Hard though it may be to believe, we’re already heading into the second half of the 2020 fantasy football season.
Time flies when you’re having fun.
Hopefully, the first half of the season has been at least some fun for you. For some IDP managers, it has been a blast. They drafted Devin White of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at linebacker. Grabbed a share of Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. Nabbed Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker. The points and wins have rolled in, and all is right with the world.
Many others haven’t been so fortunate. IDP managers who drafted stud linebacker Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts have had to contend with a slow start and then an injury, folks who spent early pick on Minnesota Vikings safety Danielle Hunter didn’t even get to watch him play a single snap in 2020. Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams has been great when on the field, but it’s been a while since he’s been out there. The injuries have piled up along with the losses, and the season is hanging on by a thread.
Never mind that the four-team bye weeks are here now, further diluting the pool of available talent in Week 8.
Still, whether your squad has been hit hard by injuries, players haven’t performed to expectations or you have a guy or two sitting the week out on a bye, there’s not much more to do other than dig in, hit the waiver wire and fill those holes in the lineup.
You’re welcome for the catchy song to hum to yourself while you do that.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Eric Wilson – OLB, Minnesota Vikings
For most of his three-plus seasons in the Twin Cities, Wilson has been a “super sub” of sorts, filling in all over the defense. But with Anthony Barr out for the season, Wilson has been thrust into a full-time role as the Vikings’ defensive play-caller—a role he told Craig Peters of the team’s website playing every linebacker spot helped prepare him for.
“It might be a little hectic sometimes, but when you have the headset, you have to be the one that’s able to communicate to everybody and in a way where everybody can hear you and use that information,” Wilson said. “You definitely have to be poised. You can’t overreact or be too calm. If you’re too calm and just trying to say the call like some guys do, they’re focused on their responsibility, so they might not hear you.
Wilson’s tackle numbers haven’t been especially impressive, but he’s been consistently making splash plays—so many in fact that Wilson ranks inside LB1 territory in terms of fantasy points per game in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring. If he was cut loose during Minnesota’s Week 7 bye, scoop the 26-year-old up.
WEEK 8 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Jerry Hughes – DE, Buffalo Bills
Heading into Week 7, Hughes led the NFL in a category no edge-rusher wants to be No. 1 in—most QB pressures (19) without sack. However, as Jay Skurski wrote for the Buffalo News, Hughes broke through in a big way against the New York Jets, drawing praise from Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in the process.
“He was dominant,” Frazier said. “Even the time where he didn’t sack the quarterback, he did a great job of putting pressure on their passing game and did a good job in the run game as well. He was really stout playing the left end position. Jerry’s gotten better and better on the left side. Yesterday was like a coming out for him on the left side of the line and rushing from that side. It was dominant on tape and we needed him. That was big for us.”
Hughes was outstanding against the Jets, piling up six total tackles, his first two sacks of the 2020 season and an interception. That last one isn’t likely to happen again any time soon. But Hughes has a good shot at getting home Sunday in Buffalo against Cam Newton and the New England Patriots.
Romeo Okwara – DE, Detroit Lions
Okwara doesn’t get the publicity in Detroit of battery-mate Trey Flowers. He most assuredly doesn’t get Flowers $18 million a season in salary. However, as Dave Birkett wrote for the Detroit Free Press, after logging two more sacks last week against the Atlanta Falcons, the 25-year-old Okwara is tarting to garner attention from fans and pundits alike.
“Okwara has quietly put together a nice season rushing the passer,” Birkett said. “He had two more sacks Sunday, giving him a team-high four on the season, and he knocked loose a fumble for the second straight week. A year after they didn’t give him enough opportunities playing behind Flowers, the Lions are finally putting Okwara in a position to succeed.”
Those four sacks for Okwara have come over the last four games, and over that span he’s been on the field for over 70 percent of the Lions defensive snaps. Since Week 3, Okwara has been a top-five defensive lineman in terms of points per game in many scoring systems—and yet he’s still sitting out there on the waiver wire in many leagues.
Krys Barnes – ILB, Green Bay Packers
When the season started, Krys Barnes was undrafted free agent who didn’t even originally make the 53-man roster. Now the youngster from UCLA is the team’s No. 1 inside linebacker after taking over for the injured Christian Kirksey. As Wes Hodkiewicz wrote for the team’s website, the rookie has made an positive impression on both teammates and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
“He’s always got that look in his eyes that he’s locked in and I think the guys respect that,” said Pettine. “He soaked it up right from the beginning going back to our virtual meetings in the spring and it was obvious he had a good handle on it right at the beginning of camp and that continues to carry over into the games. He’s proven that he can handle it and certainly worthy of the reps he’s getting.”
Barnes has been productive for IDP managers as well over the past two weeks, piling up 18 total tackles and a sack over the past two weeks. Barnes was forced to exit last week’s blowout win over the Houston Texans last week with a shoulder ailment, but that injury isn’t believed to be serious. Provided he’s good to go for Week 8, the rookie should absolutely be rostered in most IDP leagues.