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IDP Notes
Week 11
11/17/10

Week 11 Injury Report (available Friday PM)

IDP Depth Chart

Byes This Week: None
Early Game Alert: Thursday: CHI @ MIA 8:20pm EST

Defensive Line

  • Jacksonville hoped to have addressed their pass rush problems when they added DE Aaron Kampman in the offseason, but now have no consistent threat to opposing QBs after Kampman tore his right ACL during practice last week, a year after tearing his left ACL. It looks like their pair of 2010 fifth-round picks this year will battle it out to replace Kampman at RDE. Rookie Austen Lane got the star, with rookie Larry Hart working in also. Lane put up a goose egg and Hart had 1 TFL. On the left side, Jeremy Mincey took over as the new LDE. He was expected to replace former first-round pick Derrick Harvey before the bye, but broke his hand and Lane started over Harvey for a game. Mincey took over on Sunday and had 5 solo tackles and a QB hit. Rookie DT Tyson Alualu was limited by a knee he banged up in practice last week, fortunately not as badly as Kampman. Alualu had 1 solo tackle in the game.

  • Atlanta DE John Abraham is in the most impressive streak of health in his career and the results are back. After a disappointing 5.5 sacks in 2009 despite not missing a game, Abraham has had three multi-sack games in his last five and now had 8 sacks on the season, tied for fourth in the league. Contributing to his health has been a reduced snap count to keep him fresh. Abraham hasnít been a tackle-producer for some time, so it doesnít impact his fantasy expectations much, as most owners should only be expecting the sacks.

  • While Cincinnati DE Jonathan Fanene remained inactive with a hamstring injury, DE Antwan Odom returns from his four-game suspension this week (correcting my statement last week he had two games left Ė the bye counted as one). The team has a one-week roster exemption on Odom, so he doesnít have to be activated this week, but itís hard to see the Bengals waiting. Their rotation of Michael Johnson and Frostee Rucker at RDE and Robert Geathers and rookie Carlos Dunlap at LDE has been underwhelming, particularly in the pass rush. Dunlap did get his first career sack on Sunday and had a TFL on another play. I assume the nominal starters will be Odom on the right and Geathers, or Fanene, when healthy, on the left, but this should remain a deep, ineffective rotation. They might as well plug Dunlap in, as he has the most potential. There is no question about his ability; itís just if heíll put in the effort to consistently excel. HC Marvin Lewis had some thinly-veiled comments along these lines after praising Dunlapís performance in Mondayís press conference when Lewis said ďlearning how to practice is the biggest thing with CarlosĒ, which is coachspeak for heís lazy.

  • I expected bigger things facing the team that had surrendered the most sacks in the league coming in to Sunday, but Minnesota DE Jared Allen had the teamís only sack at Chicago. He has 3.5 in the last two games.

  • Arizona DE Darnell Dockett couldnít play through a shoulder stringer, missing a game for the first time in his seven-year NFL career. One of the most durable DLinemen in the league, only San Francisco DE Justin Smith (151 straight games) had played in more consecutive games than Dockett (104) until his streak ended on Sunday.

  • Pittsburgh RDE Brett Keisel missed his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss this week. Nick Eason continues to replace him. On the left side, Ziggy Hood continues to work in place of Aaron Smith, who missed his third straight game with a partially torn left biceps. Smith hasnít been placed on the IR yet, as the team hopes to have him back for the playoffs, but he isnít expected back in the regular season.

  • After putting together a couple good games, Detroit DE Cliff Avril sat out Sunday with a hamstring injury. Turk McBride started in his place on the left side and had 6 tackles (2 solo), but it was Lawrence Jackson who was the bigger beneficiary. The former first-round pick of Seattle, who was acquired for a sixth-round pick by the Lions, wasnít off to much better of a start with his new team as he was not even active for every game this season. However, as their third DE against Buffalo, he posted 8 tackles (4 solo), including his only sack in the game, and forced a fumble on Buffalo RB Fred Jackson. RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch also had 8 tackles (3 solo).

  • Coming off his best game of the season, productive reserve Buffalo DE Spencer Johnson left the game early on Sunday with a pulled hamstring and is expected to miss at least this week.

