The injuries to primary IDPs continued in Week 4, with owners losing LB1 NaVorro Bowman (SF) for the season, after suffering the loss of J.J. Watt to back issues and surgery the previous week. This is a tough form of fantasy football to play, with injuries shaking up your lineups on a weekly basis, and you need to be aware of which players with upside are available on the wire on a weekly basis. That is why you should be reading this article on a weekly basis, as I try to give you all the rising and falling IDP information I have at my disposal every week, and we try to publish this article early enough that you can make your Thursday roster decisions in a timely manner.

I am hoping some of my regular readers took advantage of the opportunity to snap up Vontaze Burfict off of the wire in Week 4, as he plays with the kind of abandon that will likely end up putting him in suspension mode again and soon. Play him while you can.

Plenty of opportunities to improve your IDP rosters this week, as you will soon see.

Elevator Going Up


Erik Walden IND -- Walden is seeing plenty of playing time, and has already collected four sacks this season. He is coming off a game where he snagged three solo tackles (one for a loss) and two QH (QB hurries). He is not a newcomer to the league at 31, but is building on his successful 2015 season, and as noted above, is seeing plenty of snaps.

Cory James OAK -- James put up a magnificent game in Week 4, with 15 total tackles (12 solo) and a forced fumble. He also played all 89 snaps on defense against the Ravens, making him a true every down LB. He is my highest priority for a waiver wire add this week.

Brian Cushing HOU -- Cushing will likely benefit from the season-ending injury suffered by J.J. Watt, and while I would recommend Bernardick McKinney over him if you are searching for a LB during a bye week or to cover for an injury, Cushing is not a bad option, so long as he can stay healthy.

Avery Williamson TEN -- Williamson is playing every down on the inside for the Titans, and his production has been on the rise, with nine tackles in Week 3 and then another 12 (9 solo) in Week 4. Gotta love those LBs that do not leave the field in certain situations.

Lorenzo Alexander BUF -- Alexander picked up another sack last week against the Patriots, giving him at least a partial sack in each of the season's first four games. He also had a QH and six total tackles (four solo). If your league emphasizes big plays, he is someone to roster or at a minimum, put on your watch list.

Will Compton WAS -- Compton has been productive overall, if we throw out his two tackle effort in Week 3 against the Giants. He was credited with 11 total tackles in Week 4 (five solo), one QH, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Michael Wilhoite SF -- Wilhoite is another LB who has assumed an every-down role, and the loss of Navarro Bowman to a season ending Achilles injury should help cement his position in the 49er defense. He collected 12 tackles in Week 4, with 10 of those being of the more fantasy valuable solo types. Expect him to be a huge wire target this week.

Vince Williams PIT -- Williams should start for the Steelers so long as Ryan Shazier is out action. He put up an amazing 14 total tackles against the Chiefs, which amounted to a full third of the tackle opportunities afforded by the Chief offense. He also collected a sack, two tackles for loss of yards and one QH. Given Shazier's inability to remain on the field, Williams is someone to keep on your roster just to be ready, but keep an eye on his starting role.

Jatavis Brown SD -- Brown is going to see increased playing time with the injury to Manti T’eo, and he was on the field for nearly all the defensive snaps in Week 4, after Denzel Perryman went out in the first quarter in Week 4. He collected a team high seven total tackles (all solos), and with Perryman being questionable at this point in Week 5, looks like a fine addition if you are hurting at LB.

Aaron Lynch SF -- Lynch returns from suspension in Week 5, and the beat up 49er defense can use him immediately. He offers a good set of pass rushing skills, and is practically unowned due to the suspension.

Defensive Linemen

Yannick Ngakoue DE JAX -- Ngakoue put up a full stat line in Week 4: four solo tackles (one TFL), one QH, one PD, one INT, one forced fumble and a sack. That's the kind of production you want from your defensive ends, and he is making a good case to be considered defensive rookie of the year with this type of production.

Cameron Heyward DE PIT -- Heyward enjoyed the opportunity to head to Kansas City this past week, exploding for three sacks to go with six solo tackles (three for a loss), three QH and a pass defensed. He has been solid for the past couple of seasons, and should continue to provide good numbers going forward.

Clinton McDonald DT TB -- McDonald is going to be relied upon more to anchor the interior D-line for Tampa Bay so long as Gerald McCoy is sidelined with a calf injury. He had a useful 1.5 sack effort against the visiting Broncos in Week 4, chipping in with eight total tackles (six solo, two for loss) and two QH. Stats like that make him worth to use even in non-DT mandatory leagues.

