As we begin our decent into the second half of the season, one of the rising changes is the amount of new faces on the defensive side of the ball taking notice. Sure, injuries happen especially to defensive players, but unlike most years, the backups are ACTUALLY getting the job done and affording managers who pay attention some added points.
This week, filling in for our own Chris Todish, I will try to offer some insight to the nether region of IDP beginning with some must starts and ending with some unknown Waiver Wire guys…ready?
DB- Darrelle Revis
Revis has been absolutely on fire this year shutting down some of the best WRs including Randy Moss, Marques Colston, and Andre Johnson.
Don’t expect that to change this week vs. the powerful Sims-Walker.
S- Darren Sharper
Sharper gets a huge complimentary matchup this week vs. a very weak and unorganized Rams passing game.
Sharper should be an every week starter for those of you who own him and you can expect some picks this week.
Ranked number 3 in ESPN leagues, Harrison has enjoyed a heavier blitz oriented packages from Dick LeBeau in the past couple of weeks.
Cleveland presents a great deal of opportunity for him
Allen has been absolutely on fire this year running with a motor that just won’t quit.
Before the bye, he was the NFL leader in sacks and the number one Fantasy DE.
He is a must against Detroit this week and every week.
Starks has been a pleasant surprise out of Miami primarily due to his flourishing in a new defensive system.
This week he goes up against a Tamp team with a rookie QB…like throwing fresh meat to a hungry dog.
DEFENSIVE STARTERS FOR IDP:
LB - Brandon Johnson – Bengals: The Bengals are without Keith Rivers this week so Brandon Johnson gets the start which isn’t a bad thing at all. The Injury to Rivers means zero change at linebacker since both are of equal talent.
LB – Cameron Wake – MIA: With Porter out again, Wake resumes his back up duties against a Tampa team that will try and run first in an effort to keep the ball out of Miami’s wildcat happy hands. Wake has actually out performed Porter in some areas and should be an opportunistic start this week.
CB – Tracy Porter – Saints: Tracy Porter has been an early Christmas present for Saint fans since day one. Porter has really made a name for himself and is starting to really step things up in Fantasy. His 22.5% ownership in IDP leagues is astounding considering his level of play—he gets a weak Rams offense this week.
CB – Benny Sapp – Vikings: Sapp has been all over the place averaging at least 3 tackles and one deflection in as many games, and with Antoine Winfield out again this week you can start him with confidence vs. the Lions who still have a banged up Matthew Stafford; turnovers are likely.
DT – Haluti Ngata – Ravens: The monstrous run stuffer was greatly missed against Benson and company in Week 9, but not this week. Ngata is ready to go, and Jamal Lewis will not be that much of a challenge; nor will their passing game.
DEFENSIVE SITS FOR IDP:
LB – Will Witherspoon – Eagles: I am listing Witherspoon a sit for a couple of reasons since many of you may not know what has been going on in Philadelphia. The word is, Witherspoon is temporarily being moved to WLB instead of his normal MLB (or MIKE position). The move is probably due to the Eagles concern for the speedy Sproles who like to run East and West and is the primary backfield target, but the Chargers are likely to go down field in this one with their Big 3. His value could take a huge hit this week and if you have a better option I say start him.
LB – Aaron Kampman – Packers: “Kamp” is out along with Brandon Chillar and much like the Packers maligned receivers situation, the LB situation is one to avoid altogether.
DE – Quentin Groves – Jaguars: Groves has declined so much that he is now officially a bust. He has plummeted to 92 in ESPN ranking and is being benched in favor of undersized Bryan Smith.
DE – Greg Ellis – Raiders: Ellis’ injuries keep adding up and the Veteran end is listed as questionable this week, but even if he does go don’t expect much. Kyle Williams of Buffalo is available on waivers for those of you in a pinch.
LB – David Thornton – Titans: Thornton sat again in practice multiple time this week and is listed as questionable vs. the Bills this week. The consensus is that Gerald McGrath will get the nod.
Waiver Wire Hidden Gems: Start Diggin!
As IDP leagues gain more popularity, Fantasy managers are starting to learn just how valuable IDP players can be for their team. More often than not, IDP players can offer more in point total than your offense—just take me for example; I have been thriving on my IDP players all season sitting nicely at 6-3.
Through the past two weeks or so, there has been a strong surge of emerging players primarily due to injury, but also due to teams giving other guys a look since their hopes for a playoff appearance has been whisked away into the gutter.
Here are three players I thought I should alert you to for those looking to upgrade.
Jonathan Babineaux – DT – Falcons: Babineaux has suddenly climbed his way to Fantasy greatness and is having quite the year for the Falcons. Last week he scored a hefty 22.5 points, and against a Panthers team that will surely try and run early, you can expect more of the same.
Babineaux has a soft 12.5% ownership in ESPN and is worth picking up if you are one of the many who have been struck by the DL injury bug.
S – Melvin Bullitt – Colts: Bullitt is about the biggest in season waiver wire option out there and should be grabbed by anyone looking to upgrade at Safety NOW. Bullitt has usurped the job away from Bob Sanders who is done for the season anyway, and is a solid consideration.
One of the top backups in the league with a Colts team that has a surprisingly good secondary Bullitt is a must He has an incredibly low 2.8% ownership in ESPN leagues.
S – Gerald Sensabaugh – Cowboys: Sensabaugh has been a delightful pickup for those of you who took a chance on him when he came off of injury and is playing solid enough for the Cowboys to make him an everyday starter. He is an opportunistic play since Offensive Coordinators are not sold on his skills just yet; plenty of action comes his way.
Amazingly, Sensabaugh has an anemic 0.9% ownership in ESPN, but considering the Safety position is a hard one to fill Sensabaugh makes a great pluck.
Good Luck everyone, and for updates like these and more check out our player update service.