This article immediately highlights 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 to explain why the stat lines may be misleading. It isn’t easy 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, please email me or reach out via Twitter.
DENVER @ CLEVELAND
CB Greg Newsome II, CLE (3 solos, 1 PD)
The stats for Newsome don’t stand out much, but the rookie was the only Browns cornerback to play 100% of the snaps this week. Fellow starter Denzel Ward left the game early with a hamstring injury and Greedy Williams saw his playing time reduced dramatically to just 22% of the snaps after playing 70+% the prior 3 games.
LB Von Miller, DEN (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 QH)
Miller had a solid start to the year in big-play leagues as he collected 4.5 sacks in the first 4 games. Since then, however, he’s gone cold and has been credited with just 3 solos and 3 assists with 0 sacks over the prior 3 games. He also left the game early this week with an ankle injury so only saw 33 snaps (46%) but said he expected to play in week 8.
LB Micah Kiser, DEN (1 solo, 1 asst)
Kiser got the start and first chance to replace the injured A.J. Johnson this week, but unfortunately only lasted 9 snaps before leaving with a groin injury. He was placed on injured reserve after the game and will likely be replaced by Curtis Robinson (who also suffered an injury in the game). The Broncos traded for Kenny Young from the Rams on Monday, so he should be in line for a big role as soon as he gets acclimated.
CINCINNATI @ BALTIMORE
DE Sam Hubbard, CIN (3 solos, 2 asst, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH, 1 PD)
The Bengals defensive line came up big in this game as they combined for 5 sacks of Lamar Jackson and held the Ravens’ running backs to just 29 yards on 11 carries. Hubbard stood out with perhaps the best game of his career as he collected 2.5 sacks while often going against a backup right tackle who was clearly overmatched. Trey Hendrickson (1 solo, 1 sack) was also a big part as he was able to consistently generate pressure around the edge and flush Jackson into the path of other players.
LB Josh Bynes, BAL (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 TFL)
The Ravens have turned to Bynes in times of need before and they seem to be taking a similar approach now. Patrick Queen has not played up to expectations and has only seen 34% and 43% of the snaps the past two weeks as he’s playing through a thigh injury. Malik Harrison has also struggled and seen his playing time reduced, which created an opportunity for Bynes to start and play over 70% of the snaps the past two weeks. At 32 years of age, he offers limited upside but has 12 tackles in two weeks and can provide short-term help.
CB Marlon Humphrey, BAL (4 solos, 3 asst, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Humphrey has not played up to his normal standards this year, but that can sometimes be a good thing for cornerbacks if it encourages more throws in their direction. He came into the season as the top-ranked fantasy corner after putting up 70 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 8 forced fumbles a year ago. His tackle numbers have been solid so far, but the big plays have been lacking. He collected his first interception and forced fumble of the season this week and has plenty of favorable matchups after a week 8 bye.
WASHINGTON @ GREEN BAY
LB De'Vondre Campbell, GB (10 solos, 3 asst, 2 FF)
Campbell continues to impress as the centerpiece of the Packers defense. He’s on pace to finish with more than 100 solo tackles and has also contributed big plays with 2 interceptions 2 forced fumbles. The upcoming schedule has a lot of potent offenses on it as well, so he should be able to keep this pace up.
LB Rashan Gary, GB (3 solos, 4 asst, 2 sacks, 4 QH, 1 FF)
With Za'Darius Smith likely to miss most of the year with a back injury, the Packers have relied heavily on Preston Smith and Gary each week. Whitney Mercilus was recently signed to provide additional depth, but Gary should continue to see 70+% of the snaps each week. The former first-round pick needed time to develop but he has been making contributions of late with 11 solos, 11 assists, and 3 sacks over the past 4 games.
DE Chase Young, WAS (2 asst, 1 PD)
Young came into this year expected to take another step in his development and join the ranks of the elite at his position. Through 7 games though, he’s posted just 1.5 sacks has just 11 solo tackles with 10 assists. His playing time has remained high each week, but he’s been one of the biggest IDP disappointments in the league so far.
S Landon Collins, WAS (7 solos, 1 TFL, 1 FR)
The Washington coaches announced they were moving Collins from safety to linebacker this week so that he could focus more on playing downhill and attacking the run rather than operating in space. That helped him finish as the leading tackler with 7 solo stops and a fumble recovery so he should be productive when he’s on the field. There are concerns about playing time, however, as he only played 24 snaps (43%) after playing nearly every snap the prior 3 weeks. Cole Holcomb (100%) and Jamin Davis (98%) both have 3-down roles so it may be challenging to find enough playing time for Collins each week.
