2011 IDP Game Notes - Week 1

Untitled Document Written By: Johnny Davis

Hello and welcome everyone to the 1st weekly installment of "IDP Game Notes" brought to you by IDP Guru staff writer, Johnny Davis. This column is quickly turning into one of the most comprehensive, all-encompassing IDP articles anywhere. And it's free!

Saints @ Packers
- Green Bay LB Desmond Bishop (8 tackles-4 assists) is the man to own among the cheeseheads’ LBs. A.J. Hawk (1 tackle-3 assists, .5 sack) and Clay Matthews (1 tackle-3 assists) may get more hype and have really dreamy hair, but Bishop is going to get tackles – and that’s what matters here. Sure, this game was a little out of the ordinary since the Saints threw it 49 times, but Bishop was making plays all over the place. Hawk was busy getting burnt in coverage and causing nearly game-losing pass interference penalties. Matthews got plenty of pressure on the QB, but he just doesn’t get tackles. Hawk is worth keeping around on your roster because he’ll have better games than this one, but Matthews is too risky to start in tackle-heavy leagues. In big-play leagues, hold out for the days when Matthews actually reaches the QB. In the secondary, Morgan Burnett (7-7) showed up as the Guru promised. Burnett is the clearcut SS, he’s recovered from last year’s injury, and he will be in on a lot of plays this season. FS Nick Collins (6-2, forced fumble) had a good day, but I doubt he can consistently put up those numbers. CB Charles Woodson (2-0, pass defended) didn’t land as many hits as his owners were hoping. His most memorable hit was the sucker gut punch he landed on Saints’ TE Dave “Not the Wendy’s Guy” Thomas. However, as soon as you sit Woodson, he’ll get 2 sacks and take 2 turnovers to the house. I’m adding DE Jarius Wynn (3-1, 1 sack) to my watch list, but my hopes aren’t too high.

- For New Orleans, SS Roman Harper (7-2, .5 sack) was the IDP bright spot. Harper continues to be one of the most reliable DBs out there. LBs Jonathan Vilma (5-2) and Scott Shanle (5-2) had the exact same numbers, but Vilma is the LB to own in the Big Easy. Vilma has reached age 29 and appears to have lost a step, but he still has some gas left in the tank. FS Malcolm Jenkins (4-1, PD) had a decent day, but I don’t expect him to have too many games better than this one. CB Jabari Greer (7-0, PD) had good tackle numbers in this game, but like most CBs, he can’t be trusted to consistently show up. Rookie DE Cameron Jordan (2-1) made an appearance on the stat sheet in his first pro game, but I don’t think there’s too much there to get excited about for the time being. Will Smith is the Saints DE worth owning, but remember that he’s suspended for the first two games. LB Jonathan Casillas (2-0, .5 sack) looked good on a few plays, but those tackle numbers need to get higher if he wants to become an IDP option. DT Shaun Rogers (0-1) was a non-factor. Continue to ignore him.

Steelers @ Ravens
- After having an easy offseason to get all healed up, I expected Ravens DE/LB Terrell Suggs (5-0, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) to come out of the gates strong, but I had no idea he’d come out this beastly. If he’s listed as a DL in your league, do whatever it takes to get him on your roster. If he’s listed as a LB, then start him in big-play leagues as one of the few OLBs who can be counted on for consistent numbers. CB Lardarius Webb (9-2, .5 sack, 2 PD) had a monster game to start 2011 after posting good tackle numbers in the last four games of 2010. Consider him a valuable CB until he proves different. FS Ed Reed (6-0, 2 ints, 4 PD) continues to be a dominant force, especially for a FS. At age 36, LB Ray Lewis (6-1, int, FF, PD) has to start slowing down one of these days. Judging by his Week 1 performance, his slowing will come later rather than sooner. DT Haloti Ngata (2-2, FF, 2 fumble recoveries, PD) is one of the few DTs that I want on my roster unless it’s a DT-required league. I expected Bernard Pollard (1-0) to win the SS battle in Baltimore, but the box score says Tom Zbikowski (4-1) is winning the battle after one game. I’m avoiding this situation until there’s an injury or a clearcut winner of the position battle.

- Pittsburgh LB Lawrence Timmons (10-2) is a man among boys. He continues to register ridiculous tackle numbers and seemed to be in on every play in Week 1. Continue to place Timmons among the elite LBs. I’m not really high on LB James Harrison (7-2) because he posts inconsistent numbers from his OLB position, but days like this keep him in the conversation. LB James Farrior (5-0) obviously plays second fiddle on the inside to Timmons, but Farrior is an IDP option as an LB4/5 matchup play. SS Troy Polamalu (3-3) had a quiet day in the box score by his standards, but I have room on my roster for him any day of the week.

