Ladies and gentlemen, Sharks of all ages, one week of IDP Studs and Duds is in the books, and while I whiffed on a few (Ray Edwards, Julius Peppers) I also hit a few right on the nose (Barrett Ruud, Bernard Pollard), so while it’s not time for me to start writing any awards acceptance speeches (besides, they’re already written) I can at least head into Week 2 with my head held high.
With that in mind, 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).
Turk McBride, DE, New Orleans (vs. Chicago): My deep league sleeper spot start of the week goes up against a Bears offensive line that didn’t look a whole lot better in pass protection last week than they did in 2010, and given how much Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes to get after the quarterback, McBride’s got a solid shot at a sack this week.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants (vs. St. Louis): Pierre-Paul looks ready to join the ranks of the elite options at his position and faces off against a St. Louis Rams team that gave up five sacks to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.
Jabaal Sheard, DE, Cleveland (at Indianapolis): The Indianapolis offense was a comedy of errors last week and was manhandled badly by the Houston defensive front, so now seems as good a time as any to prognosticate Sheard notching his first quarterback sack as a professional.
Pat Angerer, MLB, Indianapolis (vs. Cleveland): In case you’ve been living in Myanmar the past week or in jail, Gray Brackett is almost certainly out this week, bumping Angerer to the middle and making him an absolute must start against a Browns team that will probably pound away with Peyton Hillis.
David Hawthorne, MLB, Seattle (at Pittsburgh): Hawthorne missed Seattle’s loss to San Francisco last Sunday with a knee injury but practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday and appears set to return in a very favorable matchup against running back Rashard Mendenhall and the Steelers.
Sean Weatherspoon, WLB, Atlanta (vs. Philadelphia): The second-year pro paced the Falcons with 10 stops in Week 1 and appears to be flourishing in his new role as the every down WLB, and Weatherspoon and the entire Atlanta defense should be plenty busy in Michael Vick’s return to the Georgia Dome.
Brandon Flowers, CB, Kansas City (at Detroit): If last week was any indication, the Kansas City secondary that just gave up four touchdown passes to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills will be in for an equally long day against Detroit signal caller Matthew Stafford and a Lions team with no shortage of offensive weaponry.
Jon McGraw, SS, Kansas City (at Detroit): Second verse, same as the first. Veteran strong safety McGraw takes over for the injured Eric Berry at the back of the Chiefs secondary, and was abused through the air repeatedly as a starter for Kansas City in 2009. Bad for the Chiefs, good for IDP owners looking for a defensive back spot start.
Charles Tillman, CB, Chicago (at New Orleans): Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have a tendency to keep opposing cornerbacks very busy, and there’s no reason that should change in New Orleans home opener, making “Peanut” Tillman a solid start for fantasy owners this week.
Elvis Dumervil, DE, Denver Broncos (vs. Cincinnati) It appears that Elvis has left the building, at least for a week or two, as the shoulder injury suffered by Dumervil in last Monday’s loss to the Oakland Raiders will sideline Denver’s best pass rusher when they meet Cincinnati this week.
Ray Edwards, DE, Atlanta (vs. Philadelphia): Edwards laid an egg in a juicy matchup against the Chicago Bears last week and is losing significant snaps to Kroy Biermann. Maybe it’s his knee, maybe it’s the new defense, but regardless of the reason the sledding’s not going to get any easier against Michael Vick and the Eagles Sunday.
Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis (vs. Cleveland): The loss of Peyton Manning has impacted the Colts defense just as much as the offense. This is a defense built around protecting leads while pinning their ears back and rushing the passer, and if Freeney can’t do that his IDP value takes a huge hit.
Dan Connor, MLB, Carolina (vs. Green Bay): Jon Beason’s season-ending injury made Connor a hot commodity on waiver wires this week, but the Packers run a ton of three wide receiver sets, which will keep the Panthers in their nickel defense a lot this week and keep Connor off the field.
Rolando McClain, MLB, Oakland (at Buffalo): I’m not as ready as some to write McClain off after his dud last week against Denver, but this week’s matchup with Buffalo isn’t much better and that combined with a 1 p.m. start time (West Coast teams tend to struggle in early games) will likely have the boo birds chirping even more loudly.
Cameron Wake, OLB, Miami (vs. Houston): The former CFL standout was a surprise Top 25 IDP finisher at his position in 2010 and a trendy pick in many fantasy drafts this year, and while he managed to cobble together a three tackle, one sack night against New England, he was dominated much of the game and remains a very risky IDP play except in leagues that award highly for sacks.
Ed Reed, FS, Baltimore (at Tennessee): Reed had a monster game in the Ravens’ dismantling of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, but his reliance on big plays for fantasy production makes him very streaky IDP option, especially this week against a Tennessee offense that looked anemic in a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars a week ago.
Bryan Scott, SS, Buffalo (vs. Oakland): Scott’s nine solos and a sack against Kansas City led many fantasy owners to add him to their rosters looking for a repeat, but it’s fools’ gold they likely hold. The reserve safety plays linebacker in the Bills’ nickel defense, and while they spent most of last week in that set after surging to a big lead at Arrowhead this week’s tilt with the Raiders smells like a grinder that will leave Scott glued to the bench for much of the game, so glue him to yours.
T.J. Ward, SS, Cleveland (at Indianapolis): This is in no way an indictment of my favorite player on my favorite team (fine or no, that slobberknocker Ward laid on Jordan Shipley last year reminded me of Eric Turner, God rest his soul), but this is an awful matchup for Ward, so his IDP owners shouldn’t be surprised if Ward’s stat line is less than Wardian.