  • A patchwork DLine in Seattle benefit from an injured backfield in Arizona forcing them to work mostly through the air. DE Chris Clemons had a pair of sacks and he leads the team with 7.5 on the season. It has been a decent breakout season for Clemons, who has always shown potential as a pass rusher and should now achieve career highs across the board as a full-time starter for the first time in his career. I was pretty high on him coming in to the season and frankly expected a few more sacks from him at this point, as his schedule gets a bit less friendly the rest of the way. More than half his sacks have come in three games against Arizona and Chicago, the two teams who have surrendered the most sacks this season. On the left side, Kentwan Balmer continues to have a tenuous hold on the job as the replacement for Red Bryant, who is done for the season. Raheem Brock could push him, but now he faces some off-field issues after a DUI arrest on Saturday morning. Even more problematic for him could be that he didnít tell the team about the arrest before the game, which HC Pete Carroll disclosed when asked about why Brock faced no disciplinary action on Sunday. Carroll canít be too happy about that, but also needed him as the team was also without DT Colin Cole (ankle sprain) for the second straight game. Junior Siavii continues to replace Cole, who is expected to miss this week too. The team did release DT Frank Okam, who was added for depth because of their injuries, but that could be more because he has nothing left than a good sign for Cole.

  • Philadelphia DE Juqua Parker had to leave Monday night with a hip flexor strain, but he is expected to be ready this week. Bump up Darryl Tapp if he isnít. DT Antonio Dixon continues to start over DT Brodrick Bunkley (torn elbow ligament) next to Mike Patterson, but both are eating in to the otherís stats.

  • Dallas DE Marcus Spears was placed on IR last week with a strained calf. Stephen Bowen got the start in his place. Depth is thin at end, with rookie Sean Lissemore out 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain.

  • Teams allowing the most sacks this season (start your pass rushers against them):
    1. Arizona, Chicago (33)
    3. Carolina (27)
    4. Oakland (26)
    5. Washington, Philadelphia (25)
    7. Seattle (24)
  • Top waiver wire recommendations of the week: Charles Johnson won the battle to replace Julius Peppers this year, and he has been solid, but unspectacular (although he has better stats than Peppers this year). However, as you try to solidify your playoff roster, Iím circling his Week 15 match up with Arizona as a potential big game. If you are really hurting, Antwan Odom was probably dropped when he was suspended. He didnít do much to start the season, but should have a starting job back with the dismal performance of the ends in his absence. In dynasty leagues, grab Carlos Dunlap for next year and beyond.

Linebacker

  • The experiment with Brian Cushing in the middle is over in Houston. After struggling to adapt, he returned to his natural SLB position on Sunday and posted 9 solo tackles, including 1 TFL, and had a QB hit. The new MLB was Kevin Bentley, who slid in from SLB where he had been replacing Cushing, and had 7 tackles (6 solo). WLB Zac Diles stayed put and posted 8 tackles (7 solo).

  • While other sources, including the Carolina website, indicated Jordan Senn as the new WLB after Dan Connor was lost for the season, I discussed here last week Nic Harris was the likely replacement and made him a waiver wire recommendation. Harris started at WLB and led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo). Jon Beason slid back inside to MLB and had 6 solo tackles, including 2 TFL. Breakout SLB James Williams had 7 tackles (5 solo) and recovered a fumble. After double-digit tackles in three of his first four games, Anderson hasnít had one since, although he hasnít had less than 7 tackles either, so heís been very consistent, but heís now ďfallenĒ to seventh in the league in tackles. Tweener Eric Norwood has also seen some more work. He is working at both DE and OLB in pass rush situations as the current front four rotation is struggling to generate pressure.

  • The adrenaline finally wore off for Indianapolis WLB Clint Session. Despite returning to play after fracturing his right forearm and dislocating the elbow in the previous game, Session was inactive and is out indefinitely, although it looks like it will be hard to keep him on the sidelines long. It was mildly surprising that seventh-round pick Kavell Conner, and not Tyjuan Hagler, replaced Session in as the starting WLB, although Hagler replaced Conner in passing situations. The two cannibalized each otherís numbers, so itís hard to recommend either at the fantasy-friendly WLB spot for the Colts. The team was also without MLB Gary Brackett, who was out with turf toe. Impressive second-round pick Pat Angerer slid inside to once again replace Brackett, while Philip Wheeler, who recently lost the starting SLB job to Angerer, got the start there.

  • With ďjustĒ 9 tackles (4 solo) on Sunday, New England ILB Jerod Mayo broke a streak of five consecutive games with double-digit tackles this season. He still leads the league in tackles with 105.

