We have the usual situation with a nice collection of linebackers to add in this heavy-duty bye week, with six teams not taking to the field in Week 8. There are also a bunch of safeties that are intriguing possible additions to your roster, if you need DB help to get you through the bye-induced absences most IDP league owners are experiencing.

One thing about a massive bye week, the injury list is not as full. That does not mean that things are all sunshine and flowers, however, with the Dolphin's star safety Reshad Jones hitting the IR and now is out for the balance of the season. It has been a tough season for those who picked up presumptive Number One IDPs, such as J.J. Watt (DE HOU), NaVorro Bowman (LB SF) and now Jones. One of the reasons why you should be reading my weekly articles and sending me your questions if you are struggling over a decision on who to pick up or start in a particular week.

Bye Weeks coming up:

Week 8:  Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco

Week 9:  Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington

Elevator Going Up

Linebackers

Nick Perry GB -- Perry picked up another sack in Week 7, giving him a total of 5.5 on the season. He was also credited with an INT, a QH (quarterback hit/hurry), a PD and four total tackles (three solo, one for a loss) against the Bears. He has stepped in as one of the starting outside linebackers for the Packers, and should not be on your waiver wire (although he probably is). Go and get him if he’s available.

Emmanuel Ogbah CLE -- Ogbah was active against the host Bengals in Week 7, racking up six total tackles (five solos, two for a loss) with a pair of sacks and two QH. He is seeing his snap count increase as he becomes a building block on defense.

Perry Riley OAK -- Riley is now the full time middle linebacker on the Oakland defense and while he does not have any superior cover skills, he is playing in nickel packages and has replaced rookie Cory James as the starter, with James seeing most of his duties on special teams. Last week's numbers (two solo tackles) are not noteworthy, only because he was facing off against a Jaguars team that had just 16 rush attempts, so look for things to pick up when facing teams that rely on the run more.

Jordan Hicks PHI -- Hicks was a big part of the Philly effort to hand the Vikings their first loss of the season: 11 total tackles (eight solo, three for a loss), two passes defensed, a sack and 2 QH. He is a three down LB for the Eagles, and appears to be picking up the pace as the season progresses. I would grab him if none of the three LBs listed above him on this week's list are available to you.

De'Vondre Campbell ATL -- If you cannot grab Hicks, Campbell should be available, as he was undoubtedly left on the wire due to an ankle injury that kept him off the field for a month or so. He provides good tackle numbers as weakside LB, putting up 10 total in Week 7, with six of those solos, and one for a loss of yards. He played all the snaps against the visiting Chargers, and looks fine going forward.

K.J. Wright SEA -- Wright wraps up the upside linebackers this installment, and he has a good matchup this week when the Seahawks head to New Orleans. In a tough bye week, if you need tackles, he is a great waiver pickup. He put up 10 total tackles against Arizona in that stupid tie game against the Cardinals, all solo, with a pass deflection tossed in for good measure. If you need big plays from your LB, however, you should look elsewhere.

Defensive Linemen

Joey Bosa DE SD -- Bosa left fantasy owners waiting while he nursed the hamstring injury that caused him to miss the beginning of the season, but he has rewarded those with patience of late. He is only playing about half the snaps on defense, but still has accumulated 11 tackles (nine solo, five for a loss) and four sacks. If he continues to shine like that, expect the Chargers to find a way to get him more playing time, and likely an uptick in per game production.

William Gholston DE TB -- Gholston had a big game against the 49ers, with seven total tackles (five solos) and his first sack of the season. He might not stick on your roster when these two heavy bye weeks are gone, but he is active and playing right now and the Bucs seem impressed with his skill set, enough to keep him on the field for the majority of defensive snaps.

Malcolm Brown DT NE -- Brown is coming off a five tackle effort in Week 8, and now gets to face the Bills, who are very generous to opposing defensive tackles. If you are in a DT-mandatory league, he is a tempting add this week.

Defensive Backs

Landon Collins S NYG (on bye Week 8) -- Collins may land on your waiver wire this week, as the Giants are on a bye, but it is hard to ignore his Week 7 results: eight solos, two interceptions, two pass deflections and a TD. If he gets dropped, try to make room to stash him on your bench.

Shawn Williams S CIN -- Williams has now played better than 60 snaps in back to back contests, and he took advantage of the increased playing time by putting up big numbers against the Browns in Week 7: five total tackles (three solo, one for a loss), a sack, three QH, an INT and a pass deflection. Of course, you can point to the fact that those stats came against the Browns, but he also collected nine tackles against the Patriots in the previous week.

