It’s likely just a strong case of recency bias, but the injuries seem worse this year than ever. From a fantasy perspective, this is one of the reasons I strongly prefer IDP – it simply opens up other avenues to a championship.
The waiver wire can definitely be a part of that championship build, but it’s tough in dynasty leagues, which typically have larger rosters to begin with, and many tack on a taxi squad for stashes. In a lot of leagues, there’s just not a lot of meat left on the bone when it comes to available players. And I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer – it’s just context for why I’m trying to dig deep with some of my waiver wire recommendations.
Side note: I spent a good chunk of time over the weekend updating my top 150 rankings, so give those a look if some of what’s below doesn’t jive with the size and depth of your league. I’d typically recommend anyone there over what’s on the waiver wire, and certainly would from a dynasty perspective.
Denico Autry, TEN
I realize he’s only available in shallow leagues, but the 32-year-old tore it up Sunday with two sacks – one of which forced a fumble and turnover – on three quarterback hits. With Harold Landry already out for the year and Bud Dupree suffering a hip injury during the Titans’ win, Tennessee needs all the pass rush help it can get. Autry could (should?) be a viable fantasy starter the rest of the way.
Baron Browning, DEN
At the time of this writing we don’t know the severity of Randy Gregory’s knee injury, but it doesn’t sound good. Gregory walked off the field but then hopped a ride to the locker room on a cart. He’s headed for an MRI on Monday. If it’s bad news, we’ll see a big opportunity for Browning, who was an off-season disappointment simply because he transitioned from off-ball to full-time outside linebacker. Yes, we’ll also see some opportunity for rookie Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper, but Denver was so excited about Browning that it traded Malik Reed to Pittsburgh for peanuts prior to the season’s start. Keep an eye on the results of Gregory’s MRI, and plan to grab Browning in true position formats where available. There’s short-term plus dynasty appeal here.
Dayo Odeyingbo, IND
The 2021 second-rounder’s value took a hit after the Colts picked up Yannick Ngakoue in the off-season. Now further recovered from the Achilles tear that marred his rookie season, Odeyingo has been efficient in limited snaps over the past two weeks. On Sunday, his third-quarter sack of Ryan Tannehill forced a punt. His role could certainly increase as the season goes along, and with Ngakoue’s contract voiding after this season, bigger and better things might be in store in 2023. He’s worth a stash in spots you can afford the roster spot.
- Rasheem Green, HOU – Green continued his red-hot start, adding half-a-sack on one quarterback hit and collecting three total tackles (one in the backfield). He should be rostered and in lineups in all formats.
- Chris Rumph and Kyle Van Noy, LAC – Van Noy (three solos, one assist) definitely saw an uptick in usage and started at edge with Joey Bosa on injured reserve. Rumph was pretty quiet with just one quarterback hit. It seems he’s not ready for primetime.
- Alex Wright, CLE – The rookie isn’t doing a ton with his heightened opportunity (two solos and two assists in week four) but it beats riding the pine. He remains a stash with hopes that he develops and sticks as the primary edge opposite Myles Garrett.
Zach Allen, ARI
Allen had a career-type game, stuffing the stat sheet with three solo tackles (one for loss), three assists, a sack on two quarterback hits, and three passes defensed. He’s a good player and likely rostered in any sort of league that places a premium on tackles, and I don’t blame you if you add him where available. Just don’t consider him as anything more than a DT3.
Thomas Booker, HOU
I wouldn’t expect much but if you just have a really big taxi squad, the fifth-rounder from Stanford has been getting work (23 snaps in week four) and shared a sack with Rasheem Green on one quarterback hit to go along with two assists. It may not sound overly impressive, but neither is the Texans’ defensive tackle corps, with just Maliek Collins and nose Roy Lopez ahead of him on the depth chart.
Sebastian Joseph-Day, LAC
The former Ram-turned-Charger was dumped in many non-defensive tackle-premium leagues after a dreadful start. He has come alive the past two weeks though, and notched a sack on two quarterback hits against Davis Mills and the Texans. Joseph-Day now has 15 combined tackles (four for loss) on the season and is once again worthy of starting consideration. It doesn’t sound like his finger injury required a lot of T.L.C., by the way.
