2017 IDP Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 2

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.

Although I'm happy to answer questions posted via the website comments section, IDP Forum, and email, I'm often quickest to respond via Twitter. So if you have IDP questions, it's a good idea to Follow me on Twitter.

Let's start things off by going through some IDP news, notes, and commentary from Week 1 of the NFL season.

The number one overall pick in this year's draft, Myles Garrett, remains doubtful to play this coming week and could miss a couple more games as he recovers from a high ankle sprain.

Michael Johnson suffered a stinger that kept him out of the second half of Sunday afternoon's blowout against the Ravens - he's currently being evaluated for a concussion. With the Bengals playing on Thursday night, I'd say it's more likely than not that he sits out Week 2. Chris Smith and Jordan Willis would rotate in his spot.

The Steelers initially feared that Stephon Tuitt had torn his biceps and would miss the remainder of the season. But a Monday afternoon report confirmed that he had escaped a season-ending injury and was considered "week-to-week." He's still likely going to miss a couple of games, but it's better than the entire season.

Reuben Foster looked like a stud in the short sample size we saw prior to him leaving the game with an ankle injury (three solo tackles in 11 snaps). The team confirmed Monday that he suffered a high ankle sprain which means he will miss multiple weeks. He's worth a stash on your bench in deeper leagues as he will be an impact IDP player upon his return.

Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon was inactive for Week 1 as he's still working his way back from injury. Karlos Dansby was the team's lone every down inside linebacker. Hesson Reddick was productive in a part-time role but came off the field in sub packages in favor of Josh Bynes.

Veteran linebacker Dont'a Hightower exited Thursday night's game with a knee injury. With this being an MCL sprain, he's likely to miss multiple weeks, so he's not likely to play this week despite the team officially listing him as questionable.

As expected, Jerrell Freeman led the Bears in total tackles with 10 and was looking like a solid LB1 for fantasy owners. However, he's now in the league's concussion protocol. We don't have a sense of the severity at this time - we should know more by mid-week. If he were to miss any time, Nick Kwiatkowski would take over his inside linebacker role and serve as a solid streaming option in deep IDP leagues.

Brian Cushing also fell victim to a concussion. Rookie Zach Cunningham saw the bulk of playing time in Cushing's absence, so he's the leading replacement candidate if the veteran should miss any time. Fellow rookie Dylan Cole also saw a handful of snaps though so Cunningham may not see every down action.

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby dislocated his ankle and will miss the next four to six weeks.

Eric Berry suffered a ruptured Achilles in the regular season opener against the Patriots. This is horrible news for a player that fought his way back from Hodgkin's Lymphoma and was once again looking like an elite talent. Daniel Sorenson will take over his spot at strong safety.

General Player Notes
Trey Flowers was a player I targeted in all of my drafts this season, so I was thrilled with his two sack performance to open the year. Both sacks were coverage sacks, however, so I think it's a little premature to anoint/elevate him to DL1 status...yet.

Marcell Dareus left owners with the dreaded fantasy goose egg on Sunday. Granted, the Jets didn't provide a ton of opportunity so we have to take that number with a grain of salt. But the Bills did rotate on the interior line much more than typical, resulting in Dareus playing just 59% of the team's defensive snaps. The coaching staff has indicated their plan is to continue this rotation moving forward, so it would be practical for us to downgrade Dareus' value a bit.

If you have been following my 2017 Every Down Linebackers column, I've been calling out that the Jaguars would be using Myles Jack and Telvin Smith in sub packages and that Paul Posluszny would be relegated to a two-down role. This is exactly what we saw in Week 1 as Posluszny was in for just eight snaps. With the Jaguars getting out to a big lead, the Texans were forced into passing situations for a majority of the game which resulted in heavier than normal sub package use by Jacksonville. This said, Posluszny is likely to see higher snap counts moving forward, but this just reinforces the fact that he should only be started as a bye week filler/desperation play in the right matchups.

While we are on the topic of Jacksonville linebackers, Telvin Smith owners I feel your pain as I own some shares of him myself. Although it's just one poor performance, I do think we need to re-evaluate our outlook on Smith. Coming into the season, I thought Smith's value would be relatively stable versus last year given that Myles Jack struggled in the preseason and wasn't shaping up to provide as much tackle competition in the nickel as Paul Posluszny. However, Jack played exceptionally well in the opener (14 total tackles), leaving Smith with just two tackles over a whopping 79 snaps. There will likely be some swings in Jack's play given his inexperience at the NFL level so Smith will have some big games still (and actually had a defensive touchdown called back last week). But I just don't think he's going to be that every week LB1- for us like in years past. He's more of a high-variance LB2 for me at this point, especially with all the viable fantasy linebackers on the waiver wire this early in the season.

