Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Tony

Tony's Articles

IDP Notes
Week 8

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)
  • Week 8 byes: BUF, DET, MIA, WAS
  • SD OLB Merriman suspended for steroids, to appeal
  • SD OLB Phillips out at least two weeks
  • CIN rookie Brooks retains starting MLB job
  • ATL DE Abraham out up to another month
  • ATL MLB Hartwell returns
  • NYG DE Strahan ties (recorded) team sack record
  • AZ DE Berry blow up, LB Dansby hurt
  • WAS MLB Marshall misses game
  • NYG OLB Arrington's season over just when he got it started
  • DEN rookie DE Dumervil becoming situational stud
  • PIT LB Porter misses another game
  • CHI SS Brown to IR
  • CLE CB Baxter done for year with serious injury to each knee
  • PHI starts Considine at SS over Lewis
  • TB CB Barber an Eagle-killer again, returns two for scores
  • GB CB Woodson, LB Hawk, and DE Kampman star for Packers
  • DET shuffles DLine due to losses, LBs to be healthier after bye
  • IND S Doss done for season
  • NE DE Seymour leaves with elbow injury
  • IND DT Reagor hospitalized after car accident, McFarland starts
  • JAX DE McCray arrested
Week 8 Injury Report (available Wednesday PM)

IDP Depth Chart

A week after getting his first sack of the season, DE Bertrand Berry blew up. He had 5 tackles (4 solo), including 3 sacks. He forced a fumble on two of the sacks and batted down a pass. OLB Karlos Dansby recovered one of the fumbles and had his third sack of the season. However, Dansby left in the first half with a hip flexor and is unlikely to play this week. Darryl Blackstock and Calvin Pace replaced him. Blackstock posted a solo tackle and picking up the other fumble Berry forced, while Pace had 7 tackles (5 solo) and forced a fumble. LB James Darling is expected back from a calf injury that has kept him sidelined several weeks, so there will be a crowd lined up for PT in Dansby’s place.

SS Adrian Wilson had 5 tackles (4 solo) and his third pick of the season before leaving in the third quarter with a groin strain. His status for this week is unknown.

MLB Gerald Hayes led the team with 13 tackles (10 solo). Rookie DT Gabe Watson got his second start in place of Kendrick Clancy (ankle) and got his first career sack.

Injury problems continue to shuffle the Falcons defense. MLB Edgerton Hartwell returned from lingering knee problems to play for the first time this season. He stepped right back to his starting role in the middle and had 4 solo tackles. Keith Brooking returned to WLB and had 3 tackles (2 solo). Michael Boley remained the starter at SLB, posting 4 solo tackles and recovering an aborted snap fumble. Demorrio Williams returned to the bench and had 1 solo tackle as a backup.

A week after returning, DE John Abraham was inactive again battling a groin injury. Chauncey Davis started and had his first sack of the season. Abraham is now expected to miss 3-4 weeks after abdominal surgery this week. Davis should continue to lead the committee that replaces him. DT Rod Coleman was inactive with a toe injury and Jonathan Babineaux started in his place. Babineaux also had his first sack of the season among his 4 solo tackles, as well as forcing a fumble on PIT RB Willie Parker, which Babineaux recovered. DE Patrick Kerney (hamstring) and DT Grady Jackson (knee) played through some lingering injuries.

CB Jason Webster announced he is playing through a stress fracture in his foot, but will not have surgery and should continue to play. It didn’t impede him on his team-high 9 solo tackles. He also forced a fumble. The oft-injured Webster has held rookie CB Jimmy Williams at bay all season, along with CB Omar Lowe and S Kevin Mathis. Lowe and Mathis are the top choices in extra DB packages, while Williams has been limited to mostly special teams work.

SS Dawan Landry sprained his MCL in their last game. Despite time to rest over the bye, he remains questionable, although he expects to be ready to play.

MLB London Fletcher led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo) and got his second sack of the season. SLB Takeo Spikes had 5 solo tackles in his second game back from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss several games.

DE Aaron Schobel remains hot. He had two sacks, forcing a fumble on one, among his 5 tackles (3 solo). He has four sacks in the last three games, including at least one in each. On the other side, Chris Kelsay had his fifth sack of the season, tying him with Schobel for the team lead, among his 5 tackles (4 solo). Third DE Ryan Denney left that game in the first quarter with a right hamstring injury and did not return. DE Tony Hargrove, acquired from the Rams last week, took Denney’s place in the rotation and had 2 tackles (1 solo).

CB Terrence McGee was benched after giving up a 35-yard TD to NE rookie WR Chad Jackson. Jabari Greer replaced him, but left the game with an injury and McGee returned. McGee is expected to start the next game. He finished with 6 tackles (4 solo).

Although he returned to practice Friday, SLB Thomas Davis was inactive with bruised ribs suffered in the previous game. Rookie James Anderson started in his place. Anderson (6 solo) tied FS Mike Minter (4 solo) for the team lead with 9 tackles.

SS Shaud Williams returned to the starting lineup after missing four games with a hyper-extended foot. He had 8 tackles (5 solo), but is it reported the team is not completely happy with his play and Colin Branch is still in the picture.

