Well, Week 5 wasn’t my best week ever recommendation-wise, but it certainly wasn’t my worst either, so after a few hits and a few misses (it happens with IDPs…no matter how educated the guess at the end of the day it’s still just that) it’s back into the basement to consult my trusty Krystal Ball. (I have to keep it there, the last time I left it upstairs it killed every plant in the house, and never mind the titanium suit I have to wear…long story, but thankfully the antidote for Krystal Ball poisoning just so happens to be cold beer.)
Remember, this is the second of the bye weeks, so don’t go starting any players from the Chiefs, Chargers, Titans, Broncos, Seahawks, or Cardinals. No huge losses there anyway, so no tears this week.
In the spirit of onward and upward here’s a look at some players you should give serious consideration to getting into your lineups or who could outperform expectations (Studs) and some that, for whatever reason, you may want to consider leaving alone, or at least take into account that they may be a relative disappointment this week. (Duds)
Cliff Avril – DE, Detroit Lions (vs. SF): Avril responded in a favorable matchup last week, logging four total tackles and a sack (and having another nullified by penalty), and with another solid pass rush matchup on tap there’s no reason not to keep riding the hot hand.
Chris Long – DE, St. Louis Rams (at GB): Howie’s kid is off to a strong start this year, and while the Packers aren’t a great pass rush matchup they have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing defensive linemen to this point in the season.
Brian Robison – DE, Minnesota Vikings (at CHI): The fifth year pro has notched a pair of sacks in two of his past three games, and just in case you missed last Monday night’s game (or any Bears game from the past two seasons) the Chicago offensive line kind of, um, sucks at pass protection.
Jamar Chaney – MLB, Philadelphia Eagles (at WAS): No one is going to confuse Chaney with Patrick Willis any time soon, but he’s the closest thing the Eagles have to a competent linebacker and should see ample tackle opportunities against the run-first Redskins, who have allowed the fifth most in the NFL so far this year.
James Farrior – ILB, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. JAX): The grizzled vet stepped up in a big way with James Harrison sidelined last week, tallying 13 total stops against Tennessee, and so long as he’s playing every down in the heart of the Steelers defense Farrior should post solid numbers.
Brandon Spikes – MLB, New England Patriots: The ever-changing schemes of the Patriots can make starting Spikes a bit of a risky bet, but he was on the field for nearly every play last week and faces a Cowboys team this week that ranks seventh in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing linebackers.
Mike Jenkins – CB, Dallas Cowboys (at NE): This week’s sneaky spot start at his position, Jenkins isn’t an IDP worldbeater but gets a matchup with a Pats squad Sunday that has a tendency to keep opposing defensive backs very busy, so look for better than average fantasy production from him.
Bernard Pollard – SS, Baltimore Ravens (vs. HOU): Tom Zbikowski has yet to practice this week, and if his concussion keeps him off the field Pollard would move into the starting lineup against a Houston Texans team that has allowed the fourth most tackle opportunities in the NFL to this point in the season.
Antrel Rolle – FS, New York Giants (vs. BUF): The Giants have faced the fourth most tackle opportunities in the league this year, the Buffalo Bills have allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing defensive backs, and when you add those factors together it’s a recipe for IDP tastiness.
John Abraham – DE, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR): Abraham has yet to practice this week after missing last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers with a groin injury, but even should he suit up his snaps will likely be limited and it’s difficult enough to chase Cam Newton down when you’re 100% healthy.
Lamarr Houston – DE, Oakland Raiders (vs. CLE): The second year pro is off to a woefully slow start in the always churning Oakland o-line rotation, having yet to record a sack so far this season, and it’s not likely to get much better against a Cleveland team that’s 27th in the NFL in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing defensive linemen.
Osi Umenyiora – DE, New York Giants (vs. BUF): BLASPHEMY! This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t start Umenyiora, or Jason Pierre-Paul for that matter, but it’s worth noting that the Buffalo Bills are dead last in the NFL in sacks allowed and 31st in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing defensive linemen. Caveat emptor.
Nick Barnett – ILB, Buffalo Bills (at NYG): Much like with Umenyiora above it’s nigh impossible to sit the third ranked linebacker in Default IDP Manor Scoring so far this season, but the Giants are a mediocre tackle matchup and the worst matchup in the league so far this year for opposing fantasy linebackers.
E.J. Henderson – MLB, Minnesota Vikings: Henderson’s lingering knee injury is keeping him out of nickel packages and limiting his tackle opportunities, and that combined with the Bears being 29th in the league in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing linebackers is reason enough to explore other options.
Rolando McClain – MLB, Oakland Raiders (vs. CLE): The second year pro has been a bit of a disappointment to this point in the season, was limited in practice Thursday with an ankle injury that clouds his status for Sunday’s tilt with the Browns, who are also a somewhat surprisingly poor fantasy matchup for opposing linebackers. ‘Nuff said.
Quintin Mikell – FS, St. Louis Rams (at GB): Mikell’s fantasy production this season has been severely hindered by his playing more free safety in St. Louis than he ever did in Philadelphia, and while that may appear to actually be a boon to his IDP fortunes against the Green Bay offensive juggernaut the Packers have actually been the third worst fantasy matchup in the NFL for opposing defensive backs this season.
Jarrad Page – FS, Philadelphia Eagles (at WAS): In case you hadn’t heard in the Eagles quest to develop something resembling an actual National Football League defense Page has been benched in favor of Kurt Coleman, so his IDP value at the back end of the sieve they have right now just went POOF!
William Moore – SS, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR): Just when it seemed Moore was starting to get it together from a fantasy standpoint this season he went down last Sunday night with a shoulder injury, leaving his IDP owners holding the proverbial bag last week and his status for this week very much in question.