Hello and welcome everyone to the 5th weekly installment of "IDP Game Notes" brought to you by IDP Guru staff writer, David Larkin. This column is quickly turning into one of the most comprehensive, all-encompassing IDP articles anywhere. And it's free!
New England @ Detroit
- Rookie CB Devin McCourty is having himself one heck of a season for the Patriots. He picked off two Shaun Hill passes in this game, one of which he almost took to the house. His tackle numbers were modest, but he is a must start in leagues where interceptions are valued highly. Both Pat Chung (4-1) and James Sanders (4-4) were very active as the Lions tried to establish the run early. Jerod Mayo (8-4) is having a great year as well. He is becoming more decisive and is the definition of a form tackler at the linebacker position. He has put up 88 solo tackles and 43 assisted tackles already this season and should stay hot going into the playoffs.
- You can’t talk about Lions IDPs without addressing the sheer dominance of one Ndamukong Suh (3-1-1.0) who powers past offensive linemen like they are old ladies. Suh got an early sack on Brady which set the tone for the Lions surge. I talked briefly about the play of SS Amari Spievey (8-2) last week, and he had another solid week. Spievey made a lot of tackles in run support and played close to the line of scrimmage with the Patriots settling for underneath routes often.
New Orleans @ Dallas
- Neither defense really showed up in this game, but if you didn’t see it, you should go back and find the Malcolm Jenkins strip of Roy Williams late in the game. It was a simply amazing play by Jenkins. DE Will Smith (3-0-1.0-FF-INT) got it all in this game, registering a pick, a forced fumble and a sack. Linebackers Scott Shanle and Jonathan Vilma were around the ball a lot as the Cowboys had to drive to catch up in this game, often taking short chunks of yardage in linebacker zones.
- DeMarcus Ware (3-0-1.0) got good pressure in this game and played quite well. He quietly has 9.5 sacks this year. Gerald Sensabaugh (6-0-INT) made a play on a Jimmy Graham drop that was batted right into his hands for an interception. Sensabaugh is not the long term answer at SS for Dallas and is too inconsistent to trust. Keep watching in dynasty leagues for LB Sean Lee (2-0) as he continues to show up and make plays for this team.
Cincinnati @ New York Jets
- Dhani Jones (10-1) turned what looked like a juicy matchup for him on paper into a good box score for his owners. Jones is still quick enough to flow to the ball carrier and still has the veteran savvy that Maualuga and Rivers do not. Watch out in dynasty circles for DE Carlos Dunlap (3-0-2.0) who had two sacks on Sanchez and has great speed for a defensive end. If he gets his attitude in order, we could see him have a bigger role in ’11.
- Eric Smith (8-0) replaced Brodney Pool at safety for the Jets and had a good game, including a nice pass breakup in the endzone. David Harris (4-1-1.0) doesn’t get a lot of credit but does a tremendous job for the Jets inside. Calvin Pace (6-1-1.0) had a good game by his standards but cannot be trusted in IDP leagues except in the best of matchups.
Green Bay @ Atlanta
- Desmond Bishop (6-4) had another very nice game for the Packers. Be wary of Bishop as he could give you a dud some week. Frank Zombo (3-4-1.0-FF) is a guy I really like. The Packers have found themselves a gem at OLB here, and if he can keep the pressure on, then Clay Matthews could see more single blocks. Charlie Peprah (7-2) had a solid game and you should start your safeties against Atlanta as a rule of thumb.
- The Atlanta defensive backs were the main producers for IDP purposes because of the Packers inability to run the football on a consistent basis. This also explains Curtis Lofton (3-2) and Sean Weatherspoon (2-1) and their below average numbers. John Abraham (3-1-1.0-FF) forced a fumble on Rodgers late in the game which was barely recovered by the quarterback. The Falcons employed a lot of three man rushes to provide as much help in the back end, meaning Abraham couldn’t get much pressure.
Pittsburgh @ Buffalo
- The Steelers defense didn’t get on the field much in the first half as the Bills’ drives stalled time after time. James Harrison (5-1-1.0-FF) played well against the run early on, stuffing Fred Jackson for no gain on a couple of runs in particular. Lawrence Timmons (5-3) has tailed off in recent weeks after a hot start, but I recommend that you stick with him.
- Kyle Williams is playing at a Pro Bowl level right now. Williams caused havoc for the Steelers and even when double teamed, he made plays. Williams (8-2-2.0) had a higher than average number of tackles which is a result of the Steelers consistency running the ball, but he played so well. Jairus Byrd (7-4-FF) looks to be coming back to his rookie year form as he came up well in run support all game. Donte Whitner (8-10) is a top five safety and you should play him no matter what.
