Week 7 Upgrades/Downgrades
Posted 10/17 by Aaron Rudnicki, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
DL Jared Allen, Kansas City (6 solos, 3 sacks, 2 FF, 2 FR)
Jared Allen had a huge game against the Redskins on Sunday, and also contributed to a 3rd forced fumble that Sammy Knight returned 80 yards for a TD. It would be tough to find a defensive lineman playing better than Allen, who has 17 solo tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles over his last 3 games.
DL Reggie Hayward, Jacksonville (2 solos, 2 sacks, 1 FR)
Hayward will probably never put up the type of tackle numbers that would make him an elite fantasy DE, but he's proving to be a prolific pass rusher. His 2 sacks of Tommy Maddox on Sunday brings him to 5.5 on the year, which ranks in the top 5 of the NFL.
DL Alvin McKinley, Cleveland (5 solos, 3 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF)
3-4 DEs usually don't make great fantasy options, and McKinley began the year way under the radar for most IDP owners, but he's been solid the past 2 games with 9 solos, 5 assists, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. The Browns don't have much depth on the defensive line so their linemen play a lot.
DL Derrick Burgess, Oakland (4 solos, 2 sacks)
Like Hayward, Burgess probably won't ever be a big tackle guy, but he's beginning to fulfill the great potential he had as a pass rusher. He had his second consecutive 2 sack game this week and now has 5 on the season. The biggest problem for Burgess in the past has been his durability, but he's holding up well so far.
DL Will Smith, New Orleans (4 solos, 3 asst, 1 sack, 1 PD)
You know the Saints have the best group of DEs in the league when former 1st round pick Will Smith isn't even listed as a starter for them. He outproduced starters Charles Grant and Darren Howard this week, however, and has better fantasy numbers than both for the season. The Saints should probably consider giving him more playing time.
LB Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay (7 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 PD)
Brooks got off to a terrible start this year, but it looks like he's beginning to turn things around. He has 13 solo tackles and a sack over the past 2 games. The injury to Griese could wind up hurting the offense and putting the Bucs defense on the field for more snaps per game.
LB Nick Greisen, NY Giants (8 solos, 2 asst, 1 FR)
Injuries to Carlos Emmons and Reggie Torbor have allowed Greisen to make 2 straight starts at WLB for the Giants, and he's performed well with 13 solos, 6 assists, and 2 fumble recoveries in those games.
LB Angelo Crowell, Buffalo (2 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Crowell did his best Takeo Spikes impersonation on Sunday, making several big plays including a sack and an interception. He's not as physical as Spikes in defending the run so he won't get as many tackles, but he has good range and coverage ability.
LB James Harrison, Pittsburgh (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 PD)
Harrison has taken over a starting OLB job in Pittsburgh in place of the injured Clark Haggans, and he put up very solid numbers yesterday despite playing with a groin injury. Harrison's tackle numbers have picked up lately, and he's also shown some big play ability with 3 sacks and an interception over the past 4 games.
LB Derrick Johnson, Kansas City (8 solos, 2 asst)
Johnson was all over the field on Sunday, and after 5 games he leads all Chiefs defenders in tackles, despite playing SLB. Johnson was the most highly regarded LB in this year's draft and he's living up to the hype so far. He also had 2 key blocks that helped spring Sammy Knight to his 80 yard fumble return TD.
DB Kenoy Kennedy, Detroit (10 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 2 PD, 1 FF, 1 TD)
After putting up just 2 solo tackles in his first 2 games, Kennedy has blown up with 23 in his last 3 games. He played one of the best games of his career yesterday, helping to shut down the Carolina running game, returning an interception for a TD, and knocking out the Panthers starting QB Jake Delhomme late in the game. Kennedy will likely draw a fine from the NFL for his hit on Delhomme, but there's no doubt that he brings a physical presence to the Lions defense that they have lacked for awhile.
DB Bryan Scott, Atlanta (7 solos, 3 asst, 3 PD)
After a terrible game against the Patriots last week in which he missed several tackles, Scott rebounded with a solid performance against the Saints this week. The Falcons front 7 did a terrible job of slowing down Antowain Smith and the Saints running game, which created plenty of tackle opportunities for Scott. The former CB also played well in coverage with his first 3 passes defensed of the year.
DB Domonique Foxworth, Denver (9 solos, 1 asst, 2 PD, 1 FF)
Foxworth and fellow rookie CB Darrent Williams (5 solos, 1 asst, 4 PDs this week) have been playing great for the Broncos and have helped minimize the impact of Champ Bailey's injury. Bailey started the game this week but had to leave with an injury. The Broncos got out to a big lead, which forced the Patriots to pass on nearly every down in the second half. Even when Bailey is healthy, look for both rookie CBs to see extensive playing time and be targeted often by opposing QBs.
