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Divisional Debriefing: Week Five

Each week, we’re going to give a player from each division a “Player of the Week” honor. In an attempt to not cram the same info down your throat you might find elsewhere, we’re going to mostly focus on players who weren’t draft day all-stars. In some cases they won’t even be rostered in redraft leagues, but are players who are worth stashing in dynasty leagues and those who have yielded the greatest return on your investment so far. After all, you don’t need to be told Andre Johnson had a great day – he was drafted in such a spot that it was expected. Same with Julio Jones, Steve Smith (CAR), and Arian Foster. That’s not to say we won’t occasionally honor a truly elite performance, especially from rookies.

As part of a group collaboration, members of the DLF Senior Team have each chosen to represent a division and will be selecting which players will be getting the “gold star” for the week. As an added bonus, I will also include the most impressive IDP performances of the week for each division, because defensive players need love too!

Here is who is will be nominating players for each division and be sure to follow us on Twitter by clicking their names:

AFC West – Steve Wyremski
AFC East – Paymon Shokoohi
AFC North – Eric Olinger
AFC South – Tim Stafford
NFC West – The FF Ghost
NFC East – Jarrett Behar
NFC North – Jacob Feldman
NFC South – Ryan McDowell

AFC East

Stevan Ridley, RB NE

Stevan Ridley had a career day against the Broncos on Sunday. His 28 carries for 151 yards and one touchdown (and power running) helped the Patriots do whatever they wanted on offense. Unfortunately, a late fourth quarter fumble may put Ridley in the Bill Belichick doghouse. This offense hums on all cylinders when Ridley is in the backfield and there’s little doubt he has all the tools to be a dominant back in this system. However, he MUST keep the ball off the turf, because there are just too many options behind him and Belichick has him on a short leash. –Paymon Shokoohi

IDP- Randy Starks, DT MIA

Randy Starks has had a great start to 2012 and that momentum helped lead the Dolphins in the upset of the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. In a play eerily similar to the one JJ Watt made against the Bengals in the playoffs last year, Starks jumped up and picked off an Andy Dalton pass from the defensive tackle position. That isn’t something you see very often. He also chipped in a solo tackle, two assists and half a sack – that’s a heck of a day if your league requires you start a defensive tackle.

AFC South

Jaime Harper, TEN RB

Again a weak outing from the AFC South in terms of fantasy sleepers.  CJ2K returned to his normal form and a previous spotlight (Reggie Wayne) had a stellar outing.  The one fantasy story of note is the leg injury to Javon Ringer.  Ringer suffered a knee injury which, at the time, looked very serious.  Early reports are that it’s just a sprain.  During his absence, Harper should shoulder the load as CJ2K’s back-up.  With as badly as the team is playing, anything can happen.  If he is on your waiver wire and you have a spare roster spot, what the heck. –Tim Stafford

IDP – Bradie James, ILB HOU

Simply because I can’t give this to JJ Watt every week, I will give it to James. He had a decent game on Monday night, but his biggest boost comes from the team’s biggest loss. Brian Cushing is lost for the year due a torn ACL suffered this week. Veteran Tim Dobbins will step into the starting lineup for Cushing, but I expect the biggest statistical jump to come from Bradie James simply because he’s a Wade Phillips guy. Make no mistake though, neither of these guys are Cushing.

AFC North

Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT

Welcome back, Mr. Mendenhall! Returning after tearing the ACL in his knee last year, “Rocket” Rashard gave the Steelers running game their much needed kick in the butt. The thing is, he looked better in this game than he did at any point last year. He piled up 81 yards on 14 carries (5.8 ypc) and scored a touchdown. He also added two catches for 20 yards. The greatest part – he reported no soreness or setbacks after the game. He’s ready to roll and he gets a soft Tennessee run defense this Thursday, so the arrow is pointing way up for Mendy. – Eric Olinger

IDP- Ray Lewis, MLB BAL

It might be a young man’s game, but this old fart is getting it done. In a game where the Chiefs ran the ball 50 times for 214 yards, Ray racked up 10 tackles, all solo, while keeping Jamaal Charles and the entire Chiefs team out of the end zone.

*Note: Last week I stated Vontaze Burfict was starting at MLB for the Bengals. That was incorrect. Rey Maualuga is still starting at MLB and Burfict is starting at WLB. Sorry for the bad info.

