The lead-up to week 14 featured a couple of IDP bombshells, with Houston giving Zach Cunningham his walking papers, and Tennessee welcoming him with open arms. And Jamal Adams, unfortunately, saw his season end with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
The Adams news obviously dealt a blow to managers who were counting on him for the playoff stretch. We are likely in line for further bad news early this week following Kamu Grugier-Hill’s non-contact knee injury.
As thin as the waiver wire gets at this time of the season, there will be some gems that will step up to help us on our quest for titles. And if you’re not in the title run, it’s good to get a head start on the off-season by scooping up IDPs who could see a value bump in 2022.
If you have questions on players I haven’t covered, feel free to throw them in the comments section and I’ll try to get you an answer before typical waiver runs on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings.
He continues to produce (a sack and three total tackles in week 14) since taking on a larger role after Bud Dupree‘s season ended after week 11. He’s a streaming option in deep true position leagues.
Dawuane Smoot, JAC
It’s difficult to endorse any Jaguar not named Josh Allen, but Smoot has been one of the few bright spots on the defense this season. He slumped a little a few weeks ago when Jacksonville began funneling more snaps to K’Lavon Chaisson, but he’s rebounded over the past two weeks and turned in a sack on three quarterback hits to go along with a pair of solo tackles against Tennessee. If you’re beat up at defensive end and Smoot has been returned to the scrap heap, you could do worse than Smoot.
- Shaka Toney and Daniel Wise, WAS – Poor Washington had to turn to the likes of Wise (four solos and three assists) and Toney (four assists and a quarterback hit) to provide defensive line help sans starters Chase Young and Montez Sweat, and backups James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill. Hopefully Sweat, Smith-Williams and Toohill will be able to return from the Reserve/COVID-19 list for week 15.
Ross Blacklock, HOU
The former second-round draft pick had one of his better performances with a quarterback hit, three solo tackles and an assist. He seems to be making some strides in year two, at least, and I guess it’s a good thing for his future that he hasn’t been suspended or released for bad conduct during the David Culley tenure.
Neville Gallimore, DAL
The second-year tackle made his season debut after missing Dallas’ first dozen games with an elbow injury. The Cowboys were reportedly excited by Gallimore’s off-season development after a promising rookie campaign, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he led Dallas’ interior defenders in snaps the rest of the season. Gallimore collected a sack and two total tackles against the Football Team.
Sheldon Richardson, MIN
After seeing snap counts in the low 30s as a rotational interior defender for the Vikings’ first ten games, Richardson has now logged 171 snaps over his past three games. This of course coincides with his move to edge, and he’s suddenly worth starting in defensive tackle-required setups. He notched a sack against Pittsburgh to go along with three solo tackles (two in the backfield) and the quarterback hit.
Chris Wormley, PIT
It would admittedly be hard to check the box next to Wormley’s name for a playoff game lineup, but he does have a sweet matchup against Tennessee in week 15, and he’s had solid-to-spectacular outings this season with the Steelers missing Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu inside. If you’re looking for a widely available streamer, Wormley’s your guy.
- Derrick Brown, CAR – He apparently “got the message” during the Panthers’ bye week following a week 12 demotion. Brown was disruptive against the Falcons with two quarterback hits and four solo tackles – two in the backfield. If he’s been dropped in shallow leagues that require a defensive tackle starter, grab him. He’s a fantasy backup for now, but one with high upside in future years.
Divine Deablo, LV
I hope you picked him up last week and plugged him in your week 14 lineups – especially if he’s designated as a safety, as he is on MFL – with Denzel Perryman inactive. The rookie responded with a second straight start-worthy outing, posting four solo tackles and five assists. If you’ve had him stashed on a taxi squad since the draft, he suddenly looks like a keeper for next season.
Neville Hewitt and Garret Wallow, HOU
Remember the pre-season when Houston had an overflowing room of linebackers that no one cared for? That room has emptied out quite a bit with Zach Cunningham’s release and now what looks to be a serious knee injury to Kamu Grugier-Hill, who had to be carted off the field. That leaves Christian Kirksey, Hewitt and Wallow, and either could be looking at a large role for the remainder of the season.
Hewitt, who as a New York Jet was a waiver wire champion of seasons past, is the more likely of the two to see major snaps. Houston traded up in the fifth round to draft Wallow though, and it’s conceivable he’ll get an extended look with the Texans’ season going nowhere. He’s strictly been a special teams staple so far, but he’s a good athlete who racked up the tackles at TCU.
