Week 16 Upgrades/Downgrades
Posted 12/19 by Aaron Rudnicki, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
DL Luis Castillo, San Diego (5 solos, 1 sack)
Castillo is playing great for the Chargers and now has 9 solos and a sack over the last 2 weeks. Although he plays DE in a 3-4, he's listed as a DT in many leagues and could be very valuable in DT-required leagues.
DL Philip Daniels, Washington (5 solos, 4 sacks, 1 PD, 1 FR)
Daniels put up some big sack numbers earlier in his career but hasn't been much of a pass rushing threat for 2 or 3 years now. The Cowboys offensive line is playing terrible right now and Daniels was able to take full advantage of that on Sunday with a monster 4 sack performance.
DL Erasmus James, Minnesota (4 solos, 2 sacks)
The Vikings have brought James along pretty slowly this year, but with 2 sacks on Sunday he gave Vikings fans reason to be excited about his future. Rated by many as the best pass rusher in this year's draft class, he could get hot at just the right time.
DL Travis Laboy, Tennesee (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack)
The Titans spent 3 high picks on defensive ends in the 2004 draft, but all have been outshadowed by the play of free agent signee Kyle Vanden Bosch. Laboy has quietly been putting up some nice numbers though, and he now has at least a half sack in 8 of 13 games played this year.
DL Kevin Williams, Minnesota (6 solos, 1 sack)
After missing several weeks with an injury, Kevin Williams returned to the lineup and had his best game of the season. The Vikings still lost, but hopefully he'll be able to build on this performance and finish the season strong.
LB Jason Babin, Houston (4 solos, 2 sacks, 1 FF)
The Texans traded up to select Jason Babin in the first round last year and he had a promising rookie season. This year, however, he lost his job very early on and hadn't been much of a factor until his big game against the Cardinals on Sunday.
LB Gary Brackett, Indianapolis (10 solos, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Brackett had a great matchup against Tomlinson and the Chargers this week and he made the most of it. He finished with a career-high 10 solo tackles and also collected his first interception since grabbing two in the season opener.
LB Tedy Bruschi, New England (9 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 1 PD, 1 FF)
Bruschi's fantasy value had taken a hit with just 6 solo tackles in the previous 2 games, but he looked like his old self against the Bucs on Sunday. He was making plays all over the field and contributed a fierce Patriots pass rush with 2 sacks of his own.
LB Trev Faulk, St Louis (10 solos, 1 asst)
The Rams have been starting Faulk at MLB in recent weeks, but this was his breakout performance. More games like this and he may have a shot at starting next year as well.
DB Dre Bly, Detroit (11 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 2 PD)
Bly was matched up primarily against Chad Johnson on Sunday and Carson Palmer certainly didn't shy away from throwing in his direction. With 6 interceptions, Bly has been one of the lone bright spots on the Lions this year.
DB Michael Boulware, Seattle (8 solos, 2 asst, 1 PD)
Boulware's tackle numbers have been somewhat disappointing for a strong safety this year, but he's still been able to make plays with 2 sacks and 4 interceptions. After watching him finish with 1 solo tackle over the past 2 weeks, this 8-solo performance was probably much appreciated by his owners.
DB Antrel Rolle (9 solos, 1 PD) & David Macklin (8 solos, 2 asst, 3 PD), Arizona
The Texans weren't a particularly great matchup for the Cardinals CBs but 17 solo tackles from 2 CBs combined seemed worthy of a mention here. Despite an injury-marred rookie season, Rolle remains one of the most promising young fantasy DBs in the game so keep him in mind for 2006.
DL Greg Ellis, Dallas (1 asst)
Ellis has had a great season but may be wearing down a bit late in the year. He has just 3 solo tackles and 0 sacks over his last 3 games and given the emergence of all the young DEs on the Cowboys roster, there is a chance they could part with him in the offseason.
DL CJ Mosley, Minnesota (1 asst)
Mosley played great while filling in for Kevin Williams the past couple weeks, but went back to the bench on Sunday with Williams' return.
DL Julius Peppers, Carolina (1 solo)
Peppers has to be considered a fantasy disappointment this year. Not only are the big plays from last year missing, but he's also averaging just 2 solo tackles/game and has only recorded sacks in 5 of 13 games played.
DL Orpheus Roye, Cleveland (0 tackles)
This has probably been the best season of Roye's career, but Sunday's game was his worst game of the year by far stats wise. He's averaged over 4 solo tackles/game, which is pretty amazing for a 3-4 DE.
DL Bryant Young, San Francisco (1 solo)
Young had a great first half of the season with 8 sacks before November, but he has just 8 solo tackles and 0 sacks since then.
LB Channing Crowder, Miami (1 asst)
After a great game against the Chargers last week, Crowder was forced to leave the game this week with a shoulder injury and finished with just 1 assisted tackle.
LB Odell Thurman, Cincinnati (3 asst, 1 PD)
With 5 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles, Thurman is a legitimate candidate for defensive rookie of the year. But, after averaging about 6 solo tackles/game over the past month, his 0 solo performance against the Lions this week has to be considered a disappointment.
DB Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay (1 solo)
Barber is one of the best and most consistent fantasy CBs in the league, and the matchup against the Patriots looked pretty solid. However, this wound up being the only game all year that Barber finished with less than 3 solo tackles.
DB Robert Griffith, Arizona (2 asst)
While the Cardinals CBs racked up nearly 20 solo tackles combined, Griffith finished with just a disappointing 2 assists. He has just 1 solo tackle and 3 assists in his last 3 games and the Cardinals would probably be wise to try and replace the 35 year old next season.
DB DeAngelo Hall, Atlanta (0 tackles)
In a game that only saw about 23 passing yards in the first half from both teams combined, it's probably not surprising that Hall didn't play a big role. With 13 solo tackles in his past 2 games though, Hall should have done more than this.
DB Bryan Scott, Atlanta (0 tackles)
Scott has been benched for Ronnie Heard, which explains why he's had 0 tackles the past two weeks.