Week 10 Upgrades/Downgrades
Posted 11/7 by Aaron Rudnicki, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
DL Kalimba Edwards, Detroit Lions (5 solos, 2 sacks, 1 FF)
Well, after 2 straight games with no tackles, I figured the return of James Hall meant that Edwards would go back to being a situational pass rusher and disappear like he has in the past. But, he blew up against the Vikings yesterday and now has 6 sacks on the year, which is twice as many as any other Lion player.
DL Bryce Fisher, Seattle Seahawks (3 solos, 2 sacks, 2 PD, 1 FF)
Fisher has been one of the best free agent signings this year. He's from the Seattle area and wasn't that expensive, but with 4 sacks in his last 2 games he now has 7 on the year and ranks near the top of the league in that statistic. He also has held up well against the run as evidenced by his 24 solo tackles in 8 games.
DL Tommy Kelly, Oakland Raiders (3 solos, 3 sacks, 2 FF)
Tommy Kelly has been a starter for the Raiders this year, but often gave way to Derrick Burgess on passing downs. This week, however, with Bobby Hamilton being unable to play, Kelly saw more playing time and made the most of it with a huge 3 sack day. The absence of Chiefs LT Willie Road likely played a big role, but coaches have been impressed with Kelly's play this year.
DL Chike Okeafor, Arizona Cardinals (5 solos, 1 sack, 1 FF)
The man Fisher replaced in Seattle is starting to live up to expectations down in the desert. Okeafor has 2.5 sacks over his last 3 games and his 25 solo tackles through 8 games puts him on a pace for 50 this year. For comparison purposes, only 6 DL finished with more than 50 solo tackles in 2004.
DL Seth Payne, Houston Texans (4 solos, 1 sack)
Payne wasn't 100% healthy to start the season, but he's been on fire lately with 14 solo tackles and 3 sacks over his last 4 games. Nose tackles in a 3-4 defense can sometimes be valuable fantasy contributors, and Payne is probably be available on most waiver wires.
LB Stephen Cooper, San Diego Chargers (5 solos, 3 asst)
Cooper started a 2nd straight game in place of Randall Godfrey, who is dealing with a neck injury and mourning the recent death of his sister. Cooper is a promising young player who could eventually take over the starting ILB job from the 33 year old Godfrey. In 2 starts, he has 10 solos, 6 assists, and .5 sacks.
LB Larry Foote, Pittsburgh Steelers (10 solos, 1 asst)
Foote had a solid year in 2004 filling in for an injured Kendrell Bell, and his production appears to be going up after a slow start to the season. He is averaging almost 6 solos/game over his last 6 games and has also added 14 assists in that time. He hasn't made any of the big plays that he did last year (3 sacks, 1 INT), but his tackle numbers would make him a reliable starter in most leagues.
LB Leroy Hill, Seattle Seahawks (5 solos, 1 sack)
Hill is a rookie who got his first chance to start this week after playing regularly in the team's nickel package this year. DD Lewis was out with a knee injury and Hill collected 5 solo tackles and his third sack of the season. Hill is an athletic player who clearly has some pass rush skills and he could be the WLB of the future in Seattle.
LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, Chicago Bears (4 solos, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Hillenmeyer is often overshadowed by Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, but he's an underrated player who came through with a huge game against the Saints yesterday. He's averaging nearly 5 solo tackles/game over the last 4 weeks, which is pretty solid for a strongside linebacker who doesn't play in the nickel package.
LB Bart Scott, Baltimore Ravens (10 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF)
All of the Ravens linebackers put up good numbers this week but none were more surprising than the performance by Bart Scott. The injury to Ray Lewis has given the former special teamer a chance to start and he's played well for the most part. Brian Billick recently confirmed that Ray Lewis would not return until early December at the earliest, so Scott might be a decent fill-in.
DB Chris Harris, Chicago Bears (7 solos, 1 sack, 1 FR)
Harris is a rookie 6th round pick who led the NCAA in interceptions last year with 7 at Louisiana-Monroe. He won a starting job in week 3 this year and had his best game on Sunday vs the Saints in front of a lot of family and friends. He returned a fumble recovery 49 yards to set up the Bears first TD, sacked Aaron Brooks on another play, and then made a late TD saving tackle on Nate Poole.
DB Marquand Manuel, Seattle Seahawks (9 solos, 3 asst, 1 PD)
Manuel continued to start in place of Ken Hamlin and finished with a team-leading 12 tackles. He left the game temporarily in the first half with a stinger but was able to return and played well.
DB Eric Warfield, Kansas City Chiefs (11 solos)
Warfield missed the first 4 games to a suspension and suffered a hip pointer in his first start last week against the Chargers. Patrick Surtain didn't play this week due to a knee injury, so Warfield stepped into the #1 CB role and wound up with a team-high 11 solo tackles. He left the game late in the 4th after aggravating his hip but is expected to play next week.
DB Chad Williams, Baltimore Ravens (7 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack)
Williams started in place of Ed Reed again and had a solid game against Carson Palmer and the Bengals. Reed may be able to return in the next couple weeks, but Williams could be a decent fill-in option if he suffers any setbacks.
