Week 17 IDP Free Agent Focus
I make these waiver-wire recommendations with a variety of league formats in mind. Make sure to check your Free Agent Finder for the best available options in your specific league.
Denico Autry, DL, Titans
Autry returned Saturday for the 1st time since a Week 11 knee injury and immediately delivered his top fantasy score of the season.
Autry racked up season highs in total (7) and solo (5) tackles in the loss to the Texans, adding a sack among 2 QB hits, forcing a fumble and deflecting 2 passes.
The quick turnaround to face the Cowboys on Thursday night will add a challenge, and Autry sat out Monday’s practice with a biceps issue that also landed him on last week’s injury report. If he’s ready to play, though, he’ll face an offense that has allowed 9 sacks over just the past 2 games – with tackle upside in Dallas’ rushing lean.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Giants
Thibodeaux sandwiched a monster Week 15 (at Washington) between 2 quieter weeks. But he posted a solid 6 tackles and a QB hit in Saturday’s loss to the Vikings. That makes 9 hits over the past 5 contests, after the rookie totaled just 3 through his first 8 appearances.
Thibodeaux now gets a Week 17 matchup with the Colts, who allowed 7 sacks in QB Nick Foles’ 1st start Monday night against the Chargers. Indy was already a terrific scoring matchup for front-7 players even before that.
Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Colts
The 2nd-year man has seen a role increase over the past 6 games and beefed-up his pass-rushing production over the past 2. Odeyingbo followed a 2-sack game in the Week 15 loss to Minnesota with another 1.5 sacks in Monday night’s loss to the Chargers.
Next comes a Giants offense that has allowed the league’s 2nd-highest pressure rate for the season, according to Pro Football Reference. The Giants check in as a negative scoring matchup for D-linemen on the year, but QB Daniel Jones has taken 3+ sacks in 4 of the past 5 games and in 10 of 15 contests overall.
Jaylon Smith, LB, Giants
The veteran remains a low-ceiling fantasy contributor for most IDP formats, but Smith has provided a nice tackle floor in recent weeks. He matched his season high with 10 tackles (though just 3 solos) in Saturday’s loss to the Vikings. That marked his 3rd straight game and 4th in the past 5 with 9+ total stops.
Smith now gets a Colts offense that has been the league’s best scoring matchup for LBs, according to our adjusted fantasy points allowed. QB Nick Foles’ Monday night performance against the Chargers – 3 INTs, 7 sacks – further boosts the upside.
Nicholas Morrow, LB, Bears
Morrow tallied 8 tackles and an INT in Saturday’s loss to Buffalo. That followed an 11-tackle performance in the game in which rookie LB Jack Sanborn – the tackle leader since Roquan Smith left – went down for the season.
The past 2 weeks have provided Morrow’s 2 best fantasy scores of the season. Week 17 brings a Lions offense that hasn’t been a high-upside matchup for LBs. Detroit does, however, sit right at the league-median rate for supplying solo tackles to LBs. In Chicago’s 1st meeting, Sanborn (9) and Morrow (6) combined for 15 solos and 18 total tackles.
Marcus Jones, CB, Patriots
The rookie’s greatest contributions have come via big plays this season. They have included the long catch-and-run TD against the Bills in Week 13, the game-winning punt return against the Jets in Week 11 and Saturday’s INT return for a TD against the Bengals.
But Jones has also become a full-time defensive player over the past 3 weeks. After never reaching 50% playing time in a game through Week 13, the 3rd-round pick has played 89%, 100% and 90% in the past 3 contests. He finished each of those with at least 4 solos and 5 total tackles, including 2 games of 8+ total stops. That makes it easier to start Jones in IDP lineups, and home for the difference-making upside.
Week 17 brings to town a Dolphins offense that appears likely to be run by QB Teddy Bridgewater. (Tua Tagovailoa has entered the concussion protocol for the 3rd time this year.) In limited duty this year, Bridgewater has thrown as many INTs (3) as TDs.