Everyone loves a Monday Morning Quarterback, so why not a Monday Morning Linebacker? If you're like me, you tend to express your consternation when a player or players on your roster don't exactly perform as expected. Many expletive laden tirades have been directed at my computer or smart-phone as I scan the scoreboards. Occasionally I'm pleasantly surprised, but more often than not it's "WTF was that?!" In this weekly article we'll take a look at those players that performed as expected and those that didn't. This won't be a complete review of every player from every game; simply the outliers that deserve recognition, one way or the other.
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Studs That Were Studs (*Notable players that lived up to or exceeded expectations)
Lavonte David, LB, TBB vs. DEN- The rookie continues to perform. He's had just one bad game this season and is currently the 9th ranked LB in balanced scoring leagues. Against the Broncos yesterday, David racked up 7 solo tackles, 3 assists, 2 passes defensed and an interception. Keep plugging him in.
Chad Greenway, LB, MIN vs. GBP - Greenway was a beast yesterday, making plays all over the field. In fact, he recorded more tackles (16 [13 solos, 3 assists]) in a single game, then he has in any game over the last several seasons. He's a top-5 LB in IDP leagues this year and is an obvious every week starter. Von Miller, LB, DEN vs. TBB - Speaking of studs . . . Miller may not have the consistency we'd like, he's still a guy with too much potential to have on the bench. And he reminded you of that yesterday. Miller recorded a stat in virtually every IDP category possible (except recovering a fumble). But he had 5 solo tackles, an assist, forced a fumble, had a pass defensed, an interception, a sack and a defensive touchdown. I hope you had him in your lineup.
Morgan Burnett, DB, GBP vs. MIN - Burnett hasn't been mentioned much in this column, but he's been quietly having a very nice year. And yesterday against the Vikings, he posted one of his best games of the season, recording 6 solo tackles, an assist, 3 passes defensed and 2 interceptions. Burnett is a top-10 defensive back in balanced scoring leagues, but should be in everyone's lineup even without the big play bonus.
Bobby Wagner, LB, SEA vs. CHI - The second rookie LB listed this week, Wagner has been a solid LB2 this season and hasn't posted a single-digit outing since Week 2. Yesterday against the Bears, he tallied 9 solo tackles, 2 assists and a sack, making it one of the best games of his young career. Continue starting him.
Studs That Were Duds (*Notable players that didn't even come close to expectations)
Lawrence Timmons, LB, PIT vs. BAL - Let's not sugarcoat it; Timmons stunk yesterday. In a game in which the Steelers trailed for a large portion, and the Ravens ran the ball 20+ times, Timmons mustered just 3 solo tackles and an assist. It wasn't a goose-egg, but it's not what we've been getting for the last two months. We'll try to erase this stinker from our memory quickly and give him the nod next week against the Chargers.
Stephen Tulloch, LB, DET vs. IND - Tulloch had just one single-digit performance coming into yesterday's game, but he added another one in disappointing fashion. Granted, the Lions were leading for most of the day, essentially forcing the Colts to abandon the running game, but 2 solos and 1 assist just won't cut it. Again, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt as this was likely due to the game situation and let him redeem himself next week against the Packers.
Justin Durant, LB, DET vs. IND - I could just write "See Stephen Tulloch above" and be pretty accurate. Much like Tulloch, Durant has been a solid LB2 with just two poor outings on his resume this year. But, again, due to game situations, Durant was essentially a no-show yesterday, posting just 2 solo tackles and a pass defensed. A game we'll want to forget about quickly and move on to next week.
Wesley Woodyard, LB, DEN vs. TBB - You may not believe it, but Woodyard is a top-5 LB to date, so calling him a stud is easy enough. And after watching yesterday's game, it's also easy to call him a dud, at least this week. Three measly solo tackles against the Bucs despite over 20 carries. Once again, we'll call this an anomaly and move on. Start him as usual against the Raiders next week.