Most who follow Matt Schauf of RapidDraft.com on Twitter seethe at each “IDP” tag and wonder how he can make light of internally displaced persons. In this case, however, we’re talking individual defensive players, who add realism to your fake football leagues and gripes for the whiny leaguemate who always finishes last anyway. Schauf will be stopping by once a week to help you beat ol’ whiny even worse.

So, Bob Sanders went out and surprised exactly no one in Week 1 by sustaining a torn biceps tendon that is either life-threatening or no big deal, depending on what time of day you most often Twitter about. Suffice it to say – which is one of those clichés that just about no one actually uses properly – IDP owners who gave him a chance need to move on.

(Of course, Sanders himself might be in for one of the longest careers on record. You say the constant injuries will shorten his pro days. I say if someone’s willing to pay me for a game a year, I’m not going anywhere.)

One guy who becomes relevant every year around this time following a Sanders injury is Melvin Bullitt, but although he has contributed decently when called upon, his numbers have proved unspectacular. Despite four interceptions in 2008, his fantasy scoring average ranked just 76th among defensive backs. Even if you take out the games he didn’t start, Bullitt still fell somewhere around 40th (depending on your scoring and deftness with a calculator).

But just as Week 1 presented the latest Sanders-free scenario, it gave us some other positive performances to ponder (and attempt to apply alliterative aptitude). So let’s take a look at the top DB performers and see who might stick.

FOR REAL

LaRon Landry, S, Washington – If a safety is fast and willing to hit, we IDP folks don’t much care about his coverage ability. Unfortunately, some of Landry’s coaches haven’t cared too much either and stuck him deep while getting their defenses deep into it. Now playing more of a strong safety role and getting time closer to the line, look for Landry to deliver tackle numbers all year and be a consistent fantasy factor.

Patrick Chung, S, New England – He don’t give you 16 tackles a week (or even the 12 solos), but hell, neither does Patrick Willis … or Patrick Duffy, for that matter. Chung has been destined for a significant role and fantasy relevance since New England drafted him in Round 2 last year, though, and this is just the real beginning of that.

T.J. Ward, S, Cleveland – I mentioned him here previously, and Ward’s 11-tackle, 8-solo opener fell in line with my expectation for him. I’m not saying he’ll average numbers like that, which would rank him with the top linebackers, but he sit among the tackle leaders at his position as long as he stays healthy.

Marcus Trufant, CB, Seattle – Trufant doesn’t fall into the same tackle-leaning category as the three previous players, but he makes plenty of sense for those with room for upside defensive backs. (Or the right-side-up version.) Trufant is reportedly over the back injury that forced him to miss the start of last season and helped make him terrible once he returned, and he says he’s motivated for a bounce back year. The interception return for a touchdown in Week 1 helped inflate his fantasy numbers, but Trufant has intercepted five passes or more in a season twice and posted his two best tackle totals in those years as well. When he’s healthy and motivated, he’s good.

GET REAL

DeAngelo Hall, CB, Washington – Hall has the talent – just ask him – but has rarely fully delivered on it. He was so good in Oakland after signing as a big money free agent that it took the team just eight games to decide he was a mistake. He’ll pop up for a big play every now and then, such as the fumble return for the score that beat Dallas, but he’ll be inconsistent far more often. Sometimes that will mean decent tackle numbers when opponents choose to exploit him, but he’s had enough time to turn that into worthwhile production. He hasn’t.

Bryant McFadden, CB, Pittsburgh – If there was a time for the unknown McFadden to put up consistent fantasy numbers, it was last year in Arizona, lined up across from sterling cover man Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. (Yes, DRC is made of a silver-based alloy.) He’ll be fine as long as opponents keep putting it in the air 44 times, so when you start being able to predict that, please let me know.

Mike Adams, S, Cleveland – The NFL.com Gamebook lists Adams as the starter alongside Ward, but the Browns’ official website lists Abram Elam as the other starter. Adams enjoyed a decent opener against the Bucs that included an interception but will have trouble being relevant most weeks.

Sean Considine, S, Jacksonville – Considine seems like as good a player as any to use in pointing out that IDP owners should basically ignore fumble recoveries. They should count for fantasy points when they happen, but if a guy has one in two straight games, for instance, that doesn’t make him more likely to grab another the next time out. Fumbles occur too randomly (unless you’re Adrian Peterson).

WE’LL SEE

Greg Toler, CB, Arizona – Just because the whole consistent-production thing didn’t work out for Bryant McFadden in the grassed, air-conditioned, roof-optional desert doesn’t mean that it can’t work. Teaming with a top cover man can increase tackle chances for a corner, as it did for Hall during a solidly productive stretch with Oakland (Nnamdi Asomugha). One game is still just that for Toler, but there’s a chance for unexpected upside.