DB C.C. Brown, Houston (7 solos, 1 asst)
Brown was a surprise starter at SS for the Texans to begin the year, and his production has been pretty consistent each and every week. He's currently tied with ILB Morlon Greenwood for the team lead in solo tackles with 26 and he has 19 over the past 3 games. The Texans are not a very good team so the defense spends a lot of time on the field, which is certainly helping Brown's numbers.
DB Gibril Wilson, NY Giants (11 solos, 1 FF)
Wilson was highly productive as a rookie last year, but an injury limited him to just 8 games. He's picked up right where he left off this year currently leads all fantasy DBs in points/game after consecutive weeks with 11 solo tackles and a FF. Wilson's rise to the top of the charts is even more impressive when you consider that he has 0 sacks and just 1 INT so far, which is well behind the pace he was on a year ago when he finished with 3 sacks and 3 INTs in 8 games.
DL Kalimba Edwards, Detroit (1 asst)
Edwards had been on a hot streak since replacing an injured James Hall in the starting lineup, but he cooled off this week with just 1 assist. Hall could be close to returning from his groin injury, which might make this a good time to shop Edwards around to see what his value is. Even when Hall returns, he should continue to see time in passing situations, but his tackle numbers will likely drop.
DL Antwan Odom, Tennessee (1 asst)
After playing probably the best game of his short career against the Texans in week 5, Odom was a non-factor against the Bengals this week. The Bengals offensive line did a great job of giving Palmer time in the pocket and opening holes for Rudi Johnson and Chris Perry.
DL Kyle Vanden Bosch, Tennessee (3 asst)
Vanden Bosch is still tied for the NFL lead with 6 sacks on the year, but he wasn't able to create any pressure on Carson Palmer this week and finished with a disappointing 3 assists. All 3 Titans DEs combined for just 5 assists in the game, and Carson Palmer completed nearly 82% of his passes as a result.
DL John Abraham, NY Jets (1 solo)
Abraham is still one of the best fantasy DL in the league, but he's now had 2 bad games in a row in what should have been very favorable matchups. He finished with just 1 solo tackle against the Ravens last week and the Bills this week, even though both teams give up a lot of sacks and rank in the top-6 for fantasy points allowed to opposing DL.
LB Kailee Wong, Houston (0 tackles)
Wong left with an injury early in the game last night and early reports suggest that he may be out for the season. DaShon Polk took his spot and finished the game with solid numbers, so Wong owners may want to pick him up this week once we get more information on the severity of Wong's injury.
LB DJ Williams, Denver (1 asst)
Williams had another disappointing game this week as the Broncos played most of the second half in their nickel and dime packages. After 6 games played, Williams has just 10 solo tackles and it looks like the only thing that will help his fantasy value going forward would be an injury to Gold or Wilson.
LB Kenard Lang, Cleveland (1 asst)
Lang made the transition from DE to OLB this year and played well early in the season, but he's finished with 1 assist for 2 games in a row now and has yet to record a sack. Matt Stewart has returned from injury and should continue to share time with Lang, which limits both their value going forward.
LB David Pollack, Cincinnati (1 solo)
Pollack struggled with his transition to OLB and has pretty much been reduced to a pass rush specialist for the time being. He pressured McNair a couple times on Sunday, but finished with just 1 solo tackle for the second game in a row. He's probably at least a year away from making much of a fantasy impact.
LB Teddy Lehman, Detroit (1 solo, 1 asst)
Many fantasy owners had high expectations for Lehman coming into this season as the Lions considered playing him at MLB or WLB, but he failed to land a starting job and instead has only seen time playing in the team's nickel package.
DB Marcus Trufant, Seattle (1 solo)
Trufant is a physical CB who put up an impressive 83 solo tackles and 5 interceptions last year, but his numbers through 6 games put him on pace for a disappointing 48 solos and 0 interceptions this year. Opposing QBs seem to be avoiding Trufant and targeting CB Kelly Herndon instead.
DB Dwight Smith, New Orleans (1 asst, 1 PD)
Smith was moved to the SS spot a couple weeks ago and it was expected that his tackle numbers would improve as a result. The Saints also like to use Smith as a LB in some of their packages as well, which should place him closer to the line of scrimmage and take advantage of his tackling ability. Despite having several things in his favor, he finished with a very disappointing 1 assist against the Falcons this week.
DB Marlon McCree, Carolina (3 asst)
After finishing as the highest scoring fantasy DB in week 5 with 10 solos and 2 interceptions, McCree came back down to earth this week with a 3-assist performance against the Lions.
DB Darren Sharper, Minnesota (2 solos)
Sharper returned from an injury to play in this game, but was ineffective and finished with a disappointing 2 solo tackles. With players like Corey Chavous and Antoine Winfield playing alongside him in the secondary, there may not be enough tackle opportunities for Sharper to be as productive as he was in Green Bay.
DB Ken Hamlin, Seattle (3 solos, 2 asst)
Hamlin finished the game with respectable numbers, but was involved in a bar fight after the game that has put him in the hospital. Early reports indicate he suffered a fractured skull and broken hand/wrist. If true, it seems unlikely that he'd be able to return this season.