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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

IDP Notes
Week 16

Early Game Alert: Houston at Indianapolis, Thursday 8:20 pm ET

Defensive Line

  • Lions DE Cliff Avril had a huge game (four total tackles, 2.0 sacks) against the Raiders, prompting Hue Jackson to call him "one of the best pass rushers in the league. At age 25, Avril is starting to emerge as an IDP beast - especially since he plays a lot more downs now. He's been an explosive bookend with right end Kyle Vanden Bosch and will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Ndamukong Suh finally apologized for his Thanksgiving Day stomp. "I want to address this," he said. "It's something I have dealt with and I am trying to move forward. About the Thanksgiving Day game, I made a mistake. The biggest thing for me is, I've dealt with it and I am moving past it. I am happy to be back on the field with my team. The biggest thing for me is, sincerely, I want to move forward." Suh said he had a telephone conversation with Evan Dietrich-Smith, the Packers' lineman he stomped on Thanksgiving Day. "I feel that we are on good terms," Suh said. "He's a great guy once I got a chance to speak to him. I am happy this is over with. I dealt with my suspension and now I am back on the team, helping the team win and work toward our goals."

  • DE Elvis Dumervil, who's been a big part of the Broncos' success in the second half of the season, carries a seven-game streak with at least a half-sack into Saturday's game in Buffalo. Since Denver's bye week, the athletic OLB has all 8.5 of his sacks this season (he battled injuries during the first several weeks). Dumervil had two tackles and a sack Sunday against the Patriots.

  • The Pats have issues at DL, losing Andre Carter for the remainder of the season. OLB Mark Anderson filled the void nicely after Carter left the game, finishing with two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

  • Ravens DT Haloti Ngata practiced on a limited basis during the week but had a solid game against the Chargers on Sunday night, finishing with eight tackles (five solos). He remains a below-the-radar DL because he's not a defensive end - one of the glamour spots of IDP.

  • JAC DE Jeremy Mincey leads the Jaguars with 5.5 sacks, and DE Matt Roth missed his fourth consecutive game with a concussion; he will be evaluated again this week but he's not worth consideration in fantasy leagues.

  • Chiefs DE Allen Bailey has been part of the nickel pass defense unit since the season's first game, but the rookie out of the University of Miami went 14 games before he picked up his first sack - which he snagged when he dropped Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers in the second half of the Chiefs' upset victory.

  • Browns DE Jabaal Sheard had another excellent game and appears to be for real. He makes a decent DL2 for fantasy drafts next season. Sheard had two sacks to increase his total to 7 1/2 this season, the most by a Browns rookie since Kamerion Wimbley had 11 in 2006. Sheard has blown right through the "rookie wall" and continues to improve as the season progresses, with five sacks in his last five games.

  • NT Jay Ratliff (rib strain) was rested for much of the second half last week. The team will continue to be cautious with both him and DeMarcus Ware in practice this week leading up to the Eagles game on Saturday. DE Marcus Spears had one of his best games of the season against the Buccaneers, according to Jason Garrett. "Spears was very active, both as a run defender and as a pass rush guy," Garrett said. "I thought he pushed the pocket well. He obviously made the third-and-short stop for negative gain for them, and just seemed very active, both getting off blocks and making plays."

  • DE Jason Babin had three more sacks Sunday against the Jets after recording three the previous week against the Dolphins. He's only the 10th player in NFL history to record three or more sacks in back-to-back games. He now has a league-high 18, which is just three less than the franchise record of 21 set by Hall of Famer Reggie White back in 1987. "I don't come into the game saying this is what I'm going to do," said Babin, who had just 17.5 sacks in his first six seasons in the league. "I come in saying I'm going to do exactly what we practiced. I'm going to go as hard as I can and whatever happens happens." He's made IDP veterans forget all about Trent Cole, who's struggled with injuries and hasn't really adjusted to the new defensive schemes.

