OK, so now you can start freaking out.
We’re four weeks into the season, and what was a fluke after one game, a coincidence after two and a trend after three is now something else altogether.
Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has all of one assist, total, through four games. Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David ranks a paltry 30th among linebackers in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring. Green Bay Packers strong safety Morgan Burnett has missed three of four games with a calf injury.
All three were thought to be elite IDP options entering the 2015 campaign. With the exception of David, they are now waiver wire fodder.
That’s left more than a few IDP owners both reaching for the liquor cabinet and scanning their league’s waiver wire.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some of Week 5’s top pickups, including a couple stars returning from suspension. We’ll kick things off, however, with a look at a young player who may have been returned to the waiver wire himself after a slow start to the season.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Johnathan Cyprien – SS, Jacksonville Jaguars
Cyprien was a top-10 pick at his position in many IDP Drafts this season, but after a whisper-quiet start to 2015 (four total tackles and two missed games over the first three weeks of the season) the third-year pro was jettisoned in more than a few fantasy football leagues. If he was in yours, it’s time to avail yourself of the itchy trigger fingers of your league-mates.
Cyprien exploded in last week’s overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts, tallying 14 tackles (including 11 solos). Mind you, this isn’t to say that Cyprien will post numbers like that every week, but it shows the sort of IDP potential that made Cyprien a sought-after fantasy commodity to begin with.
WEEK 5 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Greg Hardy – DE, Dallas Cowboys
It’s been quite some time since we saw Hardy on a football field. In fact, the last time Hardy played significant snaps was the 2013 season. And Bob Sturm of the Dallas Morning News allows that it may take Hardy a bit of time to get back up to speed.
“Greg Hardy last played in 2013,” Sturm wrote, so, to expect him to resemble the defensive force he was might take a little time.”
Still, that defensive force tallied 15 sacks two years ago and functioned as an elite IDP DL1. And after dropping two in a row, the Cowboys have no margin for error in the NFC East. Don’t be surprised if Hardy plays substantial snaps as early as Week 5, and in short order he could reclaim his status as one of the top fantasy options at his position.
Stephon Tuitt – DE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Back in 2014, then-defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau told Chris Wesseling of NFL.com that Tuitt had the talent to be a top-10 draft pick. “He’s an exceptional athlete for his size, and he can run,” LeBeau added. “Even though I knew he could run, when I see him in person I’m surprised at his endurance and his speed and quickness.”
Over the last three weeks, Tuitt has certainly played like a top-10 pick. The second-year pro has posted an eye-popping 21 tackles and 3.5 sacks over that span, good for the top spot among all defensive linemen over that span. If he’s still available in your IDP league after a second straight week on this list, pick him up.
Christian Kirksey – ILB, Cleveland Browns
Kirksey admitted to P.J. Ziegler of Fox Cleveland that the Browns haven’t exactly been tearing it up of late. “I know a lot of people outside,” Kirksey said, “they are not watching the film; they are just watching the game on Sunday and they see the stats and they think ‘Oh, the Browns are doing this bad’, but it’s a lot of good things on film that we can learn from and build on.”
The Browns may not be a good team, and the team’s run defense is a fair bit worse than that. But that means more time on the field for players like Kirksey, whose snaps have increased in recent weeks. There’s always a chance that will change, but as long as he’s playing full-time Kirksey’s worth a look from IDP owners.
Rolando McClain – MLB, Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys’ executive vice president Stephen Jones told Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News that he expects McClain to make a quick transition back to the lineup after serving a four-game suspension.
“We feel as good about Ro as we’ve ever felt,” Jones said. “I think he’s in the best shape that he’s been in since we’ve had him. I know he’s ready to go play football.”
McClain’s return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cowboys, who saw defensive linchpin Sean Lee leave Sunday night’s loss to the New Orleans Saints with a concussion. Getting tossed into the deep end of a big matchup against the New England Patriots is a real possibility.
David Amerson – CB, Oakland Raiders
As Bill Williamson of ESPN reports, Amerson has wasted any time making an impression on his new head coach. “He’s really picked up the system well,” Jack Del Rio said. “He’s done a nice job coming in here and showing some of the skill that we thought he would have, and he’s added to the group. He’s been a good contributor. He forced a nice turnover yesterday. He’s had some sticky coverage, and we think he’s got a chance to help us.”
Amerson is the poster child for what IDP owners should look for in a corner – a sure tackler whose coverage deficiencies make him a favorite of opposing quarterbacks. This week that opposing quarterback is none other than Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. So there’s that too.
Corey Graham – S, Buffalo Bills
Graham told Chris Brown of the team’s website that he’s embarrassed by the recent rash of penalties that have plagued the team. “To go out there and get all those penalties,” Graham said, “one after another, dumb penalties, situations where you just have to shut up sometimes. It’s one of those situations where we can’t afford to do it. We can’t spot teams all those yards. We have to be more disciplined. It’s very disappointing.”
Graham may be disappointed with the product on the field, but IDP owners haven’t been disappointed with Graham’s production in the box score. Graham’s 13 tackles (with a sack) in Week 4 was the ninth-year veteran’s third straight game with double-digit tackles. No safety in the NFL has posted more fantasy points over that span.
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