All season long, Eight in the Box is the place for your weekly Individual Defensive Player Report.
Analysis is based on the four main statistics for most IDP leagues (solo tackles, sacks, passes defensed and takeaways) in three-position formats (defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs).
Tully Banta-Cain, LB, Patriots
After a disastrous two-year stint with the Niners, Banta-Cain returned to the Pats, where he had a nice 2006 season as a rotational pass-rusher. The Pats are going with more of a hybrid 4-3, 3-4 this year, and Banta-Cain got the start at defensive end Monday night and delivered two sacks, three tackles, and spent a lot of time in Buffalo's backfield. But keep in mind that he'll be rotating with Derrick Burgess. Consider Banta-Cain a high-risk, high-reward pick-up in leagues with sack-heavy scoring formats.
Tyvon Branch, DB, Raiders
After an impressive camp and an injury to rookie Michael Mitchell, it looks like Branch will be Oakland's starting strong safety for the foreseeable future. And that means big tackle totals behind Oakland's weak linebacking corps. Last year, Gibril Wilson had 97 solo tackles out of that spot. Branch had eight, plus a pass defensed to boot, on Monday night. Owners in tackle-heavy leagues can jump on him now and keep him until Mitchell takes over (if Mitchell takes over).
Keith Ellison, LB, Bills
With Paul Posluszny going down yet again, Ellison will likely slide over to middle linebacker and is likely to stay there as Posluszny is out for "several weeks." Ellison had 10 solo tackles on Monday night, when he started on the weak side before sliding to the middle. Ellison has decent range, though he doesn't tackle as well as Posluszny. Still, as a starting middle linebacker, he's a serviceable LB2 as long as the Poz is out.
Larry Foote, LB, Lions
Foote's fantasy value is more of a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that it looks like the Lions offense won't stay on the field. That means a lot of minutes for the defense, and a lot of tackle opportunities for Foote, their starting MIKE. The bad news is that Foote isn't particularly rangy, and eventually he's going to be pushed off the field on third downs. Foote had nine solo tackles against the Saints, a nice total. But that should be treated as his ceiling. He's a low-end LB2.
Maurice Leggett, DB, Chiefs
Leggett put up one of the best IDP lines of Week 1, with eight solo tackles and three passes defensed. That will happen when he starts, as opposing QBs will throw his was frequently (Mark Clayton ate him up for most of Sunday). But don't bother with Leggett for now. Brandon Flowers is just about ready to go after missing most of the preseason and Week 1 with a shoulder injury, which means Leggett is headed back to his sub-package role.
Adewale Ogunleye, DL, Bears
It was great to see Ogunleye wreaking havoc Sunday night after a weak showing in 2008. But don't get too excited. While Ogunleye showed decent burst, Packers right tackle Allen Barbre was the biggest reason he did all that damage. Barbre was basically a traffic cone out there, repeatedly allowing Ogunleye into the backfield untouched. So while the two sacks were nice, they won't come so easy for Ogunleye most weeks.
Richard Seymour, DL, Raiders
If you didn't stay up for the late game Monday night (and no one would blame you if you didn't), then you missed Seymour making a lot of noise. Despite reporting to the Raiders last minute, he stepped right into the starting lineup and lived in the San Diego backfield. His final line was three solo tackles and two sacks. Seymour was a 3-4 end in New England, but looked right at home sliding inside in Oakland's 4-3. It's tough to project him as we're still not sure what Oakland is going to do defensively (their personnel looks a lot more 3-4 at this point). But based solely on talent, Seymour is a decent DL2 with 10-sack potential.
Osi Umenyiora, DL, Giants
There are no Osi owners complaining about his Week 1 line, which included a sack-strip-score trifecta. Still, I'm not optimistic about a return to 2007 levels. He didn't exactly dominate, and there's no doubt the Giants will rotate him with Mathias Kiwanuka frequently. He's still a DL1, but he's a risky one.