Saturday, October 17, 2009

Defensive Corner: Sleepers, Injury and Impact Week 6

Smartest Starts: Eagles, Jets

Jaguars (v. Rams): Normally I wouldn’t recommend a team that allowed 41 points the week before, but the Jaguars have two strong advantages this week: (1) they aren’t the Rams and (2) they are playing the Rams. So far this season Seattle, Washington, Green Bay, San Francisco and Minnesota have scored 15, 7, 10, 39 and 20 points respectively. Needless to say, one of the best bets for filling in during bye weeks or unfavorable matchups is to locate St. Louis on the schedule and pick up whomever they are playing that week.

Caution: I’ve seen in many sources select the Redskins as a “sleeper” pick this week, however I don’t agree. True the Chiefs have a deplorable record and appear to be nothing more than a glorified “B” squad, however, if you look at their record, the Chiefs have managed to score multiple times against some of the best defenses in the league: v. Ravens 24-38, v. Eagles 14-34, v. Giants 16-27, v. Dallas 20-26. Meanwhile, the Redskins have either lost, or had close games with some of the worst teams in the NFL: v. Rams 9-7 , v. Lions 14-19, v. Bucs 16-13 , v. Panthers 17-20. I think this game will be a lot closer than some predict, in fact, this may be the week that KC actually wins one.


Baltimore Ravens (v. Vikings)
*Jarret Johnson(LB) Shoulder Questionable, did not practice

Impact: One starter, not a huge deal, but the Ravens could use all the help they can get against this increasingly potent offense. While the Ravens have been putting up good numbers lately, if Favre is on his game, this could end up being a high-scoring, and thus low fantasy scoring, game.

Minnesota Vikings (v. Ravens)
*Ray Edwards(DE) Hamstring Questionable, limited practice
*Cedric Griffin(CB) Hand Probable, full practice

Impact: One starter (Griffin will most likely play), no major impact.

New England Patriots (v. Titans)
*Jarvis Green(DE) Knee Questionable, limited practice
Jerod Mayo(LB) Knee Questionable, limited practice
James Sanders(S) Shoulder Questionable, limited practice
*Shawn Springs(CB) Knee Questionable, limited practice
*Ty Warren(DT) Calf Questionable, did not practice
*Vince Wilfork(DT) Ankle Questionable, limited practice

Impact: Keep an eye on this situation, with three players on the line and one in the secondary listed as questionable, a benching of all four players could cause some missteps by the Patriots Defense. However, considering the Titans have been pretty terrible and are winless so far this year, I do not foresee them giving the Patriots too much trouble. The Patriots are a good pick this week, not great, but good.

New York Giants (v. Saints)
*Michael Boley(LB) Knee Questionable, did not practice
*C.C. Brown(S) Shoulder Questionable, limited practice
Chris Canty(ST) Calf Questionable, did not practice
Bryan Kehl(LB) Finger Probable, full practice
Aaron Ross(CB) Hamstring Questionable, did not practice

Impact: The Giants are so stacked on defense that I’m going to skip the impact and go straight to analysis. Top Defense v. Top Offense doesn’t bode to well for fantasy owners; you might want to *gasp* bench the Giants D this week.

New York Jets (v. Buffalo)
*Shaun Ellis(DE) Knee Questionable, did not practice
Larry Izzo(LB) Hamstring Probable, full practice
*Jim Leonhard(S) Knee Probable, full practice
* Kerry Rhodes(S) Knee Probable, full practice
*Lito Sheppard(CB) Quadricep Questionable, limited practice
Donald Strickland(CB) Ankle Questionable, limited practice

Impact: There may be some secondary issues here as Rhodes and Leonhard will probably play but not be at 100%, and Sheppard and his backup Strickland are both listed as questionable. However, seeing as the last solid play from the Bills was in week 2 against the Bucs, they are currently 1-4, and only managed to post 3 points against the Browns, I would have no hesitation about starting the Jets this week.

Philadelphia Eagles (v. Oakland)
*Sheldon Brown(CB) Abdomen Questionable, limited practice
Ellis Hobbs(CB) Wrist Probable, full practice
Dimitri Patterson(CB) Quad, hand Out
*Asante Samuel(CB) Calf Probable, full practice

Impact: Since Asante Samuel is “probable”, the Eagles will most likely only be dealing with the loss of Brown this week, if even that. Regardless, the Eagles are facing Oakland this week, who are up there on my list with the Rams, Bucs, Chiefs and Panthers of teams that a solid high school varsity team could seriously challenge. Starting the Eagles is truly a no-brainer this week.

Pittsburgh Steelers (v. Browns)
*James Farrior(LB) Elbow Questionable, did not practice
Andre Frazier(LB) Thigh Questionable, did not practice
*Travis Kirschke(DE) Back Questionable, did not practice
*Troy Polamalu(S) Knee Probable, full practice

Impact: Theoretically, the Steelers are so strong defensively and so deep at linebacker that the potential sidelining of Farrior won’t have a significant impact. Theoretically, the Steelers should have absolutely no problem will Anderson and his paltry offensive showing so far this season. However, the Steelers haven’t been producing at the levels they are theoretically supposed to be; well, at least not in the fourth quarter. The Steelers are an enigma this season as they hold strong for three quarters and then collapse in the fourth allowing teams which they should dominate (the Lions) and teams they dominated up until that point (Chargers) make the game close. As a Steelers fan, I’m telling myself that this pattern won’t repeat this week against the Browns, especially since Polamalu will be back to disrupt and cause turnovers, but the fantasy football player in me is nervous to start a team that seemingly tries to lose games in the fourth quarter. Despite this, I would give the Steelers D a go this week considering how good Polamalu is and how bad the Browns are, but if they let it get this close I would start looking for another defense.

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Brett Smiley said...

Good stuff, Juliann. Bills and Raiders are playing so poorly and uninspired I might start the Appalachian State defense against them.