DB Antoine Winfield, Minnesota Vikings (11 solos, 3 asst, 1 INT, 2 PD)
Winfield hasn't been as consistent this year as he had been in the past, but that probably had a lot to do with how poorly the front seven was playing. He was all over the place on Sunday, making 8 solo stops on defense, 3 more on special teams, and collecting his second interception of the season.
DL Jared Allen, Kansas City Chiefs (1 solo)
Allen got off to a great start this year with 23 solo tackles and 5 sacks in his first 5 games, but he's now gone sackless for 3 straight games and only has 5 solo tackles during that same period. He does have a very impressive 5 forced fumbles on the year, but as the Chiefs best pass rusher he needs to be more consistent.
DL Bert Berry, Arizona Cardinals (1 solo, 1 asst)
Berry left the game early with a pectoral injury and only finished with 1 solo and 1 assist. Early reports on Monday indicate that the injury could end his season. Tough break for the Cardinals and IDP owners as Berry has been one of the most productive fantasy DL in the league the past couple years.
DL Patrick Kerney, Atlanta Falcons (1 solo, 1 asst)
Kerney finished with double digit sacks in 3 of the past 4 years and many had high expectations for him this year, but he's not making much of a fantasy impact thus far. Through 8 games, he has just 12 solo tackles and 3.5 sacks, which is only about 25% of his numbers from 2004 (55 solos, 13 sacks). He now has 5 straight games with no more than 1 solo tackle and will need to pick up the pace in order to avoid becoming one of the bigger IDP busts this year.
DL Simeon Rice, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0 tackles)
After missing the last game to suspension, Rice got the start on Sunday but wound up with no tackles. Rice isn't the type of DL to rack up big tackle numbers, but to finish with none is pretty surprising. Backup DE Dewayne White had 3 solos and a sack so it's possible that Rice didn't see as much time as he normally does.
DL Dewayne Robertson, NY Jets (0 tackles)
Robertson went into the Jets bye week playing great with 10 solos, 6 assists, and 3 sacks in his last 3 games, but he was invisible on Sunday and finished with no tackles while the Jets got torched by LaDainian Tomlinson.
LB Mark Brown, NY Jets (1 solo, 2 asst)
Mark Brown looked like a decent pickup after Eric Barton went down for the year, but his production against the Chargers this week was pretty underwhelming. Keep watching to see whether this was an aberration or not.
LB Danny Clark, Oakland Raiders (1 solo, 1 asst)
Although not as productive as he was a year ago, Clark has been solid this year and had been averaging about 5.5 solos/game going into Sunday's matchup against the Chiefs. He was a non-factor on Sunday, however, and wasn't even on the field during a critical play late in the game when Larry Johnson caught a short pass and rumbled 36 yards right down to the goal line.
LB Sam Cowart, Minnesota Vikings (2 solo, 1 asst)
Cowart has shown flashes of being his old self, but he's not making enough plays and doesn't have anywhere near the range he used to have earlier in his career. After playing in 7 games this year, he's only averaging about 4 solo tackles/game, which is pretty low for a starting MLB.
LB James Davis, Detroit Lions (2 asst)
Despite starting each week as the team's WLB, Davis hasn't finished a game with more than 2 solo tackles since week 2. He doesn't see time in the nickel package so his value is pretty limited anyway, but it's strange for a starting WLB to make so few plays and the Lions would probably be better off trying Teddy Lehman in his spot.
LB Clark Haggans, Pittsburgh Steelers (1 asst)
Prior to yesterday's game against the Packers, Haggans had played 4 games and had a sack in each one. In addition to being held sackless though, Haggans also finished with 0 solo tackles. Hopefully, it was just a fluke as Haggans has been a pretty consistent player when healthy.
DB C.C. Brown, Houston Texans (1 asst)
Brown missed a game in week 7 with a knee injury, but hasn't done much since returning to the starting lineup. Over the last 2 games, he has just 1 solo and 3 assists, which is way below the 5 solo/game pace he was on before the injury.
DB Mike Brown, Chicago Bears (1 solo, 1 asst)
Over the first 4 games of the year, Brown averaged 7 solos/game and had 2 interceptions and 5 passes defensed. In the 4 games since then, he's averaging less than 4 solos/game and has 0 interceptions of passes defensed.
DB Brian Russell, Cleveland Browns (2 asst)
The Browns appear to be giving more and more playing time to rookie Brodney Pool and that is hurting Russell, who has just 1 solo and 3 assists in the last 2 games.
DBs Lito Sheppard (1 solo) & Sheldon Brown (1 solo, 1 asst), Philadelphia Eagles
Mark Brunell had 21 completions in this game but the Eagles cornerbacks only managed 2 solo tackles and an assist combined. Pretty disappointing, especially considering that Santana Moss finished with 7 receptions.
DB Sean Taylor, Washington Redskins (2 solos)
Based on how highly he was regarded when entering the league, Taylor was expected to make a huge fantasy impact. He combined great size, speed, and athleticism and should be en elite playmaker, but through 8 games in Gregg Williams' aggressive defensive system, he only has 1 interception this year. His 5 solo tackles over the past 3 games are also underwhelming for a player many thought had top-10 potential.