Five weeks into the 2011 season the byes have begun and injuries continue to mount, with Houston Texans linebacker Mario Williams and Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes the latest big name defensive players to go down and send their fantasy owners scrambling to locate replacements.
With that in mind here are some players that should be available on many IDP waiver wires that are worth targeting as we head into Week 6.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Brian Robison – DE, Minnesota Vikings: With Ray Edwards departure to the Atlanta Falcons Robison entered the starting lineup for the Vikings opposite Jared Allen, and the fifth year pro has played fairly well. In Week 5 Robison notched two sacks for the second time in three games, and with a matchup upcoming with the Chicago Bears and their shaky offensive line Robison should be the top target for fantasy teams in need of DL help.
Cliff Avril – DE, Detroit Lions: After getting off to a slow start Avril was jettisoned by many IDP owners, but he’s showing some signs of life as of late. Avril racked up four total tackles and a sack in Detroit’s victory over Chicago Monday night and had another sack negated by a penalty, and with favorable pass rush matchups in his next two games the fourth year veteran is certainly worth a look from teams looking to bolster their defensive line.
Jeremy Mincey – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars: Injuries along the Jacksonville defensive line have led to an increased role for Mincey, and the 27-year old has responded, amassing 11 total tackles and a sack in his last three starts. Aaron Kampman’s return to action may eat into Mincey’s snaps a bit, but with a matchup on tap with a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has struggled in pass protection Mincey could be a viable spot starter for IDP squads in Week 6.
Brian Rolle – WLB, Philadelphia Eagles: The end of the Casey Matthews experiment in Philadelphia thrust the former Ohio State standout into the starting lineup for the Eagles, and Rolle has played fairly well, notching nine total stops in the Eagles’ loss to Buffalo Sunday. It appears that Rolle is going to be afforded the opportunity to play in subpackages as well, and anytime you can grab a 3-down linebacker off the waiver wire it’s certainly worth exploring if you have a need at the position.
Jamaal Westerman – OLB, New York Jets: The season-ending injury suffered by Bryan Scott moved Westerman into the starting lineup for the Jets, and Westerman stepped up in a big way against the New England Patriots, tallying five total tackles and sacking Tom Brady twice. The 3rd year pro faces a Miami Dolphins team next Monday night that has allowed 14 sacks in four games, and IDP owners in need of a spot starter at LB could likely do worse than taking a flier on Westerman.
Nate Allen – FS, Philadelphia Eagles: The second year pro appears to be fully healed from the knee injury that ended his 2010 season and had a big day in the Eagles’ loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday, leading the team with 13 tackles, including 10 solos. Philadelphia’s front seven has struggled this season, leading to more tackle opportunities for the defensive backs, and Allen absolutely merits consideration from fantasy owners in need of defensive back help.
Justin King – CB, St. Louis Rams: The Rams’ secondary has been ravaged by injuries, and fourth year pro Justin King is now the top cornerback in St. Louis. King is far from a worldbeater talent-wise and should be targeted with regularity by opposing quarterbacks, and with a matchup this week with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers King should be plenty busy all day chasing receivers around, which may be bad for him but is excellent for IDP owners.
Have a question about another defensive player? Check out the Fantasy Sharks IDP Forum and I’ll do my best to help!