Welcome to the latest IDP Waiver Wire Report as we are now looking ahead to Week 5. Last week, I started including links to the NFL game books. Some of you may not know what a game book is, so allow me to break it down. Basically the NFL provides a full game summary with every tiny piece of information to aid the media in their coverage of the game. So everything from the weather, start time, the players, the injured players who didn't play, a box score, team stats, player stats, possession information, play-by-play coverage for each quarter, and what I use it for: snap counts.
You ever hear old timers talk about fantasy football "back in their day" and how they had to look up stats in the newspaper to calculate player scores? These are basically the modern-day equivalent. If you lived off the grid during the NFL season, I'd recommend a printout of the game book to get the full picture of the matchup. If you're very intense about football and stats, you can even find game books going back to 1981 on their Game Statistics and Information System. The old game books were mostly handwritten back then. There's a log in required and the username and password is "media". Enjoy!
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 4 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 Game Books (PDF): MIA vs. CIN | MIN vs. NO | CLE vs. ATL | BUF vs. BAL | WAS vs. DAL | SEA vs. DET | LAC vs. HOU | TEN vs. IND | CHI vs. NYG | JAC vs. PHI | NYJ vs. PIT | ARI vs. CAR | NE vs. GB | DEN vs. LV | KC vs. TB
Notable IDP injuries
Colts LB1- Shaquille Leonard (concussion) collided with a teammate and did not return. It was his first game back after needing offseason back surgery.
Steelers DB1+ Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) is being evaluated.
Giants DB2 Julian Love (concussion) did not return after evaluation.
Panthers DB2 Jeremy Chinn (hamstring) exited early and did not return.
Raiders LB3+ Denzel Perryman (concussion) was unable to return.
Bucs DB4- Carlton Davis (stinger) was unable to return.
Steelers DB6 Terrell Edmunds (concussion) entered the protocol and ruled out against the Jets.
Broncos DE5+ Randy Gregory (knee) exited and is scheduled for MRIs.
Eagles DB6- Darius Slay (forearm) was questionable to return against Jacksonville but did not return.
Bucs DB7 Logan Ryan (foot) was injured during the game and did not return.
Cardinals LB7 Nick Vigil (hamstring) left during Arizona's game against the Panthers and did not return.
Lions CB3- Amani Oruwariye (neck) did not return.
IDP Waiver Wire Pickups
DE Rashan Gary, Green Bay Packers
After a pretty good start to the season, Gary opened it up in Week 4 against the Patriots with four solos, three assists, one TFL, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He now has five sacks to start the season. Gary played in 74% of Week 4 snaps. D2+
DE Uchenna Nwosu, Seattle Seahawks
I've upgraded Nwosu into the write-up portion after giving him two straight mentions in the "More Defensive Linemen" section. Nwosu is only worth an add if you can start him at defensive end. I do expect more from him as if you watch the games, he seems disruptive and in the mix frequently. Yet the stats don't quite reflect his on-field impact. Definitely a player to watch in the coming weeks because I think there's still more upside here.Nwosu played in 81% of Week 4 snaps. DE4+
DE Jayson Oweh, Baltimore Ravens
Oweh, also known as Odafe depending on your league host, was a popular rookie IDP last year who definitely needed some seasoning before beginning to come into his own recently. He recorded his first sack of the season to go along with six solos, one assist, one TFL and one forced fumble. For now, his startability is limited to leagues where you need three DL starters but I'm very encouraged by his playing time and the numbers should follow. Oweh played in 95% of Week 4 snaps. DE5
DT Jihad Ward, New York Giants
Ward plays all over the place and earlier in his career, he did play a bit of defensive tackle. So depending on your league's age, he might be grandfathered into multi-position eligibility. In any case, with mostly LB snaps now, he's producing more than enough to outpace the average DT. He's likely not scoring enough to warrant consideration at DE or LB, so only commit to him if you can use him as a DT. Ward played in 60% of Week 4 snaps. DL5 / DT1
