Dynasty IDP Waiver Wire: Week Six
You don’t have to be an NFL fan to know the name Dick Butkus, one of the iconic figures in the history of the game. He’s all-time defense royalty, and he died last Thursday at the age of 80.
Even IDP aficionados probably haven’t thought about Butkus in a while, and though we shouldn’t wait for a legend to pass away to revisit his career, it was pretty awesome to listen to some longtime fans recount his exploits.
The play at the 1:04 mark of this video where Butkus – with one arm – stops the Atlanta running back, picks him up while the poor guy’s legs just keep churning in mid air, and slams him on his back is just awesome.
Another great find from this week: Broncos Hall of Famer Floyd “The Franchise” Little of course famously stumbled over to the opposing team’s huddle after once getting hit by Butkus. I wasn’t able to confirm the validity of this quote that Little reportedly shared about the incident, but it sounds about right.
Also, it’s absolutely crazy to think the Bears walked away from the 1965 NFL Draft with both Butkus and Gale Sayers, the number three and four overall picks.
You won’t find a Dick Butkus in this week’s waiver wire article – or anywhere in the NFL right now – but I recommend taking some time this week and just learning a little more about a former player on your favorite team.
Before you dig into this week’s column, keep in mind 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). The reason is there are plenty of sites, podcasts and Patreons (and good ones) providing what I would consider obvious waiver wire advice for leagues that are of the “start eight IDPs” variety with combined defensive lines and defensive backs. 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.
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.
Bud Dupree, Arnold Ebiketie and Zach Harrison, ATL
None of these guys are doing anything for fantasy, and hopefully you’re not desperate for edge help, but if you are, fire up some Falcons in week six against Washington. The Commanders’ offensive line is anything but “in command,” and as much as Eric Bienemy has Sam Howell taking to the air, Atlanta’s pass rushers should actually have a shot at good production. Dupree is the best of the bunch here, both in terms of snaps and production, while Ebiketie and Harrison remain the more promising dynasty options. For one week and one week only, I’m reluctantly OK with Dupree. I’m still fairly intrigued with both Ebiketie and Harrison for dynasty.
Huff is an exciting sub-package edge rusher who has been deserving of more snaps, and his role could change going forward if the Jets are really moving on from Carl Lawson – a healthy scratch at Denver. Jermaine Johnson II and John Franklin-Myers are the starters, and Will McDonald, the 15th overall draft pick, is likely in line for more work if Lawson is jettisoned or kept on the bench. But Huff is available everywhere, and he’s also hitting free agency next off-season. He’s likely going to be a popular deep league waiver wire target this week after picking up a sack on two quarterback hits, and notching a couple of solo tackles.
As for Lawson, he could end up traded – perhaps to Las Vegas, which is seeking a veteran edge to play opposite stud Maxx Crosby. If not Lawson, the Raiders might add a veteran edge who was on the opposite sideline Sunday: Denver’s Frank Clark.
- A.J. Epenesa, BUF – Epenesa invariably pops up on this list, but despite an outing that featured two sacks – including a strip sack and fumble recovery to close out the first half – among his four total tackles, plus three passes defensed, Epenesa’s usage just isn’t good enough to merit lineup consideration. The Bills on Sunday were without starter Gregory Rousseau and rotational edge Shaq Lawson, plus Vonn Miller just returned. When Buffalo has all five edges at its disposal, Epenesa is no higher than fourth in the pecking order behind Leonard Floyd, Miller and Rousseau.
- Samson Ebukam and Dayo Odeyingbo, IND – The matchup wasn’t great from a snap opportunity perspective, but with Kwity Paye sidelined with a concussion, both Ebukam and Odeyingbo were worth starting consideration against Tennessee. Odeyingbo (three total tackles) was a bust, but Ebukam tallied a sack on his three total tackles. Either is worth consideration in week six against Jacksonville if you’re in a tight spot.
Gervon Dexter, CHI
Dexter was the first of two SEC defensive tackles Chicago took in the middle of day two of the NFL Draft, and has had a quiet rookie season. And from a box score perspective, week five was just another quiet day from Dexter, with just one assist, and a pass defensed. Now, any big outing against Washington has to be taken in the proper context, but the rookie from Florida did get a couple of hits on the quarterback, and Pro Football Focus credited him with six pressures. That at least bodes well for him from a dynasty perspective, so in defensive tackle-required leagues, Dexter is worth consideration as a long-term stash.
- Calais Campbell, ATL – See the reasoning for Atlanta edge defenders, and the versatile and venerable Campbell falls in line with Dupree as a desperation play in a prime fantasy matchup at home against Washington.
- David Onyemata, ATL – He followed up a big week four with a meager two solo tackles, but with Washington on deck, Onyemata makes for an appealing streaming option in defensive tackle-required leagues.
