The last thing that Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league managers want heading into Week 2 is to have to hit the waiver wire to replace a starter.
But fantasy football can be cruel, and sometimes we don’t get what we want.
Maybe you were one of the folks who made Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter the first defensive linemen taken in your draft — only to see the “tweak” he suffered in camp land Hunter on Injured Reserve just before the season began.
Maybe you drafted Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the hopes he could shake off last year’s injury and recapture his rookie form. Or not — Vander Esch’s comeback tour lasted all of a quarter before he broke his collarbone and landed on Injured Reserve himself.
Or maybe you drafted Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp, only to watch the season opener Sunday night and wonder why the heck Rapp spent most of the game watching while Jordan Fuller played safety against Dallas.
Regardless of how you landed in this mess, there is a silver lining to needing help this early — there’s more meat on the waiver wire bone.
Enough talk. Let’s eat.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Jon Bostic, ILB, Washington
The number of people who gave Washington a chance of any real success in 2020 is not a large one. But heading into the opener against Philadelphia, Bostic told reporters (via Scott Jennings of SB Nation) that he thought the defense in D.C. was going to surprise some people this season.
“This is a new year for us to be able to get back on track and be able to go out and prove ourselves as a defense,” Bostic said. “We’re trying to get better each and every day. We’re helping each other, giving each other tips about how we can play certain routes better, how we can play this run fit better, certain things that I may understand better than the next guy where I can explain it this way now and everybody gets it.”
That Washington defense certainly did surprise some people in Week 1, piling up eight sacks and spurring Washington to an upset win. Bostic tallied one of those sacks while leading the team with eight tackles. The journeyman appears locked into an every-down role, and when he’s had those opportunities in the past Bostic has shown the ability to put up numbers.
WEEK 2 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Aldon Smith, DE, Dallas
When Smith took the field for Dallas against the Los Angeles Rams, it marked the first time in almost five years that the former Pro Bowler had played in an NFL game. As Jean Jacques-Taylor wrote for the Dallas Morning News, what followed was something out of a Disney movie.
“Smith, playing in his first game since the 2015 season, helped create the Cowboys’ first turnover of the season,” he said. “He made a strong inside move and hit Jared Goff as he was throwing. The ball went behind intended receiver Van Jefferson and Chidobe Awuzie made a nice interception. Smith finished the game with 11 tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass deflection, and a sack. Wow. What a debut. He allows (Dallas) to dream about having a dominant player to go with DeMarcus Lawrence.”
The wildest thing about Smith’s stat line might well be that after that longest of layoffs, Smith was on the field for over 70 percent of Dallas’ defensive snaps. Talent was never a problem with the 30-year-old. If he’s going to see that kind of snap count, Smith needs to be rostered.
Eleven tackles. Get outta here with that.
Josh Sweat, DE, Philadelphia
Philadelphia has been decimated by injuries already this year — including on the defensive line. That means additional snaps for youngster Josh Sweat. And as Matt Howe wrote for 247 Sports, in Week 1 Sweat made the most of his opportunity — and then some.
“According to Pro Football Focus, Philadelphia defensive end Josh Sweat earned a 92.7 pass-rushing grade on Sunday against the Washington Football Team,” he wrote. “The former Florida State product recorded three tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble but was especially efficient in rushing the passer. Sweat recorded six pass rush wins as well as the fastest sack in all of Week 1.”
Pass-rush “wins” aren’t scored in IDP leagues (yet), but that three stops with a sack and a forced fumble certainly is. There’s no telling when Derek Barnett might return, and Philadelphia also lost Vinny Curry to a multi-week injury in Week 1. That means that Sweat’s workload should be relatively steady moving forward — especially if he keeps showing out like that.
Josh Bynes, ILB, Cincinnati
In many respects, Bynes is a similar player to Bostic — a journeyman veteran who has occasionally blown up stat sheets in the past. After playing in Baltimore last year, Cincinnati brought Bynes in to add experience to a young linebacker room. So far, the team likes what it has seen from the 31-year-old.
“Coming from a great defense, we really like his leadership, his instincts,” Cincinnati director of player personnel Duke Tobin said, via Mark Inabinnett of AL.com. “I think he’s a guy (who’s) going to bring the young guys along, which is good. And, again, a guy that’s earned it the right way and a high-energy player, and when we had the opportunity in free agency, when that came up, we jumped on it. We thought, ‘There’s a good piece for us going forward,’ so I’m excited to see him in Bengal stripes.”
Bynes was more than a mentor in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers — he was one of two Cincinnati linebackers to log over 70 percent of the team’s snaps, piling up eight total tackles, a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. Plenty of IDP pundits were high on Cincinnati rookie Logan Wilson entering this season, but for now it looks like the youngster is going to have to wait his turn.