Between Fantasy Football Oasis and now Fantasy Sharks, I have been writing this column for over a decade now. That’s well over 150 editions of this piece. And without fail, every year the first IDP Waiver Wire column features some variation on the same theme.
Don’t freak out, man.
Yes, Aaron Donald only had one solo in the Los Angeles Rams 30-27 win over the Carolina Panthers. But Donald’s the two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year and a guy that piled up 20.5 sacks in 2018. If you are honestly freaking out about one off game from a defensive lineman of Donald’s caliber, then you might just need a slap.
A gentle one, but still—a slap.
Yes, a pair of high-end linebackers put up Week 1 duds in Myles Jack of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kwon Alexander of the San Francisco 49ers. But both of those players were also ejected early in their respective games. Assuming that doesn’t happen every week, both will be fine.
After they sit in their rooms a while and think about what they did.
Yes, Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal managed just one stop in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings. But in a game where the Vikings attempted all of 10 passes it’s not a stunner that a DB didn’t post huge numbers.
Are all those stat lines unfortunate? Yes. Is it maddening when a highly drafted IDP craps the bed right out of the gate. Also yes. Should you always be looking to better your defensive roster? One more yes and I get a free hoagie.
But panic drops have a way of coming back to bite you in the butt, and it’s much too early to throw in the towel on early IDP picks.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Sam Hubbard – DE, Cincinnati Bengals
Hubbard’s massive stat line against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 surprised more than a few people. As Laurel Pfahler of the Dayton Daily News wrote, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor wasn’t one of them.
“Sam’s breakout game, if you want to call it that, is one of the least surprising things I’ve ever seen because he’s been so consistent day to day,” Taylor said. “He’s exactly the kind of player you love to coach and be around, and you’re combining talent with relentless effort, and that usually pays off. Some of the fronts that Lou (Anarumo) presented yesterday put some of those guys in some pretty good one-on-one situations in the pass rush and the way they are sound fundamentally in the run game. Sam just capitalized on a lot of good opportunities, and it’s not at all surprising to see Sam have a game like that.”
Hubbard went absolutely bananas in Cincy’s surprisingly close loss, exploding for 10 solos (six solo) and two sacks. I beat the drum much of the summer for the former Ohio State standout, confident that if more snaps were there in 2019 more stats would be as well. Hubbard was on the field for 81 percent of the Bengals defensive plays in Week 1.
If he’s available in your IDP league, Hubbard is the week’s top add.
WEEK 2 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Nick Bosa – DE, San Francisco 49ers
Bosa’s IDP value dipped late in IDP draft season compliments of an ankle injury that cost him much of camp and the preseason and clouded his Week 1 availability. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft was out there against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers though, and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan liked what he saw.
“He definitely had an effect on the game which is what we were hoping for,” Shanahan said, via 49ers WebZone. He got in the backfield a lot. I know he got that one sack which started with [DL] Dee Ford running into him. He had a number of times where he got free, which I thought were impressive. [Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB] Jameis [Winston] made some very impressive escapes from the pocket on a number of those too. I thought it was a good first game. Still a lot of areas to improve, but considering what he’s been going through here the last few weeks, I thought it was a success.”
Bosa piled up three total tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack in his NFL debut, and while the rookie’s going to have his ups and downs in 2019, he showed against Tampa why a youngster that talented belongs on IDP rosters.
Jerry Hughes – DE, Buffalo Bills
It’s been a long time since Hughes had a big season in the sack column—his last year with more than 10 was all the way back in 2014. But as head coach Sean McDermott told Curtis Rush of Forbes, there’s a lot more to the veteran end’s game than just notching sacks.
“Everyone wants the sack numbers,” McDermott said. “Just as important, at times, is how many times you affect the quarterback, whether it’s getting him off his spot, his vision, his arm, and the way the ball comes out. I think a lot of interceptions, a lot of incompletions, come from just getting the quarterback moved off his spot, affecting his vision, affecting the trajectory of the ball, his arm.”
Hughes got his 10th NFL season off to the right start in Buffalo’s Week 1 win over the New York Jets, notching three tackles, 1.5 sacks and two passes defensed. Add in a favorable matchup this week with the New York Giants, and you have the makings of a solid spot-starter.
Thomas Davis – OLB, Los Angeles Chargers
In his first game with the Chargers after 14 seasons in Carolina, Davis paced the Bolts with 14 total tackles in an overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts. But it was the one he missed late that miffed the veteran linebacker according to Mike Digiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
“For me, it’s all about getting 15 tackles,” Davis said. “The one I missed on the sideline proved to be pivotal. (Adrian Phillips) did a good job of slowing him down — I’m the cleanup guy, I have to be there to make that play and finish. We over-pursued him. Both of us were thinking the same thing — don’t let him get out of bounds and get a free timeout.”
As great as those 14 tackles were for IDP owners, there’s another number that’s potentially even more important—63. That’s the number of defensive snaps the Chargers had overall, and Davis was one of three Los Angeles defenders who was on the field for every one of them.