Athlon Sports analyzes the top performers, best waiver wire adds and IDP injuries from around the NFL.
- by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)
Each week Athlon's fantasy staff will dive into the NFL Fantasy world of Individual Defensive Players, or more affectionately known as IDPs. Weekly top performers, advice and waiver wire adds highlight the Athlon IDP Weekly Potpourri.
Week 3’s Top Defensive Backs:
1. Drayton Florence, CB, Buffalo: 14.0 TFP (2 solo, INT, TD, PD)
I can’t say to completely disregard this performance, because Florence did intercept a pass in Week 1, but the Bills coverman has eight total tackles in three games and scored 14 of his 23.5 TFP last weekend. Maybe watch-list him and keep an eye on his tackle totals.
2. Kenny Phillips, S, NY Giants: 14.0 TFP (7 solo, 2 ast, INT, FF, PD)
The Giants' safety has the talent of a former first-rounder, and with the way teams are throwing on the Giants, he could be a nice play from here on out. Phillips posted 77 total stops last season and could build on that this fall – he is on pace for 117 total tackles.
3. Morgan Burnett, S, Green Bay: 13.5 TFP (5 solo, 1 ast, 2 INT, 2 PD)
The Packers are leading the NFL in rushing defense and are 31st in pass defense. With the injuries to the secondary, expect Burnett to be a fantasy star the rest of the way.
2011 DB Fantasy Rankings:
1. Morgan Burnett, S, Green Bay: 40.5 TFP
2. Lardarius Webb, CB, Baltimore: 34.9 TFP
3. Roman Harper, S, New Orleans: 34.0 TFP
4. Antoine Winfield, CB, Minnesota: 31.5 TFP
5. Tyvon Branch, S, Oakland: 30.0 TFP
DB Waiver Wire Adds:
Kenny Phillips, S, NY Giants (No. 13 ranked DB)
Phillips has the talent and the opportunity to make a lot of plays. Of course, they may not help the Giants win games, but they should help you win fantasy match-ups. The Giants are getting thrown on and Phillips is on pace for more than 85 solo tackles – which would shatter his personal best (77 total tackles is his single season mark).
Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle (No. 11)
The Seahawks safety is racking up tackles three weeks into the season. He is averaging 8.0 total stops per game – on pace for 128 total. Once he starts to add the big play, his stat line could be very serviceable in deeper leagues.
Jason McCourty, CB, Tennessee (No. 7 overall DB)
Opposing teams will be targeting McCourty’s side of the field with Courtland Finnegan shutting down the other half. His next two are against Cleveland, with a mistake-prone offense, and Pittsburgh, who throws the ball all over the place.
Bryan Scott, S, Buffalo (No. 12)
Scott already has an interception and a forced fumble on his ledger to go with his 24 total stops. With the way the Bills have been getting into shootouts, Wilson could easily be a quality addition to any squad. His running mate Bryan Scott might deserve a look as well.
Reggie Nelson, S, Cincinnati (No. 12)
Tied with Wilson, Nelson also boasts elite-level talent as a former first-round pick. In his rookie season, Nelson posted career highs in PD (11) and INTs (5) but hasn’t been productive since. He is on pace to destroy his tackle total from last fall (54) and set a new career high in that category as he is on pace for 122 total stops. His previous high is 70.
Justin King, CB, St. Louis (No. 9)
21 solo stops for a cornerback is an good indicator that quarterbacks are not afraid to throw at King – and that they are completing passes. Cornerbacks are normally not great fantasy players as compared to safeties, but the more you are thrown at, the more chances you have for tackles, INTs and PDs (see DeAngelo Hall). He could be this year’s Terrell Thomas.
DB Injury Update:
Brandon Flowers, CB, Kansas City
One of the most underrated players in the league left week 3 with a high ankle sprain.
Patrick Chung, S, New England
Missed week 3 against Buffalo with a broken thumb but could return.
Champ Bailey, CB, Denver
He missed the last two games but returned to practice on Wednesday.
Michael Huff, S, Oakland
Left the week 3 game against the Jets with a concussion and must be cleared to play.
Week 3’s Top Linebackers:
1. Pat Angerer, Indianapolis: 16.5 TFP (12 solo, 9 ast)
He did it all with tackles – that is impressive. I have been telling readers to snag this high-tackle backer from Indy for weeks. He should not be on your waiver wire any longer.
