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
J.J. Watt, DE, HOU vs. DET
– This dude is unreal. He keeps wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and Thanksgiving Day was no different. He tallied 5 solo tackles, 2 passes defensed, and sacked Matthew Stafford three times. He’s at 15.5 sacks through 11 games and is an absolute must-start above and beyond any other defensive player in the league.
Lawrence Timmons, LB, PIT vs. CLE – I’ve not mentioned Timmons much this season, but he’s been having a solid, though not spectacular, season. In a surprising and disappointing loss to the Browns, Timmons racked up 6 solo tackles, 4 assists, a pass defensed, an interception and a defensive touchdown. He’s easily an every-week start as a LB2 with upside.
Jerod Mayo, LB, NEP vs. NYJ – Mayo is another guy that’s been quietly flying under the radar this year. But if you look at his numbers, he certainly qualifies as an IDP stud. And against the Jets on Turkey Day, Mayo posted 8 solo tackles, 3 assists and a sack, equaling his best output to date. Continue playing him with confidence.
Antoine Winfield, DB, MIN vs. CHI – Winfield had a couple of off weeks prior to the Vikings’ bye, but he was nicked up and not playing up to par. But yesterday he returned to form in the loss to Chicago, totaling 7 solo tackles, a pass defensed and an interception. He continues to rank among the top of the DBs and should be in all lineups moving forward.
Cortland Finnegan, DB, STL vs. ARI – Finnegan continues to post impressive numbers for a cornerback. Yesterday, he posted 10 solo tackles and 2 assists against the Cardinals in a game that proved to be more entertaining than anyone expected. If the Rams can continue to post points offensively, Finnegan will continue to be busy, allowing him more chances to post IDP numbers.
Studs That Were Duds
Notable players that didn’t even come close to expectations
Derrick Johnson, LB, KCC vs. DEN – DJ has been studly, no question about it. He’s had one off game the entire year. Well, make that two. He recorded just 4 solo tackles against the Bengals in Week 12. And while that may not seem ‘so bad’, it’s not what we’ve come to expect from Johnson. Though it’s his worst performance this year, we’ll give him a pass due to his otherwise stellar season. Continue starting him with confidence.
Elvis Dumervil, DE, DEN vs. KCC – Much like DJ, Dumervil has been having a great year, but he had a little slip up yesterday. He posted just 2 solo tackles in the win over the Chiefs; a disappointing day to say the least. I’ll cut him some slack as well, and advise you continue starting him until further notice.
Charles Tillman, DB, CHI vs. MIN – Peanut has, once again, been a fantastic IDP this year. He’s posted just one single-digit performance and is among the top players at his position, again. But yesterday versus the Vikings, Tillman tallied just 2 solos, 1 assist and a pass defensed. A pretty big letdown considering the Vikings were behind all game and trying to play catch-up. Clearly this was no more than a blip on the radar and an easy one to ignore. Start him as always.
Demarcus Ware, LB, DAL vs. WAS – I’m taking some liberty with this one. Ware has been asleep at the wheel recently, but he started off the year strong. Stud? Eh. Whatever. But on Thanksgiving, he was more turkey and less studly. 1 solo tackle and 1 assist against the Redskins; a major letdown. But that RGIII is a slippery sucker. Ware is an enigma, but he remains a must start in big-play heavy leagues. In tackle heavy and balanced leagues, play the matchups, but proceed with caution.