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IDP Watch: Week Eleven

IDP leagues can be won with some preemptive in-season pickups or trading for players who are on the rise, but the masses have not picked up on it. Each week, we’ll detail a handful of IDP players or trends that are essential for dynasty players to be aware of.

Often, things like quarterback hurries, quarterback knockdowns, or snap counts don’t appear in the box scores. These are huge indicators of potential value changes that may be forthcoming as they show a particular player is getting after the quarterback and a string of sacks may be on the horizon or a linebacker may be coming off of the field more than originally expected.

Here are some players and trends to keep an eye on based on week eleven performances:

Brandon Taylor, SS SD

Taylor has been inactive all season leading to many owners dropping him and others planning to follow suit. While he hasn’t been active in 2012, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune, Taylor has been impressive in practice all season and he looks like a really good player. When asked why he hasn’t contributed yet, Acee noted that the coaching staff is going with the veteran players right now (i.e., Atari Bigby). If the Chargers continue to move out of playoff contention, expect to see Taylor activated. This is the first set of news for Taylor owners and it’s positive. If he’s not owned, he should be considered as a stash depending on league depth.

Vinny Curry, DE PHI

With the Eagles coaching staff likely to turn over this offseason and the team struggling, Vinny Curry is expected to be active for the first time all season in week twelve. As Jason Babin and Trent Cole continue to have their snaps cut back, look for Curry to get his opportunity to showcase his skills. The 2012 second round pick out of Marshall possesses tremendous raw athletic ability and, thus, must be monitored this week and through the end of the season. Given the logjam at defensive end in Philly, many expected Curry to be inactive early on, so the fact that he hasn’t been active yet isn’t a surprise or a concern. If you have room to stash Curry, he’s worth it. If not, watch his progress closely to close 2012.

Casey Hayward, CB GB

Hayward was mentioned in this weekly series earlier this season given his early opporunity and success. Since then, he’s proven to be a great cover corner, but is also a guy who is tackling extremely well. The combination of these two factors has lead to Hayward being an active box score contributor on a weekly basis. That should continue with Aaron Rodgers leading that offense and building leads. He’s playing both inside in sub-package formations and on the outside in base formations. He’s showcasing complete corner skills and should be a top option for the remainder of the season with the potential to be a viable option prospectively, as well.

Fletcher Cox, DT PHI

For the second straight week, the rookie defense tackle exhibited impressive pass rushing ability posting four more quarterback hurries to go along with a sack, seven tackles, an assist, and a forced fumble. Cox again showed why he has the potential to be a perennial top five IDP defensive tackle option.

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB CIN

In his third week back from injury, Kirkpatrick played 43 percent of the team’s snaps after playing 21 percent in week ten and only special teams two weeks ago. Playing meaningful snaps in week 11, Kirkpatrick posted two tackles. The young physical corner should continue to see an expanded role and is expected to be extremely productive for IDP purposes given his tackling ability. Because of that, in corner-required leagues, he should be startable for a number of years. Now is great time to target the rookie corner given that the injury and limited playing time thus has owners frustrated.

Nick Fairley, DT DET

He was on this list last week given the pass rushing ability he’s flashed since his first start in week six. In week eleven, Fairley continued the tear and tallied two sacks, three quarterback hurries, one quarterback hit, four tackle, three assists and a forced fumble. Simply put, he’s been dominant with 11 hurries and three sacks over the last six weeks. He’s proving to worth the top pick the Lions selected him with. There’s no reason why he can’t be a top five fantasy defensive end if he continues to get to the quarterback like he has since being named a starter. He has matured and that’s proving to be invaluable in his career progression.

Michael Johnson, DE CIN

He’s only 25 years old, but this is his fourth season in the league. In each year, he’s improved and already has a career high in sacks with seven on the year. He’s also only four tackles short of his career high and has played the highest percentage of snaps (84%) as compared to the past few seasons. Most importantly, Johnson continues to pressure the quarterback with 19 on the season. The potential is there and he continues to improve. In IDP leagues, he’s just outside of the top ten in most leagues, but he possesses more long-term upside than that given his athleticism. He’s performing like many thought Carlos Dunlap would.

Mike Harris, CB JAX

For those in very deep corner required leagues, Harris is worth a look as he ‘s played anywhere from 30 to 66 percent of the team’s snaps over the last five weeks. The rookie is primarily playing in the slot right now and posting ample tackle numbers with 15 tackles over the last five weeks. While that’s not great production, with mediocrity in the Jaguars’ secondary with Aaron Ross and Derek Cox, Harris may continue to see more time through the end of the season. It’s possible then sticks in the secondary going in to next year. This is a long shot pick for very deep leagues, but this team needs a number of changes and Harris could be left standing in the secondary as the team transforms.

Ahtyba Rubin, DT CLE

Rubin returned to the field with a solid performance in week eleven with five tackles, an assist and a sack. It was as if he never missed time with a calf injury over the last few weeks. Rubin will continue to be a top defensive tackle option going forward in 2012 and prospectively.

Tashaun Gipson, FS CLE

Gipson played 69 percent of the team’s snaps in week eleven as compared to Usama Young who only played only 30 percent of the team’s snaps after starting the game at free safety. For those in deeper leagues, keep an eye on the rookie safety as it’s unclear if this change may continue going forward.

Players and Trends to Watch

Nolan Carroll, CB MIA – There is still no need to be concerned with his struggles in the tackle department the past two weeks. Carroll will continue to be targeted going forward and should put up fantasy numbers in the short-term.

Aqib Talib, CB NE– He played 68 percent of the team’s snaps and put up solid numbers with five tackles, two assists, an interception and a touchdown. He should continue to see targets with the Patriots potent offense. Given his natural tackling ability, that should continue to translate into fantasy production.

DJ Williams, WLB DEN – In his first game back, he played 30 percent of the team’s snaps and posted four tackles. This may put Danny Trevathan in the background in the near term. Wesley Woodyard may also be in jeopardy of losing snaps in the near term.

Rolando McClain, MLB OAK –Who knows what’s gotten in to McClain, but it seems the scaled down role has made him more productive. Again in week eleven, he posted three tackles and seven assists on 36 snaps.

Dannell Ellerbe, ILB BAL –He continues to play every down and perform at a high level both in run support, as well as rushing the passer. Ellerbe should be a guy who sticks in Baltimore long-term.

We’ll see you next week for our Weekly IDP Watch.  Follow Steve on Twitter.

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