  • An Aaron Curry sighting! The former first-round pick for Seattle had his best game of the season with 8 solo tackles, including 2 sacks, forcing a fumble on one of them. The OLB has been a disappointment at least from a fantasy perspective in his first two seasons and itís hard to get excited about his two sacks coming against the team that has given up the most sacks in the league. Iím a bit more impressed that heís stacked up good statistical performances in back-to-back games, the prior coming against a better team in the Giants. The whole linebacking corps has been disappointing. MLB Lofa Tatupu hasnít been a playmaker and doesnít project to break 100 tackles coming off an injury-plagued 2009. Heís battled some knee problems this year and Iíd consider buying low in dynasty leagues, but after being extremely durable and productive early in his career, he has been hampered by injury problems the last three years. After a breakout 2009, helped by the absence of Tatupu most of the year, WLB David Hawthorne has been another disappointment this year. While Iím more concerned with health factors for Tatupu, part of Hawthorneís lack of production is scheme-based. Defensive-minded HC Pete Carroll and DC Gus Bradley spend a lot of time in nickel, dime, and even their ďBanditĒ package with seven defensive backs and SS Lawyer Milloy as the middle linebacker. Despite their LBs seemingly a strength of this defense, the scheme clearly devalues them and relies on a big front four to occupy blockers and a bend-but-donít-break approach to stopping the run with their DBs, while also utilizing them as blitzers. Itís hard to argue with the success theyíve had with it, for the most part, although that has been on fairly easy schedule and when they had a full lineup of healthy big men up front. I think offenses will catch up to this gimmick and force Carroll to eventually play conventionally more often, but for now itís an important factor in limiting the production of Seattle linebackers.

  • Detroit WLB Ashlee Palmer was replaced by Landon Johnson early in the second half. I donít think it was performance-based, as Palmer had 5 tackles (2 solo) and a forced fumble at the time. Palmer was questionable coming in to the game with a hamstring injury, so he may have aggravated it. After getting the last two starts, Palmer seemed to have beaten out Johnson and the recently-acquired Bobby Carpenter for the WLB job after Zack Follett was done for the season.

  • Atlanta rookie SLB Sean Weatherspoon missed his fourth straight game with a right knee sprain. Stephen Nicholas continues to start in his place and play well. He had 6 tackles (4 solo) and played well in coverage. Weatherspoon is expected to return this week. It will be interesting to see if Weatherspoon regains his job. He is the better athlete with more potential as a playmaker, but Nicholas is more fundamentally sound and plays well in the system. It could be a fantasy-unfriendly platoon.

  • It has been a bit of a mid-season resurgence for 35-year old Pittsburgh ILB James Farrior, who appeared to be showing his age earlier in the season with decreasing production. Farrior led the team with 10 tackles (5 solo) and after back-to-back double-digit tackle games, is back on track for another 100-tackle season. Fellow ILB Lawrence Timmons suffered a hip pointer in the third quarter and left the game. He did not return and was replaced by Larry Foote. Check the injury report for Timmons on Wednesday. OLB James Harrison played through back spasms to post 9 tackles (6 solo).

  • Denver ILB D.J. Williams was arrested on suspicion of DUI on Friday. Despite this being his second DUI, the teamís discipline amounted to benching him for the first series (although he managed just 2 solo tackles the rest of the game), stripping him of being a team captain and fining him. The league and the legal system may have more to say about this. Williams is due in court December 13. Mario Haggan doubled the sack total for his eight-year career with 3 sacks on Sunday. Donít expect the a repeat, but Hagganís solid tackle production hasnít decreased since being kicked outside due to injuries. On that note, OLB Robert Ayers (broken foot) isnít expected to return this week. When he does, Haggan goes back inside and Wesley Woodyard and Joe Mays go back to the benchÖunless Williams gets suspended.

  • No change inside for Arizona, as rookie Daryl Washington remains largely pushed out of the picture now that Gerald Hayes is back and Paris Lenon is playing well. You have to expect Washington to get more involved again at some point, the closer the Cardinals creep toward mathematical elimination from the playoffs on a four-game losing streak. On the outside, Clark Haggans returned from a groin injury to his starting role, but was limited.

  • Tampa Bay MLB Barrett Ruud hasnít quite lived up to expectations most of the year, but he had his second double-digit tackle game in his last four, as well as a sack and a pick in that time. If you havenít been starting him regularly, unless you are stacked at LB, you should start to again. Seventh-round pick Dekoda Watson started at SLB in place of Quincy Black, who was inactive with an ankle injury. Watson had 5 solo tackles, including 2 on special teams.

