5 Months Kansas City Chiefs
Coach Romeo Crennel notes that SS Eric Berry is finally back to pre-injury form over the past few weeks.
"You look at the game that he played last week and you feel pretty good about where he is," said Crennel. "He was around the football, all over the field, got his hands on balls." Berry was routinely roasted by tight ends as he was making his way back from ACL surgery early in the season. It's good to see that he's finally back on track.
It's Week 12 of the 2012 NFL season, and as you settle into your post-Thanksgiving feast sweat pants and run Icy Hot on your Black Friday bruises. It's time to get down to the business of setting Individual Defensive Player (IDP) lineups in advance of one of the most important fantasy weeks of the regular season.
Last week's recommendations went fairly well, as while Atlanta defensive end John Abraham and Jacksonville linebacker Paul Posluszny lived up to their billing, linebacker Donald Butler continued to confound me. Recommend him as a start he faceplants. Tell folks to sit him and he has a solid game. I see how it is.
So, with the knowledge that Butler is out to get me, it's time for another week of IDP "Studs and Duds," where I'll point out some individual defensive players who could be set to exceed expectations this week (studs) and some that for whatever reason are riskier plays than usual (duds).
That isn't necessarily to say that every "stud" is a must-start (it depends on your other options) or that every "dud" should be glued to your bench (just that the odds of a letdown week are greater than usual).
Finally, before we get on with the show, if you have a specific IDP start/sit question you'd like my take on you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post the question in the "Kilroy Krystal Ball" thread in the Fantasy Sharks IDP Forum. I can't promise I'll get to every question, but I'll do the best I can.
Elvis Dumervil, DE, Denver (at Kansas City): Dumervil's shoulder injury didn't appear to be a significant hindrance a week ago, as the seventh-year pro tallied six stops, a sack and a forced fumble. Start Dumervil with confidence this week against a Kansas City Chiefs team allowing the fifth-most fantasy points this year to defensive linemen.
Robert Quinn, DE, St. Louis (at Arizona): No team in the National Football League has allowed more sacks or fantasy points to the position than the Arizona Cardinals, and there's no reason to think that the turnstile will stop spinning this week when Quinn and the Rams come to town.
Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants (vs. Green Bay): After pulling a vanishing act for most of the season, Tuck's production has picked up of late. That trend should continue as the eighth-year veteran comes out of his bye to face a Green Bay Packers squad that has been a Top 5 IDP matchup for defensive linemen in 2012.
Thomas Davis, OLB, Carolina (at Philadelphia): The eighth-year veteran exploded last...
6 Months Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs SS Eric Berry acknowledged that he hasn't been himself this season because it's "like my rookie year all over again."
Berry insists he's "very close" to regaining top form after a 2011 ACL tear, but he's struggled mightily in pass coverage. "A lot of people don't realize when you have a knee injury, that you're away from the game for a whole year," said Berry. "You might be back there physically or mentally, but at the same time, this was like my rookie year all over again because I lost all my game experience." Look for Berry to match up with Heath Miller on Monday night.
7 Months Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Williamson of Scout Inc. said Chiefs SS Eric Berry (ACL) "doesn't look like the same guy as when he entered the NFL."
Berry is now 13 months removed from his ACL tear, but doesn't have his full movement skills back. "I think teams are targeting him," Williamson said. "He just isn't moving as explosively or crisply. He also isn't showing up in big on tape in other facets." Through six weeks, the Chiefs are giving up an unruly 30.5 points per game.
The defensive back position is perhaps the most difficult of all Individual Defensive Player (IDP) positions to predict on a year-to-year basis. There is more fluctuation in the rankings at this position than any other defensive player alignment. Obviously, scoring systems from league-to-league make a huge difference in a player's fantasy worth as cornerbacks will not have the tackle numbers that safeties are able to amass, and safeties, will, on average, not get the interception opportunities that a lot of cornerbacks are afforded. Always know your leagues scoring nuances when putting together your draft boards.
1) Tyvon Branch, S, Oakland: Extremely consistent tackle numbers every season, averaging more than 110 tackles a season over the last three years. Had a career-high four sacks in 2010, would see that total dip to one last year, and has picked off four passes during his four years in the league. He is an elite fantasy defensive back and capable of putting up big plays while providing 100 plus tackles every year.
2) Eric Berry, S, Kansas City: Berry is returning from a torn ACL suffered in Week 1 last season, and that is the only reason he isn't the top name on this list. As a rookie he had more than 90 tackles and four interceptions to go along with two sacks. He is a dynamic player that does it all for the Chiefs in their secondary, and while it may take a few games for him to shake off the rust and test the knee, he will provide top-end fantasy production.
3) Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle: Chancellor is a beast for the Seahawks as a premier tackling safety. Often used in the box as what amounts to another linebacker for Seattle. He possesses the quickness to be effective in coverage while amassing elite tackle numbers. He is an ascending talent that will finish the season among the Top 10 fantasy defensive backs.
4) Morgan Burnett, S, Green Bay: Burnett is solid defending the run while versatile enough to play either safety position for the Packers. Had three interceptions last season, added a sack, and forced two fumbles. He has big-play potential, and the loss of Nick Collins from the secondary makes him even more valuable.
5) Antoine Bethea, S, Indianapolis: Bethea is an overlooked fantasy gem for the Colts. Consistently produces high-end tackle numbers and has 12 career interceptions. He is a fantasy stud on a rebuilding team, so he figures to be on the field a lot in 2012. That means another Top 10 fantasy finish for Bethea this season....
11 Months Kansas City Chiefs
Appearing on Sirius NFL Radio on Wednesday, Chiefs SS Eric Berry declared himself 100 percent recovered from last year's torn left ACL.
Berry suffered the injury in Week 1 of last season, so he'll be just about a full year removed by the start of the 2012 campaign. Though Berry was held out of OTAs and minicamps, his absence was purely precautionary and he's not expected to be eased into training camp. As a rookie in 2010, Berry amassed 92 tackles (77 solo), two sacks, and four interceptions across 16 starts.
4/17/2012 Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs SS Eric Berry (torn ACL) expects to be 100 percent for the beginning of training camp.
The Chiefs were on the record as expecting a "full football return" for Berry by the beginning of camp, but this is the first time the phrase "100 percent" has been bandied about. Berry has progressed without setbacks since tearing his ACL in Week 1 last season, and might even be able to get in some work at the Chiefs' June minicamp.