Damone Clark, DAL
San Francisco chewed up Dallas and spat ‘em out on Sunday night, and among the casualties was Leighton Vander Esch, who got pushed into Micah Parsons’ rib cage in a nasty collision that left Vander Esch on his back for a few minutes. Clark’s only available in shallow leagues, but if out there he’s a priority add should Vander Esch miss time. If it’s a bad injury or there’s concern for Vander Esch given his past neck issues, I have to think Dallas explores the trade market or some other option than current number three linebacker Malik Jefferson.
Tyrel Dodson and Dorian Williams, BUF
What a disastrous day for Buffalo. Matt Milano broke a bone in his leg and suffered a potentially bad knee injury, opening the door for possible year-one value for Williams. And the rookie needed a door to open after Terrel Bernard‘s impressive start to the season that seemingly solidified his short- and long-term spot in the lineup next to the stellar Milano. Williams (four total tackles and a pass defended) isn’t available in most dynasty IDP leagues, but Dodson (four solo tackles – one for loss – one assist, a hit on the quarterback, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery) likely is. Dodson should have some short-term value, but I’d still prefer Williams in dynasty by a country mile.
Isaiah Simmons, NYG
Simmons saw his IDP value in Arizona plummet like the temperature in the desert night, so a preseason trade to Big Blue came as welcome news. He’s still been a fantasy zero, even after a position move to linebacker – at least until week five. With normal number two Micah McFadden inactive with an ankle injury, Simmons stepped in and logged seven solo tackles and a couple of assists against Miami. As unappealing as it seems, Simmons is worth a roster spot in case of injury to Bobby Okereke, or if McFadden continues to fizzle in the second linebacker role.
- Blake Cashman, HOU – Are you going to want to plug Cashman into your lineup, even after a nine-total-tackle week that included a quarterback hit? Probably not. Rookie Henry To’oTo’o remains the man here, and Denzel Perryman is back, albeit with his hand wrapped and resembling a club. Second-year disappointment Christian Harris was also inactive Sunday with a concussion. A gamble on Cashman seems like a poor bet right now.
- Will Harris, DET – Harris subbed in for Brian Branch as Detroit’s slot defender and had a huge game with seven solos, two assists, a quarterback hit, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery. Keep in mind the game script – the Panthers got down early and had to throw a lot – but Harris is acceptable if you’ve been relying on Branch, who suffered an ankle injury in week four. The rookie is no guarantee to play this week at Tampa Bay, so Harris is a viable short-term play.
- Sam Franklin, CAR – Well, I was wrong to recommend that you leave Franklin on waiver wires last week. Again stepping in for an injured Xavier Woods (inactive with a hamstring injury), Franklin compiled seven solo tackles plus an assist against Detroit. He’s worth consideration this week against Miami if Woods remains inactive.
Kei’Trel Clark, Antonio Hamilton and Marco Wilson, ARI
With the Rams next on the slate, Arizona’s cornerback room could be in line for another big fantasy day. Outside starters Clark (four solos – one for loss – and one assist) and Wilson (eight solos, three assists) were busy against the Bengals, and Hamilton (six solos, one assist) got in additional work after slot defender/safety Jalen Thompson left in the second quarter with a hamstring injury.
Greg Stroman Jr., CHI
Stroman’s big Thursday night (a sack among his seven total tackles, and an interception) was certainly in good part due to the Commanders’ pass-happy game script, so don’t expect this kind of production or likely anything near it in the future. In really deep, start-two corner leagues, Stroman may be worth a look in week six when Chicago faces Minnesota. Stroman, who has mostly played slot, should see some of Justin Jefferson. Injuries have kept Stroman from seeing the field much since his rookie season with Washington in 2018, and it’s good to see the former Virginia Tech Hokie get another shot.
Williams has been on a tear the past two weeks with two interceptions – one that went for a touchdown – on four passes defensed, plus 11 solo tackles, an assist and a forced fumble. He’s certainly worth scooping up where available and streaming when the matchup is right.
- Kaiir Elam, BUF – I advocated for Dane Jackson (six solos, two assists and a pass defensed) last week following Tre’Davious White’s devastating Achilles tear. Elam, Buffalo’s 2022 first-round pick, also saw significant snaps and production (eight solos, three assists) with starter Christian Benford inactive with a shoulder injury. I’m assuming Elam will remain the third option at outside corner if Jackson and Benford are healthy. The matchup for Bills corners in week six against the Giants is stellar, by the way.
- Myles Bryant, NE – Lo and behold, Jonathan Jones returned to action in week five, and the Patriots added former stalwart J.C. Jackson in a cheap trade with the Chargers. Bryant remains the New England corner to own and consider in lineups; he starred in week five with a sack among his five total tackles.