MLB Chris Draft had his first solo sack of the year among his 6 tackles (3 solo). DT Damione Lewis had his third sack of the season, and the only other one in the game for the Panthers. DE Julius Peppers had a streak of five consecutive games with at least one sack stopped. He hit the QB once and had 4 tackles (2 solo) in the game.

CB Ken Lucas had a rough game. He had an INT erased by an illegal contact penalty called on him on the play and he dropped another pick that went right through his hands. He also suffered a hip injury in the game.

CB Reggie Howard has left the team for personal reasons and will not return after being placed on the Reserve – Left Squad List. The team signed former Patriot CB Christian Morton off their practice team to fill Howard’s roster spot. Rookie Richard Marshall becomes even more valuable as the third corner and the team will be very thin if Lucas’ hip injury costs him time.

SS Mike Brown is done for the season after a right foot injury in their Week 6 Monday night game was determined to be a Lisfranc injury. The oft-injured Pro Bowler was placed on the IR, had surgery this week and expects to begin rehab in ten months. Todd Johnson, who replaced him during the game, will get the first shot replacing him. Johnson is a 2003 fourth round pick out of Florida who has been solid backup at both safety positions and good special teams player. He has 13 career starts, including ten replacing Brown when he tore his Achilles’ tendon in 2004. Johnson lacks the speed and knack for the big play, as well as the leadership, that Brown brings, but Johnson is a smart player who positions himself well and a big hitter. Chris Harris, who rookie Danieal Manning supplanted as the starter at FS, could be in the picture, as well. Harris is expected to miss at least two more games with a thigh injury. The team was reportedly considering putting him on the IR before Brown’s injury. Pick up Johnson if you need help in the secondary, as Harris getting involved, if at all, is not in the near future. S Brandon McGown is likely to be activated off the PUP to take Brown’s roster spot. The secondary should get standout nickel CB Ricky Manning Jr. back this week, as the rest helped the hamstring injury he suffered. He still faces a possible suspension for a legal incident involving an altercation earlier this year.

After missing two games before the bye, DE Adewale Ogunleye is expected to play this week. Rookie DE Mark Anderson continued his outstanding play when he saw more work with Ogunleye out. Ogunleye and Brown are both every-down ends, but Anderson will likely continue to see work spelling both of them.

Both Brian Simmons (neck) and Dexter Jackson (ankle sprain) returned from injury and were active, but neither started.

Ahmad Brooks got his second start in the middle, while Landon Johnson again moved to SLB and Caleb Miller got another start at WLB. Rashad Jeanty missed his third consecutive game with a bruised foot. Brooks had his first career sack among his 5 tackles (3 solo) and also broke up a pass. Miller (3 solo) tied FS Madieu Williams (5 solo) for the team lead in tackles with seven. The impact of Brooks taking over the middle shuffles the short and long term outlook for the entire LB corps. Simmons will likely return to his natural OLB spot, while Landon Johnson retains the other starting job outside. Miller and, when healthy, Jeanty should be reserves. It also leaves the future of Odell Thurman, currently suspended for the year, in doubt.

Despite the return of Jackson, Kevin Kaesviharn got the start at SS. The two rotated, but Kaesviharn was in to make the biggest defensive play of the game. With four minutes left, and the Bengals clinging to a three-point lead, the Panthers had first-and-ten at the Cinci ten-yard line. Carolina attempted three straight passes, and on the third, Kaesivharn stepped in front of CAR WR Keyshawn Johnson at the back of the end zone and grabbed his team-leading third pick of the year. It was the only turnover in the game.

DE Robert Geathers got a sack on the last play of the game and Justin Smith had one early, giving each their team-leading sixth sack of the season. The both had a sack for the second straight game.

CB Gary Baxter returned after missing three straight games before their bye the previous week only to leave in the second quarter with a knee injury. He tore the patellar tendons in both knees and is done for at least this year. Baxter already had 6 solo tackles and a pick before leaving. The injury-plagued secondary was already without CB Leigh Bodden, who was inactive again with an ankle injury. Daven Holly is now locked in to a starting role and even once Bodden returns, S Brodney Pool will likely continue to work at CB. The secondary did get some relief as FS Brian Russell was over an ankle injury and in the starting lineup. His fragile health will be important to allow Pool to remain at corner.

The defense actually did a decent job containing the Bronocs, it was the offense that sputtered. The only points they put up came after ILB Andra Davis grabbed an INT and returned it inside the Denver 20-yard line. Davis also had 8 tackles (6 solo) in the game. Rookie ILB D’Qwell Jackson led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo).

DE’s Orpheus Roye and Alvin McKinley each had their first sack of the season. Roye, who is well off his career-best tackle numbers last season, had his best fantasy game this year. In addition to the sack, he finished with 7 tackles (6 solo).

The offense, and QB controversy during the game, did the defense no favors. After giving up a quick TD on the first drive, they settled in and did their best to swing the momentum back in the first half. After the safety to give the Giants a 9-0 lead, DE Kenyon Coleman single-handedly prevented the New York possession off the free kick from causing more damage. He had a sack on the play and stopped NYG RB Tiki Barber on third down. Pinned deep in their own territory after a three-and-out by the offense, CB Terence Newman fought off DAL WR Terrell Owens to pick one off in the end zone. Newman also had 6 solo tackles in the game.

OLB Demarcus Ware was the IDP star of the game. He led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo), including his third sack of the season. He also forced a fumble deep in Giant territory on a tomahawk chop that rattled the cage of NYG RB Tiki Barber. ILB Bradie James recovered the fumble.

With Keith Davis inactive, FS Pat Watkins started and saw most of the work. He had 3 tackles (2 solo) and broke up a pass. Marcus Coleman was active, but worked mostly on special teams.

First round pick LB Bobby Carpenter was active, but limited to special teams. Backup DE Jason Hatcher was inactive with an ankle injury.

The “Browncos” DLine (starters DE Kenard Lang, DE Ebenezer Ekuban, DT Gerard Warren, and DT Michael Myers were all former Browns at one time, and all of them together in 2004) almost all had a hand in helping the defense shut down their old team. Myers and Lang each had their second sack of the season. Ekuban just missed a sack when he stopped CLE QB Charlie Frye for a one-yard gain on a third-and-11 after Frye was flushed out of the pocket. Only Warren didn’t have an impact. The Browns former first round pick hurt his toe on the first series and did not return to the game. Demetrin Veal replaced him. Warren’s toe is a concern, as he has battled problems with it before and was on crutches after the game. However, it was rookie pass rush specialist Elvis Dumervil who made the biggest noise. In just his third game he was active for, he had three sacks and recovered a fumble forced by MLB Al Wilson. Dumervil leads the team with five sacks, all in the last two games. Dumervil had 32 sacks in college, including 20 his senior year in 2005 when he also set an NCAA-record with 11 forced fumbles. He fell to Day Two because of concerns he was undersized (5’11” 250), but like IND DE Robert Mathis the last few years, he has been an incredibly productive situational player. The way the Denver defense is playing and the success in which they pick Dumervil’s spots make him worth the gamble of starting every week, despite limited snaps, if you don’t have a stud DE to stick in the lineup.

CB Champ Bailey had his third pick of the season, and second in as many games. Bailey broke up another pass and had 2 solo tackles. OLB Ian Gold led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo). In addition to the aforementioned fumble, MLB Wilson had 6 solo tackles.

With DT Shaun Rogers suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, the DLine faced some more changes. Marcus Bell replaced Rogers at NT, and should continue to while Rogers is out. Cory Redding remained at UT, replacing Shaun Cody (dislocated toe) for the second game and Kalimba Edwards got the start at end in place of Redding. With the decimated DLine, the Jets game plan was clearly to run right at them. It worked, as New York ran over 40 times for over 200 yards. This contributed to Bell leading the team with 11 tackles (4 solo). Redding and Edwards each had a sack, with a forced fumble on Edward’s sack that NYJ QB Chad Pennington was able to recover. It was the first of the season for Edwards, who has been disappointing after establishing a new career-high last season with seven. DE James Hall failed to build on his breakout game the previous week, as he finished with just one solo tackle. While suspended, Rogers underwent minor surgery last week to clean his knee up. He is expected to be fine to return when his suspension is over.

All the running plays resulted in high sack totals for several other players. WLB Ernie Sims (9 solo) and FS Terrence Holt (7 solo) had 10 tackles each. Holt also had a pick for the second straight game on a tipped pass. Rookie Daniel Bullocks had 9 tackles (7 solo) as he continues to replace Kennoy Kennedy at SS. Kennedy missed his fifth consecutive game with a foot injury.

With a bye week up next, the team waited to activate LB Teddy Lehman from the PUP, although he has already been practicing. Lehman will now return almost exactly one year after his Lisfranc fracture dislocation occurred (10/30/2005) in his right foot. The team will have some roster moves to make, as Alex Lewis is expected to return from a knee injury after the bye, as well. One likely cut is LeVar Woods, who was signed to help their thin LB corps. Woods replaced current starting SLB Paris Lenon on Sunday when Lenon limped off the field in the third quarter. Lenon returned shortly and no injury was reported. Don’t assume Lenon loses his starting job when Lehman and Lewis return. He has been impressive and consistent, particularly in pass defense. He replaces the faster Boss Bailey in the nickel and has been the only LB in the dime. HC Rod Marinelli indicated how the situation would be handled was not predetermined, and would be settled on the field. First round pick WLB Ernie Sims has the most job security. The rookie leads the NFC in tackles.

Green Bay
Facing former division foe MIA QB Joey Harrington was the tonic a Packer defense with just three picks on the season coming in to the game needed. They doubled their season total in the game. In the first half, MLB Nick Barnett had his team-leading second pick of the season and SLB Brady Poppinga had his first career pick. On the second play of the second half, CB Charles Woodson took a tip from MIA TE Randy McMichael and returned it for a TD. 1999 was the last time Woodson had returned an INT for a TD. Woodson, apparently over a variety of lingering injuries after the bye, had an all-around huge game. He broke up two other passes and among his 6 tackles (5 solo), he had also had his first sack in two years and forced a fumble on it. Barnett also broke up two other passes and had 9 tackles (4 solo).

