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There were a rash of injuries amongst the IDP ranks this past week; some of them to key Fantasy studs whose production is practically irreplaceable. For that reason there are some injury/bye week replacements among the suggested matchups to watch below. Let's take a look at a few of the key injuries and figure out what their Fantasy impact may be.
Jets DB Darrelle Revis(notes) returned to action after missing two games, but was clearly not 100 percent. He spent most of the game covering Percy Harvin(notes), who burned him several times, including once for a 34-yard touchdown. Revis is complaining of soreness and there is some additional swelling in his leg, which could mean he sits against the Broncos this Sunday. If you're counting on Revis for your Fantasy squad, there are too many other good options to be bothered with him. Antonio Cromartie(notes) covered Randy Moss(notes) all night and did a great job of limiting him to four receptions on 10 targets. Cromartie has been good but inconsistent this season.
Packers LB Clay Matthews(notes) was unable to finish his Week 5 game due to a hamstring injury. He's been watching practices from the sidelines this week while receiving treatment. The current prognosis is not good and it's believed he could miss several games if he doesn't respond to the current therapy regimen. Watch this one closely because if he's healthy he must be in your lineup.
Lance Briggs(notes), the heart and soul of the Chicago Bears' defense, wore a walking cast boot after Sunday's game because of a high ankle sprain and there is a chance he won't be able to play Sunday against Seattle. If that's the case, the Bears will have to use two players to replace him; Brian Iwuh(notes) will handle running downs, while Nick Roach(notes) will come in as part of the nickel package in passing situations. You won't want any part of either of those players.
Cowboys' LB Bradie James(notes) is hobbled by a knee injury, specifically, his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which he either strained or sprained. James has never missed a game in his eight-year career, so it would be surprising to see him sit this one out. But if he does play, he will likely be less than 100 percent. Leon Williams(notes) is James' backup on the depth chart, but he's not a Fantasy option.
Denver Broncosâ safety Brian Dawkins(notes) is out Week 6 due to a knee injury. Dawkins joins a long list of injured players from the Broncos' secondary, as CB Andre Goodman (quad), S Darcel McBath(notes) (ankle), LB Wesley Woodard (hamstring), and LB Robert Ayers(notes) (leg) are all going to be out. To remedy this dramatic loss of players, the Broncos were going to promote two players (both DBs) from the practice squad, shift ILB Mario Haggan(notes) to the outside, have Joe Mays(notes) play ILB, CB Perrish Cox(notes) will replace Goodman, and S Nate Jones will replace Dawkins. All this means that the team will be facing the Jets with a mostly makeshift patchwork of a defense in the secondary that is loaded with rookies and practice squad players. Rex Ryan must be salivating at the thought of it.
Keep an eye out for news about all of these players in the practice reports and news flashes during the coming days. Adjust your lineups accordingly.
Scoring System – The following scoring system is used to evaluate matchups and make player recommendations:
Tackle (Solo and Assists): 1 point Sack: 4 points Interception: 6 points Fumble Recovery: 4 points Forced Fumble: 2 points Pass Defensed: 2 points Touchdown: 6 points
Start Your Studs – The following players have very favorable matchups this week and should be in your lineups.
Linebackers: Barrett Ruud(notes) vs. Saints, Jerod Mayo(notes) vs. Ravens, Karlos Dansby(notes) vs. Packers, DeMeco Ryans(notes) vs. Chiefs, Lance Briggs vs. Seahawks, Patrick Willis(notes) vs. Raiders, Ray Lewis(notes) & Terrell Suggs(notes) vs. Patriots, DeMarcus Ware(notes) vs. Vikings, Jonathan Vilma(notes) vs. Buccaneers, Lawrence Timmons(notes) vs. Browns, D.J. Williams(notes) vs. Jets, Calvin Pace(notes) vs. Broncos.
