Notable IDP Injuries

  • Rams CB Trumaine Johnson suffered an ankle injury and did not return.
  • Giants CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injured his groin.
  • Giants CB Eli Apple injured his groin and did not return.
  • Colts CB Patrick Robinson left with a knee injury.
  • Steelers DE Cameron Heyward left with a hamstring injury, and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
  • Jets ILB David Harris suffered a hamstring injury.
  • Texans CB Johnathan Joseph exited with a concussion.
  • Dolphins OLB Koa Misi was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury.

 

* Going forward, I’m going to break down some waiver wire targets based on the various roster sizes in IDP leagues. I’m always amazed at who is on the waiver wire, even in deep leagues, so PLEASE start at the top of this list even if you play in a deep league. To quote the title of John Hansen’s new radio show with Michael Rappaport, “Ya Never Know.”

 

On The Wire

Shallow Leagues (1-3 IDPs)

Defensive Linemen

Calais Campbell (DE, Ari) –After several weeks of near-misses resulting in poor production, several IDPers dropped Campbell before Week Five. Whoops. His 4 tackle/2 sack/INT/PD performance was a great example of how the DE spot works in fantasy for our studs: there are duds in between huge games. Campbell has been looking good all season, but one of his issues has been the addition of OLB Chandler Jones on his side of the line. That may be contributing to a few more games of lowered production than we’re used to. That said, Campbell still only has one game below 4.5 FP. Campbell is just too talented and playing too well to be held down for too long. He’s available in 70% of ESPN leagues and 81% of Yahoo leagues.

Brandon Graham (DE, Phi) – Well, hello #3 DL. Graham got Week Four off, and came back this week to put his best game together so far. Graham now has 14 tackles (12 solo), 3 sacks, and 4 other big plays. He’s shown the consistency that we crave at the DL spot: he has at least 5 FP in all four of his games. Graham is available in 88% of ESPN leagues and 89% of Yahoo leagues.

Cameron Jordan (DE, NO) – Yay bye weeks. Jordan is the #13 DL in fantasy, with 17 tackles (10 solo), 2.5 sacks, 2 PD and a forced fumble. On a defense that stays on the field a lot, Jordan is capitalizing on all that opportunity. He was on bye last week, and consequently is severely underowned for a DL1. If you grab him now, he’ll be past his bye and might stay in your lineup for the rest of the season. Jordan is available in 80% of ESPN leagues and 92% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Linebackers

Kiko Alonso (ILB, Mia) – Alonso is feasting in the middle of a defense that is logging 80 snaps per game regularly. Part of that is their own poor play, and part of that is their offense’s inability to stay on the field. Whatever the reason, Alonso is having a solid LB1 season. He has double-digit tackles in four of five games, and has at least 7 FP in every game this season. Now that OLB Koa Misi is on Injured Reserve, his tackle competition is even thinner. Alonso is available in 85% of ESPN leagues and 46% of Yahoo leagues.

Vontaze Burfict (OLB, Cin) – Week Four marked Burfict’s return from suspension, and he was eased into the lineup. Week Five welcomed a heavier snap count for Burfict, as well as double-digit tackles and LB1 production. He seems primed for a strong season, so grab him while you can. The crowded LB corps all seems to be ceding to Burfict, so fire him up. He’s available in 70% of ESPN leagues and 69% of Yahoo leagues.

Zachary Orr (OLB, Bal) – Now it’s just funny. It’s the third straight week that I get to start with this line: “Oh nothin’. Just the #16 LB sittin’ on the waiver wire.” Somehow, the incredibly consistent Orr has been at #16 in FPG each week. He’s been providing a nice mix of tackles (between 5 and 9 per game) and big plays (6 on the season so far). Fellow LB C.J. Mosley may cap his ceiling, but Orr continues to be a rock-solid LB2 each week. He’s available in 75% of ESPN leagues and 74% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Defensive Backs

Reggie Nelson (FS, Oak) – I’m not sure why the #2 DB in FPG (and perennial stud DB) is underowned, but hey, we’ll take it! Nelson’s 8.8 FPG haven’t just come off one or two good games. He’s posted 37 tackles (29 solo) so far, with at least 6.5 FP in each game. He also has big play upside, with 8 so far. He just continues to post monster DB numbers, but is available in 60% of ESPN leagues and 86% of Yahoo leagues.

Johnathan Cyprien (SS, Jac) – Shallow IDP owners love bye weeks. Cyprien is the #6 DB and is off to another DB1 season, but bye weeks have forced some owners to drop him. Cyprien not only has at least 8 FP in three of four games so far, he’s also past his bye now. Scoop him up, and you might be done trolling the waiver wire for a DB. Cyprien is available in 78% of ESPN leagues and 87% of Yahoo leagues.

