September 23, 2010

A weekly look at the risers and fallers among individual defensive players. 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).

I thought Timmons' breakout season was coming in 2009, but an ankle injury pretty much ruined his year. Instead, it looks like his breakout is coming a year late. Pittsburgh's right ILB, Timmons has ascended to alpha dog next to the ghost of James Farrior. He has as much range as any 3-4 linebacker this side of Patrick Willis; his 21 solo tackles (tied with LaRon Landry for the NFL lead) are not a fluke. He's also a three-down player, and more blitzing is to come. Timmons had seven sacks last year. Assuming he stays healthy, he's a clear LB1 and has a chance to finish the year as a top five LB. If he's available in your league, ignore all work and do not interact with any loved ones until you've picked him up.

Have the Jags finally found an answer at safety? Probably not, but we'll have to touch on him (not literally, of course) after a monster line in his first career start (8 tackles, INT, FF, FR). There are two reasons to leave him on the waiver wire. First, Anthony Smith's foot injury doesn't seem to be a major one, and the strong safety spot is his when he comes back. Second, Greene is a heady player who's willing to play the run, but he's not rangy enough to keep putting up big numbers. Consider that Week 2 performance.

It's all Jaguars all the time here on the IDP report (It's what the people want!). Because he was coming off a torn ACL, I wasn't high on Kampman coming into the year, and he was left untouched in many a draft (especially in leagues where he had lost DL eligibility after a year as a 3-4 OLB). But his performance so far has been encouraging. He has 1.5 sacks, 7.0 knockdowns and a hurry. Granted, most of that damage came against Denver in Week 1. But the encouraging thing is that Kampman has been playing three downs, seeing time on both sides of the line. As the summer heat fades, and his knee gets closer to 100 percent, Kampman could re-emerge as a DL1. As for now, he belongs on rosters as a high-upside DL2.

Detroit's defensive line is where it's at right now. Filling in for the injured Cliff Avril, McBride delivered a sack and a forced fumble in each of the first two weeks. Unfortunately, he's not much of a pass rusher, but McBride is decent against the run. He's worth a pick-up in the deepest leagues if Avril's balky knee continues to be a problem. Teams will run it against Detroit, and McBride could be in the mix for four tackles a week and the occasional sack.

Toler made the back end of my IDP rankings in the SI Fantasy Football preview for one big reason: Opponents have every reason to pick on him. The second-year CB out of mighty St. Paul's College is playing across from one of the best young shutdown corners in the league, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. That prediction has rung true and then some so far: Toler has been targeted an absurd 26 times in two games (granted, the number is a bit inflated since the Rams threw it approximately 4,200 times against Arizona in Week 1). It's the reason Toler is currently third in the NFL in solo tackles (19). His ball skills are questionable at best, but anyone who's involved in this many plays belongs on the IDP radar. Take a flier on Toler if you have a bench spot open.

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