If the 2018 IDP season was a reality show, it would be "Survivor."
OK, not my best metaphor. But it's certainly an apt one.
A lot of IDP leagues this year won't be won by the team who drafted the best squad. It will be the teams whose linebacker corps made it through the season mostly unscathed in a year where injuries have decimated the position from the get-go.
Another top-10 option at the position went down for the count in Week 7. As ESPN's Jenna Laine reported, Kwon Alexander of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tore his ACL in last week's overtime win over the Cleveland Browns. Quarterback Jameis Winston admitted that the loss was a big blow to the team.
"We see the passion he plays with," Winston said. "We see the heart he puts in the locker room. I love Kwon. We're going to miss him, and I know he is going to make an amazing comeback. That's just the type of person that he is, and his work ethic has been strong since he's been here."
Plenty of IDP owners will miss Alexander, too. He's not the type of player who can just be replaced with a waiver pickup. Far from it. However, there's nothing to do but keep going, and since Alexander wasn't even the only big name LB who went down in Week 7 we're kicking off this week's IDP Nation with what feels like the 12th all-linebacker waiver wire of the season…
In eight weeks.
WEEK 8 IDP WAIVER WIRE
Marquel Lee – OLB, Oakland Raiders: Lee's role has grown steadily throughout the season—he's played over 75 percent of the defensive snaps in each of Oakland's last three games. With Derrick Johnson gone, Lee won't be leaving the field at all moving forward.
Raekwon McMillan – ILB, Miami Dolphins: McMillan's been up-and-down, in both snaps and level of play. But he was on the field for 84 percent of Miami's snaps against the Lions a week ago, and piled up eight total stops and a forced fumble as a result.
Adarius Taylor – ILB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This pickup could have an expiration date with Kendall Beckwith eligible to re-join the Buccaneers at any time. But until he does, it's Taylor who will take over in the middle for Alexander in Tampa.
WEEK 8 NON-KWON IDP INJURY REPORT
Mario Addison – DE, Carolina Panthers (Back): Addison had a sack in Sunday's win over the Eagles, but he missed the big fourth-quarter comeback after exiting with a back injury. His Week 8 status is unknown at this point.
Ezekiel Ansah – DE, Detroit Lions (Shoulder): Well, so much for Ansah making a return after Detroit's bye—he was a scratch in Week 7 for the fifth consecutive game. He can't be trusted in IDP leagues until he plays AND makes it through the game unscathed.
Derek Barnett – DE (Shoulder – IR): Barnett's second NFL season has come to an unceremonious end—Barnett has a torn rotator cuff that will require season-ending surgery. He's headed for injured reserve, while veterans Michael Bennett and Chris Long are headed for a bump in snaps.
Eric Berry – S, Kansas City Chiefs (Foot): The Chiefs continue to maintain that they hope Berry will play at some point this season, but we're halfway through the season and he's yet to even practice. It's well past time to move on.
Joey Bosa – DE, Los Angeles Chargers (Foot): Well, if you've held Bosa this long, this is it—the plan for weeks was that Bosa would return to the practice field after the Chargers Week 8 bye. We'll know soon enough if the plan's still on.
Tre Boston – S, Arizona Cardinals (Shoulder, Ribs): Boston missed last week's loss to the Denver Broncos, and given that the Redbirds added a veteran safety this week it appears his Week 8 status is iffy as well.
Vontaze Burfict – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (Hip): In addition to picking up 112 grand in fines last week, Burfict also hobbled off the field against the Chiefs and was quickly ruled out. If he can't go against Tampa, youngster Jordan Evans would man his spot.
Morgan Burnett – S, Pittsburgh Steelers (Groin): Burnett hasn't played since all the way back in Week 2, but limited participation in Pittsburgh's practice on Monday raised the possibility he'll return in Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns.
Calais Campbell – DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (Shoulder): The stinger Campbell suffered in last week's loss to the Texans isn't believed to be serious, but monitor how he fares at practice before plugging him for Sunday's tilt with the Philadelphia Eagles in London.
Reuben Foster – OLB, San Francisco 49ers (Shoulder): Foster left last week's loss to the Los Angeles Rams with a shoulder injury, and given his history of similar injuries it casts more than a little doubt over his Week 8 availability.
Clayton Geathers – S, Indianapolis Colts (Neck): Geathers practiced in a limited fashion last week but was scratched by the team anyway. Given his history of neck injuries, he can't be depended on to return in Week 8 at Oakland.
