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Tony Nowak | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

IDP Notes
Week 5

Bye Weeks: Ravens, Browns, Cowboys, Dolphins, Rams, Redskins

Defensive Line

  • NYG DE Osi Umenyiora returned with a vengeance in his first game of the season. He started at RDE and, despite being eased back in playing only about half the defensive snaps, he had a pair of sacks, forcing a fumble on one of them. Umenyiora had been inactive through the first three games after his surgically-repaired right knee became a problem in the preseason. His return was timely as DE Justin Tuck was inactive with a neck stinger and groin strain he had been playing through. With Tuck out, Jason Pierre-Paul kept his starting spot, moving over to LDE opposite Umenyiora. JPP had 5 tackles (3 solo), a QB pressure and a pass defensed. Tuck remains highly questionable for this week, already on Monday referring to himself as a dreaded game-time decision. Reserve DE Dave Tollefson took advantage of the additional snaps and also racked up a pair of sacks. As JPP moved to the other side with Umenyiora back, it appears confirmed that Umenyiora will retain the starting RDE job and, of course, Tuck will start at LDE when all are healthy, putting JPP as the third DE. This shouldn't be a big hit to his fantasy value, especially in sack-heavy leagues, as JPP will be worked in frequently. The rotation should keep all three fresh and worth starting in even shallow leagues. Umenyiora carries the biggest risk. While it appears he'll put his issues with the front office and desire to be traded aside, his knees are the greater concern about his performance the rest of the year, and reason not to drop JPP even if his numbers do slow when all three are playing.

  • Injuries continue to devastate the PHI DLine. RDE Trent Cole suffered a calf strain in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field. The worst case scenario has him out the next two games, through the team's Week 7 bye. Reserve DT Antonio Dixon also tore his left triceps in the game and is done for the season. The team was already without DE Darryl Tapp (torn pec) and Juqua Parker (high ankle sprain), who were both inactive on Sunday. Parker is out indefinitely, while Tapp could return this week, but remains questionable. DE Brandon Graham (knee) says he is ready to play, but he is on the PUP and not eligible to come back until after the team's Week 7 bye. LDE Jason Babin picked up the slack for the front four with 3 sacks, forcing a fumble on one of them. He now leads the league 7 sacks on the season. With three of the top four ends out, reserve DE Philip Hunt will see another boost in snaps and the 2010 CFL sack leader could get his first start, but I think the team will use the versatile Jenkins at LDE in the base and kicks him inside on passing downs and brings Hunt in on the edge. That scenario brings DT Trevor Laws in on the base next to DT Mike Patterson. Laws picks up more snaps regardless with Dixon out. The team re-signed DT Derek Landri for depth after he was one of the team's final cuts in the preseason.

  • Minnesota DE Jared Allen remained en fuego, racking up 2 more sacks, giving him five in the last two games. He is second in the league with 6.5 on the season.

  • CAR DE Charles Johnson registered his fourth sack in as many games. He now has a sack in eleven consecutive games. Amazingly that was the only sack for the Panthers against a Chicago OLine that has allowed the second-most sacks this year.

  • OAK DE Matt Shaughnessy was inactive with a shoulder injury, so the team gave Jarvis Moss his first start as a Raider coming off his big game the previous week. Not much of an encore by Moss, he had a TFL and a QB pressure. DT Richard Seymour was flagged three times against his former team, two on the first drive by the Patriots that resulted in a TD. The first penalty was unfortunate, as the Raiders had New England with a third-and-nine with his back up to the Black Hole and the crowd going wild. There was a whistle for delay of game as the snap got off, but Seymour didn't hear it and took Brady down after blowing through the line and was flagged for a personal foul. However, Seymour wasn't the only one who didn't know the play was dead. Players on both teams and some other officials seemed equally unaware the play was over before Seymour hit Brady.

  • CIN DE Robert Geathers (shoulder) returned for the first time since the opener, but it was Carlos Dunlap who got the start at LDE. It didn't help Dunlap find his first sack of the season, he finished with 2 assists, a QB pressure and batted down a pass. Starting RDE Michael Johnson shared the only sack of the game with DT Geno Atkins, who leads the team with 2.5 on the season. Atkins is an appealing option for leagues that require starters at the position, but DE remains a fantasy wasteland on Cincy. Their rotation and lack of an elite pass rusher (or at least preventing Dunlap from the opportunities to prove he is such) provide scraps in the box score.

