You have to keep your head on a swivel in Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues.
Take last week for instance. Last Wednesday, after waivers had already run in some fantasy leagues, news came down that Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen was re-joining the team after an extended absence. If you were one of the fortunate fantasy owners who was able to swoop in and snatch Griffen up, you plucked a potential Top 10 fantasy option off the scrap heap.
Yes, Griffen had just one stop in his first game back. But once he gets back up to speed, Griffen is going to produce. If perchance he is still available in your IDP league, he’s easily the No. 1 waiver claim on the defensive side of the ball this week.
That ability to think (and act) on your feet is going to be tested more in Week 9 than at any point this season. For reasons known only to God and their therapist, the NFL decided in its infinite wisdom that it would be a good idea to have a six-team bye this week. Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, the New York Giants and Philadelphia are all off this week.
Combine that with the injuries that are a constant part of life in the NFL and fantasy football, and there’s more holes in more lineups than in any other week so far this year.
And that makes it all the more important to get the most bang for our buck with the Week 9 waiver claims.
Luckily, there are some pretty good options to choose from.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
K.J Wright, OLB, Seattle
Per Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune, sitting out the first six games of the 2018 season wasn’t easy for Wright.
“Just to watch it and not to be able to travel. I couldn’t travel to London (for the win over Oakland two weeks ago). I couldn’t go to Arizona, Chicago. I just had to stay back and watch it,” Wright said. “Just the daily grind. It’s more of a mental and physical grind when you do get hurt because, especially somebody in my position, you’re not used to missing games and we’ve just got to rehab all day, all night. And you’ve got to watch (the games). That’s tough. It’s over now. Let’s hope I stay healthy and be good to go the rest of the year.”
Wright, who had his knee scoped in the preseason, made his 2018 debut in last week’s win in Detroit, logging five solos and adding a pass defensed. That stat line isn’t going to win any IDP owners their week single-handedly, but the 29-year-old has an extensive track record of producing as an upside LB3 or more. He’s a priority pickup in any league where he’s available ahead of a nice matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers.
WEEK 9 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Takkarist McKinley, DE, Atlanta
Earlier this month, Scott Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers website gave McKinley props as a rising young star on the Atlanta defense.
“Vic Beasley, Atlanta’s first-round pick in 2015, had a league-leading 15.5 sacks in 2016 but nobody else on that defense had more than 4.5,” he wrote. “Looking for a pass-rushing complement to its young star, the team used another first-round pick on UCLA’s McKinley in 2017. McKinley had a fine debut season, with six sacks (actually one more than Beasley that season) but he appears to be emerging as a force of his own in 2018.”
It’s gotten lost somewhat in a terrible year for an injury-ravaged Atlanta defense, but after bringing down Eli Manning in Week 7 McKinley has already matched last year’s sack total in just seven games. He’s not a player who is going to pile up a ton of tackles, but coming off his bye week McKinley ranks inside the Top 20 defensive linemen for the season in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring on a points-per-game basis.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Pittsburgh
After breaking out to the tune of seven total tackles and a sack in Sunday’s win over Cleveland, Tuitt drew rave reviews from batterymate Cameron Heyward.
“Tuitt’s got all the keys and I thought he played very dominantly today,”Heyward said, via Bryan Deardo of 247 Sports. “I thought he was powerful, strong on his point of attacks, and we need him to keep doing that. He’s a wrecking ball when he gets going.”
Technically, Tuitt’s big game against Cleveland can’t really be called a “breakout” — the 25-year-old had five tackles and a sack two weeks before that against Cincinnati. Since Week 6, only five defensive linemen have more fantasy points per game than Tuitt. After a couple injury-marred seasons, Tuitt looks more like the young player we saw top 50 total tackles and chip in 6.5 sacks back in 2015.