Was it just me or did it seem like the NFL and the referees at least tried to let defenders hit a little bit more this week? It seems like there were fewer controversial hits. The biggest may have been the early whistle on the Marshawn Lynch run against Cleveland. If history has taught us anything, it is that Lynch can run through any gang tackle he wants and until he’s on the ground, he ain’t down!
The most talked about play – or non-play – in the IDP world was Earl Thomas flying the “Freedom Rocket” at his own bench as he was carted off the field with a broken leg. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to give Pete Carroll the bird? I know I do. Now, on to the waiver wire adds.
Tedric Thompson, FS SEA
When an elite player goes down with an injury, we often run out and pick up his backup hoping “the system” can produce similar statistics. Occasionally it works. This is not one of those times. Earl Thomas was playing some of the best football of his career and was doing everything he could to get someone to trade for him. His elite playmaking ability and ball-hawking nature is not something his replacement has.
Tedric Thompson is an NFL special-teamer who will now start for the Seahawks next to Bradley McDougald. His presence in the starting lineup will actually help IDP owners more than the Seahawks team defense. Teams will target him and exploit Earl Thomas not being there which will lead to more defensive snaps for everyone on this defense as their efficiency tanks. The arrow is up for McDougald, Bobby Wagner, and Mychal Kendricks but Thompson is not worth an add.
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Jayon Brown, ILB TEN
Starting inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard went down with a shoulder injury this past weekend and is expected to miss at least this week, if not longer. Brown is more than capable of stepping in and filling the void left behind. I believe this is one of those “system” defenses which creates production.
I don’t think Brown, or Woodyard for that matter, is anything special but I think the defense is set up to allow the linebacker to make plays. If Brown is available in your league, he is the top IDP add for this week and can be played as a solid LB2 until Woodyard returns.
Stephen Weatherly, DE MIN
People were quick to add Weatherly when it was announced Everson Griffen would be out indefinitely with a mental health issue, especially after his 5-2-1 stat line in week three against the Bills. He followed that game up with a big fat goose egg against the Rams on Thursday night.
Especially in IDP leagues, fantasy is a “what have you done for me lately” world and if owners were put off by the zero point outing and cut him, pick him up confidently. Weatherly played 45 of 55 snaps in week four and has some great matchups upcoming after this week’s game against the Eagles. He’ll get the Cardinals and Jets with rookie quarterbacks, and potential home shootouts against New Orleans and Detroit before heading into the bye week.
Derrick Morgan / Brian Orakpo / Harold Landry, OLB TEN
If any of these players are available and you have the roster spot to stream an outside linebacker in big-play leagues, any of them can be picked up and started this week. People are blitzing and attacking Josh Allen of the Bills and forcing him into bad decisions. In his first start – week two against the Chargers – he was sacked five times. In their historically mind-numbing upset against the Vikings in week three, he was still brought down three times and in week four against the Packers, he was sacked seven times. Three of those sacks were by reserve pass rusher Kyler Fackrell who I just learned was a real person.
My point is, Mike Vrabel and Dean Pees will throw everything under the sun at Allen and I’ll bet you a crisp high five all three of these players end up in the sack column this weekend.
Tre Boston / Budda Baker / Antoine Bethea, S ARI
It’s pretty uncommon for three safeties from one team to be fantasy-viable each week but we’ve seen it before and from this team actually, even though it was a different coaching staff. The reason is mostly that the Cardinals have a bad group of linebackers. They are consistently producing top 24 safety numbers each and every week.
Look at the table below: the lowest total tackle week of any of these guys was week four by Budda Baker and it was five solos. If you have one or more of these players, you start them every week without hesitation. If any of them are on your league waiver wire, pick them up and set it and forget it.
Takkarist McKinley, DE ATL
Takk played a season-high 49 snaps in week four after sitting out week three with a groin injury. No other defensive lineman played more or dominated nearly as much. His three sacks of Andy Dalton was gaudy and will catch everyone’s attention.
He now has at least one sack in each game played this year and appears to be well on his way to a sophomore breakout campaign after registering six sacks as a rookie. The advantage of playing on a team with a high octane offense is the necessity of opposing teams to keep up, which in turn give the pass rush plenty of opportunities for sacks and big plays. He is definitely the Falcons defensive end to own.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT ARZ
Another Cardinals player? I thought they sucked? They do, but they still have useful pieces and Nkemdiche was left for dead after a disastrous rookie season. Through four games this season, he has already outproduced his rookie year statistics. He has a pair of sacks to go with 11 solo tackles, four tackles for loss and three assists.
He is currently a top ten defensive tackle and may still be available on your waiver wire due to the bad taste he left in owners’ mouths last year. He should be rostered because he’s #talented.
Find me on Twitter @OlingerIDP.