  • As the team was held sackless on Sunday, STL DE Chris Long was held without one for the first time this year and first-round pickDE3 Robert Quinn is still looking for his first. Quinn did force a fumble.

  • He didn't get to the QB on Sunday, but AZ DE Calais Campbell put together his second straight strong fantasy performance with 6 solo tackles, a TFL and a forced fumble. After a slow start, he's on a great pace for his numbers across the board.

  • DET DE Kyle Vanden Bosch was held without a sack for the first game this season. Reserve DE Willie Young had their only sack of the game, the first of his career, on the final drive of the game to help preserve the victory. Rookie DT Nick Fairley remained inactive, recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot from the preseason, but continues to move towards returning as he practiced more last week.

  • TB rookie DE Adrian Clayborn had a sack for the second straight game as he is beginning to assert himself and show the explosiveness that propelled him in to the upper tier of prospects after his junior season in college. On the other side, DE Michael Bennett helped hold down his starting spot over rookie Da'Quan Bowers with a pair of sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Bowers looked good in reserve duty with 2 tackles (1 solo) and a pass deflected. DT Gerald McCoy might have been the most impressive of a good showing by the DLine. He led the team in tackles with 6 (5 solo), 3 TFL, had a sack and 3 QB pressures. DT Brian Price appeared to aggravate a hamstring in the second quarter and left the game. He has battled coming back from major offseason surgery to reattach his hamstrings to his hips after fracturing his pelvic bone.

  • IND DE Robert Mathis had a sack for the second straight game, while TB was able to contain Dwight Freeney, who was playing on a sore ankle, on the other side to a goose egg in the box score. Reserve DE Jerry Hughes got his first career sack, but he has a long way to go before tipping the scales away from pointing toward bust. The downer of the MNF was the gruesome injury to DT Eric Foster who suffered a broken right fibula. He would seem to be done for the season. The team was already without DT Fili Mola (ankle) and rookie DT Drake Nevis left early with a back injury, although he looks like he'll be back this week.

  • NO RDE Will Smith notched his first two sack of the season in his second game back from suspension. Rookie DE Cameron Jordan isn't putting up much in the box score, but the coaching staff is happy with his run defense and he should retain his starting role.

  • DEN DE Elvis Dumervil returned after missing two games with a left shoulder strain. He had a solo tackle and QB pressure.

  • TEN DE Derrick Morgan and rookie reserve DT Karl Klug each had their second sack of the season, while DE Jason Jones had his first. With all their ends now healthy, Jones and Dave Ball continue to start with Morgan next in the rotation and working in the nickel package.

  • JAX DE Aaron Kampman (knee) has not yet been ruled out this week, which is a change from previous weeks. Matt Roth returned from a neck injury to replace him, kicking Austen Lane back to third DE, but Lane still registered his first sack of the season.

  • NE DLinemen Albert Haynesworth (back) and Mike Wright (concussion) were both inactive again. DT Kyle Love twisted his right ankle in the first quarter and had to leave the game, but returned in the second half. He was replaced by Gerard Warren, who was brought back last week for depth, after being among the final cuts before the season, due to all the injuries up front. For the second time in three weeks, DT Vince Wilfork had a pick and produced a highlight-reel worthy return.

  • PIT DE Aaron Smith suffered a foot sprain in the fourth quarter on Sunday and had to be carried off the field. The team was already without DE Brett Keisel, who remained inactive with a PCL sprain in his left knee, so Evander Hood had another start in his place. If both Smith and Keisel are out next week, first-round pick Cameron Heyward will get his first career start.

  • DAL DE Jason Hatcher was inactive with a calf pull suffered in the previous game. As expected, Marcus Spears got the start in his place.

  • SD DE Jacques Cesaire was inactive, as expected, with a sprained right knee. He's expected to miss next week and be out through the team's bye for Week 6. The team had some good news up front as rookie Corey Liuget returned and was back in the starting lineup opposite Vaughn Martin, who replaced Cesaire. Cesaire had replaced Luis Castillo, who remains out with a broken leg in the season opener.

