The big news this week is Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee and the end of his once promising season. Lee requires surgery to address a sprained toe and is done for 2012. Lee owners are surely devastated by the loss of their LB1 and now scrambling to find a replacement. One good place to start would be with the man slated to replace Lee in Dallas. Dan Connor has played most of his career as a 4-3 middle linebacker in Carolina, so the adjustment to 3-4 inside linebacker is a continuing effort. That said, he immediately slots in as an every-down player for Lee and with the rest of Dallas’ front seven largely dedicated to the pass rush, Connor could quickly be in line for major tackle numbers. Don’t fool yourself into thinking Connor has LB2 upside, but he’s certainly someone you can slot in as an upside LB3 and hope for the best.
I Can See For Miles
I talked in this space last week about the demise of Rolando McClain and it seems more and more like the emergence of Miles Burris is the driving force behind that fall. Burris played every down for the Raiders defense for the second consecutive game and tallied four solos, three assists and a sack. The book on Burris is that he’s a very good tackler and mediocre in coverage, but for an LB3, I’d take that. He’s capable of putting up respectable tackle totals and a few sacks the rest of the way and is worth an add in all leagues.
He Killed Kenny
The Giants secondary has been interesting for the past few years, and they thought they were sunk when Kenny Phillips injured his knee. Enter Stevie Brown, who has impressed in relief of Phillips. In Week 7 against the Redskins, Brown totaled six tackles and secured his third interception of the season. Make no mistake, when Phillips returns, he will start, but Brown could be worth spot starting for IDP owners until then.
Toke that Weeden
QB2 owners have to be more open to taking risks than standard one-QBers, so starting Brandon Weeden is nothing new to them. Of course, it’s easy during bye weeks, but once all 32 teams are back on the field should Weeden be back on two-QB benches? Weeden’s 56.6 percent completions and 9:10 TD:INT ratio say no. But a closer look shows that Weeden has gone over 200 yards in each of the Browns last six games. Four of his 10 INTs came in a disastrous opener against the Eagles, and over his last three outings, he has six TDs to just three INTs. With each week that Weeden keeps this up, he shows more and more why he’s solidifying his place as a solid QB2 for the rest of the season.
Big Play Rookies
Two rookie wideouts are showing in big-play leagues. Chris Givens and Josh Gordon are both blazers who’ve only recently gotten more significant reps as a result of injuries. Both have capitalized on their opportunities with some big numbers. Despite Givens having just 10 receptions and Gordon just 14, they have four and two plays of 40 or more yards. That’s led to an average yards-per-reception of 27 and 23.8 respectively, good for first and second amongst receivers with 10 or more catches. Each has a chance to continue building on his success, but Givens could lose some targets when Danny Amendola returns to the Rams. Either way, both are worth owning in big-play leagues for their ability to break off a big one each week.