Hello and welcome everyone to the 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!
Houston @ Philadelphia
- Pay no heed to CB Jason Allen and his nine solo tackles. Allen was on the field more than usual as the Eagles lined up in three wide sets for the majority of the game. Brian Cushing (5-1) made several nice plays in run defense and the kid shows great recognition in his run/pass reads and gets to the ball fast. No other Texans defender really stood out and in all honesty, their defense had no answers for the Eagles varied offensive attack.
- DE Trent Cole (3-0) played a terrific game here and got a lot of good hits on Schaub. Cole is playing at a very high level right now and should be trusted in all formats for the playoffs. Quintin Mikell (7-0) is a very solid DB2 in many leagues and has been on a tear as of late. Mikell isn’t the most dynamic, rangy safety but he gets the job done for IDP purposes.
New Orleans @ Cincinnati
- Jonathan Vilma (3-5-1.0) really impressed me with his performance in this game despite the less than inspiring box score. Vilma was very active all over the field and some of the assists he got could easily have gone down as solo tackles for him. There were a lot of assisted tackles in this game as is the norm for the Bengals stat keeper. The Saints defense has been “bend but don’t break” for a few weeks now. They should be concerned with how they are performing, and IDP owners should take note that playing Saints players may be a good idea from here on out.
- Get excited about the emergence of rookie DE Carlos Dunlap (1-1-1.5) because this kid is for real. Dunlap has a massive, Julius Peppers-like frame with good strength to overpower blockers and a good motor. All he needs is the dedication to get it done on a consistent basis. Dhani Jones (2-6) deserves a lot of kudos for his performance too as the most reliable LB in this corps.
Chicago @ Detroit
- Brian Urlacher (9-8-0.5) is playing some great football right now, perhaps some of the best of his career. Urlacher’s effort in this game was second to none and he made tackle after tackle for his team. Julius Peppers (2-2-1.0) is proving to be a great acquisition for the Bears defense and can be trusted going into your playoffs. Charles Tillman (3-1) had a great pass breakup on a pass intended for Calvin Johnson.
- Cliff Avril (4-0-3.0) exploded for a three sack performance as the Lions mauled the Bears excuse of an offensive line over and over again. With KVB sitting, Avril becomes a very interesting option in leagues that reward big plays handsomely. DeAndre Levy (2-4), after showing that he was fully healthy again, hasn’t been up to what we expect of him in recent weeks. Keep an eye on him and only play him in the best matchups.
San Francisco @ Green Bay
- While Takeo Spikes and his 13-4 line looks very impressive, a lot of those tackles came on short catches from the running backs that were right there for the taking. Spikes played a good game, granted, but don’t expect this every week. Patrick Willis (4-1) in comparison had a quiet game as he was in coverage on Green Bay’s wide receivers quite often with the Packers lining up in multiple wide receiver sets. Pass rushing specialist Ahmad Brooks (4-0-2.0) had quite a game as well and should be added to your watch list in dynasty leagues should he carve out a role in 2011 and beyond.
- Frank Zombo (3-0-1.0) should not be added in any leagues per se, but he has been playing some very solid defense for the Packers this season and for dynasty leagues is one to watch. Every down LB Desmond Bishop (3-3) had a subpar outing largely due to the 49ers having to pass the football more than they would like. When the game was close early, Bishop was in on several tackles and looked good in reacting to plays developing.
Denver @ Kansas City
- D.J. Williams (7-2) returned to form this week after a slump last week and performed quite well as he pursued the ball with speed and made some good open field tackles. Champ Bailey (4-0-1.0) has to be commended for the job he did on the hottest receiver in football, Dwayne Bowe. I liked what I saw from the young CB Perrish Cox (8-0) as he racked up eight solo tackles. Cox was physical and not afraid to stick his nose in.
- Javier Arenas (3-0-2.0) is a really dynamic young football player and got a couple of sacks today, using his speed off the edge on corner blitzes to take down Orton. Glenn Dorsey (6-0) got in on the action as well. His six solo tackles are quite unusual for a 3-4 DE, but Dorsey got excellent penetration and because of the good players around him, his contribution is beginning to get more noticeable. Tamba Hali (4-0-2.0) set a new personal season high record for sacks for the team and was a terror all game long for Orton. Hali beat LT Ryan Clady for his first sack on an impressive rip move.
Cleveland @ Miami
- Joe Haden (4-1-INT) is really settling in to the LCB position for the Browns and has made a lot of plays out there. He added yet another interception to his already solid rookie campaign on Sunday. If you have watched S Abram Elam recently, you would know that the guy is playing the safety position brilliantly and is becoming a very reliable option at DB in your leagues.
- I keep harping on this every week, but Cameron Wake (3-1-1.5) deserves to be the DPOTY, or at least be considered for it. Wake was unleashing his vast repertoire of pass rushing moves on the Browns offensive tackles all game long and managed to get 1.5 sacks for his work. Paul Soliai (4-0) is one of the more unheralded NT’s in the NFL right now.
Buffalo @ Minnesota
- Leodis McKelvin had an absolute stinker of a game despite his 6-1 and one interception performance. McKelvin fumbled on a kick return and gave up some big plays in the passing game. Paul Posluszny (11-4) is by far the best player on this defense and certainly amongst the LB corps. Kyle Williams (1-3) had a quiet game as the Vikings interior offensive line did a good job.
- DE Jared Allen (3-2-1.0) is having somewhat of a bounce back the past few weeks and he was a very disruptive force against the lacklustre Bills offensive line on Sunday. Chad Greenway (5-1) continues to play good football for the Vikings and made a really nice stop on a screen pass to Spiller, preventing him from getting the first down by a yard. It was a great hustle play.
Washington @ New York Giants
- Reed Doughty (7-3) had a very active day for the Redskins with how effectively the Giants were able to run the ball. Doughty is a good replacement level player for IDP teams in need of options at S down the stretch. Brian Orakpo (2-2) was invisible in this game as the Giants prevented any pass rush with their running attack and hence offensive balance. You have to admire the effort of London Fletcher (4-0-INT) who just keeps working no matter the record of his team.
- All aboard the Jason Pierre Paul (3-0-2.0) train! JPP is starting to get it, as they say. He has a better understanding of the game and the Giants are not asking too much of him. He is as physically imposing a DE as I’ve ever seen and has a bright future ala Carlos Dunlap if he continues to work hard. The Giants teed off on the Redskins all game and had plenty of big defensive plays. Terrell Thomas (5-0-INT-FF) continues to impress me.
Jacksonville @ Tennessee
- Rookie DE’s Jeremy Mincey and Austen Lane are getting a lot more playing time and doing their best with it. I think Derrick Harvey’s days in Jacksonville are over. Courtney Greene (1-1) went out of this game early with an injury, with Sean Considine taking his place. Considine is a decent desperation play depending on Greene’s status.
- With Jacksonville completely in control throughout and able to run the ball down the throats of the Titans, the Titans IDPs saw an above average tackle opportunity. Stephen Tulloch (14-3) rewarded his owners with a whopping 14 solo tackles. Will Witherspoon (8-2) also took advantage of the rushing attempts of the Jags. If the Titans continue to play this poorly, we could see a similar pattern for the rest of the year.
Oakland @ San Diego
- The Raiders defense was simply all over the Chargers offense on this afternoon, with rookie Lamarr Houston, Michael Huff and Kamerion Wimbley getting sacks. It is very encouraging to see Rolando McClain (7-0) all over the field and making plays after a slow start to the season. McClain made several nice open field tackles and looked the part.
- Brandon Siler (9-3) took over from Kevin Burnett in this game due to injury and had a good game, although the number of rushing attempts the Raiders had allowed him the opportunity to make a lot of plays. Safety tandem Paul Oliver and Eric Weddle were in the box very often as the Chargers tried to take away the Raiders running attack.
St. Louis @ Arizona
- Both Craig Dahl (7-0-1.0-INT) and O.J. Atogwe (6-0-1.0) were heavily involved in the game as the Rams showed eight man fronts to the Cardinals all day long. They use their safeties well to confuse the quarterback and often blitz off the corner, hence the sacks for both players. James Laurinaitis (6-0) continues to be a consistent force in the middle of the Rams defense; his growth has been obvious from last year to this.
- The Cardinals defense cannot be happy with how many snaps they are seeing on a weekly basis with how poorly their offense is performing. However, IDP owners should be pleased if they you own a Cardinal. Kerry Rhodes (7-0-1.0-INT) had the standout defensive performance as he came up and made some nice hits and stops in run support and marshalled the middle of the field too. Plug in your Arizona Cardinals for your playoff run.
Dallas @ Indianapolis
- I told you to keep an eye on Sean Lee, and the rookie made his mark this week, picking off two Peyton Manning passes and taking one of them to the house. Lee will eventually take over Keith Brooking’s job, so he is a great add in dynasty leagues. Mike Jenkins (8-1) has been better since Jason Garrett took over. The whole Dallas team appears to be playing with much more spirit and desire.
- On the fast track in Indianapolis, both Freeney and Mathis managed to register sacks in a losing effort. Pat Angerer looked a lot more active than the returning Gary Brackett, but both got plenty of tackles. Antoine Bethea (11-4) found himself buzzing around the line of scrimmage and making last ditch tackles on Cowboys players throughout the game. Teams have figured the Colts out now. I advise you to start all your Colts for your playoff run.
Carolina @ Seattle
- Captain Munnerlyn continued to get the starting nod over Chris Gamble at CB as Gamble was declared inactive. There is definitely something going on behind the scenes here, and Munnerlyn could be a valuable player especially in leagues that reward points for return yardage. DE Charles Johnson (2-2-1.0) is playing some great football right now. None of the Panthers linebackers really stepped up and had a significantly larger number of tackles than any other, but Jon Beason (4-2-1.0) is playing as hard as ever.
- David Hawthorne (11-3) was everywhere as he cleaned up in the running game with some good tackles on Stewart, played excellent coverage and rallied to the football. Hawthorne is miles ahead of Tatupu now, despite the latter getting a pick six to save his value. Chris Clemons (2-1-1.0) was held in check for most of the game but managed to register yet another sack to add to his impressive 2010 resume.
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
- I’ve received some questions this week about Brent Grimes (6-1-INT) and whether or not he is worth adding. The answer is absolutely, he is. Grimes is performing masterfully at the CB position and has been a steady fixture in the tackle columns all year. Sean Weatherspoon (1-0) still hasn’t fully recuperated from his injury and Mike Peterson (5-5) saw a lot of snaps in his place on Sunday. Monitor that situation going forward.
- Linebacker tandem Barrett Ruud (3-1) and Geno Hayes (3-1) were very active and involved against the Falcons rushing attack, but Quincy Black (7-0) ended up being the most productive of the LB’s. I wouldn’t read too much into this, as it was mostly due to good positioning by Black and the direction of Ryan’s passes. Sean Jones (6-2-INT) could be a good pickup with Cody Grimm out for the rest of the season.
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore
- I have to applaud Troy Polamalu (4-1-1.0-FF) for coming up with the play that turned this game on its head as he strip sacked Joe Flacco to allow the Steelers to take the lead. Polamalu is a gambler at times, but boy does it feel good when it pays off. James Farrior (6-1-1.0) has been drinking from the fountain of youth for the Pittsburgh and is playing really well right now. Lamarr Woodley (2-0) had no sacks but got good pressure; owners should be patient with him.
- Terrell Suggs (4-1-1.5) was an absolute monster on the field against Pittsburgh. He is a guy who gets so amped up for these occasions and produces as well. Ray Lewis (12-1) stoned Mendenhall and the Steelers rushing attack several times and looked good flowing to the ball as usual.
New York Jets @ New England
- On an embarrassing night for the Jets defense, there is no player I can honestly say had a good game by his standards. Eric Smith (6-1-1.0) came in for the injured Jim Leonhard and although he got beaten by Rob Gronkowski for a pass interference penalty, he bounced back. When NT Siona Pouha gets six solo tackles, you know the Patriots are seeing a lot of offensive snaps. There is not much to be taken from this Jets performance other than there are a lot more questions than answers about this “vaunted” defense.
- One thing I noticed in this game was the frequency that the Patriots substituted their personnel. It was more often than normal. Jermaine Cunningham (5-0) saw more snaps than usual and made the most of them. A 6-6 day for Jerod Mayo is his floor. Mayo has been nothing short of a revelation for owners at LB this season and should continue to do so.
Written by David Larkin
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Last Updated: December 8, 2010