‘Tis the season to get twitchy. Fa La La La La La, the sky is falling.
I’ve written this IDP Waiver Wire column every year since 2009. Every year here at Fantasy Sharks since 2011. And it invariably starts off with the same admonition – an annual rite of passage in IDP leagues.
Every year fantasy owners panic when the IDPs they drafted as starters don’t perform up to expectations in Week 1. Yes, the fact that Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt posted only a single assist in Week 1 is a bummer. Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson’s two assist faceplant against the Detroit Lions is disappointing. Eric Weddle’s three solos and an assist in his debut with the Baltimore Ravens aren’t what we’d hoped from the veteran safety.
Just as on the offensive side of the ball, bad weeks happen to good players in IDP. And when it happens right out of the gate it becomes easy to fall prey to thinking that’s as good as it’s going to get – that those underperformers should be cast to the waiver wire before it’s too late.
And then in Week 4 when your opponent uses the players you cut (who have since returned to form) to beat you to mush you’ll realize that one week does not a season make. Don’t fall prey to the Week 1 twitches.
However, thanks to injuries and other assorted misfortunes some fantasy owners have legitimate holes to fill, and savvy IDP owners are always looking to better their depth.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some players to target in IDP leagues in Week 2.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Sio Moore – ILB, Indianapolis Colts
D’Qwell Jackson may have been a no-show during Indy’s wild Week 1 loss to Detroit, but the same can’t be said about batterymate Sio Moore, who wasn’t expected by many to even play after suffering a severe hamstring pull earlier in the preseason.
If Moore’s hammy was bothering him Sunday it didn’t show. Moore was easily the Colts’ leader in tackles against the Lions, piling up 13 stops – including 10 solos. The performance was all the more impressive when you consider Moore was forced from the game for a time. Durability is a concern, and you can’t expect 10 solos every week, but Moore’s absolutely worth a look.
WEEK 2 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Danielle Hunter – DE, Minnesota Vikings
Hunter got more than a little run as a potential IDP “sleeper” this season, but after the second year pro’s performance in a Week 1 win over the Tennessee Titans no one will be sleeping on Hunter any longer. That has a tendency to happen when a young player not only tallies three tackles and a sack but also picks up a fumble and returns it for a score.
“I was just going through my reads – the fullback, and the quarterback, and I saw that none of them had the ball. The ball was over there,” Hunter told Lindsey Young of the team’s website. “I was thinking in the team situation we were in, there was no time to dive on the ball. I just scooped and scored.”
Time for fantasy owners to make with the scooping.
Leonard Williams – DE, New York Jets
After logging only three sacks as a rookie, Williams told Kaylee Potahl of The New York Post that improving his pass rushing was an offseason priority. “I think I did really well in the running game last year, Williams said, “So during the offseason I’ve been working on my pass rushing.”
That work appears to have paid off. The New York Jets didn’t have Sheldon Richardson against the Cincinnati Bengals, but Gang Green still got to Andy Dalton seven times – with Williams leading the team with 2.5.
Richardson returns next week, but the Jets have been toying with formations that get all three of their stud linemen on the field at once. Williams isn’t available in a lot of leagues – but he shouldn’t be available in any.
Max Bullough – ILB, Houston Texans
Bullough was forced into action Sunday against the Chicago Bears when veteran Brian Cushing went down with a torn MCL. Bullough amassed five solos in a Texans win, earning the praise of head coach Bill O’ Brien. Bullough went in there and did a nice job,” O’Brien told Drew Dougherty of the team’s website. “He was a solid player for us.”
Bullough is now penciled in as a starter for at least the next six weeks – a role he said he’s ready for. “I’ve been expecting to play since the first day I got here on special teams or defense,” he said. “I’ve approached every day like that. I’ve had great help from guys like Brian to give me some pointers.”
Craig Robertson – OLB, New Orleans Saints
Robertson was flagged for a key pass interference call late in Sunday’s loss to the Oakland Raiders, a call he told Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune was bogus. “I didn’t think the ball was catchable, but the ref made a call and I’ve got to live with it myself,” he said. “I’m just mad it put the team in a bad place.”
What wasn’t bogus was Robertson’s performance up to that point, as he paced New Orleans with 11 stops, including eight solo tackles. So long as Dannell Ellerbe is on the shelf Robertson has value as an IDP LB3, and if Robertson keeps flying around like he did in Week 1 Ellerbe may not have a job to come back to.
Tony Jefferson – SS, Arizona Cardinals
Jefferson told Kyle Odegard of the team’s website that he relishes his increased role with the Redbirds in 2016. “That’s one thing I had to do,” Jefferson said. “Step up and be a leader. I’ve done some things that caught some people by surprise. Usually I’m not as vocal, but I’ve been pretty vocal. I’m the guy talking back there in the secondary and doing all the checks. A lot of guys are looking to me to get the answers.”
Against the New England Patriots Sunday night Jefferson looked to have the answers, piling up 10 total tackles to lead the Cardinals. With a tasty matchup on tap against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2, Jefferson could also have the answer for IDP owners with a need in the secondary.
Da’Norris Searcy – SS, Tennessee Titans
All the way back in January, Searcy told Jim Wyatt of the team’s website the plan was to make a bigger impact in 2016. “I want to make more flash plays,” Searcy said. “I want to be a game-changer on the defensive side of the ball. You have a lot of game-changers on offense, and I want to be mentioned in the same company as the other elite safeties. What separates those guys from everybody else is the ability to make game-changing plays, so I would love the opportunities to do that.
In Week 1 at least, Searcy accomplished his mission, rolling up eight solos in the team’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. I’ll freely admit I’m a bit leery of Searcy after getting burned last year, but that stat line and the Titans’ issues at linebacker in front of him are hard points to argue with.