It was inevitable.
During Sunday’s win by the Dallas Cowboys over the Philadelphia Eagles, a big-name linebacker went down. The stunner was that it wasn’t Sean Lee.
That isn’t to say there wasn’t a major injury, however. In fact, the Eagles lost both starting inside linebackers during the game. Mychal Kendricks suffered a hamstring injury that could sideline him in Week 3, but it’s Kiko Alonso owners who are reaching for the Pepto Bismol. According to Mike Garafalo of FOX Sports, the knee injury suffered by Alonso (the same knee that cost Alonso all of 2014) may be a season-ender.
Given that injury, it took me all of about 11 seconds to determine this week’s top IDP pickup—and he’s a familiar name to IDP owners.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
DeMeco Ryans – ILB, Philadelphia Eagles
Well, it appears that the Eagles re-upping Ryans in the offseason wasn’t such a bad idea after all. With both Alonso and Kendricks forced from the Dallas game, Ryans being eased back into action came to a screeching halt. The 31-year-old, who is himself returning from a torn Achilles, played 61 snaps in the game, picking up six total tackles and a pass defensed.
With Alonso’s season in jeopardy and Kendricks looking iffy at best for a must-win game against a surging New York Jets team, Ryans looks set to play every down against a Jets team that’s going to try to exploit the Eagles’ issues inside. If he’s available in your IDP league, he’s easily this week’s top waiver wire target.
WEEK 3 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Robert Ayers – DE, New York Giants
After Jason Pierre-Paul blew part of his right hand off in quite possibly the most expensive 4th of July gaffe ever, there were questions galore regarding which lineman for Big Blue would step up and pick up JPP’s slack. If the first two games of the 2015 season are any indication, the answer to that question is Ayers, who led all Giants’ ends with 50 snaps against the Atlanta Falcons.
Granted, Ayers’ numbers through two games (six tackles, one sack, one forced fumble) aren’t eye-popping, and a tweaked hammy landed the veteran on the injury report ahead of Thursday night’s tilt with the Washington Redskins. However, Ayers has quietly posted high-end DL2 numbers to this point in 2015, and should continue to do so so long as he retains his full-time role.
Jacquies Smith – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers got their first win of the Jameis Winston era in Week 2, but it was defensive end Jacquies Smith who drew the praise of teammate Gerald McCoy according to Ira Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune. “Jacquies played great,’’ McCoy said. “I told him all week long that I was going to push the pocket and he needs to stay ready on the edge. He got a bunch of one-on-one blocking and he won them all day.’’
I banged the drum on Smith most of the summer as a potential late-round value on the defensive front, but I’m not about to sit here and say that I expected the 25-year-old to trail only J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans among linemen in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring after two weeks. That isn’t going to hold, but there’s no question Smith should be rostered in all but the shallowest of IDP leagues at this point.
Justin Durant – OLB, Atlanta Falcons
Durant will see quite a few familiar faces this week when the Falcons face the Dallas Cowboys, with whom Durant played the past two seasons. In both those seasons, Durant missed significant time with injuries, including 10 games a year ago. However, so far so good with Durant in Atlanta. In fact, the 30-year-old journeyman leads the Falcons in tackles through two games with 18.
Durant is exactly that – a journeyman linebacker. However, not only is Durant leading the team in stops and is a top-20 fantasy option at his position through two games, but middle linebacker Paul Worrilow suffered a calf injury in Week 2. Throw in a Dallas team that will all but certainly lean on the run game short both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, and Durant is at or near the top of this week’s plug-and-play pickup list.
Derrick Morgan – OLB, Tennessee Titans
Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of “rush” outside linebackers in most IDP scoring systems. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule of thumb (sack-heavy leagues, players whose names rhyme with Justin Houston), but pass-rush types can be very high-variance from week to week in balanced and tackle-heavy IDP leagues.
Still, it’s getting hard to argue with the case to add Morgan in all but the most tackle-heavy of leagues. Not only has the former first-round pick racked up three sacks over the first two games of the 2015 campaign, but Morgan has also added at least five total tackles in both games. This week Morgan and the Titans face the reeling Colts, who have all sorts of problems up front at the moment.
Adam Jones – CB, Cincinnati Bengals
You may find this hard to believe, but Jones is in hot water with the NFL again. However, the artist formerly known as “PacMan” isn’t taking his $35,000 fine for bopping Oakland wide receiver Amari Cooper in the melon in Week 1 lying down. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, “Jones’ appeal contends that the All-22 video shows Cooper striking him in the neck earlier in the play, and that it was Cooper who was attempting to take him to the ground.”
Jones may well not be a choir boy, but what he is is the Bengals’ leading tackler through two games after following up his 10-solo effort against the Raiders with nine total stops against the San Diego Chargers last week. That isn’t just the sort of numbers that get IDP owners in CB-required formats salivating—it’s the kind of steady production that puts Jones on the radar in all formats.
Marcus Peters – CB, Kansas City Chiefs
Peters told Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star that his first two games as an NFL player have been a dream come true. “Like Eric Berry says, you have to live your dreams out, and my dream was to come to the NFL and to make my presence be felt and to be welcomed by my teammates by my play,” Peters said. “Not by just the words I speak, (but) by me going out there and proving myself.”
It may not exactly be fair to call Peters a “rookie corner rule” candidate. He’s intercepted a pass in each of his first two games, so quarterbacks who have targeted him have paid a price. Peters has also added at least five solo stops in each of those games, and draws Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a favorable fantasy matchup in Week 3.
With the 2015 season underway, Fantasy Sharks has you covered. Whether it’s player rankings and projections, waiver wire targets, rookie analysis for dynasty leagues or strategy tips, IDP Staff Writer Walton Spurlin and IDP Senior Staff Writer Gary Davenport have all the information you need to dominate your IDP league in 2015. Also, for the latest IDP news and player updates follow IDP Sharks on Twitter.