Defensive linemen: Justin Tuck(notes) vs. Lions, Kyle Vanden Bosch(notes) vs. Giants, Haloti Ngata(notes) vs. Patriots, Richard Seymour(notes) vs. 49ers, Trent Cole(notes) vs. Falcons, Shaun Ellis(notes) vs. Broncos, Justin Smith(notes) vs. Raiders, Stylez White vs. Saints, Mario Williams(notes) vs. Chiefs, Glenn Dorsey(notes) vs. Texans.
Defensive backs: DeAngelo Hall(notes) & LaRon Landry(notes) vs. Colts, Earl Thomas(notes) vs. Bears, Yeremiah Bell(notes) vs. Packers, Ronde Barber(notes) vs. Saints, Marcus Trufant(notes) vs. Bears, Antoine Winfield(notes) vs. Cowboys, Ike Taylor(notes) & Troy Polamalu(notes) vs. Browns, Charles Woodson(notes) vs. Dolphins, Tyvon Branch(notes) vs. 49ers, Nate Clements(notes) & Dashon Goldson(notes) vs. Raiders.
Linebacker matchups to watch
Shaun Phillips(notes) vs. Rams – After the huge game Phillips had against Arizona in Week 4, last week's effort (three tackles, one PD) was a disappointment. The Chargers want Phillips to provide them with the pass rush they desperately need, and he ought to oblige against the Rams.
London Fletcher(notes) & Rocky McIntosh(notes) vs. Colts – Both Fletcher and McIntosh have provided steady, if unspectacular numbers this season. But they haven't been getting to the quarterback much and probably won't against the Colts. However, they're useful in tackle-heavy leagues because you can pretty much bank on 8-10 tackles per game from each of them.
Daryl Smith(notes) & Kirk Morrison(notes) vs. Titans – Linebackers almost always pile up good tackle numbers against the Titans' run-first offense. Both of these guys will provide good value for tackle-heavy leagues this week.
Clint Session(notes) & Gary Brackett(notes) vs. Redskins – Session finally looks healthy after amassing 10 tackles in Week 5. Brackett was slowed by a back injury that limited him to five tackles last week, so Session will likely be the better play of the two against the Redskins.
Stephen Tulloch(notes) & Will Witherspoon(notes) vs. Jaguars – Both of these linebackers are on the field for virtually every down, and Tulloch has been a monster over the past two weeks (23 tackles). They make a great one-two punch, with Tulloch being the better of the two.
Clay Matthews & A.J. Hawk(notes) vs. Dolphins – Everyone is on to Matthews by now, but Hawk has been terrific over the last two weeks (21 tackles, 3 PD, 1 INT) and makes for a great plug in for this week's Miami matchup.
Ernie Sims(notes) vs. Falcons – The Falcons will run the ball 25-30 times a game, giving the Eagles' linebackers a workout and plenty of tackle opportunities. If you missed the boat on Stewart Bradley(notes), consider grabbing Sims, who's been almost as good.
James Laurinaitis(notes) vs. Chargers – The Chargers are minus-2 in giveaway/takeaways this season, primarily due to nine lost fumbles, and the Rams have generated 10 turnovers, all prior to Week 5. Laurinaitis has provided a steady diet of tackles, but only one "big play" so far. The Chargers are prone to some yips in any given week, so perhaps this game could be his shot at a big play.
Lofa Tatupu(notes) vs. Bears – The Bears' now have the distinction of being the league's worst team in the sacks allowed category with 21. Tatupu has a very good chance at grabbing his first sack of the season this week.
E.J. Henderson(notes) & Chad Greenway(notes) vs. Cowboys – Both Henderson and Greenway have fallen short of double-digit tackles in every game this season, but Greenway has had no less than eight every week, while Henderson had less than eight just once. They'll both be busy against the Cowboys, whose running game has recently been rejuvenated by Felix Jones(notes).
