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!
San Francisco @ San Diego
- Takeo Spikes (7-5) and his recent production is no fluke. Even with a bum right hand, Spikes is playing out of his skin. The reason for his uptick in tackle production recently is that Patrick Willis has played a deep middle zone, especially on third down. Willis still went 6-2 against the Chargers and made some typical Willis plays coming down and attacking the line of scrimmage. CB Nate Clements (7-0) was schooled by Vincent Jackson and his time in San Fran could be nearing its end.
- Antonio Garay (3-0-1.0) has come out of nowhere to be a very solid nose tackle for the Chargers and he continued to show his value in this game with three solo tackles and a sack as well. Garay should have been credited with another half sack the way I see it. Kevin Burnett (8-0-1.0) was the ILB you needed to start in the ever changing San Diego linebacker crew. Brandon Siler only got one solo tackle but looked good when he was on the field.
New Orleans @ Baltimore
- With how effectively the Ravens ran the ball, Jonathan Vilma (8-3) capitalised with a big day as he was a constant presence against the Rice/McGahee combination. Roman Harper (4-3) looked good coming up in run support too and is a top 10 DB in most formats. The Saints showed some 3-4 alignments at times but overall their run defense was powerless to stop the Ravens physical offensive line.
- Terrell Suggs (4-0-1.0-FF) has been on a great run recently and continued it against the Saints as he forced a fumble on a sack and racked up four solo tackles for his owners. Suggs is a player you stick with because weeks like this make up for the subpar ones. The Saints meagre 14 rushing attempts meant that the usual suspects like Ray Lewis were less of a factor with Lardarius Webb and Ed Reed getting more tackles. Consider this an aberration – the Saints simply could not establish any semblance of a rushing attack.
Arizona @ Carolina
- Greg Toler (8-0) returned to his starting job opposite DRC after a few weeks out of the position due to a combination of injury and poor play. Toler is a sneaky add for Week 16 if you are in the championship game as the Cardinals face the pass happy Cowboys. Daryl Washington (6-0) played over Gerald Hayes for the second week in a row and looked very competent. Expect the rookie to be entrenched in that position for a long time to come. Calais Campbell (9-2-1.0) is an extremely underrated part of this defense. When he plays, there is a different kind of aggressiveness and the Cardinals are much better against the run.
- Chris Gamble was surprisingly inactive due to an injury that showed up late in the week, meaning Captain Munnerlyn (7-0) was once again a good start in CB required leagues. For once the Panthers defense was not on the field for an above average number of snaps as the Panthers offense controlled the ball well. Jon Beason (4-2-FF) did not light up the stat sheet but played great, including a wonderful pass breakup as he dropped into “the pipe” (the deep middle) of the Panthers Cover 2 and made a play that not many linebackers can make.
Cleveland @ Cincinnati
- Ahtyba Rubin (5-5) won’t appear on many people’s Pro Bowl ballots but he deserves a spot with how he has played this season. Rubin is such a penetrator against the run and made several good tackles on Benson in this game. Rookie CB Joe Haden (6-1) has taken the starting LCB job with both hands and doesn’t look like he will let it go anytime soon. He is a solid tackler and an athletic coverage guy.
- Don’t sleep on Carlos Dunlap (2-0-2.0) who keeps making plays in rotational duty for the Bengals. His two sacks in this game make it 6.5 for the season in limited duty. Dunlap has first round talent despite his 2nd round grade and should make a serious impact for this team long term. Dhani Jones disappointed with a 2-3 box score but played quite well. The Cincinnati scorekeeper is generous with assists and so Rey Maualuga (4-4) didn’t light the world on fire either.
Washington @ Dallas
- Reed Doughty (3-2-1.0) left this game with a concussion and seems unlikely to play next week in the championship round, so you can drop him. London Fletcher (7-4) continues to play at a high level and until he slows down he is a guy I am going to keep on my teams. Brian Orakpo (1-1) was disappointing overall. Although he got some extra attention from time to time, he looked slow at times and not motivated.
- Gerald Sensebaugh (3-0-1.0-FF) took advantage of a wobbly Grossman pass for a pick and also made a nice sack on a SS zone blitz. Promising LB Sean Lee suffered a concussion which ended his day early. DeMarcus Ware (6-0-2.0) came to play and notched up two sacks on Grossman. Keith Brooking only managed to get a single solo tackle and was overshadowed by Bradie James.