Damon Harrison DT NYG -- Harrison is another DT that can be used in a league that only requires DL designation for IDPs. He has 23 total tackles through the first four weeks of the season, but do not expect him to provide much in the way of big plays. He is useful in tackle-heavy IDP leagues.

Tyrone Crawford DT DAL -- Crawford collected his second sack of the season against the 49ers on Sunday, and played the majority of snaps on defense. He had four total tackles (three solo, one for a loss), and also picked up a QH. He is not flashy, just solid and dependable. Useful in DT-mandatory leagues.

Nick Fairley DT NO -- Fairley fell out of favor while with the Lions, and until now, has not really been on the IDP radar. Most of his problems had to do with injuries, but he looks to be healthy now. He has had 1.5 sacks in back-to-back contests, and adds decent tackle numbers. A pass rushing DT is fine thing indeed in IDP circles, and especially if you need to start a DT or two.

Defensive Backs

Keanu Neal S ATL -- Neal was a first-round pick, and he played every snap in Week 4. He also was credited with nine total tackles (six solo), and you can see why the Falcons were so high on him when he puts up numbers like this.

Vonn Bell S NO -- Bell is playing in a bad defense, and with performances like his Week 4 six solo tackle and one forced fumble effort against the Chargers should help keep him on the field for a significant number of defensive snaps going forward. Bright, shiny efforts in the New Orleans defense are not that common these days. He is a sneaky pick up in safety-mandatory leagues.

Rodney McLeod S PHI -- McLeod was out on bye last week, and thus should be available in your league. He provides tackles, and also has two INTs on the season, so he is valuable in both tackle-heavy and big play leagues.

Daimion Stafford S TEN -- Stafford stepped up his game in Week 4, collecting seven total tackles (five solo). He is useful in tackle-heavy leagues, if this uptick in production continues, but if he returns to a three tackle per game safety, then he is not worth owning.

Will Blackmon S WAS -- The Washington safety corps are depleted which means that Blackmon should see significant time on the field against the Ravens. He is coming off a seven tackle performance in Week 4, and you should have no problem picking him up due to his minimal ownership percentage.

Antoine Bethea S SF -- Bethea will be relied upon more now that Bowman is out of the defensive mix in San Francisco, and that should provide good tackle numbers for his owners. Playing in the nickel package should also boost his pass defense stats, and he is available in a ton of leagues.

Logan Ryan CB NE -- Ryan has a stupendous game, racking up 17 total tackles (14 solo) against the visiting Bills in Week 4. That is not sustainable for a CB, obviously, but if he can approach 70 tackles this season, he is well worth an add. Wait for the inevitable falloff when he does not match the Week 4 production, then grab him as a DB2/3.

Kendall Fuller CB WAS -- Fuller is one of those rookie corners that savvy IDP owners covet. He is going to see action with Bashaud Breeland out of action, and you can expect him to put up numbers similar to his seven tackle effort in Week 4 so long as he is starting. He could be a useful stopgap tackle producer for your team.

Trumaine Johnson CB LA -- Johnson is a steady producer for IDP owners, and he picked off a pass in Week 4, to go along with his steady tackle production (five total). He now has 23 tackles on the year, and should be owned in more leagues than he is.

Robert Alford CB ATL -- Alford rounds out of DB picks this week, and while you cannot depend on two picks a week, with one going for a TD, he is providing steady production at the CB position, and is so severely under-owned at this point that it is criminal. Go grab him if you have room to store a DB for bye weeks.



Escalator Going Down


Karlos Dansby CIN

David Harris NYJ

Stephone Anthony NO

I expected a lot more from Dansby than we have seen so far. Now that Vontaze Burfict is back in the starting lineup on defense, he will see limited snaps. His value is dropping like a stone, and you should consider cutting him for one of the guys recommended above. Harris looks to be losing ground, and at 32, that is to be expected. He is not putting up tackle numbers that warrant him being rostered in most IDP leagues, and should be cut for now. Anthony saw one snap on defense in Week 4. One snap. That alone says he is now not worth a roster spot. Being buried on the Saint defensive depth chart is a death knell. Cut him now before you suffer further.

Defensive Linemen

No one to speak of this week, except those that are listed on the injury report below.

Defensive Backs

Same as with the DLs, look to the injury report for those to drop.

Matchups to Exploit


I know they are off this week on a bye, and that they beat the Colts in London. Do not forget about this team as good to great IDP matchup week in, week out.

Minnesota vs Houston

I believe that the Minnesota defensive line and linebackers will make Houston look silly in this matchup. Brock Osweiler has a propensity to make mistakes and this is the defense to take full advantage of that.

