Linebackers I have previously recommended: Kelvin Sheppard (ILB, Buf), Paris Lenon (ILB, Ari SLB), Stephen Nicholas (SLB, Atl), Larry Foote (ILB, Pit), Erin Henderson (WLB, Min), A.J. Hawk (ILB, GB), Bruce Carter (ILB, Dal), Phillip Wheeler (SLB, Oak), Mychal Kendricks (SLB, Phi), Justin Durant (WLB, Det), K.J. Wright (SLB, Sea), Jo-Lonn Dunbar (WLB, NO), Akeem Ayers (SLB, Ten), Erin Henderson (MLB, Min), Ray Maualuga (MLB, Cin), Dannell Ellerbe (ILB, Bal), Russell Allen (SLB, Jac)
Jerrell Freeman (ILB, Ind) – This guy is not just the number one waiver wire LB, he’s a top ten IDP LB overall. He must be picked up if you can get him. He’s especially awesome if you’re a Pat Angerer owner who’s waiting for him to come off injury. Freeman’s Week One was 5 tackles and an INT, his Week Two was 13 tackles and a sack & his Week Three was 7 solos and 2 assists.
Ray Maualuga (MLB, Cin) – He has 23 tackles over the last two weeks for the simple fact that they lost Thomas Howard for the year. Maualuga has no other competition for tackles. His next game is away vs. the Jaguars run game, but don’t forget that when he plays at home, the Bengals “hometown” statisticians are well known for being VERY generous with their application of assisted tackles. To put it simply, they pass assists out like candy to anyone who’s near a tackle.
Phillip Wheeler (SLB, Oak) – Last chance! Wheeler has been on my list since Week One and judging from the pickup percentages, people either are not reading my stuff or they are still not full believers. Please understand, that I’m only talking about an LB5 guy with LB3 upside. Obviously, he would not be on the waiver wire if he were elite, but he might be more worthy to own than one of your current LBs. For instance, it may be time to cut bait on Brian Urlacher and definitely Lawrence Timmons for Wheeler or any of the guys I have listed below. Some players on my waiver wire list, I would still want ahead of him would be Paris Lenon, Ray Maualuga, Jerrell Freeman, Stephen Nicholas, Larry Foote, Erin Henderson (he missed Week Three due to a concussion, but he’s great!)
Michael Boley (OLB, NYG) – I was surprised to see the percentage of owner’s who have ignored this guy on the waiver wire. On one side, I can understand because the only thing making him viable is his interceptions each week. However, that is exactly why I have him listed here for his upcoming matchup vs. Michael Vick. Vick and the Eagles have been great for linebackers in IDP. LBs have picked off Vick twice and sacked him 4 times over the first 3 games of the season. Boley has had an INT in every single game he’s played in so far this year. I like his chances for another big play in Week Four.
Craig Robertson (WLB, Cle) – I’ll admit that this guy is for deeper leagues, but 9 tackles and an INT Week One, followed by 6 tackles and 2 pass deflections and now leading his team in Week Three with 7 solos and an assist. He has more tackles than D’Qwell Jackson in each of the 3 games this year. In a “non big play” standard league, I would consider a consistent tackler like this over Von Miller and definitely over a borderline LB5 like Denver’s Joe Mays.
Defensive Linemen I have previously recommended: Henry Melton (DT, Chi), Chandler Jones (DE, NE), Derrick Morgan (DE, Ten), Randy Starks (DE, Mia), Cameron Jordan (DE, NO)
Jeremy Mincey & Tyson Alualu (DE/DT, Jac) – Go out of your way to get Mincey & Alualu into your DL slots in Week Four. They face Andy Dalton of the Bengals next, who has been sacked 8 times over the last 2 weeks.
Israel Idonije (DE, Chi) – Idonije is a great athlete and will be facing Romo under the lights next Monday. Romo was sacked 4 times by Tampa Bay defensive ends in Week Three and Idonije is fresh off a game where he put up 2.5 sacks.
Michael Johnson (DE, Cin) – He played out of his mind in Week Three. His 3 sacks, 5 solos, 1 pass deflection and 7 hits on the quarterback are more than some defensive ends get in an entire year. The Bengals play the Jaguars next and I see no reason that he can’t pick up at least one sack in Week Four.
Carlos Dunlap (DE, Cin) – Everything I just said about Michael Johnson could very easily be said about Dunlap next week. Dunlap is the better athlete of the two with the most potential. However, teams know about his elite talent and I believe his presence in Week Three (his first game this year due to injury) was a big part of why Johnson was able to get free on the other side. If he’s available in your league, scoop him up!
Defensive Backs I have previously recommended: Devin McCourty (CB, NE), Harrison Smith (S, Min), Tracy Porter (CB, Den), Alterraun Verner (CB, Ten), Atari Bigby (SS, SD), Michael Griffin (FS, Ten), Craig Dahl (SS, Stl), Madieu Williams (SS, Was), Buster Skrine (CB, CLE).
Tim Jennings (CB, Chi) – Jennings now has 4 interceptions in 3 games and has a great chance of keeping that streak going against mistake prone Tony Romo in Week 4. He may not be on your waiver wire because he's been such an elite talent since Week One, but if he’s there, he has to be a strong consideration. Especially if your league emphasizes INT points.
John Wendling (FS, Det) – He’s more of a short term solution while Louis Delmas is out, but he has been solid and facing division rival Minnesota next. He’s a throwback safety who really loves to tackle and looks for contact any chance he gets. He had 9 solos in Week Three and 6 solos in Week Four and he’s making the most of the opportunities.
Reggie Nelson (SS, Cin) – All last year, Nelson was that borderline guy in IDP leagues that you’d see get picked up or dropped every other week. If I were to give him an IDP title, it would be “stud of the defensive back waivers”. Week One was 8 tackles, Week Two was 6 and Week Three was 10 tackles.
Josh Norman (CB, Car) – Norman’s tackle numbers have skyrocketed him up the IDP charts. In Week One, it was a modest 4 tackles vs. Tampa. However, because he proved to not be a very good cover corner, teams have thrown at him ever since. New Orleans led to 8 tackles and the Giants targeted him so much that it led to 11 tackles and a pass deflection. He faces Atlanta’s passing game next and he should have some huge numbers in that matchup. Last week, I predicted that Atari Bigby would have a big game against Atlanta and he put up 11 solos and 4 assists in Week Four.