  • Waiver Wire Recommendations: GB DE Jarius Wynn for his match up with the Rams this week. Degenerate gamblers can also grab JAX DE Aaron Kampman on the chance he returns this week.


  • NE LB Jerod Mayo left Sunday's game in the second quarter with an apparent left knee injury and did not return. Multiple sources are reporting he has a MCL sprain and be out as long as six weeks. As usual, take any injury report about Patriots with a grain of salt and watch for clues in updates. Mayo suffered a similar injury in his right knee in the season opener in 2009 and only missed two other games. Gary Guyton takes over as WLB in 4-3 looks and pass packages, while Dane Fletcher will replace him inside in 3-4 looks on running downs. Neither is particularly appealing in most leagues with their specialized roles, so I see the biggest fantasy impact coming to LB Brandon Spikes and S Patrick Chung, who should capitalize the most on more tackle opportunities without Mayo flying around out there.

  • PHI MLB Jamar Chaney led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo) and had a TFL. He also was now staying the dime package, so he is pretty much on the field for every defensive snap, boosting his outlook. He still flashes the inconsistency that cost him the job previously, but the remains the team's best LB and only fantasy asset on the team at the position, in most leagues. Rookie Casey Matthews is now almost completely out of the picture, seeing just a couple of snaps in their big short-yardage package. Rookie WLB Brian Rolle had 5 solo tackles and broke up a pass and remains a work in progress. He has the closing speed and instincts of a playmaker, but his fundamentals as a tackler are lacking and his size gets him easily caught in the wash.

  • SF ILBs NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis each had 6 solo tackles and a pass defensed. However, Bowman continued to out produce Willis as he also had 2 TFL and recovered a fumble. Bowman leads the team, and is tied for 8th in the league, with 36 tackles. Willis is second on the team with 28 and still looking for his first double-digit tackle game. No injury has been reported on Willis. He had a broken right hand last year, that finally cost him the first game of his career in Week 17, as well as battled bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac) in his right knee, and sat out the Pro Bowl because of it, so perhaps he has some lingering effects there, but he still looked good on Sunday. The main reason for the decline in the numbers of Willis seems to be Bowman is a beast too and usurping some of his opportunities. Bowman's ability was best on display in the third quarter when he caught PHI QB Mike Vick from behind on a 3rd-and-3 to force a punt and keep the momentum with San Francisco in their comeback effort. First-round pick OLB Aldon Smith had a breakout game with 5 tackles (4 solo, including 1 on special teams), 1.5 sacks and 3 QB pressures. He lined up with his hand on the ground in his role at RDE in the nickel and more standing up in space and looked good doing both. Starting OLBs Parys Haralson and Ahmad Brooks have been solid this season, but Smith's tremendous talent was finally on display and he has shown he needs to be on the field more.

  • With IND MLB Gary Brackett (shoulder) placed on the IR last week, the path is cleared for Pat Angerer to take over the rest of the season for the second straight year, and likely doesn't give the job back. Brackett is 31, increasingly injury prone, and due a big salary increase next year. Dynasty owners can rest easy that the future is now with Angerer locked in the middle. Coming off a career night the previous week, Angerer had "just" 8 tackles (6 solo) and a TFL. He now leads the league with 50 tackles on the season. Watching the relentless Angerer take on TB RB LeGarrette Blount was one of the highlights of MNF. Angerer went high on Blount one-on-one at the line of scrimmage on one play and I thought it wouldn't end well for Angerer, but he stopped Blount's momentum and wrestled him right down on seemingly sheer force of will, as he probably gives 30 pounds to Blount. As the league caters more and more to offense and sanitization of game play, making fans yearn more for throwback brawlers on defense, Angerer is destined for wider fame shortly with highlight-reel hits and piling up tackles for fantasy owners. With a modest night of production for Angerer, WLB Kavell Conner had his turn for a career night. He racked up 18 tackles (14 solo) and a TFL, putting him second in the league in tackles with 43. Philip Wheeler also keeps a starting role. With Angerer in the middle, Wheeler should remain at SLB the rest of the year. Reserve LB Ernie Sims remained inactive with a knee injury.

