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IDP Notes
Week 2
9/15/10

Week 2 Injury Report (available Friday PM)

IDP Depth Chart


Defensive Line

  • New Giants DC Perry Fewell solved his problem of how to optimize usage of his talented defensive ends by using an old solution of former DC Steve Spagnuolo Ė he gave Mathias Kiwanuka plenty of work at OLB. In fact, Fewell showed several different permutations and combinations to best utilize his excellent depth throughout the whole DLine. The base package featured Justin Tuck at LDE, which was expected, and Osi Umenyiora at RDE with Kiwanuka at WLB opposite Keith Bulluck, who started at SLB. The big winner is Umenyiora, whose value gets a huge boost after it appeared in the preseason he may have been third in the rotation. He posted 5 tackles (4 solo), including a sack, and forced a fumble. Umenyiora looks like he has returned to form and again a threat for double-digit sacks. Grab him off the wire if he was left their in shallow leagues because of the uncertainty of his situation. Kiwanuka had no problem playing back with his hand off the ground, getting a pair of sacks and forcing a fumble on one. His projections remain strong as they were in the preseason and gets an additional boost in leagues where he remains eligible as a DL, since playing LB should help his tackle numbers.

    The big loser was OLB Michael Boley. Boley, and not Bulluck, was bounced from the base package. However, this ďbigĒ base package was specifically designed to stop Carolinaís run game, so expect Boley, the only decent LB in coverage they have, to play a much more significant role this week against the Colts. Boley looks like a spot play with his tackle numbers bound to suffer, but I expect this situation to be fluid, as I still think heís their best LB. DT Chris Canty also had a nice start, getting 6 tackles (1 solo) and sharing a sack with fellow starting DT Barry Cofield. Canty struggled through injury in his first season as a Giant last year, but now healthy, should be an impact player up front a nice play in leagues that require DTs.

  • We finally got some answers on the front seven situation in Oakland. Rookie Lamarr Houston started at LDE, as expected, while Trevor Scott moved back down to play with his hand on the ground, as rumored, and started at RDE over Matt Shaughnessy. However, Shaughnessy rotated in frequently and finished the most productive end, totaling 3 solo tackles, including a sack, and another QB hit. None look worthy of being fantasy starters in all but the deepest leagues at this point and Scott will have significantly lower value in your league if heís only eligible at LB. Former Jaguar John Henderson saw more work at DT than expected next to Richard Seymour at the expense of Tommy Kelly, who gets downgraded.

  • Coming back from a torn Achillesí tendon that derailed his breakout season last year, Cincinnati DE Antwan Odom has tested positive for a banned substance. He has fervently denied it was a performance-enhancing drug and said he is appealing it, with a four-game suspension likely looming if he fails. He started in New England for the season opener, but was a fantasy non-factor.

  • No surprised in Carolina where Charles Johnson and Tyler Brayton started with Everette Brown and rookie Greg Hardy rotating in regularly. Hardy was the most productive, getting 4 tackles (3 solo), forcing a fumble and blocking a punt out of bound in the end zone for a safety late in the game. The rotation hurts the redraft value of all, but Hardy gets a slight upgrade for the big play potential heís already demonstrating. In Chicago, the man they are trying to replace, DE Julius Peppers paid immediate dividends for his new team with a classic strip sack from behind late in the second quarter that was converted to a FG and part of the Bears scoring 10 points in less than a minute after looking like they were headed in to halftime down 14-3. Itís a bit disappointing Peppers didnít do more against a shaky Detroit OLine, but he did have 2 other QB hits.

  • Rookie DE Brandon Graham started and got some penetration for Philadelphia, but fantasy owners were disappointed to see him fail to show up in the box score. Iím not too discouraged yet. His back-up, the steady Juqua Parker racked up his first two sacks of the season and on the other side Trent Cole was excellent as usual, getting his first sack and leading the team with 6 solo tackles. As discussed here last week, Darryl Tapp was out of the picture, a healthy scratch. However, recently acquired tweener Antwan Barnes had a significant role in the DE rotation. He had 2 solo tackles and applied some pressure, showing he can still play with his hand on the ground after failing to take as an OLB in Baltimore. I wouldnít both with him in all but the deepest redraft leagues, but he is intriguing again in dynasty leagues. Of course, he has significantly less value if heís still classified only at LB in your league.

