After back to back weeks of bye week “sips”, we get a full gulp for week seven when four teams – Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Seattle – all get the week off. When you factor in the bye weeks and injuries which occurred this weekend, it leads to an active IDP waiver wire this week. This is an opportune time to pick up underperforming rookies or dinged-up players as owners will often dump IDPs in order to not drop offensive players with “potential”. Keep an eye on who gets dropped in your leagues this week.
James Burgess, LB CLE
It looks like Joe Schobert is going to miss some time with a bum hamstring. What the Browns decide to do at linebacker during his absence remains to be seen.
They could shift Christian Kirksey to the middle and get Genard Avery and Jamie Collins on the field together. They could drop Jabrill Peppers down to dime linebacker, but they won’t because Gregg Williams is a stubborn old goat. The most likely scenario is to plug-and-play James Burgess into Schobert’s spot and move on. I actually like Burgess more than his ratings justify. He seems to show up when I watch the games and I think he’s a streaming option, especially during the upcoming bye weeks.
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Vincent Rey, LB CIN
Vincent Rey is like an old farm truck. It’s not pretty, it’s not worth much money, but it’s reliable and has a very specific use. It doesn’t have GPS or Sirius/XM radio, it’s just a V8 engine you can use to get the job done.
With Nick Vigil expected to miss about a month, Rey finds himself in a position to produce viable fantasy stats. He played the second most snaps (64%) among the Bengals linebackers this week behind only Vontaze Burfict (84%). He’ll see a spike in playing time but will settle in as the LB3 on this team behind Burfict and Preston Brown.
Harold Landry, LB TEN
Derrick Morgan is going to miss a few weeks with a shoulder injury and this will give Landry a big-time spike in playing time. The rookie out of Boston College has one sack on the season but the Titans have a very favorable schedule coming up for pass rushers. I could easily see a scenario where he and Brian Orakpo get hot and collect sacks in bunches.
Of course, it would help if this offense wasn’t a faceless enigma lacking any trace of an identity. I honestly couldn’t name four Titans who have scored touchdowns this season with any confidence. It makes a pass rusher’s job more difficult when the other team isn’t forced to throw the ball. Luckily, that upcoming schedule I mentioned features the Chargers, Cowboys, Patriots, Colts, Texans, and Jets over the next six weeks. Those are all pass-heavy teams or teams who are vulnerable to the pass rush.
Za’Darius Smith, LB BAL
Smith’s three sacks are eye-catching, there’s no doubt about it. His camera work was, and will be, heavily aired on Sportscenter and Total Access but the Titans rolled over and showed their bellies in this one. In addition to Za’Darius Smith (48%), Terrell Suggs (68%), Matt Judon (61%), Tim Williams (50%), Patrick Onwuasor (36%) and Kenny Young (34%) all saw significant snaps at outside linebacker this weekend.
This defense is playing better than anyone in the league and their 11 team sacks were nothing short of awesome. It is highly unlikely to be repeated also. If you’re in deep leagues which reward the defensive big play I say go get him. Any player who can get to a starting quarterback three times in a game warrants attention and a roll of the dice. I just wouldn’t blow a bunch of my FAAB money.
Arden Key, DE OAK
When John Gruden traded Justice League member Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears and then publicly stated the Raiders needed to find a pass rush, I think we all shared the same laugh at the in-over-his-head coach. The Raiders have one proven legitimate pass rusher in Bruce Irvin and they hope they have found a bookend in rookie Arden Key who notched his first career sack on Sunday.
Key has a million red flags as a prospect and player as someone with commitment-to-the-game issues but his pro career has been positive so far. The Raiders have to play Key in pass rushing situations and do not have the luxury of bringing this rookie along slowly. After getting off to a slow start, he may be on your waiver wire and if he is he’s a great stash player. With bye weeks in full swing, he’s the type of player teams try to drop and re-add.
Da’Ron Payne, DT WAS
Defensive tackle is a lot like the cornerback position in IDP leagues because the position is often streamed, either week by week or when a player has a solid stretch of upcoming games. Payne is the latter. The Redskins have contests against Dallas, New York Giants, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Houston, and Dallas again over the next six weeks and I love Payne’s chances in all these contests.
The rookie out of Alabama is the real deal and has acclimated to the NFL game quickly. Even though his two-game sack streak ended this week as he failed to bring down Cam Newton, I expect him to pick it back up this weekend when Dak Prescott and the wide receiver island of misfit toys come to Washington.
Da’Shawn Hand, DT DET
Hand was on my list last week but since he was on a bye week I just wanted to refresh your memory. He needs to be owned.
Find me on Twitter @OlingerIDP.
Eric is on Twitter @OlingerIDP.