Carolina @ Cleveland
- Captain Munnerlyn got the start over Chris Gamble for what John Fox called “performance related reasons”. Munnerlyn took a Jake Delhomme interception to the house and added six solo tackles. Munnerlyn is undersized, but he could be a valuable player as he returns punts also. Both safeties, Charles Godfrey (6-2) and Sherrod Martin (6-3) saw a lot of Peyton Hillis coming right at them as the Browns ran the football well early on. Jason Williams also got the start at WLB as the Panthers try to figure out the long term future of that position. Williams did a good job, forcing and recovering a fumble.
- Abram Elam (6-1-2.0) has put up back to back good weeks now and you should start him in every league. He is a safety who is keyed in and making plays right now. T.J. Ward (4-1) had a down day by his standards but he played very well and took away a lot of underneath passes with his coverage skills.
Tennessee @ Houston
- With Tennessee struggling to stop the Texans potent ground game, both safeties Chris Hope (6-3) and Michael Griffin (8-3) got heavily involved. In Tennessee’s ever rotating defensive front four, William Hayes (4-0-1.0) stood out to me on film, getting good push on the tackle but just coming up a little short of the sack in most instances. Stephen Tulloch (11-3) continues to be one of the most reliable LB options in IDP leagues this year.
- The Texans defense was fresh for most of the game and played passive Cover 2 zones against the inexperienced Rusty Smith. Brian Cushing (6-1) made a couple of really nice plays in pursuit, including chasing down a running back who should have gotten the first down if not for a jarring hit from the LB. Glover Quin (3-1-3INT) took advantage of Rusty Smith’s inexperience and lollipop passes and bagged himself three picks.
Jacksonville @ New York Giants
- Rookie defensive ends Austen Lane (2-0) and Jeremy Mincey (1-0) are seeing considerable time for the Jaguars as they continue to build through the draft in their front four. Justin Durant (6-1) stood out as the most active linebacker, especially against the run which the Giants established well throughout. Courtney Greene (7-4) is as consistent a safety as you can get right now, and although he lacks experience, he does a decent job and isn’t afraid to put his nose in to make a tackle.
- The story of this game on the IDP side was Jason Pierre-Paul, the rookie defensive end who came up with two sacks and two forced fumbles to go along with six total tackles. The rookie played really well, although it should be noted that he was up against two journeymen tackles for the Jaguars. What is encouraging is his increased playing time. Justin Tuck (1-4-0.5) had a down day in comparison, and Jacksonville made sure to help their tackle to his side often. Michael Boley is the only Giants linebacker you want to play. Boley did a decent job against the MJD led running game of Jacksonville.
Minnesota @ Washington
- E.J. Henderson (3-1-1.0-INT) could have been the Comeback Player of the Year in the NFL if not for Michael Vick’s story. Henderson has returned to form after a horrific broken leg last season. He looked like he was dialled in during this game. Jared Allen (4-2-1.0) has returned to form after many doubted where his pass rush was gone. In truth, Allen was playing well and was only a hair away from sacks many times. Now it is starting to show up in the box score.
- No Redskins player really stood out on the day and they didn’t play too well defensively for the most part. Brian Orakpo owners will be glad that he manages to produce sacks despite the overall problems in this defense. London Fletcher (1-5) had an uncharacteristic down day but played pretty well. I’m wary of any Redskins players except for Landry and Orakpo.
Miami @ Oakland
- Cameron Wake (2-0-1.0) is having a truly amazing season and he should be a strong consideration for DPOY. I have a feeling Clay Matthews may get more votes, but Wake has been nothing short of a terror for offenses this year. Karlos Dansby (2-0) didn’t get going in this game mainly because of the low number of rushing attempts for the Raiders, so don’t be concerned.
- Rolando McClain owners can rejoice somewhat as he produced a 7-1-INT performance, but it was against a Miami team that had over 40 rushing attempts. McClain looked fluid in coverage and showed good recognition on his pick though, so there is a lot of reason for optimism. Just don’t expect this every week. DE Matt Shaughnessy (3-0-FF) is beginning to get more snaps on the defensive line due to injuries and he should be a good DE flex play going forward.
Kansas City @ Seattle
- Kansas City’s defense barely broke a sweat as the ineffective Seattle offense gave them very little to worry about. Brandon Flowers did not start this game, and I am unsure as to the reason. Javier Arenas (6-0) played a lot of the snaps as the Chiefs went with a five defensive back look for some of this game. Arenas is a good pickup in leagues that award return yardage. Don’t worry about Tamba Hali (1-3); he was close to sacking Hasselbeck on a couple of occasions. In general, the Chiefs IDPs did not produce, but this was not a very good matchup for them.