Karl Joseph (SS, Oak) – Since Joseph took over the starting role in Week Three, he’s been the #7 DB with 8.3 FPG. He’s racked up 24 tackles (14 solo) over those three games, with an INT, 2 PD, and a fumble recovery. He doesn’t look like he’s giving up his starting gig anytime soon, and should be considered a weekly DB1 candidate going forward. Joseph is available in 85% of ESPN leagues and 78% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Full Leagues (2-3 DL/2-3 LB/2-3 DB)

Defensive Linemen

Joey Bosa (DE, SD) – Bosa finally saw the field, albeit in limited duty, playing only 27 snaps. He was predictably eased in as a rookie. I’m sure he probably didn’t do much, given the low snap count, first game, etc. Let’s see…he only had 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and put up 8.5 FP. Wait, what?? Well, it’s safe to say the Chargers will continue to increase his snaps on a defense desperate for playmakers. I would say that his DL1 production from one week isn’t to be expected going forward, but considering he looked fantastic and will have his snaps double or triple, there are worse moves than taking a shot with the talented rookie. This is likely your last week to take that shot, as he’s currently available in 92% of both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.

Yannick Ngakoue (DE, Jac) – Ngakoue is no flash-in-the-pan. While his 11 FP Week Four put him on the map, he had solid weeks before that. He has 10 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 PD, 3 forced fumbles, and an INT. We love him in big play leagues, but he’s rock solid in standard scoring as well. Coming off a bye, Ngakoue is available in 95% of ESPN leagues and 99% of Yahoo leagues.

Nick Fairley (DT, NO) – Fairley continues to enjoy a career-resurgence in New Orleans. With 16 tackles (11 solo), 3 sacks, and 2 PD, Fairley has been a DT1 and borderline DL1. Although his big plays have helped that ranking, he has a solid tackle floor. Fairley has at least 3 tackles in each game and is coming off his bye week. He’s available in 93% of ESPN leagues and 99% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Linebackers

Tahir Whitehead (ILB, Det) – If it weren’t for Whitehead’s Week Two dud, he would be a mid-LB1. Outside of that 3 tackle performance, he has at least 8 FP in the other four games. All-in-all, he’s the #13 LB on the season, and has double-digit tackles in three of five games. He’s a little streaky, but if you can grab him as your LB2, you’ll be able to withstand the LB3 downswings, while benefitting from his LB1 upswings. Whitehead is available in 90% of ESPN leagues and 83% of Yahoo leagues.

Christian Kirksey (ILB, Cle) – Kirksey continues to be a dependable LB2 with LB1 upside. After four weeks of between 6 and 9 tackles per game, Kirksey flashed that LB1 upside in Week Five. Kirksey put up 16 tackles (11 solo) against New England, and as his offense gets weaker (not stronger), he should be in line for a few more games like that going forward. This week he’ll face DeMarco Murray and Tennessee’s run-heavy offense. Another LB1 performance is likely, but an LB2 performance is his solid floor. Kirksey is available in 95% of ESPN leagues and 91% of Yahoo leagues.

Lorenzo Alexander (OLB, Buf) – Alexander is the real deal. He has at least a half-sack in every game this season, with 7 sacks total. He also has 5 other big plays. His tackle floor is also solid, with 20 tackles (17 solo) in his last four games. He’s a stud in big play leagues, but he’s currently holding his own in standard leagues as well. He’s currently the #15 LB in standard scoring and is currently available in 92% of ESPN leagues and 89% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Defensive Backs

Keanu Neal (S, Atl) – Neal has been a solid DB2, but has been pushing for DB1 consideration as he settles into his full time role. Over the last two weeks, Neal has 7.5 and 9 FP, with 17 tackles (12 solo) and a forced fumble. Neal has played fast and tackled with power and solid technique. HC Dan Quinn loves him and he should continue to put up solid DB production. Neal is available in 95% of ESPN leagues and 96% of Yahoo leagues.

Devin McCourty (S, NE) – McCourty had a few duds early in the season, which caused owners to dump him and move on. But the last two games, we’ve seen more of what we expected out of McCourty: 12 tackles (all solo). This should be closer to his production going forward, although he could still put up the occasional dud. McCourty is available in 95% of ESPN leagues and 96% of Yahoo leagues.