  • DE Israel Idonije scored his first NFL touchdown when he recovered a fumble in the end zone that was caused by Julius Peppers' sack of Tarvaris Jackson. That pass-rushing duo is becoming one of the best in the league, with Peppers as a quality DL1 and Idonije as a DL2 in most formats.

  • After missing San Diego's Week 15 game against the Ravens, Chargers DL Jacques Cesaire (ankle) is expected to play this week at Detroit, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

  • IND DE Robert Mathis (knee) did not practice Monday, according to He did not take part in practice Wednesday or Thursday but got a sack on Sunday. He and Dwight Freeney aren't what they used to be, but they're still week-to-week IDP options when healthy.

  • OAK DL Tommy Kelly (toe) had a sack and a forced fumble against Detroit in Week 15. Kelly has been bothered by the toe injury this season, and the Raiders D-line always seems to feature a different star. It's a tough unit to figure out.

  • NYG DL Justin Tuck (toe) had four tackles and three assists Sunday after being listed as questionable all week, while Jason Pierre-Paul continued his stellar play, registering 16 total tackles and a sack against the Redskins. The second-year DE now has 76 tackles (58 solos) and 14.0 sacks on the season. Amazing.

  • TB DL Adrian Clayborn had four tackles (two solo), one sack, one tackle-for-loss, and one QB hit in the Bucs' 31-15 loss to the Cowboys on Saturday night. Clayborn now has 7.5 sacks in his rookie season, and has at least a half-sack in five straight games. He's also made 37 tackles (27 solos) and has three forced fumbles, making him a promising IDP sleeper for 2012.


  • Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali registered four solo tackles and 3.0 sacks Sunday in the shocking upset of the Packers. He now has 12 sacks on the season and is worth consideration next season as an LB2. Derrick Johnson (a standout LB1) tallied seven total tackles, all solo, versus Green Bay on Sunday. He also forced one fumble. That gives Johnson 158 for the season and leaves him four tackles short of the team record - set by LB Mike Maslowski in 2002. Johnson is on pace to finish with 181 total tackles.

  • STL LB Josh Hull suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday against Cincinnati and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. James Laurinaitis remains the only LB to own on the Rams.

  • Rookie LB Von Miller was held without a sack Sunday after getting at least a half-sack in five straight games. It was only the third time overall the impressive young pass rusher has failed to bring down the quarterback. He went without a sack versus Oakland on Sept. 12 and against Detroit on Oct. 30. MLB D.J. Williams had six tackles Sunday against the Patriots, and while the elder statesman of the Broncos-D is probably the safest bet week-to-week, Miller (63 tackles, 12.0 sacks) is making a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

  • Another prime candidate for the award is 49ers OLB Aldon Smith, who's racked up 13.0 sacks this season (2.5 on Monday night) and adds a much-needed pass rush dimension to the vaunted 49ers-D. Patrick Willis (hamstring) was inactive for Monday's game against the Steelers, leaving much of the work to Navorro Bowman (eight tackles), who leads the team with 121 tackles on the season (95 solos).

  • In Indy, LB Philip Wheeler (foot) was a pregame inactive. LB Ernie Sims made his first start of the season at strong-side linebacker, and he had a team-high 15 tackles (eight solo), although the standout fantasy performer was Pat Angerer, who made 12 tackles, had two PD and recorded an INT.

  • LB Jamar Chaney registered his third interception of the season. He's the first Eagles linebacker to have three interceptions in a season since William Thomas in 1996.

  • Connor Barwin had another decent game, finishing with three tackles (two solo) and 1.0 sacks in Houston's 28-13 loss to Carolina in Week 15 on Sunday. That gives him 10.5 for the season. The Texans set a team record with 38 sacks, including two against the Panthers - a record they're bound to extend this week against the Colts.

  • Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware picked up a sack and three tackles against the Bucs. He's got 16 sacks on the year, but given the nagging stinger injury the chances of him matching his career high of 20 seem to be dwindling. He's got a shot to snag a couple in Week 16 against the Bucs.

  • Falcons LB Stephen Nicholas, who missed the previous two games with a quadriceps injury, returned to the starting lineup, but left the game with a knee injury. Sean Weatherspoon and Curtis Lofton continue to be the IDP players of note on that team.

  • Detroit OLB Justin Durant, despite missing practice all week with a hamstring injury, posted seven tackles and forced a key fumble in the third quarter. Stephen Tulloch finished with 10 tackles.

  • MLB Jonathan Vilma (knee) was active Sunday and recorded just three total tackles against the Vikings. He's no longer the IDP force he was in his youth.

  • Carolina OLB Jordan Senn had a big game in Week 15 and could have a bright future in that scheme next season if Dan Connor and Omar Gaither keep getting hurt and/or play poorly.

Defensive Back

  • CB Cedric Griffin finally lost his starting job after struggling all season to return to form from a torn ACL in both knees the past two seasons. Griffin stood on the sideline with a towel over his head for most of the game and didn't even play when starting corner Asher Allen left the game with a concussion midway through the first quarter. There's no real standout in the Vikings secondary, even for IDP purposes.

  • CB Lardarius Webb, the defense's leader with four interceptions, didn't start Sunday, but he played sporadically. He did not practice last week because of an injured toe on his left foot. Jimmy Smith, making his first start as a pro, was picked on throughout the night by Philip Rivers. IDP owners should revisit his status but he appears to be a risky start.

  • Lions safety Louis Delmas has not been ruled out for Saturday, even though he had a minor surgical procedure on his right knee a few days ago. Coach Jim Schwartz said there was a chance Delmas could be ready to play. S John Wendling had three tackles in his first extended playing time of the season Sunday. He was pressed into duty with Delmas out and his replacement - veteran DB Chris Harris - suffering a concussion in the first half. Wendling is a standout on special teams, where he leads the NFL with 15 tackles.

  • STL CB Justin King, who injured his shoulder in a light Wednesday practice, was inactive for the game against Cincinnati. Safety Quintin Mikell remains the best DB start for the Rams.

  • IND DB Chris Rucker had 11 total tackles in Sunday's win over Tennessee. He's moved into a starting role at cornerback after several injuries to key players. Rucker will get decent tackle totals going forward since cornerbacks are required to make tackles against the run in Indy's Cover-2 scheme.

  • NYJ safety Brodney Pool stepped into a full-time starting role with the loss of S Jim Leonhard to season ending knee surgery. Pool and the rest of the secondary had difficulties covering the Eagles' receivers, especially TE Brent Celek, who exploded for 5-156-1 in the decisive victory for Philly.

  • CB Corey Webster's interception of a first-quarter Rex Grossman pass was the Giants' first takeaway on an opponent's initial offensive play since Sept. 24, 2006 at Seattle, where Matt Hasselbeck's pass was intercepted by Webster. The Giants will probably reshuffle their ragtag, gambling secondary before next season.

  • DeAngelo Hall recorded six tackles and an interception (his third of the season) in Week 15. Teammate Josh Wilson suffered concussion-like symptoms against the Giants, leaving his status for Sunday's game against Minnesota in question. FS Oshiomogho Atogwe was benched in favor of rookie DeJon Gomes but still intercepted his second pass of the season. Atogwe's knee is apparently still bothering him, because the demotion isn't being referred to as permanent or performance-related. Take Atogwe off the IDP radar for now.

  • Atlanta FS Thomas DeCoud got his fourth interception of the season in the fourth quarter, and remains a marginal IDP performer. He shows hints of brilliance, but has never been consistent enough o warrant every-week play.

  • SS Charles Godfrey could barely put his shirt on after Sunday's game and he remains sore. It's unsure if he will play this week against Tampa Bay.