We’re getting into the heart of the 2019 fantasy football season. And in some respects, that means trouble for IDP owners.
For starters, injuries continue to mount. Whether it’s on the defensive line with players like Akiem Hicks of the Chicago Bears and Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs, at linebacker with players like Mark Barron of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Kansas City’s Anthony Hitchens or in the secondary with players like Baltimore Ravens safety Tony Jefferson and Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage, Week 5 added a number of names to a list that already included stars like Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard.
Injuries are part of game, and it always seems worse in the moment. But over the past couple of weeks it really does feel like players are dropping like flies—especially at linebacker.
Then there’s the matter of the bye weeks. Week 6 brings with it the first four-team bye—the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and Oakland Raiders are all off this week. No Tremaine Edmunds. Or Khalil Mack. Or Anthony Walker. Or Tahir Whitehead.
In other words, more folks than ever are turning to the waiver wire looking to patch a hole in their IDP lineup. Fortunately, there’s a fair amount of meat on the proverbial bone this week. In some cases, it’s players who were drafted but then dropped after slow starts. For others it’s a matter of players just now getting up to speed.
And in the case of the Week 6 Pickup of the Week, it’s a player who didn’t even have a gig 10 days ago.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Josh Bynes – ILB, Baltimore Ravens
Bynes, who hadn’t played an NFL snap since last November, was signed by the Ravens last week to bolster a shaky cadre of inside linebackers. The 30-year-old journeyman wound up playing 43 of 60 snaps Sunday in Baltimore’s overtime win, drawing praise from head coach John Harbaugh.
“He had a number of tackles,” Harbaugh said, via Daniel Oyefusi of the Baltimore Sun. He was in the right spot. He played hard. His coverage was solid. I’m sure he’ll tell you there’s a lot of things he wants to do better. That’s a credit to him because he was in great shape. You do worry about guys in that situation, just being able to handle it physically. He handled it great. During the game, we didn’t even plan on playing him that many reps, but he felt so good during the game, he was able to do it.”
Bynes, who tallied five tackles and an interception in his Baltimore debut, was a top-12 fantasy linebacker over the first half of the 2018 season with the Arizona Cardinals before eventually going down with a thumb injury late in the year. The Ravens badly need someone to step up opposite Patrick Onwuasor inside. If Bynes can keep it up, the snaps (and IDP value) will be there.
WEEK 6 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Brandon Graham – DE, Philadelphia Eagles
Graham may well have been drafted this year based on reputation, but with just 10 tackles and no sacks over the first month the 31-year-old was likely shown the door in most leagues. Graham exploded for half a dozen tackles and three sacks Sunday against the New York Jets—an outburst that pleased batterymate Derek Barnett a great deal.
“It’s great seeing that, because BG comes in and he busts his ass during practice,” said Barnett, via ESPN’s Tim McManus. “When he does that and puts it on the field, it’s very encouraging. And then when guys get sacks, the energy just passes along to everybody.”
Graham’s not the player he once was—his four sacks in 2018 were his lowest in a 16-game season since all the way back in 2013. But the 10th-year veteran is still quite capable of a solid stat line in a favorable matchup—such as Sunday’s above-average tilt with the Minnesota Vikings.
Matt Ioannidis – DE, Washington Redskins
Ioannidis has been a rare bright spot among the inescapable vortex of suck that is the 2019 Redskins, averaging five-plus total tackles and half a sack over his last three games. As Kyle Stackpole reported for the team’s website back when Ioannidis inked a multi-year contract extension with the team, the 25-year-old is also one of the few people in D.C. who wouldn’t like to see Washington’s front office tarred and feathered.
“It’s incredible,” Ioannidis said. “Really thankful to the owner and the organization. A lot of it has to do with the coaching and teaching of Coach [Jim] Tomsula and the strength staff down there on the bottom floor. Coach Chad [Englehart] and Coach Kevan [Latham] and Jake [Sankal] have been instrumental in the success of the D-Line.”
Not only has Ioannidis been on a nice little roll of late, but he draws a dream matchup in Week 5. The Miami Dolphins are possibly the only team in the NFL worse than Washington, and the Dolphins have allowed 4.5 sacks per game and the second-most fantasy points per game to defensive linemen in 2019.
David Mayo – ILB, New York Giants
The New York Giants have been blasted by injuries to their inside linebackers. First Alec Ogletree suffered a hamstring pull that has already cost him multiple games. Then rookie Ryan Connelly tore his ACL. The fifth-year veteran, who joined the Giants after being released late in camp, told Zach Braziller of the New York Post that he’s fitting in well in his new home.
“It worked out great. I love it here,” Mayo said. “That’s the way this game goes. You never know when your opportunity is going to come. When the Giants called, I was pretty excited. It was a good fit and I was happy to come.”
Mayo played all but two snaps in last week’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, posting nine total stops and logging at least eight tackles for the second week in a row. With the Giants headed to New England on a short week, it’s likely Mayo will be a large role again against the Patriots, making him a solid injury or bye week fill-in.