Donte Whitner S WAS -- Whitner has replaced Duke Ihenacho as the starting strong safety in Washington (sorry again about the Ihenacho recommendation a couple weeks ago), and while he only had eight tackles in Week 7's matchup in Detroit (four solo), he was on the field for all the defensive snaps. He makes for a good tackle producer going forward.  

Bradley McDougald S TB -- McDougald is another full time strong safety, and he was credited with seven tackles against San Francisco (five solo), as well as an INT and a PD. He has been consistent if not flashy, but that could be just the ticket in a six team bye week.

Ron Parker S KC -- Parker is our final safety candidate, and his seven tackle/one PD/two forced fumble effort in Week 7 indicates to me he is ready to put up good numbers going forward, although his Week 8 matchup is not great, it gets better and better the next three weeks after that.

Prince Amukamara CB JAX -- Amukamara is playing significant snaps since sitting out Weeks 2 and 3, seeing 75 and 70 snaps on defense the past two weeks. He also has 11 solo tackles over the past two games, and one pass deflection. As with Parker, his matchups keep getting better and better over the next three weeks as far as facing teams that allow CB points.

 

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Escalator Going Down

Linebackers

Michael Wilhoite SF -- The 49er defense has not been anything close to what was expected going into the season, and now the team has benched Wilhoite in favor of Gerald Hodges, who is now starting at linebacker. Not that I am suggesting you start Hodges, understand, just that you should move on from Wilhoite.

Defensive Linemen

Dante Fowler DE JAX -- Fowler's two sack effort in Week 2 was the highlight of his season so far. He is seeing less and less snaps on a weekly basis as the season progresses, and you should dump him in the event you are still hoping and praying he will rediscover his early season mojo.

Everson Griffen DE MIN -- Griffen only managed to rack up one solo tackle against the Eagles, and has only put up four total tackles over the last three weeks. He was someone targeted on draft day but has disappointed badly this season except for the three sacks he collected in Week 3.

Calais Campbell DE ARI -- Campbell is another DE that I generally target in drafts, but this is not proving to be his season. He has been limited to just 18 total tackles in his seven games this season, and is best sent packing for another more productive DL, perhaps one of those listed several inches above.

Defensive Backs

Logan Ryan CB NE -- Logan lost his starting role to Eric Rowe in Week 7, and only played 31 snaps as the Patriot No. 3 CB. Of course, this in New England and fantasy players can never trust the team to do what we expect. Still, Rowe has a size advantage over Ryan, and that may play out in his favor. I would not drop Ryan if I had the roster space to bench him but with a major couple of bye weeks coming up, you may not have a choice.

Matchups to Exploit

I am going to switch this portion of the weekly IDP Report up and am interested how this works for you, dear reader. Instead of highlighting individual games, instead I will highlight teams that are vulnerable to certain positions. Perhaps this will not be popular, and then we will shift back to the old style, but let's give it a whirl this week to test it out. The team listed first is the one to target, by the way.

Linebacker friendly matchups:

Indianapolis vs Kansas City

Buffalo vs New England

New York Jets vs Cleveland

And lest we forget, Jacksonville vs Tennessee

DL friendly matchups:

Arizona vs Carolina (DT and DE)

San Diego vs Denver (DE)

Kansas City @ Indianapolis (DE)

Chicago vs Minnesota (DT)

Atlanta vs Green Bay (DT)

DB friendly matchups:

New Orleans vs Seattle (S)

Cleveland vs New York Jets (S)

Washington @ Cincinnati (S)

Tennessee vs Jacksonville (S)

Tampa Bay vs Oakland (CB)

Carolina vs Arizona (CB)

Arizona @ Carolina (CB)

Looking at the matchups, it looks to me that you should be starting your defensive backs against Arizona this week. I do welcome your commentary on this new methodology to evaluate defensive matchups, so drop me an e-mail if you love or hate the new system.

 

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Waiver Wire Targets

All these players are spotlighted above, and you can read my comments about them in the "Elevator Going Up" section of this article. Not all the players I comment on are here, however, as I am not going to waste your time searching for players that are heavily owned. This group consists of those that you may have a chance of locating on your league's waiver wire in that they are owned in significantly less than 50% of leagues. Happy claiming for your weekly matchups.

