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IDP Waiver Wire Report Week 4: Josey Jewell Impact Return

Another week of IDP action is in the books, and the players who can and can't be relied upon is more clear.

I'm back at it again with a Week 4 Waiver Wire Report and hopefully we can decipher the stats and snaps to determine which players are worthy of a roster spot. Last week, I talked about how to avoid overcommitting FAAB dollars to unremarkable players and used Steelers pass-rusher Alex Highsmith as an example. A breakout Week 1 was followed by a dud in Week 2 and wouldn't you know it? Highsmith had another great game in Week 3. Well, enjoy it while it lasts until T.J. Watt returns, although I assume Pittsburgh will find a way to keep him involved in a rotation.

If you have any IDP waiver or lineup questions, I'm happy to help and you can contact me directly on Twitter.

Before I offer the latest IDP information, please do go back and check the names on the Week 3 IDP waiver wire list.

The wide variety of IDP leagues makes it difficult to pinpoint roster percentages, so not every recommendation may be a good fit for your league. Generally, if you play in a shallow format with a total of 24 or fewer IDP starters across the league (two per team), these recommendations are at least a layer too deep for you. For specifics, it's always best to consume a lot of IDP content to get a feel for the landscape from multiple points of view.

Note: For each player, I provide a positional rank and list their percentage of defensive snaps played in their most recent game. For example, Derwin James would be a DB1+, meaning a defensive back ranked 1 to 12 (DB1) and the plus sign meaning on the high-end (1 to 4). DL3- would be a defensive lineman ranked 25 to 36 (DL3) and the minus means on the low-end, specifically 33 to 36. 

NFL Gamebooks (PDF): PIT vs. CLE | NO vs. CAR | HOU vs. CHI | KC vs. IND | BUF vs. MIA | DET vs. MIN | BAL vs. NE | CIN vs. NYJ | LV vs. TEN | PHI vs. WAS | JAC vs. LAC | LAR vs. ARI | ATL vs. SEA | GB vs. TB | SF vs. DEN

Notable IDP injuries

Cardinals LB4- Zaven Collins (shoulder) left the game against the Rams and did not return.

Lions DB1- Tracy Walker (ankle) left early in their game against the Vikings and did not return. Update: A torn Achilles ends Walker's season.

Packers DB6/CB3 Jaire Alexander (groin) was hurt in the first quarter, was ruled out and did not return.

Raiders DB3-/CB1 Nate Hobbs suffered a concussion and did not return.

Chargers DL1 Joey Bosa exited early with a groin injury in the first quarter.

Jets LB3+ Quincy Williams (ankle) had to be carted off and did not return.

49ers LB6- Azeez Al-Shaair (knee) left just ahead of halftime. It's believed he suffered an MCL sprain.

IDP Waiver Wire Pickups

Defensive Linemen

DE Deatrich Wise, New England Patriots
Wise has been a hit-or-miss IDP prospect for most of his career. Since he's never had big sack totals (career high of five in his 2017 rookie season), Wise has gotten by on above-average tackle totals. But without many big plays, it's tough sledding to get much traction as a DE IDP. I would caution about getting your hopes up. He's off to a great start, but Wise has been more of a flex over his career. Proceed with care. Wise played in 73% of Week 3 snaps.
DE4-

DE Jerry Hughes, Houston Texans
Of course, I spoke definitively against Hughes after he was nearly held scoreless in Week 2. He posted three solos, one assist, two sacks and two TFL in Week 3 and also had two sacks in Week 1. He's 34 years old, which is truly ancient for pass-rushers. He is playing just under two-thirds of defensive snaps, which is good but not great. If you're underwhelmed with your defensive ends thus far, I don't mind adding Hughes. Just understand he's well past his prime and it could all fall apart quickly. Hughes played in 71% of Week 3 snaps.
DE6

DE Melvin Ingram, Miami Dolphins
Speaking of past his prime, Ingram is channeling his mid-2010s self. He already has two sacks, double what he's had across the smattering of games he played over the last two seasons. That's sort of the point, he hasn't been reliably healthy for many years. As a football fan, I'm happy for the guy that he's still got something left in the tank. For our IDP purposes, I remain very skeptical. About one-fifth of his fantasy point total comes from a touchdown scored in Week 1 and his two sacks of Josh Allen in Week 3 were certainly a surprise. Like the aforementioned Hughes, I can only recommend Ingram if you're in serious need of help at defensive end. Ingram played in 62% of Week 3 snaps.
DE6-