  • After a slow start due to lingering back problems from offseason surgery, OLB James Harrison was just getting back on track the last couple weeks, but his season is now derailed by a fractured right orbital socket after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter. He's expected to miss several weeks. Reserve OLB Jason Worilds may get his shot to replace Harrison, once he's over a groin injury, but the short-term solution appears to be moving ILB Lawrence Timmons outside and starting Larry Foote inside. This scenario is maybe a bit detrimental to Timmons in tackle-heavy leagues, but boosts his value in sack-heavy leagues. Foote and ILB James Farrior, who Foote had been rotating with regularly, both get a boost in tackle-heavy leagues with the additional snaps each will get and reserve ILB Stevenson Sylvester will get some more action too. Rookie OLB Chris Carter could also see more work, once he's over his hamstring problems.

  • CLE MLB D'Qwell Jackson had another double-digit tackle game, leading the team with 10 (5 solo). He is third in the league in tackles with 40 though the season.

  • JAX MLB Paul Posluszny finally had the breakthrough patient fantasy owners have been waiting for. He posted his first double-digit tackle game, leading the team with 13 tackles (9 solo), 1 TFL, 2 QB pressure, a sack and he broke up 2 passes. Contributing to his breakout game was the Saints dominating the time of possession.

  • BUF ILB Nick Barnett posted double-digit tackles for the third straight game and is 4th in the league in tackles on the season. OLB Shawne Merriman had his first sack of the season. Reserve ILB Kirk Morrison remained inactive with a hamstring injury.

  • While it might not be a surprise an AFC North team has the top-rated statistical defense at this point in the season, Cincinnati would have been a distant third behind Pittsburgh and Baltimore in a preseason poll of which team in the division it would be after four games. But it is the Bengals who are allowing the least ypg in the league so far this year. MLB Rey Mauluga stacked up back-to-back strong fantasy performances as he led the team with 11 tackles (3 solo and a TFL). The career of WLB Thomas Howard has been rejuvenated with another starting opportunity under DC Mike Zimmer and he posted 6 tackles (4 solo) while tasked with shadowing Buffalo RB Fred Jackson on Sunday. Howard isn't putting up great numbers, but he's good for around 7 tackles each week and is locked in as a starter with the trust of the coaching staff.

  • Denver WLB D.J. Williams returned from a dislocated left elbow and was back in the starting lineup for his first game of the season. He led the team in tackles with 8 (7 solo). Instead of that sending his replacement back to the bench, Wesley Woodyard took over the middle from Joe Mays. Woodyard had 6 tackles (4 solo). Rookie SLB Von Miller had a pair of sacks and put on relentless pressure. He is up to four sacks and is one of the few bright spots for Denver this season.

  • The nominal starting label on new CAR WLB Jason Williams didn't translate to production on Sunday as he put a goose egg up in the box score. There was no report of an injury, so I assume his time on the bench was performance-related and he was seen as part of the problem in their inability to stop CHI RB Matt Forte. Omar Gaither saw the bulk of work in the second half and appeared assigned to spy Forte. MLB Dan Connor saw plenty of work facing a run-heavy focus from Chicago and he led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo).

  • With DET SLB Justin Durant inactive with a concussion, Bobby Carpenter got his first starter for the Lions against his first team. He was the playmaker he never showed he could be Dallas when he took his first career interception back 34 yards for a score. He also had 6 tackles (4 solo). MLB Stephen Tulloch had his best game of the season, leading the team with 12 tackles (10 solo) and also grabbing a pick. WLB DeAndre Levy also posted double-digit tackles, as Dallas dominated the time of possession, giving the Detroit defense plenty of opportunities.

  • WAS OLB Brian Orakpo broke out on Sunday with 2.5 sacks and the team exploited the St. Louis offensive line and rang up seven sacks after having just eight in the previous three games. On the other side, first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan continues to make plays and rack up fantasy numbers. He had a season-high 6 tackles (5 solo) and a sack for the third straight game, forcing a fumble on it. He has 18 tackles (12 solo), 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 passes defensed and an interception returned for a TD. Kerrigan played all 71 defensive snaps. So did ILB London Fletcher, but he managed only 1 solo tackle. Both are the only two players on defense who have played every snap so far this season.