Detroit vs Philadelphia

Detroit is reeling at this point, coming off a tough loss to Chicago. Expect them to bring it all against the Eagles, and stuff the run game, but also collect a huge number of tackles in both the passing and running game.

Denver vs Atlanta

Denver features an awesome defense, but Atlanta has a revitalized offense this season. The Falcons may favor Davonta Freeman over Tevin Coleman due to Coleman's high altitude health issues, but no matter what, I see a ton of tackle opportunities for the Denver defense here.



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.


Erik Walden IND

Cory James OAK

Brian Cushing HOU

Avery Williamson TEN

Lorenzo Alexander BUF

Will Compton WAS

Michael Wilhoite SF

Vince Williams PIT

Jatavis Brown SD

Aaron Lynch SF

Defensive Linesmen

Yannick Ngakoue DE JAX

Cameron Heyward DE PIT

Clinton McDonald DT TB

Damon Harrison DT NYG

Tyrone Crawford DT DAL

Nick Fairley DT NO

Defensive Backs

Keanu Neal S ATL

Vonn Bell S NO

Rodney McLeod S PHI

Daimion Stafford S TEN

Will Blackmon S WAS

Antoine Bethea S SF

Logan Ryan CB NE (ownership approaching 50%, act now if you want him on your roster)

Kendall Fuller CB WAS

Trumaine Johnson CB LA

Robert Alford CB ATL

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.


NaVorro Bowman SF torn Achilles-out for the season

Sean Weatherspoon ATL ruptured Achilles-out for the season

Malcolm Smith OAK groin

Denzel Perryman SD shoulder

Paul Worrilow ATL groin

De'Vondre Campbell ATL ankle

Jamari Lattimore BUF nose

Thomas Davis CAR hamstring (expected to play)

Danny Trevathan CHI thumb

DeMarcus Ware DEN forearm

DeAndre Levy DET quadriceps

Clay Matthews GB ankle

Jelani Jenkins MIA groin

James Laurinaitis NO quadriceps

Dannell Ellerbe NO quadriceps

Jarvis Jones PIT ankle

Ryan Shazier PIT knee

Ryan Kerrigan WAS elbow

Su'a Cravens WAS concussion

Defensive Linemen


Frostee Rucker ARI knee

Josh Mauro ARI chest

Ed Stinson ARI toe

Carl Nassib CLE hand

Ezekiel Ansah DET ankle

Jared Odrick JAX triceps

William Hayes LA ankle

Rob Ninkovich NE triceps

Paul Kruger NO back

Joey Bosa SD hamstring

Quinton Jefferson SEA hand

DeForest Buckner SF foot

Robert Ayers TB ankle

Noah Spence TB shoulder


Gerald McCoy TB calf

Vernon Butler CAR ankle

Eddie Goldman CHI ankle

Letroy Guion GB knee

Sharrif Floyd MIN knee

Vincent Valentine NE back

Jarran Reed SEA hip

Al Woods TEN calf

Defensive Backs


Tyvon Branch ARI groin (placed on IR)

Eric Weddle BAL concussion

Lardarius Webb BAL head

Maurice Canady BAL thigh

Ibraheim Campbell CLE hamstring

Shiloh Keo DEN knee

Tavon Wilson DET neck

Morgan Burnett GB groin

Tashaun Gipson JAX knee

T.J. McDonald LA head

Darian Thompson NYG foot

Nat Berhe NYG concussion

Nate Allen OAK quadriceps

Robert Golden PIT hamstring

Jahleel Addae SD collarbone

Keith Tandy TB undisclosed

Da'Norris Searcy TEN ankle

Kyshoen Jarrett WAS shoulder

David Bruton WAS concussion


Justin Bethel ARI foot

Maurice Canady BAL thigh (placed on IR)

James Bradberry CAR toe

Tracy Porter CHI knee

Dre Kirkpatrick CIN hamstring

Tramon Williams CLE shoulder

Joe Haden CLE groin

Orlando Scandrick DAL hamstring

Kayvon Webster DEN hamstring

Adairius Barnes DET ankle

Sam Shields GB concussion

Kareem Jackson HOU hamstring

Darius Butler IND hamstring

Jalil Brown IND hip

Tevin Mitchel IND hamstring

Phillip Gaines KC knee

Eric Rowe NE ankle

Delvin Breaux NO lower leg

Eli Apple NYG hamstring

Darrelle Revis NYJ hamstring

Leodis McKelvin PHI hamstring

Senquez Golson PIT foot

Brandon Flowers SD concussion

Jason Verrett SD ACL (placed on IR)

Jimmie Ward SF quadriceps

Cody Riggs TEN hamstring

Bashaud Breeland WAS ankle

Dashaun Phillips WAS hamstring

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