There are some uncertain matchups this week, but digging through some stats and previous match ups may have yielded some nice finds. Some of these names are previous top end IDPs, filled in with some that you may have never played or even heard of. Thus far this year, there have been some surprises on the defensive side, as well as the down right crazy. Week 5, sound the horn!
Justin Smith – DE, SF
Owned in 13% of Yahoo Leagues
Smith has been kind of quiet thus far this year; solid, but quiet. I believe this week is the week he has his annual coming out party. Facing the Eagles at home looks like a great match up, especially given the fact that reports are out that Michael Vick won’t be playing in San Francisco. This is good for SF’s D, based on last week with Washington having Kevin Kolb on edge. Kolb officially doesn’t look comfortable after the hard hit in Week 1, and with Smith rushing the edges that looks like a nice start Week 5.
Week 5 Projections: 4 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1.5 sacks
Sedrick Ellis – DT, NO
Owned in 4% of Yahoo Leagues
Ellis had one his best games as a Saint to date in Week 4 against the Panthers and rookie QB Jimmy Clausen. This week he faces a veteran in Derek Anderson, but both he and Clausen have a lot of similar characteristics in the sense that neither yet looks comfortable on field. Anderson has struggled mightily thus far, and I don’t see that getting any better this week. The Saints should jump out early and often on Arizona, thus the D-line should pin their ears back and get after Anderson snap after snap.
Week 5 Projections: 2 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection
Charles Johnson – DE, CAR
Owned in 3% of Yahoo Leagues
Johnson has been a bit quiet thus far, but is a former third round pick out of Georgia Tech has been Carolina’s only threat from their defensive line thus far. Seeing quite a few double teams has slowed him a bit, but after witnessing the horrid play from Chicago’s offensive line on Sunday night, it shows double teams aren’t going to stop much.
Week 5 Projections: 1 solo tackle, 3 assisted tackles, 1.5 sacks
Geno Hayes – LB, TB
Owned in 5% of Yahoo Leagues
Hayes so far this year has been just as productive as fellow Buc and top-end IDP LB Barrett Rudd, and he is still un-owned in the majority of Yahoo leagues. Hayes has averaged seven total tackles through three games this year. The Tampa Bay D is rested coming out of the bye week, and they’re ready for the strong run attack of Cincy.
Week 5 Projections: 8 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackles, 1 pass defended
Sean Weatherspoon (starter, but injured) or Stephen Nicholas (fill-in for Sean)
Both Owned in less in 9% of Yahoo Leagues
This pick is a check injury status, but whichever starts is a must-play in Week 5. They are going up against a Cleveland team who seems to have finally found a true RB1 in Peyton Hillis and now looks to pound the ball. Weatherspoon is a strong play regardless of match-up, but Nicholas proved he is a valid start as well with 12 total tackles last week against the Niners.
Week 5 Projections: 9 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 pass deflection
Gary Brackett – LB, IND
Owned in 6% of Yahoo Leagues
Brackett isn’t the best IDP play week in week out, averaging just over six total tackles a week thus far, but Indy’s D flocks so much that it’s hard to pick one great IDP. This week, however, may be one of those times to start an Indy LB, with Brackett being the best candidate. Going up against a quick and shifty back in Jamaal Charles is usually iffy, but Indy’s speed on defense counteracts that. Brackett is also fairly active in the passing game, which is a benefit as both Charles and Thomas Jones are active in the passing game.
Week 5 Projections: 7 solo tackles, 1 assisted, 2 passes defended
Kerry Rhodes – DB, ARI
Owned in 7% of Yahoo Leagues
Rhodes playing safety is a stingray in the Arizona secondary. Very active in both the pass game and run game, he’s a great play this week at home against the high-powered attack of the Saints. Rhodes has shown over the last two weeks that he’s able to stick his nose up in the line on runs and also play ball hawk in the passing game.
Week 5 Projections: 7 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 2 passes defended
Eric Berry – DB, KC
Owned in 10% of Yahoo Leagues
If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to take a chance on this first rounder, this week is the week to do so. Berry should have one sole job: watch and read Peyton’s eyes. He is a very physical DB, one who loves activity around the line of scrimmage, but this week he will have to showcase his pass defense.
Week 5 Projections: 6 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackles, 1 pass defended
Cortland Finnegan – DB, TEN
Owned in 7% of yahoo Leagues
Finnegan has been a great source of tackles from the DB position so far this year in the Tennessee secondary. Averaging over six total tackles a game is a great pick up to fill in this week against the aerial attack of the Cowboys. This week though, I’m not only picking him because of his tackle totals, but also his legit shot at pressuring the QB. Tony Romo isn’t the most mobile QB, and the Dallas O-line has been shaky at very best this year.
Week 5 Projections: 5 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 sack
Owned in 31% of Yahoo Leagues
Cleveland’s running game has come alive the last few games, but the passing game is at best just getting them by. The Dirty Birds have a nice set of LBs that have a very good shot of limiting the Browns run game, which would force Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace to put the ball in the air more then they would want to throw. This will play right into Atlanta’s hands, as they are currently leading the league in INTs.
Owned in 10% of Yahoo Leagues
The Black Cats are going up against a Chicago offensive line that was totally shredded by the Giants defensive line on Sunday night. They haven’t shown much in the turnover department, but this is a favorable match up whether Cutler or Collins starts for Chicago. Carolina’s special teams have also played a vital role in making this D/ST a nice scoring option, totaling enough yardage to place them No. 4 in the league.
Owned in 3% of Yahoo Leagues
The 10% or less didn’t yield too much this week in the form of ‘favorable matchups’, but the Jags in Buffalo was the best of the bunch. Fitzpatrick may be a nice option now for Buffalo, but he’s not the answer. Also, the departure of Lynch to Seattle is a benefit this week. Their points against doesn’t look too promising, but given the fact they have faced a rash of top QBs so far this year doesn’t help either. Fitzpatrick is nowhere near the level of Philip Rivers or Peyton Manning or even Michael Vick or Kyle Orton.
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