This point in the season is decision time for fantasy owners. Every team has played at least 4 games, and in the 13-week fantasy football regular season, that counts as a good enough sample size. Sleepers who haven’t panned out yet are not likely to make an impact this year, and high draft picks who have under-produced can’t be viewed the same way they were on draft day. On the flip side, no-names and “washed-up” veterans who have put up solid or better numbers so far should be taken seriously.
This is especially true in IDP leagues, where you typically spend less roster spots on the defensive side of the ball. While it may be difficult to stomach benching Geno Atkins or dropping Roman Harper, you can’t afford to sit back and assume everything will be okay, especially if you are below .500. And with that, I bring you the Week 6 edition of Adds/Drops/Rising/Falling.
Olivier Vernon – As a Miami fan, I was obviously excited about Dion Jordan in this year’s draft. But I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that we didn’t really need him when we already had Wake and Vernon, who put up an under-the-radar great rookie year. Since Wake hurt his knee, Vernon has stepped right in and produced, racking up 11 tackles and 2 sacks in the 3 games since the injury. Wake won’t be 100% for a few weeks, and Jordan is still a situational player, so Vernon makes for a great plug-and-play during the bye weeks.
Shaun Phillips – BIG PLAY LEAGUE ALERT! I have been loath to draft Phillips throughout his career, but he’s making an impact on the depleted Denver defense. Most of his value is tied to sacks, but he’s certainly getting his share of opportunities with the Denver offense running train on the league. His next few games are against the Jaguars, Colts, Skins and Chargers, so I’d expect at least 5 sacks over that stretch.
Will Hill – The Giants are a mess this year. But that hasn’t been too much of a problem for their defensive players, and Hill looks primed to step in and rack up the tackles. Antrel Rolle has been a disappointment so far, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the G-Men gave Hill a chance to shine. And if Jack Black and Cheri Oteri have taught us anything, it’s to never bet against people whose first and last names rhyme.
Jason Babin – Honestly, I never got the attraction here. I was low on him in the preseason, but he started off strong enough through three weeks. Since then, a couple of things have become clear. First, the Jaguars have no intentions of winning any games this year. Second, because of that, they might only play Babin for about half their snaps on defense. I’d cut ties if there is an acceptable replacement available.
Paul Kruger – Was his playoff run last year impressive? Yes. Does his name lend itself to a ton of great Elm Street fantasy team names? Of course. But as a rush-linebacker, his value is entirely tied to sacks, and this year he just hasn’t done the job. Even if you’re in a big play league, there has to be better options out there.
Antrel Rolle – As I mentioned about three inches above, Rolle has been nothing short of mediocre this year. There are way too many other DBs that can be streamed every week for you to feel any need to hold onto Rolle. He’s worth playing against teams like Philly, Green Bay and Washington, but he’s not the every week starter that he was likely drafted to be.
Ray McDonald – With Aldon Smith out for the foreseeable future and Patrick Willis still banged up, there are tackles to be had in San Francisco for the first time in a few years. I can easily see McDonald putting up a season like 2011 where he finished with 43 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Not exactly DL1-2 numbers, but solid nonetheless. If things break right, McDonald could easily spell success in IDPEIEIO.
Robert Mathis – I have always maintained that pass-rush only LBs are overrated in IDP leagues. Guys like Tamba Hali and Elvis Dumervil (as well as Aldon Smith and Von Miller for obviously different reasons) have proven that to be true. But Mathis and Terrell Suggs have shown that rush LBs can provide value if you can get the right ones. Ride Mathis while he’s hot, but don’t expect him to threaten 30 sacks like he’s on pace to.
Earl Thomas – The Seattle secondary is obviously elite, last week notwithstanding. The issue with that is that it’s difficult to predict who will shine from one week to the next, and they don’t typically allow too many completions and therefore not too many tackles. So far Thomas has been the Earl of DBs from an IDP standpoint, never putting up less than 8 points. I’ve been reluctant to move him up the rankings too much due to the issues I mentioned, but it’s hard to ignore production like this.
Michael Bennett – The same way the Seattle secondary tends to prevent one player from really standing out, their pass rushers do the same. The Seattle front seven has recorded 13 sacks in 5 games, but they have been spread across eight different players. Bennett’s only put up 10 tackles so far, which is better than Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons, but still not what you want to see from an every week starter. Also I know a guy named Michael Bennett that no one likes, so it’s really hard to roster Seattle’s version.
Jasper Brinkley – Well it was fun while it lasted. Brinkley, and Kevin Minter in the long run, were expected to contribute to the Arizona defense while Daryl Washington missed the first 4 games and possibly more due to various off the field issues. Well Washington returned with a vengeance last week, and unless he gets found using PEDs in Roger Goodell’s office, I would doubt that the Cardinals suspend him any further.
Week 6 Rankings