As we get deeper into the 2011 NFL season injuries mount, defensive lineups are shaken up, and trends and situations develop that often either leave IDP owners struggling to fix holes in their rosters or that present solid opportunities to strengthen fantasy squads.
With that in mind here are some players that should be available on many IDP waiver wires that are worth targeting as we near the end of the season’s first month.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Jacquian Williams – LB, New York Giants: The G-Men are desperate for someone to stepup from their linebacker corps and solidify the MLB spot, and last week rookie Jacquian Williams answered the call, recording 10 solos in New York’s win over the Dallas Cowboys. That strong performance should merit more playing time, and with 17 stops over the past two games Williams is absolutely worth a look from IDP teams looking to bolster their linebackers.
Calais Campbell – DE, Arizona Cardinals: Fantasy-relevant 3-4 defensive ends are more exception than rule, but Calais Campbell of the Arizona Cardinals showed again in Week 3 that he’s one of those exceptions, racking up 10 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The fourth year pro is available in a surprising number of IDP leagues even though he’s finished in the top 25 at his position the past two seasons, and if Campbell’s on the wire in your league snatch him up with all due haste.
Ahtyba Rubin – DT, Cleveland Browns: Rubin was a surprise top 20 finisher among fantasy defensive linemen in 2010 after posting 82 tackles in the 3-4, but his move to DT in Cleveland’s new 4-3 front figured to hurt his IDP value. That wasn’t case last week, as Rubin tallied 9 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and while he’s not going to do that every week Rubin’s once again back on the fantasy radar, especially in DT-required leagues.
Jo-Lonn Dunbar – LB, New Orleans Saints: With Jonathan Vilma sidelined with a knee injury last week against the Houston Texans the fifth year pro stepped in at MLB and played well, recording 10 total stops in the Saints victory. Dunbar isn’t a worldbeating talent, but with Vilma’s status for this week very much in question Dunbar merits fantasy consideration from IDP owners hurting at LB.
Jason Williams – LB, Carolina Panthers: Speaking of hurting at linebacker, season-ending injuries to Jon Beason and Thomas Davis have meant increased playing time for fifth year pro Jason Williams, and Williams responded in Week 3, making seven tackles in the Panthers first win of the season. Williams may not set the world on fire, but some IDP owners may be well served to add Williams in an effort to put other fires out.
Jordan Babineaux – SS, Tennessee Titans: Babineaux started in place of Chris Hope at strong safety for the Titans and had a decent statistical outing, recording eight total tackles. Babineaux has a 100+ tackle season and top 20 fantasy finish on his resume (2009, with the Seattle Seahawks), and as long as Hope remains sidelined the eighth year veteran will be a viable fantasy starter at defensive back.
Dashon Goldson – FS, San Francisco 49ers: Week 3 marked the first action of the 2011 season for San Francisco 49ers free safety Dashon Goldson, and the fifth year pro had a solid debut, tallying eight total tackles in a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Goldson has shown the ability to be a productive IDP asset in the past, so fantasy owners hurting at DB could do worse than to give Goldson a look.