2014 In-Season Accuracy: 59.9% (2nd out of 21 Experts, 63.4% Highest, 43.1% Lowest).

Now that each team has played at least four games, we have somewhat of a sample size, at least by NFL standards. One or two big plays can still make a scrub look like a stud (Danny Lansanah anyone?), but in general the guys at the top of each position have earned their spot. So what do they all have in common? Tackles. The most consistent IDP stat doesn’t always, or ever, make headlines, but it does win championships. It’s the reason I was high on David Harris, should have been higher on Paul Worrilow, and was not high on Von Miller or Clay Matthews. If you see a fluke 3-sack or 2-interception game from a n0-name, it can likely be ignored. If you see a guy like Jelani Jenkins put up 14 tackles? Pick him up!

Jason Pierre-PaulThis hasn’t been a great year for D-Linemen tackle stats, but JPP has led that pack of mediocrity with 27 through 5 games. Most impressively, he hasn’t put up less than 4 tackles in any game so far, avoiding the goose eggs that has plagued him over the last two years. I mentioned that it would be tough to buy-low on him a few weeks ago, but he hasn’t put up a sack since Week 2, so if his owner is only focused on the headlines, it might be possible to get him at a slight discount.

Bjoern Werner – It may seem premature to call this a breakout for the 2013 First Round pick, but Werner was absolutely dominant against Baltimore last week. His 6 tackles and 2 sacks understate the impact he made on the game. The injury to Robert Mathis was devastating to the Colts’ pass rush, but it may have given Werner the playing time he needs. But the biggest question surrounding Werner from an IDP perspective is his positional classification. ESPN has him as a DE, where he would easily be rosterable, if not startable, this week. But most platforms (including FantasyPros, which hosts my rankings), have him as an LB, which takes away most of his value. In big-play leagues, he’s someone to watch as an LB, but if you can grab him as a DL in your league, make that move.

C.J. Mosley – If Werner was wreaking havoc when Baltimore had the ball, Mosley was raising hell when they were on defense. I was admittedly far too low on him before the season, fearing that he would either play like Arthur Brown did last year, or simply be outplayed by Brown this year. Instead, he has put up 49 tackles, good for sixth in the league, leaving Brown and Daryl Smith in the dust. Mosley, along with Preston Brown and Ryan Shazier (when he’s played) are continuing the excellent rookie IDP play started by Luke Kuechly, Lavonte David and Kiko Alonso. Traditionally, rookies have been overdrafted compared to their actual production, and while some still are (Brown, Dion Jordan, etc.), the college game has been giving us better and better rookies as of late.

DeAndre Levy – Levy has been an IDP contributor for a while, but with Stephen Tulloch’s injury, he has turned into an absolute stud. He’s at the top of the leaderboard right now alongside the usual names, and I have no doubts that he will stay up there. The most impressive part so far is that he’s put up all these points based on almost entirely tackles. Outside of a Week 1 interception, Levy has no sacks, picks, or fumbles forced/recovered. Given his skill, especially in coverage, I expect him to put up some flashier plays soon.

Michael Griffin – He is already the DB2 on the year, which has been fun enough for anyone who actually owned Griffin prior to this week. But with the injury to Bernard Pollard, Griffin will have even more chances to put up points. He’s had a couple solid IDP years in his career, but Griffin’s ascendance to the top of the DB list this year will have more to do with situation than skill. On the flip side, I’m a bit lower on George Wilson than most. Yes, he’s stepping into Pollard’s actual position, but he doesn’t have nearly the same playing style as ole Bernie. I’d wait to see him perform before starting him, especially over someone like Griffin.

Johnathan Joseph – I may spell his first name wrong every time, but I can’t ignore the production Joseph has put up so far this year. It’s rare to see CBs so close to the top of the DB list without having multiple interceptions and probably a touchdown or two, but Joseph has earned his spot. With 35 tackles so far, and at least 5 in every game, Joseph is clearly being targeted by opposing QBs. Enough of that and he will inevitably start getting some interceptions, and will continue to make his fantasy owners glad they picked him up.


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  1. jason says:
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    Is jonathan cyprien a top 10 db rest of season? Or he is closer to top 5? He was dropped in my league and I feel I should grab him right away. Also, any thoughts on the cardinals safeties? I have tony jefferson and he has been great so far. I read somewhere that he could be this year’s barry church. Mathieau is just not healthy enough to make a big impact yet and deone buccanon is supposedly being used as a nickel and dime linebacker. So it appears that jefferson has the SS job all locked up. Where would you rank him among DB’s for rest of season? Thanks!

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @jason: wow, I didn’t know that about bucannon playing LB sometimes, that’s lovely if he can get some playing time at S along with it, he’ll str up kill the stats.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @jason:

      Cyprien should be a top 10 guy the rest of the way, on the verge of being top 5. A lot of that depends on Eric Berry, but that’s being pretty nit-picky about a guy who should be in your lineup every week.

