That’s more like it. After two weeks of giving IDP owners sweaty palms along with low scores, players such as J.J. Watt, Calais Campbell, DeForest Bucker and Aaron Donald showed up in the box scores. Hopefully folks listened to some sage advice and were patient. None of them, no matter how slow they started, should have been on IDP benches.
We are three weeks into the season and, as usual, the injuries are beginning to mount. Navigating the waiver wire becomes more vital as the season plays out. With Week 4 looming, we’ve done the heavy lifting as to who will step up to fill those holes on NFL and IDP rosters. Also, keep in mind that bye weeks get underway this week. The New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers are on a bye.
Josh Allen (DL – JAX) – 7% FAAB
The rookie out of Kentucky has quickly carved out a big role in the Jaguars’ defensive line rotation. Allen has averaged 55 snaps per game in the first three weeks, which is the same amount as Calais Campbell, and had a breakout Week 3 performance. He finished with four total tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. On the season, he has put up 10 total tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, and has been credited with five quarterback hits. Through three games he is a top-10 defensive lineman in most standard scoring formats. Look for another big game against a Broncos offense that allowed six sacks last week.
Vic Beasley (DL – ATL) – 3% FAAB
Veteran Vic Beasley, who has a sack and a half in the past two games, has a stretch of nice matchups over the next few weeks. In Week 4, he faces a Titans offense that allowed nine sacks last week. Following that game, he’ll face Houston, who has allowed 12 sacks in 2019, and then Arizona. Last week, the Carolina Panthers, who had four total sacks in the first two games, had eight sacks against Arizona. He can likely be had on the cheap, so there’s no need to break the FAAB for the chance of a nice multiple-week run.
Mack Wilson (LB – CLE) – 4% FAAB
This is a “next man up” situation. The chest injury that landed Christian Kirksey on IR left a big hole in the middle of the Browns’ defense. The rookie from Alabama, who had played 11 snaps in the first two games, took over for Kirksey. While the five total tackles Wilson had last week aren’t eye-popping, he did play 100% of the snaps. The numbers should improve as he settles in next to Joe Schobert and gets more experience. Every down inside linebackers, even rookies, are what IDP owners covet and Wilson should be a waiver priority this week.
Ryan Connelly (LB – NYG) – 5% FAAB
The New York linebacking corps, which was thin to begin with, was hit hard by injuries in their Week 3 win over Tampa Bay. Alec Ogletree suffered a hamstring injury that will likely sideline him for a few weeks. One of his possible replacements was injured as well, as a concussion knocked Tae Davis from the game. Rookie Ryan Connelly, who did have six tackles playing 64 snaps in Week 2, came up with a big game as the main man in the middle for the Giants. He put up seven total tackles, an interception, and a pass deflection. In what is quickly becoming a “last man standing” situation, it’s advisable to get Connelly since his role will be expanding.
Eric Wilson (LB – MIN) – 2% FAAB
This could turn out to be a sneaky good, under-the-radar, waiver-wire addition that brings big upside. After playing mainly a part-time role in his third season with Minnesota, Wilson drew the start in Week 3. A groin issue forced Anthony Barr to miss the game (although he did practice on a limited basis last week) and Wilson had a great performance. He was all over the field and excelled in all facets of the game. He finished with 11 total tackles and two sacks. Wilson was also credited with two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits. After such a strong Week 3 outing, it’s easy to see the Vikings expanding Wilson’s role, even once Barr returns.
Kemal Ishmael (DB – ATL) – 4% FAAB
It was tough to see Keanu Neal, who was returning from a season-ending ACL injury he suffered last season, go down with an Achilles’ injury last week. The Falcons turned to the veteran Kemal Ishmael, who they toyed with as a linebacker last season, to replace Neal at strong safety. Seeing his first extended action of the season, as he had previously played 13 snaps in 2019, Ishmael played well. He put up six solo tackles with one being for a loss in Week 3. While the Falcons may peruse the NFL waiver wire for another safety, Eric Berry and T.J. McDonald are available, it is Ishmael’s job for the immediate future. Let’s pick up and ride the hot hand.
Khari Willis (DB – IND) – 5% FAAB
The Colts were already expanding the role of the rookie safety, his snaps jumped from 16 in Week 1 to 30 in Week 2, before an injury last week opened up more playing time. Willis is now expected to take over at free safety (he had been working at strong safety) with Malik Hooker (knee) out for multiple weeks. In his first three games, Willis had racked up 10 solo tackles in run support, which he’ll still be a part of alongside Clayton Geathers. The Week 4 game against Oakland should be a positive one for Willis. The Raiders have allowed 73 total tackles, three interceptions, and a forced fumble to defensive backs in 2019.
Tre Flowers (DB – SEA) – 2% FAAB
Let’s show some love to the cornerback position. After a huge Week 1, he had 10 total tackles with a fumble recovery, Flowers has slowed down a bit. Showing some grit, he was limited in practice last week with an ankle issue, Flowers still put up five total tackles against the Saints. Week 4 is going to be an all hands on deck situation for the Seattle secondary as they head to Arizona. Under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals have attempted a league-high 137 passes. Through the first three weeks, they have allowed 73 total tackles and 10 big plays to defensive backs. Flowers is a nice one-week, plug-and-play pickup option, that can easily be dropped in Week 5 if need be.