Haloti Ngata, DE, BAL - Ngata has always been an excellent player for Baltimore, but he has also always been an example of the general rule that 3-4 defensive linemen don't put up big numbers. This year, however, he has been incredibly productive in statistical terms. He has a mind-boggling 36 tackles (27 solo) and four sacks through six games, leaving him on pace to nearly reach 100 tackles. That would be a truly ridiculous accomplishment, so we think he will slow down soon; but still, Ngata has already surpassed his totals from 14 games last year, and it's hard to bet against a guy playing at the level Ngata is.
Cody Grimm, S, TB - Grimm is a seventh-round pick from Virginia Tech who played outside linebacker in college. Surely that means he would have a hard time adjusting to playing safety in the NFL, right? Actually, Grimm has been very productive since replacing the suspended Tanard Jackson in Week 3. In the three games he has started he has 22 tackles (16 solo) to go along with two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a touchdown. Itís looking like he is worth an add in most IDP leagues.
Alterraun Verner, CB, TEN - The rookie fourth-round pick from UCLA wasnít on the IDP radar at all before the season started, but he has put up big numbers since joining the starting lineup in place of the injured Jason McCourty (arm). In his three starts Verner has totaled 21 tackles (19 solo) to go along with two interceptions and six pass deflections. He might be playing well enough to keep the starting spot even when McCourty returns, in which case he would be close to a must-own in IDP leagues.
William Moore, S, ATL - Moore hasnít been the tackling machine that he was at Missouri, but he has made a surprising number of plays in coverage. Since replacing Erik Coleman in Week 2, Moore has totaled the following numbers: 21 tackles (18 solo), three interceptions, and a forced fumble. He has 78 return yards on those three interceptions, so it might not be long before he has enough room to take one back for six. In any case, Moore has the physical talent to get even better.
Ed Reed, S, BAL and Darren Sharper, S, NO - Both of these geezers are back from the PUP list this week, so we will finally get to see what they have left in the tank. Both players have surprisingly little value in leagues that focus primarily on tackle totals, but if your league rewards significantly for pass deflections, their activity in pass coverage can often make up the difference. Weíre guessing that Sharper has the lesser value between the two, because there is much more competition for playing time in the New Orleans secondary than there is in Baltimoreís.
Dwight Freeney, DE, IND - Since posting three sacks in the first two weeks of the year, Freeney has not taken down the quarterback a single time. What might be even worse is that he has a ridiculously low total of just nine tackles this year (seven solo). So, besides those three sacks in the first two games, here are Freeney's numbers on the season: six tackles (four solo). Unless he goes on a major sack spree, Freeney will imminently have next to no IDP value.
James Laurinaitis, LB, STL - Thereís still time for him to get it together, but Laurinaitis has not been productive for his fantasy owners up to this point in the season. Given that he was generally a relatively high pick in IDP leagues, his 39 tackles (33 solo) through six games are barely forgivable. Weíre guessing that he will start making more tackles soon enough, but the 13 solo tackles he has posted in the past three weeks arenít nearly enough to justify a starting spot. His owners probably just need to stick with him and hope he gets going this week.
Shaun Rogers, DE, CLE - Elbow, ankle, and hip injuries seem to be the primary reason for Rogersí glaring lack of production this season, but that isnít any consolation to the owners who looked to Rogers for cheap defensive line IDP production this year. He has a baffling total of just four solo tackles, so he clearly is not worth owning until he shows he can play again.
Brandon Meriweather, S, NE - After totaling 83 tackles in each of the two previous seasons and picking off nine passes over that span, Meriweather has been nearly useless for IDP owners so far in 2010. He has just 18 tackles (11 solo) and one interception through five games. To be fair, a leg injury could partially be to blame for that total. However, Meriweather has been hovering around Bill Belichick's doghouse all season, and his helmet-to-helmet stunt against the Ravens won't help him in that regard.
Rolando McClain, LB, OAK - Itís still way too early to consider McClain a bust, but he has shown almost nothing this year, particularly as an IDP option. In last weekís game against the 49ers, a game in which Frank Gore had 25 carries, McClain totaled just two tackles (one solo). Thatís downright awful production for a middle linebacker, by IDP and actual football standards alike. McClain now has 33 tackles (just 21 solo) through six games. Heís not worth owning as an IDP right now.