Gary Davenport
IDP Waiver Wire - Week 4

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We’re three weeks into the 2013 NFL season. For some Individual Defensive Player (IDP) owners, that means a hot start and a 3-0 record. Others still sit at 2-1, which is neither ideal nor terrible. Then there are the unfortunate souls sitting at 1-2 or (gulp) 0-3.

If you’ve read much of my work here at Fantasy Sharks, you know that I preach quite a bit about not panicking when the chips are down. Three games does not a season make, and player drops borne of freaking out are prone to backfiring.

However, at this point there’s no denying that double-teams are killing the fantasy productivity of Cincinnati defensive tackle Geno Atkins , or that St. Louis middle linebacker James Laurinaitis isn’t producing at the level to which we’ve become accustomed.

It may not be time to hit the panic button, but the concern-o-meter is beeping like a big dog.

Generally speaking, how much patience you should exercise with underperforming stars is directly proportionate to how deep your IDP league is and how dire your situation. If you’re in a shallow league, where other viable options are readily available, it may be time to bite the long-term bullet for the sake of short-term relief. After all, a second-half rebound won’t be much good to your 1-6 team.

If you’re in a deeper IDP league, there’s really not much to do other than hold and hope while scouring the waiver wire for roster upgrades and potential fill-ins.

With that in mind, here’s this week’s look at some players who should be available in many leagues who can give your defensive roster a boost.

PICKUP OF THE WEEK

DeAndre Levy, OLB, Detroit: Although he was moving back into a three down role in 2013, not a lot was expected of Levy this season. To this point in the season Levy has shattered those low expectations, racking up 21 total tackles, pitching in two interceptions (both of which would have been returned for scores had one not been called back due to a penalty) and ranking as a top-10 fantasy linebacker in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring . It may not be reasonable to expect the fifth-year pro to keep this level of production up, but with a favorable matchup with Chicago on tap, Levy is a nice one-week fill-in for Luke Kuechly  or Brad Jones' owners getting pinched by the first of the bye weeks.

WEEK 4 IDP WAIVER WIRE PICKUPS

Adrian Clayborn, DE, Tampa Bay: A lot can change in the world of IDP from season to season, but in some instances the more things change the more they stay the same. That’s the case with the offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals, which is a hot mess again in 2013. That propelled New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan  to a huge game in Week 3, and this week the beneficiary of that lousy front should be Clayborn, who is coming off a big game of his own against New England.

Darnell Dockett, DE, Arizona: Dockett had made much more noise with his choice of pets this season than with his play on the field, but that changed in a big way with his three-sack explosion against New Orleans. Granted, the 32-year-old isn’t going to have games like that every week, but Week 3 was Dockett’s second straight outing with at least three solos, and in Week 4 Dockett squares off with a Tampa Bay team that’s in full-on free-fall.

Rey Maualuga, MLB, Cincinnati: I can hardly believe I’m writing this, but to this point in the 2013 season Rey Maualuga hasn’t sucked. In fact, Maualuga’s eight solos in Sunday’s win over Green Bay marked the second straight game in which Maualuga has accrued at least eight total tackles. Most importantly for IDP owners, Maualuga has been on the field for more than 75 percent of the Bengals’ defensive snaps this year. This week’s matchup with Cleveland doesn’t appear ideal, but Minnesota’s Erin Henderson sure didn’t seem to mind playing the Browns in Week 3.

K.J. Wright, OLB, Seattle: At first glance, there might not seem to be much reason to add Wright to IDP rosters. After all, Wright has yet to tally more than three solos in a game this year. However, with Wright we need to eschew the past in favor of the future. This week’s opponent, Houston, is once again a very favorable fantasy matchup for linebackers in 2013. The Texans have allowed the third most tackle opportunities per game this year and are surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points per game to linebackers. That sound you hear is opportunity knocking, folks.

Robert McClain, CB, Atlanta: McClain has been on a statistical tear to start the 2013 season, averaging nearly eight solos a game while adding a sack and two passes defensed. Those are good numbers for a linebacker, and obscene for a cornerback. Granted, there’s no guarantee McClain can maintain that gaudy production, and the fourth-year pro was nicked up in Sunday’s loss to Miami. However, if you’re the sort of IDP owner who likes to rotate defensive backs, or play in an IDP league that requires cornerbacks, McClain should absolutely be on your radar this week.

Major Wright, SS, Chicago: Through three weeks this season, Wright is the top fantasy defensive back in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring , propelled to those heights by 24 total tackles, two forced fumbles and a pick-six. This week Wright draws a pass-happy Detroit team, but favorable matchup aside: when the top individual defensive player at a position is just sitting there on the waiver wire, you should probably make with the snatching.

Don’t forget to check back here regularly at Fantasy Sharks for all your IDP needs, from Rankings and Projections to waiver wire pickups and strategy. Whatever you need, Fantasy Sharks has you covered!

Looking for more IDP information? Be sure to check out all the other great IDP articles by the rest of the Fantasy Sharks’ crew, the IDP Forum , IDP Manor , and for the latest injury news follow @IDPManor on Twitter.

Gary Davenport is the IDP Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, In addition to his work at Fantasy Sharks and at IDP Manor, Davenport’s IDP work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio.