Eight in the box: Individual defensive player rankings

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Plenty of pundits (i.e. people taking wild guesses) were pegging Adams as 2008's Mario Williams, a candidate to break out with a 15-sack season. He disappointed with zeros across the board in New Orleans to start the season, but Adams showed plenty of hope in Week 2 against the Falcons with two sacks and three solo tackles. No doubt it was an encouraging outing. But don't go nuts yet.

The Falcons are ill-equipped to protect Matt Ryan on 40-plus drop backs (which is what they were forced to do playing from behind on Sunday), especially with fill-in Tyson Clabo at right tackle and rookie Sam Baker on the left. Adams, playing both end spots, had his way with both of them. He probably won't have a more favorable matchup this season (well, until he plays in Atlanta in Week 14). If the Bucs can jump ahead early, Adams has a chance for another big day going against aging veteran John St. Clair in Chicago this weekend. But I'll be curious to see what he can do against some of the bigger boys later this season.

He fell off the map, and rightfully so. Bullocks missed all of '07 after tearing his ACL during the preseason and entered '08 as a second-stringer. But Rod Marinelli promoted him to starting free safety last week and Bullocks responded with a nice day. He showed a lot of range with eight solo tackles (plus four assists). Bullocks isn't a big-play free safety, but the way teams will throw on the Lions early and often, he should be among the top tacklers at defensive back from here on in.

I'm a big Elvis fan (I once road in a car with he and Brian Brohm for a piece and he was one heck of a cool guy). But Dumervil is a high-risk player who I never cared for in fantasy leagues. Don't worry about the bagel in the sack department through two weeks. His injured pinky isn't an issue, he just has been getting into the backfield a split second late. I'd be surprised if he didn't hit double-digits sacks again this season, and he'll force some fumbles as well. But he's a complete zero against the run. Dumervil had 34 sacks last season, and even outside of ex-coordinator Jim Bates' scheme, that number is unlikely to rise much. He's been rotating out a little more than usual, but Dumervil doesn't have a single solo tackle right now. Essentially, you put Dumervil in your lineup you just have to cross your fingers that this is the day he gets his two sacks. But too often he'll end up getting you nothing.

I couldn't quite decide on Hall coming into the season. On one hand, the Raiders run defense is so bad that there's little reason to throw the ball against them. But on the other hand, Hall is so crappy, and all-world corner Nnamdi Asomugha is so good on the other side of the field, that when teams do throw they're undoubtedly going to throw at Hall. So far so good. Hall has 13 solo tackles through the first two weeks of the season, and with his ability as a playmaker, the interceptions should come.

There's no doubt Jenkins' performance in one of the most-watched games of Week 2 caught some attention: six solo tackles and a sack against New England. Simply put: don't do it. Playing the nose in a 3-4 defense is the fantasy offense equivalent of being a fullback. Jenkins is a big name and seems to have regained his Pro Bowl form, but he's not one for fantasy leaguers to consider.

Coming into the season, it was a coin flip between Rivers and Falcons LB Curtis Lofton for the IDP Rookie of the Year. So far, Rivers has the edge. Playing the weak side for a Bengals team that isn't going to control the clock, Rivers is a low-risk pick who's a good bet for about 90 solo tackles on the season. He has 13 through his first two NFL games.

He's never going to rack up tackles because he doesn't play the run. But Samuel has as good a shot as anyone to lead the NFL in interceptions this season (yes, even with Cortland Finnegan's three-INT start). Jim Johnson's blitz-happy scheme is going to wreak some havoc and force opposing QBs into some bad throws. And Samuel has the hands to make the picks. Monday night was a perfect example. Two Eagles rushers got in Tony Romo's face, and even though they didn't come away with a sack, Romo forced a throw under duress that ended up in Samuel's arms. If your league gives big rewards for takeaways, Samuel is worth the risk.

There were some concerns over Vilma's playing time since the more snaps he plays this season the higher the pick the Saints have to send the Jets. But it looks like Sean Payton and the Saints aren't concerned, as Vilma has been a three-down player. He has a lot of protection up front, something he hasn't had since playing for the Herm Edwards era Jets (for whom he had 128 solo tackles in '05, Edwards' last year in New York). Right now, Vilma leads the NFL with 17 solo tackles. As long as he avoids injury, there's no reason he can't finish the season No. 1.