- As I mentioned in this column
last week, despite the lack of pass rush from Minnesota
through eight weeks, the slate of games against teams with high
sackability favors them in the second half. That started with
Arizona coming to town on Sunday. After three weeks without
a sack and last in the league in the category, the Vikings doubled
their season total with 6 sacks in the game. DE Jason
Allen, who had just one sack entering the game, led the
way with 2.5 sacks. On the other side, Ray
Edwards also had a pair of sacks. This week they head to
Chicago, who have given up the most sacks in the league. Start
- Chicago fans held their collective breath when DE Julius
Peppers laid in the end zone after a diving tackle attempt
on Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the game. It appeared
Peppers slammed his left shoulder when landing and that he took
an unintentional knee to the head from Fitzpatrick, but Peppers
and HC Lovie Smith reported he just had the wind knocked out
of him after having to exit the game. While Peppers fantasy
production has been disappointing, he has had a beneficial impact
on the rest of the defense. With all the attention Peppers demands,
Urlacher and WLB Lance
Briggs have been freed up to fly around and make plays.
On the other side, DE Israel
Idonije, a full-time starter for the first time in his career,
leads the team with 5 sacks, already a single-season best in
his career. I was a little dubious of Idonijeís success earlier
this year, but he is locked in as their DE2 and keeps on producing.
He also blocked the seventh extra point of his career on Sunday.
- Jets HC Rex Ryan continues to make first-round bust DE Vernon
Gholston his pet project. He tried to use returning to his
hometown of Detroit as motivation and gave Gholston the start
at DE over Mike DeVito. Gholston responded with a goose egg
in the box score in a rotation with DeVito.
- Green Bay DE Ryan
Pickett, who missed their previous game with a right ankle
sprain, aggravated the injury again on SNF in the second quarter.
Wilson replaced him and got his first career sack, as many
Packers on both sides of the ball padded their stats on an embarrassing
Dallas squad. The Packers have a bye this week for Pickett to
rest the ankle.
- Philadelphia DT Brodrick
Bunkley (torn elbow ligament) was active again coming out
of the bye, but former UDFA Antonio Dixon remained the starter
next to Mike
Patterson. Dixonís numbers take a hit with Bunkley back.
Cole had a sack, giving him at least one for three-straight
games and a team high seven on the season. Reserve DE Darryl
Tapp had his second sack as an Eagle and is clearly the
third DE now as rookie first-round pick Brandon
Graham falls out of the picture. After 4 sacks in the first
3 games, starting DE Juqua
Parker hasnít had one since.
- Cincinnati DE Jonathan
Fanene remained inactive with a hamstring injury and DE
Odom has two games left on his four-game suspension. Frostee
Rucker continues to start at RDE and Robert Geathers at
LDE. They primarily rotate as a pair with Michael Johnson (RDE)
and rookie Carlos
Dunlap (LDE). Geathers had the teamís only sack, his first
of the season, as all four put in another unimpressive demonstration
of rushing the QB.
- Washington should continue to explore how to use Andre
Carter back at DE over the bye. Lorenzo
Alexander had already replaced Carter as the starter at
LOLB opposite Brian
Orakpo back in Week Four. DC Jim Haslett had been putting
Carter back in to rush with his hand on the ground in certain
passing situations. In being vocal about not taking to playing
standing up, Carter seems to be his own worst enemy in the change,
so the team will look for beneficial spots to use him and he
should be gone after the season.
- Seattleís defense was rendered impotent without three of
their top four DLinemen. Last week DE Red
Bryant was placed on the IR and he was replaced by Kentwan
Balmer, as expected. A first-round pick of San Francisco
two years ago who was acquired for a sixth-round pick this year,
Balmer posted 8 tackles (6 solo), but HC Pete Carroll wasnít
impressed. While recognizing the tackles in his post-game comments,
Carroll said Balmer wasnít ďas forceful at the line of scrimmage
as we wanted at all.Ē On the other hand, he had praise for DT
Siavii, who replaced Colin
Cole, inactive after spraining his ankle in the previous
game. Cole is very questionable this week as the sprain was
described as ďsevereĒ last week, so expect Siavii to get another
start. The team hoped to have DT Brandon
Mebane back, but he missed his fourth straight game with
a calf injury. Craig
Terrill replaced him. After a successful workout on Monday
and expectation of full practice on Wednesday, the confidence
level is higher Mebane returns this week. Another beneficiary
of the injuries is undersized rookie pass rush specialist DE
Davis. He had 3 solo tackles and an assist on special teams
in his most significant playing time yet this year.
- Pittsburgh DE Brett
Keisel returned from missing two games with a hamstring
injury, but aggravated the hamstring again Monday night warming
up. He played sparingly and is questionable this week.
- After a slow start, Detroit DE Cliff
Avril had the teamís only sack and forced a fumble on it,
giving him 8 tackles (5 solo), 3 sacks and forced fumble in
the last two games. He now has 4 sacks on the season. After
PK Jason Hanson was injured in the game, many football fans
were shocked to find out rookie DT sensation Ndamukong
Suh was their back-up kicker. Suh missed his first career
extra point in the third quarter, which unfortunately contributed
to the loss by allowing a Jets FG to tie the game and send it
to OT. BTW, if you want to see a ridiculous demonstration of
rookie DT Ndamukong Suhís athleticism, take
a look at him trying to block the game-winning kick in OT.
He is #90Öthe one hurdling the center out of a three-point stance.
- I discuss it more below in the ďLinebacker NotesĒ, because
the impact is greater there, but after experimenting with a
4-3 base recently, Buffalo appears to have returned to a 3-4,
which makes the addition of OLB Shawne
Merriman make slightly more sense. Not much of an impact
to NT Kyle
Williams, who produces not matter where they put him. The
ends remain Marcus
Stroud and Dwan
Edwards, who showed a bit of their pass rush ability as
4-3 ends, so donít expect much more of that. DE Aaron
Maybin was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game.
They feel heís useless in either scheme.
- Teams allowing the most sacks this season (start your pass
rushers against them):
1. Chicago (32)
2. Arizona (28)
3. Oakland (26)
4. Carolina (25)
5. Philadelphia (24)
6. Washington (23)
- Top waiver wire recommendation of
the week: Ray Edwards. He was back to getting after the
QB and has a great match-up last week.
- Carolina MLB Dan
Connor left the game in the second quarter after breaking
a bone in his hip. Nic
Harris replaced him at WLB, while Jon
Beason slid back in to his familiar MLB spot. Beason finished
with 9 tackles (7 solo), while Harris had 7 tackles (5 solo),
including sharing the first sack of this career with DE Charles
Johnson. Connor is done for the season, as he was placed
on the IR this week. Beason will return to MLB, which should
be good news for his fantasy owners. After spending the season
at WLB, while Beason is on track to break 100 tackles, it currently
projects to be a career low and he hasnít been a playmaker.
He is still without a sack, pick or forced fumble on the season.
Connorís injury looks like a big opportunity for Harris, although
HC John Fox reportedly will give Jordan Senn and the recently
Williams a chance too. A classic SS/LB tweener, Harris played
all over the back seven at Oklahoma in college and was extremely
productive. However, his tweener status was a problem for the
next level; heís too stiff in the hips and too slow for the
secondary, but on the small side for a linebacker. Buffalo selected
him in the fifth-round last year and he eventually found a spot
at LB, even earning a couple of starts with the Bills when they
experienced a similar deluge of injuries at LB that the Panthers
are having this year. Despite that, Harris was released by the
Bills before camp as he struggled to recover from a knee injury
last season that ended his rookie year. The Panthers signed
him shortly after and he stuck on the roster. Harris got his
chance this week because the team just lost their top back-up
at LB when Jamar
Williams was placed on the IR last week with a spinal concussion.
They filled his roster spot with Jason Williams, who Dallas
cut last week. I donít see Jason Williams being in the picture,
as he couldnít even contribute enough on special teams for the
Cowboys to warrant a roster spot despite being a great athlete
and third-round pick last year. Williams was inactive on Sunday
and looks like a project. While I think Harris gets the first
opportunity, he could be pushed by Jordan Senn.