ATLANTA @ MIAMI
LB Deion Jones, ATL (11 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack, 3 TFL, 1 QH)
Jones was a bit of a disappointment the past two seasons as his tackle production fell off dramatically from where it had been early in his career. Through 7 games this year, however, he’s back among the league leaders and this week was perhaps his best game in years. He finished with 15 tackles, including 11 solo stops and 3 tackles for a loss while also adding his second sack of the year. The Falcons defense can struggle to get off the field, which should keep both of their linebackers in the LB1 conversation the rest of the year.
LB Jerome Baker, MIA (1 asst)
Baker left the game early with a knee injury so only wound up playing 10 snaps (16%). Fortunately, the MRI came back clean so it appears he escaped any serious injury and could be available to play against the Bills next week. Sam Eguavoen (1 asst) played 53 snaps (84%) in relief but had very little to show for it.
LB Jaelan Phillips, MIA (1 QH)
After playing 57 and 54 snaps the prior two weeks, Phillips only played 15 this week. That was likely due to an ankle injury that he was playing through a well as a game scrip that saw Atlanta get out to an early lead and rely heavily on the run in the second half.
CB A.J. Terrell, ATL (2 solos, 3 asst, 1 PD)
Terrell is a talented former 1st-round pick who can produce when healthy. Unfortunately, he’s missed some time already this year with a concussion and was forced to leave the game early this week with a head or neck injury. Monitor his status throughout the week to see if he may wind up missing next week’s game against Carolina.
NY JETS @ NEW ENGLAND
S Marcus Maye, NYJ (7 solos, 5 asst, 1 TFL, 1 PD)
S Ashtyn Davis, NYJ (10 solos, 1 asst)
The Jets linebackers were decimated with injuries and that left a lot more work for their safeties this week. Maye had not played since week 3 with an ankle injury but held up over a heavy workload of 76 snaps. Davis had also played just a part-time role the past two games while returning from an injury but had a very productive outing while also playing a full game for the first time this year.
S Kyle Dugger, NE (6 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Dugger continues to emerge as the most productive member of the Patriots defense. Despite coming into the game with a questionable tag, he managed to handle a regular workload of 54 snaps (87%) and led his team in tackles with 8 while also picking off a pass for the second week in a row. He now has 26 solo tackles, 8 assists, and 2 interceptions over the past four games. His role could become even more important going forward as the Patriots lost Devin McCourty to an injury this week.
LB Quincy Williams, NYJ (1 solo, 1 PD)
In a week without C.J. Mosley where the Jets faced 32 rush attempts, Williams seemed headed for a huge week but only finished with a single tackle and pass deflection. Unfortunately, he left the game after playing just 23 snaps (30%) with a possible concussion. With both of their top linebackers out, the Jets had to rely on DelShawn Phillips (49%) and Blake Cashman (43%).
CAROLINA @ NY GIANTS
DT Dexter Lawrence, NYG (3 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Lawrence was a non-factor early this season but has started to turn things around. Over his last 4 games, he has been credited with 12 solo tackles, 7 assists, and 1.5 sacks to climb back into low-end DT1 consideration.
S Jeremy Chinn, CAR (4 solos, 4 asst, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
There hasn’t been a lot to get excited about in Carolina beyond their defensive ends. With the offense struggling and Shaq Thompson still out injured, however, it appears that Chinn’s production has been trending up. He had a very slow start to the year but has seen an uptick of late with 11 solos and 6 assists over his past two games. While he may not be the top-5 safety he was expected to be, he’s at least looking more like a reliable starter again.
S Jabrill Peppers, NYG (4 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Peppers was not in the starting lineup this week but did have a very productive day with 5 tackles plus a sack. However, it’s worth mentioning that he did all that while playing just 27 snaps (42%) before leaving the game with ankle and knee injuries that likely leave his status for next week in doubt.
KANSAS CITY @ TENNESSEE
LB Nick Bolton, KC (9 solos, 6 asst, 4 TFL)
With Anthony Hitchens sitting out this week, the rookie took on more responsibility and saw his playing time jump to 84%. Given the matchup and game script, the Chiefs spent much of the game in their base defense so they had 3 linebackers all with 68+% of the snaps. Bolton stood out though as he piled up 15 tackles, including 4 behind the line of scrimmage. If the Chiefs offense continues to spiral, the defense should see a boost in overall productivity.
CB Elijah Molden, TEN (6 solos, 2 asst)
The Titans cornerback group has been decimated by injuries as they lost Kristian Fulton and Caleb Farley in recent weeks. That created an opening for Greg Mabin, who was signed off the Cardinals practice squad and played all 72 snaps this week. The player to watch here though is Molden, a 3rd round pick out of Washington this year who now has 12 solos and 5 assists in the past two games combined.
