We’re four weeks into the 2012 NFL season, which means the bye weeks are kicking into high gear and injuries are mounting by the week. For every stud that’s exceeded expectations such as defensive end J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans, there’s one such as Justin Tuck of the New York Giants that’s failed to meet them. And with the fantasy season at the quarter-post wins are becoming more precious each week, especially for Individual Defensive Player (IDP) squads that are struggling.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Pat Angerer, ILB, Indianapolis:
After racking up a ridiculous 148 total tackles in 2011, the third-year pro was drafted as an IDP LB2 in many leagues over the summer, but a broken foot sustained in the preseason led to the third-year pro being cut loose in many shallower fantasy leagues. Angerer’s back at practice and looks set to make his 2012 debut in Week 5 when the Colts host the Green Bay Packers, and while he may be eased in a bit at first, Angerer’s IDP upside easily makes him priority No. 1 when submitting waiver claims this week.
Jurrell Casey, DT, Tennessee:
After a solid rookie season that saw him top 50 total tackles, Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey was looked at as a potential upside play in IDP leagues that require his position, but a slow start got Casey the boot from many fantasy squads. However, Casey has turned it on over the past two weeks, with 13 total stops and 10 solos over the past two games, and with a favorable matchup upcoming with the Minnesota Vikings, Casey is worth a look from IDP owners looking to improve at the defensive tackle spot.
Cameron Wake, DE, Miami:
Given that Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake was drafted as a Top 10 player at his position in many IDP leagues, it may seem weird to see him included on this list. However, the 30-year-old failed to record a sack in his first three games, leading some panicky team owners to cut bait on Wake in lieu of a defensive lineman who was off to a hot start. Those same owners were no doubt kicking themselves while watching Wake explode for 4.5 sacks against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4, and they’ll be kicking themselves even harder if you swoop in and grab the 30-year-old before they can get him back.
Vontaze Burfict, OLB, Cincinnati:
The season-ending ACL injury suffered by Thomas Howard left the Cincinnati Bengals with a hole on the weak side at linebacker, and the team may just have found a plug for that hole in mercurial rookie Vontaze Burfict. The former Arizona State star had eight solos and a sack in Cincinnati’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, and given that middle linebacker Rey Maualuga isn’t exactly a tackle vacuum, Burfict should see plenty of opportunities to produce for IDP owners, especially if he remains in a three-down role.
Kevin Burnett, OLB, Miami:
After his career season in 2011 many IDP enthusiasts wondered how Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Kevin Burnett would fare in his transition to 4-3 WLB. After logging only nine stops in his first two games, the answer appeared to be not well, but the eighth-year veteran has picked up the pace of late, making 17 tackles over his past two games. Perhaps the light bulb has finally come on, making Burnett worthy of consideration for a pickup from IDP owners who are hurting at the linebacker position.
Malcolm Jenkins, FS, New Orleans:
There hasn’t been a whole lot that’s gone right for the New Orleans Saints during their 0-4 start to the season, but the free safety has played well, tallying at least seven solos in each of the last three games. The Saints have a very favorable matchup on tap against the San Diego Chargers this week during which Jenkins will likely be tasked with covering tight end Antonio Gates, so the fourth-year pro is absolutely worth a look from fantasy squads in need of DB help.
Dimitri Patterson, CB, Cleveland
: With star cornerback Joe Haden serving a four-game suspension, the job of top cornerback for the hapless Cleveland Browns has fallen to Dimitri Patterson, and the sixth-year pro was plenty busy in the team’s Week 4 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, racking up an eye-popping 11 solos. It’s not realistic to expect that sort of production every week, but given that the Browns face a New York Giants team in Week 5 that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing cornerbacks this season, Patterson is an excellent plug-and-play option this week.
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, for the latest injury news follow @IDPManor on Twitter, and if you have an IDP question feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com.