IDP General Admission

  Posted 12/3 by Dave Baker, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Many fantasy leagues closed their waivers for the season last week, but even if this is the case, this remains a very important time of the year for IDP owners. Some of the guys that might be available via preseason waivers in dynasty leagues might not have distinguished themselves in overall year-ending numbers, but their play in the last 4-5 weeks might have been inspiring enough to consider picking up before next season. So just because you're not in the playoffs or can not make any more waiver wire acquisitions does not mean can be complacent when following the play of defensive players...

There haven't been many enjoyable moments for the Detroit Lions this year. They remain winless and they're giving up a league-leading 32.8 points per game. One of the more recent few bright spots for the team may be the play of rookie defensive end Cliff Avril. Avril was drafted in the third round by the Lions, and it was mostly due to his explosive speed...

Against the Titans Sunday, Avril stripped the ball from QB Kerry Collins and recovered the fumble. He scooped up the ball and dived toward the goal line, hoping for a score, only to have the ball ruled down short of the goal. Avril's spectacular play gave the Lions the ball on the Titan's two yard line, leading to their only score of the game and one of the very few bright spots...

Not sure how things will pan out next season on the line, as injuries to Dewayne White and Jared DeVries leave things uncertain and Avril remains only one of a few young players at the position who could develop, but Avril is one to keep an eye on as this season winds down. Avril, who played linebacker in college, might always be relegated to pass rushing duty but he has some talent...

One of my favorite players to watch on defense remains Colts DE Robert Mathis. The undersized lineman was a huge success for his IDP owners in 2005 and 2006 after he was able to increase his tackles to become a top ten DE. He fell back to earth last year and many were wary of drafting Mathis this year. Early on this year, Mathis lost his starting job and some feared the worst for his IDP value. Just the opposite has happened as Mathis has continued his big play prowess and is once again a top ten DE...

Mathis, who is listed at 6-2 and 245 pounds, was supposedly too slight to play end and was experimented with as a linebacker. The experiment was short-lived though. 50 sacks and 39 forced or recovered fumbles later and it's clear Mathis is an impact defensive end. On Sunday, Mathis recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter against Cleveland and returned the ball 37 yards for the score. It was only score for the Colts all game, but enough to pull out a victory. It was Mathis' first career touchdown...

It was just a couple years ago that Raven's linebacker Bart Scott burst upon the IDP scene and finished with over 100 total tackles and added 9.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions. Since then, however, Scott has seen his numbers plummet and he went from a top starting IDP LB to a backup or LB3 or LB4 in most leagues. Unfortunately for Scott and his owners, nothing short of Ray Lewis getting injured or retiring will change that anytime soon...

Scott first obtained playing time when the aforementioned Lewis was injured in the second half of the 2005 season. Scott performed more than capably and his play was garnered him a nice contract and a starting job the next year, where his exploded. The biggest impact in his diminished numbers since then has been in big plays. In 2005 and 2006 combined, Scott had 14 sacks, four forced or recovered fumbles and two interceptions. Since that time, he has only had 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble...

Scott may be having a hard time adjusting to Coach Harbaugh and his ways, as even his number of tackles have dropped. Scott will be a free agent after this year, could be a guy to look at as he could end up elsewhere playing a more significant role in the middle.

Until next week...

Please e-mail me with any comments or suggestions at baker@footballguys.com.