This article attempts to immediately highlight defensive players whose production was significantly better or worse than normally expected for the prior week of games. Note there is sometimes limited information available when this article is written, but I will try to give everyone an early look at players who are moving up or down in value among IDP circles. When warranted, I'll also call out some players under No Change that tries to explain why the stat lines may be misleading. It’s difficult to give waiver advice for IDPs since there is such a wide variety of lineups and scoring systems, but hopefully, the information provided can help inform your waiver, trade, and upcoming lineup decisions. If you have any questions about specific players or situations, feel free to email me or reach out via twitter.
CHICAGO @ DETROIT
LB Roquan Smith, CHI (10 solos, 5 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH)
Even though there were some bumps in the road leading up to this point, Smith is starting to emerge as the defensive focal point in Chicago. Big plays were lacking, but he picked off a pass in week 11 and added a pair of sacks this week. The injury to Danny Trevathan has created an opportunity for him and he’s now looking like a top-10 talent at the position.
LB Khalil Mack, CHI (2 solos)
Mack is the type of player who can get hot at any moment, but offenses have been able to limit his effectiveness of late. With just 10 solos and 1 sack over his last 5 games and some tough matchups ahead, he seems unlikely to reach double-digit sacks after doing so for the previous 4 years of his career.
BUFFALO @ DALLAS
DT Ed Oliver, BUF (3 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 FF, 1 PD)
Oliver came into the league with very high expectations but needed some time to adjust. He only collected one sack (which came against a wide receiver) in his first 9 games and lost his starting job a month ago. Despite those setbacks, Oliver has been playing very well during the limited snaps he’s given and has 4 sacks over his last 3 games. The Bills like to rotate their defensive linemen but he’s earned more playing time down the stretch.
LB Sean Lee, DAL (9 solos, 3 asst, 1 TFL)
With Leighton Vander Esch out indefinitely with a neck injury, Lee once again has a chance to play in the team’s nickel packages. He was on the field for 57 snaps (85%) this week and teamed up with Jaylon Smith for 15 solos and 11 assists combined. Lee is reportedly dealing with a strained pec but isn’t expected to miss any time.
DE Jerry Hughes, BUF (0 tackles)
Hughes is a very good player whose production rarely matches his level of play. He’s been on the field for 75% of the defensive snaps over the past four games but has just 2 solos and 1 sack to show for it. At this point, his fantasy value is pretty minimal despite the heavy workload he sees each week.
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