Falcons @ Bears
- Chicago LB Brian Urlacher (6-4, int, 12-yd fumble recovery TD, PD) had a monster day. Of course, he won’t have too many days this spectacular, but I still consider him an elite LB option. CB Tim Jennings (7-1) had nice tackle numbers, but the Falcons did throw 47 times while playing from behind. CB Charles Tillman (5-2, FF, 2 PD) has a reputation as a CB worth owning in tackle-heavy leagues. He did nothing in Week 1 to alter that perception. DE Julius Peppers (2-1, 2 sacks, forced fumble, fumble recovery) wreaked havoc in Week 1. Continue to consider him an elite DL. Keep an eye on DT Henry Melton (4-1, 2 sacks). I need to see more before I get too crazy about him, but he has earned a spot on my watch list. After crying about his contract and requesting a trade, LB Lance Briggs (2-1) wet the bed in Week 1. He has been a viable IDP option over the last few years, so I’ll give him a chance to quit pouting before I’m grounding him permanently. Most of the buzz around FS Major Wright (3-1) faded when FS Brandon Meriweather (1-1) came over from New England. I’m avoiding Chicago safeties for the time being.

- Atlanta LB Curtis Lofton (8-0) lived up to his hype, but a surprise out of the Falcs’ LB corps was Sean Weatherspoon (9-1, PD). Weatherspoon started strong in his 2010 rookie season but then got derailed by injury. One 2011 game is an awfully small sample, but if you’re in need of a LB, consider grabbing Weatherspoon off the wire and hope he continues to rack up 7+ tackles a game. DE John Abraham (4-0, 2 sacks, PD) was beastly as usual. In the secondary, FS Thomas Decoud (7-0) and CB Dunta Robinson (6-0) put up good numbers – something to keep an eye on. SS William Moore (3-0) didn’t do quite as well. I expected Moore to kick it up a notch in his second year as a starter, but his Week 1 showing was forgettable. DE Kroy Biermann (2-1, 1 sack, 1 int, 50-yd int return TD, PD) will be a popular pick-up after posting that gaudy stat line, but I wouldn’t get too excited about the Bier-man. He’ll fall back into mediocrity next week. Meanwhile, paging Ray Edwards ... paging Ray Edwards ... has anyone seen Ray Edwards? DE Ray Edwards (1-0) brought a bunch of hype over with him from Minnesota, but he was nowhere to be found in Week 1. If you have him, don’t panic yet, but it’s definitely OK to worry a little bit.

Bengals @ Browns
- The Cincinnati IDPs we expected to make an impact were nothing to write home about in Week 1. LB Rey Maualuga (3-3) and Carlos Dunlap (0-0) fell short of expectations. If you own them, hope for them to get it turned around in Week 2. The Guru’s sleeper DE Michael Johnson (1-0, 1 int, 3 PD) showed up. FS Reggie Nelson (7-2, 1 sack, 2 PD); SS Chris Crocker (3-0, 1 sack, FF, PD); and DE Jonathan Fanene (5-1) posted good numbers, but they’ve never been reliable options. Leave them on waivers unless you’re desperate.

- Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner ... IDP pick-up of the week is Cleveland LB D’Qwell “Don’t Call Me Nyquil” Jackson (10-1, 2 sacks, FF). If you or your league-mates are regular readers of the Guru, then Jackson is already owned in your league. If he’s available, then he is a must-grab off the wire. SS T.J. Ward (5-1) continued to produce. He should be a solid start for years to come. A couple of rookies made an appearance in the box score – DT Phil Taylor (5-1) and DE Jabaal Sheard (3-0) – something to take note of in a dynasty league but nothing to get too excited about yet. Surprisingly quiet in the box score was DT Ahtyba Rubin (1-2). Rubin finished 2010 as a top 5 DT, but Cleveland’s defense has undergone a lot of changes – perhaps changes that hurt Rubin’s value.

Colts @ Texans
- After losing the second half of the 2010 season to injury, Houston LB Demeco Ryans (4-2) had a good but not great return in Week 1 of 2011. I expect him to get better as the season progresses. Houston’s move to the 3-4 figured to help the value of LB Brian Cushing (4-3). Nothing happened in Week 1 to convince me that’s not the case. Rookie DE J.J. Watt (5-0, fumble recovery) posted a good line. It’s only one game, but it usually takes young DLs awhile before they make an impact. Sometimes young players buck that trend. Watt might be worth an add in dynasty leagues hoping that he’s one of those young players special enough to break through early. Mario Williams’ (2-0, 2 sacks, FF) move from DE to OLB figured to kill his value, but no one got the memo to Super Mario. I expected big things this year with Glover Quin’s (2-2, PD) move from CB to SS, but his Week 1 line says I was wrong.

