StrategySeptember 30, 2009


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D-Day: Week 4 - 8 comments

By Eli Ricke

The bye weeks have arrived, and it’s time to start managing your starting defense. Many owners will only carry one defensive unit on their squad in favor of another offensive player. If this is you, and you happen to have Atlanta, Arizona, Carolina or Philadelphia as your defensive unit, it’s time to decide if it’s worth it to drop an offensive player for a bye-week plug in at defense. In last week’s article I listed Denver as my #1 plug and play defense, and not only did they come through, they outperformed my projections. Just so you know, I do follow my own advice and I played Denver in one of my leagues which lifted me to a narrow victory over my opponent. It’s time now to look ahead to week 4.

Plug and Play Defenses – Week 4

1. San Francisco (18% owned in Yahoo! leagues) – The 49ers were my 3rd choice for plug and play defenses in week 3, and were it not a 101-yard kickoff return by Percy Harvin and a last second miracle TD from Brett Favre to Greg Lewis, they would’ve scored almost exactly as projected. This week they come home to face the St. Louis Rams. To say that the Rams have struggled offensively in ’09 would be an understatement. After the Lions’ upset of the Redskins on Sunday, the Rams now own the NFL’s current longest losing streak at 13 games. With little receiver depth and injury/performance issues at quarterback in St. Louis, expect a huge game from the 49er’s defense in week 4. Projection: 6 points allowed, 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 Forced Fumbles

2. Cincinnati (11%) – Cincinnati is coming off back to back upset victories, beating Green Bay on the road in week 2 and shocking the Super Bowl champion Steelers in week 3, breaking an 8-game home losing streak against Pittsburgh. The Bengals defense gave up a moderate number of points in weeks 2 and 3 (44 points combined) after shutting down Denver in week 1, but that won’t deter me from making them my 2nd choice among plug and play defenses this week. They travel to Cleveland, who just took a thrashing at the hands of the Ravens, posting a whopping 3 points on the scoreboard. The Browns’ offense has struggled in ’09 and I expect that to continue this week. Projection: 9 points allowed, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 Forced Fumble

3. Tampa Bay (31%) – Tampa’s defense seems to be hitting rock bottom after half a decade of excellence. Two or three years ago, the Bucs would’ve been a top defense in any fantasy draft, and now they just can’t stop anybody. The Bucs face the Washington Redskins, who, thankfully for them, haven’t shown the ability to light up the scoreboard this season. I’m a little wary of this pick because of their performance thus far, the fact that they are on the road and the Redskins coming off a humiliating loss, but if St. Louis can hold the Redskins to 9 points at Washington (which they did in week 2) then I think that Tampa can at least come close the Rams’ efforts. Don’t expect huge numbers, but if worse comes to worse, they’ll put up a performance that at the very least won’t lose you your matchup. Projection: 17 points allowed, 2 sacks, 1 INT

IDP Update

As mentioned earlier, the bye weeks start in week 4. If you have a good record and still have a decent shot at winning without dropping someone, it may be a good time to see what gems get dropped on waivers by other owners simply because of their bye. You might be in a good position to solidify your team for the long run. On the other hand, if you simply must make a move, here are some players that may be available in your leagues waiver wire or free agent pool:

Linebackers

E.J. Henderson (17% owned in Yahoo!) – How E.J. is only owned in 17% of Yahoo leagues with IDP players is beyond me. I was singing the praises of E.J. in my week 1 D-Day article and I haven’t changed my mind. Perhaps people were scared by the “Q” next to his name and shied away from him last week. They shouldn’t have. E.J. led the Vikings with 8 solo tackles and 5 assists against the 49ers in week 3. If he’s out there in your league, grab him and do it quickly.

Larry Foote (11%) – Foote continues to have a solid season for the Detroit Lions tallying 5 solo tackles and 4 assists in week 3. I’ll continue to harp on people to pick him up until I see he is owned in over 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

Defensive Backs

Antoine Bethea (16%) – With Bob Sanders currently out of the picture, Bethea is having a nice season, at least from a fantasy perspective. He led the Colts with 6 solo tackles and 2 assists in week 3 with an interception and a pass defensed for good measure. With Indianapolis’ quick-strike offense putting up points without taking time off the clock, their defense is on the field for more time than most, which leads to more opportunities for Bethea and all Colts defenders to score points. Keep in mind that his stock will likely drop when Bob Sanders returns to the lineup and starts stealing tackles.

Tyvon Branch (5%) - After notching only 10 total tackles on the season in 2008, Branch has more than doubled that effort in only 3 games in 2009. Tied for the team lead with 25 total tackles, he has been solid to say the least. He’s coming off of a 10 tackle game (8 solo, 2 assists) against the Broncos. At only 5% owned, he’s almost certainly available in your league.

Defensive Linemen

Marcus Stroud (7%) – The Bills defensive tackle has been very consistent, posting 4 solo tackles in each of his first 3 games. He also has 2 assists and a sack. If your league requires a DL or DT position, Stroud may be worth picking up.

Ray Edwards (11%) – The Vikings defensive end benefits from the players next to him on the defensive line: Jared Allen and the Williams Wall. This gives Edwards consistent one-on-one opportunities, and he has come through thus far in ‘09, registering 11 solo tackles, 5 assists and 1.5 sacks.

 
Eli Ricke knows absolutely nothing about Fantasy Football that everyone else doesn’t already know. All of his success in Fantasy Football can be attributed entirely to dumb luck. He has been playing Fantasy Football since 1999 and is a habitual liar. You will occasionally run across him in the café forums under the name 204BC, a name that has no particular meaning whatsoever. He just made it up, the same thing he does with most of the advice he gives.
 
