Davis fits all game. His future is bright in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
- James Laurinaitis (3-2-1.0) had a rather quiet day, which is unusual for such a good matchup. I would chalk this one up to a bad day. The 49ers had trouble running it between the tackles and the Rams front four managed to stop Gore in his tracks when they did.
- DE Justin Smith (5-1-1.0) is one of the less talked about defensive linemen in the NFL, but he deserves more credit for what he does. The shift he puts in every week is 100% effort on every play. His sack was the result of a lot of hard work on his part.
- Reggie Smith (5-1) got a lot of snaps at SS, with Taylor Mays not appearing in the box score. Mays was definitely on the field early, but Smith made the most of his chance. Keep an eye on this situation this week and going forward.
New England @ Pittsburgh
- It amazes me how Bill Belichick can put together a defense filled with free agents, journeymen and rookies and still stifle the Pittsburgh Steelers offense on the road. The Patriots defense was all over Pittsburgh from the start, using a lot of pressure looks and generally confusing Roethlisberger. Pat Chung (6-4) was back in the lineup with a bang. He looked really physical out there.
- Mike Wright (2-1) has quietly been a very consistent DE2 this season. He registered 1.5 sacks in spot duty against Pittsburgh. Wright is rotated in and out of the lineup, but he is clearly a hard-working player. He could be a sneaky add in many leagues.
- Tom Brady and the Patriots concentrated on the short, quick passing game to nullify the Steelers pressure, and it worked well. Lamarr Woodley (1-2) and James Harrison (6-3) were in coverage more than they would like in this game, and neither could get to Brady thanks to the good protection he was afforded.
- Bryant McFadden (9-0) and his nine solo tackles are somewhat of a mirage this week, as he was the beneficiary of being lined up against Deion Branch most of the time. McFadden made sure tackles and played decent in coverage, but this box score is nothing to write home about.
Philadelphia @ Washington
- How about this kid Dimitri Patterson (5-0-0 2 INT), who scored his first NFL TD on a pick six on Monday Night Football? He played a really good game against Reggie Wayne last week, and his momentum continued this week. Patterson is another gem the Eagles have unearthed and figures to see a lot of tackle opportunities opposite ballhawk Asante Samuel, although Patterson is something of a ballhawk himself.
- Most of the usual suspects for the Eagles were quiet as the Redskins passed and passed some more as they tried to claw back from the huge deficit. I would have expected to see more from Trent Cole (1-3) with the Skins in such an obvious passing situation all game.
- This Redskins defense just started off so slowly, looking unmotivated and uninterested as the Eagles tore them apart. London Fletcher (9-4) was the heartbeat of the team as usual, but he couldn’t do it all himself. They showed signs of life in the 2nd quarter, but played really poorly throughout, so much so that, along with the way this game went, makes analysis almost moot.
Written by David Larkin
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Last Updated: November 17, 2010