I’m going to lead off this week’s IDP Waiver Wire with some brutal honesty.
If you’re looking to the waiver wire for a starter in the Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league playoffs, then you’re in trouble.
I had a similar problem in Week 14 on the offensive side of the ball. Thanks to Emmanuel Sanders tearing his Achilles and Odell Beckham getting scratched on Saturday, I found myself combing through the scrap heap for a starter at wide receiver. I settled on Buffalo’s Zay Jones, which worked out not even a little.
I think I took it pretty well, all things considered.
However, in fantasy football you-know-what happens. Just this past weekend Buffalo’s Matt Milano broke his leg late in the team’s loss to the New York Jets. At the very least, it’s an injury that opens a hole on IDP rosters.
At worst, that hole is in the starting lineup, and a replacement isn’t at the ready.
With that in mind, we’re going to do things differently with this week’s IDP waiver wire. There’s no IDP“Pickup of the Week.” The entries for each player are shorter. But what this article lacks in sizzle I intend to compensate for with steak.
Three options at each of the main defensive positions – all with relatively low ownership percentages. At least one of the options at each position also has a favorable matchup this week. He’s Plan A. That’s followed by a guy who’s a notch below that. He’s Plan B. Then there’s a guy who is at least available just about everywhere.
We’ll call him the “Emergency Option.”
I’ll even throw in a matchup play at cornerback, because I’m such a sweetheart.
PLAN A: Denico Autry, DT, Indianapolis: To say that Autry’s on a roll is a king-sized understatement — he has nine tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles over his last two games. In news that should surprise no one, that makes him fantasy’s No. 1 defensive lineman over that span. With a Top 5 IDP matchup on tap against a Dallas team that has surrendered a league-leading 48 sacks, Autry’s set up well to keep rolling.
PLAN B: Leonard Williams, DE, New York Jets: Don’t turn up your nose at me, young man. It’s understandable to be reluctant to put any faith whatsoever in Williams, who is suffering through a miserable season and hasn’t tallied a sack since notching two in Week 5. But Williams has been on the field for at least 90 percent of New York’s snaps the past two weeks and gets a Houston team in Week 15 that has been very kind to opposing defensive linemen in 2018.
EMERGENCY OPTION: Sam Hubbard, DE, Cincinnati: There will come a time when Sam Hubbard won’t be on waiver wires given his production in spots as a rotational player this season. But given that the rookie hasn’t been on the field for even 50 percent of Cincinnati’s snaps in a game since Week 8, the former Ohio State standout is a gamble. Still, Hubbard has four sacks in 398 snaps this year and faces an Oakland squad that leads the NFL in fantasy points allowed up front.
PLAN A: Anthony Walker, ILB, Indianapolis: It’s gotten lost in the greatness that has been Darius Leonard’s incredible rookie season, but Walker hasn’t exactly been cat food — he’s just three stops this side of 100 tackles and has at least nine stops in four his past five games. Throw in a Top 10 IDP matchup at home this week against Dallas, and you have a guy who shouldn’t be available anywhere and yet remains on the wire in some shallower formats.
PLAN B: Haason Reddick, OLB, Arizona: Unlike most of the players listed in this column, Reddick doesn’t have a favorable matchup in Week 15 — Atlanta is a middle-of-the pack team in surrendering fantasy points to linebackers. But the second-year pro is coming off a season-high 11 total tackles against Detroit in a similar matchup and is playing on every defensive snap for Arizona of late.
EMERGENCY OPTION: Elijah Lee, OLB, San Francisco: At first glance, Lee’s four tackles last week against Denver don’t seem much to write home about. Neither does the second-year pro’s 34 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble for the season. But San Francisco has elevated Lee into an every-down role at weakside linebacker (WILL) linebacker and draw a solid IDP matchup in Week 15 with Seattle. Lee’s last start in a matchup that good resulted in seven stops with a pass defensed against Tampa Bay.