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis
- Daryl Smith (13-2-1.0) had a monster game for the Jaguars, although it is no reason to get too excited. Smith was the beneficiary of a multitude of short Manning passes on screens and several draw plays. Smith was in the right place every time. Sean Considine went 5-1 in substituting for the injured Courtney Greene. A general rule of IDP fantasy football is to start your defensive backs against the Colts.
- Gary Brackett (5-1) looked terrific in this game and considerably better than I have seen him in recent games. Brackett used his speed to chase down MJD on a goal line carry that resulted in a four yard loss. Overall he looked pumped for this one and played hard for the team. Pat Angerer (6-2) is the incumbent at the MLB spot and I still believe he will take over that position next season. Angerer is a natural LB with such good feel for where a play is headed.
Buffalo @ Miami
- Kyle Williams (5-0) ranks highest in the league in terms of solo tackles made by defensive linemen. Williams is intelligent, powerful in overcoming blocks and does a solid job for this defense. Donte Whitner (6-2-0.5) stood out for me on tape as a real force in the box for the Bills. Drayton Florence and his seven solo tackles were mainly due to him being matched up on Brandon Marshall, who caught a lot of short passes which allowed Florence to make the tackle easily.
- Cameron Wake (2-0) had a down day for the first time in a while and did not stand out to me at all like he usually does. Miami ran more three man fronts against the Bills spread attack, and hence Wake was often double teamed. Karlos Dansby (2-1) ended the game with only two solo tackles but played pretty well, so don’t give up on him. This is his floor.
Philadelphia @ New York Giants
- First of all, what an unbelievable game this was to watch. My best friend is a Giants fan and he was lost for words at 0:00. Jamar Chaney (12-4) was an absolute godsend for anyone who lost a LB and needed a replacement in a pinch. Chaney looked really good playing MLB – he showed good range, good instincts and solid fundamentals in his tackles. Quintin Mikell (3-4-INT) also stood out on film as a guy making plays and flying to the football. Trent Cole (3-7) was credited with seven assists, but in reality he deserved a lot more solo tackles from what I saw. Keep Cole in your lineups with confidence.
- The Giants defense was all over Michael Vick for the first 52 minutes of this game, and then everything changed. Justin Tuck (6-1-1.5) had a monster game and clearly likes to play the Eagles. CB Terrell Thomas (6-1) is a player who not many pegged as being a CB1 but he has done just that in those league formats and was a great pickup this year. If the Giants remain a Cover 2 scheme under Perry Fewell, expect Thomas to keep this up.
Kansas City @ St. Louis
- Derrick Johnson (10-3) is the most trustworthy IDP in the Kansas City lineup defensively, and thanks to plenty of short passes in this game he managed to get in and around the action a lot. Eric Berry (3-0) continues to show me talent and savvy play beyond his years. Berry has elite coverage skills and is so physical at the point of attack and in making tackles in the open field.
- Chris Long (1-0-1.0) has had a breakout year and although he only managed one sack in this game, his motor is quite something to behold and with how aggressive Spagnuolo is defensively, Long should continue be a DL2 going forward. Both Atogwe and Bartell were very quick to the ball as the Chiefs tried to establish the run, and a combined fifteen solo tackles between them is not too shabby.
Detroit @ Tampa Bay
- Lawrence Jackson (3-1-1.0) provided a solid line for anyone who plugged him in if they owned KVB. Cliff Avril also got a sack in this one. Both are decent dynasty stashes if KVB does decide to call it a career. It was the linebacker tandem of Julian Peterson (8-1) and DeAndre Levy (11-0) that saw the most action in this one as they contended with the running of LeGarrette Blount. Levy looked very comfortable in this game, more so than I have seen him in recent weeks. Although Levy’s career hasn’t started off as ideally as his dynasty owners would like, I preach patience with this talented kid.
- Ronde Barber (9-0) will be having nightmares about Calvin Johnson, who beat him for 10 catches and over 150 yards. Barber is always a solid start in DB required leagues. Corey Lynch (6-2) is proving to be a good stopgap too with so many injuries in the secondary for Tampa Bay. Lynch is never going to be a long term starter in the league if you ask me, but for now he is a decent fill-in.
Houston @ Tennessee
- Bernard Pollard came back to earth after a couple of stellar showings but still played a decent game for the Texans and had some opportunities to make bigger plays. Mark Anderson (3-0-1.0) was signed off the street by Houston and has done a decent job in the past couple of weeks. Daryl Sharpton (4-2) is an intriguing prospect in dynasty leagues, although finding a place in Houston with such a stacked LB corps is going to be difficult.
