Some weeks, fantasy football is not the joy that I was looking for. I’m a make-believe coach of make-believe teams though, so I try to keep it all in perspective and keep my tantrums at the Mac Jones level.
Mac Jones was very frustrated on the sideline following his 2nd INT of the game.pic.twitter.com/QFxKREmeK9
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 25, 2022
Sometimes, if other things in life are piling on during a bad Sunday, I may hit Quinnen Williams level. (I’m just expressing my displeasure to a computer or television screen, of course.)
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) September 25, 2022
I can’t say I’ve ever gone to the Ken Dorsey extreme, but now I know how to do it.
Bills OC Ken Dorsey was not happy at the end of the game. pic.twitter.com/F7Jp5IMlFP
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 25, 2022
Tom Brady‘s Surface-tossing tantrums are way too expensive for my bank account, so I’m not even going to show that.
With those elite-level emotional breakdowns out of the way, let’s channel our frustrations into getting better in week four through the dynasty IDP waiver wire!
Keep in mind when reading:
- This advice is geared more toward 14- and 16-team dynasty setups, or 12-team setups with fairly large roster limits (65 spots or so). My goal is to write this for managers who must dig deeper on the wire in order to stay ahead for both this season and future years.
- I’m probably not going to list many IDPs you can find in my top 150 rankings. I’ll list some obvious “shallow” league options but I don’t plan to go into much detail on those players unless there’s some growing dynasty (this season and beyond) appeal.
- Not everyone I list is a recommended add. Sometimes I may just want to write up a player to convince you not to waste your FAAB on him.
Rasheem Green and Jerry Hughes, HOU
Green missed the season opener but has been gangbusters as a Texan with eight solos, four assists and two sacks over two weeks. He was always a decent NFL lineman during his four years in Seattle, but moving outside the tackle rather than playing a versatile inside-out role as a Seahawk has perhaps unleashed a fantasy asset. He’s still just 25 years old, so if available, I’d prioritize him in dynasty.
At 34, Hughes isn’t a dynasty asset, but from a production perspective (six solos, two assists, four sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception) he’s blowing the doors off anything he did in Buffalo within recent memory. I wouldn’t cut a young but promising nonproducer for him, but he’s worth starting lineup consideration.
For the record, I still prefer Jonathan Greenard to either of them in dynasty, but right now I’d be starting either Green or Hughes instead.
First Justin Herbert, now Joey Bosa? The season has taken a quick turn south for the Chargers. No one wants to see the NFL’s biggest stars get injured, of course, but Bosa’s injury, if severe, could open opportunity’s door for Rumph. I don’t know that the second-year edge from Duke is ready for prime snaps, but he’s likely to get them and we should learn a lot more about his dynasty outlook if Bosa misses multiple games. Versatile Linebacker Kyle Van Noy will also factor in opposite Khalil Mack, but I’d count on a longer look at Rumph.
Deatrich Wise, NE
I really loved Wise for several seasons and thought he’d blossom into a fantasy factor if he ever got out of New England. Perhaps that doesn’t have to happen anymore? He’s rostered in all but two of my 12 IDP leagues, so he’s likely not available on the waiver wire, but he’ll be spoken for everywhere at this time next week following a three-sack, six-tackle outburst.
- Brandon Graham, PHI – If you thought he was retired, well, he’s not. Graham is behind Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat off the edge in Philadelphia, but he’s still capable of fantasy relevance as evidenced by his massive week three (two-and-a-half sacks, four solo tackles, two assists, a forced fumble and a pass defensed).
- Malik Reed, PIT – Two total tackles on 57 snaps? That’s pretty disappointing. Reed will have some splash weeks here and there for sure, but hopefully you can do better.
- Alex Wright, CLE – The rookie from UAB was relatively quiet with two assists while playing 47 of 59 snaps. He’s still worth a stash
Perrion Winfrey, CLE
If the likes of Taven Bryan, Jordan Elliott and Tommy Togiai seem unimpressive to you, that’s because they are. Winfrey, while not a super high-upside prospect, is a powerful human with disruptive ability. If you have the roster size or taxi squad spots to stash rookie defensive tackles, Winfrey may be worth the effort in DT-premium leagues. Snaps shouldn’t be a problem starting as early as 2023.
Chris Wormley, PIT
I wouldn’t get carried away with Wormley after a big week. Yes, he was a factor in 2021, but week three’s output (five total tackles) was more the result of game script against the run-heavy Browns. Wormley is still fourth in line for work on the interior of the Steelers line behind Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi and Tyson Alualu.