Stephone Gilmore (CB, Buf) – One dud was all it took for IDP owners to bail on Gilmore. That’s a bit soon, considering in his other four games he has at least 4 FP in each game, including Week Five’s 4 solo outing after his Week Four 1 tackle dud. On a defense set up for CBs to put up solid tackle production, Gilmore should be owned in CB-required leagues. He is available in 93% of ESPN leagues and 98% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Deep Leagues (3-4 DL/3-5 LB/3-4 DB)

Defensive Linemen

Quinton Dial (DE/DT, SF) – Dial was on this list last week, due to his mix of production and opportunity. With DeForest Buckner banged up in Week Four, Dial saw a bump in snaps and put up 5 tackles (4 solo) while Buckner was inactive. However, even with Buckner on the field, Dial still averaged 3 tackles a game. He’s a DL3/4 with Buckner in the lineup, but a solid DL3 with DL2 upside if Buckner misses more time. He’s available in 100% of both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.

Carl Nassib (DE, Cle) – Nassib had a strong debut back in Week One, with 3 solos, a sack, and a PD. Then he broke his hand and missed several weeks. He finally got back on the field last week, but only logged 27 snaps as he was getting eased in. His snaps should increase significantly starting this week. He’s a sneaky DL3, and is available in 99% of ESPN leagues and 100% of Yahoo leagues.

Tyson Alualu (DT/DE, Jac) – Coming off a bye week, Alualu should be rested and ready to continue his quietly solid season. Over his last two games, Alualu has 5 tackles and a sack. As the Jacksonville D-line starts to settle in, it’s clear that Alualu is big part of that in the middle. He should also benefit from the dual-threat of DEs Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler. With more attention now being paid to them, Alualu has been successful as the one who is being left alone on a talented line. He’s best employed as DT in DT-required leagues and is virtually unowned in ESPN leagues. He’s available as a DE in 88% of Yahoo leagues.

 

Linebackers

Jatavis Brown (ILB, SD) – After Manti Te’o went down for the season, Brown has stepped up to man the middle of the Chargers defense. Since then, he has 17 tackles and 2 sacks in three games. He’s also added 5 other big plays on the season. While he flashed his LB1 upside in Week Three, we like him more as an LB2, where you can benefit from his big games, but also enjoy his 7 FP weeks (as was the case the last two weeks). Brown is available in 95% of ESPN leagues and 96% of Yahoo leagues.

Erin Henderson (ILB, NYJ) – Henderson has been splitting time with rookie Darron Lee, which has killed his fantasy value. However, Lee has struggled mightily in coverage, and was benched in the middle of the Jets’ Week Five game. Between Henderson seeing more snaps in nickel and David Harris suffering a hamstring injury, Henderson put a solid 8 tackles (5 solo). Henderson now has an opportunity to produce going forward, particularly if Harris misses time with his injury. He’s unowned in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.

Todd Davis (ILB, Den) – Davis has been steady behind LB Brandon Marshall, pulling around 4-7 FPG each game. As an LB3/LB4, he’s been reliable, with at least 5 tackles in four of five weeks, and has added 3 PD in the last two weeks. He’s not likely to blow up on a given week, but his tackle floor adds some nice insurance on the back end of your LB corps. Davis is available in 99% of both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.

 

Defensive Backs

Adrian Amos (FS, Chi) – Amos has been putting up solid fantasy production at the back end of a depleted defense. Through five games, he has 5 FP in all but one week. With 20 tackles (18 solo), and 3 big plays, he’s had a solid floor as a free safety. Amos is available in 99% of ESPN leagues and 100% of Yahoo leagues.

Will Blackmon (S, Was) – With so many injuries in the Washington secondary, Blackmon has been solid for fantasy. Although his tackle numbers are a bit low, he was playing corner before all the injuries. Blackmon has 9 tackles (6 solo) since being shifted to free safety, and with Su’a Cravens still in concussion protocol and David Bruton and DeAngelo Hall on Injured Reserve, Blackmon should get plenty of opportunity going forward. He’s a DB3, but a CB2 if you can get him as a CB in your league. Blackmon is available in 99% of ESPN leagues and 100% of Yahoo leagues.

E.J. Gaines (CB, LA) – With Trumaine Johnson out with a sprained knee, it will be Gaines who should see his snaps increase. The Rams had been taking it easy on their corner who hadn’t seen the field since 2014, but he has played well and should be productive in this defense. He already has 10 tackles (9 solo) and 3 PD in his first two games in limited duty, so CB2 production could come over the next few weeks as Johnson recovers. Consider Gaines a bye week fill-in, but a solid one. He is available in 99% of both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.