Desmond Bishop, LB, GB - Since stepping in as a starter at inside linebacker back in Week 5, Bishop has been quite a steal for IDP owners. Including Sunday's game against Atlanta, Bishop has totaled double-digit tackles four times, leaving him with 60 tackles (42 solo) in the last seven games. He also has two sacks and an interception return for a touchdown in that same span. Bishop’s 4.5 tackles for loss as a starter indicate he is playing as effectively on the real field as he is as an IDP, a good reason to believe he won’t be benched at any point.
Jason Allen, CB, HOU - As long as Allen doesn’t get himself cut again for being awful in coverage, he should be a solid IDP option in Houston’s frequently victimized secondary. The former first-round bust gets targeted regularly, providing him with many opportunities to pile up cheap tackles and even pick off a few errant passes (he has four interceptions this year). Allen has 16 tackles (15 solo) in three games since arriving in Houston.
Kyle Williams, DT, BUF - The Buffalo run defense isn’t looking good, but Williams has put up big numbers from the nose tackle spot in the 3-4. With his brilliant 10-tackle, two-sack performance against Pittsburgh in the books, Williams has 60 tackles (43 solo) and five sacks through 11 games. Those numbers would be impressive over a 16-game season, not to mention an 11-game stretch.
Dhani Jones, LB, CIN - The soon-to-be 33-year-old is having a career year (statistics wise) for the Bengals. Jones’ 91 tackles (69 solo) through 11 games put him on pace to achieve a new career high. Jones' previous top number was a 120-tackle outing back in 2003, but he is on pace to finish with 134 tackles this year. Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers aren’t looking particularly promising for Cincinnati at this point, so Jones has a good shot at holding onto his role as the Bengals prepare for a long stretch of garbage time to finish the season.
Carlos Dunlap, DE, CIN - As the Bengals prepare to enter the rebuilding phase with their aging and ineffective roster, young players like Dunlap could benefit with increased playing time down the stretch. The team needs to evaluate the players who figure to stick around beyond this year in order to assess their needs in free agency and the draft. With Antwan Odom (wrist) on IR and Robert Geathers showing no effectiveness as a starter, Dunlap is one of the players who figures to benefit the most from this evaluation period. He has three sacks in the last three weeks, and IDP owners who need help on the defensive line could find some cheap utility in Dunlap during these final weeks.
Jon Beason, LB, CAR - If someone had said before this season that, without missing any games due to injury, Beason would have fewer total tackles than the likes of Dhani Jones, Bradie James, and Derrick Johnson, almost no one would have taken them seriously. But here we are in Week 13, and Beason’s 84 total tackles rank just 19th in the league, tied with Arizona’s Paris Lenon. His solo tackle production in particular has suffered, as he’s averaging just 5.6 solo stops per game after averaging 6.8 per contest during the past three years. Beason’s numbers are still well above average, but it has been a disappointing season for a player who was almost universally anticipated to be one of the three top IDPs at linebacker.
Brian Cushing, LB, HOU - Back during the summer, Cushing claimed his positive test for PEDs was caused from working out too much. He got his swoll on at such an intense level that it caused unnatural spikes in his body’s testosterone level. It seems as if the NFL’s oppressive anti-workout policy has hindered Cushing’s production in 2010, as he has just 53 tackles (39 solo) with no sacks or interceptions through eight games, leaving him on an unremarkable 16-game pace of 106 tackles after totaling 133 as a rookie.
Lance Briggs, LB, CHI - With 58 tackles (56 solo) through 10 games, Briggs is on pace to post his worst numbers since his 2003 rookie season. A lot of that has to do with an ankle injury that basically robbed him of two games, but that won’t add any points to the scoreboards of his IDP owners. Briggs is a still a good player, so we’d imagine he will finish strong if his health allows him to.
Rocky McIntosh, LB, WAS - McIntosh is performing well enough for the Redskins, but his recent production has not been at the level he offered early in the season. McIntosh has just 10 solo tackles in the last three weeks, which is basically three useless starts for his IDP owners. If McIntosh is going to return to the promise he showed earlier this year, he’ll need to start making more solo stops instead of just jumping onto piles.
Louis Delmas, S, DET - Delmas’ 94-tackle rookie season gave IDP owners hope for a big sophomore season, but he has not shown much progress to this point. Delmas’ tackle production (64 total, 46 solo) is not much different than his 2009 pace, but he has shown almost no ability to make plays in coverage. Delmas doesn’t have a single pass defended all year, let alone an interception. Considering how improved Detroit’s pass rush is from last year, that’s a discouraging (lack of) development.