Last week's recommendations were truly a mixed bag of results. There were a few stinkers, as all three of my defensive linemen failed to record a sack and Tully Banta-Cain -- one of the four linebackers whose virtues I extolled -- scored just one solo tackle on the day. And while a couple of my picks finished somewhere between useless and effective (Stewart Bradley's four solos; Marcus Trufant's three solos), there were several success stories, including:
Sean Weatherspoon, ATL -- He had seven solo tackles and appears to be an active part of the surprisingly stingy Falcons front seven. Unfortunately, his owners must stay tuned to the injury report, because the rookie missed practice on Thursday with an ankle injury.
Paris Lenon, ARI -- With eight total tackles (7 solo), a sack, PD and interception, Lenon was the highest-scoring LB in Week 3. He's worth starting in all formats until further notice.
Sean Considine, JAC -- Against his old team, Considine registered a sack and made seven solo tackles, bumping him into the top 15 highest-scoring DBs this season in most IDP leagues.
William Moore, ATL -- Moore filled in admirably for injured veteran safety Erik Coleman, posting six solos. Keep an eye on Coleman's status before you plug him back in your lineup.
This week's picks contain a few names that should be familiar to IDP veterans, and a couple of younger players who are just starting to make their presence felt.
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Dhani Jones, CIN (16 percent owned) -- Jones will be tasked with a difficult chore this week: tackling the tub-thumping Peyton Hillis, who recently stole the Browns' starting RB role with a breakout Week 3 performance. Jones already has 23 total tackles as the Bengals MLB, but isn't getting much respect in IDP leagues because he's about as boring as you'll find. I mean... all this guy does is make tackles. Fortunately, that's a pretty decent trait in most IDP leagues, especially if those tackle numbers reach double-digits -- a single-game milestone Mr. Jones is guaranteed to pass a few times this season.
Zac Diles, HOU (12 percent owned) -- Here's a simple equation for you: More offensive rushes = more defensive tackles. The Raiders run the ball a lot, and they'll probably sustain a few decent drives with the help of the rowdy home crowd. The Texans are still without Brian Cushing, and Diles will have a shot at one more big game before last year's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year returns from his suspension and steals all the IDP glory.
Eric Barton/Scott Fujita, CLE (3 and 2 percent owned) -- They're not much more than bye-week fill-ins, but if you're out Barrett Ruud, Chad Greenway, E.J. Henderson or Derrick Johnson this week (and there's not much available on the waiver wire), either Barton (probable this week with a minor hip injury) or Fujita (starting at OLB) could be the answer. Last week, Barton had nine solo tackles and appears to be the best fantasy option among the linebackers in the Browns' feeble 3-4, while Fujita had six total tackles in each of his first three games, and recorded a half-sack in Week 1.
Charles Godfrey, CAR (13 percent owned) -- Godfrey is scoring crazy fantasy points right now, and while he won't keep up his current pace, there's no reason he can't be trusted as an every-week DB2. Teams have been exploiting the Carolina defense by air (the line hasn't been effective putting pressure on the QB) and that's turned into a lot of opportunities for Godfrey. Mix in one incensed Saints offensive unit (they should have tried to punch that ball into the end zone in overtime before attempting a field goal, right?), and you've got a recipe for more of those chances.
Kelvin Hayden, IND (11 percent owned) -- Just about all of the Colts main DBs (Hayden, Antoine Bethea, Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey) are decent fantasy plays at this point. The offense is doing a lot of scoring, and the defense just allowed 472 passing yards to the Broncos. Hayden should continue to post solid tackle totals and throw in a few PDs here and there.
Nate Clements, SF (4 percent owned) -- Remember this guy? He used to be a top-scoring DB before a lackluster 2008 campaign and a Week 9 injury in 2009 removed him from the fantasy consciousness. In Week 1, he had three tackles, a pick and a PD, and last week he had nine solos. It's time to give him another shot.
Calais Campbell, ARI (16 percent owned) -- People just aren't catching on. Campbell has shown constant improvement since being drafted by the Cards in 2008's second round. While 2010's numbers aren't earth-shattering (12 tackles, sack), he's likely to finish the season with about 50 tackles and at least a half-dozen sacks -- numbers that certainly belie his low ownership rate.
Red Bryant, SEA (10 percent owned) -- Moved from DT to DE, the big-bodied Bryant has made some even bigger plays. Through three games, he has nine tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He's a solid interior run defender and is becoming better at collapsing the pocket on passing downs. Facing rookie QB Sam Bradford, he might even have a shot at getting his hands on the ball again, whether it's batting down a telegraphed pass or recovering a loose ball in the backfield.
Kyle Williams, BUF (4 percent owned) -- With 14 total tackles and a sack, Williams is easily forgotten in the fantasy wasteland that is Buffalo, N.Y. But the veteran nose tackle posted 66 total tackles last season and 4.0 sacks, hardly numbers to scoff at -- especially from an interior DL. You've got to like his chances of piling up a handful of tackles against the run-centric (I think I just made up that word, but I like it) Jets.