Corey Graham – S, Philadelphia Eagles (Hamstring): Graham sat out last week's fourth-quarter collapse against the Carolina Panthers, but there's a measure of optimism that the veteran safety will be able to play Sunday in London.
Randy Gregory – DE, Dallas Cowboys (Knee): After injuring his knee in the loss to the Redskins Gregory had a "minor" procedure done, but the hope at Valley Ranch is that he'll be able to play following the Cowboys Week 8 bye.
Everson Griffen – DE, Minnesota Vikings (Personal): Griffen's been away from the team for several weeks, but he's reportedly set to re-join the Vikings Wednesday. His playing status for Week 8, however, isn't known.
Justin Houston – OLB, Kansas City Chiefs (Hamstring): Houston missed his second game in a row last week with a lingering hamstring injury. Until the veteran edge-rusher gets some practice time under his belt, assume Houston won't be available.
Khalil Mack - OLB, Chicago Bears (Ankle): The last thing Mack owners (and the Bears) want to consider is not having the edge-rusher extraordinaire out there, but given how badly his ankle limited him last week it's a real possibility.
Marcus Maye – S, New York Jets (Thumb): The news just keeps getting better and better for the Jets. Not only is Maye expected to be out a few more weeks, but now backup Doug Middleton has been lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
Gerald McCoy – DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Calf): Both McCoy and defensive end Vinny Curry (ankle) sat out Sunday's win over the Browns. The pair's availability for this week's trip to the Queen City will hinge largely on practice participation.
TJ McDonald – S, Miami Dolphins (Ankle): Despite a balky ankle McDonald played all 64 snaps last week, recording eight tackles against the Lions. With a short turnaround before his next game Thursday, that ankle may remain a problem.
Joe Schobert – ILB, Cleveland Browns (Hamstring): As expected, Schobert didn't play in last week's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He's been deemed "week to week," but it's unlikely he'll be back for Sunday's trip to Pittsburgh.
Andrew Sendejo – S, Minnesota Vikings (Groin): Sendejo has now missed two games with a groin injury. His status for a very favorable IDP matchup with the high-powered Saints is up in the air at present, but have a Plan B ready.
Darian Stewart – S, Denver Broncos (Neck): IDP owners hoping to spot-start Stewart after his big game against the Chiefs a few weeks ago may be out of luck—the veteran safety is truly questionable after suffering a stinger against the Arizona Cardinals.
Nick Vigil – OLB, Cincinnati Bengals (Knee): Vigil was a spectator for Sunday night's Kansas City beatdown, complements of an MCL sprain suffered the week before. He isn't expected to return for at least a few more weeks.
Kyzir White – OLB, Los Angeles Chargers (Knee): White's been sidelined about a month since having his knee scoped, but like with teammate Joey Bosa the hope is that another week of rest will get White back on the practice field before LA's next game in Week 9.
Marcus Williams – S, New Orleans Saints (Undisclosed): We know that Williams was hurt at the end of last week's win over the Baltimore Ravens. What we do not know is what Williams hurt, how he hurt it or how bad it is.
THE WHAT THE HECK DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE WAIVER PLAY OF THE WEEK
Kyle Van Noy – OLB, New England Patriots (at BUF)
As Tyler Sullivan of 247 Sports reported, Van Noy didn't hide his enthusiasm after scoring the first touchdown of his NFL career last week against the Bears. "Going back and watching that on film is going to be sick," Van Noy said. "[Hightower] did all the work. I guess I get all the glory, so I appreciate him and what an amazing player he is, and everyone can be quiet now."
Van Noy isn't going to get another touchdown on Monday night against the woeful Bills—I think. But while the Bills have been absolutely horrendous offensively this season, the team continues to give up fantasy points by the bucketful to the linebacker position. Van Noy's a good bet for at least solid LB3 production in the final game of Week 8.
GUYS I LIKE IN WEEK 8
Cameron Heyward – DE, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE): Heyward's IDP owners are going to be very pleased to have Heyward back from his bye—in Week 8 he faces a Cleveland Browns team that has already allowed a jaw-dropping 31 sacks in just seven games.
Chandler Jones – DE, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SFO): Jones has been a rare bright spot for a horrible Cardinals team, and this week he gets an equally terrible Niners squad that's ninth in fantasy points allowed to D-linemen and second in sacks allowed.