- I loved Indy LB Pat Angerer (9-4, fumble recovery) coming out of college in 2010. That could be because he has the most awesome name a LB could have, but it appeared early on he would be stuck on the strong side and useless to me in fantasy. Well, his Week 1 line says we need to take notice. I don’t think it would be out of line to add him in tackle-heavy leagues if you have room. Either way, keep an eye on him. FS Antoine Bethea (5-1) played well. He’s your best DB option in Indy. SS Melvin Bullitt (2-0, int, PD) got an interception, but those tackle numbers won’t cut it. LB Gary Brackett (5-1, int, PD) is a steady LB play. DE Robert Mathis (2-0, 1 sack) is also a good option.

Titans @ Jaguars
- Perhaps the biggest Week 1 IDP disappointment was LB Paul Posluszny’s (1-3, PD) debut in Jacksonville. Tennessee’s offense seemed to be stuck in quicksand most of the day and ran the ball only 13 times, so it’s not time to hit the panic button yet on “Poz.” FS Dawan Landry’s (6-2) debut went much better. Expect better-than-average tackle numbers from the FS spot out of Landry. CB Drew Coleman (5-0, 1 sack, FF) had a big day in the box score, but I don’t expect him to repeat it next week. LB Daryl Smith (3-1, PD); LB Clint Session (1-1); and DE/LB Matt Roth (1-0, 1 sack) did little to make a claim for a spot on your roster.

- Hopefully “Poz” was taking notes from Tennessee LB Barrett Ruud (8-6) on how to make an impactful debut. Ruud has been flying a little under the radar, but expect superb tackle numbers from him. SS Chris Hope (7-1) and FS Michael Griffin (5-1) posted good numbers. Both players are worth owning. DE Dave Ball (5-0) posted decent numbers in 2010 before a concussion ended his season early. You could do worse than Ball for a DL, but Jason Jones and Derrick Morgan should be back from injury soon. CB Jason McCourty (5-0, 1 sack, forced fumble, PD) started over Alterraun Verner (0-0), and McCourty made a claim to keep the starting gig. CB Cortland Finnegan (2-0) had a quiet day but remains a good option in CB-required leagues. LB Will Witherspoon (4-1); LB Gerald McRath (4-1); and rookie LB Akeem Ayers (3-4) are part of a muddled LB corps outside of Ruud that I’m avoiding.

Bills @ Chiefs
- Buffalo’s Bryan Scott (9-0, 1 sack) is listed as a backup SS, but he played CB and filled in at linebacker during nickel packages in Week 1 after Terrence McGee went down. No matter where Scott plays, he is obviously capable of putting up tackle numbers if given the chance. SS George Wilson (5-0, int) and FS Jairus Byrd (5-0) looked like good options. I was high on LB Nick Barnett (4-0, PD) coming into the season, but he didn’t show out in Week 1. Rookie DE Marcell Dareus (2-0) looks like the real deal. I’d jump on his wagon in dynasty leagues. DT Kyle Williams (0-0) was quiet, but expect him to come back next week.

- The big news out of Kansas City was SS Eric Berry’s season-ending knee injury. Owners of the young stud should be scouring the waiver wire's this week in redraft leagues as Berry will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. FS Jon McGraw (8-0); FS Kendrick Lewis (4-0); and SS Sabby Piscitelli (4-0) are their top options. LBs Derrick Johnson (5-0); Jovan Belcher (4-2); and Tamba Hali (4-2, 1 sack) all posted decent numbers. All in all, it was a forgettable day for the KC defense. They’ll look to bounce back next week.

Eagles @ Rams
- Philly LBs Jamar Chaney (6-0); Moise Fokou (5-0, PD); and rookie Casey Matthews (4-0) all made an impact on the stat sheet, but I don’t expect a tackle hog to emerge from this group. SS Jarrad Page (6-0) and FS Kurt Coleman (4-0) put up the numbers, while up-and-comers Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett are dinged up and not ready. Despite CBs Nnamdi Asomugha (1-0) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (0-0) getting all the offseason hype, Asante Samuel (5-0) got the Week 1 tackles. There was plenty of production out of Philly’s D-line: Jason Babin (4-0, 2 sacks); Daryl Tapp (3-0, 1 sack, FF); Trent Cole (3-0, 1 sack); and Cullen Jenkins (2-0, 1 sack) all showed up. DE Juqua Parker (1-0, fumble recovery, PD) scored a 56-yd TD, but continue to ignore him.

