IDP Upgrades/Waiver - Week 11
By Aaron Rudnicki
November 12th, 2011

Upgrades

DE Paul Kruger, BAL (5 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PD, 2 QB)
Kruger's production seemed to drop off in recent weeks after the return of Terrell Suggs to the lineup but he put up some huge numbers in a blowout win of the Raiders this week. He was credited with 6 tackles, added 2 sacks, and picked off the 2nd pass of his career after tipping the ball to himself.

DE Robert Ayers, DEN (3 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 2 PD, 2 QBH)
An injury to Elvis Dumervil created an opportunity for former 1st round pick Robert Ayers this week and he responded with a strong performance. The Broncos defense piled up 7 sacks of Cam Newton in the game plus a safety and forced him into several interceptions. Ayers is worth a look if Dumervil winds up missing any time.

DE Carlos Dunlap, CIN (4 solos, 1 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 FR, 3 QBH)
Dunlap and the Bengals defense dominated the Giants on Sunday. While Dunlap hasn't had the breakout year many of us were expecting from him, he is still a very good pass rusher capable of collecting sacks in bunches. With the Chiefs and Raiders next on the schedule, this should be the beginning of a hot streak.

DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, TB (4 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 QBH)
Although Bowers is the higher upside player, Te'o Nesheim has played well since replacing Adrian Clayborn in the lineup. The former 3rd round pick of the Eagles came up with 5 tackles and a sack against the Chargers this week and has a favorable matchup against Cam Newton coming up if you need help at DE.

ILB Brandon Spikes (5 solos, 6 asst, 1 FF, 1 PD)
The Patriots MLB has been putting up some impressive tackle numbers in recent weeks and appears to be playing a 3-down role for them. He picked up 11 tackles this week to give him 29 over his last 3 games combined. While he doesn't add much in the big play categories, he did pick up his 3rd forced fumble of the year this week.

ILB Bart Scott, NYJ (4 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack)
Scott returned to the starting lineup this week and posted his best stat line of the year. It's clear that he's not the same player he was just a couple years ago and is probably going to lose his spot to rookie Demario Davis at some point, but he could be worth a look for owners who need a plug-in at LB to overcome the last bye week or an injury.

OLB Aldon Smith, SF (6 solos, 2 sacks, 2 QBH)
While he got the benefit of an extra quarter of playing time this week, Smith has shown that he can be productive even when not playing a large percentage of the snaps. Coming off an impressive rookie season that saw him pile up 14 sacks, he's already up to 9 this year and has a great chance to improve on that number. He's also becoming more of an all-around player as seen by the 12 solo tackles he's picked up in the past 2 games.

OLB Lavonte David, TB (13 solos, 1 asst)
After posting 14 solos and 2 assists a week ago, David responded with 13 solos and an assist this week. Those 30 combined tackles over a 2-game span put him in the race to be the league's leading tackler this year. Very impressive production for a rookie, but David's a natural at chasing down plays and wrapping guys up whenever he gets a chance.

OLB D.J. Williams, DEN (DNP)
The commissioner lifted his suspension on Monday and it was announced that he is eligible to return to practice and potentially play this week. That's huge news for fantasy owners so if he's available, you'll definitely want to get him. Wesley Woodyard has been incredibly productive while filling in for him, so we'll have to see what the coaches plan to do and whether they will keep Woodyard in the lineup somehow.

S Bernard Pollard, BAL (9 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack)
Pollard has been one of the most productive players in the league this year and doesn't appear to be slowing down. He racked up 11 tackles in an easy win over the Raiders this week to give him 50 solo stops and 19 assists on the season. We saw what he could do during his days in Houston when he was the top-scoring safety in the league and it looks like he could finish that way again in Baltimore this year.

S Malcolm Jenkins, NO (5 solos, 5 asst, 3 PD)
Jenkins took some time to develop after the Saints drafted him in the first round of the 2009 draft. The former college corner made a position change and has slowly and steadily developed into one of the league's better safeties. What has been most impressive, however, has been his consistency this year. He's posted at least 5 solo tackles in 7 of his last 8 games. The big plays haven't been there, but his 3 passes defensed this week against the Falcons are a positive sign in that direction.

CB Darius Butler, IND (4 solos, 1 FR, 2 INT, 2 PD, 1 TD)
Sure it came against the woeful Jaguars and only because the Colts were missing their two starting corners to injuries, but this was a heck of a game for Butler. He never really fit with the Patriots after they made him a high pick in 2009, but there's an opportunity available in Indianapolis and he made a great first impression on Thursday night.

CB Leonard Johnson, TB (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD, 1 TD)
Johnson is an undrafted rookie but he has been playing so well that the team felt comfortable trading away Aqib Talib. Over the past three weeks, he's combined for 12 solo tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 passes defensed, and a touchdown. With the Falcons and Broncos coming up soon on the schedule, don't be surprised if those QBs continue to test him.

