Injuries keep piling up, so it is incumbent that you work the free agent and waiver wire lists in your league. Especially with all the bye weeks coming up over the next few weeks. Below are some possible targets available in most leagues, to help get you through the injury bug and weeks when your starters are sitting on the sidelines.

Bye Weeks coming up:Current Week: Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee; Week 9: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Philadelphia; Week 10: Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Minnesota

Elevator Going Up


Adarius Taylor TB

When Kwon Alexander went down with his torn ACL in the Week 7 contest against the Browns, Taylor leapt to the top of the waiver wire claim list. He will be moving from strong side LB to middle LB, which will provide an uptick in playing time. He looked ready to slot in with seven total tackles (TT) in the home contest against the visiting Browns (five solo), a QB hit (QH) and a sack, plus one tackle for loss of yards (TFL). Grab him now whether or not you owned Alexander.

Marquel Lee OAK

Lee is due to see an increase in snap counts, now that he is the number one middle linebacker on defense. He did put up 10 TT against the Browns earlier this season with a high snap count and the Colts are a decent matchup with a generous stat crew at home in terms of handing out tackle numbers.

Vince Williams PIT

Williams is coming off a bye week, and gets the favorable matchup against the Browns upon his return to fantasy action. He is not much for bag play production with just one sack on the season, but in tackle-heavy leagues he is worth considering with the multiple bye weeks in store.

Denzel Perryman LAC

Perryman is seeing significant snaps on defense every game, although he is not a three-down back at this point in the season. He did collect eight TT in London against the Titans, with an INT and a pass defense (PD) to pad his stat line. His team has a bye this week, but then he gets to face the Seahawks in Week 9, which portends good things for his future production.

Raekwon McMillan MIA

McMillan should be able to build off his eight TT (seven solo) effort in Week 7 when the Dolphins head to Houston to take on the Texans, who rank 10th in the league in points allowed to opposing linebackers.

Cory Littleton LAR

Littleton is the sole LB entry in the rising IDP section who you may have some difficulty locating on your league’s wire. Too bad, based on his numbers against the 49ers last week: 10 TT (eight solo, three TFL), two sacks, two QH and a blocked kick. The next two opponents on the schedule, the Packers and Saints, are just middle of the pack concerning allowing LB points, but Week 10 features the favorable Seahawks coming to town. He is producing at a high level, and is a safe LB to slide into your lineup going forward.

Defensive Linemen

Frank Clark DE SEA

Clark is listed as questionable with an illness, but is also expected to play against the host Lions in Week 8. He is coming off a 2.5 sack game prior to the bye week, and offers decent tackle production from a DL player.

Brandon Graham DE PHI

Graham should see an increase in snaps on defense, with Derek Barnett off to IR. He has been producing even before the anticipated surge in playing time, with 11 TT and 1.5 sacks over his past four contests.

Arik Armstead DE SF

The Rams in Week 8 are a so-so matchup, but the Cardinals in Week 9 promise good things for the 49er DE, especially with a favorable stat crew in Arizona on tap. He can provide steady tackle production, especially of the solo variety.

Carl Nassib DE TB

If Vinny Curry is not able to take the field this week, look for Nassib to see significant snaps on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. He collected a pair of sacks against the visiting Browns in Week 7, to go with a PD, a QH and two solo tackles, one for a loss of yards.

Alex Okafor DE NO

Okafor finally had a productive week against the Ravens in Baltimore last week, picking up two QH, a PD, a sack of Joe Flacco and three TT (two solo, one TFL). He suffered a torn Achilles tendon last season, and recovery was slow until Week 7. No great matchups on tap, unfortunately, but so long as he is back to near 100%, he should be a decent pickup to get you through these remaining bye weeks.

Defensive Backs

Malcolm Jenkins S PHI

Jenkins has been remarkably consistent, providing his team (and by extension, his fantasy owners) with five solo tackles in each of the past four games he has played. He heads to Jacksonville, where the home stat crew is generous in handing out solo tackle credits prior to his bye week.

Eric Reid S CAR

Reid joined the Panther defense three weeks ago, and as he has accumulated time in Carolina, his snap count has been growing. With the increased playing time, so have his tackle numbers. As the starting strong safety, he is a safe add to your fantasy defensive backfield, although expecting his tackle count to increase week to week is probably a pipe dream. Still, if he can provide nine TT as he did against the Eagles on the road in Philly in Week 7, he is worth employing.

Jayron Kearse S MIN

Kearse has dual eligibility in ESPN, so he is extraordinarily valuable as a cornerback that provides safety production on that platform. Plus, he is due to have increased playing time in specialized defensive packages with an injury being suffered by Mike Hughes that sent him to the IR.Xavier Rhodes and Andrew Sendejo are both questionable for Week 8 at this point in the week, which should lead to additional opportunities to build on his Week 7 stat line of five TT (four solo, two TFL), one QH and a sack.

Darryl Roberts CB NYJ

As with Mr. Kearse above, Roberts should have additional time on the field due to a rash of injuries to the Jets cornerbacks. He is now a starting corner in New York (New Jersey?) and produced a game leading 11 TT in Week 7 against the Vikings (10 solo, one TFL) with a couple of PDs to complement that production.


Escalator Going Down


Anthony Hitchens KC

Hitchens has been a productive part of the Chief defense, until this past week, that is. He racked up just three solos against the Bengals in Week 7, despite playing 64% of the snaps. This could just be a momentary blip on the radar, but is worth noting. If the split between Hitchens and Dorian O’Daniel continues against the  Broncos, he is not worth a roster spot going forward.