Another undersized LB, Senn was a UDFA out of Portland State
who signed with Indianapolis in 2008 and played mostly special
teams with them for over a year. The Panthers added him during
last season and heís remained mostly a special teamer. One player
who wonít be bolstering the depth is their stud WLB Thomas
Davis. After tearing his right ACL last November, Davis
was in the midst of a remarkable comeback when he tore the same
ligament during OTAs in June. He immediately had surgery and
was not put on the IR in hopes of returning this season. After
some discussion he might return to practice this week, he was
finally placed on the IR and is done for the season. As he may
have pushed his rehab too hard, too fast last winter, resulting
in the reoccurrence of the injury, it would have made no sense
for Davis to do it again for a team that is 1-7. With all the
activity at the other two LB spots, SLB James
Anderson continues piling up tackles as his breakout season
rolls on. With 9 solo tackles on Sunday, Anderson is fourth
in the league in tackles.
- Green Bay OLB Clay
Matthews improved his potential DPOY resume with a dominating
performance against an impotent Dallas offense. With one of
the teamís four sacks on SNF, Matthews extended his league lead
to 10.5 on the season. He helped pour it on the fourth quarter
when he returned his first career interception 62 yards for
a TD. With just 4 tackles (3 solo), ILB Desmond Bishop missed
putting up his fifth straight double-digit tackle game, but
got his second sack of the season and forced a fumble on it,
as he continues to be waiver-wire gold for his fantasy owners.
- Dallas OLB DeMarcus
Ware failed to gain any ground on league sack leader Matthews
in their head-to-head meeting. Ware did tackle Green Bay QB
Rodgers for a loss on a broken play, but as Rodgers was
clearly intending to run, Ware was not credited with a sack.
Ware remained tied for third place with 8 sacks on the season,
2.5 behind Matthews. Too bad Ware doesnít get to face the Dallas
offense. On the other side, OLB Anthony Spencer left the game
late in the fourth quarter after suffering a stinger in his
- Oakland MLB Rolando
McClain continues to disappoint fantasy owners, but it wasnít
all his fault on Sunday. He suffered a hip pointer in the first
half and ended up missing most of the victory over Kansas City.
Brown replaced him and had 3 tackles (2 solo). The Raiders
are on a bye this week, so McClain has some time to heal. He
hasnít had more than 7 tackles in any game this season and is
on pace to fall well short of triple-digit tackles.
- As expected, Gerald
Hayes returned to his starting job at SILB, pushing rookie
Washington to the bench, with veteran Paris
Lenon keeping a starting role, playing WILB for Arizona.
Lenon was the most productive with 7 tackles (5 solo), while
Hayes had 4 tackles (2 solo) and Washington had a single solo
tackle. In the two games since returning from the PUP after
offseason back surgery, Hayes has 9 tackles (5 solo) and fumble
recovery for a TD. Hayes has the most job security in a redraft
league, but as long as Lenon remains a starter, his production
has been solid. He leads the team with 61 tackles (46 solo)
and is on track to just eclipse his best season with 121 tackles
in 2008. Heís also an asset in pass coverage and has translated
it to fantasy value with 4 passes defensed and 2 picks. Rookie
Daryl Washington still has nice upside in dynasty leagues, and
it would make sense for the team to let him take over for Lenon
as playoff hopes are fading, but he has no value in redraft
leagues for now. That opportunity could come sooner than later,
as Lenon suffered an ankle sprain in the game and is having
an MRI this week. On the outside, Joey
Porter continues to rack up sacks. With 2 on Sunday, he
has at least one in three straight games. He brought a ton of
pressure on Minnesota QB Brett Favre and has another nice match-up
this week with a banged up Seattle OLine offense coming to town.
Ride his hot streak. On the other side, Clark
Haggans remained inactive with a groin injury and Will
Davis got his second career start. Rookie OLB OíBrien Schofield,
who was recently activated off the PUP with Hayes, continues
to be limited to special teams, but made his first significant
contribution, forcing a fumble on kick coverage that was returned
for a TD by Arizona.
