Thursday - Dec 12, 2019

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IDP WAIVER WIRE: Week 12

So, um … I hear there may be some folks looking for defensive line help in Week 12.

It’s bad enough when Individual Defensive Player (IDP) owners lose a prominent player to injury just as the playoff push is kicking into high gear. It can quite easily derail a season.

But when you lose a guy who was the No. 1 IDP drafted overall in more than a few leagues because said player ripped a quarterback’s helmet off and then tried to brain said quarterback with it, that’s a special kind of messed up.

I can still only half believe that happened — with eight freaking seconds left in the game.

I’m not going to offer up some long-winded commentary on what Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett did last Thursday night. There’s been plenty of that already, be it from apologists or folks who wanted him tarred, feathered, banned for life and then thrown in jail. It was inexcusable — obviously. He’s been suspended indefinitely. Garrett’s appeal will be heard Wednesday, but I’ll be stunned if he plays another down before Week 1 of the 2020 season.

Garrett’s ban leaves a massive hole in quite a few IDP lineups — there’s no shortage of folks desperate for defensive line help as Week 12 gets underway. What they need is some sort of saving grace — say a young defensive end who just exploded for four sacks in Week 11.

That felt like a segue.

IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK

Maxx Crosby, DE, Oakland

In 2018, Oakland had fewer sacks as a team (13) for the season than six players had individually. But after notching five in Sunday’s win over Cincinnati (including four from Crosby), Oakland has 10 sacks over the past two weeks.

As Adam Hill wrote for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Oakland head coach Jon Gruden wasn’t surprised by the rookie’s breakout performance.

“We’ve been talking a lot about the factor grade here,” Gruden said. “Finally, someone will count the sacks and write a nice story about him. He’s been near the quarterback. He’s been hitting the quarterback. He’s been batting balls down from the quarterback and today, he got to the quarterback. … He’s gotten stronger, he’s gotten better and he’s got a great future here.”

Expecting another four-sack outing out of the fourth-round pick out of Eastern Michigan is likely being just a tad unreasonable. But Crosby’s now gotten to the quarterback in four of his last six outings, and only two teams in the NFL have surrendered more sacks in 2019 than the 41 the New York Jets have allowed.

WEEK 12 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS

Michael Bennett, DE, Dallas

Heading into the 2019 season, I thought that a change of scenery might lead to something of a renaissance year for veteran defensive end Michael Bennett. I was half-right — there’s been a rebound, all right, but it took a second change of helmet mid-season.

In three games with Dallas since being traded from New England, Bennett has eight tackles and three sacks — numbers that slot Bennett inside DL1 territory (in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring) in 12-team IDP leagues over that span. He’s also playing a much heavier snap count than he did with New England, and per ESPN’s Todd Archer the 34-year-old is trying to enjoy every minute of it.

“Right now,” Bennett said, “it’s just enjoying this game, enjoying these seven games and playing football. Just enjoying myself, trying to be a kid out there again. I’m the old man right now, but at the same time, I’m trying to stay as young as I can.”

Chad Thomas, DE, Cleveland

It’s Thomas who has the unenviable task of trying to replace Garrett along the Cleveland defensive front. The second-year pro has already seen an uptick in snaps of late with Olivier Vernon on the shelf with a knee injury. As Jeff Risdon wrote for (Cleveland) Browns Wire, to say that the results have been mixed is probably being kind.

“Thomas has stepped up nicely in Vernon’s absence,” Risdon said, “but the pressure is now on the second-year EDGE to be a full-time starter. Thomas has a sack in each of the last two games and also broke up a (fourth)-down pass attempt (that Mason Rudolph essentially threw into him), so he is making some impact. It will be interesting to see if he can do it more consistently and eliminate the stretches where he’s too easily blocked.“

Is Thomas going to be an every-week starter for IDP squads down the stretch? Probably not. But the youngster does have a sack in the last two games and faces a Miami team Sunday that’s tied for the league lead in sacks allowed with 42.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an eight-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last three years. He won the honor in 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.