Football is back! Hopefully your week one lineups were filled with big dogs like TJ Watt, Josh Allen and DeForest Buckner. If the end of your bench has some dogs with no bark and no bite, it’s time to churn.
I’m back for a third season of IDP dynasty waiver wire advice. As with previous seasons, I’ll focus this column on players who are likely only available in 14- or 16-team leagues, or perhaps 12-team leagues with roster limits that exceed 65 spots. I do believe there are other very good IDP waiver wire articles written more for redraft formats, and those will typically cover the more obvious waiver wire candidates, most of whom are spoken for in dynasty leagues.
That said, considering we’re fresh off week one’s games, for this week I’ll include IDPs who have been hyped in the off-season and ticketed for a larger role.
And of course not every IDP listed here is a good dynasty stash. Dynasty rosters need those short-term values too though, and this early in the season it’s worth it to churn a few end-of-your-roster-types to see if an IDP available on waivers is making a leap in play rather than just taking advantage of a good matchup.
Now let’s hit the wire!
John Cominsky, Charles Harris, James Houston and Josh Paschal, DET
Neither Cominsky nor Harris did much of note in the box score during Thursday’s opener at Kansas City. And you’re probably never going to seriously consider either in a starting lineup in leagues that allow for just two defensive ends. Both are solid NFL pass rushers though, and with Aidan Hutchinson occupying the eyes of opposing offensive protection schemes, both will have their moments this season. Of the two, Harris easily logged more snaps (52 to 27), but both registered hits on the quarterback and two total tackles.
From a dynasty perspective, Houston and Paschal are worth watching, although both will likely lag behind Harris on edge snaps this season. The IDP world is familiar with Houston after he bagged eight sacks over the final seven games of the 2022 regular season. He failed to bring down Patrick Mahomes in the opener, but over 21 snaps he did get a hit on the Chiefs quarterback and hurried him on another throw. Paschal had a more statistically pleasing night with three total tackles – one in the backfield – and of course has better draft capital (it’s easy to forget Pascal was a round-two pick in 2022) and carries more prototypical NFL end size at 6-foot-3, 274 pounds than the smaller Houston.
Jonathan Greenard, HOU
A calf injury ruined Greenard’s 2022 campaign, but he’s back and apparently better than ever after, logging one sack, two tackles for loss, four solo tackles and one assist to kick off his first contract year. With rookie stud Will Anderson garnering plenty of attention on the opposite side, Greenard looks like a capable streamer or bye-week fantasy fill-in.
Drake Jackson, SF
Hey, I mentioned there would be some Captain Obvious selections in this week one edition. Jackson had already generated a good bit of press headed into his second season, and I had him listed near the bottom of my top 150 IDP dynasty rankings in early September. He’ll get a bump after coming out hot with three sacks against Kenny “Tiny Paws” Pickett and the hapless Steelers. Jackson, a second-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, looks like a mainstay on the 49ers defensive line for the next few seasons.
Arden Key, TEN
Since entering the NFL in 2018, Key has had a hard time finding the desirable snap volume to justify IDP consideration. That may change this season – Key’s first in Tennessee – especially after an impressive opening performance that included one-and-a-half sacks on two quarterback hits, a solo tackle and three assists, plus a pass defended.
Arden Key is DOMINATING today… hopefully no one started Trevor Penning 😬 pic.twitter.com/QTP7QKM7AG
— All-22 (@All22_PFF) September 10, 2023
- Michael Danna, KC – There’s no doubt Danna deserves some waiver wire love after pacing Chiefs edge defenders with 60 snaps, and notching a sack, four solos, two assists and a pass defensed. Just keep in mind rookie first-rounder Felix Anudike-Uzomah’s work will increase as the season rolls along, and off-season addition Charles Omenihu is due to return from suspension in week seven.
- Dennis Gardeck, ARI – I’m not one to hate on production, but I’m willing to bet a couple of bucks that Gardeck (two sacks on three quarterback hits, plus a forced fumble that led to a Cameron Thomas touchdown) just had his best game of the season. This Arizona edge group is only for the desperate and the obscene.
Alim McNeill, DET
If you’re seriously hurting for defensive tackle depth or you’re playing in DT-premium formats, McNeill is worth an end-of-bench roster spot. The Lions’ depth chart has been lacking a threatening three-tech, and unless Levi Onwuzurike suddenly comes alive, McNeill is the closest thing Detroit has. The Lions actually shifted McNeill off the nose late last season, and according to the team’s website, the former N.C. State stud (and high school baseball star) dropped 22 pounds and 13 percent body fat over the off-season to accommodate more one-gap work. He was consistently late off the snap in the opener and managed just two assisted tackles, but if he improves his timing he should find some success in the backfield at times in 2023.