More Defensive Linemen (< 5% rostered on MFL)
DE/LB Rashod Weaver, TEN, 70% snaps played
DE Justin Hollins, LAR, MNF
DE Denico Autry, TEN, 71%
DE Za'Darius Smith, MIN, 40%
DE Lorenzo Carter, ATL, 97%
DT Dalvin Tomlinson, MIN, DT2+, 73%
DT Justin Jones, CHI, DT2+, 62%
Frankie Luvu, Carolina Panthers
This article marks the third straight week Luvu can be found among my linebacker recommendations. I usually like to forewarn managers about adding IDPs that are coming off a game with a touchdown score. I'm typically targeting tackle-heavy options with high snap counts and that's been him in this young season. Even without the Week 4 TD against the Cardinals, Luvu is likely a top-10 LB across all formats. He had six solos, five assists, one TFL, one INT, one PD to go with his touchdown against Arizona. Luvu played in 92% of Week 4 snaps. LB2
Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts
Last week, I cautioned IDP managers to hold on Franklin to see how the Colts would use him with Shaq Leonard returning. Well, we have to keep holding because Leonard came back and sustained a concussion. Not great news for any player, especially one returning from offseason back surgery to repair nerve damage. I'm feeling more peckish so even if Leonard comes back full-time with no further injury, I think Franklin can maintain close to what he's already done to start the season. This past Sunday marks his third straight contest with eight solos. On the year, he has 30 solos, 15 assists, two TFLs and a PD. Just can't ignore him anymore. Franklin played 100% of Week 4 snaps. LB2+
Jacob Phillips, Cleveland Browns
With Anthony Walker out for the season, Phillips is playing well in the Browns' MLB spot. He had six solos and an assist. He'll continue to get better and with Cleveland not playing that great against the run, I believe teams will continue to test this team's run defense. That means more tackle opportunities for the third-year linebacker. Phillips played in 100% of snaps in Week 4. LB3-
Tae Crowder, New York Giants
For those managers patient enough to give Crowder time, he rewarded them on Sunday with seven solos, four assists, a sack, one TFL, and one FF. After taking over for Blake Martinez, Crowder put up a meager seven solos and seven assists in the Giants' first three games. I said it before and I'll say it again, Crowder just isn't that good. Many notable IDPs aren't and they get tackles and production because defenses pick on them. Crowder can be that and with his high volume playing time, there's potential for more. Just don't be surprised if he doesn't live up to it. Crowder played 100% of Week 4 snaps. LB5
More Linebackers (< 10% rostered on MFL)
Alex Anzalone, DET, LB2, 100% snaps played
Divine Deablo, LV, LB3+, 100%
Leighton Vander Esch, DAL, LB3, 92%
Malcolm Rodriguez, DET, LB4-, 79%
Quay Walker, GB, LB4-, 86%
Ernest Jones, LAR, LB5+, MNF
Willie Gay Jr., KC, LB5, DNP (SUS)
Quincy Williams, NYJ, LB5-, DNP (INJ)
Germaine Pratt, CIN, LB6+, 66%
Jonas Griffith, DEN, LB7, 63%
Jaylon Smith, NYG, NR, 50%
Joe Schobert, TEN, NR, 36%
S DeShon Elliott, Detroit Lions
Some positions are just built for big production and as evidenced by Geno Smith's carving up of Detroit's defense, lots of plays get to the second and third level. Elliott is taking over after it was announced Tracy Walker would miss the rest of the season because of a torn Achilles. With nine solos and two assists, Elliott proved he's likely a must-start every week from here on out. Elliott played in 100% of Week 4 snaps. DB2+
S Jaquan Brisker, Chicago Bears
Brisker is another player who shows up more on tape than in the box score, and that's saying something. The rookie safety has at least four solos in every game thus far. Chicago uses him closer to the line of scrimmage and that gives me a lot of confidence in his IDP potential. He definitely plays with a chip on his shoulder and he's been lights out in coverage. Brisker played in 100% of Week 4 snaps. DB2-
S Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills
