We’ve reached a turning point in the 2020 fantasy football season. It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.
With injuries mounting by the week and the first four-team bye week upon us, roster spots are becoming more precious—especially with the constant specter of COVID-19-induced postponements hanging over the IDP landscape.
If you think that Buffalo/Tennessee and Denver/New England was the last of those, I have some fantastic oceanfront property near Yuma I’ll cut you a smoking deal on.
Given that, it’s time to cut bait on some under-performing players. Five weeks into the season is enough to have an idea who is and isn’t breaking out of their early funk.
Generally speaking, patience is most advisable with defensive linemen. This isn’t to say that the day doesn’t come when you have to cut bait up front. But over the first three weeks of the 2020 season, Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints had zero sacks. Over the last two, he’s piled up 1.5—and 14 total tackles to go along with it.
But Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Cory Littleton heads into his bye week with 27 tackles—total. With Jordan Fuller of the Los Angeles Rams healthy again in Week 5, Taylor Rapp went from starting safety to spectator once again.
It’s not easy (or fun) to admit that you whiffed on a draft pick. But roster spots are valuable commodities at this time of year, and it’s even less fun to watch an underperforming player drag your team down with them.
Of course, if you’re cleaning house, you need some players to add as well—so let’s get to work.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Bobby Okereke, ILB, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are all kinds of banged up at linebacker—Darius Leonard (groin) missed Week 5, while both Okereke (hand) and Anthony Walker (ankle) were questionable against the Cleveland. As Kevin Hickey wrote for Colts Wire, Okereke did more than just play in Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Browns—he balled out.
“Okereke filled in nicely for the injured Leonard, taking on a bigger role in the middle of the defense,” he said. “The second-year linebacker out of Stanford finished with 10 tackles (eight solo), one interception and one pass defended. Okereke showed off some tight coverage all day while coming away with a pick despite having his left hand completely wrapped.”
Okereke is more than just a temporary fill-in—even before Leonard got hurt Okereke had taken over for Walker as the second linebacker in Indy next to Leonard. Sunday marked Okereke’s second straight game with at least eight stops, and the young linebacker is worth a look in most IDP formats.
WEEK 6 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Trey Hendrickson – DE, New Orleans Saints
While Cameron Jordan has gotten off to a slow start, his batterymate in New Orleans has come out of the gate red-hot. Through the first five games of the 2020 season, Hendrickson has exploded for 4.5 sacks—including 1.5 in Monday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers. According to Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Advocate, the 25-year-old isn’t reading too much into his hot start though.
“I have never really played for statistics,” Hendrickson said. “I love playing football. I love striking blocks and getting after quarterbacks.”
The return of Marcus Davenport (who played for the first time in 2020 Monday night) is cause for at least some concern about Hendrickson’s snap counts moving forward. But given that Hendrickson just had arguably his best game of the year, I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it. Over the first month of the season, Hendrickson was a top-10 lineman in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
He should be rostered.
Emmanuel Ogbah – DE, Miami Dolphins
Ogbah has shown the occasional flash over four-plus seasons spent with three different teams—he piled up 5.5 sacks as a rookie in Cleveland and repeated the feat in just 10 games with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. As Kyle Crabbs reported for Dolphins Wire though, Ogbah may be about to take the next step in his first season with the Dolphins.
“Ogbah has been a late bloomer since entering the NFL but appeared poised to make a big leap in 2019 with the Chiefs before injury interrupted his season,” Crabbs wrote. “Now, he’s got a chance to take the next step with the Dolphins instead — and with him in need of a long-term contract still, he’ll be plenty motivated to play his best football in Miami. The Dolphins will be plenty happy to see it continue,”
Ogbah notched his third sack of 2020 in Miami’s stunning blowout of the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5, and he has tallied at least half a sack in four of five games this season. With a highly favorable IDP matchup coming up Sunday with the New York Jets, he’s at the very least a matchup add and has the potential to become a weekly DL2.
Foyesade Oluokun – OLB, Atlanta Falcons
Not much has gone right for the 0-5 Falcons in 2020, but the play of third-year pro Foyesade Oluokun has been a bright spot. As CBS Sports pointed out, the former Ivy League standout had by far his best game of the season last week against the Carolina Panthers.
“Oluokun racked up 14 tackles, including one tackle for loss during Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Panthers,” they said. “The third-year linebacker battled through an oblique injury during the practice week to pick up his fourth game appearance of 2020, subsequently obliterating his previous single-game high of 10 tackles during the divisional defeat. Oluokun has transformed into a full-time starter via a combination of his development and the offseason departure of De’Vondre Campbell to Arizona. So far this year, the Yale product has recorded at least six tackles in every game that he’s been active.”
It’s those last two parts that should really stand out to IDP managers. Oluokun is playing full-time next to Deion Jones at WILL linebacker in Atlanta, and he’s been at least somewhat productive in all five games this year. This defense is going to be on the field a lot the rest of the season. And so long as they are, Oluokun will keep racking up tackles.