Osa Odighizuwa, DAL
Sunday Night Football was a total dud of a game, but it was fun for a few Dallas IDPs, Odighizuwa among them. Dallas of course used a first-round pick on Mazi Smith in the NFL Draft, and has been on the hunt for disruption on the interior for several seasons. Odighizuwa, the former third-round pick out of UCLA, is the most likely of Dallas’ defensive tackles to be that guy, and showed what he’s capable of with a big week one that included two sacks on three quarterback hits and four total tackles. I’m not expecting a DT1 season out of him, but DT2 production is not out of the question.
Devonte Wyatt, GB
Has Green Bay finally found its long-term pairing at tackle next to Kenny Clark? The 2022 first-rounder didn’t set the NFL on fire as a rookie, but no one really expected it either. Now, with Dean Lowry out of the way, Wyatt’s getting a prime opportunity. So far, so good, as Wyatt picked up one-and-a-half sacks on two quarterback hits to go along with three total tackles in the opener.
- Harrison Phillips, MIN – This is a pick only for the desperate, but the former Bill put together a nice statistical outing against Tampa Bay with five solos and three assists. Maybe Brian Flores has big plans for Minnesota’s top tackle.
Kwon Alexander, PIT
Alexander didn’t log full-time snaps, but he was easily the No. 2 linebacker over Elandon Roberts, and led the Steelers with eight solo tackles and one assist. If Cole Holcomb struggles in zone coverage like he did against the 49ers, I could see Alexander quickly ascending to the No. 1 role. He’s a priority IDP add this week.
Zach Cunningham and Christian Elliss, PHI
The Philly linebacker corps has hot mess written all over it. After suffering a foot injury that had him hobbling around in a boot post-game, IDP breakout candidate Nakobe Dean is anything but certain for the immediate future. Cunningham, who just weeks ago was out of the league and seemingly out of chances, is suddenly a waiver-wire commodity even after a debut that saw him notch just three solo tackles, an assist and a fumble recovery.
Elliss didn’t exactly capitalize on a golden opportunity in the pre-season, leading Philadelphia to bring in Cunningham and the now-retired Myles Jack. If Dean misses time, Elliss should get another shot. Last season an Elliss (Kaden) was an unlikely fantasy breakout, could we have the same this season in a shaky and uncertain Philly linebacker corps?
Gibbens is clearly the No. 2 to Azeez Al-Shaair in Tennessee’s linebacker corps, but the second-year undrafted Gibbens upstaged Al-Shaair in week one with six solo tackles and an assist on a tackle in the backfield. One bad game and Gibbens could be waived and headed for the practice squad, but he was decent as a rookie and the Titans have no one other than Monty Rice to turn to. Gibbens should at least be rostered in all tackle-heavy formats.
Rozebook appears to be the “two-thirds” linebacker, seeing the second-highest number of snaps among L.A. off-balls. He’s unlikely to ever have value barring an injury to Ernest Jones, but in big tackle-heavy leagues, that may be enough for some of you to consider rostering the former South Dakota State Jackrabbit.
- Micah McFadden, NYG – I’ll admit I’m not much of a McFadden fan, and I don’t expect him to last long as a fantasy asset. Still, following a three-solo, seven-assist opener, he should be rostered in all tackle-heavy formats.
Julian Blackmon, IND
Blackmon’s new role as the Colts’ box safety became fairly well known during the pre-season, but I was still able to add him off waivers fairly recently even in some 12-team leagues. He didn’t get off to a roaring start with just five total tackles in Indy’s opener, and he’s had frequent run-ins with the medical staff over his three full years as a pro. Still, Colts Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley is celebrated in IDP circles for sticking to the once-popular high-low safety scheme, and as long as Blackmon is getting a healthy share of snaps in the box, he’s worthy of starting consideration.
Reed Blankenship and Justin Evans, PHI
I’m only remotely interested in this duo and I’m likely not adding either given the plethora of options at safety these days. Keep in mind Mac Jones attempted 54 passes (no doubt to the extreme distress of Bill Belichick) but Blankenship’s 11 total tackles and two passes defensed are worth a waiver wire mention. Evans (four solos, three assists) – a surprise starter over Terrell Edmunds – is just keeping the seat warm for rookie Sydney Brown‘s eventual rise to the lineup. It can’t happen soon enough.
Camryn Bynum and Josh Metellus, MIN
I get that Bynum is going to look more attractive given his five solos and five assists. And yes, he led the Minnesota safety group in snaps, and had some big games a couple of seasons back filling in for Harrison Smith. But ultimately of these two, Metellus (five solos, one pass defended) is the safety I want here. He’s been highly hyped this off-season as an ascending player with a role that will put him in the box a lot or over the slot, and of course given Flores’ aggressive use of blitzes, I like Metellus’ big play upside.