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8 Responses to “D-Day: Week 4”

  1. User avatar BoyNamedSue says:

    Great help! I picked up Larry Foote after reading your post prior to Week 2 and he’s been an IDP machine for me! Unfortunately, he’s outscored my WRs a couple of times.

    ReplyReply
  2. Very nice read. There’s some great insight and intuition behind this article. Great work.

    ReplyReply
  3. justjames23 says:

    I like this segment too! Just one thought maybe – - our league clears waivers on Wed., so if you could get this out by Tues. night it would be a big help. I know this may not always be possible. Fortunately, this week I could anticipate SF and Cincy based on their matchups.

    I went with SF because in years past the Cincy vs. Clev. games have turned into shootouts in the battle of Ohio. Its hard to imagine that happening this year. But I must admit, they are a real surprise taking down GB and Pitt.

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  4. User avatar lacunacoiler says:

    thnx for the tips though..

    just picked up tyvon branch in all idp leagues im playing.. i think he is the real deal and would be a good db2 for me while i wait for troy to get back healthy again & atogwe to get out of his slump.. btw, what do you think of mike huff?? is he a better idp for the rest of the year than branch or huff is a streaky starter??

    nice to hear you mention ray edwards though, he has been riding my bench since week1 & im just waiting for some articles/insights about him on when he should be an everyweek starter…

    btw, which atl lb is a much reliable weekly starter: mike peterson or curtis lofton?? i currently own peterson & he has helped me alot for my team.. lofton has been on my watchlist since the preseason & i just ignored him due to his unproductive game on week1.. but now it seems that he is starting to heat up which makes him a worthy weekly starter…

    and you think hawthorne(SEA) is the real deal or he is just a product of hill & tatupu’s injuries?? and is cushing another streaky player or a guy that will give you good numbers??

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  5. 204BC says:

    “justjames23 says:
    October 1, 2009 at 2:18 am
    I like this segment too! Just one thought maybe – – our league clears waivers on Wed., so if you could get this out by Tues. night it would be a big help.”

    I actually do submit the articles for publication on Tuesday, but it’s not until Tuesday evening. The reason for this is that I like to wait and see what developements happen on Monday night and also I have to do my “real job” also so I don’t get a chance to finish my article until after work on Tuesday.

    The first section was easy this week considering the matchups though…..

    ReplyReply
  6. 204BC says:

    “lacunacoiler says:
    October 2, 2009 at 1:21 am

    btw, what do you think of mike huff?? is he a better idp for the rest of the year than branch or huff is a streaky starter??”

    I tend to not put too much stock in players that rack up INT’s early in the season, but his 6 passes defensed so far seem to indicate that he has a knack for getting into position to make a play….which would lead me to believe that more INT’s are forthcoming. However, as a general rule of thumb I put 90% of my IDP stock into tackles. That’s where you get consistent scoring. Nobody has ever picked off a pass in every game and I doubt we’ll ever see it, but lots of players have averaged 7 tackles a game over the course of the season. Huff only has 6 through three games. He’d be a good gamble on a bye week but I wouldn’t use him as an every day starter. “Streaky” is definitley the right word.

    “nice to hear you mention ray edwards though, he has been riding my bench since week1 & im just waiting for some articles/insights about him on when he should be an everyweek starter…”

    If he’s scoring more than the other guys on your team…..then he’s an every week starter.

    “btw, which atl lb is a much reliable weekly starter: mike peterson or curtis lofton?? i currently own peterson & he has helped me alot for my team.. lofton has been on my watchlist since the preseason & i just ignored him due to his unproductive game on week1.. but now it seems that he is starting to heat up which makes him a worthy weekly starter…”

    Both are solid but I have to go with Lofton here. One thing that concerns me with Peterson is the fact that he hasn’t made it through a full season in 4 years, so you have the “injury bug” thing to worry about. Lofton has been a machine this season. I don’t know how you can call 10 solo tackles, 1 assist and 1 forced fumble (his week 1 stat line) an unproductive game. Perhaps you meant week 2 when he registered 6 solo tackles and 2 assists, by far his worst effort of the young season and in my book still decent.

    “and you think hawthorne(SEA) is the real deal or he is just a product of hill & tatupu’s injuries?? and is cushing another streaky player or a guy that will give you good numbers??”

    I have to believe that it’s a byproduct of missing Hill and Tatupu, but it could also be that he just suddenly decided to kick some a$$. Hawthorne registered 15 tackles in week 3 after posting 1 and 4 respectively in weeks 1 & 2. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

    ReplyReply
  7. User avatar lacunacoiler says:

    204BC, what about kc’s tank tyler(dt)? is he a dl sleeper of the year?? so far he is a good source of tackle, but none on anything else.. im wondering whether to take a flier on him & stash him since i know kc’s defense will likely spend more time on the field rather than their offense…

    ReplyReply
  8. 204BC says:

    lacunacoiler says:
    October 3, 2009 at 6:00 am
    “204BC, what about kc’s tank tyler(dt)? is he a dl sleeper of the year?? so far he is a good source of tackle, but none on anything else.. im wondering whether to take a flier on him & stash him since i know kc’s defense will likely spend more time on the field rather than their offense…”

    Anyone named “Tank” should be a good football player if you ask me.

    Seriously, he’s having an awesome season thus far and through 3 games he is just shy of half of his career high in tackles. The man is huge (304 lbs) and apparently he is deceptively quick for someone his size if you consider that 11 of his 14 solo tackles have come on runs of over 6 yards and 3 of those 11 were on runs of over 10 yards. This means he’s hustling after the RB and catching up to him. One thing that concerns me is that he isn’t used very often on 3rd downs, which indicates that he’s not in as a pass rusher. His primary role is to stop the run and if he’s facing a running team then I’d have to say he’s a must start.

    ReplyReply

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