  • Two giant former IDP studs saw limited action on Sunday. Both Shaun Rogers in Cleveland (due to injury) and Albert Haynesworth in Washington (multiple issues) saw limited snaps. Rogersí value should increase as he gets healthy and worked in more, but Haynesworth is still a wild card. His troubles in D.C. were discussed in this column at length last week and he is still a trade candidate.

  • Houston DE Connor Barwin was lost for the season after suffering a fractured right ankle on Sunday. The team is reportedly looking at all the top street free agents (Adewale Ogunleye, Leonard Little, Ryan Denney, and Bobby McCray) as their depth is thin at DE.

  • The Detroit defensive line played great collectively, the entire rotation, with RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch leading the way with 11 tackles (10 solo). However, they played one of the worst offensive lines in the league, with KVB facing perhaps the worst starting LT in the league, so donít expect this every week.

  • Tennessee DE William Hayes needs to recover quickly from his sprained right MCL, or a starting job might not still be there when he gets back. The Tennessee front four looked extremely deep and promising after the first game. Jason Babin and Dave Ball were the starters, with Babin getting a sack and forcing a fumble, while Ball got 3 tackles (1 solo) and batted down 2 passes. Rookie first-round pick Derrick Morgan got his first career sack and pass rush specialist Jacob Ford also had one. On the inside, Jason Jones and Tony Brown started, but Jovan Haye was the most productive with 5 tackles (3 solo) and SeníDerrick Marks had some good snaps, as well. I expect Hayes to be back next week, and he should ultimately be the teamís most productive DE, but Babin is a nice sleeper and Morgan has great dynasty upside.

  • Jets NT Kris Jenkins suffered a left knee injury on MNF when it was bent awkwardly as he was tripped up and fell backwards. He is out for the season. It is the same knee that cut his season short last year. HC Rex Ryan was pleased with the play of Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito in Jenkinsí absence, as they helped hold the Ravensí ground game to 49 yards on 35 carries.

  • Injury-prone DE Justin Harrell tore his ACL and is done for the season for Green Bay.

  • After cleaning house at DE this offseason, the Seahawks got a great performance from their new group. Converted DT Red Bryant started at LDE for Seattle and had 3 solo tackles, including a sack, and forced a fumble. He wonít get many sacks, but has additional value in leagues that segregate between line positions and he is still eligible as a DT. Chris Clemons started at RDE and although he didnít get a sack, he had 4 QB hits. The sacks will come. Clemons is a nice sleeper in deep leagues that score sacks highly. Most notable was undersized rookie Dexter Davis who got his first career sack and another solo tackle. A dominant pass rusher at Arizona State, he fell to the seventh round on concerns he was destined to convert to LB and his upside was as a special teamer. However, it looks like he has a future as a pass rusher. He wonít have much value this year, but is someone to monitor for dynasty leagues.

  • Unheralded reserve DE Jayme Mitchell had the only sack for Minnesota on Thursday night. A blitz by Chad Greenway opened the opportunity that Mitchell took advantage of. In the preseason, Mitchell beat 2009 second-overall pick Jason Smith for sacks on back-to-back plays of St. Louis rookie QB Sam Bradford. Mitchell is backing up Ray Edwards at LDE and wonít do much this season if the starters stay healthy, but heís now a name Iím filing away.

  • Top waiver recommendations of the week: in shallow redraft leagues, Osi Umenyiora may be sitting out there, in which case he might be the most valuable IDP overall to chase this week. In deeper redraft leagues where Umenyiora was gambled on, maybe KVB is available. Iím not that high on him, but he had a nice debut for his new team and is still a double-digit sack threat on a team that will spend a lot of time on defense. In dynasty leagues, snatch up Greg Hardy.

    Linebacker

  • After leaving last yearís opener with a broken wrist and missing the rest of the season, Chicago MLB Brian Urlacher returned with a bang on Sunday. The speed in pursuit and closing that once made him a special player was back, as he helped contain the speedy Jahvid Best with 8 solo tackles and added a sack, while also effective in coverage. Urlacherís performance had been trending down, related to back issues, before the wrist injury last season, so a year off of football appears to have been good for his body. He carries risk the back problems could resurface and at 32, his career is still winding down, but Sunday showed he can still be a dominant force and productive fantasy player again. OLB Lance Briggs showed no ill effects from an ankle sprain late in the preseason. He led the team with 10 tackles (9 solo) and had one of the best-timed blitzes youíll see when he crashed up the middle untouched on a first-and-ten from the Detroit nine-yard line to knock the ball down from Detroit QB Shaun Hill as he was trying to hand it off and Briggs recovered it himself at the one-inch line.