Defensive linemen matchups to watch
Julius Peppers(notes) & Israel Idonije(notes) vs. Seahawks – If the Bears' offense wasn't so bad, the defense would seem a lot better. Despite appearances, the defense has played well, primarily due to Peppers' leadership. He's made several big plays in the last two games. Idonije has racked up four sacks and ten tackles in the last two games. Pretty good, considering he wasn't a starter when camp began this summer.
Jared Allen(notes) vs. Cowboys – It's hard to believe that Allen is going to put up his usual 15 sacks this season, especially since he's got zilch so far. He typically starts slow, then shreds a few teams for multiple sacks. The Cowboys' offensive line had been very stout until recently, so perhaps Allen will find a seam to exploit this week.
Alex Brown(notes) vs. Buccaneers – Brown grabbed his first sack of the season against Arizona last week and will look to keep the momentum going against the Bucs' so-so offensive line. He's a solid bye week replacement if you need it.
Defensive backs matchups to watch
Louis Delmas(notes) & Chris Houston(notes) vs. Giants – Houston grabbed his first pick of the season in Week 4 and has three passes defensed over the last two games. Delmas has 33 tackles and a pair of sacks on his way to a Pro Bowl type of season. Both are strong plays against the Giants' passing game, as Eli Manning(notes) is among the leaders in interceptions thrown with eight and passes defensed with 25.
Eric Berry(notes) & Brandon Carr(notes) vs. Texans – Matt Schaub(notes) has not been the same quarterback that nearly led the Texans deep into the post season last year. He's had 28 passes defensed this season. Carr has four PDs so far, and Berry has been a tackling machine against the run. Both are solid strong plays this week.
Eric Smith(notes) vs. Broncos – The Broncos have become so one-dimensional that teams can play their nickel and dime packages on virtually every down and not worry about getting burned. Smith hasn't done much to merit a recommendation, but he could be in for a big week and is worth a flier if you need a DB.
Antrel Rolle(notes) vs. Lions – The entire Giants secondary has been among the best in the league this season. In fact, the Giants have been using a unique setup with three safeties that has been at the heart of their success. Rolle is the guy that sets the pace.
Chris Hope(notes) & Cortland Finnegan(notes) vs. Jaguars – With the Jags finally remembering how to run block along the line of scrimmage, Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) is finding his way into the secondary a bit more. Hope and Finnegan will be the last line of defense and will be pressed into service often in this matchup. If they're not tackling MJD, they'll be competing with some pretty lousy receivers for David Garrard(notes)âs passes.
Quintin Mikell(notes) vs. Falcons – I like Mikell for the same reasons I like Hope and Finnegan. The Falcons will run the ball 25-30 times a game no matter what, so Mikell will have to help stop the run if the Eagles are to have any hope of beating the Falcons.
Oshiomogho Atogwe(notes) vs. Chargers – He's been pretty steady, with no less than four and as many as eight tackles in games this season. Once again, the Chargers will run, run, run the ball at least 20-25 times, and Ryan Mathews(notes) should be at full strength (finally!) and finding his way into the secondary.
Lawyer Milloy(notes) vs. Bears – Normally, I don't bother with Milloy, who has clearly lost a few steps and is on the back nine of his career. However, the Bears offense has been so incredibly generous to defenses the last few weeks that it's worth a roll of the dice to play Milloy this week. He does have 29 tackles and did get a sack last week, so he's not completely washed up. I'm willing to project 6-8 tackles for him and perhaps a PD or even a pick.
Madieu Williams(notes) vs. Cowboys – Tony Romo(notes) has thrown five interceptions, three of them last week against the Titans, mainly due to poor decisions while under pressure from a fierce pass rush. The Vikings will bring everything they have to get to Romo in the hopes of forcing him to make some bad throws. Williams is the likely beneficiary of such a scenario.
Kelvin Hayden(notes) vs. Redskins – Hayden is having a great season so far, with five PDs and 29 tackles. The Redskins don't have much of a running game and will look to exploit the Colts' weakest link, the secondary. That ought to give Hayden some opportunities to do some damage.
Got a Fantasy Football or IDP league question? You can email Tim your questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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