DETROIT @ LA RAMS
LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, DET (5 solos, 4 asst)
While the Lions likely have some untapped potential waiting in the wings with Derrick Barnes, the coaching staff is trying to turn things around. That appears to be good news for a veteran like Reeves-Maybin, who has taken on a bigger role following the release of Jamie Collins Sr. After a 1-week dip in playing time last week, he saw a season-high 72% of the snaps this week and tied for the team lead in tackles.
LB Kenny Young, LAR (3 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Young posted strong numbers this week while playing just 38 snaps (55%). The reason for the upgrade, however, is that he was traded to the Broncos on Monday and should have a clear path to a full-time role there.
DE Trey Flowers, DET (1 solo, 2 asst)
Flowers has been a reliable starter at defensive end when healthy this year but missed a couple of games already with a shoulder injury. Unfortunately, he lasted just 40 snaps (62%) this week before leaving with a knee injury that could keep him out next week against the Eagles.
PHILADELPHIA @ LAS VEGAS
DE Yannick Ngakoue, LV (2 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH, 2 PD)
Ngakoue posted 2 sacks back in week 5 and then followed it up with another 2-sack game this week. While you have to be prepared to take some low weeks as well, he also has the potential to pick up sacks in bunches. Looks like it just took him a little while to adjust to his new team but he’s starting to play up to his potential.
CB Brandon Facyson, LV (7 solos, 1 asst, 3 PD)
The former Charger was picked up by the Raiders just a few weeks ago but he wound up playing 100% of the snaps this week and was very productive. The main reason to be cautious with him, however, is the fact the Raiders could be getting Trayvon Mullen back soon and it’s not clear if he’ll hold onto a starting role when that happens.
DT Fletcher Cox, PHI (2 solos)
The veteran player has a long track record of success and is at his best when generating pressure and getting into the backfield. The new Eagles defense is not doing him any favors, however, as we are now through 7 games and he has 7 solo tackles, 4 assists, and 1 sack to his name. He also voiced his frustration to the media after the game and complained that he’s not allowed to be as aggressive as he has been in previous years.
HOUSTON @ ARIZONA
DE Jonathan Greenard, HOU (3 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH, 1 PD)
With 2 more sacks this week, Greenard is now up to 6 sacks in just 5 games played this year. When you consider that he typically only plays about 55% of the snaps each week for one of the worst teams in the league, his production is even more impressive.
LB Markus Golden, ARI (2 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 3 QH, 1 FF, 1 FR)
Golden often flies under the radar but he’s put together two strong games when the Cardinals were without Chandler Jones. With 2 more sacks this week, he has 4 over his last two games and 6 on the season.
S Lonnie Johnson, HOU (6 solos, 3 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Johnson has brought some life to the Texans secondary since he was inserted into the starting lineup in week 3. Since then, he’s come up with 3 interceptions in 5 games and has also been credited with 18 solos and 15 assists.
S Budda Baker, ARI (1 solo, 1 asst)
This was his second week in a row with a low output, but it can be partially explained by a combination of factors. The main one is that the Texans offense just didn’t generate many tackle opportunities with 40. Given how far ahead the Cardinals were in the game, they also rested a lot of players so we saw Baker play a season-low 42 snaps (76%). Next week will be a big test for Baker with the Packers coming to Arizona on Thursday night.
CHICAGO @ TAMPA BAY
S Antoine Winfield Jr Jr, TB (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 QH, 1 FF)
Winfield missed the past two games while dealing with the aftereffects of a concussion he suffered in week 4 against the Patriots. He finally cleared the protocol and was able to play a full game with no setbacks while also contributing a sack and forced fumble on just the 2nd play of the game.
S DeAndre Houston-Carson, CHI (7 solos, 4 asst, 1 PD)
The Bears were without Tashaun Gipson Sr and Deon Bush so they turned to backup Houston-Carson on Sunday. While the Bears defense was no match for the Tampa offense, he was one of the few bright spots for Chicago in the game and finished with 11 tackles on 73 snaps.
INDIANAPOLIS @ SAN FRANCISCO
DT DeForest Buckner, IND (5 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Buckner had a slow start to the season but has turned things around over the past two weeks. He picked up a sack against the Texans last week and added another against his former team this week. The upcoming schedule looks pretty favorable and he should be at or near the top of the DT rankings the rest of the way.
CB Josh Norman, SF (7 solos, 3 asst, 3 TFL, 2 FF, 1 PD)
Norman hadn’t shown much before this week but he was highly productive on Sunday night against the Colts. He led the 49ers in tackles with 10 stops, including 3 behind the line of scrimmage, and also added a pair of forced fumbles with a pass deflection. At 33 years of age, he may not have many more games like this left but he showed that he can still provide a short-term boost when called upon.