It’s been a wildly up-and-down season for Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake. The 33-year-old opened the season colder than cold, managing all of one assist over the first four games of the season. Then Wake woke up in a HUGE way, posting seven sacks over a three-game span.
Unfortunately, that three-game span also brought with it the end of Wake’s season. In last Thursday night’s blowout loss to the New England Patriots, Wake tore his Achilles, leaving fantasy owners who had gone from despondent to elated reaching for the Kleenex again.
Wake’s replacement on the Miami front is among the top IDP waiver wire targets as we head into a six-team bye week in Week 9, but it’s a superstar defensive end who could be making a return to action that leads off this week’s pickups.
IDP PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, New York Giants
Given that Pierre-Paul only recently made his return to the Giants following a disastrous offseason fireworks accident that cost him his right index finger it remains a longshot that the 26-year-old will play in Week 9. Still, IDP owners looking to add Pierre-Paul will likely need to act now, as Giants head coach Tom Coughlin also wasn’t willing to rule it out while speaking with Dan Graziano of ESPN.
“Everybody words it a little bit differently,” Coughlin said on a conference call. “But if he practices and if he continues to advance the way he has over the last few days, then that would be a decision that we would be confident in making.”
Is it likely Pierre-Paul plays? No. Do we know if he’ll be anywhere close to his former self when he does? No. Is Pierre-Paul worth a speculative pickup if you can spare the room based on his history of elite IDP production? Well, duh.
WEEK 9 IDP WAIVER WIRE TARGETS
Malik Jackson – DE, Denver Broncos
As Jackson told Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post, the fourth-year pro has been working on upping his pass-rushing game in 2015. “All you do all week is watch film thinking: how can I get a sack?” Jackson said. “When you get one, it’s just pride. You represent your family with the name on the back of your jersey. I try to come in, game in and game out and just ball.”
Jackson has been doing just that in 2015. In five of seven games the former Mississippi State star has at least half a sack, and he’s quietly climbed inside the top 20 fantasy options at his position in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring. This week’s matchup with the Indianapolis Colts isn’t especially favorable, but given how many teams are on a bye in Week 9 beggars can’t be choosers.
Derrick Shelby – DE, Miami Dolphins
As ESPN’s James Walker reports, Shelby will be the first to admit he’s no Cameron Wake. “I’m not Cam Wake at all,” Shelby said. “So I just try to be Derrick Shelby. That’s the way I approach it. Speaking from Cam’s perspective, there is no way to match that production. But it’s a bunch of guys on the D-line and we’re going to take that burden as a whole.”
Shelby’s right – he’s not Cameron Wake. But the fourth-year veteran has shown some flashes when afforded the opportunity, including a pair of tackles, two hurries and a QB hit against the Patriots in Week 8. Shelby isn’t going to throw up seven sacks in three games, but high-floor DL2 production isn’t out of the realm of reason in a full-time role.
Kwon Alexander – MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Alexander played the game of his life against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, but as Matt Winkeljohn of ESPN reports Alexander did so with a heavy heart after losing his younger brother. “It’s been hard, man,” he said. “He was my little brother, but I know he’d want me to be strong for him, and I came out here and dedicated this game to him. [I was] very determined because [he] wanted me to do it. All he wanted me to do is ball, so dedicated it to him.”
Not only did Alexander lead all players in the game with 11 total tackles, but he also forced a fumble, recovered it and logged an interception. In fact, the rookie had another interception called back due to an offsides penalty. LaVonte David may be the bigger IDP name, but it’s the youngster who’s had the bigger game in 2015.
Vontaze Burfict – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals
It didn’t take Burfict long to generate headlines in his return to action in Week 8, as it was his hit that ended Le’Veon Bell’s season. ESPN’s Coley Harvey reports that Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther defended the hit. “That was a clean hit. You can print that,” Guenther said. “The guy came out and ran a little option route on him, and Vontaze tackled him, and he just got his feet tangled up underneath him. There was nothing wrong with it.”
Of more interest to IDP owners is the fact that an injury to middle linebacker Rey Maualuga forced Burfict to play 37 snaps in his first game back after offseason microfracture surgery. It may take the fourth-year pro a little time to get back up to speed, but it isn’t that often a player with IDP LB1 upside is available this late in the season.
Kurt Coleman – FS, Carolina Panthers
For the past several seasons the Panthers have utilized a revolving door at safety, but the team may have happened on a keeper in journeyman safety Kurt Coleman. The sixth-year pro has been especially hot of late, averaging seven stops a game with an interception over the last three weeks.
The game prior to that hot streak, Coleman also logged an interception, good enough to place him well within the top 30 defensive backs on a points-per-game basis since Week 4. Granted, those aren’t toe-curling numbers, but with the unbeaten Panthers set to battle the Green Bay Packers in Week 9, IDP owners feeling the bye week crunch could certainly do worse.
Jaquiski Tartt – SS, San Francisco 49ers
After falling to 2-6 on the season with a blowout loss to the St. Louis Rams, it’s become apparent that the San Francisco 49ers are not a good football team. Just ask head coach Jim Tomsula. “This is where we are,” Tomsula told Taylor Price of the team’s website. “This who we are, and we need to get better. Period.”
Of course, there’s a flip side to a bad team with an even worse offense. The defense has a tendency to be on the field a lot, which means tackle opportunities. That’s equated to 15 tackles and a forced fumble over the past two games for Tartt, who took over at strong safety when Antoine Bethea was lost for the season.
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