First round pick WLB A.J. Hawk had his first huge game. He led the team in tackles with 12 (9 solo), broke up a pass, and had a sack. He has 2.5 sacks on the season. DE Aaron Kampman had another sack and forced a fumble on it. He leads the team with 6.5, which ties the career-best he set last year.

SLB Ben Taylor (hamstring), reserve LB Abdul Hodge (knee), and top reserve DT Cullen Jenkins (ankle) were all inactive again, despite a bye the previous week.

UDFA rookie Patrick Dendy was solid as the nickel corner. He had 2 solo tackles and had great coverage on MIA WR Marty Booker when he broke up a pass in the second half, knocking it out of Booker’s hands on a jump ball. Rookie CB Will Blackmon made his debut on Sunday, but played mostly on special teams. The play of Dendy slows the need to rush him.

First pick DE Mario Williams got a gift-wrapped sack when JAX QB Byron Leftwich fell in the first quarter. Williams also recovered a fumble forced by DE Antwan Peek. Peek returned after missing three games with a groin injury. With DT Seth Payne on the IR and Peek back healthy, Anthony Weaver will see more time inside the rest of the way on passing downs, with Anthony Maddox getting time at DT with the first team otherwise. Also bolstering the defense was the return of CB Demarcus Faggins, who played for the first time after breaking his foot before the season. Faggins had 4 solo tackles and also forced a fumble.

LB Kailee Wong was activated off the PUP, but was limited and did not post a stat. He is coming back from a torn ACL and patellar tendon. Shantee Orr will retain a starting spot for now, but could lose it to Wong once he is fully recovered. LB Roy Manning was released to make room for Wong on the roster.

Guss Scott worked with the first team in the base 4-3 at SS with Glenn Earl inactive with a neck injury. Earl is day-to-day. Reserve DE Jason Babin was inactive with a back injury, giving N.D. Kalu significant work, particularly with the nickel defense.

FS C.C. Brown led the team with 7 tackles (5 solo). Rookie MLB DeMeco Ryans had 6 tackles (5 solo), broke up a pass, and hit the QB a couple of times.

DT Montae Reagor was inactive after being in a serious car accident on his way to the game. He flipped his SUV and reportedly suffered a head injury. The only details reported were that he had several facial lacerations requiring stitches, had no injuries to his extremities, was alert, and was still hospitalized as of Monday. There were reports he fractured the orbital bone. He is out at least this week and it is being reported possibly for the year. Newly-acquired DT Anthony McFarland started in his place and had two solo tackles.

Unfortunately, the health situation of the defense got worse during the game. FS Bob Sanders (knee) remained inactive, so rookie Antoine Bethea was once again at FS and Mike Doss at SS. However, Doss suffered a torn ACL in the fourth quarter and is done for the season. Sanders is expected back this week, so Bethea will move back to SS where he beat Doss out earlier this year, but depth becomes a big problem at safety, were Doss had been playing well in place of the Sanders the last few weeks.

The NFLPA has filed a grievance against the Colts on behalf of DT Corey Simon, who was placed on the non-football/injury list earlier this month. Simon’s agent claims his inability to play is related to a football injury (knee), while the Colts have reportedly claimed he has polyarthritis, which causes inflammation and affects multiple joints. The team is refusing to pay the rest of his base salary for the season. With the injury to Reagor, the team could actually use Simon again, but the differences appear irreconcilable in this situation.

OLB Cato June led the team with 15 tackles (10 solo) and has quietly moved in to a tie with NYJ ILB Jonathan Vilma for second in the league in tackles.

DE Dwight Freeney is still without a sack this season. He continues to play through shoulder problems and a buttocks injury.

Coping with the losses of DE Reggie Hayward and MLB Mike Peterson, the Jaguars defense regrouped over the bye, but was unimpressive in a loss at Houston. Daryl Smith moved to MLB and tied for the team-lead in tackles with SS Donovin Darrius. Both had 8 tackles (7 solo). Rookie Clint Ingram got his first career start. He posted 4 solo tackles and will look to hold down the WLB job, with Smith moving from there to the middle. Nick Greisen remains the SLB and had 2 tackles (1 solo).

DT Marcus Stroud remained inactive after the bye, still battling an ankle sprain, bone bruise, and groin injuries. Rob Meier started in his place again. Stroud is still struggling to get healthy and could miss this week too. Bobby McCray remains the starter and head of a committee at LE opposite Paul Spicer, but had just one solo tackle. McCray could lose more time when Stroud is healthy, as Meier would spend more time at end on run downs. McCray could lose even more time because of legal problems. After the game Sunday, he was charged with reckless driving and possession of a controlled substance after police caught him racing another player on the highway. According to the police report, a Jacksonville sheriff's officer pulled over when McCray's car came up from behind with flashing blue and white lights. The officer thought it was an emergency vehicle, however, McCray's car and two others passed him. McCray's car was clocked at 92 mph and upon searching the vehicle, the officer said he found two pills later identified as hydrocodone, a narcotic. McCray said they were given to him by a Jacksonville trainer for pain, a claim the team is standing by him on.