  • More bad luck for Philadelphia MLB Stewart Bradley, who returned from a knee injury last season. He was jarred by teammate Ernie Sims when the two collided on a tackle. Stewart initially got up from the collision, but then stumbled around like a drunken member of the Jersey Shore cast before falling down. He briefly returned to the game, a move receiving much scrutiny and negative feedback for HC Andy Reid, before leaving for good. He failed a screening on Monday that is necessary before returning to practice and is doubtful for this week. Omar Gaither should get the start in his place.

  • Looks like Carolina HC John Fox made the right decision (for the team) in moving Jon Beason to WLB and Dan Connor in starting as a starter in the middle after losing Thomas Davis. Connor had an impressive debut, leading the team with 13 tackles (10 solo), including a sack and 3 others for losses. Beason also had double-digit tackles (10, 6 solo). Connor looks like he can be upgraded to a LB1 and while Beason remains one as well; he initially is looking challenged to remain a top-five fantasy producer at the position. SLB James Anderson also had a productive game with 9 tackles (7 solo) and his first career pick. Anderson has some ability, but the Giants dominated time of possession and Iím not ready to rush out for Anderson now over some other likely waiver wire choices this week.

  • Detroit MLB DeAndre Levy suited up and went through a pregame warm-up, he was inactive, as expected, with a groin pull. Landon Johnson started in his place in the middle and posted 3 solo tackles. When Johnson got temporarily dinged up during the game, Ashlee Palmer stepped in. Watch for updates on Levy, but barring a setback, he should be back this week.

  • Buffalo ILB Paul Posluszny suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday and is expected to miss two weeks. Undersized Keith Ellison, who has surprised before when given the change, likely starts while Poz is out. The team was already thin inside having lost their top back-up, Kawika Mitchell, last week to the IR with a foot injury. The signed Akin Ayodele, who was released by Denver in the preseason, for depth. He could factor in if Ellison struggles.

  • Two former first-round LBs headed in different directions in Green Bay. Clay Matthews had a dominant performance on Sunday, leading the team with 7 solo tackles, with 2 sacks and a forced fumble among them. He is moving from primarily a pass rush threat to the disruptive player on defense the opposition needs to scheme for in any situation. Meanwhile, A.J. Hawk continues to free fall. He was bounced from the base package in favor of Brandon Chillar. Not much of a pass rusher or good in coverage, Hawk is strictly a back-up now and fairly worthless.

  • The linebacker situation in KC was sorted out, at least for now. The interior completely turned over, with Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher starting. Johnson was all over the field, leading the team 12 tackles (11 solo) and forcing a fumble. He had a brilliant open field tackle for a loss on elusive SD RB Darren Sproles late in the game. He still gets overwhelmed by blockers at point of impact, but he can pile up tackles in pursuit with his superior athleticism. Iíve been pimping DJ to return to prominence in the offseason, so I feel confident recommending grabbing him off the waiver wire if you need help at LB. On the outside, veteran Mike Vrabel has held off Andy Studebaker and even saw work as a TE again now that he is reunited with new OC Charlie Weis, who seemed to annual find a TD for Vrabel when the two were together in New England. On the other side, Tamba Hali is locked in, as expected, and shared a sack with DE Glenn Dorsey, who looked impressive, as well.

  • Dallas OLB Demarcus Ware left Sunday nightís game early with a neck strain. He should be fine to face Chicago this week. Ware had a fine start, with 6 solo tackles, including a sack, and is a great play against a poor Chicago OLine this week.

  • The starters outside in Oakland were as discussed here last week, Kamerion Wimbley and the surprising Quentin Groves. Both saw significant snaps and were productive, with Wimbley notching his first sack of the season, forcing a fumble, among his 5 tackles (4 solo). Groves had 6 tackles (5 solo). Rookie first-round pick MLB Rolando McClain had a quiet start with 6 tackles (4 solo), but was all over the field and better numbers should be coming. Former starter Thomas Howard saw more snaps than expected, but had only 1 tackle, although he forced a fumble too.

  • Despite the unexpected death of his mother last week, Tennessee WLB Will Witherspoon played last week. He posted 6 solo tackles, including a sack. He is a versatile LB who HC Jeff Fisher should use in a variety of ways and is being largely overlooked in fantasy leagues. He isnít going to rack up tackles, but has more value in leagues that reward big plays.