DT B.J. Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
Hill should be a well-known in DT-required leagues, but he is floating near the top of the position now and could also be worth consideration in DL leagues. After accumulating one solo, three assists, a half-sack, one FF, two FRs (!) and one PD, Hill is a menace. The Bengals use a heavy rotation upfront and as long as he maintains a snap count around 66% every week, he looks like a good bench DL with bye week potential moving forward. Hill played in 68% of Week 3 snaps.
DL5 / DT1

More Defensive Linemen (< 5% rostered on MFL)
DE Preston Smith, GB, DL3 / LB5-, 78% snaps played
DE Rasheem Green, HOU, DL4, 57%
DE Randy Gregory, DEN, DL4-, 71%
DE Rashad Weaver, TEN, DL5, 81%
DE Carlos Dunlap, KC, DL6+, 44%
DE Darrell Taylor, SEA, DL6+, 67%
DE Brandon Graham, PHI, DL6, 35%
DT Shy Tuttle, NO, DT1-, 74%
DT Sheldon Rankins, NYJ, DT2+, 56%

Denver Broncos Josey Jewell

Linebackers

Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos
Making his season debut after missing the Broncos’ first two games, Jewell exceeded already pretty high expectations with five solos, four assists, one sack and a fumble recovery. Jewell missed nearly all of the 2021 season with a pec injury that put him on injured reserve. After a breakout 2020 campaign, we shouldn't be surprised if he keeps up at this pace, although the sacks won't be a regular occurrence as he only has 4.5 in his career. Denver's defense looks excellent thus far—though they've yet to face a good quarterback—so Jewell will be at the center of a devastating unit. Jewell played in 95% of Week 3 snaps.
LB3

Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts
I've been reluctant to give Franklin his proper due because I assumed his teammate Shaq Leonard would be returning sooner rather than later. We still have to operate under that assumption, but for now, I'll take Franklin given his playing time and production. With three straight games with six or more solo tackles, Franklin is setting a very high scoring floor. In Week 3, he stuffed the sheets with eight solos, four assists, one TFL and a PD. When Leonard does return, I do believe Franklin will be closer to 85% snaps in a rotation with Bobby Okereke. So please keep that in mind in more shallow formats because Franklin's point totals could be halved when that time comes. Franklin played 100% of Week 3 snaps.
LB2+ until Leonard returns, LB4 after

Alex Anzalone, Detroit Lions
Anzalone's Week 3 production is likely a best-case scenario. You should feel blessed for any numbers besides solos and assists as that's his bread and butter. Against the Vikings, Anzalone compiled nine solos, one assist, one sack and one TFL. Back in 2018 with the Saints, Anzalone was a capable IDP flex contributor and he really took off in 2021, his first year in Detroit. I don't believe he has much scoring upside since he's limited athletically, but he can be a consistent flex for deep league managers. Anzalone played 99% of Week 3 snaps.
LB4+

Drue Tranquill, Los Angeles Chargers
Tranquill was someone I believed could have a really good season, but the Chargers linebacker rotation is highly variable. Ultimately, even the best player can only do so much if he's not on the field. Since Tranquill isn't an every-down player—played in 60%, 84%, 78% snaps over L.A.'s first three games—there is even more significant risk of a fallout game, where his point total could disappear. You should always try to lean toward every-down players. Tranquill played in 78% of snaps in Week 3.
LB4

More Linebackers (< 10% rostered on MFL)
Leighton Vander Esch, DAL, LB2, 83% snaps played
Divine Deablo, LV, LB2-, 100% 
Jacob Phillips, CLE, LB3+, 78%
Frankie Luvu, CAR, LB3+, 100%
Quay Walker, GB, LB3-, 85%
Nicholas Morrow, CHI, LB4+, 100%
Jamin Davis, WAS, LB4-, 79%
Ernest Jones, LAR, LB5+, 63%
Rashaan Evans, ATL, LB5, 100%
Malcolm Rodriguez, DET, LB5-, 76%
Jayon Brown, LV, LB6-, 90%

Defensive Backs

Jonathan Owens, Houston Texans
This add should be obvious as Owens is performing like a DB1, but this is more directed at shallow formats. Owens had six solos and five assists in Week 3 versus the Bears. He now has 23 solos, 13 assists and one PD. I love an IDP delivering startable tackle-centric production because big plays will come, even if only sporadically. Owens played in 100% of Week 3 snaps.
DB2+