- The Rams’ Craig Dahl (8-1) is listed as the back-up SS, but he didn’t let that hold him back in Week 1. FS Quintin Mikell (4-0, 1 sack, FF) also played well in the St. Louis secondary. LB James Laurinaitis (5-1, PD) had a good but not great day. DE Chris Long (2-0, 1 sack) got off to a good start in his effort to terrorize QBs in 2011. Rookie DE Robert Quinn was inactive.

Lions @ Bucs
- Detroit’s Amari Spievey (7-0) had a good game and looks like the man at SS. Several Lions’ CBs posted good numbers: Chris Houston (6-1, int, 3 passes defensed); Eric Wright (6-0, PD); and Aaron Berry (4-0, PD). DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (3-0, 1 sack, forced fumble) looked like the most valuable Detroit DL. MLB Stephen Tulloch (4-0, 1 sack) had a good debut as the Mike. LBs Justin Durant (4-0) and Deandre Levy (3-0) didn’t make much of a case for having IDP value. Some IDP big names were no-shows: DT Ndamukong Suh (1-0); DE Cliff Avril (1-1); and FS Louis Delmas (0-0, fumble recovery).

- The Bucs’ LBs went off in the tackle column: Geno Hayes (8-0); Quincy Black (7-1, FF); and rookie Mason Foster (6-1). SS Sean Jones (8-0, FF, PD) joined them there. CB Ronde Barber’s (6-1) first year in the league was 1997. How is he still producing? No-name DEs Tim Crowder (4-1) and Michael Bennett (4-0) had nice games, while their hyped rookie cohorts were nowhere to be found: Da’Quan Bowers (1-0) and Adrian Clayborn (0-0). CB Aqib Talib (3-1, 2 PD, 28-yd int for TD) showed why he is considered a big-play threat, but he could get arrested at any moment.

Panthers @ Cardinals
- Both of Arizona’s ILBs looked great: Daryl Washington (6-1, .5 sack, 1 int, PD) and Paris Lenon (5-3, .5 sack). Washington did leave late with a calf strain, so monitor his situation. FS Kerry Rhodes (5-2, 1 sack) posted some good numbers, as did rookie CB Patrick Peterson (5-0, 89-yd punt return TD). DE Calais Campbell (3-1, PD) fared well, but DE Darnell Dockett (1-1) had a disappointing day. CB A.J. Jefferson (4-0); CB Richard Marshall (3-0, 1 sack); SS Adrian Wilson (3-1); and OLB Joey Porter (3-1, 1 sack) made appearances.

- Carolina’s stud MLB Jon Beason went down with a season- and potentially career-ending injury, and it appears Dan Connor (5-1) will step in his place. With two season-ending injuries on his record, Connor does not come without risk. DEs Greg Hardy (4-1, 1 sack, PD, FF) and Charles Johnson (4-0, 1 sack) came up big. WLB Thomas Davis (4-3); SLB James Anderson (3-0); FS Sherrod Martin (4-2, PD); and SS Charles Godfrey (3-1) also appeared on the stat sheet.

Vikings @ Chargers
- After escaping Patrick Willis’ shadow in San Fran, ILB Takeo Spikes (5-6) made a case that he can be the man in San Diego. Spikes is 34 years old, so there is some concern about how much tread is left on the tires. The other ILB Donald Butler (5-1) didn’t do too badly for himself, either. SS Bob Sanders (3-3) and FS Eric Weddle (3-1) were expected to be a crushing duo in the defensive backfield, but they didn’t blow anyone away in week 1. DE Luis Castillo went down with a broken tibia.

- A handful of Minnesota DBs registered big numbers: CB Antoine Winfield (7-3, int, PD, FF); SS Jamarca Sanford (8-1); and FS Husain Abdullah (6-0, PD). Winfield is an elite option at CB. Vikes’ coach Leslie Frazier says Sanford is not the clearcut starter, so proceed with caution. A couple of LBs also did well: Chad Greenway (8-0) and Erin Henderson (6-3, 1 sack). MLB E.J. Henderson (2-2, PD) was expected to be the better Henderson, but that was not the case in week 1. DE Jared Allen (3-3, .5 sack, int, PD) surprised no one by having a spectacular day.

