2018 IDP Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 5

Hello and welcome back to the IDPGuru.com's most popular in-season article, IDP Waiver Wire Pickups, which will be releasing every Tuesday of the regular season.

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Let's start things off by going through some IDP news, notes, and commentary from Week 4 of the NFL season.

Injuries
Darius Leonard tweaked his ankle this past week against the Texans and is somewhat questionable for this week's game. His availability will largely depend on how his ankle sprain responds over the next day or so. We will keep a close eye on practice reports throughout the week to get a better gauge on his playing status for Week 5. If he misses time, Anthony Walker becomes a very nice play.

Wesley Woodyard left the game early in the first quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. The Titans coaching staff sounded optimistic that he may be able to play this week but it's not a given. I would give him a 60% chance at playing right now.

Another Titan, Kenny Vaccaro, suffered a more serious injury as he dislocated his elbow and is expected miss the next two to four weeks. As a Vaccaro owner in multiple leagues, this is a major bummer.

Bills safety Micah Hyde had to exit last week's game after just 11 snaps as he tweaked his groin. If he were to miss any time, Rafael Bush would get a bump in the weekly rankings.

The biggest injury news this week surrounded Earl Thomas who suffered a broken left leg and will miss the remainder of the season.

Lions safety Quandre Diggs suffered a broken hand against the Cowboys last week and is likely to miss at least one game. This could lead to more fantasy production for Tavon Wilson but he suffered an injury of his own last week (back) and is questionable for Week 5.

Terrance Mitchell, who had been a reliable fantasy corner for us so far this season, suffered a fractured forearm and could miss the rest of the season. E.J. Gaines will take over his starting spot and is worth keeping an eye on in deeper CB-required leagues.

Despite getting in two full practices last week, Reshad Jones missed yet another game due to injury. Those with Jones shares are crossing their fingers that the DB1 can suit up this week, but that's not a given based on how the team has handled his injury in recent weeks.

General Player Notes
Solomon Thomas, a top 3 selection in last year's draft, has surprisingly been losing snaps to Arik Armstead to begin the season. That snap count increased last week but it only resulted in 2 solo tackles. This said, Thomas is shaping up to be a 2018 bust. Let's hope he can get things back on track.

Big things were expected of Jaime Collins when he came over from the Patriots in a trade a couple seasons ago. But injuries and sub par play have started to cause him to lose playing time. He's no longer being featured in nickel packages and consequently saw just 61% of the snaps last week. He still has big play potential but he's too risky of an option for me to trust as a starter in the vast majority of leagues right now.

For more updates on playing time splits across the linebacker position, check out the latest update of my every-down linebackers column.

Adrian Amos was one of the better solo tackle producing safeties in the league last year. But a lot of improvements have been made to Chicago's front seven which is causing him to see way less tackle opportunity. He's a DB4 at best moving forward.

I got a lot of questions about Kevin Byard after his up and down start to the season. My word of advice to those readers was to ride him out. Byard is not a consistent week-to-week producer as he's reliant on big plays but he has a good chance to finish as a top 20 DB when all is said and done. His 11 total tackles last week (9 solos) were an encouraging sign and with Kenny Vaccaro expected to miss multiple weeks, Byard may get more tackle opportunity to help with his point-scoring consistency.

Now onto The Guru's IDP waiver wire selections for Week 5!

(Please note that a majority of these pickups early on are long-term, rest of season pickups as opposed to matchup-type recommendations. As the season progresses and the waiver wire becomes thinner and matchup information becomes more reliable, the focus of this article will shift more towards recommendations based on the weekly matchup.)

Defensive Linemen
(Previously recommended DLs: Markus Golden, Sheldon Richardson, Isaac Rochell, Larry Ogunjobi, Taco Charlton, Matt Ioannidis, Benson Mayowa, Margus Hunt, Kenny Clark, Stephen Weatherly)

DT David Irving (DAL) - Irving returns to the active roster this week after missing the first four games of the regular season due to a suspension. Much like Vontaze Burfict, he's the type of player who could very well miss more time with another suspension or injury down the road, but he's a DT1/DL2+ when on the field so is worth the risk in most cases. He'll likely be on a snap count this week but can still has a chance at decent stats in a limited role and should be set up for success with a strong supporting defensive line cast this year.

DE Takkarist McKinley (ATL) - Most of the attention among the Falcons' defensive line leading up to the start of the season was focused on Vic Beasley; however, he's been outplayed by second year end Takkarist McKinley who has had at least a sack in every contest this year and is coming off a three-sack performance against the Bengals. He goes up against the Big Ben this week who loves to hold on to the ball to extend plays, so McKinley has a good shot at extending his sack streak to four games. His limited tackle production ultimately caps his value but he should still be considered a DL3+ moving forward in balanced scoring systems.