  • Houston OLB Mario Williams shook off a right knee injury in the previous game and had 5 tackles (4 solo), 2 TFL, 2 QB pressures and 2 sacks. It was his first sacks since he racked up a pair in the season opener.

  • One of the few highlights for the NYJ D after being thoroughly outplayed by Baltimore was ILB David Harris returning a pick six. He also had 7 tackles 4 solo). The lowlight was OLB Bryan Thomas suffering a torn Achilles' tendon in the first quarter. The longest-tenured Jet, he'll be 33 before next season and his time with the team, and possibly his career, are likely at an end. Thomas never lived up to being the speed rusher from the edge he was expected to be after being a workout wonder at the Combine in 2002 and drafted in the first round by the Jets. He was miscast as the 4-3 end and first flourished after being converted to a 3-4 OLB by new HC Eric Mangini in 2006. He posted a career-high 8.5 sacks in a contract year, but reverted to his underachieving form the next year. While he struggled to keep a starting role with inconsistent effort, his career was rejuvenated under Rex Ryan, who got the work rate out of him previous coaches couldn't. He was a reliable presence on the team, as well. The durable veteran hadn't missed a game since 2004 and only 3 in his career. Jamaal Westerman replaced him on Sunday night in the base defense, but disappointed once again when given an opportunity on defense. His avoidance of Baltimore lead blocker Vonta Davis on a 3-yard TD run by RB Ray Rice in the first quarter is the only film clip HC Rex Ryan needs to see to know Westerman isn't cut out for his defense. Options on the roster include ILB Josh Mauga, who has impressed more than Westerman, but is undersized for the position in Ryan's defense. The other is former first-round pick Aaron Maybin, who was picked up in the preseason after Buffalo finally gave up on him, and released just before the season started, then signed again last week. Maybin actually had his first career sack on Sunday night helping replace Thomas. He'll be at least part of the short-term solution, but expect the Jets to bring in a street free agent for competition and possibly attempt a trade before the deadline.

  • NO MLB Jonathan Vilma was active after missing the previous game with a left knee injury. Jo-Lonn Dunbar moved back to SLB and Scott Shanle remains the starter at WLB.

  • Minnesota MLB E.J. Henderson had just 5 tackles (4 solo) as he continues to battle knee problems. Back up Xavier Adibi could start to see more work. His brother, WLB Erin Henderson, showed signs of fantasy life for the first time since his huge Week 1 performance. Erin had 6 tackles (5 solo) and a TFL.

  • TEN MLB Barrett Ruud continues to play through a lingering shoulder injury, posting 7 solo tackles and a TFL on Sunday. WLB Will Witherspoon had 8 solo tackles (7 solo), a TFL and broke up 2 passes. Rookie SLB Akeem Ayers had his first career sack.

  • TB SLB Quincy Black returned after missing the previous game with an ankle injury. MLB Mason Foster continues to play a three-down role as he replaced Black in the nickel. WLB Geno Hayes started and played as usual after suffering a concussion in the previous game. As the TB offense dominated time of possession, there weren't a lot of tackles to go around.

  • Trade rumors continue to swirl around Seattle former fourth-overall pick, Aaron Curry, who has been replaced as the starting WLB by fourth-round pick K.J. Wright. Carolina, whose LB corps has been devastated by injuries, has been mentioned and the Jets become a sleeper after losing Bryan Thomas for the season and lacking the depth to replace him. However, after Wright put up a goose egg in the previous game, he managed a couple assists, but deferred more time to Curry, who had 5 tackles (2 solo) off the bench. Perhaps Curry will regain his role soon, as Wright doesn't appear ready for it. I'd buy low on Curry in dynasty leagues. MLB David Hawthorne put up his second straight solid fantasy performance, leading the team with 10 tackles (3 solo), his first double-digit tackle game of the season.

  • Kansas City OLB Tamba Hali had a pair of sacks, giving him three in his last two games and four on the season.

  • Now that he's over a calf strain, AZ ILB Daryl Washington was back in the starting lineup, next to ILB Paris Lenon, and up to full complement of snaps. This bumps Stewart Bradley back to a reserve role.