Not surprisingly, the Jets defense spent plenty of time on the field last week despite playing a below average team in the Bills. Darron Lee, a player I pounded the table for much of the preseason, came through in spades with a 7-3-1 stat line. However, there is reason for concern here as Lee's struggles from last year carried over to 2017 and he's already started losing snaps to Julian Stanford (14 to be exact). This makes him a sell high candidate in my book.

C.J. Mosley was the only Baltimore inside linebacker to play every down. Kamalei Correa split time at the other inside linebacker spot with Patrick Onswuasor, making that specific situation one to avoid right now for fantasy purposes.

Most of us thought that Korey Toomer would assume an every down role with Denzel Perryman on IR; however, he wound up splitting time with Hayes Pullard and Nigel Harris (to a small extent). For what it's worth, Toomer looked better against both the run and pass than his two counterparts but this is still a situation to avoid for the time being.

Alex Anzalone was playing every down until late in the game when the team replaced him with veteran Craig Robertson. I thought the rookie was playing decently so I'm not sure if the Saints saw it differently or if they were just trying to get Robertson (their main starter last year) some work/change things up since the team was down.

The Falcons through a little bit of a curveball at us in Week 1 by rotating De'Vondre Campbell and rookie Duke Riley in the sub package looks. Campbell played much better than Riley so that may earn him some more playing time over the rookie (at least in the short-term).

Nick Vigil played every down in the Bengals' opener against the Ravens. Vinny Rey played most of the game but did come out for a few snaps. Vigil and Rey are both LB3+ options for the next two weeks. It will be Vigil and Burfict as the team's every down backers once the latter returns from his suspension.

Rookie Jayon Brown stole some snaps away from Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard this week as the Titans lined him up all over the field. None of these linebackers had a great game, so I'm not sure this snap split will continue. This said I'm waiting to see how things shake out next week before making any fantasy assertions.

The Colts inexplicably decided to play safety T.J. Green at corner the entire game against the Rams, a decision that did not play out well for them as he was routinely burnt in coverage and missed a big goal line tackle on Todd Gurley. Rookie Safety Malik Hooker was in for 46% of the defensive snaps. Mathias Farley (a player I had 49 spots higher than the average "expert" ranking this week) went off for 8 solo tackles and 2 assists. But he wasn't full-time either, missing 19 snaps. Farley is worth a grab and stash in deeper leagues as he's in the best position (SS) to put up solid fantasy points, at least until/if Clayton Geathers returns.

Devin McCourty got the IDP waiver wire chatter started Thursday night with a surprising 9-1 tackle line. He's not a player that has shown a ton of upside in years past and is fairly cemented in a coverage role for the Patriots, so this was most likely an aberration and I wouldn't prioritize him in your waiver queue.

In an unexpected move, the Saints opted to start rookie Marcus Williams at free safety over Von Bell. Bell received just 7 snaps in the game and is someone that can be dropped in most redraft IDP leagues.

Now onto The Guru's IDP waiver wire selections for Week 2!

(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
DE Aaron Donald (LAR) - This is just a reminder more than anything, but Donald reported to the team a couple of days ago and it's reported he will play Week 2. He should be one of your top waiver wire requests as he projects to be a low-end DL1 this season. 

DT Geno Atkins (CIN)
- Although I still stand by my belief that Atkins is overvalued in most IDP leagues due to his low tackle production, he remains one of the league's most dangerous interior pass-rushers and draws the Houston Texans who gave up a whopping 10 sacks last week and have multiple holes along their offensive line. Atkins should be as close as you get to a "lock" for a sack this week. Suffice it say, I think Carlos Dunlap is in a for a MONSTER week which is much needed after his disappointing start to the season.

DE Yannick Ngakoue (JAX) - Ngakoue came out of nowhere last year to compile eight sacks as a rookie (a difficult thing to accomplish). He kept that momentum going into 2017 as he got to the quarterback twice on Sunday. Granted, the Jaguars had 10 sacks as a team, so we have a little bit of a "rising tide lifts all boats" scenario here. But Ngakoue makes for a decent DL3 matchup play in leagues that reward heavily for sacks.

MLB B.J. Goodson (NYG) - It looks like the Giants have finally found a solid, above average option at middle linebacker after cycling through a plethora of players at the position over the last several seasons. Goodson racked up a ridiculous 18 total tackles (14 solos) in the Giant's opener against division rival Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Dallas completely dominated the time of possession in this game giving Goodson an abnormal amount of tackle opportunity but it was evident that he's going to be a tackling machine on that defense regardless of matchup and, if the Giants offense continues to struggle, he has a good shot at LB1 status. Hopefully, you read my 2017 IDP Sleepers article and already have Goodson rostered. But if not, he should be your top IDP waiver wire priority this week.

ILB Demario Davis (NYJ) - I admittedly was pumping Darron Lee harder than Davis as the main linebacker to own in New York heading into the season. But after watching Week 1, my gut tells me that I was in "the right church, but the wrong pew." Although Lee had a great game stat-wise, Davis was the clear leader on the defense, played every down, and led the team in tackles with 14. Davis struggled along with Lee but seems to have a stronger hold on an every down role as he calls the defensive plays and has much more NFL experience. He should be a high floor (with some decent sack upside), LB2+/LB1- option for us looking ahead.

