This is officially the weirdest edition of this column I have ever written—and I’ve been doing the IDP Waiver Wire 16 times a year for over a decade.
In all that time, I have never written a column that would publish over a day before the previous week’s action wraps up. But this is 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t care about our fantasy football teams.
We were supposed to watch the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers renew their rivalry on Thanksgiving night. But as a COVID outbreak tore through the Ravens locker room, the game was postponed until Sunday. Then more cases emerged on both teams and it was bumped to Tuesday. And then still more and the game was moved to Wednesday afternoon.
Yep. That about sums 2020 up.
We still don’t know if that game will actually be played or if we might be looking at a situation where an 18th week will be tacked onto the back end of the season. This late in the fantasy campaign, it has quite a few IDP managers feeling nervous. I took at least one loss as the direct result of a lineup decision based on concern that a player just wouldn’t be out there in Week 12.
In that league, I played it safe because I had already sewn up a playoff berth. But there are more than a few IDP managers who don’t have that luxury. They have to get a win this week to move on to the playoffs. And if this can happen in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, it can happen anywhere.
Having depth on an IDP roster is more important than ever. Having a Plan B is more important than ever.
The waiver wire is more important than ever.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Troy Reeder – ILB, Los Angeles Rams
With inside linebacker (and leading tackler) Micah Kiser on the shelf with a knee injury, it fell to Reeder to take on a full-time role for the Rams against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12. As Gary Klein wrote for the Los Angeles Times, Rams head coach Sean McVay expressed confidence that the second-year pro was capable of stepping up and making an impact.
“I do have a lot of confidence in Troy to step in and seamlessly handle the job,” McVay said. “He’s really done a great job of preparing himself for when his opportunities do come up. I thought last year, he definitely demonstrated as a rookie it wasn’t too big for him where he started a handful of games at [middle] linebacker and played a significant amount of snaps. Expect him to step in and do a great job for us.”
McVay wasn’t just blowing smoke. The Rams didn’t get the win Sunday, but Reeder was a force, piling up 15 total tackles and 12 stops in the loss. Reeder isn’t going to rack up those kinds of gaudy numbers every week, but he’s shown considerable statistical upside when afforded the opportunity to make plays to this point in his career.
WEEK 13 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Javon Kinlaw – DT, Sam Francisco 49ers
It hasn’t taken rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw long to start making impact plays as his playing time has grown this season. Two weeks ago, the former South Carolina standout notched his first career sack. Lasty week against the Rams, the big man picked off Jared Goff and returned it for a score—impressing teammate Kerry Hyder in the process.
“That was just great to see,” Hyder said, via David Bonilla of 49ers WebZone. “JK has been working his butt off all year, and to see him get into the end zone — defensive players, especially defensive linemen, try their whole career to get into the end zone, so I’m just super excited for him. That was a great thing he had today.”
Kinlaw actually didn’t play a lot vs. the Rams—his snaps were down after averaging over 60 percent for the preceding month-plus. He isn’t going to score a touchdown every week—or ever again. But bear in mind that Kinlaw was the prospect who made DeForest Buckner expendable in San Francisco—at least in the eyes of general manager John Lynch.
Quinnen Williams – DE, New York Jets
The New York Jets have had precious few things to cheer about in 2020. But as Spencer Aber wrote for Jets Wire, the second-year pro was easily the team’s best player in last week’s lopsided loss at home to the Miami Dolphins.
“Williams was constantly in the backfield, a theme this season as the second-year player out of Alabama continues to live up to expectations,” he said. “Williams has recorded at least half a sack in three of his last four games, moving his total to five on the year. He was never a big sacks guy at Alabama, as the most he recorded in one season was eight. However, Williams is starting to develop into a legit pass rusher.”
Williams was a maniac against the Dolphins, tallying seven tackles (four solo), 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss, two passes defensed and three quarterback hits. Add to that impressive stat line the consistency that Williams has shown in getting after the quarterback over the past month, and he’s quickly becoming a high-floor DL2 type for IDP managers.
Cole Holcomb – ILB, Washington Football Team
The Washington Football Team has had something of a revolving door at the linebacker position in 2020—the personal packages and snap counts have vacillated throughout the season, As defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio told Matthew Paras of the Washington Times, the team wants the same thing out of its linebackers that IDP managers do—production.
“Linebackers are paid to produce,” Del Rio said. “We’ve had some good moments. We’re just looking for more consistency. That’s what we’re working at. I feel good about the way the guys are working. We’ve attacked things. We’ve made great strides in several areas. There’s a lot of work to do.”
For most of the season, it has been Jon Bostic who has led all Washington linebackers in snaps. But in the team’s Thanksgiving blowout of the rival Dallas Cowboys, it was second-year pro Cole Holcomb who paced the position in both snaps and tackles, piling up 10 total snaps and adding half a sack in 83 percent of Washington’s defensive snaps.