Free Agent Focus

Week 9 IDP Free Agent Focus

By Matt Schauf 10:03am EST 11/4/13

You'll find even less uniformity among IDP leagues than you will on the offensive side of the ball.  Defensive-player lineups come in all different sizes and many more fantasy players know little about the real players on this side of the ball.

The result: a wide variance in the kind of options available on the waiver wire.  Keep that in mind as you read this.  Not every player listed will make sense in your specific league.  Feel free to fire any IDP add/drop questions to

Now on to this week's picks ...

Antonio Smith, DE, Texans

Smith sits basically unowned in IDP leagues on  If that's true in your league, consider picking him up as a sleeper fill-in for your lineman on a Week 10 bye.

Smith will face a Cardinals team that entered its Week 9 bye having allowed more D-line sacks than any other team in the league.  That included 8 over just the past 2 games, and the Cards are vulnerable to inside and edge rushers.  Atlanta got a half-sack or more from 3 different DTs in Week 8.  Seattle got a full sack from 5 different linemen and another half-sack from a 6th.

Smith hasn't had a sack since Week 4, but Pro Football Focus rates him tied for 8th in the league among 3-4 DEs in pass-rushing.  He's had at least 1 QB disruption in every game.

Bruce Irvin, OLB, Seahawks

We missed out on Irvin in this space last week because he faced the Rams on Monday night.  It was a good enough to performance to put him on this week's list, though, despite an unspectacular Week 9 follow-up.

Irvin supplied 9 tackles (8 solo) at St. Louis, with a sack, a forced fumble and an INT.  It's 1 of just 2 sacks through his 5 games this season, following his 4-game PED suspension.  He registered a QB hit Sunday against Tennessee, though, and added another hit and 5 hurries to the 2 sacks over the previous 5 games.  That will translate into more sacks going forward, especially amid the league's most talented defense.

If Irvin carries DL eligibility in your league, he's already contending for weekly starter status.  He has delivered 4+ tackles in 4 of 5 games and presents the aforementioned sack upside.  If he's an LB, then you might need a sack-heavy format to make him consistently worthwhile.

Nick Roach, MLB, Raiders

Roach has likely long been owned in deeper IDP leagues, but he remains available in 83% of IDP leagues on  That should change after a nice outing in the loss to Philly.

Roach tallied 6 solos and his 2nd sack in the past 3 games.  The last 1 accompanied 8 solos in a Week 6 loss to the Chiefs.  That followed a 13-tackle day against San Diego.

Roach faces the erratic Giants next week, followed by a top 5 LB matchup in Houston.

Paul Worrilow, OLB, Falcons

We're not going to feign sudden excitement for Worrilow's ability, but you can't ignore the numbers.  This guy tallied 19 tackles (9 solo) in Sunday's loss to the Panthers.

Much like with Nick Foles on the offensive side, Worrilow's unlikely to ever match that number again.  But he can help your IDP squad without even coming close.  Worrilow has taken over as the starting weak-side LB over the past 3 weeks.  Sunday marked the 1st time all year that he played 100% of the snaps, but he missed just 11 total over the previous 2 games.  Sean Weatherspoon will undoubtedly take the job back as soon as he's ready, but we've seen no indication that his return is near.

Worrilow will also find help in his team's weakness.  The Panthers ran in 33 times Sunday vs. 23 pass attempts in a game they won by 24.  That followed a 14-point loss to Arizona in which the Cardinals rushed 30 times vs. 18 pass attempts.

The Falcons stink on both sides of the ball and are allowing 4.5 yards per carry, 7th most in the league.  Why wouldn't opponents run on them as much as possible?

Worrilow notched 6 solos at Arizona and could very well settle into that 6-10 tackle range as long as he's starting.

Colin McCarthy, MLB, Titans

The Titans have given McCarthy full playing time in his 2 starts for the injured Moise Fokou.  He has responded with 8 and 9 tackles, including 8 solos at St. Louis on Sunday.

McCarthy certainly has production in his history -- along with plenty of injuries.  He delivered 3 straight double-digit fantasy scoring lines after taking over the starting job as a 2011 rookie.  He put up a couple more of those last year while dealing with a persistent ankle sprain.

McCarthy's tackle upside makes him worth picking up and considering for your lineup in tackle-friendly IDP leagues.  Ignore him, though, if you play with a lineup including any fewer than 3 LBs.  He has yet to display the turnover potential that he brought into his rookie year.

Brandon Carr, CB, Cowboys

No corner in the league has been thrown at more than Carr's 69 times, according to PFF.  That rate picked up over the past 4 games, with 12, 9, 13 and 8 after 6, 6, 6, 2 and 7 over the 1st 5 weeks.

Given that, it's little surprise that Carr has defensed 7 passes over the past 4 games and made 6+ solo tackles in 3 of them.  He enters Week 10 off his 2 largest tackle tallies of the year: 9 at Detroit and 8 against the Vikings.

Now comes a matchup with the Saints, who passed 51 times against the Jets and could easily have lost more than the 2 INTs they did.  Drew Brees had 5 passes defensed by a lackluster Jets secondary.  Should be a good week to start Carr, who follows that with a Week 11 bye before an upside matchup at the Giants.

Deep-league options

Mike Daniels, DE, Packers

Daniels heads into Monday night's clash with Chicago off 2 straight games with a sack, including 2 in Week 8 against the Vikings.  He added a QB hit and 6 hurries behind those 2 sacks.  Daniels would have made it into the regular section of this list, but he only plays about half of the team's defensive snaps.  That only adds to the volatility of his numbers.  He'll carry plenty of upside, though, into matchups with the Eagles, Giants and Vikings over the next 3 weeks.

David Hawthorne, ILB, Saints

Hawthorne's recent numbers suggest he belongs in the top part of this list, but 1 important category suggests otherwise: playing time.  Hawthorne's Week 9 sack in the win over the Jets marked his 3rd in 4 games.  He added 8 tackles for the 2nd straight game.  That's pretty good.  The only problem is that Hawthorne has played 74% or more of his team's snaps just once all year.  (We've yet to see the Week 9 snap count.)  LB Jonathan Vilma's return Sunday certainly won't help that rate grow.  Hawthorne's a good player capable of regular production, but he brings a lower ceiling than we'd like in most formats.

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