Robert Quinn – DE, Miami Dolphins (at HOU): Quinn's been a massive disappointment, but if ever there was a week for a rebound it's Thursday night against the Texans, who are third in sacks allowed and second in fantasy points surrendered to defensive linemen.
Preston Brown – ILB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. TBB): With the Cincinnati linebackers dropping like flies, Brown may be the proverbial last man standing Sunday in a matchup with a Buccaneers team that ranks fourth in fantasy points allowed to linebackers in 2018.
Josh Bynes – ILB, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SFO): After an outstanding start to the 2018 season, Bynes has tailed off a bit over the last two weeks. The last time he faced the 49ers, however, Bynes had 11 tackles, nine solos and a sack.
Jarrad Davis – ILB, Detroit Lions (vs. SEA): Davis has been a bit inconsistent this season, but Week 8 sets up very well for the second-year pro. No team allows more fantasy points per game to linebackers than the run-heavy Seahawks.
Antoine Bethea – S, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SFO): Just about all of the Arizona safeties have been fantastic this season for fantasy owners. Don't hesitate to roll them out again against a Niners team that leads the NFL in giveaways. If you got one and he's active, start him.
Sean Davis – S, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE): The Pittsburgh safeties haven't produced to expectations in 2018, but between the potential for a takeaway and coverage time on David Njoku sets the stage for a big game from Davis here.
Ron Parker – S, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DEN): Parker came up big with a pick-six a week ago in a favorable matchup. He gets an even better one Sunday against the Broncos, who are second in fantasy points given up to defensive backs.
GUYS I DON'T LIKE IN WEEK 8
Frank Clark – DE, Seattle Seahawks (at DET): Clark went into his bye with a 2.5-sack bang back in Week 6. But the Lions have given up only 10 sacks all season long and are 25th in fantasy points allowed to Clark's position this year.
Jerry Hughes – DE, Buffalo Bills (vs. NEP): Hughes has spent most of this season as a top-10 fantasy producer up front, but he faces an uphill climb on Monday night—the Tom Brady Patriots have long been a bad matchup for pass-rushers.
Danielle Hunter – DE, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NOS): Hunter's been fantastic for the Vikings this year, but the Saints have allowed just nine sacks in 2018 and rank dead last in the NFL in fantasy points given up to defensive linemen.
Brandon Marshall – ILB, Denver Broncos (at KCC): I shouldn't have to tell you not to start Marshall, who has steadily lost playing time this season. But it goes farther than just him—there isn't a single Denver IDP I have any real confidence in in Week 8.
Blake Martinez – ILB, Green Bay Packers (at LAR): Martinez is a hard guy to sit—he's a top-10 linebacker in terms of points per game. But it’s worth pointing out that the Rams have been a consistently poor linebacker matchup in 2018.
Roquan Smith – ILB, Chicago Bears (vs. NYJ): Given how much the Jets like to run the football, one might think they are a good IDP matchup for linebackers. One would be wrong—only the Chiefs have been stingier to the position this year.
Adrian Amos – S, Chicago Bears (vs. NYJ): Amos is another guy I had high hopes for in 2018 who isn't going to come close to realizing them. He's no more than a matchup DB2, and this week's tilt with the Jets isn't a good one.
Kentrell Brice – S, Green Bay Packers (at LAR): Brice started off hot but has gone ice-cold since, and while the Rams chew up yardage like it's going out of style the team ranks 26th overall in fantasy points allowed to IDPs.
Bradley McDougald – S, Seattle Seahawks (at DET): Given how he's performed to date and the fact there are four teams on a Week 8 bye, McDougald's a hard player to sit. Just know going in that the Lions are dead last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to defensive backs.
THE SCRAP-HEAP STREAMING CORNERBACK PLAY OF THE WEEK
In recent years the number of dependable weekly fantasy starters at the cornerback position has dwindled to just about zero. So as a service to those hearty souls who play in IDP leagues that require them, each week I’ll point out a player at that position available in many leagues who should serve as a fine streaming option.
Kenny Moore, Indianapolis Colts (at OAK): You're forgiven for not knowing who Moore is—you wouldn't unless you're a Valdosta State fan. The second-year pro logged his second interception of the year last week against the Bills, adding seven tackles while playing 100 percent of the snaps. Throw in a favorable IDP matchup with the reeling Raiders, and you have the recipe for a fine streaming option.