Seahawks @ 49ers
- If week 1 is any indication, there will be plenty of value on San Francisco’s defense. Along the defensive line, DEs Ray McDonald (6-0, 1 sack) and Justin Smith (4-0, 2 sacks) went crazy. The LBs racked up some numbers, too: Navorro Bowman (7-0); Parys Haralson (3-1, 2 sacks, 2 FF); and Patrick Willis (5-0, PD). Willis is not used to getting outshined on his own D, but that’s the way it happened in week 1. SS Donte Whitner (5-0, PD) had a decent San Fran debut. FS Dashon Goldson was out with a knee injury.

- Whoah, welcome to the party, SS Kam Chancellor (10-0). The Guru told you to pick him up, and I hope you listened. FS Earl Thomas (7-2) wasn’t far behind, either. With MLB David Hawthorne out with a bum knee, the rest of Seattle’s defense was nothing to get excited about.

Giants @ Redskins
- With consensus #1 SS LaRon Landry still banged up, Reed Doughty (9-2) filled in admirably. FS O.J. Atogwe (2-2) disappointed. ILBs London Fletcher (3-5) and Rocky McIntosh (4-3) did OK. Rookie OLB Ryan Kerrigan (1-4, 9-yd int for TD, PD) had a highlight-reel TD, but don’t get carried away.

- From a Giants’ IDP perspective, it was a good day considering they didn’t lose anybody else to injury. With starters like DE Justin Tuck, DE Osi Umenyiora, MLB Jonathan Goff, CB Terrell Thomas, and rookie CB Prince Amukamara on the shelf, the G-men just need healthy bodies. Only a handful of healthy bodies made an impact on the stat sheet in week 1: FS Antrel Rolle (6-1); DE Jason Pierre-Paul (5-1, 2 sacks, FF); SS Kenny Phillips (5-4, 2 PD); and DT Chris Canty (3-0, 1 sack).

Cowboys @ Jets
- Jets ILB Bart Scott (7-1, 1 sack) was far from an elite option in 2010, but he looked pretty freakin’ elite in week 1 of 2011. The other ILB David Harris (6-1) put up good numbers as well. CB Darrelle Revis (5-1, int, 2 PD) usually doesn’t put up good numbers because QBs avoid him, but he was in on a lot of plays on Sunday night. FS Eric Smith (5-2, int) and DE Mike Devito (3-0, 1 sack, FF) also appeared high in the box score.

- Cowboys ILB Sean Lee (10-2, int, PD) had a breakout game. I knew he had the talent to become an IDP star, but I was afraid Keith Brooking (4-0, PD) and Bradie James (0-0) would keep him on the sideline too much. If week 1 is any indication, Lee’s playing time is not a concern and he will be relied on as the man in the middle of the Dallas D. Every one of the other Cowboys had 4 tackles or fewer. OLB Demarcus Ware (3-1, 2 sacks) pressured the QB early and often. Continue to ride him in big-play leagues.
Patriots @ Dolphins
- A couple of New England DBs put up some ridiculous numbers – CB Devin McCourty (10-1, 2 PD) and SS Patrick Chung (9-0, 1 sack, PD) – but they didn’t leave any tackles left for anyone else. LB Jerod Mayo (5-0) had a down game by his standards. DLs Vince Wilfork (0-1, .5 sack); Mark Anderson (1-0, 1 sack); and Andre Carter (1-0, 1 sack) got to the QB, but those tackle numbers won’t cut it.

- With Chris Clemons out with a leg injury, Reshad Jones (8-4, PD) played well as Miami’s FS. SS Yeremiah Bell (5-4) helped out as well. OLB Cameron Wake (3-0, 1 sack, PD) remains a big-play threat. ILB Karlos Dansby (5-0) and most of his Miami cohorts were a disappointment.
Raiders @ Broncos
- MLB Rolando McClain (0-1, PD) continues to come up well short of expectations and was outplayed by WLB Quentin Groves (5-0). SS Tyvon Branch (5-1, fumble recovery) looked primed for another good season. DLs Richard Seymour (3-0, 2 sacks) and Matt Shaughnessy (2-0, 1 sack) showed up, while Lamarr Houston (1-1, fumble recovery) came to the sideline on too many plays. At FS, Michael Huff (2-1) was outplayed by Matt Giordano (3-0, int, FF).

- At age 37, Denver SS Brian Dawkins (7-2) should be declining by now, but he continues to crush any ballcarrier that get nears him. MLB Joe Mays (5-0) looked OK, but rookie SLB Von Miller (3-2, FF) looked like he will be much more disruptive to opposing offenses. DE Elvis Dumervil (0-0) was off the field much of the night due to a shoulder injury. Jason Hunter (5-1, 1 sack, FF) stepped in and shined.

If you have any questions for Johnny, feel free to email him at johnnydavis@idpguru.com 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: September 15, 2011
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