Well, the first week of the 2013 fantasy football season is in the books. At this point, every team in your league is either in the penthouse or the outhouse, undefeated or winless.
Whether you’re trying to keep a winning streak rolling or shake off a bad start, every IDP owner should be looking to improve their team at all times. With that in mind, here’s a look at a number of defensive players who should be on fantasy radars when waiver claims are submitted this week.
Before we move on to the list, here’s a word of advice. There were a number of players who were relative disappointments in Week 1, but there’s a fine line between upgrading your team and a panic drop.
Defensive tackle Geno Atkins of the Cincinnati Bengals posted a doughnut against the Chicago Bears. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee finished outside the top-50 at his position in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring. No one with any sense would drop either guy.
Patience is a virtue, so don’t go dropping a player you drafted as a starter just because he came out of the gate slow.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Duke Ihenacho – SS, Denver Broncos: Not only was Ihenacho, who won the starting job at strong safety for the Broncos in camp, one of the top fantasy defensive backs in Week 1, but the second-year pro was one of the top-12 IDPs overall after his big showing against the Baltimore Ravens. It’s not realistic to expect Iheanacho to once again top 10 solos in Week 2, but Ihenacho draws another solid IDP matchup this week in the “Manning Bowl” against the New York Giants.
WEEK 1 IDP WAIVER TARGETS
Jason Babin – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars: If Week 1 was any indication; Babin appears ready to put a disastrous 2012 campaign behind him. The 33-year-old was one of the few players who performed well against the Kansas City Chiefs, tallying three solos and a sack. On one hand this week’s matchup against Terrelle “100 Rushing Yards” Pryor may seem rotten, but Pryor’s mobility doesn’t change the fact that Oakland’s offensive line is terrible. In any event, Babin is worth a look from IDP squads looking for a boost up front.
Dontari Poe – DT, Kansas City Chiefs: The Kansas City coaching staff talked up Poe big-time in the offseason, and through one week at least it appears they may have been on to something. The former first-round pick, who disappointed mightily as a rookie, was a force against Jacksonville, racking up six stops and 1.5 sacks. Sunday’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys isn’t nearly as favorable, but if you’re an IDP owner in a DT-required league who waited to draft a starter, Poe should be squarely on your radar as a potential upgrade at the position.
Akeem Dent – MLB, Atlanta Falcons: I mentioned Dent as an upside target late in drafts in the preseason, but the third-year pro remains on many waiver wires. That’s likely to change after Dent amassed 11 total tackles in Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints. The most important takeaway from that game was the fact that Dent remained on the field in subpackages. Three-down 4-3 middle linebackers aren’t something that’s found on waiver wires all that often, so if Dent is on yours give strong consideration to availing yourself of that opportunity.
Justin Houston – OLB, Kansas City Chiefs: Despite the fact that Houston logged over 60 tackles and 10 sacks in 2012, the third-year pro went undrafted in a surprisingly high number of IDP leagues. That’s all but certainly going to change after Houston exploded for three sacks against the Jaguars in Week 1. This week Houston and the Chiefs face off with a quarterback in Tony Romo of the Cowboys whose mobility may be hindered by sore ribs. If the other owners in your league slept on Houston on draft day pounce on that oversight, especially if your IDP league rewards sacks well.
Barry Church – SS, Dallas Cowboys: The safety position in Big D has been an IDP wasteland for several years, but Barry Church may be ready to end that drought. The fourth-year veteran had eight total tackles in Sunday night’s win over the New York Giants, pitching in a forced fumble and a fumble recovery that was returned for a touchdown. Church appears to be taking well to Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 defense in Dallas, and IDP owners who like to play musical chairs with defensive backs may want to pull up a seat for the 25-year-old on their squads.
Steve Gregory – SS, New England Patriots: The Patriots signed veteran Adrian Wilson to start at strong safety in the offseason, but by the time Week 1 rolled around it was Steve Gregory who started for the Pats against the Buffalo Bills. The 30-year-old played well against the Bills, making nine total stops and pitching in a batted pass. Granted, Gregory isn’t the sexiest of fantasy options, but New England’s offense has a tendency to force opponents to the air, making Gregory a solid (if unspectacular) IDP asset.
Don’t forget to check back here regularly at Fantasy Sharks for all your IDP needs, from Rankings and Projections to waiver wire pickups and strategy. Whatever you need, Fantasy Sharks has you covered!
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Gary Davenport is the IDP Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, In addition to his work at Fantasy Sharks and at IDP Manor, Gary’s IDP work has been featured in a number of national print publications and on both satellite and terrestrial radio.