After one of the more entertaining Week 1’s in recent memory, we flip the page to our first inseason waiver session. Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.
DE Jerry Hughes, Houston Texans
The 34-year-old Hughes turned back the clock with a game-breaking performance in Week 1. He had three tackles, two sacks, an INT, a forced fumble and a pass defense to become one of the top point scorers at the position. Temper expectations, because he hasn’t made 40 tackles since 2017 and has just 13 sacks over the last four years combined.
DE Kwity Paye, Indianapolis Colts
The first-round pick disappointed in his rookie season with 32 tackles and four sacks. He generated a big chunk of those stats last week with seven tackles and two sacks against the Houston Texans. Can he be an under-the-radar sophomore breakout? He’ll have the opportunity to prove it against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 and will be a flex or DL2 candidate.
LB Pete Werner, New Orleans Saints
The second-year man finished tied for 98th among LBs in fantasy points last season with 62 total tackles and nothing else. He busted out with 13 tackles and a forced fumble in Week 1. He was a second-round pick in ’21, and he very well could be coming of age.
LB Jayon Brown, Las Vegas Raiders
Brown was an LB1 as recent as 2020, but injuries really took the wind from his fantasy sails. He’s still just 27 and getting his legs back under him after two 10-game campaigns in a row. In 2019, he had 105 tackles, a sack, an INT and eight pass defenses. He posted five total tackles in Week 1, and he’s still well within his physical prime. He’s worth picking up in deeper leagues and watching universally to see if he can return to LB1 status.
FS Talanoa Hufanga, San Francisco 49ers
Another second-year man from USC made a big impact in Week 1 with 11 total tackles and an INT. He totaled just 32 total tackles and two PDs in his rookie season. He plays with his hair on fire like a linebacker and has drawn comparisons to Troy Polamalu. This could have been his first of several 10-tackle games to come.
S Josh Jones, Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has likely lost star safety Jamal Adams to a torn quadriceps for the season, and Jones is the next man up. He held his own with seven tackles in Week 1 and should continue to have opportunities to chase his career-high 83 tackles set in 2020 with Jacksonville.