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IDP Studs and Duds - Week 4

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It’s Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season, and as we head into the bye weeks most IDP owners have a pretty good feel for this year’s teams, whether it’s a 3-0 juggernaut that has you puffing out your chest or an 0-3 disaster of a squad that has you pulling out your hair.

As usual last week’s recommendations contained a little of both of those extremes. If you heeded my advice and sat safety Antoine Bethea of the Indianapolis Colts then you may have thought I’m a genius, but I doubt that IDP owners who followed my recommendation to start defensive end Robert Quinn of the St. Louis Rams share that assessment.

It’s with that knowledge that you can’t win them all that I kick off another week of IDP Studs and Duds, where I’ll point out some Individual Defensive Players who could be set to exceed expectations this week (Studs) and some that for whatever reason are riskier plays than usual (Duds).

That isn’t necessarily to say that every “Stud” is a must-start (it depends on your other options) or that every “Dud” should be glued to your bench (just that the odds of a letdown week are greater than usual).

Also, as I said earlier the byes begin this week, so players from the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers need to be on fantasy benches, as I’m pretty confident that they’re not going to score many points in Week 4.

Finally, before we get on with the show, if you have a specific IDP Start/Sit question you’d like my take on you can e-mail me at askgary@fantasysharks.com or post the question in the “Kilroyz Krystal Ball” thread in the Fantasy Sharks IDP Forum. I can’t promise I’ll get to every question, but I’ll do the best I can.

STUDS

Michael Bennett – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. WAS): With Adrian Clayborn joining Da’Quan Bowers on the shelf Michael Bennett is the last man standing at defensive end for the Buccaneers, and the fourth-year pro has an excellent shot at making it two big games in a row given the problems that the Washington Redskins are having in pass protection right now.

Derrick Morgan – DE, Tennessee Titans (at HOU): After a pair of solid games to start the season Morgan cooled off last week, but the 23-year-old should rebound this week against the Houston Texans, who are allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing defensive linemen so far this year.

Cameron Wake – DE, Miami Dolphins (at ARI): Wake's transition to 4-3 defensive end hasn’t been nearly as smooth as his fantasy owners would have liked, but the fourth-year pro has a good chance of notching his first sack of 2012 this week against an Arizona Cardinals squad surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to defensive linemen this season.

Akeem Ayers – OLB, Tennessee Titans (at HOU): Since Colin McCarthy injured his ankle Ayers has been a very solid IDP contributor, averaging 12 stops in three games this year. There’s no reason to think that will stop this week against the Houston Texans, who will most likely pound away on the ground against the Titans.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar – OLB, St. Louis Rams (vs. SEA): Dunbar has been a fairly steady fantasy contributor this season, logging at least six total tackles in each game this season, and the fifth-year veteran could be headed for his biggest game of the season this week against a Seattle Seahawks team allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to linebackers in 2012.

David Harris – ILB, New York Jets (vs. SF): The sixth-year pro had his best game of the season with eight solos last week against the Miami Dolphins, and Harris should make it two strong performances in a row this week against a run-heavy San Francisco 49ers team giving up the third-most fantasy points to the position this year.

Antrel Rolle – FS, New York Giants (at PHI): The knee injury suffered by Rolle in last week’s win over the Carolina Panthers isn’t expected to keep him out of Sunday night’s NFC East showdown, and the seventh-year veteran should post strong numbers in a favorable IDP matchup with the turnover-prone Philadelphia Eagles.

Eric Weddle – FS, San Diego Chargers (at KC): Weddle’s been quiet of late, with only three solos in each of his past two games, but the table is set for the sixth-year pro to rebound this week against a Kansas City Chiefs club surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing defensive backs this season.

Tramon Williams – CB, Green Bay Packers (vs. NO): Tramon Williams was all but invisible in Monday night’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, making only two tackles, but that won’t be the case when the Packers and New Orleans Saints meet in a matchup of two of the NFC’s most disappointing teams so far this year.

DUDS

Elvis Dumervil – DE, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK): The seventh-year veteran broke out in a big way last week with a sack and safety against the Houston Texans, but Dumervil will have a hard time keeping that momentum going against the Oakland Raiders given that they’ve allowed the fewest fantasy points to defensive linemen so far this season.

Greg Hardy – DE, Carolina Panthers (at ATL): Hardy broke his thumb in last week’s loss to the New York Giants, and while the third-year pro is reportedly going to try to play through the injury it could seriously hinder his effectiveness against an Atlanta Falcons team that’s an unfavorable fantasy matchup.

Chandler Jones – DE, New England Patriots (at BUF): After a hot start the rookie came back to earth last week with only two assists, and that cold spell may well continue this week given that the Buffalo Bills have given up only one sack this season and allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing defensive linemen.

Karlos Dansby – MLB, Miami Dolphins (at ARI): The 30-year-old has been a steady performer this year, making at least seven tackles and tallying at least six solos in each of the Dolphins’ games this season, but Dansby may have trouble continuing that trend against an Arizona Cardinals squad giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to linebackers this year.

Mason Foster – MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. WAS): Foster has played well in his second NFL season, ranking among the top 10 fantasy linebackers according to fleaflicker.com, but this week’s matchup with the Washington Redskins isn’t a good one from an IDP standpoint.

Jerod Mayo – OLB, New England Patriots (at BUF): With nine solos in two of three games and an average of 11 stops per game, Jerod Mayo has been a rock-solid IDP option this season, but this week Mayo’s IDP owners may be left disappointed by a matchup with a Buffalo Bills team that’s giving up the fewest fantasy points to the position this year.

Charles Godfrey – SS, Carolina Panthers (at ATL): The fifth-year veteran has been one of the more pleasant fantasy surprises of the 2012 season, but Godfrey could be in for something of a down week Sunday in a matchup with an Atlanta Falcons club that hasn’t been kind to defensive backs from an IDP perspective this year.

Quintin Mikell – FS, St. Louis Rams (vs. SEA): Mikell has alternated good and bad games so far this season, and after posting eight tackles last week that trend may continue this week given that the Seattle Seahawks have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing defensive backs to this point in 2012.

Reggie Nelson – SS, Cincinnati Bengals (at JAX): There’s been a shakeup in the secondary in Cincinnati, as the team has shifted cornerback Nate Clements to free safety and moved Reggie Nelson to strong safety. In theory that should mean more tackle opportunities for Nelson, although that may not be the case this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars sputtering passing game.

Looking for more IDP information? Be sure to check out all the other great IDP articles by the rest of the Fantasy Sharks’ crew, the IDP Forum, IDP Manor, and for the latest injury news follow @IDPManor on Twitter.