Jalen Pitre, Houston Texans
Given that the Texans defensive front isn't anything to write home about, a ton of plays are trickling back to their safeties. Not only is Owens playing great, Pitre had a breakout Week 3 against the Bears. He did it all with five solos, three assists, two sacks, two TFL, two interceptions and two PDs. That's probably about as good as it's going to get for him, so don't expect him to keep up that pace, but the Texans drafted him in the early second round this year out of Baylor for exactly that kind of impact. Pitre played in 100% of Week 3 snaps.
DB3-

Mike Edwards, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Edwards has improved statistically in each week so we may be at the mountaintop. I was skeptical of him since about half of his Week 2 points came from an interception returned for a touchdown. Edwards provided nine solos, four assists and one TFL in Week 3, so he showed he can get tackle numbers as well. Edwards played in 100% of Week 3 snaps.
DB4+

CB Roger McCreary, Tennessee Titans
After a forgettable Week 1, McCreary put himself on the map with 11 solos in Week 2 and now we can't ignore him any longer since he had nine solos, one assist and one PD in Week 3 against the Raiders. McCreary came into the year as the Titans nickel corner and and his snaps played should hold very steady with Tennessee opting to bench Caleb Farley (only one Week 3 snap) as the former first-round pick was expected to be a starter this year. McCreary played in 100% of Week 3 snaps.
DB4 / CB1-

More Defensive Backs (< 5% rostered on MFL)
S Brandon Jones, MIA, DB2-, 90% snaps played
S Richie Grant, ATL, DB3+, 100%
S Jaquan Brisker, CHI, DB3+, 100%
S Grant Delpit, CLE, DB3+, 100%
S Chuck Clark, BAL, DB3-, 100%
S John Johnson, CLE, DB4, 100%
S Rodney McLeod, IND, DB4, 100%
S Donovan Wilson, DAL, DB5+, 100%
S DeShon Elliott, DET, DB5, 100%
S Eddie Jackson, CHI, DB5-, 88%
S JuJu Hughes, DET, DB5-, 88%
CB Jamel Dean, TB, CB1-, 100%
CB Jaylen Watson, KC, CB2+, 83%
CB Charvarius Ward, SF, CB2+, 96%

More IDP observations

If Lions S Tracy Walker's injury keeps him out, I think you have to upgrade his teammate S DeShon Elliott at least a full tier from DB5 up to DB4. Update: Walker is out for the year with an Achilles tear. S JuJu Hughes looks like the next man up as he saw 88% snaps in Week 3. He finished with a very respectable five solos and three assists.

For those riding high on the play of Ravens S Marcus Williams, Week 3 was likely the beginning of the end. There will always be flashes of IDP brilliance for safeties who play deep since sometimes the defense will have a bad day and more plays end up reaching him. Or sometimes the big plays break his way. Tackles remain the most reliable stat. Be wary of any player that relies too much on big plays to produce points.

Packers rookie LB Quay Walker has seen his play time ramp up each week through three games but I don't believe he has every-down potential this year without an injury to another linebacker or pass-rusher. Love him in dynasty, and he's solid in redraft and there's still more room for growth if he can get more snaps.

Colts rookie S Nick Cross near fell off a cliff in Week 3. With 100% snaps in Week 1, expectations were high but that dropped to 65% in Week 2 in a split with S Rodney McLeod. The 11-year veteran has had plenty of IDP relevant seasons over the years with the Rams and Eagles, and that may continue this season. Cross only played 2% of snaps in Week 3 while McLeod was at 100%. Cross is a drop in redraft and you'll have to exercise some patience in dynasty.

He hasn't played yet (since this is written on Monday mornings) but you should definitely keep an eye on Cowboys S Donovan Wilson, who opened with two strong weeks and will look to build off of that against the Giants.

With a number of injuries to their secondary, including CB Troy Hill (IR, groin), CB David Long Jr. (groin), S Jordan Fuller (hamstring), I don't think you should reach much into CB Derion Kendrick posting nine tackles and one PD. Sure, teams like to pick on the new guy, but he should only be rostered in very deep formats with a CB-requirement.

Speaking of guys named David Long Jr., there's also Titans LB undefined who has been off to a sluggish start. He was a pleasant surprise in 2021 although he missed seven games due to injury. On a points per-game basis, he was a top-20 LB last year and I expected more of the same in 2022. Through three games, he's playing more like a borderline LB5. If your league only requires you to have three or fewer linebackers rostered, I don't mind cutting him loose. But I'm holding him across the board and giving him a little more time.

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