Brandon Staley said Sebastian Joseph-Day had an "ow-ie" in his finger at the end of the game.
When asked for clarification, Staley said, "Like, ‘ow that hurt.'"
Full Dad Mode initiated.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) October 2, 2022
Roy Robertson-Harris, JAC
Roberton-Harris has been a decent-to-good interior lineman over his career, but he’s really turned on the tackle production this season. With three solo tackles (one for loss) and six assists in week four, he now has eight solos and eight assists on the season – pretty good for a guy who has never topped 37 combined tackles in a season. His pressure and sack numbers are pretty in line with his career rates, so this just seems like a tackle anomaly. Still, you could do worse for your DT3 in defensive tackle-premium leagues.
- Jarran Reed, GB – The former Seahawk has been OK so far, but had a blow-up game with a sack and eight combined tackles. I wouldn’t get carried away with any bids on Reed. You’d regret putting him in your lineup more weeks than not.
- Perrion Winfrey, CLE – Last week I mentioned Winfrey as a rookie to stash or keep an eye on in defensive tackle-premium leagues. With Taven Bryan out (big loss, I know), I thought Winfrey might end up with a bigger stat line. He only finished with one tackle for loss, but it was a real humdinger.
— Mike Woellert (@Mike_Woellert) October 2, 2022
Zaire Franklin, IND
Shaquille Leonard’s back! Shaquille Leonard’s out again. The Colts star made a short-lived season debut, suffering a first-half concussion on a “friendly fire” hit by Franklin. With a short turnaround for a road game on Thursday Night Football, Leonard won’t be cleared in time to play at Denver. That means Franklin, who logged a massive tackle outing with eight solos and seven assists, will again be a viable fantasy starter. It’s worth noting that Bobby Okereke came off the bench, with Leonard, Franklin and E.J. Speed listed as the starters. I haven’t been able to find anything that indicates he has truly fallen to fourth on the depth chart, and he finished with eight total tackles, so maybe the “benching” was disciplinary in nature.
Germaine Pratt, CIN
He’s only available in the shallowest of leagues, but after missing week three, he returned for Thursday Night Football and led the Bengals with six solo tackles and three assists. Cincinnati’s week five opponent, Baltimore, has been golden for linebacker tackle production at times this season (Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds combined for 16 solos and six assists in week four). As for Akeem Davis-Gaither, the ‘backer who replaced Pratt in week three – keep hanging on unless you’re desperate for the roster spot. As mentioned last week, Pratt is in a contract year, and Davis-Gaither can cement the Bengals’ No. 2 linebacker job with solid work in 2022.
Jaylon Smith, NYG
The former Dallas Cowboy, once a highly regarded fantasy asset, washed out of the league last season, bouncing from Dallas to Green Bay and then New York. He played a half-time role Sunday and had an impact with six solo tackles (one for loss) and an assist. While Tae Crowder also filled up the box score, he’s one of the worst full-time linebackers in recent memory and ripe for replacement. Nab Smith just in case he’s rediscovered some of what made him successful early in his Dallas career.
- Dylan Cole and Joe Schobert, TEN – Both Cole (five solos, three assists) and the newly signed Schobert (four solos, two assists and a forced fumble) had nice games, but Zach Cunningham‘s injury is not considered serious so he should return in week five. I’d only roster these two in deep leagues and/or to insure for injury to Long or Cunningham.
- Garret Wallow, HOU – I wouldn’t rush to pick up Wallow (one solo, three assists), but he’s played 55 snaps over the past two games. He’s worth keeping an eye on considering the number of linebacker snaps available and the underwhelming play of Kamu Grugier-Hill. That said, we may see rookie Christian Harris come off injured reserve soon and start working his way into the mix.