- Kevin Givens, SF – Givens (one sack, one solo tackle and two assists) will only be viable for fantasy as long as Arik Armstead is out – and there’s no indication that his foot injury is a long-term issue. Still, Givens has balled out the past two weeks, and his sack of Russell Wilson on Sunday Night Football was the work of a strong human.
— 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙎𝙁𝙉𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨 (@TheSFNiners) September 26, 2022
- Justin Madubuike, BAL – He’s breaking out this season, and he should be owned in every true position, defensive tackle-required format. He notched a sack in week three to go along with three total tackles (two for loss).
- Shy Tuttle, NO – My Shy Tuttle slander from last week got shoved right back in my ugly mug! The big guy notched five solos and two assists versus Carolina, and he now has 18 total tackles on the season. Eat your heart out, Aaron Donald.
Kwon Alexander, NYJ
Quincy Williams is going to miss time – perhaps the remainder of the season? – after suffering a bad lower leg injury that required an air cast and the dreaded cart. Alexander is the next man up and should be in line for immediate full-time work next to C.J. Mosley. Don’t skimp on your blind bid if you need a linebacker.
Josh Bynes, BAL
Bynes had a great game that included a key interception of Mac Jones to accompany eight solo tackles and two assists, but this was a game that featured a fairly heavy run script on both sides. Bynes remains a part-time linebacker in Baltimore, with Patrick Queen getting run as the lone full-time ‘backer. Bynes is worth a roster spot in really deep leagues in case of injury to Queen, but otherwise performances like this are going to be hard to predict.
Akeem Davis-Gaither, CIN
Davis-Gaither hasn’t exactly lived up to his draft potential, but he’s always been a serviceable fill-in. With Germaine Pratt sidelined with a knee injury, Davis-Gaither filled up the stat sheet with nine solo tackles and four assists despite playing a part-time role. It’s unclear whether Pratt will be ready in time for Thursday night’s tilt with Miami, but Gaither-Davis is clearly worth dropping some FAAB on in case Pratt is again on the inactive list. In addition to the short-term appeal, Gaither-Davis could be in line for No. 2 linebacker duties next season if Pratt hits free agency and signs elsewhere.
Gay’s four-game suspension for a January arrest opened the door for Harris to realize some short-term fantasy value, and the fourth-year linebacker led the Chiefs with 13 combined tackles (one for loss) on a day that many a survivor pool hopeful saw his or her dreams dashed on the artificial field surface of Lucas Oil Stadium. If you have a spot for Harris, go for it – I don’t see a long-term asset though.
Jacob Phillips, CLE
Phillips is the obvious high FAAB bid IDP of the week following Anthony Walker’s season-ending quad tear. On 46 snaps, Phillips tallied two solos, five assists, a sack and a pass defensed, and wore the green dot as the defensive signal caller. He’s sliding into a high-volume role, so if you need an LB3 or LB4, be prepared to spend up.
Phillips has his own injury history, as does Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (I haven’t yet seen anything on the severity of the groin injury he suffered Thursday night), so in deep leagues also pay attention to Sione Takitaki (two solos, one assist) and Tony Fields II (one solo). Takitaki seems like a fairly limited player to me, so for my money Fields is a better stash in case of additional carnage in the Cleveland linebacker corps. He’s kind of a poor man’s Owusu-Koramoah with his size and range, and I think if he sees enough snaps he’ll be productive.
That said, I’m also sort of wondering if this is the ultimate landing spot for Blake Martinez. The Browns have far-and-away the most available cap space for this season, and could make it happen financially if they aren’t fully sold on Phillips to carry them the rest of the way. Rumors say Cleveland has eyes for ex Joe Schobert, but the matchmaking seems pretty weak, just like Schobert’s game these days.
- Kyle Van Noy, LAC – I had in my head before the season that Van Noy would be worthy of fantasy starts at linebacker as the number two next to Drue Tranquill, and as a part-time edge rusher when Bosa or Mack needed a breather. That didn’t happen, but Van Noy is likely to see an uptick in usage with Bosa nursing some sort of groin injury.
- Zaire Franklin, IND – Keep riding this train (eight solos, four assists) until Shaquille Leonard returns. And then, given that Leonard is returning from back surgery, sit tight with this handcuff.
- Jabrill Peppers, NE – He’s worth starting consideration as long as Kyle Dugger is on the shelf; witness his five solo tackles, one assist and one fumble recovery in week three.
Camryn Bynum and Josh Metellus, MIN
With Harrison Smith inactive with a concussion and first-rounder Lewis Cine apparently not yet ready for primetime, Josh Metellus saw a full day’s worth of action and responded with the game of his professional life with ten solos, one assist and an interception on two passes defensed. Bynum (two solos, three assists) is still the better dynasty play, although his value is capped by the presence of the ageless Smith and the rookie Cine.
