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)
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, NYG- Now that's what we're talkin' about. JPP finally explodes for a monster game, making his fantasy owners say, "Finally!" In a close game against the Cowboys, he racked up 3 solos, an assist, a sack, a pass defensed, an interception and a touchdown. JPP posted a stat in just about every IDP category and put up his best numbers of the year. He's been hit-or-miss this year, but you can't sit him. Charles Johnson, DE, CAR vs. CHI - Don't give me grief about labeling him a stud. CJ broke out yesterday against the Bears, amassing 3 solo tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, giving his fantasy owners another studly performance. He's been anything but consistent to date, but his potential is too great to risk on the bench. Derrick Johnson, LB, KCC vs. OAK - It's hard to believe he spent as long as he did in the doghouse. When he's healthy, DJ is a consistent performer (aka STUD). Yesterday, he recorded 10 solo tackles and a pass defensed against Darren McFadden and the Raiders. Another impressive double-digit performance for DJ. Continue to start him with confidence.
Morgan Burnett, DB, GBP vs. JAX - It's hard to describe Burnett's performance yesterday. This game was a surprise in itself, but to see Burnett post 9 solo tackles, 2 assists, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery was even more so, especially when it comes against a team like the Jags. But a competitive game allowed Burnett to put up impressive numbers and you clearly can't sit him regardless of the opponent.
Tim Jennings, CB, CHI vs. CAR - For five consecutive weeks, Jennings' numbers have gotten better. Yesterday against the Panthers he amassed 8 solos tackles, 3 passes defensed, 2 interceptions and a defensive touchdown. He's a top-2 DB and clearly worthy of an every week play as a DB1 in all formats.
Studs That Were Duds (*Notable players that didn't even come close to expectations)
Eric Berry, DB, KCC vs. OAK – Thirty-three called runs for the Raiders, yet Berry manages 2 solos and an assist. Apparently, nothing was getting past ILB Derrick Johnson, but in a division game that saw as many tackle opportunities as he had, I certainly expected more from Berry than that. It's hard to bench him, but it's becoming clear he's inconsistent regardless of opponent and opportunity.
Paul Posluszny, LB, JAX vs. GBP - Poz has quietly been having a very nice year. He's had double digit games through his first six, but yesterday he fell off the map. He managed just 3 assists in a game that saw the Packers run the ball 23 times. This is merely a bump in the road, and fantasy owners should put it in the rear-view mirror moving forward. He's a weekly starter regardless of this disappointing outing.
Lavonte David, LB, TBB vs. MIN - David has been impressive in his rookie season and has seen his playing time increase to the point where he's been seeing 100% of the defensive snaps of late. What is disappointing, however, is the fact that he recorded just a solo tackle and an assist against the Vikings. Granted, the Vikes were playing from behind and, thus, limited in their play selection, so David saw few runs coming his way. Despite the disappointing day, David should return to form against the Raiders next week, so be sure to have him in your lineup.
Charles Godfrey, DB, CAR vs. CHI - Godfrey started off the season on fire, but he's tailed off of late, and yesterday was no different. He managed just one tackle and one assist against Chicago. Much like Lavonte David, Godfrey saw limited running plays, thus hindering his tackle opportunities. But as a defense back, he has other opportunities to make plays, but simply didn't. If he continues to post single-digit performances, it will make starting him more of a decision than a no-brainer. Keep an eye on him.