- Atlanta rookie SLB Sean
Weatherspoon missed his third straight game since injuring
his left knee in Week Five. Stephen
Nicholas continues to start in his place and led the team
with 8 tackles (7 solo). With the way Nicholas has played in
his absence, Weatherspoon will likely have to earn his job back
when healthy, and he remains a question mark to return this
- Buffalo used their first position on the waiver wire to selected
OLB Shawne Merriman after he was released by San Diego last
week. He was inactive on Sunday, but on the sidelines in Bills
gear with his new teammates. He is expected to practice this
week and I expect him to play this week. A bit of a curious
addition as the Bills have recently experimented with a 4-3
base, which is a poor fit for Merriman, strictly a 3-4 pass
rusher at OLB even at the peak of his career. However, the Bills
were again running out of a 3-4 base on Sunday, so the whole
defense is a bit of mess. The team was without ILB Andra
Davis, who had been their MLB in 4-3 fronts, as HC Chan
Gailey shared for the first time that Davis is playing with
a torn labrum in his shoulder. The injury reportedly occurred
in their season opener, but Davis had been playing through it.
Now his season is over after he was placed on the IR this week.
Ayodele replaced Davis and was inside with Paul
Posluszny in their base 3-4 and should continue to start
with Davis done for the year. Outside, the team had Chris
Kelsay and Reggie Tobor at OLB, with rookie Arthur
Moats working as the pass rush specialist. Moats saw a lot
of work in various packages, regularly bumping Ayodele. Former
first-round pick Aaron Maybin remains a healthy scratch, as
Moats makes him unnecessary. Poz, who had been working at WLB
when they played a 4-3, tied for the team lead with 10 tackles
(6 solo). The change back to a 3-4 didnít help their pass rush,
as Buffalo was only able to muster one sack (by DL Spencer
Johnson) against a Chicago team that has allowed the most
sacks in the league.
- A left arm injury that kept Indianapolis WLB Clint
Session out for just a series in the previous game turned
out to be a dislocated elbow and fractured forearm. He was inactive
on Sunday and Tyjuan
Hagler started in his place. Haggler had his first sack
since 2007 among his 4 tackles (2 solo). The Colts are hoping
to prevent putting Session on the IR, if they can keep his roster
spot open, but he seems sure to miss a few weeks. MLB Gary
Brackett was shaken up in the fourth quarter and had to
be assisted off the field, but he returned shortly. Philip Wheeler
got on while Brackett was out. Wheeler lost his starting SLB
job in the previous game to rookie second-round pick Pat Angerer.
- As I discussed in this column last week, New England gave
a lot of opportunities to rookie ILB Brandon
Spikes, as the dedicated run-stopper in a platoon, against
a Cleveland team that would heavily feature RB Peyton Hillis.
Spikes had 8 tackles (4 solo). Fellow ILB Jerod
Mayo led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo) and remains the
league leader with 96 tackles on the season. Mayo also forced
- Minnesota WLB Chad
Greenway led the team with 9 tackles (5 solo), including
his first sack of the season. One of the most consistent tackle
providers, he hasnít had less than 8 tackles in any game this
season and with five double-digit tackle games, he is sitting
at second in the league overall. He also should have had his
first interception of the season, but he bobbled it as he went
down and it was taken away on reversal after a challenge showed
on replay the ball hit the ground before he secured it.
- Kansas City OLB Tamba
Hali was able to bring good pressure against Oakland rookie
LT Jared Veldheer, including getting his eighth sack of the
season, putting him in a tie for third in the league. Hali is
just half a sack away from setting a new career single-season
high and well on his way to double-digit sacks halfway through
the season. After a year inexplicably in HC Todd Haleyís doghouse,
Johnson is born again hard under new DC Romeo Crennel. He
forced his third fumble of the season on Sunday and his team-leading
65 tackles tied him for 15th in the league. Halfway through
the season, he projects to shatter his previous best single-season
tackle total of 95 as a rookie in 2005. He has also broken up
8 passes and returned his interception this year for a TD. He
has no sacks, but using him less as a pass rusher has helped
keep him in position to rack up tackles. Johnson was rewarded
for his turnaround with a lucrative 5-year extension this week.
- Disappointed fantasy owners of Seattle OLB David
Hawthorne were finally rewarded for their faith, or desperation,
in continuing to use him with his first double-digit tackle
game on Sunday as he led the team with 12 tackles (9 solo) and
recovered a fumble. Donít be too excited about the production,
there were plenty of tackles to go around as the Giants absolutely
dominated the time of possession, running 79 plays and holding
on to the ball for over 42 minutes.