Andre Cisco, JAC
Cisco might be floating around waivers in some 14-team setups. Given in 2022 he saw just 23 percent of his snaps either in the box or at slot defender, Cisco’s tackle totals on a week-to-week basis may be a little volatile. But the third-year Jaguar has big-play upside as evidenced by his career at Syracuse, where he totaled 13 interceptions and 29 passes defended over 24 career games. He crushed it in week one with seven solo tackles, three assists and a forced fumble, so he’ll be a priority for safety-needy squads.
Amani Hooker, TEN
Need another reason to not overspend to fill your starting safety spots? Coming off an injury-riddled campaign, Hooker filled up the box score with an interception, two passes defended, a forced fumble and recovery (when he stole the ball out of Rashid Shaheed’s hands on the opening kickoff), and five total tackles, one of which came in the backfield. And – good news/bad news – he did all this on 59 snaps before exiting with a possible concussion.
For dynasty purposes, keep in mind Hooker came into the NFL as a very young prospect, and is just 25 as he enters his fifth pro season.
Jabrill Peppers, NE
I don’t know if this will continue, but he played a lot more than Adrian Phillips or Jalen Mills, and finished with three solos, three assists, a forced fumble and a pass defensed. In leagues where safeties are hard to come by, the 2017 first-rounder is worth adding.
Jason Pinnock, NYG
Pinnock has been a popular off-season addition since Julian Love left for Seattle. Big Blue’s opener left a lot to be desired, and Pinnock tallied just five total tackles – not nearly good enough for starting consideration as a fantasy safety. He’ll be fine though, and I expect something like an S4 season from Pinnock.
Nick Scott, CIN
The Bengals of course have rookie Jordan Battle of course waiting in the wings to pair with Daxton Hill, but Scott is a decent safety in his own right. Sure, Cincinnati got shellacked by the Browns, but Scott (four solo tackles and seven assists) is probably going to keep Battle at bay for at least this season and perhaps next year too.
- Alohi Gilman, LAC – The game script certainly aided Gilman’s output, which included nine solo tackles and two assists. Personally he’s not high on my waiver wire priority list, even at safety, but for now he’s ahead of J.T. Woods at the safety spot opposite Derwin James. I think it’s risky though to consider him for a starting lineup.
- Geno Stone, BAL – The news does not seem good on Marcus Williams, who possibly tore a pectoral muscle in the opener. In the deepest of leagues, Stone becomes a target as next man up.
- K’Von Wallace, ARI – The former Eagle landed in the desert, and Wallace had a nice debut with seven total tackles and a pair of passes defended. I’ll still pass since the Cards have Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson far ahead in the pecking order.
It appears the Raiders are going to lean heavily on the rookie fourth-rounder. Week one saw seven solo tackles – what will week two bring against Josh Allen and the Bills?
Charvarius Ward is clearly San Francisco’s top corner, and the rest of the room (Lenoir, Ambry Thomas and Isaiah Oliver) is clearly cause for concern for a title-contending team. As long as Lenoir (eight solo tackles, two assists against Pittsburgh) is playing in two-corner sets and holding down primary slot duties, he’s worth starting lineup consideration.
Trent McDuffie, KC
McDuffie is an obvious pickup in cornerback-required leagues. Coming off a nice rookie season, McDuffie played all but one defensive snap and tallied six solo tackles and two assists, and forced a fumble. He’s one of the top fantasy cornerback breakout candidates for 2023 as Kansas City’s primary slot defender, and likely a “set it and forget it” play.
Brandon Stephens, BAL
You’re typically chasing fool’s gold if you’re looking for back-to-back big tackle outings from a corner, but Stephens (eight solo tackles and three assists against Houston) should again be busy in week two at Cincinnati against Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
Alontae Taylor, NO
The second-year defensive back from Tennessee is a candidate for breakout corner of the year, and though he didn’t have a big game in the opener with three solo tackles and two assists, Taylor is going to make for an acceptable CB2 this season.
- Akayleb Evans and Byron Murphy, MIN – It’s hard not to like Vikings corners on Thursday night against the Eagles’ passing attack, and Evans (four solos, one assist and two passes defended) and Murphy (two solos, four assists) should be added where available.
- Dynasty IDP Waiver Wire: Week Two - September 18, 2023
- Dynasty IDP Waiver Wire: Week One - September 11, 2023
- 2023 NFL Draft: IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football Winners and Losers from the AFC - May 31, 2023