Welcome to another year of fantasy football, IDP-style. This new free agent report will help you identify players that you can add to your team that can give you immediate help or increase the strength of your bench.
Here we’ll take a look at players that are heating things up on defense and can bring your fantasy team some immediate help for those playing in “play one” type IDP leagues. These players are typically must-starts in standard IDP leagues.
Ray Lewis (BAL): Since coming back from injury, Ray-Ray has put up 19 points in each of the past two games. The Ravens are still posturing for playoff position and Lewis is getting back into form just in time.
Brian Cushing (HOU): The Texans’ LB has had two huge games in a row and the Texans will need a big defensive effort this week against the Titans. Could be another 20+ game for Cushing.
Jason Pierre-Paul (DE – NYG): The breakout season continues, and is coming to a big bang at the end. He’ll be instrumental in disrupting Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense in what should be a classic capper game for the NFL regular season.
J.J. Watt (DE – HOU): Watt will finish as the #1 rookie DL and will likely end up in the top-10 overall as well. Impressive rookie season for the big kid from Wisconsin. Good matchup this week against the Titans.
Reggie Nelson (S – CIN): After a few unspectacular seasons in Jacksonville. Nelson has performed well as the leader of the Bengals secondary. Unfortunately, fantasy-wise, he either goes big or doesn’t do much at all. We’re expecting big things this week against the Ravens.
Aaron Williams (CB – BUF): The Bills are auditioning some younger players in these final weeks and Williams, a rookie out of Texas, is getting serious playing time and has proven to be a force in the making. The Pats may rest starters in this one, but there should still be plenty of opportunities for Williams here.
Digging For Sleepers
These players will be typical free agents in 12 to 16 IDP leagues and should be targeted.
Larry Grant (CLE): Patrick Willis returned to practice last week but didn’t play. With pretty much a “gimme” this week against the Rams, the Niners may elect to play Grant in Willis’ stead once again. If so, Grant could be a potential monster.
Chase Blackburn (NYG): Blackburn has 13 solos in the past two games and will get plenty of work in the Sunday night game against Dallas. A decent third LB if you’re desperate.
Muhammed Wilkerson (DE – NYJ): The rookie has a pair of double digit games (his only two of the season) in his past two contests and we like the matchup enough against Miami to recommend him if you need a sleeper with some upside.
Derrick Morgan (DE – TEN): Morgan’s been a complete disappointment but is really fighting for a job here at the end of the season. He had one of his bigger games last week and could put up pretty good numbers this week.
Matt Giordano (S – OAK): With Michael Huff out, Giordano has been pretty solid. Huff supposedly can play hurt but we’re not sure the Raiders will risk putting him out there if he’s not close to 100%. Giordano could put up nice stats against the Chargers if Huff is out.
Chris Harris (CB – DEN): The rook will likely top 60 solo tackles and could be a cheap source of tackles come Sunday.
Digging Even Deeper
Here you will find "one injury away" players, or those worth a look in very deep leagues.
Linebackers: Kaluka Maiava (CLE), Dane Fletcher (NEP)
Defensive Linemen: Brandon Deaderick (DE – NEP), Alan Branch (DT – SEA)
Defensive Backs: Chris Crocker (S – CIN), Adam Jones (CB – CIN)
Looking Ahead – 2012 Defensive Backs
Eric Weddle (S - SDC): Weddle had a huge 2008 season, followed by a weak 2009 campaign. He bounced back a bit last season and has been decent here in 2011. We like him to continue to get back into form next season. He may not put up DB1 numbers, but if you wait on your DBs – as you should – and get him as your 2nd DB, he may be a big-time value.
Ryan Clark (S - PIT): Clark never puts up more than 14-15 points, but he rarely dips below double digits. In larger leagues, he’s the perfect DB2 because you know exactly what you’ll get week to week.
Devin McCourty (CB - NEP): Unless some kind of draft or free agent miracle happens, the Patriots secondary isn’t going to get much better in 2012. And since that Tom Brady guy and his cast of offensive studs will continue to put up huge offensive numbers, McCourty will get plenty of chances.