- San Diego OLB Larry
English is back from foot surgery and didnít start, but
was active on Sunday. Antwan
Applewhite remained the starter.
- Detroit MLB DeAndre
Levy made it through his second game and was much more productive,
leading the team with 10 tackles (9 solo). As expected, it was
Palmer taking over for Zack
Follett (neck) at WLB, as Follett went on the IR last week.
- The second spin for Brian
Cushing in his new role as MLB in Houston didnít go much
better. He had just 5 tackles (2 solo) for the second straight
game. WLB Zac Diles remained the more productive option, posting
8 tackles (3 solo).
- Top waiver wire recommendations of
the week: This one is easy. DeAndre Levy, if heís still
out there, leads the list. Zac Diles is next, blowing up like
he did early in the season at WLB, if heís still out there.
In deeper leagues, Tyjuan Hagler back in a starting role. In
even deeper leagues, if you want to bet on the new WLB in Carolina,
Iíd go with Nic Harris.
- New Orleans got their top two corners back on Sunday with
Greer and Tracy
Porter active and in the starting lineup. Despite still
being limited in practice last week, Greer showed no ill effects
from his injured shoulder when he grabbed a pick and returned
it for a TD in the fourth quarter. The two corners returned
just in time, as the team was without rookie CB Patrick Robinson,
who was inactive after suffering a high ankle sprain in the
previous game. With Robinson out, Leigh
Torrence served as the nickel. Malcolm
Jenkins was back to starting at FS, having moved to corner
the previous game due to their lack of depth. He left early
with a shoulder stinger and didnít return with the game well
in hand. He should be fine with the Saints on a bye this week.
It didnít result in more opportunity for veteran Darren
Sharper, as he left early with a hamstring and Usama
Young got the work at FS. I expect them to come out of the
bye with Sharper more involved. Jenkins likely remains the starter
at FS in the base package, with Sharper taking over in passing
schemes where his value as a playmaker in centerfield is highest.
Jenkins then probably slides to nickel corner, so thereís a
good chance his value remains relatively stable, while Sharper
only has value in big play leagues, and even then itís a gamble
if he isnít a full-time player.
- San Diego wasted no time getting SS Steve
Gregory back in the lineup coming off a four-game suspension
for violating the leagueís substance abuse policy. He started
at SS, pushing Paul
Oliver back to the bench. However, the change didnít last
long as Gregory left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
Oliver returned to the lineup and while he struggled with his
tackling a bit, he got 7 (5 solo) and clinched the game with
his first pick of the season deep in San Diego territory late
in the fourth quarter.
- Detroit SS C.C.
Brown was inactive with a right knee injury, so rookie Amari
Spievey got the start. Spievey had 5 tackles (4 solo).
- It looked like Arizona was off to a great start when FS Kerry
Rhodes picked off QB Brett Favre on Minnesotaís first drive
of the game and was coasting toward the end zone some 60 yards
late. However, Vikings receiver Greg Camarillo chased him down
from behind and knocked the ball loose at about the 3-yard line.
It went out of the end zone for a touchback and the Cardinals
would lose in OT. Rhodes also broke up another pass and had
4 tackles (3 solo). Rhodes left the game briefly in the third
quarter when he aggravated a left hand injury from blocking
a field goal in the previous game, but would return.
- Philadelphia rookie FS Nate Allen was shaken up on a TD-saving
tackle in the second quarter, mostly when teammate MLB Stewart
Bradley crashed in to him while diving in the scrum. Allen was
down for several minutes after his head was snapped awkwardly.
He left the game and didnít return. Kurt
Coleman replaced Allen. Fortunately the MRI on Allen was
negative and his injury is being called just a neck strain.
Allen said heís fine and will play this week. As discussed in
this column last week, Dimitri
Patterson returned from the bye as the new starting RCB
Samuel. It was the first career start for Patterson, a five-year
vet who has hung around for his work on special teams, and he
did a nice job on Indianapolis WR Reggie Wayne, holding him
to 83 yards, and no long catches, on 11 receptions, as QB Peyton
Manning frequently targeted the new starter. Patterson finished
with 6 solo tackles and a pass defense. Ellis
Hobbs, who Patterson replaced, was inactive. What first
appeared to be a performance-related benching after Hobbs was
torched by Tennessee WR Kenny Britt in Week Seven, now appears
related to a hip flexor strain that Hobbs tried to play through.
