Hard though it may be to believe, it’s the halfway point of the 2020 fantasy football regular season.
Time flies when you’re having fun.
As is the case each and every year, the first six weeks of the season have contained more than a few surprises for IDP managers. It’s no shock that Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns is fantasy’s top defensive lineman after piling up seven sacks over Cleveland’s first six games, But if you correctly predicted that Emmanuel Ogbah of the Miami Dolphins would be a top-10 fantasy option six weeks in, you might just have a little Carnac the Magnificent in you.
At linebacker, Blake Martinez of the New York Giants having 64 total tackles and the most fantasy points among linebackers in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring isn’t a stunner. But B.J. Goodson of the Cleveland Browns staying healthy, productive and inside fantasy LB1 territory rather is,
As they often are, the defensive back position is nothing but surprises. Two of the top five defensive backs after six games are familiar faces—Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer and Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker. However, the other three are all cornerbacks—Marlon Humphrey of the Baltimore Ravens, Pierre Desir of the New York Jets and Desir’s teammate Brian Poole.
It’s a rough year to be a member of Gang Green.
The point to all this jibber-jabbering is simple enough—half a dozen weeks into the season, there is more than one top-10 option at each IDP position who opened the season on the waiver wire.
There’s hay to be made there—each and every week.
Let’s get to harvesting.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Leighton Vander Esch – ILB, Dallas Cowboys
Vander Esch had a very Leighton Vander Esch beginning to the 2020 season, breaking his collarbone in the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. However, the third-year pro was activated from injured reserve prior to Monday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, and he said afterward that it felt good to get back in action.
“My body feels wonderful, to be honest with everybody,” he said, via ESPN’s Todd Archer. “I feel great, I feel fast, my legs feel good, my upper body feels good, my collarbone’s healed. I’m getting my strength back. It’s a constant, everyday process. I think I’m doing things good, but I think I need to tackle better. I haven’t played a full game in I don’t even know how long. I need to tackle better. That’s one area that I need to improve on.”
Vander Esch didn’t play a full game against the Cardinals, either—he was on the field for just over half the team’s snaps in a blowout loss. Given that snap count and the three tackles that came from it, Vander Esch might not seem especially appealing. But you can bet that both Vander Esch’s playing time and production are going to increase in short order.
WEEK 7 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Melvin Ingram — DE, Los Angeles Chargers
Like Vander Esch, Ingram was drafted in most IDP Leagues in 2020. Like Vander Esch, Ingram was cut loose after landing on injured reserve. And like Vander Esch, Ingram is nearing a return to action after being activated for Week 7. According to ESPN’s Shelley Smith, head coach Anthony Lynn said the Chargers Week 6 bye may have been a season-saver for the team.
“The bye week couldn’t come at a better time,” Lynn said. “I think this team will come back a little healthier and I look forward to what’s going to happen next. We still believe this team could be 5-0 right now. We’ll get everybody fresh and make a run.”
Lynn’s optimism aside, getting Ingram and defensive tackle Justin Jones back for this week’s home tilt with the Jacksonville Jaguars is a big deal. Ingram hadn’t made a huge dent in the stat sheet prior to getting hurt—two total stops and an interception of Joe Burrow in the opener. But when healthy, he’s more than capable of producing DL2 numbers for IDP managers.
Romeo Okwara – DE, Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions got win No. 2 on the season last week, and Romeo Okwara played a part in the victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars—two tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. As Carlos Monarrez wrote for the Detroit Free Press though, the 25-year-old Okwara isn’t about to get complacent after a good start to his fifth season in the NFL.
“I don’t think there’s any such thing as momentum,” Okwara said. “I think we’ve got to stay within the course of the game and play our game to where we do it consistently every single week. Come into each week with the same mindset. And that’s the way really. And nothing really changes for us whenever we follow the ebbs and flows of what the season is.”
Okwara’s numbers (12 tackles, two sacks) as a whole don’t look especially impressive, but he’s been hot of late, consistently producing DL2 numbers over his last three games. Okwara isn’t a season-saver, but he’s a decent spot-starter as a DL2 who is probably available in the majority of IDP Leagues.