- Alterraun Verner (4-6-INT) is one of the most consistent CB options in IDP leagues right now and you should keep relying on him. The rookie has played well enough to start next year and onwards. Jason Babin (6-0-2.0-FF) is a player who has revived his career in Tennessee and played a terrific game this past week. Babin is a good plug in play if you are short on DE’s for your championship game.
Atlanta @ Seattle
- This game saw the return of promising rookie LB Sean Weatherspoon (5-0) to more extensive action and he appeared to be fully recovered from the injury that set his season back. William Moore (4-1-INT) played a good game too and managed to pick off a pass to boot. It is amazing how consistent John Abraham has been this year as he notched up another sack for the defense.
- My opinion on Lofa Tatupu (4-3) is well documented, but a four solo tackle day against an Atlanta offense that runs the ball 25+ times a game just isn’t good enough for a Mike LB. Aaron Curry (6-1) instead was the player who was around the ball more and making more plays. Chris Clemons (1-1) did not get a sack in this game mainly due to the great protection afforded by Ryan’s offensive line.
Denver @ Oakland
- As usual, D.J. Williams (7-1) was the only Bronco in the box score worth starting as their other defensive players are far too inconsistent to trust right now. I expect there will be a lot of overhauling done with this unit in the offseason. Robert Ayers, a high pick from a couple of years ago, left this game with an injury after starting 5-0. There is very little silver lining to be drawn from the Broncos defensive effort.
- I have to take a moment to mention DE Matt Shaughnessy (4-4-1.5) who has quietly had a good season for the Raiders. The Raiders defensive front boasts a lot of talented players, and Shaughnessy is perhaps the most influential pass rushing force they have. He showed great hustle on a sack when he overpowered the OT with a bull rush and slammed Tebow to the ground. Tyvon Branch (5-0) was a very active in-the-box presence for the Raiders and looked good making tackles, taking the right angles and hitting hard.
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh
- This was a great collective effort by the Jets defense which really fought their hearts out for this win. An unlikely hero came to the fore for the Jets here in Drew Coleman (9-1-2.0-2 FF) who came on designed blitzes off the corner and managed to get to Roethlisberger twice and take him down – not an easy feat for a safety. Coleman was also active in the short to intermediate passing game as he made sure tackles again and again. Jason Taylor may have only notched up two solo tackles, but his safety changed the game.
- For those of you waiting for Lawrence Timmons (10-3) to break out again after his slump, this game was the perfect remedy for him and his owners. Timmons looked good if not fantastic and had plenty of chances to make plays in the running game as the Jets pounded the ball even though the gains were not substantial. His fellow inside linebacker James Farrior (6-1) is also playing at a very high level, which naturally takes away some of Timmons’ tackles.
Green Bay @ New England
- First of all, what a game. I mean, an offensive lineman returning a kick 71 yards? What the? Desmond Bishop (7-0-1.0-FF) looks like he will be the future starting WILB for the Packers. Bishop, simply put, can play ball. His sack came on a well run MLB cross dogs blitz as he nailed Tom Brady hard. He was very active in coverage too. Clay Matthews (2-0) was held in check by Patriots RT Sebastian Vollmer, hence his two solo line. The big boy B.J. Raji managed to get two sacks to his name and he played a terrific game at the NT position.
- CB Devin McCourty (7-3-1.0) has come in as a rookie and had a phenomenal season. He is smooth in coverage, smart and is a good tackler. Gary Guyton (4-4) started alongside Jerod Mayo in the middle, but Mayo (10-6) outshone Guyton big time on the field. Mayo is a perfect Belichick player – he just does his job, no questions asked, and does it well. Credit also has to go to NT Vince Wilfork (6-0) who had a great impact in this game.
Chicago @ Minnesota
- I’ve been showering Brian Urlacher (7-1) will compliments for most of the season, and in this game he proved why he deserved every one of them. Urlacher’s return from injury is directly linked to the Bears clinching a playoff berth. As soon as Favre went down in this game on a brutal hit from DE Corey Wootton (one to watch in dynasty leagues), the Bears defense began to tee off on rookie Joe Webb. Julius Peppers (3-2-INT) didn’t register a sack but had an interception which summed up his freakish athleticism in a single play.
- Other than an interception by Asher Allen to end a Bears potential scoring drive in the red zone, the Vikings defense produced little magic in this game and was overwhelmed by the Bears offense. Chad Greenway (5-2) provided the most stability amongst the IDPs on the team and should be coveted in free agency. Jared Allen (3-0) went without a sack in a favourable matchup, but the Bears were giving him a lot of attention and he came close on a couple of occasions.
Written by David Larkin
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Last Updated: December 25, 2010