It’s good to be right, rare though the occurrence may be.
In Week 11 (That’s last week, if you hate calendars – and everyone does. Think they’re so smart always knowing what day it is.) I recommended Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker as my “IDP Pickup of the Week.” It wasn’t a huge leap. Baker was taking over for the injured Tyvon Branch, who led all NFL defensive backs in tackles at the time of his injury.
Well, Baker had himself a day in a loss to the Houston Texans, finishing as the top defensive back in fantasy after piling up 13 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
That’s a day, all right.
Baker’s performance drew raves from head coach Bruce Arians. “I thought Budda played his tail off,” Arians told Kyle Odegard of the team’s website. “Just from the sideline, making the plays he made. He’s going to be a heck of a player.”
Now, Baker’s not going to post that sort of monster stat line every week – just like those kind of potential IDP difference-makers aren’t available on the waiver wire all that often this late in the year.
However, as it so happens there’s another young player coming off a huge week who could be set to offer fantasy owners a similar boost during the stretch run to the IDP playoffs.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
James Burgess – OLB, Cleveland Browns
With Jamie Collins (knee) out for the season, Burgess told Fred Greetham of Scout that he’s eager to build on his play from earlier this year, when he filled in while Collins was in the concussion protocol. “I proved that I belong here,” he said. “Played pretty solid. It was another opportunity to show that I belong in this league. Coming from last year not being active at all, it was just a great feeling to be out there playing again, starting again. It was just a great feeling. Injuries are bad. I wish Jamie Collins a speedy recovery, but I will definitely go out there and showcase my talents and do the best I can.”
Collins had a showcase performance in the team’s Week 11 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, amassing 16 total tackles and adding a sack. Burgess isn’t going to pile up 15+ stops every week (his previous high in a game this year was seven), but the youngster from Louisville was on the field for over 90% of Cleveland’s snaps against the Jags.
Three-down linebackers are usually nowhere to be found on the waiver wire this late in the season.
WEEK 12 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Derek Barnett – DE, Philadelphia Eagles
Barnett’s starting to realize the first-round potential the Eagles saw in him back in April, but he told Dave Spadaro of the team’s website that despite a big game rushing the passer against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12 he still has plenty of room for improvement. “I’ve always said that sacks come in bunches. You just have to keep working hard in practice, stacking the chips. They’re going to come,” he said. “I think I did some good things, but I need to be better against the run. We won, and that’s all that matters.”
Barnett did a bit better than “good” against Dallas – the former Tennessee standout notched his second two-sack game of the season and forced a fumble to go along with three tackles. Barnett appears to be figuring things out at the professional, and as he’s done so his playing time has increased – to the point that he’s worth a look in all IDP formats.