4 IDP Fantasy Football Targets for Week 10

Jayron Kearse is primed for an elite matchup with a struggling Packers offense. Which other IDP players can help off the wire this week?

Individual Defensive Player (IDP) has to be my favorite format in fantasy football. If you’ve felt satisfaction at a job well done with just offensive players, there’s truly nothing else like getting to field a full team – offense and defense – on the virtual gridiron and watching them grind your best friends into dust. You may not realize, but IDP have been in the fantasy game since the original fantasy league was formed back in Oakland in 1962, with two defensive back/linebacker slots and two slots for defensive linemen. IDP are an institution in fantasy football, and we aim to treat them as such in this column.

Each week this season, in honor of the four-IDP requirement in the OG fantasy league, I will identify four targets widely available on waiver wires (15% or less rostership on Yahoo!) that you should be aiming for in your IDP leagues. These recommendations are based on a balanced 3:1 big play-to-tackle scoring ratio. We’ll examine their matchups and their snap count trends while helping you figure out the best fit for your IDP rosters.

It’s the Week 10 IDP waiver wire. Here are your four targets:

Josh Paschal, DL, Detroit Lions

at Chicago Bears
Roster Percentage: 0%

The full-tilt youth movement has taken over the Motor City.

Head coach Dan Campbell is turning the page from the recent era of Romeo Okwara and Charles Harris bookending the Detroit Lions defensive front. He's now running out second-overall pick Aidan Hutchinson and second-round pick Josh Paschal as full-time players. Hutchinson is a relatively known commodity in the IDP fantasy community, but his running mate might be the hot new thing to keep our eyes on.

Paschal doesn’t have a ton of name recognition, and projecting the start of his NFL career was made even more difficult because he came into the league injured; his first six weeks were spent on injured reserve. Since then, though, things have been all gas and no brakes for the 46th overall pick of the 2022 Draft.

From Weeks 7 to 9, Paschal has averaged an 87% snap share per game, which is a rare amount for any edge rusher to play in this era of heavy rotation -- let alone a rookie and let alone one who is making his pro debut after a months-long injury recovery process.

You’d hope for better results on that volume of snaps than what we’ve seen so far (3.9% tackle rate, 7.8% pressure rate), but there are positive signs of progress. For instance, in his third game of the season, Paschal registered the first and second quarterback hits of his career and turned in five pressures total on 40 pass-rush snaps (12.5% pressure rate in Week 9). He’s also winning against blockers on true pass sets at the 30th-highest rate among over 180 edge rushers to play at least 100 pass-rush snaps this year (per PFF).

This week, Paschal gets to take on the Chicago Bears, who have allowed quarterback Justin Fields to be pressured at the third-highest rate among starting quarterbacks. Fields has improved in recent weeks, but so has the Lions’ defensive front with Paschal in the fold. This matchup is a mouthwatering one for the ascending edge rusher to take a leap forward in.

Our model projects Paschal for 3.7 tackles and a 73% chance for a sack, for 6.2 fantasy points. His projection makes him our DL9 overall in fantasy this week; he carries a potent combination of skill and matchup that brings his sack-based upside from potential to possibility.

Josey Jewell, LB, Denver Broncos

at Tennessee Titans
Roster Percentage: 4%

Another injury-plagued player makes our list this week as Denver Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell is our top widely-available option at the position.

Jewell has been limited to just four appearances in 2022, but he is playing an average of 98% of Denver’s defensive snaps in games he’s finished healthy. Even including the Week 5 contest that he left early, Jewell has averaged nearly 10 total tackles -- plus over a tackle for a loss per game.

Jewell should be on the field plenty (and should have plenty of tackle opportunities) in a Week 10 tilt with the Tennessee Titans.

Tennessee has the second-most run-happy offense by pass rate over expected, which means running back Derrick Henry's prowess and volume of touches will allow Jewell to focus on playing downhill – exactly what he does well. The ball should be in Jewell’s zone a lot in this game, which means we can start him with confidence despite Tennessee presenting a mediocre fantasy matchup to previous opponents.

Our model projects Jewell for 8.7 tackles, a 16% chance for a sack, and a 27% chance for a pass defended, totaling in 9.7 fantasy points. He comes in as our LB13 in fantasy this week.

Ernest Jones, LB, Los Angeles Rams

vs. Arizona Cardinals
Roster Percentage: 4%

Many IDP heads believed that the Los Angeles Rams would give linebacker Ernest Jones the nod as their sole three-down linebacker at the start of the 2022 offseason. Everything seemed to indicate that this was the year the former third-rounder would get to go off, but Bobby Wagner getting released kept Jones in a backup role. At the moment, the young gun is still behind the veteran in snaps.

That said, we could see Jones still make the most of his limited workload in Week 10 -- much as he has done all year. He has already almost matched his rookie 2021 tackle total in about half as many games, and his 16.7% tackle rate speaks for itself. He gets in the right spot to make a play on a ball carrier.

Even better, this week brings a matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, who have supported a double-digit fantasy day for multiple off-ball linebackers in three of their nine games. Overall, they give up the sixth-most fantasy points to the linebacker position this year, and Jones’ efficiency means he may not need more than 60% of the Rams’ defensive snaps to get you a windfall of points against the Cards.

Our model projects Jones for 6.7 tackles and a 32% chance for a pass defended, included in his total of 7.6 fantasy points this week. Jones is an upside LB3 this week due to his matchup.

Jayron Kearse, DB, Dallas Cowboys

at Green Bay Packers
Roster Percentage: 2%

So much of what makes a defensive back a locked-in IDP starter rather than a fringe option in a week comes down to context. What is their snap share? What is their role? Who is their opponent?

Typically, I like at least one of these factors to be positive in order to consider a player in my lineup; if it's two, we’re talking about an above-average starting option. When you can find a player who checks all three boxes and is a proven asset, that is the makings of a fantasy unicorn on your waiver wire.

That’s what we have this week with Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse. Kearse was injured in Week 1 of the 2022 season, but has progressively worked his way back into a full-time role, culminating in 93% and 96% snap shares in Weeks 7 and 8. Those weeks, Kearse dazzled as a Swiss Army knife defender, playing all over the five position groups (though over two-thirds in box, slot, or defensive line positions). He racked up a whopping 16 total tackles in those two games, adding a sack and two tackles for a loss for an average 13.3 fantasy points.

Many IDP managers clearly dropped Kearse due to his Week 9 bye, so that he is 98% available in Yahoo! leagues. That means that a full-time box safety who is in prime form is coming off a rest week to take on the Green Bay Packers, who allow the second-most fantasy points to safeties in 2022. That’s right, the Packers have allowed double-digit fantasy points to a box safety in five of their nine games this season – and now Kearse gets to play them.

Our model projects Kearse for 6.0 tackles and a 26% chance for a pass defended, totaling 6.6 fantasy points. He’s our DB32 overall in this matchup, but his elite snap share and role – as well as a prime matchup – make his upside much higher.