Tweener DE/LB rookie Brent Hawkins had his first career sack, the only one the Jaguars had in the game. They forced no turnovers, as FS Deon Grant had a pick erased by an illegal contact penalty by CB Brian Williams and six solo tackles. However, Grant was benched at halftime and Gerald Sensabaugh replaced him in the second half. HC Jack Del Rio did not explain why, but said Grant would return to the starting lineup this week.

Kansas City
DE Jared Allen had two sacks among his four solo tackles to reclaim the team lead with four sacks on the season. Allen missed another sack when SD QB Phillip Rivers threw the ball away and was flagged for intentional grounding. Allen lost another sack when he was called for being offsides. Opposite Allen, first round pick Tamba Hali had another sack, giving the rookie 3.5 for the year. Hali also recovered a fumble forced by Allen on one of his sacks. Allen also recovered a fumble by SD RB Ladanian Tomlinson forced by CB Patrick Surtain.

OLB Derrick Johnson (6 solo) tied for the team lead in tackles with eight. FS Greg Wesley had 8 solo tackles, including one on special teams. Wesley also had his second pick of the year in the game. OLB Kendrell Bell had 7 solo tackles.

DE Jason Taylor was a one-man wrecking crew in the first quarter. He had two sacks, forcing a fumble on both, among his 4 tackles (3 solo). One of the two fumbles was recovered by Miami (DE David Bowens) and led to a TD for a 7-0 lead for the Dolphins. However, Taylor was limited in the second half, getting just one assisted tackle before leaving with a rib injury in the fourth quarter. He reported after the game he would be fine. Taylor has six sacks in his last four games, at least one in each, and leads the AFC with seven on the season.

WLB Channing Crowder led the team with 11 tackles (7 solo). He suffered a foot strain in the game. MLB Zach Thomas was second with 7 tackles (2 solo).

CB Andre’ Goodman remained in the starting lineup with Travis Daniels still inactive with a knee injury. SS Yeremiah Bell got the start at SS and rotated in with Travares Tillman, as Tillman is more of a liability in coverage. Tillman was more productive with 6 tackles (4 solo) and a pass defensed. After being limited to special teams early in the season, first round pick DB Jason Allen saw his first defensive snaps the previous week. He again saw action Sunday on defensive, rotating with starting FS Renaldo Hill. Until the situation is sorted out, no Miami safety is worth starting, but Allen has the most long-term upside.

Tied at 10 at halftime, the Vikings blew the game open taking advantage of SEA QB Seneca Wallace after QB Matt Hasselbeck was knocked out of the game early in the third quarter. On Wallace’s third play, rookie CB Cedric Griffin jumped the route and tipped the ball to himself for his first career INT. Griffin also had 4 solo tackles and played well overall. Deep in Seattle territory in the fourth quarter, SLB Ben Leber would get through on a blitz, hit Wallace for the sack, and knock the ball loose. DT Kevin Williams would fall on it for the TD, the fourth defensive TD of the year for the Vikings. Williams had a sack of his own in the game, his team-leading fourth of the year. Williams and Leber each also had 4 solo tackles on the day. WLB E.J. Henderson would end the last Seattle threat with his second pick of the season. Henderson also led the team with 9 solo tackles, including stopping SEA RB Maurice Morris for a loss on a fourth-and-one early in the fourth quarter.

Darrion Scott had a sack and rookie DE Ray Edwards shared one with MLB Napoleon Harris. FS Dwight Smith had 7 tackles (4 solo).

DE Erasmus James is still waiting to undergo surgery for his torn ACL. Rookie LB Chad Greenway is progressing well in his rehab for his torn ACL. He has begun attending team meetings and traveling with the team. Both players are on the IR.

New England
Forcing three turnovers, the defense did their part in ensuring a seventh consecutive win, and 12 of last 13, against the Bills. The first two turnovers came on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter. OLB Mike Vrabel forced a fumble on a sack the NT Vince Wilfork recovered. On the next drive, CB Asante Samuel grabbed a pick deep in New England territory to protect a 14-3 lead. Late in the game, BUF QB J.P. Losman fumbled on a run and ILB Tedy Bruschi recovered it. Vrabel (2 solo) and Bruschi (3 solo) also had 7 tackles each in the game. ILB Junior Seau led the team with 9 tackles (5 solo). The Pats had one other sack, shared by SS Rodney Harrison and OLB Rosey Colvin.

DE Richard Seymour had to leave the game late in the first half with an elbow injury. Seymour sounded concerned about, saying he couldn’t have returned to the game, regardless of the score, and expects it to be sore on Monday. He had x-rays on Monday and no immediate update was available. With the way the team hides injury information, don’t expect to find out much, but keep an eye out to see if he practices during the week. FS Eugene Wilson returned after missing two games before the bye with a hamstring injury, but he left the game in the third quarter with another leg injury.