  • SD former first-round pick OLB Larry English showed some signs of life with a pair of sacks on Sunday. He remains battling Antwan Barnes for time behind starters Shaun Phillips and Travis LaBoy.

  • Waiver Wire Recommendations: The guy everyone should be chasing this week is Wesley Woodyard, as it appears he is the new MIKE in DEN. If he is floating around in shallower redraft leagues, NE LB Brandon Spikes is the top guy I go after this week. I think he ends up being the biggest benefactor of Mayo's absence. His numbers were an anomaly helped by the opponent dominating time of possession, but IND WLB Kavell Conner is locked in a job for a team that will spend a lot of time on defense.

Defensive Back

  • NE S Patrick Chung (thumb) returned to the starting lineup and had 4 tackles (2 solo) and his first interception of the season. Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown went back to a job share at the other safety position. Rookie CB Ras-I Dowling missed another game with a reported hip injury and they were also missing Leigh Bodden, who was out with a groin injury. Kyle Arrington got the start opposite CB Devin McCourty and Antwaun Molden handled the nickel. McCourty (7 solo) and Arrington (5 solo) shared the team lead with 8 tackles. McCourty continues to rack up fantasy numbers as he continues to be targeted by opposing QBs and the Patriots employ more man-to-man coverage this year.

  • After leaving with injuries in the previous game, OAK starting FS Michael Huff (groin, concussion) and CB Chris Johnson (hamstring) were both inactive on Sunday. Huff was replaced by Matt Giordano, with Jerome Boyd also seeing more work. The team also had reserve S/LB Mike Mitchell back. He played in his first game this season after being sidelined since camp with a knee injury. Mitchell had the team's only sack. At corner, Joe Porter started in place of Johnson with fourth-round pick Chimdi Chekwa playing the corner. The team had third-round pick CB DeMarcus Van Dyke back from a knee laceration and promoted CB Ron Parker from the practice squad for depth, but both were limited to special teams work. SS Tyvon Branch led the team with 8 tackles (4 solo). Huff had been a limited participant in practice last week and was thought to have a chance to play on Sunday, so he should be back this week.

  • While problems percolate in all phases of the game for Philadelphia, the most surprising has been the struggles of shut-down CB Nnamdi Asomugha as he continues to adapt to moving away from playing straight man-to-man coverage. He gave up his third big play through four games on a 38-yard catch by WR Michael Crabtree in the third quarter that contributed to a TD on a second consecutive drive during the 49ers' comeback run. Asomugha will be fine, but DC Juan Castillo might have adapted his schemes a bit to better utilize Asomugha's talent and ease his transition. Despite still battling knee tendinitis off his patellar tendon surgery and looking a step slow out there, FS Nate Allen was back in the starting lineup, kicking Kurt Coleman to the bench, as expected. Rookie S Jaiquawn Jarrett was active for the first time, but limited to special teams work and as precaution for Allen's health. He or special teams ace Colt Anderson could be next in line for snaps on defense if Allen can't stay healthy and as SS Jarrad Page continues to be inconsistent. Anderson had a couple tackles on special teams and recovered a blocked FG on Sunday.

  • WAS SS LaRon Landry gave fans and fantasy owners a scare when he left the game in the fourth quarter and went to the locker room. Apparently it was just an urgent bathroom break, per HC Mike Shanahan, and not related to his Achilles' tendon or hamstring. He returned the next series and played in 64 of the 71 defensive snaps, but posted just 3 tackles (2 solo). CB Phillip Buchanon has finished his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances and is eligible to return this week. He suffered a shoulder injury in the preseason, so he may not be ready to replace Kevin Barnes as the nickel CB this week.

