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It’s Week 12 of the 2012 NFL season, and as you settle into your post-Thanksgiving feast sweat pants and run Icy Hot on your Black Friday bruises. It’s time to get down to the business of setting Individual Defensive Player (IDP) lineups in advance of one of the most important fantasy weeks of the regular season.
Last week’s recommendations went fairly well, as while Atlanta defensive end John Abraham and Jacksonville linebacker Paul Posluszny lived up to their billing, linebacker Donald Butler continued to confound me. Recommend him as a start he faceplants. Tell folks to sit him and he has a solid game. I see how it is.
So, with the knowledge that Butler is out to get me, it’s time for 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).
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 email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post the question in the “Kilroy 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.
Elvis Dumervil, DE, Denver (at Kansas City): Dumervil’s shoulder injury didn’t appear to be a significant hindrance a week ago, as the seventh-year pro tallied six stops, a sack and a forced fumble. Start Dumervil with confidence this week against a Kansas City Chiefs team allowing the fifth-most fantasy points this year to defensive linemen.
Robert Quinn, DE, St. Louis (at Arizona): No team in the National Football League has allowed more sacks or fantasy points to the position than the Arizona Cardinals, and there’s no reason to think that the turnstile will stop spinning this week when Quinn and the Rams come to town.
Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants (vs. Green Bay): After pulling a vanishing act for most of the season, Tuck’s production has picked up of late. That trend should continue as the eighth-year veteran comes out of his bye to face a Green Bay Packers squad that has been a Top 5 IDP matchup for defensive linemen in 2012.
Thomas Davis, OLB, Carolina (at Philadelphia): The eighth-year veteran exploded last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the tune of 16 total tackles, and Davis should keep that hot streak going against the Philadelphia Eagles, who have surrendered the most fantasy points to linebackers this season.
Dannell Ellerbe, ILB, Baltimore (at San Diego): The fourth-year pro has played well in place of the injured Ray Lewis, tallying 32 total tackles over the past three games. The fourth-year pro should keep piling up stats this week in a very favorable fantasy matchup with the San Diego Chargers.
Erin Henderson, OLB, Minnesota (at Chicago ): Henderson’s snaps were trending upward heading into the Vikings’ bye week, and while he’s something of a risky play, it’s one that could pay big dividends given that the Chicago Bears have given up the third-most fantasy points to linebackers this season.
Eric Berry, SS, Kansas City (vs. Denver): Berry had by far his best game of the season in last week’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, racking up 11 stops. Add to that a prime matchup with the Denver Broncos this week and we could be primed for a bounce back from a preseason darling at the defensive back position this season.
Antoine Bethea, FS, Indianapolis (vs. Buffalo): Another defensive back that got off to a slow start this season, Bethea has seen a spike in production recently that should continue this week against a Buffalo Bills squad giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing defensive backs in 2012.
Charles Godfrey, SS, Carolina (at Philadelphia): Unlike the other “studs” on this week’s list, Godfrey got off to a hot start but has since cooled off quite a bit. But the fifth-year pro could be set to heat back up this week against the Philadelphia Eagles, who have been a Top 5 fantasy matchup for defensive backs this year.
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