Defensive Linemen

Corey Peters DT ARI

Peters was on the field for 75% of the defensive snaps in Week 7, but put up a big goose egg on the stat sheet. This after collecting two sacks the prior week. It is not as though the Broncos have been able to shut down opposing DTs regularly, either. Makes you go “Hmm.”

Defensive Backs

Montae Nicholson S WAS

Despite playing as the starting strong safety in Washington, his production has been lacking sorely the past two weeks, with just four solos and two assists over the course of 126 snaps on defense. The youngster still has promise, but wait for his numbers to improve before relying on him in your starting lineups.

TreDavious White CB BUF

White is a fine shutdown corner for the Bills, often being tasked with covering the opponents’ top receiving option. As such, he is essentially worthless for fantasy production purposes. Definitely a case where what actually goes on in the game does not translate into value in our pastime.


Matchups to Exploit

Remember, the first team listed is the one to use your IDPs against. Do not go crazy, and play a LB5 against the Bills or 49ers, but certainly you will do well if you own a top LB, DE or DB on the Cardinals that you can plug in this week, for the most part.


New England Patriots @ Buffalo

Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland

Detroit Lions vs Seattle

Defensive Ends

Miami Dolphins @ Houston

Indianapolis Colts @ Oakland

Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco

Defensive Tackles

Chicago Bears vs New York Jets

Washington @ New York Giants

Miami Dolphins @ Houston


Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver

Oakland Raiders vs Indianapolis

Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco


Los Angeles Rams vs Green Bay

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland

Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco


Waiver Wire Targets

This section is intended to serve as a shortened cheat sheet listing those waiver wire targets you should be considering if you need to plug a hole in your starting lineup. 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 commented on are here, however, as there is no need 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.


Adarius Taylor TB

Marquel Lee OAK

Vince Williams PIT

Denzel Perryman LAC

Raekwon McMillan MIA

Cory Littleton LAR (Owned in 49.3% of ESPN leagues, 42% of Yahoo leagues)

Defensive Linemen

Frank Clark DE SEA

Brandon Graham DE PHI

Arik Armstead DE SF

Carl Nassib DE TB

Alex Okafor DE NO

Defensive Backs

Malcolm Jenkins S PHI

Eric Reid S CAR

Jayron Kearse S MIN

Darryl Roberts CB NYJ


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.


CAR hamstring

Nick Vigil CIN knee-MCL

Vontaze Burfict CIN hip

Joe Schobert CLE hamstring

Joe Thomas DAL foot

Shane Ray DEN ankle

Brennan Scarlett HOU groin

Brian Peters HOU ankle

Donald Payne JAX knee-MCL

Terrance Smith KC knee (IR)

Justin Houston KC hamstring

Kyzir White LAC knee

Mike Hull MIA knee-MCL (IR)

Chase Allen MIA undisclosed(IR)

Anthony Barr MIN hamstring

Ja’Whaun Bentley NE biceps (IR)

Kevin Pierre-Louis NYJ foot

D.J. Alexander PHI quadriceps

Nate Gerry PHI ankle

Reuben Foster SF shoulder

Kwon Alexander TB knee-ACL (IR)

Jack Cichy TB knee-ACL(IR)

Derrick Morgan TEN shoulder

Will Compton TEN hamstring

Defensive Linemen


Trent Murphy BUF knee

Mario Addison CAR back

Derek Wolfe DEN ribs

Ezekiel Ansah DET shoulder

J.J. Watt HOU knee

Jihad Ward IND ankle

Calais Campbell JAX shoulder

Joey Bosa LAC foot

Charles Harris MIA calf

Everson Griffen MIN personal

Geneo Grissom NE ankle

Vinny Curry TB ankle


Denico Autry IND hamstring

Linval Joseph MIN knee

Taylor Stallworth NO ankle

Jay Bromley NO arm

Haloti Ngata PHI calf

Destin Vaeao PHI undisclosed (IR)

Gerald McCoy TB calf

Defensive Backs


Tre Boston ARI shoulder

Marlon Humphrey BAL thigh

Marcus Cooper CHI hamstring

E.J. Gaines CLE concussion

C.J. Goodwin DAL forearm

Dymonte Thomas DEN chest

Adam Jones DEN thigh

Darian Stewart DEN neck

Andre Hal HOU shoulder

Shareece Wright HOU shoulder

Clayton Geathers IND concussion

D.J. Hayden JAX toe

Tyler Patmon JAX neck

Eric Berry KC heel

T.J. McDonald MIA ankle

Andrew Sendejo MIN groin

Eric Rowe NE groin

Marcus Williams NO undisclosed

Doug Middleton NYJ pectoral

Marcus Maye NYJ thumb

Corey Graham PHI hamstring

Adrian Colbert SF ankle (IR)

Marcell Harris SF hamstring (IR)

Kenny Vaccaro TEN elbow

Troy Apke WAS hamstring


Anthony Averett BAL hamstring

Darqueze Dennard CIN shoulder

Aaron Colvin HOU ankle

Johnathan Joseph HOU hip

Arthur Maulet IND hip

Tre Herndon JAX hamstring

Troy Hill LAR concussion

Xavier Rhodes MIN ankle

Buster Skrine NYJ concussion

Trumaine Johnson NYJ quadriceps

Sidney Jones PHI hamstring

Jimmie Ward SF hamstring

Ricard Sherman SF calf

Quinton Dunbar WAS shin

Fabian Moreau 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. FANation Chat is now live on the site, to help you work through your fantasy football dilemmas. Or if you have any fantasy football questions, especially about IDP leagues, you can also send a message for a personal response from the writer of this article. Naturally, the more detail you can send about your league, such as number of teams, platform you play in (Yahoo, ESPN, etc.), scoring and roster system, the better the ability to provide accurate advice.