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).
David Bowens, LB, Browns
Another week, another Cleveland linebacker goes down. Eric Barton is now in danger of missing the rest of the season with a neck injury, meaning Bowens is likely to slide inside, as he and Kaluka Maiava form one of the most laughably weak ILB tandems in recent history. If you just have to have one, Bowens is the way to go right now. At 265 pounds, he's going to be a little more stout against the run than the 230-pound Maiava. And teams are going to run early and often while protecting leads against the Browns. Any LB-desperate owners can take a flier on Bowens as an LB2 and hope for four five solo tackles per week from here on in.
Brent Grimes, DB, Falcons
Grimes (or "Grimey," as he likes to be called), an undrafted rookie out of mighty Shippensburg (go Red Raiders!) headed to the bench in favor of veteran Tye Hill last week, but he could be bouncing right back into the starting lineup. Hill was -- predictably -- ineffective against the Saints, getting beat by Marques Colston for a touchdown before leaving Monday night's game with cramps. Grimes, who has -- predictably -- struggled at times making the jump from Division II to the NFL, came in and delivered the highlight of the game for Atlanta, making a ridiculous leaping interception of Drew Brees in the second quarter. It could be enough to reclaim a starting job, where Grimes should be a popular target for opposing passers. He's not much against the run, but ol' Grimey has the ball skills to be worth monitoring as a DB2 in big-play leagues.
Sean Jones, DB, Eagles
Jones could again have IDP relevance, if only for a limited time. A rangy free safety with pretty good ball skills, he'll play full-time against as long as rookie Victor "Macho" Harris is out with an ankle injury. Jones had seen spot duty behind Harris until last week, when he had five solo tackles in his first start as an Eagle. Jones had 14 interceptions from 2006-08, and owners in big play-heavy scoring formats should look at him as a short-term solution as long as Harris is out, which could be one or two more weeks.
Shawne Merriman, LB, Chargers
Hey, look who showed up! Merriman recorded his first sacks since January 2008 on Sunday. It's good to see some signs of life, but there's little reason to be holding onto Merriman in non-keeper leagues unless you have a spot burning a hole on your bench in a sack-heavy scoring format. Merriman is still a shadow of his former self as a pass rusher, and his two solo tackles per week aren't going to make up for it.
Brandon Siler, LB, Chargers
With Tim Dobbins down, Siler could be in line for his first career start this week and the special teamer could be a sneaky pick-up in tackle-heavy leagues. He has shown flashes in limited duty at ILB over his two-plus seasons, including three solo tackles and three assists in three quarters of play last week against Oakland. He's not LB2 material yet, but desperate owners should keep an eye on him this week. Dobbins will miss at least two weeks, if not more.
Randy Starks, DL, Dolphins
Starks has quietly caught fire over the past four games, racking up 3.5 sacks and 13 solo tackles. Still, there's no reason to pick up a 3-4 end with his mediocre track record (never more than 4.5 sacks or 34 solo tackles in a season, one career forced fumble). He belongs on the waiver wire.
Marcus Trufant, DB, Seahawks
Trufant didn't exactly look sharp in his first appearance of the season, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Coming off a back injury, the Cowboys went at him early and often on Sunday. Trufant's numbers have dropped over the past few seasons as teams threw away from him more and more often. But as he gets healthier this year, he'll start making teams pay for testing him. Consider him a DB2 with nice upside, especially in big play-heavy scoring formats.
Gibril Wilson, DB, Dolphins
The Dolphins made the long overdue move of benching Wilson last week (excuse me while I pat myself on the back for pegging Wilson as the biggest IDP bust of '09 during the preseason). Miami is going with Chris Clemons at free safety -- making their starting secondary 75 percent rookie -- so Wilson isn't completely finished as far as playing time goes. He saw the field a fair amount last week, mostly doing some blitzing (he recorded his first sack of the year). But unless Clemons or Yeremiah Bell goes down, Wilson isn't worth a roster spot at this point.