Downgrades

DE Elvis Dumervil, DEN (2 solos, 1 sack, 1 FF)
Dumervil has been one of the most productive pass rushers in the league this year and has formed a dominant tandem with OLB Von Miller. He started out great against the Panthers this week but was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. The MRI came back negative on Monday so it sounds like he was lucky to avoid a serious injury but his status for next week remains in doubt.

DE Kamerion Wimbley, TEN (0 tackles)
Wimbley has been a feast or famine type of player this year. He had a stretch of 3 games in a row without posting a solo tackle, but then followed that up with at least a partial sack in 3 straight games. Despite playing in a blowout win over the Dolphins this week that should have given him plenty of opportunities to rush the passer, he was held off the scoresheet completely. He has a bye next week too, so he's running out of chances to help your team.

DE Chris Clemons, SEA (1 asst, 1 QBH)
The veteran defensive end has not been nearly as consistent or productive this year as he has been in the past. He posted double digit sacks in each of the past two years and then had a 4-sack explosion in a half against the Packers earlier this year, but has just a half sack over his last 7 games combined. Never known as a run defender, he also has just 4 solos over his last 4 games.

DT Randy Starks, MIA (0 tackles)
The move to a 4-3 for the Dolphins was expected to help Starks, but the veteran tackle has just not been very productive in it. He's gone without a single tackle for 2 games in a row now and also has just a half sack since the opener. This couldn't come at a worse time for him either as Starks is scheduled to become a free agent in the offseason.

ILB Kelvin Sheppard, BUF (0 tackles)
Sheppard saw very little playing time this week as the Bills decided to use their nickel package against the Patriots passing attack. That meant that Sheppard was on the bench while Bryan Scott was on the field. Tough to count on production from a 2-down player like this so make sure to pay close attention to the matchups each week.

ILB Kavell Conner, IND (1 solo)
The Colts inside linebackers have seen their production plummet the past couple weeks, but there isn't a clear explanation other than the matchups were not very good. In week 9 against the Dolphins, Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas combined for just 16 rush attempts. Then in week 10 against the Jaguars, Rashard Jennings only got 11 rush attempts in the game. Tough for inside linebackers to rack up big tackle numbers with so few opportunities. Jerrell Freeman (2 solos)
and Pat Angerer (1 solo)
didn't do much either.

ILB Jonathan Vilma, NO (1 asst)
Although Vilma has taken over a starting spot for the Saints at weakside linebacker, his production figures to be sporadic as long as he remains out of the team's nickel packages. It looks like Jonathan Casillas is filling that role at the moment, plus David Hawthorne also returned to the lineup this week and will also compete for snaps and tackles.

OLB Lance Briggs, CHI (3 solos, 1 asst)
In a game against a run-heavy team like the Texans, most owners likely expected more than 4 combined tackles from a player like Briggs. This marks the second disappointing game for him in a row though so it's worth mentioning. The Bears defense is playing exceptional football and generating a lot of turnovers, but that also usually means fewer snaps and production for the tackle-producing players. Look for him to bounce back next week against the 49ers.

S Stevie Brown, NYG (2 asst, 1 PD)
This was a rough game for Brown and the Giants secondary as they left WR A.J. Green wide open for an easy touchdown that set the tone of the game early on. Brown's stretch of solid play and big production came to a crashing halt this week. The Giants have a bye next week and it sounds like Kenny Phillips might be close to returning afterwards, which would likely return Brown to the bench or a subpackage role.

S Jordan Babineaux, TEN (1 asst)
Babineaux got the start at strong safety for the Titans this week but posted just a single assisted tackle in a blowout win over the Dolphins. He's had an up and down season so far and it seems tough to get a great feel for how he'll do in any given week. With 22 solos and 11 assists over a recent 3-game stretch, he can clearly produce when given an opportunity but the Titans have also been lit up by a lot of teams and Babineaux can be a liability in coverage.

CB Eric Wright, TB (1 solo)
Wright has put some solid numbers for Tampa this year and been a pretty reliable every week starter. He left the game with an injury this week, however, and it was later revealed to be an aggravation of an Achilles injury. That's obviously not a great sign and seems like something that could really limit his effectiveness in the upcoming weeks.

CB Nolan Carroll, MIA (0 tackles)
In a strange turn of events, Carroll played nearly the entire game this week but posted zero tackles after piling up 23 solo tackles over his previous 3 games combined. Given the way the game turned into a blowout win for the Titans, they only completed 9 passes in the game so there weren't very many opportunities for Carroll to get involved. He should do much better against the Bills on Thursday night.

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