NFL fantasy football: Big names aren't always IDP gold

There are plenty of things in this world that surprise me on a daily basis. America's continued fascination with the Kardashians. People who don't like bacon. And the fact that Clay Matthews wasn't the highest-scoring individual defensive player in Week 2.

After the one-man beatdown Matthews put on Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears' offensive line on Thursday Night Football last week, it seemed like he was a lock for top honors. Instead, that went to Titans DB Michael Griffin. You're forgiven if you didn't notice Griffin's 16 total tackles (14 solo) and forced fumble in the wake of Tennessee getting rolled by the San Diego Chargers last week.

But therein lies the rub with picking IDPs. It's not often that the brand name players are the most productive in fantasy circles. Sure, Ray Lewis is near the top of the point production list through two weeks, but how many people outside of Atlanta can tell you who Stephen Nicholas is? Heck, how many people in Atlanta can tell you who Stephen Nicholas is?

Finding a quality IDP is something of an inexact science, as proven by some of the names at the top of the leader board. But in many way it's like finding quality fantasy players on the offensive side. Pay attention to which players are always around the football and check the box scores to see who's making the most tackles. Like an offensive player, it's not a guaranteed formula for success every single week, but chances are you'll be on the plus side more times than not.

Four downs

First down: Once again, Pittsburgh Steelers saftey Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison missed practice. Both are expected to miss Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders. Polamalu has played in just one of Pittsburgh's first two games this season while Harrison has yet to see the field. Larry Foote has done the job at the linebacker spot and could be a busy man this week trying to track down Darren McFadden.

Second down:Darrelle Revis is a step closer to returning to the field. The New York Jets cornerback has been cleared for contact after suffering a concussion in the opening game of the season. That's bad news for Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins already suspect passing game. It also means Antonio Cromartie is likely to get a little more work for IDP owners since Revis Island isn't anywhere near as welcoming as South Beach.

Third down:Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard left last week's game with a rib contusion but says he's "all good" for this weekend's contest against the Patriots. That's good news for the Ravens, who will need the veteran safety to be on his game in order to slow down Rob Gronkowski in the middle of the field. Pollard has three pass deflections, one pick and a sack already this season. He's likely to be all over the field against a Patriots offense that has been rocky so far in 2012.

Fourth down:Dwight Freeney's ankle continues to be a problem for the Indianapolis Colts. The linebacker didn't practice Wednesday and is something of a question mark for Sunday's game against the Jaguars. When Freeney and Robert Mathis bookend Indy's defensive line, they're still one of the best duos in the league. Instead, it will likely be Cory Redding again this week. Consider it a missed opportunity for Freeney against the Jags shaky offense.

Follow Marcas Grant on Twitter @MarcasG

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