We’re at the point in the fantasy football season where many teams are precariously close to the brink.
Sure, it’s awesome if you’re 6-2 or 7-1 and your team is filled with guys who have met or exceeded expectations. If you have shares of Tampa Bay edge-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants linebacker Blake Martinez and Buffalo safety Jordan Poyer, your Individual Defensive Player (IDP) team is probably doing OK.
Not for nothing, but I’ve talking up Poyer for at least three years. Y’all really should occasionally listen to me.
However, there are also no shortage of 4-4, 3-5, and even 2-6 teams clinging to playoff hopes by the narrowest of margins. Maybe injuries hit your team hard. Maybe a player like Jacksonville linebacker Joe Schobert hasn’t lived up to his draft slot. Maybe it was a little of both.
Whatever the reason. Those teams can’t afford any more losses. Can’t afford to have holes in the lineup. Can’t afford to start players who aren’t producing. For those desperate souls (and in more than one league I’m right there with you) hitting the IDP Waiver Wire in Week 9 isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.
So, let’s get to work.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Robert Spillane, ILB, Pittsburgh
When Pittsburgh linebacker Devin Bush suffered a season-ending ACL tear, it fell to Robert Spillane to step into the starting lineup next to Vince Williams. As Chris Adamski wrote for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, veteran defensive end Stephon Tuitt said he had no doubt Spillane would be up to the task — because that’s just how they roll in the Steel City.
“We always preach next-man up here,” Tuitt said, “and so I have high expectations when the person comes into the game and have to fill in a role when somebody goes down.”
Spillane was certainly up to the task in last week’s huge win over rival Baltimore — the third-year pro led Pittsburgh with 11 total tackles while taking a Lamar Jackson pass the other way for the first score of the afternoon. The third-year pro isn’t going to do that every week, but he gets a favorable IDP matchup in Week 9 with Ezekiel Elliott and Dallas.
WEEK 9 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Leonard Williams, DE, New York Giants
Heading into the 2020 season, by most measures Leonard Williams had been a major disappointment. But after notching his fourth sack Monday night against Tampa Bay, Williams is well on his way to a career year in his sixth season. Per Patricia Traina of Giants Country, Williams credited slimming down for his improved production.
“I wanted to make sure that I was in shape to play defensive end because it’s a lot different than playing defensive tackle,” Williams said. “You have a lot more space and a lot more area to cover. And I think it’s a little bit more running than when you’re playing inside.”
Like most 3-4 ends, even at his best Williams is something of a low-ceiling IDP option — a player better suited to being a second starter than an anchor. But he’s looking like the player in 2020 that we expected when he was drafted sixth overall by the New York Jets in 2015 — and that guy merits a roster spot in most IDP formats.
Quinnen Williams, DE, New York Jets
It’s a two-fer of good young 3-4 ends languishing on terrible teams!
There were some rumors last week that the Jets might shop defensive end Quinnen Williams, which would be quite possibly the most Jets thing ever. However, as Rich Cimini reported for ESPN, coach Adam Gase shot down those rumors, which pleased defensive coordinator Gregg Williams greatly.
“He’s at the very top of our league as an interior guy,” Williams said Friday. “He’s only going to get better. I believe that. If he stays healthy, he’s going to be really, really, really good and I’m glad he’s here.”
Williams didn’t get a sack last week against Kansas City, but he remains among the league leaders among interior linemen in tackles, run stuffs and sacks. Williams has taken a sizable step forward in his second NFL season, and while his value is higher in DT-required IDP leagues he has some value as a high-floor DL2 even in “standard” IDP leagues.
T.J. Edwards, ILB, Philadelphia
After missing time with a hamstring injury, Edwards was back in the starting lineup in last week’s win over Dallas. As Reuben Frank reported for NBC Sports Philadelphia, the second-year pro said it felt good to be back out there.
“I’d have to watch the tape because it’s never as good as it seems, it’s never as bad as it seems, but it definitely felt pretty good just being able to get out there and being healthy and just running around with those guys and having fun,” Edwards said. “As a team we just had a lot of fun today no matter what’s going on. It’s always fun to be out there and contribute to a big-time win.”
Edwards had himself a game against the Dallas. He played a career-high 62 snaps and recorded a career-high 13 tackles, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and his first career sack. Edwards is unfortunately on a bye in Week 9, but with those kind of numbers in his first game as a full-time starter Edwards is worth the preemptive add.