  • Injuries continue to ravage the Baltimore secondary. SS Tom Zbikowski suffered a concussion early in Sunday's game and was replaced by Bernard Pollard. Pollard had an unspectacular performance with 3 tackles (2 solo) and with a bye for the team next week, Zbikowski should be back before Pollard has a decent chance to steal the job. Depth was thin at S as Haruki Nakamura remained sidelined with a PCL knee injury. The team had planned for a heavy dose of Zbikowski and Pollard in the nickel as depth was even scarcer at corner, where nickel CB Chris Carr was inactive after aggravating his left hamstring in practice last week. Rookie CB Jimmy Smith remained inactive with a high ankle sprain and CB Domonique Foxworth was placed on the IR after being unable to overcome issues in his surgically-repaired right knee that he tore the ACL in over a year ago. Staring corners Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams stepped up with Webb getting his second pick in as many games, returning it 73 yards for a score, and Williams leading the team with 8 solo tackles and forcing a fumble. With all the injuries at corner, former UDFA and practice squad journeyman Danny Gorrer saw his first significant action since 2009. He let a certain interception bounce off his hands in the fourth quarter, but otherwise did an impressive job, frequently on NYJ WR Santonio Holmes. The team added CB Bryan McCann this week for depth. He flashed some potential as playmaker and returner with Dallas last year, but doesn't have the upside to be an every-down player. FS Ed Reed forced a fumble on a sack.

  • CHI SS Chris Harris (hamstring) was inactive for the third straight game and is now expected to miss a few more weeks after aggravating the injury last week in practice. Major Wright returned after missing the previous game with a concussion, so he replaced Harris at SS and Brandon Meriweather started at FS. Third-year CB D.J. Moore grabbed his fifth career interception on a deflected pass and made it the second one he's returned for a TD (he had another nullified by a penalty last year). The undersized Moore has struggled to hang on to the nickel corner job, but is a playmaker when given the opportunity.

  • TEN SS Chris Hope returned from a dislocated shoulder on Sunday and promptly suffered a broken arm. It requires surgery, so he will be out for at least a month, but is expected to return this year. Hope will once again be replaced by Jordan Babineaux, who once again flashed his big-play ability with a 97-yard interception return for a TD. CB Cortland Finnegan led the team in tackles with 11 (10 solo), broke up a pass and had a couple QB pressures. CB Jason McCourty didn't have a big fantasy play, but continues to produce with 10 solo tackles and a pass defensed. He now has 35 tackles (34 solo), 2 interceptions, a sack and a forced fumble through four games. The high tackle numbers were thanks to Cleveland dominating the time of possession.

  • CAR CB Chris Gamble was inactive, as expected, with a concussion. Darius Butler replaced him to get his first start as a Panther. Gamble is expected back this week. SS Charles Godfrey returned after missing the previous game with a concussion and grabbed his first pick of the season.

  • With a lack of depth at corner, Cincinnati used SS Chris Crocker in coverage on the slot in their nickel package and brought on reserve S Gibril Wilson in the box with FS Reggie Nelson in centerfield. Nelson continues to be the star of the secondary, with 7 more tackles (5 solo) and a pass defensed on Sunday.

  • SF SS Donte Whitner was active, but did not play on Sunday due to a hip injury and was replaced by Madieu Williams, who got the start, with Reggie Smith also seeing plenty of work. After missing the first two games due to a knee injury, FS Dashon Goldson had his second strong performance. He led the team with 10 solo tackles, broke up a pass and recovered a fumble. CB Carlos Rogers had a pick for the second straight game.

  • Buffalo was without three corners on Sunday as CB Terrence McGee (hamstring) missed another game, rookie CB Aaron Williams (collarbone) was out after being injured in the previous game and recently-added CB Terrence Wheatley, a former second-round pick of the Patriots, was also inactive. CB Drayton Florence continued to replace McGee opposite Leodis McKelvin. The team went with Reggie Corner at the nickel over rookie Justin Rogers. SS George Wilson led the team with 12 tackles (8 solo) and had a pick for the second straight game. Tweener S Bryan Scott also had a pick.

  • DAL FS Gerald Sensabaugh left Sunday's game early in the third quarter with a concussion and was replaced by Barry Church, who led the team with 6 tackles (5 solo, including 1 on special teams). Nickel CB Orlando Scandrick remains inactive with an ankle sprain, but is expected back after the bye.

  • DET SS Amari Spievey left Sunday's game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. His back up, Erik Coleman, left shortly after with an ankle sprain, giving special teamer John Wendling some work on defense. CB Chris Houston continues to put up great numbers in Detroit. He had 6 tackles (5 solo) and a TFL, as well as grabbed his third interception of the season.

  • TB S Corey Lynch got the start at FS with Cody Grimm (torn right ACL) done for the season. No word last week on the reinstatement of former starter Tanard Jackson.