Heís seeking another specialist opinion this week. In the unlikely
case heís already healthy to play this week, Patterson seems
to have earned at least another start. Samuel sealed the win
with his fifth pick of the season with seconds left in the game,
moving him in to a tie for second in the league in interceptions.
- Oakland CB Nnamdi
Asomugha was inactive with a right ankle sprain suffered
in their previous game. As mentioned here last week, there were
unconfirmed reports it was a high ankle sprain, which would
mean heíd be likely to miss multiple weeks, but the Raiders
have a bye this week, so weíll revisit his status next week.
Nickel CB Chris
Johnson returned after missing the previous game with a
concussion, so he stepped in for Asomugha opposite Stanford
Routt. A pair of seventh-round picks I discussed in more
detail last week, Stevie
Brown and Jeremy
Ware, also had big contributions in Asomughaís absence.
Brown worked some FS as Michael
Huff again saw work as the nickel and Brown also worked
in the hybrid nickel S/LB role Mike
Mitchell usually handles after SS Tyvon
Branch left with a concussion early in the third quarter
and Mitchell took over. Brown also had his full slate of special
teams work and finished with 3 solo tackles, including one on
special teams. As the fourth corner, Ware grabbed his first
career pick in the end zone to stop a Kansas City threat late
in the second quarter.
- Green Bay finally activated SS Atari
Bigby from the PUP and worked him in for an occasionally
series with starter Charlie Peprah at SS, with Anthony
Smith also in the mix. This is a fantasy mess and Iíd avoid
them all until the situation sorts itself out. Bigby has the
most upside, but has the most risk coming off his serious ankle
injury and inconsistent history. The team released CB Al
Harris on Monday, instead of activating him from the PUP
or putting him on the IR. The soon-to-be 36-year old corner
is likely done despite his valiant efforts to return from a
devastating leg and knee injury last year, although I wouldnít
be surprised to see a potential playoff team unsuccessfully
give him another chance. Starting corners Charles Woodson and
Williams tied for the team lead with 5 solo tackles on SNF.
Woodson also had a sack and forced a fumble as he keeps rolling
on as one of the top playmakers in the secondary in the NFL.
Collins brought some unexpected help to his fantasy owners
when he recovered what was ruled a fumble on a kick off, because
Dallas HC Wade Phillips couldnít challenge it, and returned
it for a TD. He was also fined $50K for a helmet-to-helmet hit
that stunned Dallas WR Roy
Williams, but he was not suspended.
- After missing the last three games with a MCL sprain in his
knee, Cincinnati SS Roy Williams returned to the starting lineup,
as did his back-up, Chinedum
Ndukwe, after he missed the previous game with a knee injury.
Williams briefly kept hope alive for the Bengals on MNF with
his first pick since 2007 in the fourth quarter. Also returning
to the starting lineup was CB Johnathan Joseph who was out since
Week Five with an ankle injury. Joseph has been banged up most
the season, also battling a deeply bruised right forearm. However,
the team lost FS Chris
Crocker on Monday night to left calf injury. He was replaced
- The knock on Kansas City first-round pick SS Eric
Berry early in the season was he hadnít been enough of a
playmaker. After getting a pick in each of the last two games,
as well as forcing a fumble in one of them, he had his first
2 career sacks at Oakland on Sunday. Entering the game, the
Chiefs had not recorded a sack by anyone in their secondary,
but DC Romeo Crennel dared the Raiders and their questionable
passing game to beat him by frequently bringing Berry on a blitz.
A 73-yard punt return for a TD by CB Javier
Arenas was negated by a questionable clipping call on Berry
in the second quarter.
- New England SS Patrick
Chung missed his second straight game with what is believed
to be a knee injury. As I said in this column last week, I expected
the team to be cautious and be more concerned with having Chung
for Pittsburgh this week than Cleveland on Sunday, although
that proved to be a bad gamble since Cleveland upset them and
they could have used Chung to help slow down Cleveland RB Peyton
Hillis. The team was also without Jarrad
Page, inactive with a calf injury, so James
Sanders and Brandon
Meriweather saw plenty of work. I expect Chung to return
this week. The team also released CB Terrence
Wheatley this week. A desperate Jacksonville team snatched
the former second-round pick off waivers.
