It’s Week 7 of the 2012 NFL season, and once again Individual Defensive Players (IDP) were hit hard by injuries over the weekend, with linebackers Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens and D.J. Smith of the Green Bay Packers suffering significant injuries that may well have ended their seasons.
Those injuries, and the fact that no fewer than six teams will be on a bye this week, have left IDP owners scrambling to find replacements for the upcoming week’s games, and here’s a look at some players who should be available in the majority of fantasy football leagues.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Bobby Wagner, MLB, Seattle:
As the rookie from Utah State has become more and more acclimated to the NFL, Wagner’s role has grown in the Seattle defense. The youngster responded Sunday by racking up 14 total tackles in the win over the New England Patriots. Wagner seems entrenched now as a three-down player in Seattle, and with a favorable matchup upcoming with the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night, Wagner is absolutely worth a look from IDP squads with a need at linebacker.
Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit:
After entering the season as a low-end DL1, a woefully slow start to the 2012 season got Avril the boot from many IDP teams, but it appears that the fifth-year pro may finally be waking up, statistically. After a big game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Avril now has seven tackles and 2.5 sacks in his past two games, and, given how many defensive linemen have underperformed this year, Avril definitely merits consideration from IDP teams looking for a boost up front.
Chris Kelsay, DE, Buffalo:
A knee injury suffered by defensive end Mark Anderson thrust Kelsay into the starting lineup against the Arizona Cardinals, and the 10th-year veteran came up big, notching seven tackles and sacking quarterback Kevin Kolb for a safety. Kelsay’s more of a run stuffer than pass rusher, and he’s not going to post those sorts of numbers every week, but his solid tackle production should be enough to at least make Kelsay a viable bye week fill-in.
Miles Burris, OLB, Oakland:
There was a change in game plan for the Oakland Raiders in their loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, as Burris supplanted middle linebacker Rolando McClain in the team’s nickel package. The rookie managed only four total tackles against the Falcons, but, if this switch sticks, both Burris’ snap counts and IDP value should see a significant upswing as we head into the second half of the 2012 season.
Jameel McClain, ILB, Baltimore:
The Baltimore Ravens felt the sting of the injury bug at the linebacker position in Week 6, as star linebacker Ray Lewis left the game with the Dallas Cowboys with a triceps injury that the team fears will end the 17th-year veteran’s season. We advocated picking up inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe a couple of weeks ago in this column, and batterymate Jameel McClain, who has 14 solos over his past two games, is now also worth a look from IDP owners with Lewis on the shelf.
Louis Delmas, FS, Detroit
: Delmas made his 2012 debut on Sunday after a knee injury sidelined him for the team’s first four games, and his return came not a moment too soon for the Detroit secondary. The fourth-year pro racked up seven tackles and an interception in Detroit’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles, and, as Delmas rounds back into shape, his return to action should provide a boost to both the Detroit defense and IDP owners with a hole at the position.
Jimmy Smith, CB, Baltimore
: Ray Lewis wasn’t the only prominent defensive player for the Ravens that suffered a serious injury in Week 6, as cornerback Lardarius Webb tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Webb’s absence forces second-year pro Jimmy Smith into the starting lineup in Baltimore, and while Smith isn’t nearly the fantasy option that Webb is, he’s at least worth a look from fantasy owners as a matchup play.
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.