  • Due to an Achillesí tendon injury, San Diego OLB Shawne Merriman was inactive, as expected, and Larry English started in his place opposite Shaun Phillips.

  • In Houstonís nickel package, which they played extensively against Indianapolis, WLB Zac Diles and MLB DeMeco Ryans stayed on the field. Both rolled up double-digit tackles and it helped the value of Diles tremendously. This will change when Cushing returns from suspension, but for now Diles has significant value.

  • Former Detroit second-round pick Ikaika Alama-Francis looked like he finally found a home in Miami when he beat out rookie Koa Misi to start outside opposite Cameron Wake. However, Alama-Francis woke up sick on game day and was a scratch. The rookie Misi got the start and responded with 4 tackles (2 solo), including his first career sack. On the other side, Wake, a former UDFA and CFL star, got off to a good start proving last year was no fluke with a sack, as well. On the inside, Karlos Dansby also got his first sack as a Dolphin. With Channing Crowder inactive, as expected, with leg problems, it was Bobby Carpenter, and not Tim Dobbins, who got the start and most of the work in their base defense. With Crowder the starter when he returns and Carpenter apparently the top back-up, Dobbins can be dropped if you grabbed him as a sleeper.

  • OLB Leroy Hill returns from a one-game suspension for Seattle, but David Hawthorne remains the starter at WLB.

  • Top waiver recommendations of the week: in shallow redraft leagues, and maybe some deeper ones, grab Dan Connor. After him, Derrick Johnson and in deeper leagues, maybe Will Witherspoon or Ernie Sims is out there of you are thin at LB. Iím not high on Omar Gaither because heís wildly inconsistent and Bradleyís injury should only keep him out a week or two. Iím still high on Ernie Sims in Philly for the year, even though he had a quiet start, and would take him over Gaither if both are available. Dump Michael Boley and Keith Bulluck in shallow redrafts, dump Thomas Howard and A.J. Hawk in all but dynasty leagues.

    Defensive Back

  • Not much to say about New England SS Patrick Chung and his 16 tackles (12 solo). Pretty much every IDP expert, including this one, was pimping him in the offseason and he delivered. Donít expect huge tackle numbers every week, but he will be adding big plays to his numbers soon.

  • Indianapolis SS Bob Sanders didnít even last a whole quarter. He left shortly before the first quarter with a right elbow injury. As we go to press, there are conflicting reports on the situation. As discussed here last week, Melvin Bullitt becomes a nice waiver wire addition if Sanders is out.

  • Once two of the elite fantasy producers at safety, Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes have had a couple inconsistent years. No longer wanted by the Jets, Rhodes (FS) joined Wilson (SS) in Arizona and both racked up big plays in a turnover-laden victory over St. Louis. Rhodes got his first pick as a Cardinal and returned it 65 yards. Wilson grabbed two picks and also had a sack. Now it was the Rams behind rookie QB Sam Bradford, so Iíll temper my excitement, but this potential dynamic duo in the Cardinalsí secondary are off to a great start. Neither had many tackles because those were mostly done by Greg Toler, the second-year CB who got his first career start. Toler had 13 solo tackles and forced fumble. Toler should see plenty of work this year with a patchwork LB corps and teams looking to avoid Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the other side. Toler could be surprisingly productive.

  • Reigning Defensive POY Charles Woodson picked up where he left off last year. The Green Bay CB had forced a brilliant fumble while bringing down inexperienced Philadelphia RB Eldra Buckley after a reception. Woodson also 5 tackles (4 solo) and broke up a pass.

  • Despite fasting the last 30 days while observing Ramadan, Husain Abdullah had enough strength and energy to beat out Jamarca Stanford and incumbent Tyrell Johnson for the starting SS role. The season opener was the first career start for the former UDFA, who suited up for all 16 games last season and led the Viking in special teamsí tackles. There was some speculation that his better pass coverage skills got him the isolated start last Thursday, but HC Brad Childress confirmed heís the starting strong safety, period. At corner, Asher Allen got the start replacing Cedric Griffin over veteran Lito Sheppard, who was added in the offseason. Rookie Chris Cook, who impressed in camp, was expected to get the start before he tore his right meniscus. He is doubtful to play this week. Allen was picked frequently and burned for the first New Orleansí TD. Griffin was inactive as he recovers from tearing his left ACL in the NFC Championship Game. He wasnít put on the PUP, so he is expected back sometime this month, but should be questionable up to the game he returns, so remains a risky play until he actually returns to the field. At the other corner, Antoine Winfield looked good and was back to being a tackle machine after battling foot problems much of last season.