AFC West

Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN

Thomas is certainly not an under the radar player, but he’s now officially a viable number one receiver in dynasty leagues. He now has three one hundred yard games in five contests after almost reaching 200 yards receiving against the Patriots on Sunday. Given his improvement with Peyton Manning running the offense in Denver, Thomas may begin to be considered a top ten dynasty wide receiver. Sure, Manning isn’t going to be around for Thomas’ entire career, but Demaryius has shown significant improvement and development after being a raw receiver drafted out of Georgia Tech’s option offense. Do people still think Josh McDaniels was nuts for drafting Thomas ahead of Dez Bryant? They shouldn’t. – Steve Wyremski

IDP- Tamba Hali & Justin Houston, OLBs KC

This pass rushing duo combined for ten tackles (all solo) and four sacks of Joe Flacco. The Ravens, after their ten day layoff, came out flat and the Chiefs nearly pulled out the upset because of the stellar play of these outside rush linebackers. Justin Houston is now up to six sacks on the season, while Hali is only up to three. Hali may get more attention, but Houston is the IDP I want right now – he’s hot and you gotta ride them while you can.

NFC East

Rueben Randle, WR NYG

With Hakeem Nicks sitting out with foot and knee injuries and Ramses Barden concussed, Randle finally received significant playing time and he delivered with six receptions for 82 yards.  Owners who spent a first round rookie pick on the big bodied receiver from LSU were pleased to see this performance after stories of his inability to pick up the Giants offense surfaced.  He is still learning and will not be a reliable option this year, but once he gets up to speed and comfortable with his option routes, he may live up to the hype. – Jarrett Behar

IDP-London Fletcher & Perry Riley, ILBs WAS

Nothing ticks me off more than seeing your stud linebacker have 20 total tackles and then to see only eight were solo and 12 were assists – that’s what happened to London Fletcher on Sunday. Even worse, Perry Riley had 12 total tackles and only three were credited as solo. The terrible thing is the NFL uses home score keepers statistics for tackle info, so there is no standard for awarding them. Regardless, Fletcher and Riley both had great games and it should be recognized as such.

NFC South

Michael Turner, RB ATL

Fantasy owners, especially those who play in dynasty leagues, have been quick to give up on the Falcons starting running back. While he may no longer be “The Burner,” Turner continues to post surprisingly good numbers. In week five versus the Washington Redskins, Turner rushed 18 times for 67 yards and a touchdown, giving him 324 rushing yards on the season to go along with three touchdowns. Turner is also on pace for career highs in receptions and receiving yardage, which may be the most surprising aspect of his season thus far. As long as Atlanta continues to play from ahead, Turner will see enough touches to make him a reliable RB3 for your team. If you are in the playoff hunt, Turner would make a great addition to your team. – Ryan McDowell

IDP-Luke Kuechly, MLB/WLB CAR

Filling in for an injured Jon Beason in week five, Kuechly showed why everyone wants him to man the middle of this 4-3 defense by racking up seven solo tackles, four assists and a tackle for a loss. Even though Coach Rivera has said Beason will return to the middle when he gets healthy, the future is obviously very bright for Kuechly and this could just be the tip of the iceberg for him as an IDP asset.

NFC North

Brandon Marshall, WR CHI

The other possibility for this week’s award was Percy Harvin. In the end, Marshall won out thanks to the fact that for the second week in a row he amounted for roughly half of the entire passing game. Defenses know that if the ball is going to be in the air, there is a 50% chance it is coming his way, yet they still can’t stop him. He is on pace for 112 receptions, nearly 1,600 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Clearly he should tail off a little bit, but at this rate he’ll pass his Miami numbers by mid-season.

Special side note: Keep an eye on the Green Bay backfield, because things could get muddy. Cedric Benson went down with an injury and if you throw out Alex Green’s 41 yard gain, he was doing a very good Chris Johnson impression with his 1.75 YPC. James Starks just might find his way back into the lineup if Benson is out for an extended time. –Jacob Feldman

IDP – Jasper Brinkley, MLB MIN

The easy choice would have been to pick either Lance Briggs or Charles Tillman for scoring their second touchdown in as many weeks, but for this, we’re going with Brinkley. It was announced this week by head coach Leslie Frazier that Brinkley will continue to be an every down linebacker alongside Chad Greenway, sending Erin Henderson to the bench. Any every down linebacker is worth consideration in IDP leagues and if he’s available, I’d rather have him than either one of the Texans linebackers filling in for Cushing.