      The Arizona secondary gives me a headache every week. Honey Badger is the most talented, but he’s always banged up, Buccanon has the biggest upside, but he’s not seeing the field enough, and Jefferson is leading the way right now, but he’s just a guy to me. The Barry Church comparisons are not wrong, but I was never that high on Church last year, even with his big numbers, because he was benefiting more from talent that situation. Obviously I was wrong on that one, so I think Jefferson will end up being the most valuable of the three ROS, but I’d never have faith in him as more than a low-end DB2.

  2. goodfold2 says:
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    drop bucannon for s.brown at S? dynasty, that same WAS team. comish just lowered requirements for our player minimums down to 10 from 12, but I see Wilson (TEN) is still behind all my WAS secondary guys anyway (clark/meriweather/amerson). bucannon seemed to fall off your rankings just now (appears to be backup again). somebody just dropped s.brown for hawthorne (NO LB). also, c.campbell was dropped by somebody, is he worth stashing (NFL seriously should go to IR system that NHL has, just put them there as long as you want, even just 1 game). I see brown is listed as backup still, and appears from yahoo player page to have gotten no stats last few weeks. already have tuck/heyward/m.johnson at DE.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @goodfold2:

      The Giants DB situation is something to monitor. Brown got benched a few weeks ago, but Demps hasn’t done much in his absence. Against Philly, I expect the Giants to use both of them. As for Buccanon, whoever ultimately wins the Brown/Demps battle will likely outscore him this year. But in the long term, I’d prefer rolling with your WAS guys this year with the thought that Buccanon steps in an puts up big numbers next year.

      If you have roster space, I’d absolutely pick up Campbell. He’s one of my favorite DLs every year, and is perpetually underrated. If you can stomach starting Johnson/Heyward every week, I’d have no problem dropping Tuck for Campbell.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: jefferson on ARI and demps are owned already. tuck has only outscored heyward by 1 pt this year, only 4 more than m.johnson (even though johnson just got done putting up 0 pts in week 5)

  3. Clint says:
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    You think Harrison’s starting? Thought I’d have to go w/Dawan Landry instead this week.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Clint:

      So far everything I’ve seen points towards him playing, and if he does he’s a top option as always.

  4. jason says:
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    Buccanon played only 66% of the snaps last week. Jefferson played 100% of the snaps. From what i’ve read they like having buccanon cover tightends and slot receivers in nickel and dime formations, where he lines up as a linebacker instead of safety. The coach said they dont want to throw buccanon into a starting safety role as a rookie. So barring an injury to Mathieau or Jefferson, I dont think buccanon makes a huge impact this year. At the very least I dont think Buccanon should be started until he starts seeing more snaps. Not sure if that will happen this year with Jefferson playing so well

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @jason: very useful. thanks.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @jason:

      That’s the way I understand it as well. In a dynasty league, having a young guy like that who’s learning a hybrid LB/Safety role could pay huge dividends down the road though, so while he’s not startable in most formats, I wouldn’t drop him in dynasty either.

  5. Jake says:
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    Howdy man;

    Drop Chandler jones for any of these available –

    CJ Mosley (who will face Glennon & the Bucs)

    Paul worrilow (who faces jay cutler & bears)

    Jason Pierre paul (who faces foles & Philly)

    Antrel Rolle (who faces foles & philly)

    Prince amukara (who faces foles & Philly)

    Or Alec Ogletree (who faces Kaepernick & niners)

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Jake:

      If your sack to tackle ratio is 3:1 or less, I’d go with Worrilow. Otherwise stick with Jones for now.

  6. goodfold2 says:
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    lost 2 more guys this week and so far only 1 of the week 5 guys came back (riley). now with byes and injuries these will be my starters
    butler (2 open LB spot with david on bye and riley unknown, trevathan was thankfully able to be IR’d)
    brockers/donald
    heyward (1 DE spot open with c.campbell injured and m.johnson off)
    verner (1 CB spot open with amerson unknown right now, could be back)
    clark/meriweather (bucannon still producing, no matter how few snaps he gets played him last week not knowing whether or not clark was going to play)

    so i have one open roster spot to add one guy. this could be LB/DE or possibly CB. so really only LB or DE options (since CB score so little) are
    tuck
    wootton
    woodley
    whitehead
    hightower (out last 2 weeks but maybe gets mayo’s spot?)
    skinner (same thing)
    sio moore
    mcclain
    maualuga
    mercilus
    since trevathan is out for a while, probably better to replace LB for more than 1 week as well.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @goodfold2:

      Injuries are killer this year.

      I’d definitely go LB here. The Pats guys are interesting, but I wouldn’t pick up anyone but Hightower just yet. Moore is probably your safest bet though. I’d go Moore, Hightower and Whitehead in that order.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: thanks, and it was clark that came back, not riley, it would be better for me if riley came back though.

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