Detroit’s defensive coordinator, Aaron Glenn, primed us for some changes in the linebacker corps this week by plugging increased roles for Derrick Barnes and Josh Woods. It was Woods who played a near-full-time role while logging ten solo tackles and three assists, while Alex Anzalone left early with an ankle injury.
The Lions love Woods’ play on special teams, so it won’t be surprising to see him in a larger defensive role going forward. It’s a bit of a risk to roll him into starting lineups in the playoffs of course, and even if Anzalone misses time, Jalen Reeves-Maybin – who has missed two consecutive games with a shoulder injury – could return soon. I’m all for adding Woods, but you’ll have to tread carefully.
- Marcell Harris, SF – It’s worth noting that Azeez Al-Shaair suffered an elbow injury that knocked him out of Sunday’s game. Should he not be able to play in week 15, and Dre Greenlaw remain out, Harris would be next in line for snaps next to Fred Warner.
- Robert Spillane, PIT – I honestly think if Spillane was healthy he would be playing over Devin Bush right now. He was activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list after week 13, but missed Thursday Night Football with a knee injury. Spillane was serving as the lone dime linebacker for the Steelers earlier this season, and I anticipate a larger role at Bush’s expense whenever Spillane is deemed ready.
Andre Cisco, JAC
The rookie from Syracuse is a decent deep league dynasty stash for 2022 – hopefully in the post-Urban Meyer era for Jacksonville. Rayshawn Jenkins will be back in the fold, but Andrew Wingard doesn’t seem to be a long-term answer and is a free agent. Cisco has an NFL-caliber skillset and can cover a lot of ground on the back end, so I’m not sure what the Jaguars have to lose by giving the third-round pick a shot next season.
Grant Delpit, CLE
With Ronnie Harrison sitting with an ankle injury, Delpit stepped in and had a day with 11 solo tackles and a quarterback hit. You won’t want to start him if Harrison returns in week 15, but Delpit is worth grabbing anyway. You can consider him for lineups if Harrison’s injury is worse than it appears, and Delpit could be in line for full-time snaps in 2022 if Harrison walks in free agency this off-season.
News of Jamal Adams’ season-ending torn labrum came after I wrote last week’s waiver wire column, unfortunately, but should Neal still be hanging out on the scrap heap, he’s starter-worthy down the stretch. He was a high-end S1 while subbing for Adams during a four-week stretch in 2020, and while I wouldn’t expect that level of production during your fantasy playoffs, he should be fine. His week 14 included four solos and three assists, with one tackle coming in the backfield.
He’s been an early Christmas gift for any team in need of recent safety help. Since making his Jets debut in week 11, Riley has been a constant presence in the box, and week 14 was his best tackle outing with four solos and six assists. He seems trustworthy as a low-end S2.
- Dean Marlowe, DET – He’s been usable but not spectacular for three weeks (two solos and five assists in week 14), and his days as a fantasy asset may be close to coming to an end. Nickel corner A.J. Parker should be getting close to a return from injured reserve, which would likely send Will Harris back to the full-time safety spot opposite Tracy Walker.
Paulson Adebo, NO
I like the rookie wherever available due to his nice matchup against Tampa Bay next week. He’s been no more than a streamer this year, but is coming off a solid week with five solo tackles and a pass defensed.
Ronald Darby and Patrick Surtain III, DEN
Cincinnati has offered a prime matchup for corners all season, and Surtain and Darby have had their moments. The rookie is spoken for in most leagues, but I’m also comfortable with Darby in this one.
Sidney Jones and D.J. Reed, SEA
Coming off nice outings against Houston, Jones (five solos, two assists) and Reed (seven solos, one assist) should be in for a busy week 15 against the Rams.
- Akhello Witherspoon, PIT – The Steelers barely played Witherspoon after surrendering a fifth-round pick for him before the season – probably because he never saw a tackle he wanted to make. But with Joe Haden still out with an injury and James Pierre struggling, Witherspoon has basically been a full-time outside cornerback the past two weeks. I don’t really trust him, but he has been a playmaker with nine solo tackles, four passes defensed and two interceptions since week 13. You should have better streaming options with bye weeks behind us, but I thought I’d mention him.
- Dane Jackson, BUF – The matchups aren’t quite as enticing as week 14 (seven solos and two passes defensed against Tampa Bay), but Jackson should stay in a full-time outside corner role for the rest of the season.
- Aaron Robinson, NYG – I was worried about this week 13 pick with Keenan Allen on the shelf, but Robinson still came through (seven solo tackles, two assists) with Justin Herbert slinging the ball everywhere.