Well, week one is in the books and it looks like this whole targeting thing is going to be a real pain in the you-know-what for some of these hard hitting safeties. Also, what the heck is the NFL doing flagging a defender for “landing on the quarterback with their body weight”? C’mon man. You can’t hit them below the knee, above the neck, drive them into the ground, throw them or hit them even slightly late and now you can’t land on them? At this point, you should give them bonuses for bear hugs.
Last week, I ran a poll on Twitter asking how many IDP starters people typically start in their leagues. IDP leagues are a lot of fun but the lack of a “standard” IDP format often makes it difficult to write a waiver wire article or give people suggestions for sleepers and break out candidates. And that’s not even taking into account the scoring format of these leagues. I was happy to get the turnout I did for this Twitter poll with 215 votes out of 501 saying they start between six and nine IDPs each week.
With that feedback in mind, let’s comb through the waiver wire for some possible additions.
Genard Avery, OLB CLE
Avery is an impressive fifth round rookie pick of the Browns. He played 43 of the team’s 84 snaps and delivered the biggest play of the game in overtime when he knocked the ball loose from Ben Roethlisberger and into the hands of Joe Schobert. Avery finished the game with three solo tackles, one assist, a sack and a forced fumble. Interestingly, he was also playing defensive end over Jamie Collinsin dime packages. As the season goes on, and with the injury to Emmanuel Ogbah keeping him out for an undisclosed stretch of time, Avery is going to be an ascending player worth a play as a LB4 in 12-team leagues most weeks. This defense is for real and they’re aggressive.
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Margus Hunt, DT IND
Ironically, Hunt was drafted by the Bengals in 2013 as a developmental prospect who never developed. In the four years he spent in the Queen City, he totaled 1.5 sacks. On Sunday, against his former team, he finished with two sacks of Andy Dalton. If your league doesn’t require starting defensive tackles, you can ignore this. However, if you must, Hunt is most likely on your waiver wire and worth the add. This defense is not good, so they’ll be on the field a lot.
Jessie Bates, S CIN
Bates was mentioned as a hot add when the Bengals surprisingly cut George Iloka this preseason. He stepped in week one and played every snap for the Bengals secondary, finishing with eight solo tackles and an assist. It should be noted, starting strong safety Shawn Williams was ejected for targeting Andrew Luck. His replacement, Clayton Fejedelem, finished second on the team in tackles with nine solo and an assist. He’s a name to file away in case something happens to Williams down the road because he’s a capable and willing tackler but his role is a core special teamer. Don’t be the guy chasing the box score.
Kamalei Correa, ILB TEN
Correa is a familiar IDP name after being a serviceable player in Baltimore once upon a time. He was traded to the Titans this preseason and played 77% of the team’s week one snaps. While he didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet, he did have one solo tackle, two assists and a sack. This game was super weird as it had multiple weather delays and took over six hours to complete. Correa is most likely on your waiver wire and can be added as a wait and see player. He has enough versatility to play more than 75% of the defensive snaps.
Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB NE
Bentley was a player who was flying under the radar throughout the preseason because it’s so difficult to see through misinformation in Foxboro. There were rumors the fifth round rookie out of Purdue had supplanted Elandon Roberts at middle linebacker. Preseason reports were positive and it carried over to week one. He played 51 of 74 defensive snaps or 68%, more than any other linebacker on the team and 31 more than the aforementioned Roberts. At this point, Bentley is the player to own and we should all be hoping Roberts gets a fresh start elsewhere.
Duke Riley, LB ATL
The hits keep on coming for the middle of Atlanta’s defense. We knew Keanu Neal was out for the season with a torn ACL but the news of Deion Jones going to injured reserve was a shock considering he only missed four snaps on Thursday night. The next man up is second year player Duke Riley. I think he is the add here and I would be fairly aggressive in acquiring him. He has all the measurables and is a very aggressive and willing tackler. He won’t make anyone forget about Jones but he should settle into the mid-LB2 range in tackle heavy leagues. This defense might have some problems getting off the field, therefore increasing his opportunities.
The following players are players who are almost certainly on rosters in all but the shallowest of leagues but must be owned in all formats. Because of this we won’t go into them greatly.
Cory Littleton, ILB LAR
If you read my IDP Sleeper of the Year article a couple of weeks ago, you read about Cory Littleton. He didn’t disappoint in week one as he finished with 11 tackles, two assists and an interception while playing every snap. He’s going to finish the year as a LB1. He must be owned.
Fred Warner, LB SF
Warner played lights out against the Vikings in place of the suspended Reuben Foster. If he continues to play like he did in week one, the 49ers will have to decide of it makes more sense for Foster to go back to the middle or kick outside to the WILL. Regardless, there is enough for both linebackers to be elite options at the position and dynasty building blocks.
Robert Quinn, DE MIA
Quinn continues to fly under the radar and week one was a bizarre start to the 2018 season as this game was delayed multiple times and lasted six hours. Quinn still played 41 of 69 snaps and finished with one solo and three assists. You definitely need to add him if he’s available.
Kentrell Brice, S GBP
Brice was all over the field on Sunday night and finished the game with eight solo tackles, one assist and a sack. He replaces Morgan Burnett who is now with the Steelers. Brice is an absolute must add if available and could finish top five at the position.
John Johnson, S LAR
Another under the radar player who has big time breakout appeal, Johnson finished second to Cory Littleton in tackles Monday night and with that front unit applying pressure all season, Johnson has the opportunity for big play after big play.
Come find me on the Tweets: @OlingerIDP.