ILB Mason Foster (WAS) - Foster led all starting linebackers in total tackles per snap last year and continues to be one of the league's more underappreciated defensive players. He's a player I highlighted as a sleeper in my 2017 IDP Draft Guide, so I'm not surprised by his impressive Week 1 stat line of 8-1 with a fumble recovery. The Redskins defense is structured in a way that both Zach Brown and Foster can put up every week starter numbers. He's a high floor LB2 moving forward.

SLB A.J. Klein (NO) - Klein is a class example of a below average player that has a knack for racking up tackles (e.g. Paul Worrilow). He's primed for a solid fantasy season as the Saints lone every down linebacker within a front seven void of serious tackle competition. It's not reasonable to expect 10+ total tackles and a big play every week, but he could replicate what Craig Robertson did stat-wise for the New Orleans last year.

WLB Ramon Humbar (BUF) - The weak side linebacker spot in Buffalo is one that many savvy IDP owners were keeping tabs on in August. At that time, Gerald Hodges was the name being thrown around as a person to watch closely/stash away; however, he was eventually cut and Humbar was named the starter. He played all but one snap last week and out tackled Preston Brown 13-3. Although it's important to not overreact to one game, this position provided us with a breakout candidate last year (Zach Brown), so it seems perfectly reasonable that Humbar can be a viable starting fantasy option for us the rest of the season. Having another solid game would reinforce this sentiment, but for now, approach him as a high floor, LB3.

ILB Joe Schobert (CLE) - Schobert has quickly developed into a viable fantasy asset for owners. He took over the defensive play-calling duties when Tank Carder went down with an injury in preseason. He's somewhat surprisingly played every down since then and led the team in tackles last week. It looks like the Browns are going to try and keep all three linebackers on the field for most of the game (running a 3-3-5 nickel sub package). This is going to make predicting fantasy value among that group difficult, but it seems like we need to downgrade Collins to LB2 and Kirksey to LB2-/LB3+ and upgrade Schobert to LB3 status.

ILB Jon Bostic (IND) - Bostic was in for 100% of the defensive snaps last week and led all Colts linebackers in tackles with seven. However, his on-the-field play was quite poor and given how badly the defense played, I'd feel a little nervous about his playing time moving forward. The team has some other options at linebacker they may want to test out (e.g. Anthony Walker). He's a player that may have some starting value in the short-term but I don't envision him being a great season long play. This said I would prioritize the linebackers above over Bostic.

Defensive Backs
S Tyvon Branch (ARZ) - Branch actually saw 12 more snaps than teammate Antoine Bethea and led the team in tackles, chipping in 10 solos. The Cardinals spent more time on defense than they usually do so those tackle numbers may be inflated, but Branch seems like the guy to own in this secondary. He's been a consistently productive fantasy player since entering the league and the strong safety spot in Arizona has produced some top-end fantasy players through the years. He's worth rostering as a steady DB2-DB2+.

S Kevin Byard (TEN) - Although Byard technically plays free safety, the Titans tend to use their safeties interchangeably. In Week 1, Byard played a significant amount of snaps near the line of scrimmage with Jonathan Cyprien assuming more of a coverage role. This was a big reason why Byard puts up eight solo tackles in this contest. Cyprien actually left towards the end of the game with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss a few weeks. Da'Norris Searcy will fill in during his absence. Given how bad Cyprien was in pass coverage and the fact that Searcy is more of a run-defending safety, I have to believe Byard is going to see more time in coverage moving forward. That's likely to hurt his tackle production, but he's a good enough talent to make up for that with big play production. I'm comfortable with running Byard out as a strong DB3+ with upside until further notice.

S Daniel Sorenson/Ron Parker (KC) - The injury to Berry opens the door for Sorenson to become an every down safety. He typically moves down into a linebacker role in nickel sub packages so it will be interesting to see if that continues with Berry out. If it does, Sorenson could surprise with his tackle production. Ron Parker was put into more high leverage situations last week than we saw him in last year and if that continues, we could very well see a return to 2014/2015 fantasy production. I would prioritize Parker over Sorensen at this point.

CB Jalen Mills (PHI) - Mills is someone I recommended targeting late in deep CB-required leagues as he was likely to be targeted by teams early and often in 2017 given his extremely poor play the year prior. This turned out to be true in Week 1 as he stood out in the box scores with an 8-1 tackle line to go along with an interception and two pass deflections. His matchup against the Chiefs next week isn't a great one given they don't throw to wide receivers often, but he's definitely a player to utilize in leagues that require you to start corners.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at theidpguru@idpguru.com or follow me on Twitter. Also, feel free to post any questions or comments for me in the comments section of this post.

Last Updated: September 12, 2017
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