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IDP General Admission

OK, all is right with the world again. One week after Zach Thomas had only two total tackles, he came back with 7-6 tackles and a forced fumble. And, yes, he leads the NFL in total tackles…

With Raiders DE Bobby Hamilton out with an ankle injury, second year player Tommy Kelly stepped up in their game Sunday against the Chiefs. All Kelly did was have the game of his life with three sacks and two forced fumbles…

Kelly was impressive in limited time last year as a rookie and played almost solely at defensive tackle. He was moved to DE in the preseason and hasn't looked back. But after not recording a sack in his first seven games this year, some were beginning to worry. With Burgess getting to the QB as well as he has been this season, some wondered what was going to happen to Kelly. But the Raiders patience might have paid off. He has impressive speed and strength and is relentless in his pursuit…

Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio said last week that LB Jamie Winborn could get more playing time in place of either Akin Ayodele or Daryl Smith. So far that hasn't come to fruition, as Smith and Ayodele started and Winborn played a limited number of snaps…

Texans CB Demarcus Faggins hurt his hamstring Sunday and probably won't play this week. This gives previous starter Phillip Buchanon his chance to reclaim the starting nod…

Titan DT Randy Starks had his best tackle game of the season with 4-2 tackles. Starks is a second year player who showed tremendous promise his rookie season. He has a tremendous combination of size, speed and athleticism and has shown the ability to get to the QB. He just needs to be more consistent. At only 21 years old, time is on his size, and he's already a top 20 DT in many leagues who with a couple more sacks is closer to top 10…

Bengals LB Landon Johnson has been productive lately. On Sunday, he had 7-0 tackles and a forced fumble. Johnson had an impressive rookie campaign and hoped to keep the starting job in the middle. The addition and maturation of rookie Odell Thurman moved Johnson to the strong side. An injury to rookie David Pollack has allowed Johnson more time on the field and he has been productive the last couple of weeks…

Bengals WLB Brian Simmons is 30 years old and has not had a great season. A player like Landon Johnson might be a smart addition to your roster in a dynasty league, as it's possible he takes over on the weak side next year. Regardless, Johnson has impressed the coaching staff enough that he will see playing time and he can be acquired easily in most leagues right now…

Although Dale Carter officially got the start in place of injured star safety Ed Reed, it was Chad Williams who again had a nice game. Reed does not have a sack, interception or forced fumble this year after being one of the league's foremost playmakers the last few seasons. Chad Williams steps in and on Sunday had 7-1 tackles and a sack. Of course, it's not like Williams keeps the job after Reed returns…

After not having had a sack through the first five games this season, Panthers DE Julius Peppers has three sacks in the last three games, including two in Sunday's win over Tampa Bay. He also had 4-1 tackles…

Peppers' teammate at the other end of the line, DE Mike Rucker, also had two sacks. He has 4.5 sacks in his last five games. After his disastrous season last year when he had only 3.5 sacks, many wrote off Rucker. More, including myself, wrote him off this year after linemate Kris Jenkins went out for the year. But Rucker is looking good right now and is close to a top ten DE in most IDP leagues…

I wrote last week that Chargers rookie LB Shawn Merriman was on fire, but he keeps stepping it up another notch. On Sunday, Merriman had a season high 7-2 tackles and added another sack. He now has five sacks for the season, all in the last five games…

After a red-hot start, Jets DE John Abraham cooled off with only 6-1 tackles and no sacks from weeks four through six. He's back at it now with two and a half sacks in the last two games…

After four weeks, Detroit DE Kalimba Edwards had four sacks and 12-2 tackles. I heard from some of you who went ahead and picked him up and plugged him into your starting lineup. So what happens? He rewards you with no sacks and 0-2 tackles in the next three games. After that, no doubt most of you stopped starting him and many dumped him…

Of course, Edwards then comes back for 5-0 tackles and two more sacks Sunday. Those can be the most frustrating players to have on your squad…

Not too long after being embarrassed in a game by Panther WR Steve Smith, Vikings CB Fred Smoot has suffered a fractured right collarbone and will miss four to six weeks…

Whatever the Vikings are doing in their defensive schemes, it sure isn't working for DT/DE Kevin Williams. Considered one of the league's best DTs, Williams had 22 sacks through his first two NFL seasons. This year, Williams has been playing more of a DE position and his numbers have absolutely plummeted. Williams has only one sack and 23 total tackles at the midpoint of the season…

Seahawks DE Bryce Fisher had a breakout season in 2004 with the Rams, as he became a full-time starter and had 8.5 sacks for the year. Fisher was then signed by Seattle and his growth has continued. He had two sacks on Sunday and has four in the last two games…

Seahawks rookie LB Leroy Hill got his first career NFL start Sunday and thanked his team with 5-0 tackles and a sack, his second of the season. Hill was drafted in the third round by Seattle in the last draft and his aggressive style and solid tackling has seen his efforts cause a promotion. With Jamie Sharper out indefinitely with a swollen and infected knee, look for Hill to continue with solid production…

Bears LB Lance Briggs had 126 total tackles in 2004, but with a healthy Brian Urlacher this year, he's seen his numbers drop. On Sunday, though, he had his best game of the year with 10-1 tackles…

LB Brian Urlacher, meanwhile, had the least tackles of the season with only 3-1. After a red hot start where he had six sacks in the first five games, Urlacher has not had a sack in the last three games…

It was first thought that Steelers LB James Farrior would miss some time with a sprained MCL of his left knee, but if you ask Farrior, he's going to play. Of course, the decision does not rest with Farrior alone. If Farrior doesn't go, look for Clint Kriewaldt to get his first start as a Steeler…

Steelers LB Joey Porter has a banged up knee and if he sits, James Harrison or Rian Wallace will take his spot…

Steeler LB Larry Foote had his best game of the year with 10-1 tackles…

Eagle DE Jevon Kearse had another sack Sunday. After been shut out in that department the first three games, Kearse has four sacks in the last five games…

The words "disciplined play" and "LaVar Arrington" have actually been used in the same sentence by Redskins staff. After finally making his way out of the doghouse, Arrington is seeing increased playing time and tied for the team lead Sunday with 6-0 tackles…


Redskins safety Ryan Clark had his second interception in as many games as he solidifies his hold on the starting strong safety spot. He also added 3-1 tackles and likely should be a starter on your squad until he shows otherwise…

Colts DE Robert Mathis gets my early vote for IDP player of the year. The numbers he has put up are nothing short of tremendous, especially after considering he is usually not in the game in running situations. Mathis added yet another sack on Sunday. That makes it nine for the season and at least one sack in every single game…

Remarkably, Mathis also has forced six fumbles. And his total tackle numbers have been impressive as well, as he is tied for 7th amongst all NFL defensive linemen. Simply amazing…

Until next week…

Please e-mail me with any feedback or comments at baker@footballguys.com.

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