  • It didnít take long for fragile new Buffalo OLB Shawne Merriman to hurt himself with his new team. In his first practice with the Bills, Merriman aggravated a right Achillesí tendon injury that was a problem for him in the preseason in San Diego before a left calf injury derailed most of his season there, ultimately leading to him being waived. Merriman was inactive and is expected to miss this week, as well. In addition to the injury, the schizophrenic Buffalo defense was back again playing a 4-3 on Sunday, further making the wisdom of adding Merriman questionable. This time the 4-3 featured Paul Posluszny in the middle, instead of at WLB, as Andra Davis was lost for the season since the last time it was their base scheme. No matter where they played Poz this season, he has consistently produced tackles. He had his fifth double-digit tackles game out of seven played this season (he missed two games), leading the team with 13 (11 solo).

  • Green Bay OLB Clay Matthews held his league lead sacks with 10.5 on the season over the a bye week.

  • Cincinnati sat WLB Keith Rivers in favor of Brandon Johnson. Not only is Rivers dealing with a gimpy foot, but Johnson has the better ability in coverage against the Colts air attack. Johnson deserves to start somewhere. Heís a better fit at SLB, but MLB Dhani Jones continues to play so well and muck up the master plan to kick Rey Maualuga inside.

  • Philadelphia WLB Ernie Sims had to leave Monday night with an ankle sprain. He is expected to play this week.

  • Giants MLB Jonathan Goff left the game Sunday with a hyperextended elbow in the fourth quarter. Phillip Dillard replaced him.

  • OLB Scott Fujita left Sunday in the second quarter after suffering some damage to his knee ligaments. HC Eric Mangini shed all the light on it of saying heíd be out for ďa little whileĒ. David Bowens, he of the unlikely 2 picks returned for TDs in a game earlier this season, replaced Fujita. Expect Fujita out at least this week. Reserve OLB Marcus Benard played despite collapsing in the locker room after practice last week. Fortunately he is OK.

  • In St. Louis, Chris Chamberlain replaced Bryan Kehl, who replaced Larry Grant, who beat out the since-released Bobby Carpenter as the starting WLB. Think the Rams will look to address this position in the offseason?

  • Top waiver wire recommendations of the week: I already told you about Nic Harris last week, although heís an immediate need guy and not one to stash for dynasty leagues. More for his steady tackle production than the big sack week, I like Mario Haggan in redraft leagues. In sack-heavy leagues, look for SD OLB Larry English to return to his starting job off the bye and healed this week.

Defensive Back

  • When New England S Patrick Chung missed his first game with an apparent knee injury, I wrote HC Bill Belichick would probably protect him until the Pittsburgh game, and he did. Chung returned Sunday night and was in the starting lineup at safety with Brandon Meriweather. Chung was impressive, racking up 11 tackles (6 solo), including an assist on special teams, with both big hits and great open-field tackling, and also tipped a pass that picked by S James Sanders and returned for a TD in the fourth quarter. However, he also appeared to aggravate the knee injury twice, at the start of the fourth quarter and then the series after the pick-six. He returned both times and finished the game, but this is clearly something to monitor. The return of Chung came at the expense of PT mostly for Sanders. Reserve S Jarrad Page missed his fourth straight game with a left calf injury.

  • Despite C.C. Brown active and his knee apparently healthy for Detroit, Amari Spievey remained the starting SS. Although weak in coverage for a corner, his college position, Spievey is an upgrade over Brown as a safety and is no less productive in run support. Spievey had 6 tackles (4 solo).

  • As I mentioned in this column last week, Baltimore CB Josh Wilson has been productive when given the opportunity and he was again on Thursday night. He led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo) as he was picked on by Atlanta when trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to cover Atlanta WR Roddy White Ė although White did push off on the game-winning TD. Wilson was shaken up after being the bigger victim of FS Ed Reed trying to dislodge the ball from White after a catch in the fourth quarter, but Wilson returned shortly after. Reed didnít force a turnover in the game, but still contributed to his fantasy owners with 6 tackles (5 solo). After being benched in favor of Wilson during the last two games, CB Fabian Washington was demoted to start the game as Wilson was with the first-team out of gate. Washington plummeted past the nickel role down to a true reserve as sophomore Lardarius Webb was the third corner. However, Washington took over the nickel later in the game as Webb was also victimized by White during the game, so corner remains an overall problem for the Ravens.