  • CLE CB Joe Haden sprained his left knee on Sunday and HC Pat Shurmur expects he could "miss some time". Dimitri Patterson replaced him in the game and he or rookie CB Buster Skrine would start in his place if he misses time. FS Mike Adams had a pick for the second straight game and currently has the hot hand in the job share with Usama Young.

  • Emerging SEA SS Kam Chancellor was inactive with thigh bruise. Atari Bigby got the start in his place and posted 3 solo tackles, including 1 on special teams, and picked off a pass.

  • After being benched in favor of veteran James Sanders earlier in the season, Atlanta FS Thomas DeCoud helped solidify his status as the starter with his second pick in as many games. SS William Moore led the team with 8 solo tackles.

  • Indianapolis put SS Melvin Bullitt on the IR last week with a right shoulder injury and started former UDFA David Caldwell, who replaced Bullitt in the previous game. Rookie Joe Lefeged replaces Caldwell in the nickel and will push for a bigger role, while DB Stevie Brown, signed off the street the previous week, is there for depth after flashing some potential with Oakland last year. Unfortunately that's a fantasy mess. Caldwell had a productive game with 5 tackles (4 solo) and a pass defensed to just 2 tackles (1 solo) for Lefeged, but TB dominated the time of possession and ran the ball 36 times. I'd avoid the situation in redraft leagues with Lefeged being slightly more interesting for dynasty. There was also some non-injury changes at corner. The Colts waived Justin Tryon and promoted undersized former UDFA Terrence Johnson to nickel CB and have given rookie Chris Rucker a bigger role. Both are now pushing Jacob Lacey for a starting role.

  • Houston CB Kareem Jackson was inactive on Sunday with a knee injury. Jason Allen replaced him and as the former first-round is wont to do from time to time, flashed his potential by leading the team with 7 solo tackles, including 1 on special teams, broke up 2 passes and picked one off. However, whenever Allen is given a full-time role, he inevitably blows it.

  • With Nick Collins done for the season in Green Bay, and possibly his career after undergoing cervical fusion surgery last week, Charlie Peprah took over, as expected, at FS and had a pick. Also grabbing interceptions were CB Charles Woodson, who returned his 30 yards for a TD, and nickel CB Sam Shields.

  • KC CB Brandon Flowers played through an ankle injury suffered in the previous game. SS Jon McGraw was inactive with a knee injury suffered in the previous game, giving Donald Washington the start. Washington posted 5 solo tackles.

  • Pittsburgh nickel CB William Gay started in place of Bryant McFadden who was inactive again with a hamstring.

  • After returning from chest injuries in the previous game, JAX CB Derek Cox was again inactive after suffering a groin injury late last week in practice. William Middleton replaced him again. SS Dawan Landry had his first big fantasy day for his new team, posting 11 tackles (7 solo) and picking off a pass.

  • CB Tracy Porter returned from calf injury and was back starting opposite Jabari Greer. Patrick Robinson was kicked back to the nickel and had his second pick in as many games.

  • Denver CB Champ Bailey missed his third straight game with a pulled left hamstring, but says he'll be back next week. Cassius Vaughn remained his replacement in the starting lineup opposite Andre Goodman with CB Jonathan Wilhite in the nickel role. Wilhite and rookie FS Rahim Moore each had a pick.

  • In the least shocking injury news of the year, the season is over for SD SS Bob Sanders, who was placed on the IR last week with knee problems. Steve Gregory is now the full-time SS for the Chargers. CB Quentin Jammer was inactive with a hamstring, despite saying he'd play last week. Rookie Marcus Gilchrist replaced him and posted 6 solo tackles, broke up 2 passes and picked one off, as he was tested. Expect Jammer back this week.

  • Miami CB Vontae Davis was inactive for the second straight game with a hamstring injury and continues to be replaced by Nolan Carroll. SS Yeremiah Bell had the fantasy day his owners have been waiting for, leading the team with 14 solo tackles.

  • Waiver Wire Recommendations: I previously pimped him here, but since nothing much jumps out at me this week, I'll put in another plug for BAL CB Lardarius Webb. The guy is a playmaker and fun to watch.