Week 4: IDP Insider
The following players should be in IDP lineups each and every week for the foreseeable future. They're not listed in any order, but if you own one of these guys, make sure you're starting him.
DE: J.J. Watt, Texans;Carlos Dunlap, Bengals; Chandler Jones, Patriots; Calais Campbell, Cardinals; Justin Tuck, Raiders; Justin Smith, 49ers; Rob Ninkovich, Patriots; Fletcher Cox, Eagles; Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants
LB: Luke Kuechly, Panthers; Lavonte David, Buccaneers; Paul Posluszny, Jaguars; Paul Worrilow, Falcons; Bobby Wagner, Seahawks; Jerod Mayo, Patriots; Patrick Willis, 49ers; Lawrence Timmons, Steelers; Jelani Jenkins, Dolphins; Karlos Dansby, Browns; Nate Irving, Broncos; Brian Cushing, Texans; A.J. Hawk, Packers; Brandon Marshall, Broncos
S: Morgan Burnett, Packers; Charles Woodson, Raiders; Troy Polamalu, Steelers; Kam Chancellor, Seahawks; Earl Thomas, Seahawks; Tyvon Branch, Raiders; Aaron Williams, Bills; Dashon Goldson, Buccaneers; Donte Whitner, Browns; Tony Jefferson, Cardinals; LaRon Landry, Colts; Dawan Landry, Jets
Defensive Tackles (Outside the top 10 DTs owned on MyFantasyLeague.com)
Bennie Logan, Eagles – Logan has been cranking out the tackles so far this season, including seven combined tackles in each of his last two games. That puts him atop the stat sheet among all defensive linemen in the NFL. Playing in Philadelphia's 3-4 scheme, Logan is getting plenty of opportunity to stop running backs at the line of scrimmage. And that's translating to top-notch outputs by this nose tackle. Logan is an excellent waiver add and a must-start if you own him.
Clinton McDonald, Buccaneers – With elite DT Gerald McCoy missing time with a broken hand, McDonald has been picking up the slack. He had five tackles last Thursday with McCoy out. There's been word that McCoy could return in Week 4, so those considering adding McDonald should keep an eye on McCoy's status, as that could mean fewer snaps for McDonald. If McCoy doesn't play, McDonald is a solid start this weekend as the Bucs face off against the Steelers.
Defensive Ends (Outside the top 10 DEs owned on MyFantasyLeague.com)
Corey Liuget, Chargers – Liuget was the Chargers' first-round pick in 2011 and now leads a defense that has been turning some heads recently. He has racked up 13 combined tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. That tackles number ties him for eighth overall among defensive linemen. However, he still ranks outside of the top 20 defensive ends owned on MyFantasyLeague.com and needs to be added in a lot of leagues. The way he's been playing this year, he's closing in on must-start status.
Mike Daniels, Packers – Daniels recorded 6.5 sacks last season but wasn't a great fantasy play because he was used primarily as a pass-rush specialist. That's changed this year. Daniels is seeing a lot more snaps and recording a lot more tackles as a result. To be exact, he has 14 so far, good enough for fourth among all defensive linemen. His pass-rushing ability combined with his usage in run defense situations make Daniels a solid fantasy DE.
Linebackers (Outside top 15 LBs owned on MyFantasyLeague.com)
Brandon Marshall, Broncos – No, not that Brandon Marshall. But if you play in an IDP league, this Marshall could be the next best thing to the star wide receiver. The Broncos' B-Marsh is well on his way to a breakout season. Through three games, he's got 30 combined tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. He's tied for fourth among all LBs in tackles, ahead of big names such as Cushing, Dansby and Hawk. He's worth adding and holding on to through Denver's bye week. He's that good.
Larry Foote, Cardinals – This veteran is having a resurgent 2014 after signing with the Cardinals in the offseason. He's 34 years old, but he's racking up tackles like a player 10 years younger. Through three games, Foote already has 22 combined tackles, three passes defended and an interception. He's not an ideal start and is on bye in Week 4. But if you're caught in a bind later this season, Foote will be a valuable fill-in for your fantasy squad.
Cornerbacks (Outside top 20 CBs owned on MyFantasyLeague.com)
Byron Maxwell, Seahawks – He was mentioned in this space a couple of weeks ago, but Maxwell is still available in a large number of IDP leagues despite the fact that he's still cranking out tackles. Anyone who's watched the Seahawks this year knows that opposing offenses are afraid of Richard Sherman. Quarterbacks are extremely hesitant to throw to his side of the field. Instead, they go to the left side, where Maxwell is, and he's racking up the stats as a result. He has 20 tackles through three games, good for fourth-most among all CBs. At this point, Maxwell is a far better fantasy play than Sherman and deserves to be owned in a much greater percentage of leagues. Snatch him up after Seattle's bye and plug him in. He's one of the best fantasy CBs available.
Terence Newman, Bengals – Now 36 years old and in his 12th NFL season, Newman hasn't lost a single step. He's a huge part of the Bengals' highly touted defense this year and has 20 tackles this season. This veteran will give you steady tackling production as long as he's on the field, and he's a good bet to come up with an interception or two by the end of the season. He's on bye this week, so don't rush, but he's a worthy grab if you thin in the future.
Safeties (Outside top 20 FS/SS owned on MyFantasyLeague.com)
Aaron Williams, Bills – After lining up at cornerback for his first two seasons with the Bills, Williams moved to safety prior to last season. And it seems he has figured the position out in 2014. He's recorded 25 tackles, which is the third-most among all safeties. With several of the top options on bye in Week 4, Williams is a fine replacement and looks like a strong rest-of-season play as well.
Mark Barron, Buccaneers – Goldson is the better-known Bucs safety, but Barron has been producing numbers as well. The Bucs' front seven has struggled mightily so far this year, and that's led to a lot of opportunities for their DBs to stop ball-carriers. Right now, Barron has 22 tackles, just four behind Goldson. He's not the best player on this defense, but he's a stellar fantasy option who can be found on the waiver wire in most leagues.