  • The party for fantasy owners that is Arizona CB Greg Toler could be wrapping up. Toler was benched during the game on Sunday as he once again was making Seattle WR Mike Williams look like an All-Pro. Michael Adams replaced him. Toler should get another shot, but he remains one of the weakest cover corners in the league and opposing teams happily target him, the reason for his great fantasy production. Itís hard not to root for Toler. After a poor grades led to no major scholarship offers, he began working at a local JC Penny and kept his football dream alive in a semi-pro league, where tiny DII St. Paulís DC Kevin Grisby discovered him. St. Paulís was just restarting their football program after it previously was shut down in 1987 and were looking anywhere for talent. Toler had plenty of that and with Grisbyís help, he got his academic development in order too. Toler became a late riser leading up to the 2009 draft as word spread about his athletic ability and Arizona reached for him in the fourth round. Toler has gotten by on his athleticism, but his lack of technical ability and limited coaching at corner has caught up to him. While heís plenty fast and a physical player, he doesnít have the crucial skills and instincts as a corner and probably has more potential as a safety. Their safeties havenít provided much help to Toler in coverage, where FS Kerry Rhodes has been unexceptional and is used in a variety of roles, while SS Adrian Wilson is a liability. Second-year S Rashad Johnson is more of a ball hawk and true centerfielder in the secondary, so he continues to see more work.

  • With CB Asher Allen out with a concussion for Minnesota, rookie Chris Cook got the start. SS Husain Abdullah got his first 2 picks of his career off Chicago QB Jay Cutler, including one in the end zone on the type of ill-advised attempt to force the ball in that made Minnesota QB Brett Favre the career leader in picks in NFL history.

  • If Philadelphia CB Dimitri Patterson hadnít already taken over the starting job from Ellis Hobbs on performance over injury, he probably did Monday night. Patterson grabbed a pair of picks off Washington QB Donovan McNabb and returned one for a TD. Hobbs was returned to practice in limited fashion last week, but remained inactive with a hip flexor. Rookie FS Nate Allen was inactive with a neck strain after being shaken on a tackle in the previous, mostly when teammate MLB Stewart Bradley crashed in to him. Rookie Kurt Coleman replaced Allen for his first career start and grabbed his first career pick. Allen is expected back this week.

  • Dealing with plenty of injuries elsewhere, Indianapolis was happy to have CB Jerraud Powers, after getting nickel CB Jacob Lacey back in the prior game, to face the talented Cincinnati WR corps. Powers returned to his starting role opposite Kelvin Hayden and the trio were the top three tacklers for the Colts in the game. Hayden also returned his second pick of the season for a TD. The secondary was without CB Justin Tryon (foot) for the second straight game.

  • Buffalo LCB Terrence McGee was active after missing the last five games, but did not start and remains limited with a pinched nerve and knee problems in his left leg. Leodis McKelvin continues to start in his place.

  • Oakland CB Nnamdi Asomugha sounds like he is likely to remain out coming off a bye with a right ankle sprain.

  • After he cleared waivers, Miami signed former Green Bay CB Al Harris and he was active as the fourth corner on Sunday. Sean Smith and Vontae Davis remain the starters. While Smith has struggled in his sophomore season, I donít see Harris replacing him. To make room on the roster, they released former 16th overall pick DB Jason Allen. Allenís career has been a roller coaster ride, but his latest demotion after temporarily replacing Smith in the starting lineup was his last with the Dolphins. FS Chris Clemons left the game with a strained hamstring and he was replaced by rookie Reshad Jones. Clemons is questionable this week.

  • For the One Manís Junk, Another Manís Treasure file, the aforementioned Jason Allen was scooped up off waivers by Houston, desperate for help in their secondary. He wasnít active on Sunday, but could push either rookie CB Kareem Jackson or FS Eugene Wilson soon.

  • Versatile San Francisco S Reggie Smith is now in a platoon with rookie S Taylor Mays.

  • Dallas brought rookie CB Bryan McCann up from the practice the previous week to be a return specialist. When he fumbled a kick off that was returned for a TD (although it shouldnít have been ruled a fumble), it appeared he might not be long for this league. However, he was still with Dallas on Sunday, thanks to a thin secondary, and when CB Mike Jenkins left with a neck injury, he soon found himself covering outstanding Giants WR Hakeem Nicks in the red zone. Thorough film study apparently taught him a give in Nicksí body language and he made the right cut to pick off a potential TD pass and return it 101 yards for the longest interception return in Cowboysí history. CB Terence Newman played through a left ankle sprain he suffered on the first series after getting x-rays. The team is hopeful both corners will play this week.

  • Top waiver wire recommendations: As he apparently has taken over at SS in Detroit, rookie Amari Spievey is a nice add for redraft leagues and a priority acquisition for dynasty leagues. Also for both, Courtney Green in tackle-heavy leagues, as he continues to rack them up locked back in at SS. Also, Seattle DBs, see my explanation of their scheme impact in the ďLinebacker NotesĒ above.