- Seattle faced a barrage of Chiefs runs and they saw plenty of tackle opportunity as a result. Lawyer Milloy (9-2) and Earl Thomas (7-1) played in the box a lot as Jamaal Charles routinely popped off nice gains against eight man fronts. David Hawthorne, a hot IDP at the end of the 2009 season, always sticks out when you watch him on tape. I think Lofa Tatupu, despite the coaches’ praise, will be replaced as the MLB by Hawthorne in the future.
Tampa Bay @ Baltimore
- Cody Grimm (4-0) broke his leg in this one, so the Bucs are thinner at safety now and there isn’t much value here until the situation becomes clearer. DT Gerald McCoy (3-0-2.0) is rounding into form for this Bucs team. He is using his speed to get between offensive linemen and he has great burst to attack the QB. Geno Hayes (6-0) and Barrett Ruud (6-3) were productive as usual. You can count on Tampa Bay linebackers in most matchups like this one.
- The Ravens defense was in control for most of the game and they saw a below average number of snaps as a result. Ray Lewis (7-5) was his usual self out there, firing his teammates up and making play after play. Other than that, no one IDP really stood out.
Philadelphia @ Chicago
- Brandon Graham got the start at DE against the Bears and did a good job, registering a sack to go with his three solo tackles. Trent Cole bullied the Bears offensive tackles for two sacks of his own. Note: always start your defensive ends against the Bears. With Asante Samuel out, I expected more from Dimitri Patterson (1-0) who has been really solid as of late, but it was not to be.
- Da Bears had da gameplan to take down Michael Vick in this one, and it worked to perfection. Julius Peppers (4-0-1.0-FF) earned his considerable pay check as he constantly got in Vick’s face and could have had more than one sack if not for the elusiveness of the QB. Israel Idonije (4-1-0.5) is still reaping the benefits of playing opposite Peppers and he put in a good shift for this defense. Brian Urlacher (9-1) put on a real leader’s performance as he came up to clean up the underneath routes as he played the Tampa 2 MLB to perfection.
St. Louis @ Denver
- Chris Long (2-0-1.0) is becoming the kind of player that the Rams thought he would be when they drafted him. He’s disruptive, powerful, and fast around the edge and gets sacks and pressure. James Laurinaitis (3-0) had a subpar day for his owners as the Broncos failed to establish any sort of running attack. Watch out for young DE C.J. Ah You (2-0-1.0) as he has been making of lot of nice plays as of late.
- Joe Mays (6-1) proved to be a good start this week for owners who took a chance on him as he started alongside D.J. Williams. No other IDPs really stood out for this Denver defense as they were more or less torn apart by rookie Sam Bradford.
San Diego @ Indianapolis
- The San Diego defense was the story of this game. Peyton Manning threw two pick sixes, capitalized by Eric Weddle and Kevin Burnett. Burnett (9-1-INT) had a nice game and played well in coverage especially. Paul Oliver (5-0) got the starting nod at strong safety and if he keeps the job he is worth adding. Shaun Phillips (4-1-1.0) sacked Manning as the offensive line could not deal with the Chargers pressure. Phillips is a good every week starter.
- This Indianapolis defense just cannot deal with teams that can physically pound you with the run. Freeney and Mathis were non-factors as the Chargers pounded the Colts with a heavy dose of Mike Tolbert. Pat Angerer (7-4) once again replaced Gary Brackett and did a decent job. The sheer number of offensive snaps the Chargers had inflated some of the box score numbers for the Colts, but SS Aaron Francisco (6-0) is producing at a steady clip since he got the job, so keep playing him.
San Francisco @ Arizona
- There are very few take home messages from this game for the 49ers defense, which simply pummelled the Cardinals offense the entire game and saw very snaps as a result. Patrick Willis (4-1-1.0) salvaged his day with a sack for his owners and S Reggie Smith (2-0) made a couple of nice plays in run support, but there is not much to be taken from this game.
- On the flip side, the Cardinals defense spent a lot of time on the field and figure to do that more as the weeks go by if Anderson and the offense keep struggling. First round pick NT Dan Williams (6-0) saw more snaps as Darnell Dockett was in and out of the lineup. Paris Lenon (7-3) and Gerald Hayes (5-2) had to deal with a lot of inside power runs from the Niners, and they racked up the tackles as a result. Play your Cardinals as we approach the fantasy playoffs!
Written by David Larkin
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Last Updated: November 24, 2010