Earl Thomas, S, SEA - Thomas was fully expected to be a ballhawk at the NFL level, so his two interceptions against San Diego last week are hardly surprising. But the 21 tackles (17 solo) Thomas has through three weeks are a bit more than most expected. It doesnít seem likely that heíll keep up that pace, but he looks like heís already among the upper tier of defensive back IDP options.
Charles Godfrey, S, CAR - Godfrey leads the league with three interceptions so far this year. He also has an impressive 18 tackles (15 solo), including 11 in last week's game against the Bengals alone. The former Iowa cornerback is proving to be a productive IDP at strong safety for the Panthers.
Nate Allen, S, PHI - Allen was always in the right place at the right time during his remarkable career at South Florida, and heís showing the same uncanny ability so far in his rookie season with the Eagles. He has two interceptions already, and it does not appear he will be giving away his starting spot anytime soon.
James Harrison, LB, PIT - Itís hard to imagine that a player as great as Harrison is raising his fantasy stock even further, but itís happening. Through three games he has 23 tackles (17 solo), three sacks, and two forced fumbles. Harrison is demonstrating that (1) he isnít even close to slowing down at age 32 and (2) his 79-tackle, 10-sack year from 2009 was a fluke, not the 101-tackle, 16-sack season before it.
Cullen Jenkins, DE, GB - Clay Matthews deservedly gets the vast majority of attention in Green Bayís front seven, but Jenkins has quietly been a powerful pass rusher so far this year. He has one sack in each of his three games, and the presence of fellow standouts in the front seven like Matthews and B.J. Raji will ensure that Jenkins doesnít keyed on too much.
Aaron Kampman, DE, JAC - Kampman started fast this year, posting 1.5 sacks against Denver in the opener. Since then, however, he has just four tackles (three solo). Itís very possible that Jacksonvilleís lack of a good counterpart to Kampman is leaving offenses free to focus solely on him during passing downs.
Eric Berry, S, KC - Berry was one of the biggest difference makers on defense during his college career, but his pro career is off to a slow start. He has a respectable tackle total of 17 (14 solo), but heís not showing up in coverage like he did at Tennessee. Itís way too early to suggest Berry is going through anything more than the typical rookie learning curve, but he still isnít quite meeting the expectations.
Joey Porter, LB, ARI - Porter isnít making the Dolphins look foolish for sending him out of town. The notoriously one-dimensional Porter isnít getting to the quarterback like his team needs him to Ė he just picked up his only sack of the season against the lowly Raiders offensive line in Week 3. Porter never made many tackles, and his lack of sacks makes him basically useless for IDP purposes.
Aaron Curry, LB, SEA - Besides dealing with a hamstring injury recently, Curry just hasnít played anywhere near the expectations. He left last weekís game early due to the injury, and he only totaled nine tackles (eight solo) in the two games prior to that. Moreover, the impact plays still arenít there. At the moment, it doesnít seem like thereís much reason to expect improvement from Curry.
Jared Allen, DE, MIN - Allen is actually doing okay so far this year, as his 10 tackles (eight solo) through three games are on par with his previous totals in Minnesota; but with just one sack so far, Allenís owners are probably becoming impatient. He was probably no later than the third defensive linemen drafted in IDP leagues, and the high pick is not paying off thus far.