2. Ray Lewis, Baltimore: 15.5 TFP (10 solo, 1.0 sack, FF)
The grizzled veteran is doing it again. Arguably the best linebacker this fantasy player has ever seen, bounced back in 2010 and is proving it was no fluke.
3. Leroy Hill, Seattle: 15.0 TFP (8 solo, 3 ast, 1.0 sack, FF)
The revitalized Hill is playing alongside some young, talented tackles in David Hawthorne, Aaron Curry and K.J. Wright. It appears that Curry will be the one losing snaps to Wright – making Hill a sneaky option from here on out.
2011 LB Fantasy Rankings:
1. D'Qwell Jackson, Cleveland: 41.0 TFP
2. Sean Lee, Dallas: 39.5 TFP
3. Pat Angerer, Indianapolis: 37.0 TFP
4. Ray Lewis, Baltimore: 35.5 TFP
5. Brian Urlacher, Chicago: 35.0 TFP
LB Waiver Wire Adds:
Pat Angerer, Indianapolis (No. 3 LB)
For the third straight week, he is still sitting on my waiver wire. Why? He has 42 total tackles already!
Mason Foster, Tampa Bay (No. 9)
The rookie has quickly established himself as a quality player and could be on the verge of stardom. He was an All-Pac-10 star at Washington and has picked up right where he left off.
Navorro Bowman, San Francisco (No. 11)
The former Penn State star is reaping the benefits of teams focusing on Patrick Willis. He has 30 total stops in three games – on pace for 160 total tackles. And with the Niners defense likely playing a lot of snaps, Bowman is a great early season addition.
LB Injury Report:
D.J. Williams, Denver
The tackle machine returned to practice on Wednesday and could play on Sunday.
Geno Hayes, Tampa Bay
Left week 3 against Atlanta with a head injury. Check his status later.
Week 3’s Top Defensive Linemen:
1. Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota: 18.0 TFP (5 solo, 1 ast, 3.0 sack, FF)
The low-key, offseason workouts have clearly paid off.
2. Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona: 16.25 TFP (5 solo, 5 ast, 2.5 sack)
The 6-foot-8 monster is now the No. 3 D-lineman and has loads of upside.
3. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, NY Giants: 15.0 TFP (7 solo, 2 ast, 2.0 sack)
The uber-talent is the top DL in the league and living up to the first round hype.
2011 DL Fantasy Rankings:
1. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, NY Giants: 35.0 TFP
2. Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota: 35.0 TFP
3. Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona: 29.0 TFP
4. Haloti Ngata, DT, Baltimore: 26.0 TFP
5. Ahtyba Rubin, DT, Cleveland: 24.5 TFP
Top DL Waiver Wire Adds:
Ahtyba Rubin, DT, Cleveland (No. 5 DL)
A big nine-tackle performance last weekend jumped Rubin into the top five DL thus far. And after 82 tackles last season and teams looking to run on Cleveland, he is a great pick-up as he enters his prime (this is the start of his fourth NFL season).
Greg Hardy, DE, Carolina (No. 8)
Teams will have to focus on Charles Johnson on the other side of the line, so Hardy should get plenty of one-on-one match-ups. He is being told to get up the field and pressure the quarterback, and his sack totals should be solid. He also has 13 tackles through three games, along with a safety and fumble recovery.
JJ Watt, DE, Houston (No. 10)
This guy never stops working and it shows. He has 13 total tackles, a sack, a blocked kick and a fumble recovery in his first three games as a pro. Mario Williams is listed as questionable for the Steelers game this weekend, and his loss could impact all of the Texans' fantasy values for the short term. Brooks Reed looks to fill in should Super Mario miss any time.
Cullen Jenkins, DT/DE, Philadelphia (No. 11)
The former Packer has registered a sack in all three games thus far. However, his penchant for injuries means you need to snag him and get him in the line-up now before he hurts himself again.
DL Injury Report:
Mario Wiliams, DE/LB, Houston
Is listed as questionable for week 4 against Pittsburgh with a knee injury
Justin Tuck, DE, NY Giants
The strained groin and lingering neck issues have him questionable for Arizona.
Elvis Dumervil, DE, Denver
He missed last week’s game against the Titans but returned to practice on Wednesday.
Osi Umenyiora, DE, NY Giants
He practiced for the first time this season on Wednesday and reportedly looked good. Monitor.
Other Week 4 NFL Fantasy Content: