We’re only two weeks into the 2011 season, and already the injuries are starting to pile up (Outside linebacker Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers blew out his knee…again, and inside linebacker Karlos Dansby of the Miami Dolphins has the always ubiquitous groin injury), so IDP owners everywhere are scrambling to plug the holes in the boat before their seasons are sunk.
With that in mind here are some players that should be available on many IDP waiver wires that can give your fantasy squad a boost.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Mason Foster – MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Foster’s two-down role in the middle of the Tampa defense led many IDP owners to jettison the rookie, but that role may be about to change. An ankle injury suffered by starting SLB Quincy Black led to Foster seeing increased playing time for Foster and the youngster responded, leading the Buccaneers with 10 tackles, notching his first sack, and forcing a fumble. The solid outing could lead to more time on the field for Foster in the future, so you should strongly consider picking him up.
Michael Johnson – DE, Cincinnati Bengals: After a failed move to SLB last year Johnson’s back at defensive end in the Queen City and making an impact, logging seven solos, a sack, and a forced fumble in the Bengals loss at Denver Sunday. Defensive ends aren’t going to rack up seven stops every week, but given the lack of fantasy depth at the position IDP owners would be well advised to give the third year pro a look.
Jabaal Sheard – DE, Cleveland Browns: The Browns moved the rookie to the left side of the defensive line for last week’s game at Indianapolis and Sheard exploded, tallying five total tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble against the Colts. Sheard will see plenty of playing time on Cleveland’s defensive front this season, and while rookie defensive linemen can be inconsistent IDP options Sheard is well worth an add in the hopes that Week 2 was a portent of things to come.
Kavell Conner – WLB, Indianapolis Colts: The second year pro had a strong statistical showing in the Colts loss to the Cleveland Browns Sunday, making 10 total tackles and forcing a fumble. Conner’s the 3-down WLB in a Tampa-2 defense, a position that has shown in the past to be a productive one from an IDP standpoint, and fantasy owners in a bind at linebacker could do worse than bringing Kavell Conner on board.
Thomas Howard – WLB, Cincinnati Bengals: Howard put together his second straight decent outing in last Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, leading the Bengals with eight total tackles in the Mile High City. When Keith Rivers returns from the PUP list in Week 7 Howard may return to the bench, but for now IDP owners bitten by the injury bug at linebacker should hitch their wagons to the sixth year pro and enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Sean Jones – SS, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: After a dismal first season in Tampa Bay Sean Jones appears to be settling in at the back end of the Buccaneers defense, racking up 15 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble in the season’s first two games. Jones has shown the ability to be a productive IDP commodity in the past, finishing among the top 10 fantasy defensive backs in 2006 and 2007 as a member of the Cleveland Browns, and while Jones may not return to those lofty heights he very much merits consideration from IDP owners looking to strengthen their secondary or those who have been hit by injuries at the position.
Lardarius Webb – CB, Baltimore Ravens: For the second consecutive week cornerback Lardarius Webb paced the Baltimore Ravens in tackles, making 11 stops and recording half a sack with two passes defensed in the Ravens surprising loss to the Tennessee Titans. The 25 year old Webb now has 21 total tackles in two games this season, and while that pace is likely not sustainable, opposing quarterbacks have been more than willing to throw at Webb to this point, and should that continue to be the case he should continue to receive ample opportunities for fantasy production, making him a favorable addition to IDP rosters, especially in fantasy leagues that require cornerbacks.