New Orleans
With rookie SS Roman Harper on the IR, Omar Stoutmire should continue to replace him. The team acquired Bryan Scott, a former starter with the Falcons, prior to the season, but Scott has been plagued with a hamstring injury all season. If Stoutmire struggles, Scott could get a chance.

New York Giants
A Giants pass rush that came alive the previous week helped knock DAL QB Drew Bledsoe out of the game, and perhaps out of his job, in Dallas on Monday night. After the Giants scored quickly on the first possession, DE Michael Strahan set the defensive tone early with a sack of Bledsoe and a third down tackle on the first series for the Cowboys. The next Dallas possession began at their own one-yard line and OLB LaVar Arrington ended it quickly. He was unblocked on a blitz and sacked Bledsoe for a safety, his first sack of the season. After a Dallas FG in the second quarter to go up 12-0, Strahan and fellow DE Osi Umenyiora would each have a sack on the next drive. However, the offense turned the ball over on the next series and Dallas would drive for a TD to shift the momentum. This shift would continue when Dallas immediately forced another turnover and were deep in New York territory again. However, an ill-advised pass from Bledsoe and a nice break by CB Sam Madison resulted in his second pick of the year and the Giants would take a 12-7 lead in to the half. Despite the game being close, the last pass by Bledsoe pushed HC Bill Parcells over some line in the sand, because he abruptly switch QBs at the half, bringing in untested Tony Romo. The Dallas fans cheered the decision, but the results were no better. On the first play from scrimmage of the second half, Romo tried to force a short pass in on a rollout. Strahan tipped it and MLB Antonio Pierce picked it off. The Giants would score a quick TD and maintain control of the game the rest of the way, picking Romo off two more times.

The second sack by Strahan gave him with Lawrence Taylor at 132.5 for the team’s career recorded sack lead (the league didn’t track sacks as a stat in Taylor’s rookie year of 1981, when it is believed he had 9.5). Strahan also moved to a tie for seventh place all-time in recorded league history. In addition to the two sacks and tipped pass, Strahan had three other solo tackles. Umenyiora’s sack was among his 4 tackles (3 solo). After two sacks the previous week, he was heating up, but that ended when he suffered a hip flexor in the game and had to leave. First round pick DE Mathias Kiwanuka would replace him. Kiwanunka hit the QB twice, but didn’t register a sack. One of his pressures resulted in a pick for DT Fred Robbins, who was in the right place at the right time for the second time to get an INT this year. The team is concerned about Umenyiora, but they suffered a much bigger injury. After finally looking like the play-maker he is capable of being for the first time with the Giants, Arrington went down on a play in the second quarter away from the action. He was carted off the field and it was later revealed he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon and is done for the year. Reggie Tobor replaced Arrington and got his first sack of the season. Tobor looked like a guy with upside when he got three sacks as a rookie in 2004, but he has fallen out of the picture after injury problems in 2005 and the addition of Arrington this year. He is now a guy to keep an eye on as the Giants have to sort out their LB situation outside. Carlos Emmons was inactive again with a pec strain and Brandon Short has played well enough in his absence to remain the WLB. With Arrington done, Short seems assured of remaining in the starting lineup. Emmons seems likely now to compete with Tobor for the SLB spot, where Emmons is just as comfortable. Regardless of how that shakes out, Tobor is likely to be the top pass rush LB the rest of the way, so could have more value than Emmons even if Emmons starts at SLB.

SS Gibril Wilson returned from his toe nail problem with a special shoe. He started and had 4 tackles (3 solo) and broke up a pass. His return was timely as backup Jason Bell being inactive with a concussion.

For the deepest of deep leagues, a few notes. Former first round pick DT William Joseph, who lost his starting job to rookie Barry Cofield, got his first sack of the year. Fourth corner Frank Walker left the game with a hamstring injury. Rookie Kevin Dockery replaced him. With the team in pass prevent late with a healthy lead in the fourth quarter, the rookie had the final pick of the day and returned it 96 yards for a TD on a memorable first career INT and TD for him.

New York Jets
ILB Jonathan Vilma led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo) and broke up two passes, including grabbing one for this first pick of the year. FS Erik Coleman had 10 tackles (9 solo) on defense and another solo on special teams. He appears to be earning the majority of playing time again. SS Kerry Rhodes didn’t have a tackle on defense, but had two on special teams, and had two passes defensed, including his second INT of the season.

NT Dewayne Robertson had his best game in the new defense, finishing with 6 tackles (4 solo), including his first sack of the season, on which he forced a fumble. It was the only sack for the Jets in the game.

CB David Barrett (hip) remained inactive. Justin Miller got the start in his place at CB this week, but continues to share time with rookie Drew Coleman. Miller had the better fantasy day with 4 solo tackles, plus 98 yards in kick returns (including a long of 56 yards) for leagues that count return stats.

