IDP Free Agent Report: Week 7
Tryston Ford
October 16, 2012

Week 6 was a rough week on the injury front. Many IDP starters and depth had their season impacted or in some cases, ended this week. DJ Smith, Lardarius Webb, Ray Lewis and Scott Fujita are all likely not to see the field again this season. Others like Nick Perry, Stephen Nicholas, Kam Chancellor and Haloti Ngata were nicked up with various ailments. Hopefully, you were able to avoid the injury bug but if you weren’t, here are some options likely to be available on this week’s waiver wire.

Linebacker Plays

Of last week’s recommendations, Lawrence Timmons was solid, posting 6 total tackles and an interception. Wes Woodyard was the best however, with 9 total tackles. With regular Broncos’ MLB Joe Mays in Coach Fox’s doghouse, veteran Keith Brooking started in the middle against the Chargers. This allowed Wes Woodyard to remain on the field for every down which certainly helps his weekly statline. Bradie James proved to be rather pedestrian in his new every down role but in fairness the Packers rushing attack rarely made it past the DL.

Jameel McClain BAL LB – ILB 3-4
This one hurts because this pickup is due to the season-ending but hopefully not career-ending triceps injury to future hall of famer Ray Lewis. Lewis left the game against the Cowboys in the first half and didn’t return. He was later diagnosed with a torn triceps muscle. Lewis was the heart and soul of that defense and Jameel McClain isn’t the kind of guy that can just “replace” Lewis. Quite frankly, I’m not sure anyone can. That said, the Ravens are in the middle of a 5-1 season thus far and need to keep rolling without their leader. McClain piled up 7 solos and an assist on Sunday against a Cowboys rushing attack that had way more success than most teams do against the Ravens. Haloti Ngata injuring his knee and Lewis’ aforementioned departure likely has something to do with that. If McClain can cover 75% of what Ray-Ray did, he will be a fine addition to any IDP squad.
Roster Recommendation: High-end LB2 to Mid LB3

AJ Hawk GBP LB – ILB 3-4
Shallow leaguers might give AJ Hawk a look. With DJ Smith out for the year with a knee injury, Hawk has become the defacto 3 down LB in the middle. Rob Francois, Brad Jones, Jamari Lattimore and Terrell Manning are all in the mix to replace Smith but none of those LBs will likely get a shot on passing downs. As a result, Hawk will receive much more tackle opportunity and hopefully the numbers to go with it. With Smith out, Dom Capers seemed content to allow Hawk to “A” gap blitz at times as well, resulting in a sack on Sunday Night Football.  Hawk isn’t a flashy pickup but sheer opportunity should keep his floor high.
Roster Recommendation:  Low-end LB1 to High-end LB3

Sneaky Linebacker Plays

Brad Jones GBP LB – In the same vein, desperate owners or deep leaguers could look to Brad Jones for a linebacker thrust into a potential starting role. Jones is not an inside linebacker by trade so this name could easily be any of the four names mentioned in Hawk’s writeup. Monitor this situation.

Keith Brooking DEN LB – With Joe Mays on the bench, the Broncos have a new middle linebacker. Brooking is a veteran of the league with declining athleticism but any 4-3 MLB carries value.

Defensive Linemen Plays

I hope you were able to heed my warning and get your Buffalo Bills ends into your lineup this week. As it has been for the last few weeks, Arizona has rewarded fantasy owners with multiple sacks given up and is proving to be an easy matchup to predict. Mario Williams owners were rewarded with 2 sacks while last week’s sneaky play of Chris Kelsay was huge, logging 6 solos, 1 assist, 1 sack and a safety.  Past Kelsay however, the scoring was slim on last week’s recommendations.

Brian Robison MIN DE – DE 4-3
Playing the percentages here, I’m going to keep picking on Arizona right tackle Bobby Massey until he proves me wrong. Doesn’t matter if it’s Skelton or Kolb, Arizona can’t pass protect. The emergence of William Powell at running back helped cool off the Buffalo pass rush last week but Minnesota’s run defense is much better than Buffalo’s. Look for both Allen and Robison to get home next week.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DL2 to Low-end DL3

Cliff Avril DET DE – DE 4-3
Shallow leaguers probably see this guy of the waiver wire after a couple poor weeks in a row. Avril put it back together in week 6 dropping Mike Vick twice on Sunday. To top it off, he’s got a juicy matchup against the Bears next week. Roll with Avril and bank on Cutler hitting the dirt at least once.
Roster Recommendation: High-end DL2 to Mid DL3

Sneaky Defensive Linemen Plays

Jerel Worthy GBP DE – The St. Louis offensive line is exploitable. And while guys like Clay Matthews are more likely to do so, Matthews likely isn’t on your waiver wire. Worthy isn’t a home run but he’s been getting more playing time as of late. Expect GB to get up big and the sacks to pile up. Worthy has a decent shot to get one.

Geno Atkins CIN DT – Pittburgh’s offensive line is suffering up the middle with Maurkice Pouncey unlikely to play in Sunday Night Football. Atkins’ pressure up the middle may land him some pressure and a sack on Sunday.

Defensive Back Plays

There were quite a few gaudy tackle statlines posted this week by DBs and a handful of long interception returns for TDs as well. 33 Interceptions were caught by Defensive backs this week with four players swiping 2 in their games (Antrel Rolle, Jairus Byrd, Chris Harris and Packers rookie Casey Hayward)
Dunta Robinson and Jordan Babineaux were quality plays at DB you could have made last week with the Falcons corner putting up 8 solos and 1 assists to the Titans’ safety’s 7 solos and 2 assists. Jonathan Joseph’s 6 solo and 1 assist and Tramon Williams’ 7 solo and 1 assist performances were very respectable as well. Overall, it was a great week for the column at the defensive back position.

Jimmy Smith BAL CB – 3-4 CB
Jimmy Smith is the likely replacement for injured CB Lardarius Webb (torn ACL). Smith is a young player in just his 2nd year and might be ripe for exploitation opposite Cary Williams. The kid can tackle, posting 7 solos against the Cowboys.
Roster Recommendation: Mid DB2 to Low-end DB3

Glover Quin HOU S – 3-4 FS
Glover Quin got picked on against the Packers but the interesting part was how the Texans were using him. Quin was brought down into the box as the second ILB very often in both running and passing situations. That may be how the Texans are building their nickel with Brian Cushing out or it may be how they avoid putting guys like Tim Dobbins and Barrett Ruud on the field any more than necessary.
Roster Recommendation: High-end DB2 to High-end DB3

Louis Delmas DET S – 4-3 FS
Delmas played his first game last week and came through no worse for wear. He also came out with 7 solos and an interception. Delmas is the only true reliable Lions defensive back for fantasy purposes. Erik Coleman and Amari Speivey continue to cannibalize each other’s stats and no Lions corner is an every week start. I expect there to be plenty of passes thrown in the DET/CHI game next week. Delmas should be a guy that benefits.
Roster Recommendation:  Mid DB1 to High-end DB3

Sneaky Defensive Back Plays

Craig Dahl STL S – Darian Stewart looks to be out of the picture for now, leaving Craig Dahl at the fulltime free safety. Look for Dahl to get some work against the Green Bay aerial attack next week.

Buster Skrine CLE CB – Indy can’t run the ball and Buster Skrine is getting picked on in slot and on the outside covering for the injured Dmitri Patterson. Skrine could be a sneaky play for tackles.

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