- Kwon Alexander, NO – He was indeed the snap beneficiary in Quincy Williams‘ stead, with 59 defensive snaps to Marcell Harris‘ 28. The production was nothing special – Alexander notched seven combined tackles – but at least the opportunity was there.
- Jacob Phillips, CLE – He’s the man wearing the green dot, and had a nice week with six solos, one assist and a quarterback hit.
Camryn Bynum, MIN
Bynum, the sophomore who capably stepped into huge production in 2021 when Harrison Smith missed time, was thought to be an afterthought this season once Minnesota dropped a first-round pick on Georgia star Lewis Cine. Instead, Bynum has played every defensive snap this season, mostly as a single high or split deep safety. With Cine out for the season with a lower leg fracture, Bynum has immediate staying power in the Vikings’ secondary. He’s not going to light the world on fire as he did in weeks nine and ten of last season, but he’ll be serviceable, as he was in week four with four solo tackles and two assists.
Uh oh – Jeremy Chinn suffered a hamstring injury early in Sunday’s game, and hamstring injuries can linger. The pickup for now is Hartsfield, who subbed for Chinn and recorded six solos and a forced fumble. We’ll have to see if the Panthers prep Seahawks cast-off Marquise Blair or Scott Chandler for a larger role if Chinn indeed needs some recovery time.
Tre Norwood, PIT
Norwood filled in for Terrell Edmunds after the veteran safety was knocked out toward the end of the first half. Norwood was very productive in relief (seven total tackles, two for loss), so you could consider him if you are desperate for safety help. The status of Edmunds, who was in the concussion protocol after the game, seems very up in the air for Pittsburgh’s trip to Buffalo.
- Johnathan (Rudy) Ford, GB – A journeyman defensive back, Ford was actually not bad with Jacksonville last season. Ford saw his first defensive snaps as a Packer after Adrian Amos left Sunday’s game with a concussion, and posted a solid six solo tackles, plus an assist. He’s a desperation add and play if Amos isn’t ready for the trip to London.
- Dane Belton, NYG – Julian Love suffered a concussion and Belton (three solos – one in the backfield – and one assist) filled in as the full-time safety next to Xavier McKinney. I like Belton as a future stash anyway, so he’s certainly worth adding on the chance that Love misses time. From a dynasty perspective, keep in mind Love is in the final year of his rookie deal.
- Damar Hamlin, BUF – With Jordan Poyer back in the lineup, it was Hamlin (seven solo tackles, one assist) and not Jaquan Johnson remaining in the lineup. I’ll be kicking my Johnson shares to the curb during waiver runs this week. Hamlin remains viable for the rest of the season with Micah Hyde on injured reserve.
- Jonathan Owens, HOU – He’s no longer on a record-breaking pace but with five solos and an assist, Owens has 42 combined tackles on the year – that’s on pace for a little more than 178 on the season. Can I bet on the under?
James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox and Darius Slay, PHI
Maddox was inactive and Bradberry and Slay were fantasy busts in week four, so they all may be available on your waiver wire for the Eagles’ matchup with Arizona. The Cardinals have been Santa Claus-level giving for opposing cornerback production, and the game has one of the higher projected point totals on the week.
Kyler Gordon, Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor, CHI
The Bears travel to Minnesota in week five, and the Vikings have been a good matchup for opposing corners. Johnson has missed the past two weeks with a quad injury, so you’ll need to monitor his status if you add him. If Johnson is indeed active, I expect him to see more of Justin Jefferson on the outside, so Johnson would be my preferred add here, with Gordon next in line.
I very well may never have another opportunity to write about a player from Texas A&M-Commerce, let alone one named Kader, so I’m taking advantage of the rare opportunity. Kohou, an undrafted rookie, has been a bit of a godsend for the Dolphins with Byron Jones starting the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list after off-season leg surgery. Jones is eligible to return for week five, but Xavien Howard exited Miami’s loss to Cincinnati on Thursday night with a groin injury, providing Kohou with an extended opportunity for action. He finished with six solo tackles against the Bengals. If you need a flier at corner, consider Kohou.