NFC West

Rams, D/ST

This week I’ve given the NFC West player of the week honor to the first repeat honoree. This week the St Louis Rams D/ST gets the nod as they compiled nine sacks in their Thursday night game en route to a 17-3 win over the previously unbeaten Arizona Cardinals. The win gave St Louis their first winning record in 93 games – a streak that began in November 4, 2006! The win also allowed the entire NFC West to boast a winning record and maintained the unbeaten records of all NFC West teams at home so far this year. Defense appears to be the calling card of the division this season. –TheFFGhost

IDP- Robert Quinn, DE STL

IDP’ers gotta love them some Arizona Cardinals O-line! After hosting Cameron Wake’s coming out party in week four, they hosted Robert Quinn’s in week five to the tune of four solo tackles, two assists and a very nice three sacks. It wouldn’t be right, but we could have nominated the Arizona offensive line in this spot as the best IDP contributor. Seriously though, if you own defensive ends and they play Arizona, start them with confidence. Mario Williams owners take notice!

We’ll see you next week for more divisional debriefing.

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9 years ago

Just an update on my side note (which was created Monday Morning) for anyone that missed it. LisFranc injury for Benson, so he’s looking at 8+ weeks before he comes back. Green is listed as the top guy on the depth chart, but coaches have said it will be very fluid and they question Green’s ability to handle a heavy workload. Starks isn’t an elite talent, but I still like him to be the lead of the committee and maybe reach the levels of a solid flex play. Green will most likely be the change of pace and Kuhn is an ever present potential vulture.

Ken Dogson
Reply to  Jacob Feldman
9 years ago

Green if it is a PPR league.

If not PPR, I’d wait to see how things are divided up. MM said today (or yesterday) that Green is the starter because Starks isn’t yet fully up to speed.

Saine is also in the mix here, and he got time last year and earned some trust from the coaching staff.

Green lacks the patience for the ZBS stretch play. Starks runs too high. Saine is a guy that can go between the tackles. Kuhn is purely a short yardage guy who may vulture a goal line TD. The reason I say Green if it is a PPR play is that he has excellent hands and is very, very good on screen plays and in space can make people miss.

Oh, and my Packers suck this year.

Ken Dogson
Reply to  Ken Dogson
9 years ago

Saine *is not*

Raymond
9 years ago

What Cushing being out, do you see Brooks Reed stepping his stat line up at all?

Lyle
9 years ago

Vick Ballard is gonna get first crack at the starting job while Donald Brown (knee scope) is out for 2 weeks… any thoughts on him?? Is he a must grab??? Who would be more worth a signing him or Alex Green who may be more a part of a committee

B
9 years ago

@Lyle man up and make your own decisions and stop relying on others. Ballard is not talented at all and is only a 3 week fill in. If you are desperate for a RB then just go get him.

Lyle
Reply to  B
9 years ago

I do make my own decisions but just want to know what the community is saying since I saw absolutely no news on this guy despite reading news on most other scrubs that get a shot every week… I thought that’s the point of making comments on here. For the record I signed Ballard and we’ll see how it works out… BTW… I’m pretty sure I know what the “B” stands for….

Ken Dogson
Reply to  Lyle
9 years ago

I watched him in HS and at MS State. I’m pretty confident he is going to Wally Pipp Brown here.

ACanuckNinersFan
Reply to  B
9 years ago

What’s this site for B?

A
9 years ago

When I grow up, I want to be as cool as B is. He’s the man!

Brett
9 years ago

I like that you throw the IDP in there. There are actually a couple of those guys on the waiver in my league. Which makes me question my roster now…

Jamar Chaney or Jasper Brinkley now that he’s an every down back?

1.3 for tackles(.5 assisted), 2.5 for PD, 4.2 for int/sack.

Brett
Reply to  Eric Olinger
9 years ago

I did a little research and went ahead and pulled the trigger already. I wasn’t sure how long it was until you guys quit looking back at previous articles’ comment chains. I hate having to eat a 3 year contract, but Chaney has fallen off pretty hard.

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