With a 20-3 lead in the third quarter, the Raider defense had its signature series of the game. DE Derrick Burgess got his second sack of the game, pushing the Cardinals back to their own 10-yard line. On the next play, CB Tyrone Poole appeared to sack AZ QB Matt Leinart for a safety, but it was apparently ruled forward progress at the one-yard line. The Raiders challenged, but lost. However, on the next play first round pick SS Michael Huff tackled AZ RB Macell Shipp for the safety.

After a slow start to the season, Burgess had no sacks in his first two games, the 2005 sack champ had his second multi-sack game of the year and leads the team with five on the season. In addition to the two sacks, Burgess had three other solo tackles to tie for the team lead with five tackles. He also tipped a pass that DT Terdell Sands grabbed for his first career INT. CB Poole also had a pick in the game. MLB Kirk Morrison (5 solo) and rookie OLB Thomas Howard (4 solo) also had five tackles and a pass defended each.

CB Fabian Washington returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a hamstring injury.

Reserve DE/LB Grant Irons visited a specialist last week for a herniated disk. He could be placed on the IR soon.

After stepping in for a benched Michael Lewis in the previous game, Sean Considine got his first career start at SS. Considine had 6 tackles (4 solo) and Lewis had 2 tackles (1 solo, and an assist on special teams) in a reserve role. It is hard to gauge if Considine’s presence helped the pass defense, because while they did limit the Bucs passing game to 104 yards and gave up no scores, Bruce Gradkowski is a rookie QB in just his third game. Definitely bench Lewis for now, but I wouldn’t give up on him in dynasty leagues. Meanwhile, Considine could pay short term dividends if you need help at DB.

Backup DE Jerome McDougle has been on the hot seat as the Eagles have struggled to get pressure on their second DLine. McDougle appeared to have stepped up with his biggest play of the season in the fourth quarter with his first sack on second-and-long. However, he was flagged for a face mask on the play. McDougle vehemently disagreed with the call, kicking the flag, which drew another for unsportsmanlike contact. The 30-yards of penalties on McDougle contributed to a FG that put the Buc up by six. DT Darwin Walker had the only other sack in the game. He leads the team with five on the season.

DE Darren Howard played through a groin injury, posting 3 tackles (2 solo) and batting down a pass. WLB Matt McCoy started after practicing all week through a hip pointer, but was limited. Shawn Barber, playing through a hip pointer and neck injury, and rookie Omar Gaither saw most of the work. Barber had 4 tackles (3 solo) and Gaither had 2 solo tackles. MLB Jeremiah Trotter led the team with 12 tackles (11 solo).

Nickel CB Rod Hood missed another game with his heel injury. Joselio Hanson continues to replace him.

The defense was unable to protect an 11-1-1 record all-time against the Falcons, losing to them in overtime for just the second time ever behind a career-best four TD passes by ATL QB Mike Vick.

OLB Joey Porter was inactive again with a hamstring injury and top reserve LB James Harrison also missed his second straight game with a high ankle sprain. Arnold Harrison again got the start in Porter’s place, with Chad Brown seeing work on passing downs. Harrison had 5 solo tackles and Brown had one. Reserve S Tyrone Carter had the only sack in the game.

SS Troy Polamalu had a pick for the second straight game, and third of the season, with a nice cut in front of a Vick pass. ILB James Farrior had his first INT of the year by being in the right place at the right time, grabbing a ball that bounced off the hands of ATL TE Alge Crumpler. Polamalu (6 solo), Farrior (8 solo), and FS Ryan Clark (7 solo) all tied for the team lead with 8 tackles.

CB Bryant McFadden remained in the starting lineup. He has replaced Deshea Townsend, who is recovered from a hamstring injury. Townsend is now the nickel corner. McFadden had 3 solo tackles and broke up a pass, while Townsend had one solo tackle.

NT Casey Hampton left the game with a hamstring injury. Chris Hoke filled in well in the second half.

St. Louis
CB Fahkir Brown should return to the starting lineup this week after resting his high ankle sprain over the bye. He participated fully in practice on Monday.

San Diego
Health and off-field issues continue to slam the Chargers. OLB Shawne Merriman received a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, reportedly for steroid use. The suspension was first reported Sunday evening, but he did play Sunday afternoon, finishing with 8 tackles (7 solo). He is expected to play the next two weeks while he appeals the suspension. The extension will be helpful as in the game on Sunday, the team lost their other OLB, Shaun Phillips, to a calf injury. He is expected to miss at least two weeks. Phillips left in the second quarter, posting just one QB hit before leaving. Phillips had already replaced Steve Foley, whose season, and possibly career, are over after being shot earlier this year.

HC Marty Schottenheimer confirmed Marques Harris would start this week in place of Phillips. Harris wasted no time making an impact in helping replace Phillips on Sunday. Harris got his first sack of the season in the fourth quarter and stripped KC QB Damon Huard on the play, a fumble DE Luis Castillo recovered at the Chiefs 23. The Chargers would temporarily tie the game at 27 on the subsequent drive, before losing on a long FG. Harris was signed out of I-AA Southern Utah as an UDFA in 2005. He was a standout defensive end at Colorado before a broken leg in 2003 and involvement in the recruiting violations and sexual misconduct scandals that plagued that program contributed to his decision to transfer. He has been used mostly on special teams, as the play of the Chargers top three OLBs left little time for backups, until now.

