Week 1 is in the books, and it sure felt good to have meaningful football games again. On the defensive side, we finally broke away from the vanilla packages we saw throughout the pre-season, and with some teams, we got our first look at the starters on the field together. With meaningful football comes meaningful fantasy games as well. Did Chandler Jones’ monster day propel your fantasy team its first win of the season? Did you suffer a crushing defeat because your IDPs didn’t get the snaps you expected? Whether you experienced the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, there is always room for improvement, so I’ve put together a list of waiver wire darlings that will make an instant impact on your rosters.

*Note: Players included are under 50% rostered on Fantrax. 

Defensive Line/EDGE

Justin Hollins, Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams had some phenomenal IDP performances this week at every level of the defense, but we’ll start up front with Justin Hollins. The third year outside linebacker out of Oregon shined in his first game as a starter, taking over the spot across from Leonard Floyd that was vacated by current 49er Samson Ebukam. In his first two seasons, Hollins mustered only four sacks, but he already has half that many in 2021, as he brought down Andy Dalton twice on Sunday night. Hollins played 74% of the Rams’ snaps, and he made the most of them, finishing with 6 solo tackles and 2 assists to go along with his two sacks. He continued to stuff the stat sheet by adding one tackle for loss (TFL) and one forced fumble (FF). Now, do I expect multiple sacks every week? Of course not. If teams continue to focus on stopping Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd, however, it’s nice to know that Hollins can make opposing quarterbacks pay, and the 8 combined tackles were are very promising.

Rasheem Green, Seattle Seahawks

Quick, who led the Seahawks in sacks last season? Sadly, it wasn’t a member of their defensive line, but instead it was their star safety Jamal Adams. I’m not saying Rasheem Green will be a dominant force, but he’s off to a great start this season. Selected in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft, Seahawks fans will be the first to tell you that they expected a lot more in his first three seasons. After all, his career year in 2019 consisted of only 27 combined tackles and 4 sacks, so not exactly setting the world on fire. In Week 1, however, we saw more disruptive Rasheem Green than what we’ve grown accustomed to. According to Head Coach Pete Carroll, they made a concerted effort to get him on the edge more often where he could really put his athleticism to use. So far, the new role is working out just fine. His 70% snap share was tops among Seattle’s defensive linemen, and he finished the day with 4 combined tackles (3 solo), 2 pass deflections, 1 TFL, and a sack of Carson Wentz on a big 3rd down. While I may not stick him immediately into my lineup in Week 2, he will be very valuable once we hit the bye weeks, so long as this new role continues.

Linebackers

Kenny Young, Los Angeles Rams

If you read Top 100 IDP article, I listed Kenny Young as the biggest winner of the pre-season, and Week 1 proved why I’ve been so bullish on him. Young played every snap against the Bears, and no other Los Angeles linebacker was remotely close to that number. As they did last season, the Rams spent quite a bit of time in their dime package, leaving Young as the only LB on the field. So much of IDP production is tied to opportunity, and Kenny Young has earned that in spades. He finished the night with 10 combined tackles, a pass deflection and one fumble recovery. As long as he continues in this role, he can be counted on as an every-week starter as an LB2 with top 12 upside. He is my number one target on waiver wires across all IDP positions. Conversely, if you’re still rostering Troy Reeder, he can be safely dropped, as he only played 19 total snaps. 

Cole Holcomb, Washington Football Team

The Washington linebacker rotation is something I’ve kept a close eye on throughout the pre-season to try and see who among them, if any, emerged as a full-time player. One of the top defenses in the league a year ago, the rich got richer, as Washington added first round pick LB Jamin Davis out of Kentucky. While he is likely to have a bright future, it doesn’t appear he’s quite ready for a major role, as he played only 56% of the defensive snaps against the L.A. Chargers. I expect his snaps to increase as we progress through the season, while Jon Bostic’s 84% is likely to come down. All that is to say, it is Cole Holcomb, not Davis or Bostic, that you want in your IDP lineups in 2021. Holcomb has been given the responsibility of the green dot, and he was the only Washington defender to player 100% of snaps last week. With those snaps came production, as he notched 8 solo tackles to go along with 3 assists. His role appears quite secure, so I am trusting him until he or Ron Rivera gives us a reason not to. Pick him up, and start him with confidence against the Giants Thursday night. 

Defensive Backs

Jordan Fuller, Los Angeles Rams

I told you the Rams had great performances at all levels of the defense didn’t I? As expected, Jordan Fuller has taken over John Johnson role wearing the green dot as the Rams’ defensive signal caller. This may seem like a lot of responsibility on a second year player who was taken in the 6th round of the NFL Draft, but Fuller has risen to the occasion. In 2020, he actually beat out Taylor Rapp for a starting spot opposite Johnson, but battled injuries throughout his rookie year. Now teaming up with Rapp as starters, this could be one of the better young safety duos in the league, both in real life and for your fantasy teams. Fuller handled 100% of the snaps on his way to 11 combined tackles, both of which were team highs. If he’s still available in your leagues, he won’t be for long. I have him as a solid DB2 for the rest of the season.

Rayshawn Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars defense ranked 31st in the league last season, and one of the big issues was the secondary. To bolster that group, one of the first big signings in the Urban Meyer regime was Rayshawn Jenkins, who signed a 4 year contract with Jacksonville in March. A two-year starter for the Los Angeles Chargers, Jenkins had a career year statistically in 2020, as he stepped into more of a box safety role in the absence of Derwin James. He finished with 84 combined tackles a year ago, but he’s likely to surpass that this season. He has taken on a leadership role for the Jags’ defense, and on the field, his role has never been in question. He’ll be out there for every snap, and he’ll spend much of that time in the box, where he shined in L.A. Week 1 wasn’t a monster game statistically, as he tallied 6 combined tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 pass deflected, but his usage was great: 100% snap share, 38 of 78 in the box. Six tackles is much closer to the floor than the ceiling for him, so even better days are ahead. Snag him now, and reap the rewards moving forward.

Thanks for checking in, and as always you can find me on Twitter @CantALoupe_FF.

Good luck in Week 2!