  • It was a triumphant return for Giants SS Kenny Phillips, whose career was in doubt after a devastating knee injury last year. He had a pick and 4 solo tackles, including one that saved a TD. Big money FA acquisition Antrel Rolle also had a strong start in his first game as a Giant, providing great run support at FS and leading the team in tackles with 8 (7 solo). His big plays will come. Also impressive was third safety Deon Grant. The veteran wasnít brought back to the youth rebuilding effort in Seattle and was not considered an impact signing. It was the first game in the 11-year veterans career he did not start a NFL game he played in, but he was eased in to the adjustment because of the ďbigĒ base package the team employed to combat Carolinaís run game (and lack of receiving threats). He played more than half the game as DC Perry Fewell employed three safeties in the package. Grant made an acrobatic pick in the end zone and broke up another pass, along with 2 tackles (1 solo). He normally wonít be as much of a fantasy factor, but should be an impact player on a potent defense if either starter goes down. CB Aaron Ross was inactive with plantar fasciitis, a pain heíll have to play through this year. Terrell Thomas will start opposite Corey Webster at corner any time Ross is out and the team may be better off limiting Ross to nickel duty as long as Thomas is doing well.

  • Special teamer Steve Gregory has seen his role increase each of his four seasons in San Diego. Monday night he got the start in their season opener and led the team in tackles. Rookie Darrell Stuckey had been listed atop the depth chart, but was inactive despite not being on the injury report. San Diego Union-Tribune beat reporter Kevin Acee opined Stuckey isnít up to speed yet and the Chargers wanted more depth for the front seven against KCís running game. So donít rush out for Gregory just yet.

  • After one game, Iím almost ready to give up hope on Chris Harris returning to form as a playmaking force at safety in Chicago. He rotated FS with rookie Major Wright, who the coaching staff loves, and Danieal Manning was locked in at SS. I donít get it, Harris should be at SS, he isnít a great fit at FS anyway, but Manning is doing enough to remain there, so Harris could be the odd-man out. CB Charles Tillman continues to be one of the best DBs in the NFL at creating turnovers with his first pick of the season already in Week One.

  • Jets SS Brodney Pool was inactive with an ankle sprain, so Eric Smith got the start this week. It sounds like Pool remains questionable this week.

  • Jacksonville CB Derek Cox was benched during the game on Sunday, but HC Jack Del Rio has said he remains the starter.

  • After a promising rookie season, CB Seth Smith is plummeting down the depth chart. He not only surrendered his starting job to former first-round pick Jason Allen in the preseason, but didnít get off the bench on Sunday. Benny Sapp was the nickel and third safety Tyrone Culver also saw significant work.

  • Bump up Indianapolis CB Jerraud Powers in leagues that count return yardage, as he was unexpectedly the primary punt returner.

  • UDFA Aaron Berry earned the nickel corner job in Detroit and got his first pick in his first career game, but suffered a shoulder injury and is out indefinitely. The team signed veteran Nathan Vasher, who failed to make San Diegoís roster in the preseason, for depth.

  • Athletic SF rookie Taylor Mays was unable to exact revenge on his former college coach, Seattle HC Pete Carroll, for passing on selecting him in the first two rounds of the draft. Not only was his team embarrassed by the Seahawks, but he contributed little as his role is currently limited to special teams. FS Dashon Goldson was the most productive safety, while SS Michael Lewis had only a pair of tackles, one solo. Another promising youngster, Reggie Smith, is the top back-up at safety over Mays.

  • It was a surprise to see the versatile and productive Jordan Babineaux released by Seattle a week ago. It was more surprising to see him re-signed two days later after the team admitted it was a mistake. It was most surprising to see Babineaux, who seven days earlier appeared out of their plans, as the most productive DB on Sunday. He had 7 tackles (5 solo) and a pick to set up a TD as their nickel corner.

  • Top waiver recommendations of the week: if some how Patrick Chung was overlooked in your shallow league, grab him. In deeper leagues, Iím taking a look at Greg Toler. Also like Melvin Bullitt if we have a definitive negative prognosis on Bob Sanders. In dynasty, Major Wright, Husain Abdullah and Chris Cook. In shallow to medium redraft leagues, Iíd drop Chris Harris to gamble on someone else.