If Phillips is out longer and his absence runs in to the potential Merriman suspension, Carlos Polk could move in to the starting lineup. Polk was a fourth round pick in 2001 out of Nebraska, where he earned All-Big 12 and some All-American accolades. Polk was the team’s special teams player of the year in 2002 and 2003. He was gearing up for a bigger role when injury problems struck. 2004 was cut short early by a shoulder injury and a preseason torn Achilles’ tendon cost him all of 2005. Another option would be for ILB Donnie Edwards to move outside, a role he should be able to move to seamlessly. Edwards had his best fantasy game of the season on Sunday, posting 10 tackles (8 solo), including a half-sack, against his old team. Matt Wilhelm and Stephen Cooper would work to replace Edwards inside. Cooper has already been taking snaps away from aging ILB Randall Godfrey.

The Chargers are also without DE Igor Olshansky, who had knee surgery last week and will be out for at least an additional two games. Jacques Cesaire started in his place and had two solo tackles. Derreck Robinson will see more work with Olshansky out, as well. He had 5 tackles (2 solo) and shared the sack with Edwards and appears to be more valuable fantasy-wise than Cesaire.

With all those problems brewing on Sunday, it still took a 53-yard FG for the Chargers to drop the ninth of their last ten games at Arrowhead Stadium.

San Francisco
The changes on defense continued over the bye. DT Ronnie Fields will remain the starter over Anthony Adams, the same for Mark Roman over Tony Parrish at SS. Both changes took place in Week 6 before the bye. Keith Lewis has been working at FS with starter Mike Adams, as well. There was talk of replacing Adams earlier this year with backup Chad Williams, who played for HC Mike Nolan in Baltimore.

CB Walt Harris is expected to return from a hamstring injury, but will still be listed as questionable this week.

OLB Julian Peterson did everything he could to prevent the loss. He led the team with 12 tackles (8 solo), including two sacks. He has had two sacks in back-to-back games and leads the team with six for the season. DT Rocky Bernard and OLB Leroy Hill each had a sack on which they forced fumble, but the Seahawks could recover neither.

FS Ken Hamlin had 9 tackles (7 solo), broke up two passes, and continues to deliver monstrous hits. He knocked MIN WR Troy Williamson out of the game with a concussion and ensured MIN WR Marcus Robinson did not make a catch inside the Seahawk five lowering the boom on a pass Robinson couldn’t handle. ESPN’s John Clayton has reported that Jordan Babineaux could over take Michael Boulware for the starting SS job. This is similar to the situation in Philly, where Boulware, like Michael Lewis, is the bigger hitter and playmaker, but inconsistent in coverage and the team is suffering for it.

The normally sure-tackling MLB Lofa Tatupu whiffed on MIN RB Chester Taylor’s 95-yard TD run, the longest ever against the Seahawks. Tatupu had 5 tackles (3 solo) in the game.

Tampa Bay
In the 2002 NFC Championship, CB Ronde Barber returned a pick 92 yards to help beat the Eagles and lift them to a Super Bowl they would win. He struck again on Sunday, returning two interceptions for touchdowns. He also forced a fumble and had 7 solo tackles. Barber now has 30 career picks and 10 career TDs. The Bucs had three in the game, after having just one (OLB Derrick Brooks) coming in to the game.

MLB Shelton Quarles led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo). He is playing through a sore knee and questionable this week. New starting DT Ellis Wyms, who replaces traded Anthony McFarland, had his third sack of the season. It was the only one on the day for the Bucs.

SS Jermaine Phillips started again and his job-share with Kalvin Pearson seems to be on hold. Phillips saw most of the work, posting 7 tackles (6 solo), while Pearson didn’t appear in the box score.

CB Brian Kelly remains inactive with turf toe, missing his fourth game. Last week he talked about surgery being the only thing that could help and not being surprised if he were put on the IR. Abandon ship on him if you haven’t already. Juran Bolden continues to start in his place. Bolden had his first pick of the season in the game. He broke up another pass and had 6 tackles (3 solo). Torrie Cox was the nickel corner. Recently acquired Phillip Buchanon was active, but just saw work returning one punt.

DE Simeon Rice continues to play through a sore shoulder. He is questionable this week.

Backup LB Robert Reynolds reportedly has warrants out for his arrest on a domestic violence charge over the weekend.

With no sacks or turnovers, there wasn’t much big production from the defense. OLB Marcus Washington led the team with 11 solo tackles. MLB Lemar Marshall was a surprise inactive with an ankle injury being called a “mild high ankle sprain”. Khary Campbell got the start in his place and posted 5 tackles (2 solo). Watch for updates on Marshall.

CB Carlos Rogers was inactive with a broken thumb. Kenny Wright started in his place opposite Shawn Springs. Newly-acquired veteran S Troy Vincent was active and saw significant snaps, posting 4 tackles (3 solo).

DT Cornelius Griffin was inactive with a hip injury.