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In fantasy football, there are some new trends that I enjoy writing about: dynasty leagues, and individual defensive player leagues.  This weekly column will combine two of those by discussing two young IDPs.  I will give my scouting thoughts swearengenon how they played a particular week.  Today I will be discussing the Texans safety DJ Swearinger and Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.

S-DJ Swearinger, HOU- The young safety almost has the same kind of reputation that Al Swearengen, of HBO’s Deadwood fame has, aka trouble.  Both are brash and talk a lot of smack, check out the Falcon’s visit with the Texans on this year’s Hard Knocks if you don’t believe me.  Swearinger gets used all around the field for Houston: he lines up covering the slot receiver, across from the inline tight end, over the top as the deep middle, and as a dime linebacker. 

Watching him play is like watching a young Ed Reed, they both like to hit and are better against the pass than the run.  Swearinger breaks quickly on the ball, usually tackling the catch, but gets knocked around, a lot, defending the run.  The young safety jumped onto Ahmad Bradshaw during a sweep, when the runner barely broke stride tossing him aside.  TY Hilton got behind him on a deep pattern in the end zone while he played bracket coverage, but it wasn’t all his fault because the corner fell down while the ball was in the air.  Swearinger likes to freelance some and takes unnecessary chances at times. These gambles can either pay off in a huge way or leave the Texans defense wide open.  The safety, at least, tries to strip the ball on every play coming his direction, but is far from a physical defender.  I enjoy his crazy never say die attitude and constant fighting spirit. Every team needs a feisty leader and if you can’t have Al Swerengen, why not DJ Swearinger?

DE-Ezekiel Ansah, DET- The second year former first round pick was not more than a glorified pass rusher his rookie year, but does that change in 2014?  Much like my observations of Hilton, I picked a great game to watch Ansah.  He finished with four tackles (three of them for loss), a forced fumble, and two and a half sacks.  Most of that production was in the first half which certainly swung momentum to the Lions side, but keep in mind it was against rookie Teddy Bridewater, who had never faced a four man front of the likes Detroit rolls out every week.

The young defensive end gets good initial penetration, knocks his blocker back with a bull rush combined with a swim move.  He keeps his head, protects his body, and anchors the defensive line forcing runners to re-route their attempts to run outside.  Ansah sheds blockers quickly and can get to the ball carrier in a hurry, always making sure they absorb his 280 lbs. frame.  The defender is nimble enough to crash down the line when he senses the play isn’t going his way and can chase the ball carrier down the field.  Ansah is a versatile rusher who lines up on either side of the formation lining up in a three or two point stance.  On a few designed plays, he dropped back into zone pass coverage, broke on the ball while making the tackle.  The defensive end keeps his motor running constantly, always trying to make a play.  The Lions defense was good last season, but is making more improvements this season.  I wouldn’t count on Ansah for DE1 numbers on a weekly basis, but he can be a DE2.

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