Matt Schauf is the senior football writer for RapidDraft.com and the brains behind (or would that be inside?) the “Suit” character in their free fantasy football game. Draft against him and 10 other fantasy Pros in RapidDraft Weekly every week (hence the name).


  1. tourinct says:
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    Conner for Posluszny for the short term?

  2. agarthered says:
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    Royal or Breaston going forward?

  3. Adam says:
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    Drop Leon Washington for Bernard Scott? Starters are Foster/Best with Hillis and M. Bush on the bench, so either one would be an upside flier…

    Also, for D streaming, do you like SD vs. JAX or KC @ CLE?

  4. Calogero says:
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    Flex quandary (alphabetical order):

    Greene
    Hightower
    Jones, Felix
    Knox

    Who do I start?

  5. genghis chone says:
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    Is Danieal Manning any good at defense? How many tackles do you see him ending up with? I am in a point per 25 return yard league, so he doesn’t need to be that great on defense to be a valuable player, but I’m wondering if I should drop him for Chung, Landry or Adrian Wilson.

  6. @tourinct: Pretty much a tossup, so sure. Take a shot on Dan Connor as a new 4-3 middle man (albeit not always a three-down guy) over a 3-4 ILB with a lowered ceiling.

  7. @genghis chone: Manning has been tried at multiple positions and hasn’t stuck in the starting lineup the past two years. I honestly haven’t paid much attention to return yards, but it looks like the absolute best you can hope for in that format is 3 points a week from that aspect. I’d say that’s enough to push Manning ahead of Adrian Wilson for now, but Chung and Landry seem more likely to produce consistent, tackle-led numbers. I’d favor Landry.

  8. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @agarthered: I’d stick with Breaston

    @Adam: Unless you are in a return yardage league i’d get Scott. KC

    @Calogero: That is a quandary. I’d go Greene.

  9. Non-IDP stuff:

    @agarthered — Breaston has a less-crowded group at WR, Royal has a more trustworthy QB and could be his team’s No. 1. That’s a real tossup. I suppose I’d lean Royal.

    @Adam — PPR I’d go Washington, because he has flex potential. Non, I’d go Scott, because I think he’ll wind up starting a few games for the Bengals. On D, I think KC has more upside, especially considering the return game.

    @calogero — Agree on Greene w/out PPR. I’d roll with Hightower in PPR, though, unless Wells is somehow all the way back by the weekend.

  10. Adam says:
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    @Doc: @Matt Schauf: Thanks for the help…on the topic of RBs, am I a fool for considering starting Hillis over Best? Take away his two touchdowns on Sunday and Best would’ve laid a turd, although it’s never a good idea to try to guess what the Mangina will do with his offense so Hillis might not be a great idea either…

  11. @Adam: Take away his two fumbles, and Hillis would have a much happier coach. I’d roll with Best. The two scores could also be a sign that the team will use him plenty even if the yards aren’t coming in bunches.

  12. WillieMayesHayes says:
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    Chung or D. Revis? We start two DB.
    .5-pt.- A.Tak, 1-pt.- tak, 2-pt.- sack, 2-pt.-PD, 2-pt.- Int.
    Thanks in advance.

  13. WillieMayesHayes says:
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    One more question…whatcha guys think of this trade; R. Rice & Sims-Walker for R. Mendenhal & G. Jennings? PPR league, 1pt.- 10 yards & 1 pt.- Receptions.

  14. Titan says:
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    1. Chung, Goldson, Bethea – which 2 for the rest of the year?
    2. Timmons, EJ, Connor, Derrick Johnson – which 1 for the rest of the year?

    Tackle heavy league.

  15. Rookie Season says:
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    Tackle Solo (1pt), Assist (0.5), Sack (2), Int (2), Fumble Force or recovery (1), TD (6), Safety (2), Pass Defended (1), Block Kick (3)

    Which one should I sit? (3D, 1BN)
    LaRon Landry v. Hou
    Greg Toler @ Atl
    Bernard Pollard @ Was
    Adrian Wilson @ Atl (the guy just doesn’t get many tackles).

    These guys are available on the waiver list:
    Michael Griffen, Rocky McIntosh, Antoine Bathea, Lawrence Timmons, Kyle Vanden Bosch, to name a few.

    Thanks, Matt!

  16. Dump Toler and Wilson for McIntosh and Timmons. Start Timmons, Landry and McIntosh.

  17. Rookie Season says:
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    3D, 1BN: Timmons, Landry, McIntosh, and Pollard did well. Thanks for the tweak. Keep these guys or strive for more? Courtney Greene, Michael Boley, Reed Doughty, Omar Gaither, TJ Ward, J Allen, Cason.

    Giants Def was good Week 1, but putrid yesterday. Should I panic? Indy, KC, Denver, Cleveland, NE, Chi, St Louis, Arizona, Carolina.

    Thanks!

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