Speaking of season-ending injuries, Hamlin replaced Micah Hyde after he was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. I think it's worth mentioning that because of Lamar Jackson's style of play to attack downfield, we did see Hamlin's safety-mate Jordan Poyer have a nice game in Week 4. So take Hamlin's strong performance as good news for now. I want to see one more good week before I commit a bench spot to him. Over these two games as a starter, Hamlin has 10 solos, two assists, a half-sack and one TFL. So far, so good. Hamlin played in 100% of Week 4 snaps. DB6+
CB Jaylen Watson, Kansas City Chiefs
Again, I downgrade IDPs who have a touchdown score; however, Watson has been a reliable tackler and contributed four PDs and one INT to start the season. Watson played in 88% of Week 4 snaps. CB2+
More Defensive Backs (< 5% rostered on MFL)
S Julian Love, NYG , DB3+, 31% snaps played (INJ)
S Chuck Clark, BAL, DB3+, 100%
S Grant Delpit, CLE, DB3+, 100%
S Adrian Phillips, NE, DB3, 74%
S Richie Grant, ATL, DB3-, 100%
S John Johnson, CLE, DB4, 100%
S Rayshawn Jenkins, JAC, DB6+, 100%
S Devin McCourty, NE, DB6-, 100%
CB Roger McCreary, TEN, CB2+, 100%
CB Cameron Dantzler, MIN, CB2, 90%
More IDP observations
I was hoping we'd get to see Deion Jones return in Week 4 but it now looks like he will return in Week 5. Mykal Walker and Rashaan Evans are both playing well and I'm not sure where Jones fits. Walker and Evans both have 100% snap counts over the last two weeks. Like I mentioned last week, I believe Lorenzo Carter could lose a lot of snaps, but he's also one of Atlanta's primary pass rushers and Jones isn't that type. I believe Walker is safe but Evans may end up getting fazed out if Jones performs.
Joey Bosa is out for a couple months. The full extent of his injury wasn't known until after last week's article published. The Chargers defense isn't playing well and this moves puts a lot of pressure on role players like Kyle Van Noy, Chris Rumph II and Morgan Fox to generate a pass rush. Bosa's absence also likely puts more double teams on Khalil Mack, who already has five sacks through four games.
Myles Garrett was in a single-car crash and questionable with a shoulder injury that kept him out of the Browns' Week 4 game against the Falcons. I shouldn't pass judgment but I will. From the reports, it sounded like he was not under the influence, speeding and lost control. He's lucky to be mostly unhurt, alive and did not hurt anyone else in the process. The NFLPA needs to crack down on all forms of reckless driving as we should all be familiar with some of the other high-profile cases of bad NFL drivers. In any case, once he's back in the starting lineup, you shouldn't have any qualms
Despite needing to have his heart shocked "back into rhythm" earlier in the week, J.J. Watt played on Sunday. The condition, atrial fibrillation, is when the heart rate increases rapidly and can lead to complications such as stroke or heart failure. I'm no doctor and I'm only repeating the results that came up after a Google search. Watt is only a fringe IDP option at this stage and he already missed Week 1 because of a calf injury.
It's great news for Divine Deablo managers as he still saw 100% snaps played despite the return of his teammate Denzel Perryman. Perryman's absence is what pushed Deablo further into the starting lineup early in the season. Perryman's return was short lived as noted in the injury report, but even for the brief time he played, it didn't affect Deablo's playing time.
Jacob Phillips's ascension shouldn't be in question as he played 100% snaps, while LBs Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Sione Takitaki both played 78% snaps. It's a bit surprising that Phillips is playing more than JOK but the Browns seem to prefer Phillips on run-friendly situations.
Most of us expected Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence to do most of the heavy-lifting in the Cowboys' pass rush but DE Dorance Armstrong is doing a lot even with modest playing time. Earning about 50% of snaps through four games, Armstrong has just as many sacks as Lawrence (three) and decent tackle production given his limited snaps. The Cowboys gave him a two year extension this offseason and I'm interested to see how he plays if there's an injury elsewhere along the edges of Dallas's defensive front (ie Lawrence, Anthony Barr, Dante Fowler, etc.)
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