If you’re reading this column then odds are, both congratulations and condolences are in order.
The congratulations are because your Individual Defensive Player (IDP) squad made it to the postseason. Months of research, draft prep and roster management have paid off with a trip to the postseason. Win two (or in a few cases) three more games, and it’s championship time.
Hopefully, the IDP Waiver Wire here at Fantasy Sharks was of at least some value to you in that endeavor this season.
Of course, the flip side of that coin is that one more loss, and the season’s over. That’s where the condolences come in.
You see, if you’re reading this, then either you’ve suffered an injury of late or there’s a player in your starting lineup who just isn’t cutting it. Filling holes at this late juncture in the season isn’t especially easy — especially just before a playoff game. But we’ve all got to play the hand we’re dealt.
You don’t have to thank me for that. The thought of you absent-mindedly humming it before you realize it’s stuck in your head and curse my name is all the thanks I need.
All hope isn’t lost if you need waiver help in Week 15, dear reader. There are some individual defensive players out there on the waiver wire who could potentially help you advance to the next round — starting with a linebacker who’s been lighting it up since being pressed into action.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Donald Payne, ILB, Jacksonville
With Myles Jack on Injured Reserve with a knee injury, Payne has started the last two games at middle linebacker for Jacksonville. The third-year pro told John Shipley of (Jacksonville) Jaguars Maven before last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers that Jack’s been helping him make the transition from reserve and special teams player to leader on defense.
“I am just trying to make the most of these four games. I got my first start last week, so that was a big thing,” Payne said. “Myles is currently helping me out on defensive checks. He is going to be around talking to us, helping me out with all of the defensive checks and everything like that. At the end of the day, the (middle inside) linebacker is the quarterback of the defense, so it is a big task.“
Jacksonville isn’t winning and the defense was shredded for more than 500 yards and 45 points by the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 14. But for the second straight game, Payne hit double-digits in tackles, piling up 16 total stops. Getting that kind of production off the waiver wire this late in the season can be both a bacon-saver and a game-changer.
WEEK 15 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Alex Okafor, DE, Kansas City
Okafor’s career has been a mixture of equal parts promise and injuries, and the 2018 campaign was no different. A good start to the year hit a speed bump when Okafor missed time with hip and ankle injuries, but the 28-year-old told Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star that he’s grown accustomed to overcoming the adversity that comes with getting nicked up.
“Injuries are hard, man, because you can’t control them,” Okafor said. “No matter what you do, you can’t control them. It’s always hard on the mental mindset, but more than anything you just accept that it’s out of your control, and you control what you can control. And if you’re fortunate enough to come back in the middle of the year, make sure you’re ready for that chance. That’s what I try to keep in mind.”
Okafor was back on the field last Sunday at Gillette Stadium, notching two tackles and picking up his fourth sack of the 2019 season. Now that he’s healthy again, Okafor offers some upside for IDP owners in need of help up front — at least until he gets hurt again.
Jarran Reed, DT, Seattle
After a breakout 2018 season that included 10.5 sacks, Reed’s 2019 season got off to a rocky start thanks to a six-game PED suspension. The year hit another snag on Sunday night, when Seattle was thumped by the rival Los Angeles Rams. Reed told John Boyle of the team’s website that both player and team need to stay the course.
“It’s the NFL,” Reed said. “We’ve got to come to play every game, every single week, especially when you’re 10-2 — you’re going to get everybody’s best game. They took it to us tonight. We’ve just got to take it on the chin, go back to the drawing board tomorrow and get back to work … We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board, do what we do and just play our ball.”
Reed’s sack numbers are down this year — just 1.5 in seven games — but the fourth-year veteran did have four solos and an assist in Week 14. Reed gets a great pass-rush matchup Sunday against Carolina — only Miami has allowed more sacks than the 50 Carolina has surrendered in 2019.
Vince Biegel, OLB, Miami
The latest in a long line of unheralded linebackers from Wisconsin to wind up playing a prominent defensive role for an NFL team, Biegel went from Round 4 pick of Green Bay to released to signed by New Orleans to traded to Miami in exchange for Kiko Alonso. Miami linebacker Jerome Baker told Cameron Wolfe of ESPN that he’s happy that last part happened.
“Biegel consistently brings the energy. He’s the main one. Sometimes it seems annoying, but he brings it every day,” Baker said. “It’s definitely important. It’s a team. Some days it can’t just be him. Some days it has to be other guys. But for Biegel, no matter what is going on, he brings positive light out of it.“
As the season has progressed, Biegel’s role on the Miami defense has increased — he was on the field for more than 80 percent of the defensive snaps in last week’s loss to the New York Jets. Biegel turned those snaps into a season-high nine total tackles — a solid stat line given what a rotten IDP matchup the Jets have been for linebackers in 2019.