DE Jerry Hughes (BUF) - Hughes has flipped back and forth between outside linebacker and defensive end in his career but has seen success at both positions. He's playing full-time at defensive end this year and is actually playing really well. He has 13 solo tackles and 2 sacks so far but that doesn't tell the full story as he is also near the league lead in QB pressures. This said, I expect his production to likely ramp up more as the season progresses. The matchup against the Titans this week isn't great as they don't throw a lot, but next on the slate after that is the Texans and Colts which are two above average pass-rushing matchups. With him being available in most leagues, Hughes makes for a sneaky DL4/DL3 pickup.

DT Jarran Reed (SEA)
- Reed, a second round selection back in 2016, has started the year off strong - posting 14 solo tackles and 3 sacks (those coming in the last two games). The Seattle defense is spending more time on the field this season in general and with the Seahawks losing a couple key players up front, Reed is being forced into playing 80%+ of the defensive snaps. This should ensure a relatively high tackle floor for him and he's shown he can get after the quarterback in recent weeks. Consider him a DT1-/DL3-.


Linebackers
(Previously recommended LBs: Fred Warner, Darius Leonard, Nick Vigil, Matt Milano, Cory Littleton, Darius Leonard, Reuben Foster, Roquan Smith, Devondre Campbell, Duke Riley, Kenny Young, Austin Calitro, Vontaze Burfict, Leighton Vander Esch, Josh Bynes, Anthony Walker)

LB Vontaze Burfict (CIN) - The oft-injured/suspended Burfict will finally return to the field after missing the first quarter of regular season games due to a suspension. Given how much time he's missed, he will likely be on a snap count in Week 5 but should be near full-time immediately after that. This said, he has top 7 linebacker potential when in an every-down role, so he's someone worth grabbing if he's still available despite his significant injury/suspension risk.

LB Jatavis Brown (LAC) - Kyzir White was a surprise inactive this past week as he underwent surgery to clean up a knee that he recently aggravated. This is the same knee that caused him to miss time in training camp and the preseason. Jatavis Brown took White's spot in the starting lineup and, somewhat surprisingly, was the team's sole every-down linebacker. He racked up 8 total tackles and, given his previous propensity for lighting up the box scores, I wouldn't doubt if that type of production continues for as long as White is out (which is likely one more game). This said, owners should consider Brown a solid LB3+ start this week.

LB Jayon Brown (TEN) - With Wesley Woodyard leaving the game very early with a shoulder injury and not returning, Jayon Brown became the team's main every-down linebacker. He posted 10 tackles and a sack. Early reports indicate Woodyard is hopeful to return this week; however, if he misses time, Brown becomes a very attractive streaming option for Week 5. This inside linebacker position in Tennessee is a valuable one for fantasy purposes and Brown is talented enough to essentially keep up Woodyard's production in his absence.

LB Jerome Baker (MIA) - With Raekwon McMillan really struggling, the Dolphins turned to starting WLB Jerome Baker (rookie) in nickel package looks which caused his snap count percentage to rise to 80% in Week 4. This increase in snaps led to a 10-tackle performance. I would imagine this sub package arrangement is going to stick at least for the immediate future, making Baker an appealing LB4+/LB3- upside pickup for the short-term and significantly bumping up his dynasty value.

LB Zach Cunningham (HOU) - 
Cunningham's poor play was causing him to lose snaps to Dylan Cole. But with Cole placed on IR last week, Cunningham was back playing 100% of the snaps. He responded with 7 total tackles (6 assists) bumping his total up to a respectable 30 on the year. He should see a lot of Ezekiel Elliot this week which makes him a fairly safe bet for another 7 tackles or so. Perhaps the loss of snaps early in the season will motivate him to play better and finally take over the lead fantasy role in Houston from Bernardrick Mckinney.


Defensive Backs
(Previously recommended DBs: Kentrell Brice, Clayton Geathers, Terrell Edmunds, Jessie Bates, Justin Simmons, Ricardo Allen, Donte Jackson, Anton Exum, Damontae Kazee, Brian Poole)

S Tre Boston (ARI) - The Cardinals rejiggered their defensive backfield in 2018 with Budda Baker now manning Tyrann Mathieu's old slot corner position, Tre Boston in Baker's strong safety position, and Antoine Bethea at free safety. Given the weakness of the Cardinals offense and lack of strong linebackers, all three safeties are top 30 DB options. However, Boston is the least owned and arguably in the best position to put up the most points of the group. He's a strong DB2+.

S Jessie Bates (CIN) - The Bengals selected Bates in the second round last year and were confident enough in his play in training camp to cut veteran George Iloka shortly before the start of the preseason. So far, Bates has rewarded the Bengals with strong play as he has 27 total tackles and an interception through four games. Vontaze Burfict's return may dampen those numbers a bit but he's still a viable DB3 option.

S Eric Reid (CAR) - I got a lot of questions about Eric Reid after the Panthers signed him last week. Here's my take - is he going to put him studly fantasy numbers? Likely not. Carolina hasn't had a strong tackle-producing safety on the team in several years, mainly due to their strong front seven. Reid could provide some points via the big play but that's never been a huge strong suit of his. Additionally, it's likely going to take a few weeks for him to ramp up to full playing time. All of these factors make him a risk/reward DB4 for me right now.


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Last Updated: October 2, 2018
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