The Ohio St. alum is now at 104 tackles (70 solos, 34 assists) for the season, and he's still got five more games to play. To get an idea of just how impressive that total is, consider that he's 17 tackles ahead of the second leading tackler among defensive backs, Browns rookie safety T.J. Ward (87 total tackles).
I said he had a good chance to be a top-five fantasy DB this season, and even though he doesn't have a sack, a single interception or a TD this season, that's starting to look like a pretty accurate prophecy.
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1. Donte Whitner, BUF (at MIN)
2. Bernard Pollard, HOU (at PHI)
3. DeAngelo Hall, WAS (at NYG)
4. Earl Thomas, SEA (vs. CAR)
5. Michael Griffin, TEN (vs. JAC)
6. Terrell Thomas, NYG (vs. WAS)
7. Tyvon Branch, OAK (at SD)
8. Charles Tillman, CHI (at DET)
9. T.J. Ward, CLE (at MIA)
10. Yeremiah Bell, MIA (vs. CLE)
11. Patrick Chung, NE (vs. NYJ)
12. Charles Woodson, GB (vs. SF)
13. Charles Godfrey, CAR (at SEA)
14. Quintin Mikell, PHI (vs. HOU)
15. Ed Reed, BAL (vs. PIT)
16. Eric Weddle, SD (vs. OAK)
17. Roman Harper, NO (at CIN)
18. Dawan Landry, BAL (vs. PIT)
19. Eric Berry, KC (vs. DEN)
20. Kelvin Hayden, IND (vs. DAL)
21. Abram Elam, CLE (at MIA)
22. Antoine Winfield, MIN (vs. BUF)
23. Antoine Bethea, IND (vs. DAL)
24. Troy Polamalu, PIT (at BAL)
25. Courtney Greene, JAC (at TEN)
26. Leon Hall, CIN (vs. NO)
27. Devin McCourty, NE (vs. NYJ)
28. Brandon Flowers, KC (vs. DEN)
29. Kerry Rhodes, ARI (vs. STL)
30. Sean Jones, TB (vs. ATL)
• Other than Whitner, there's no hotter fantasy DB than Pats cornerback Devin McCourty. The little guy gets picked on a lot and has 38 tackles, 5 INTs and 9 PDs in his last six games. The Jets are throwing the ball to their WRs more, but I'm still wary of putting him too high in the rankings. In Week 2, he posted a humdrum four tackles versus the Jets – his lowest IDP output of the season.
• Tennessee safety Michael Griffin continues to impress. He posted 11 tackles against the Texans and is one of the most consistent IDP performers among DBs.
• As expected, Charles Woodson was busy on Sunday. He had eight tackles, but didn't pick up any junk points. I'm downgrading him this week against the 49ers, who aren't throwing a lot to their wideouts.
• Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas leads the NFL with 16 PD, but he also had 65 tackles, nearly twice as many as the second-leading pass defender, Jets CB Antonio Cromartie (15 PD), who's not a top IDP option because of his low tackle total (33).
• DeAngelo Hall, not too far behind those guys (12 PD on the season), is a solid risk/reward play against the Giants this week. He has six INTs, two defensive TDs, and 77 total tackle on the season. Teammate LaRon Landry (Achilles) isn't much closer to returning to the lineup and is doubtful for Week 13.
• Abram Elam had seven tackle and 2.0 sacks on Sunday, continuing to improve his play.
He and Ward should be active this week against the Dolphins, who could welcome back Brandon Marshall.
• With Bucs rookie safety Cody Grimm out for the season after breaking his left fibula against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, I'm anticipating more of the tackling load to fall on Sean Jones, who's playing much better now that he's healthy.
• Bernard Pollard had a below-average day with just five tackles, but that had a lot to do with the putrid Titans offense. Nobody could have predicted they'd be that bad, even with Rusty Smith at QB. Deploy him as usual this week.
• Tyvon Branch did not practice because of a shoulder sprain but should be available to face the Chargers. He filled the stat sheet on Sunday with 11 tackles (nine solos) and a sack in the Raiders' loss to Miami.
• Earl Thomas had another huge day, returning a blocked punt for a score. The rookie free safety leads the Seahawks with 53 solos (63 total tackles). He also has seven PD and a team-leading five interceptions.
• Veteran Broncos safety Brian Dawkins likely won't play Sunday vs. the Chiefs. He exited Sunday's game in the second half with a left leg injury and didn't return.
• Jags safety Courtney Greene led the team with 11 tackles and one PD on Sunday. Luckily, I had him among my IDP sleepers for Week 12. If Kerry Collins returns for the Titans, he should get some chances to contribute this week as well.
• Titans CB Cortland Finnegan and Titans WR Andre Johnson were each fined $25,000 but will not be suspended for their fight Sunday. Finnegan has claimed he wishes to be known as the NFL's dirtiest player, but he's a hit-or-miss IDP performer. With the Jags offense likely to pound the ball against the Titans, this might be a week to sit him.