It’s the hardest thing to do in IDP leagues – knowing when to say goodbye.
Hang onto an under-performing defensive player too long, and it can wreck your season. Cut bait too quickly, and those same players can come back to haunt you later – as the members of an opponent’s fantasy squad.
It can be nearly impossible to tell the difference.
Three weeks into the 2017 fantasy football season, IDP owners are already facing some difficult choices. And there are players I’m just not prepared to cut the cord on yet. Yes, defensive ends J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Danielle Hunter of the Minnesota Vikings have combined for all of zero sacks. Three weeks in Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander has all of one tackle.
But all three of those guys have shown the ability to not only produce, but do so at an elite level.
The choice is harder with players like Jacksonville Jaguars safety Barry Church. After three weeks Church is averaging fewer than five tackles a game. But he hasn’t been hurt like Alexander, nor does he play a position where sacks drive fantasy production. He’s simply playing behind a pair of talented linebackers who haven’t let a lot of tackle opportunities get past them.
And at IDP’s most fungible position (defensive back), it’s fair to wonder whether it’s time to move on.
I can’t make that decision for you. No one can. I don’t know the ins and outs of your particular league or which players are available on the waiver wire.
However, whether it’s due to an injury or just a slow start, IDP owners looking to add talent ahead of Week 4 should definitely give these players a look.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Josh Jones – S, Green Bay Packers
As Wes Hodkiewicz reported for the Packers website, Jones relished being a big part of the Packers second-half comeback over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday. “I was fired up to be out there, be out there with my teammates,” Jones said. “Everybody had my back. We had each other’s back and we went out there and played football. t’s satisfying to know that your preparation paid off, but this is a long season. This is just one game. I expect to continue to do that throughout this season. Help this team get to the main goal and you guys obviously know what that is.”
There was plenty for fantasy owners to be stoked about in Jones’ Week 3 performance, including a stat line that included 12 total tackles, 11 solos and a pair of sacks. The rookie isn’t going to post those kinds of numbers every week, but so long as he’s playing full-time in a role that includes a lot of snaps as a “nitro” linebacker, he is going to post numbers.
WEEK 4 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Dante Fowler – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Before the season, Fowler admitted to John Reid of the Florida Times-Union that he wasn’t fully committed to football a year ago. “I had to look in the mirror a few times you know,” Fowler said. “I soul searched a lot. I watched the entire season at least three times. Last year, I was coming off the (torn) ACL injury (which forced him to miss his entire rookie season in 2015). I was amped up and excited to get back on the field to be able to play again. But my mind wasn’t on knowing what I was about to get myself in, going against the best. I wanted to be great so bad, but the things that I was doing I couldn’t be great by doing that.”
Fowler’s commitment level doesn’t appear to be in question after three games this year, Fowler reached the quarterback for the second time in three weeks in Sunday’s London drubbing of the Baltimore Ravens, and compliments of his Week 1 touchdown Fowler sits well inside the top 10 defensive linemen in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring despite a goose-egg in Week 2. Fowler doesn’t log a lot of tackles, but he’s showing the pass-rush chops that led the Jags to draft him third overall back in 2014.
William Gholston – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Back at the beginning of the year, Zain Ahmed of the Pewter Plank wrote that the Buccaneers needed Gholston to step up in 2017. “The Buccaneers did well in the sack department last year, tying for 9th place with 38 sacks,” he said. “While Tampa generated sacks last year, they failed to provide consistent pressure on the QB. At times, the defense was picked apart due to the lack of a pass rush. While the blame can not go entirely on Gholston, he is not free of fault either. To win more games Tampa must have a more consistent pass rush and Gholston must be a part of that.”
Gholston hasn’t gotten to the quarterback over Tampa’s first two games, but he’s been stout against the run, piling up 14 total tackles (including an eye-popping nine in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings). That makes the 26-year-old an interesting edition as a high-floor fantasy option in tackle-heavy formats, especially with Noah Spence sidelined indefinitely with a dislocated shoulder.
Jon Bostic – ILB, Indianapolis Colts
Bostic told Kevin Bowen of the Colts website that it feels great to be both healthy and starting for his fourth NFL team in as many seasons. “I’m excited to come into the season finally healthy and I’m ready to get out and show them what I can do,” Bostic said. “I feel like I fit in well. I know what I can do when I’m healthy. The main thing for me is just staying healthy. I can cover, play the run, so I’m not really worried about that stuff. I’m healthy and am having fun.”
Bostic has been on the field for every defensive snap for the Colts in 2017, and in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns he turned in a great fantasy effort, tallying 10 total tackles (eight solo) and a pass defensed. Bostic might not be a world-beater talent-wise, but any inside linebacker who is on the field as much as Bostic has been should be on IDP rosters.