I made one of those “huh?” faces when I saw Juju Hughes pop for five solos and three assists. Hughes got an opportunity when Tracy Walker injured an ankle during the first quarter, and could stand to see some short-term value if Walker misses games. I wrote about Elliott (three solos, two assists, one fumble recovery) in week one, and he’s the much better waiver wire addition if available.
Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson, BUF
Hamlin (three solos, one assist, half-a-sack) and Johnson (three solos, two assists) were snapped up in most leagues late last week following the news of Micah Hyde‘s season-ending neck injury. Jordan Poyer‘s foot injury meant that both saw major snaps in a prime matchup, and to that end the production was somewhat disappointing. The Ravens are on tap in week four, so both could garner starting consideration if Poyer misses additional time. Should Poyer return, I’d wager that the more experienced Johnson would play the opposite spot, but that’s just a guess on my part.
Rodney McLeod, IND
The 11-year veteran is so old he spent four years with the Rams – all in St. Louis. You can’t keep the Wahoo great down though, and he’s back within the realm of fantasy relevance after taking a starting safety spot from rookie favorite Nick Cross. I wouldn’t go overboard to obtain McLeod – he only posted two solos and two assists to go along with his interception and two passes defensed – but he’s a decent option if you need safety help. (Back-of-my-mind thought: No chance Khari Willis unretires, right? Right?)
- Josh Jones, SEA – I never touched on Jones (six solos, one assist) with week one’s column posting just prior to Jamal Adams‘ season-ending injury during Monday Night Football, but he’s certainly worth fantasy spot starts.
- Devin McCourty, NE – He had seven solos and an assist in a fairly run-heavy game, and he’s going to look tempting, but he’s typically playing deep so production will be hard to count on. And at 35 years of age, he has no dynasty value, of course.
- Darrick Forrest, WAS – Kamren Curl is back so Forrest (three solo tackles, one for loss) saw a much-reduced workload. Still, I’d hang on to him if possible. He’s an S1 should Curl get injured again.
- Jonathan Owens, HOU – There is no stopping this man! Another week, another Jonathan Owens “win.” His six solos and five assists bring his total tackles to 36 on the year. If he keeps up this pace, he’ll finish with an all-time NFL record 204 combined tackles! Anyone holding their breath?
- Nick Scott, LAR – Scott again had a nice game with six solos and one assist, but keep in mind the Rams were without Jordan Fuller, and Kyler Murray passed the ball a whopping 58 times.
Rasul Douglas and Keisean Nixon, GB
Last year’s feel-good cornerback story, Douglas looks primed to see his share of No. 1 receivers with Jaire Alexander likely to miss time with a groin injury. He finished with eight solo tackles and two passes defensed in week three – his best statistical outing of the season.
Nixon looks like the new slot with Douglas sliding outside opposite Eric Stokes. Both Douglas and Nixon seem like risky plays headed into week four’s matchup with the Patriots, and with Brian Hoyer under center, it stands to reason that Bill Belichick will want to establish the run starting with Sunday’s post-game press conference.
Amani Oruwariye, DET
Jeffrey Okudah seems to be finally living up to the promise that made him the third overall selection of the 2020 draft, so Oruwariye is getting the attention of offenses. In cornerback-required leagues, he’ll be a hot commodity coming off a seven-solo, two-assist performance. Detroit’s week four opponent, Seattle, has been pretty giving to starting corners.
P.J. Williams, NO
If Marcus Maye misses additional time in the near or distant future, you should consider Williams starting material. With Maye on the shelf for week three with a rib injury, Williams filled in at safety, and the usual slot defender tallied two solos, three assists and two passes defensed. Who knows what league discipline may be in store for Maye following his September 1 arrest, but regardless, any missed time on Maye’s part is going to be a boon for Williams. Cornerbacks who receive safety snaps are worth starting for fantasy.
- Derion Kendrick, LAR – Success for Arizona’s offense, which found a late-round rookie making his debut. Kendrick corralled nine solo tackles and registered a pass defensed in a game that saw Kyler Murray attempt 58 passes. I’m thinking that as long as David Long and/or Decobie Durant can return in time for Monday Night Football, Kendrick will see a drastically reduced snap share. I’ll pass.
- Roger McCreary, TEN – The second-round rookie saw a ton of slot work and was active as a run defender en route to nine solos, one assist and a pass defensed. He was penalized a couple of times as well, so we’ll see if he loses some snaps because of it.
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