It happens every year in IDP leagues.
Every season, there are defensive stars who get off to sluggish starts. These defensive stars are then cut loose by panicky fantasy owners, especially once the bye week crunch hits. And as often as not, those defensive stars then show why they were so highly touted entering the season my going on a hot streak.
In 2015, many of those disappointments were clustered in Miami, playing for a Dolphins team that under-performed in a big way over the season’s first month. However, since Dan Campbell took over as head coach the Dolphins have been playing like their hair is on fire on both sides of the ball.
In Week 7, it was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s turn to break out, with the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player finally tallying his first two sacks since leaving Motown for Miami. Of course, in many leagues that explosion came with Suh sitting on the waiver wire.
So while you’re looking for the following players on your IDP league’s waiver wire in Week 8, keep an eye out for under-performing stars. You never know when that rebound could be just around the corner.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Michael Bennett – DE, Seattle Seahawks
As Peter King of the MMQB wrote, Bennett was a big part of a dominant effort by the Seattle pass rush against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7. “The San Francisco offensive line,” King said, “which used to be good, got absolutely abused by the Seattle pass-rush Thursday night in the Seahawks’ 20-3 victory. The primary abuser was the man New England thought was Seattle’s best player entering Super Bowl 49, Bennett. He had 3.5 sacks Thursday night and appeared to thoroughly discombobulate Colin Kaepernick.”
That 3.5 sacks are a career-high for Bennett, and also more sacks than he had in the season’s first six games combined. That sluggish start may have gotten Bennett the gate in some IDP leagues, but after last week’s big game, the versatile veteran is a worthwhile pickup for fantasy owners feeling the bye week crunch.
WEEK 8 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
William Hayes – DE, St. Louis Rams
With Chris long sidelined by a knee injury, Hayes was forced into the starting lineup last week for the Rams. Against the Cleveland Browns it was Hayes who did the forcing. He forced pressure in the form of two sacks of Josh McCown. He also forced a pair of fumbles in a game that was lousy with them.
The performance drew praise from Hayes’ head coach, according to Fox Sports. “He’s playing very consistent (against) the run,” Jeff Fisher said of Hayes, who played for Fisher with the Tennessee Titans. “Good pass-rush. Good pressure collapsing the pocket for us. We got good pressure on (Browns quarterback) Josh (McCown) today.”
Kawann Short – DT, Carolina Panthers
Jared Allen knows a thing about playing on the defensive line in the National Football League in the NFL, and the 33-year-old has been impressed by the play of Short since Allen joined the Panthers a few weeks ago. “Monster. Monster,’’ Allen told ESPN’s David Newton. “And you know what I like about him? It’s not just the pass game. He is making TFLs, holding down the middle, and it’s fun to see.’’
Short has been a monster of late for fantasy owners as well, ranking as the top-scoring defensive tackle in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring on the season. Much of that damage was done over the past two weeks, with Short piling up 14 total tackles and an eye-popping five sacks over that span.
Jon Beason – MLB, New York Giants
Beason has been in and out of the Giants’ lineup for much of the season with a variety of injuries – a familiar refrain for the veteran linebacker. However, in last Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys it was rookie surprise Uani Unga who was inactive, while Beason was back at his customary spot as the starter at middle linebacker.
Beason came up big, both for Big Blue and IDP owners, tallying 11 total tackles (including seven solos) in a seven-point win. Is it only a matter of time until the 30-year-old gets hurt again? Quite possibly. But until then, Beason’s a three-down player with a track record of production, and at this point in the season, those sorts of options don’t exactly grow on trees.
Michael Wilhoite – ILB, San Francisco 49ers
As Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, since the moment Gerald Hodges arrived in the bay Area there have been rumblings Wilhoite’s job was in danger. “The 49ers, after all, sent a strong signal in the offseason they had doubts about Wilhoite being a long-term solution for a position group that lost both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland to retirement in March,” Branch said. “In April, general manager Trent Baalke said the 49ers were working on a contract extension for Wilhoite, but a deal never got done.”
However, not only has that benching not come yet, but Wilhoite has now quietly posted three consecutive big IDP games for the Niners. So much so, in fact, that he’s crept into the back of IDP LB1 territory on the season. Is Wilhoite a great player from an NFL perspective? Nope. Should you care even a little? Nope.
Eric Berry – SS, Kansas City Chiefs
As Berry told Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star, it felt pretty good to break out a new celebration after logging an interception in last week’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I’ve been planning that one out for a long time,” Berry said. “I’m just glad I could actually use it. You just want to help your team any way you can, and if it’s turnovers — that’s the biggest way we can — so be it.
The interception was particularly important for Berry, as it was his first since being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year. Berry beat cancer and is now back in a full-time role at the back of the Chiefs defense – a role the former Pro Bowler has turned into big-time fantasy production in the past.
Kemal Ishmael – SS, Atlanta Falcons
Per CBS Sports, Atlanta safety William Moore is looking iffy for Week 8 after being sidelined during last Sunday’s win over the Tennessee Titans. “Moore was forced out of Sunday’s game against the Titans during the first half due to a groin injury,” they said. “Since he’s already been ruled out for Wednesday’s practice session, Moore’s status will have to be monitored throughout the week. If Moore is unable to recover in time, Kemal Ishmael would figure to assume his starting safety position for Sunday’s game versus the Buccaneers.”
Once Moore was forced from last week’s game Ishmael took over the same spot at strong safety that he held for most of last year, logging six solos. As a full-time starter last year Ishmael was a top-12 fantasy defensive back, putting the third-year pro squarely on the spot-start radar in Week 8.
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