Five weeks into the 2015 season, some trends have emerged in IDP leagues.
Along the defensive front, the name of the game has been disappointment. Defensive end Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills has 10 tackles and two sacks. Ends Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins don’t have that put together. Even J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans has looked mortal more often than not.
At linebacker, it’s been nagging injuries. The position hasn’t been devastated on the same scale as a year ago, but whether it’s Paul Posluszny of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers or even Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers, plenty of big names have missed or are set to miss multiple games.
And the defensive backs? Well, they’ve been defensive backs. Good luck figuring that mess out.
No matter the position, as we head into the heart of the bye weeks this much is certain – more IDP owners than not are looking to upgrade for one reason or another.
That’s where this article comes in, by highlighting some potential Week 6 waiver wire pickups.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Avery Williamson – ILB, Tennessee Titans
After a woefully slow start that saw Williamson fail to top four solos in any of his first three games and a Week 4 bye, many IDP owners (especially in shallower formats) likely cut bait on Williamson. Well, after the second-year pro rolled up nine total tackles and a sack in a loss to the Buffalo Bills, it may be time to put their itchy trigger finger to your advantage.
Frankly, the biggest problem with Williamson hasn’t even been Williamson. Only once in four games this season have the Titans seen even 65 snaps on defense. Williamson has yet to play 55 in a game this year despite a three-down role. By weight of comparison, the Arizona Cardinals saw nearly 100 in Week 5 alone. This isn’t to say Tennessee will flirt with those sorts of numbers any time soon, but the snap counts are going to equal out a bit as the season progresses. That’s going to mean more opportunities for fantasy production for Williamson moving forward.
Mike Daniels – DE, Green Bay Packers
Daniels threw up the dreaded doughnut in Week 4, but the fourth-year pro came back in a big way in Week 5, pacing the Packers with eight stops in a win over the St. Louis Rams. Added to the 2.5 sacks Daniels posted over the first three games of 2015, Daniels has quietly been a top-20 fantasy option to this point in the season.
Daniels told Jason Hirschorn of Sports on Earth that there’s no state secret behind Green Bay’s recent defensive resurgence. “I’ve played very well since I’ve been here,” Daniels says. “Got to keep getting better. That’s my goal, to get better every week.” At this point, the 26-year-old has at least done enough to merit a look from IDP squads in need of a shot in the arm due to byes or the large number of underperforming stars in 2015.
Greg Hardy – DE, Dallas Cowboys
Hardy wasted no time making an impact in his first game action of 2015, logging a pair of sacks in a loss to the New England Patriots and finishing as the second-ranked defensive end in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring for the week. Per Andy Friedlander of The Boston Globe, Hardy was grateful to be back on the field after losing all of 2014 and the first four games of 2015 to a domestic violence scandal and suspension. “I was so excited to be out there,” hardy said. “Grateful for the opportunity.”
Hardy did his damage against the Patriots in only 42 of 60 snaps, looking nearly unblockable for much of the game. Yes, the Cowboys are on a bye in Week 6, but it isn’t that often than an IDP DL1 is just sitting there on the waiver wire. If Hardy is available in your league, don’t hesitate. Because he who hesitates is lost.
Josh Bynes – OLB, Detroit Lions
Among the many big-name fantasy linebackers who have battled injuries early in 2015 is Detroit’s DeAndre Levy, who made his 2015 debut in Sunday’s beatdown at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. Of course, Levy lasted all of 17 snaps before re-aggravating his hip injury and landing right back on the shelf.
That threw Bynes right back into a three-down role for the Lions, one that may last a while for an 0-5 Lions team rapidly running out of things to play for. Bynes wasn’t exactly a worldbeater while filling that role earlier in the year, but fantasy owners in deeper leagues where Bynes was cut loose in advance of Levy’s expected return could probably do worse with injuries mounting and the bye weeks upon us.
Michael Wilhoite – ILB, San Francisco 49ers
As CBS Sports reports, Wilhoite had the game of his life in a Sunday night loss to the New York Giants. “Wilhoite recorded a career-high 16 tackles (11 solo) in Sunday’s loss to the Giants,” they said. “Eli Manning completed 41 passes, which created many opportunities for the entire 49ers’ defensive roster to rack up tackles. Wilhoite isn’t known for his ability to collect double-digit tackles, so Sunday’s output should be considered an outlier as opposed to what you can expect from him in the future.”
Yes, 16 tackles is an outlier. In fact, with the 49ers recently acquiring Gerald Hodges from the Minnesota Vikings it’s entirely possible that Wilhoite’s days as a starter are numbered. However, Wilhoite has also been a top-10 IDP option over the past two weeks. In other words – get while the getting’s good.
Tony Jefferson – S, Arizona Cardinals
Make no mistake, in the games where Jefferson sees a lot of snaps, such as last Sunday’s demolition of the Detroit Lions, Jefferson can be a valuable IDP asset. In fact, the third-year pro turned 12 total tackles and two forced fumbles against the Lions into a second-place finish among safeties trailing only teammate Rashad Johnson.
Of course, in the games where Jefferson doesn’t see much action, such as the two weeks preceding last week’s explosion, Jefferson all but vanishes. It’s simple, really. The Redbirds are essentially playing a nickel defense that features four safeties against teams they feel can throw the ball or when they get staked to a lead. It makes Jefferson the definition of a risk/reward IDP play, but one that can pay big dividends if you choose wisely.
Marcus Peters – CB, Kansas City Chiefs
Many fantasy owners greedily snatched up Peters after the rookie logged interceptions in his first two NFL starts, only to cast the former Washington star right back to the waiver wire after he came back to earth the next two games. As if that weren’t bad enough, Peters’ third interception was called back in last week’s loss to the Bears – a game in which Peters drew a pass interference call and allowed a touchdown catch by tailback Matt Forte.
Such is the life of a rookie cornerback in the NFL.
Week 6 brings with it a chance at redemption both from an NFL and IDP perspective for Peters. The Chiefs play a Minnesota Vikings team that’s been a top-five fantasy matchup for defensive backs in 2015, vaulting Peters near the top of the list of targets for IDP owners who like to stream in CB-required leagues.
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