The last thing an NFL team or Individual Defensive Player (IDP) owner trying to keep their floundering playoff hopes afloat needs is for a key player to suffer a serious injury.
Given that this is a waiver wire column, you can probably guess where I’m going with this.
In the first quarter of Sunday’s 20-13 win over Detroit, Chicago inside linebacker Danny Trevathan injured his elbow in the first quarter while tackling Detroit quarterback Jeff Driskel. If replays of the play are any indication, Trevathan’s not coming back any time soon.
As Colleen Kane reported for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago head coach Matt Nagy didn’t provide an update on Trevathan’s status during his Monday presser. But Nagy did allow that Injured Reserve was a possibility for the 29-year-old contract-year linebacker.
“It’s not real pretty, but it’s a part of this game,” Nagy said. “You hate to see that, so we’ll see how that goes moving forward.”
It’s a big blow no matter how you slice it — from an NFL perspective, Trevathan had been Chicago’s most consistent off-ball linebacker, pacing the team in both total tackles (70) and solo stops (50). From an IDP standpoint, Trevathan ranked 18th among linebackers in fantasy points in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring over the first nine weeks of the season.
Losing a reliable second fantasy starter just as the playoff push is ramping up is a real kick in the junk. But there’s little to do but move on and fill the hole — and the logical place to start this week’s edition of the IDP Waiver Wire here at Fantasy Sharks is with the player Chicago will task with replacing Trevathan.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, Chicago
This isn’t the first time Kwiatkoski’s been pressed into action — the 26-year-old has made 15 starts over four seasons, including one earlier this year when Roquan Smith missed a game due to a personal matter. Chicago inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone lauded Kwiatkoski’s ability to step in when needed while speaking with Kane.
“I think throughout our defense and throughout our linebacker room, we have really good leaders, and we have guys who are tough and play tough, one of those being Nick Kwiatkoski. Nick’s a really football-intelligent guy who gets it,” DeLeone said. “He gets out there and knows what to do, where to be and when to be there. To me, that’s natural more than it is something that’s learned. He’s very comfortable on the field.”
Kwiatkoski hasn’t just shown an ability to step in as a spot-starter — he’s also demonstrated the ability to pop a fat stat line. In just over three quarters against Detroit last week, Kwiatkoski piled up 10 total tackles (nine solo) while adding a sack and an interception.
WEEK 11 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Oakland
When Oakland made Ferrell the fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft, it was expected that the former Clemson star would make an immediate impact. That wasn’t the case, but after watching the youngster explode for eight tackles and 2.5 sacks last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland head coach Jon Gruden told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez he was glad to see Ferrell shut up the naysayers — if only temporarily.
“Clelin Ferrell and the pass rush showed up,” Gruden said. “He does a lot more than just rush the passer; he made some great plays against the run. It was a signature game for him, obviously, but it’s great for him to get some sacks.”
Those sacks were Ferrell’s first since the season opener, and that long dry spell can’t be ignored. But here’s the thing — in Week 11, Oakland plays a Cincinnati team that’s one step this side of hiring offensive linemen off Craigslist. In Week 12, Oakland plays a New York Jets team that has given up the second-most sacks in the NFL this year.
Derek Wolfe, DE, Denver
Maybe it’s a matter of playing in Vic Fangio’s defense. Maybe it’s a matter of this being a contract year. Maybe it’s a little of both. But whatever the reason, veteran defensive end Derek Wolfe is quietly having a career season for Denver. And per Jon Heath of Broncos Wire, teammate Von Miller is loving every minute of it.
“He’s doing incredible,” Miller said. “He’s the Steve Nash of the bunch, I’m Dirk Nowitzki. He did his job [Sunday]. Honestly, he’s been doing his job these last couple of weeks. He’s on fire. He’s making a lot of money for himself right now. I’m proud of him to see the type of success he’s having. I said it in 2012, I probably took five sacks away from him. He had, I want to say, eight or nine sacks that season. He’s been healthy this year. He’s been on the field. To see my brother get that type of success is incredible. I’m happy for him.”
For the season, Wolfe has piled up 27 total tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble — numbers that slot the 29-year-old at the back end of DL2 territory in 12-team leagues. However, he’s been hot of late — Wolfe trails only Los Angeles Chargers’ Joey Bosa in fantasy points among defensive linemen over his last four games.
Jon Bostic, ILB, Washington
Bostic’s been the definition of a journeyman over his NFL career — in six-plus seasons, he’s worn the helmet of half a dozen different teams after being drafted in the second round by Chicago back in 2013. However, Chris Lingebach of 106.7 FM The Fan in Washington thinks Bostic may have finally carved out a long-term home for himself in D.C.
“Bostic kicked around the league at a number of different stops before signing with Washington in the offseason,” he wrote. “After stops in Chicago, New England, Detroit, (Indianapolis) and Pittsburgh, the 28-year-old linebacker – a second-round pick by (Chicago) in 2013 – may have found a long-term home in Washington in 2019. Bostic – who’s second only to Landon Collins with 65 combined tackles (two for a loss) in nine starts – signed a one-year deal with (Washington) Redskins, but he’s making a strong case for (Washington) to bring him back next year. Bostic also has one sack on the season and has been a central part of the (Washington) defense as the primary play-caller.”
Bostic’s no world-beater — he’s long had a penchant for taking bad angles in pursuit, and that hasn’t really changed in his new home. But he’s a defensive signal-caller and a full-time player for a defense that leads the NFL in tackle opportunities per game this season.