- After being benched for getting beaten for three TDs by Buffalo
WR Lee Evans in Week Seven, Baltimore CB Fabian
Washington came out of their bye remaining the starter on
Sunday. It was a short-lived reprieve, as he was benched again
in favor of Josh
Wilson at halftime. Wilson, who has been an extremely productive
playmaker when given the opportunity, had a solo tackles and
broke up 3 passes, including grabbing his first pick as a Raven
to seal the victory late in the fourth quarter. Washington expects
to be starting again this week and HC John Harbaugh gave Washington
a vote of confidence, which is the kiss of death, expect Wilson
to start Thursday night. FS Ed
Reed had 4 solo tackles and grabbed another pick, giving
him three picks and a forced fumble in the two games since coming
off the PUP.
- Speaking of struggling corners, Houston first-round pick
Jackson continues to stumble through his first season. On
Sunday he was surrendered over 100 yards, including two long
TDs, to San Diego UDFA rookie Seyi Ajirotutu, who would be about
seventh on the Chargers depth chart if all the receivers were
healthy. This replaces making Dallas WR Roy Williams looked
like a real player again in allowing just his second 100-yard
game in three years as Jacksonís lowlight for the season.
- After not practicing last week, Dallas CB Terence
Newman played through muscle strain and cartilage tear in
his ribs. It was hard to isolate how much it impacted him since
the whole team played so poorly. Rookie DB Akwasi
Owusu-Ansah is out 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain and
the team doesnít want to give rookie WR Dez Bryant, their punt
returner, any more work as he is evolving in to their most potent
offensive weapon, so they signed UDFA rookie CB Bryan McCann
off the practice squad. McCann got plenty of opportunities with
Green Bay running up the score and his performance was a mixed
bag. He showed great elusiveness and vision in averaging almost
28 yards per return, but also lost the ball on a return in the
second quarter that was returned for a TD to expand Green Bayís
lead to 28-0 and effectively any hope for Dallas.
- After missing a game with a concussion and knee injury as
the result of a vicious fine-inducing hit on Philadelphia WR
DeSean Jackson, Atlanta CB Dunta
Robinson returned to the starting lineup after their bye.
Williams has replaced Christopher Owens as the nickel CB.
Now the wrong side of 30 for a football player, Williams has
struggled to return to form from a torn ACL last year that derailed
his first season as a Falcon. He can be extremely productive
when healthy, so heís a good player to keep an eye on now that
heís working his way back to significant playing time.
- A week after Tampa Bay CB Aqib
Talib grabbed 2 picks to move in to a tie for second in
the league with 5 on the season, he shut down stud Atlanta WR
Roddy White. Talib is quickly moving among the elite corners
in the league in real NFL terms, which could have an inverse
effect on his fantasy value as teams look to avoid him. Donít
take him out of your lineup, just something to keep an eye on.
- Still no LCB Terrence
McGee for Buffalo, despite practicing fully last week and
being listed as probable. He missed the last five games with
a pinched nerve and knee problems in his left leg.
- Indianapolis got CB Jacob
Lacey back, but was still without CB Jerraud
Powers (feet) and lost CB Justin
Tryon with a foot injury last week.
- Washington CB DeAngelo
Hall held on to his league lead in interceptions through
the teamís bye. He comes out of the week off with a streak of
5 picks in his last two games and will set a new single-season
high for his career with his next pick. SS LaRon
Landry fell to fifth in the league with his team-leading
76 tackles this season over the bye. Reserve S Chris
Horton was placed on IR with an ankle injury. After looking
like a promising playmaker as a rookie, injury and inconsistency
derailed his sophomore season last year, before he fell completely
off the radar of new DC Jim Haslett this season.
- Top waiver wire recommendations of
the week: Not much jumps out. A gamble on Josh Wilson,
who has been productive in a limited sample set, or either of
the Saints corners, Jabari Greer or Tracy Porter, now that theyíre