Divisional Debriefing: Week Ten

Eric Olinger


Each week we are 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 that you might find elsewhere, we are going to try to focus on players that weren’t draft day all-stars. In some cases they won’t even be rostered in redraft leagues, but guys that are worth stashing in dynasty leagues. We are going to focus on guys that have yielded the greatest return on your investment. You don’t need to be told Peyton Manning had a great day. He was drafted in such a spot that it was expected. Same with LeSean McCoy and Calvin Johnson. That’s not to say that we won’t honor a truly elite performance, especially from rookies.

As part of a group collaboration, members of the DLF Staff have 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:

  • AFC West- Scott Peak  @Scott_Peak
  • AFC East- Jeff Beran  @JefeBeran
  • AFC North- Eric Olinger  @OlingerIDP
  • AFC South- Tim Stafford  @DynastyTim
  • NFC West- The FF Ghost  @TheFFGhost
  • NFC East- Karl Safchick  @KarlSafchick
  • NFC North- Dan Meylor  @DMeylor22
  • NFC South- Eric Hardter  @EDH_27

AFC West

Ladarius Green, TE SD

Green is an athletic tight end from Louisiana-Lafayette who generated lots of buzz at the NFL  Combine when he ran a 4.47 40 yard dash, had a 10 ft 4 inch broad jump, 34.5 inch vertical jump and 7.13 three cone score. His biggest knock has been his lack of ideal bulk and strength (16 bench press reps). Green has consistently received 1-2 targets per game this year. In his most recent game against the Denver Broncos, he had one reception for 25 yards. Green made a nice grab on a pass from Rivers while tightly covered by Broncos CB Chris Harris. He also had a 23 yard reception called back by a penalty. In 2013, he’s had 7 receptions in 9 targets for 148 yards, for a healthy 21 yards per reception. Green seems to be gradually phased into the Chargers offense. Antonio Gates is signed through 2015, and it looks like his cap hit may be significant (7 to 8 mil in 2014 and 2015). Green might be waiting awhile, but if Gates gets injured, Green stands to gain value. Green is showing more on the field this year, and now is the time to acquire him on the cheap.

IDP- Sio Moore, LB OAK

Like most rookies, Moore has been really inconsistent but flashed difference making ability. Against the Giants he collected eight solo tackles, two assists, and another sack. Over the last three weeks he has 20 total tackles and 2.5 sacks and it appears things are finally clicking for Oakland’s future stud.

AFC East

Rishard Matthews, WR MIA

Second year wide receiver Rishard Matthews has taken over the slot receiver role formerly occupied by Brandon Gibson, who is currently on the injured reserve and whom we covered in this section about six weeks ago.  It’s hard not to overreact about Matthews’ 11 receptions (on 14 targets) for 120 yards and two touchdowns this week, especially given that he’s available on the waiver wire in most leagues.  It’s no secret the Miami offensive line has been atrocious this year and with the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin situation without an end in sight, it’s a pretty safe assumption that Ryan Tannehill will continue to utilize Matthews as his quick outlet.  In terms of talent, Matthews doesn’t possess any eye-popping measurables (6’-0”, 217 lbs, 4.44 second 40 yard dash) but he’s got good hands and above average quickness/acceleration that allow him to operate effectively in the middle of the field.  He actually reminds me quite a bit of a Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon in that way.  Thus, I’m recommending him as a must-add in all dynasty leagues, especially for teams that have already started thinking about next season.

IDP- Jerry Hughes, DE BUF

Hughes was an afterthought in Indianapolis but an early season trade has infused new life into the former TCU stand out. Now teetering on IDP relevancy for the first time of his professional career, he has four sacks over the last three games, including two this week against the Steelers. On the season he has totaled 33 tackles and six sacks, he’s not a locked in weekly starter but is nice matchup play. For the first time, he merits being rostered.

AFC North

Tyler Eifert, TE CIN

With Jermaine Gresham sitting this week out with an injury, Eifert had the tight end position all to himself. He didn’t exactly light the stat sheet up. He responded with three catches for 55 yards but finished behind only A.J. Green in targets with 10. His ho-hum day was more result of Andy Dalton’s short comings than his own. He has a bright future for fantasy leaguers.

IDP- Vincent Rey, LB CIN

Hopefully this is the performance which finally sends Rey Maualuga to the bench for good. Vincent Rey had an off the charts game with 10 solo tackles, five assists, three sacks and an interception. He lit of every type of IDP stat sheet this week, regardless of scoring type. With Maualuga not expected back before the bye week, Rey has an opportunity to showcase his skill and show this wasn’t a fluke. I’d definitely want to stash him if I could because Maualuga is mediocre at best.

AFC South

Delanie Walker,TE TEN

A podcast alum and a fixture in the Titans pass attack.  The Titans are about to enter a stretch of games against teams that stop the run but are vulnerable against the pass. Look for Walker to continue to put up decent numbers. Fitzpatrick shouldn’t be as much of a drag on the passing game as people might think. 

IDP- Shiloh Keo, S HOU

The Texans’ future duo in the defensive backfield has become the present with Keo and D.J. Swearinger taking over. Keo is averaging nearly six tackles a game from the safety position over the last three weeks and while those numbers aren’t eye opening, they are a good base line of his ability. He has the look of a DB2/DB3 long term.

NFC West

Tavon Austin, WR STL

This one is pretty obvious, even to those who don’t follow the NFC West all that closely. Tavon Austin had an absolutely monster game on Sunday posting three touchdowns in the game! Two of those touchdowns came from his receiving statistics, which in itself is funny because Austin only caught two passes, one for 57 yards and the other for 81 yards! Austin’s other touchdown came on special teams has he ran a punt back 98 yards. The explosiveness Austin displayed on Sunday is exact why the Rams traded up in the first round of this season’s NFL Draft in order to select him. The touchdowns scored this Sunday were Austin’s first since week two. While Austin is an incredible talent I wouldn’t go pinning my fantasy playoff hopes on his shoulders just yet. I think long term Austin will likely have a lot of value, but for the remainder of this year I think it’s safe to take this game as what it’s worth, a great singular game. I’d need to see a clear shift in the Rams’ offensive strategy in order for me to feel more comfortable about starting him on a regular basis.

IDP- Tyrann Mathieu, S ARI

Talent has never been the issue with the Honey Badger. He has been a model citizen since being drafted by the Cardinals and his play has been on par with what made him a Heisman candidate at LSU. Now he’s moved into the starting lineup, officially, and he’s doing work. His nose for the ball and ability to diagnose a play has translated well to the pro level. On Sunday he had six solo tackles and an assist to go along with a defended pass. When you factor in his special team ability, he is a dynasty DB1. 

NFC East

Nick Foles, QB PHI

Last week I left Nick Foles out of my column. Maybe I was under a rock during the Eagles and Raiders game; maybe I just wanted to see Jeff Beran light up the comments section. Surprisingly, Foles had another great game in which he threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns on just 18 attempts. That’s ten touchdowns in just two weeks. Foles is quickly becoming a stud quarterback in Chip Kelly’s system. I would consider him a solid QB2 in dynasty formats going forward. If you can acquire him from a Mike Vick believer, I’d do so immediately.

IDP- Bruce Carter, LB DAL

This is more like it. Bruce Carter was at the top of my off-season list of breakout candidates at the linebacker position and he has not lived up to expectations. He’s been ok but not the LB1 I expected, often times getting flat out abused in pass coverage. In the midst of a historic butt whoopin’ by the Saints, Carter totaled nine solo tackles and three assists against the NFC’s most dynamic passing attack. Carter is still one of my favorite dynasty buys and now is a great time to kick the tires. 

NFC North

John Carlson, TE MIN

Carlson took over as the starting tight end for the injured Kyle Rudolph on Thursday night and caught seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins.  He played 44 of the Vikings’ 53 snaps (83%) and caught each of his seven targets.  Rudolph is expected to miss at least a month, so Carlson is likely to receive a bulk of the work at tight end for the Vikings going forward.  He’s certainly not a TE1 at this point, but should defiantly be on the radar of fantasy owners in two-tight-end-leagues or who have dealt with injuries at the position.  Over the next four weeks, the Vikings face the Seahawks, Packers, Bears and Ravens.  The latter three all rank among the bottom 12 teams in the league against the tight end.

IDP- Andrew Sendejo, S MIN

Since the Vikings lost Harrison Smith to injury, Sendejo has stepped in and performed admirably. Against the Redskins he had 16 total tackles, eight solo and eight assists. He is a fantastic tackler but lacks the playmaking ability Smith brings. He could form a nice duo on the back end with Smith next year. I consider him a dynasty hold.

NFC South

Mark Ingram, RB NO

When I consider Mark Ingram’s week ten performance, the first thing that comes to mind is the phrase “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.”  So suffice it to say, this one was unexpected.  Now, I’ll give credit where credit is due – Ingram ran hard and made the most of his opportunities en route to the best game of his three-year career.  He averaged a whopping 10.4 yards-per-carry (145 yards on 14 carries) and even corralled a pair of passes.  It was a historic day for the young ball carrier.

Unfortunately, that’s the problem – it was a historic day for the entire Saints offense.  Quarterback Drew Brees led his men to 634 total yards (242 on the ground), as well as a league record 40 first downs.  When you’re looking at the totality of that output, it’s just not realistic to attempt to draw conclusions.  Simply put, it was an aberrational day all around.

Continuing, Ingram received the majority of his work in the second half when the game was no longer in doubt and did his damage against a league-worst defense missing nearly half of their starting lineup (including an in-game loss of star linebacker Sean Lee and a hobbled DeMarcus Ware).  I can say beyond any reasonable doubt that those opportunities will not be there against the San Francisco 49ers in week 11.  However, you should try to convince someone that they will be and sell Ingram now – odds are we just witnessed the best game he’ll have in a Saints uniform.

IDP- Paul Worrilow, LB ATL

Outside of Vincent Rey’s performance this week, Worrilow’s 19 total tackles (10 solo and nine assists) were the most impressive. For those keeping track at home, that is 38 tackles in two weeks. The mind boggling thing is, nobody is talking about him. He is quietly putting together a very intriguing season and cementing himself as the Falcons’ future in the middle of this defense.

eric olinger
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