Linebackers

Nick Perry GB

Emmanuel Ogbah CLE

Perry Riley OAK

Jordan Hicks PHI

De'Vondre Campbell ATL

K.J. Wright SEA

Defensive Linesmen

Joey Bosa DE SD

William Gholston DE TB

Malcolm Brown DT NE

Defensive Backs

Shawn Williams S CIN

Donte Whitner S WAS

Bradley McDougald S TB

Ron Parker S KC

Prince Amukamara CB JAX

Ouch (My Aching Roster)

All the injury reports below need evaluation prior to kickoff.  Teams are notoriously sketchy about injury reports, and we often do not know a player's status until just before game time. Consider the list below as a "heads up" as to what is going on early in the week, and should not be considered definitive.

Linebackers

Alex Okafor ARI calf

Gabe Martin ARI knee

Terrell Suggs BAL biceps

Elvis Dumervil BAL foot

C.J. Mosley BAL thigh

Jamari Lattimore BUF nose

Vontaze Burfict CIN neck

Jackson Jeffcoat CLE hamstring

Kyle Wilber DAL ankle

DeMarcus Ware DEN forearm

Brandon Marshall DEN hamstring

DeAndre Levy DET quadriceps

Josh Bynes DET knee

Brian Peters HOU quadriceps

Curt Maggitt IND ankle

Dannell Ellerbe NO quadriceps

Stephone Anthony NO hamstring

Bruce Carter NYJ quadriceps

Darron Lee NYJ ankle

Jeremiah Attaochu SD ankle

Denzel Perryman SD shoulder

Kevin Pierre-Louis SEA ankle

Aaron Lynch SF ankle

Kevin Dodd TEN foot

Defensive Linemen

DE

Ed Stinson ARI toe

Xavier Cooper CLE shoulder

Demarcus Lawrence DAL shoulder

David Irving DAL ankle

Wallace Gilberry DET abdomen

Zach Kerr IND ankle

Henry Anderson IND knee

Jared Odrick JAX quadriceps

Muhammad Wilkerson NYJ ankle

Stacy McGee OAK ankle

Cameron Heyward PIT hamstring

Glenn Dorsey SF knee

Arik Armstead SF shoulder

Robert Ayers TB ankle

DT

Marcell Dareus BUF hamstring

Paul Soliai CAR foot

Vernon Butler CAR ankle

Eddie Goldman CHI ankle

Haloti Ngata DET shoulder

Michael Brocker LA thigh

Sharrif Floyd MIN knee

Vincent Valentine NE back

Woodrow Hamilton NE shoulder

Bennie Logan PHI groin

Clinton McDonald TB hamstring

Defensive Backs

S

Ladarius Webb BAL hamstring

Aaron Williams BUF head

Quintin Demps HOU calf

Corey Moore HOU concussion

Andrew Sendejo MIN ankle

Nat Berhe NYG concussion

Darian Thompson NYG foot

Brynden Trawick OAK shoulder

Shamarko Thomas PIT groin

Jahleel Addae SD collarbone

Kam Chancellor SEA groin

Rashad Johnson TEN neck

Kyshoen Jarrett WAS shoulder

CB

Patrick Peterson ARI back

C.J. Goodwin ATL hamstring

Shareece Wright BAL back

Tavon Young BAL concussion

Kevon Seymour BUF undisclosed

Robert McClain CAR hamstring

James Bradberry CAR toe

Daryl Worley CAR concussion

Deiondre' Hall CHI ankle

Joe Haden CLE groin

Marcus Burley CLE hamstring

Orlando Scandrick BAL hamstring

Morris Claiborne DAL concussion

Darius Slay DET hamstring

Damarious Randall GB groin

Quinten Rollins GB groin

Jalil Brown IND ankle

Tevin Mitchel IND hamstring

Prince Amukamara JAX knee

Phillip Gaines KC knee

Trumaine Johnson LA ankle

Xavier Howard MIA meniscus

Delvin Breaux NO lower leg

Sterling Moore NO abdomen

Brandon Flowers SD concussion

Craig Mager SD concussion

Rashard Robinson SF knee (MCL)

Josh Norman WAS concussion

Bashaud Breeland WAS ankle

As ever, good luck and Godspeed in your fantasy efforts. Make sure to read all of our great articles to help you win your fantasy match ups every week and ultimately bask in championship glory. If you have any fantasy football questions, especially about IDP leagues, I can be reached at ia@fantasyalarm.com.

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