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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.
BALTIMORE @ MIAMI
LB Andrew Van Ginkel, MIA (3 solos, 2 asst, .5 sacks, 2 QH, 1 PD)
Van Ginkel often gets overlooked in the Miami defense among their edge rushers but he is starting to stand out. He picked up a sack last week and put together another strong game this week, which came on a season-high 67 snaps (92%).
CB Byron Jones, MIA (7 solos, 2 asst)
Despite being one of the better shutdown corners in the league, Jones has had limited fantasy value in recent years due to his low tackle output. That seems to be changing of late though as he led the Dolphins with 9 tackles this week and now has 16 solos with 5 assists over the past 3 games.
LB Patrick Queen, BAL (4 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 FF)
Queen had a productive outing thanks to a strip-sack but his workload remained low, which will make it difficult to rely on him going forward. Josh Bynes led the Ravens inside linebackers with 51 snaps (74%) while Queen played just 36 snaps (52%).
ATLANTA @ DALLAS
DE Dorance Armstrong, DAL (3 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 3 QH)
Randy Gregory went on IR last week with a calf injury suffered in practice, which will keep him out of at least 3 games. The player who appears set to benefit the most is Armstrong, as his playing time jumped from 41% last week to 70% this week while also adding a sack and 3 quarterback hits.
LB Foye Oluokun, ATL (6 solos, 8 asst)
While there may have been some concerns about Oluokun in the past given the limited sample size of games, he is proving to be one of the most reliable and consistent fantasy IDPs in the league. This game was very lopsided but he led the way with 14 combined tackles while his fellow linebacker Deion Jones was only credited with 5 despite playing 3 more snaps.
JACKSONVILLE @ INDIANAPOLIS
DT Taylor Stallworth, IND (4 solos, 1 sack, 3 QH)
Stallworth is a rotational player on the Colts line who showed up on the box score last week with 2 sacks against the Jets. While that came in a game where he played just 29% of the snaps, he saw his playing time increase to 50% this week and followed it up with another strong game this week that included another sack with 3 quarterback hits.
S Andrew Wingard, JAX (2 solos, 1 asst)
Wingard had a great start to the season and averaged 5 solos and 2 assists over the first 6 games of the year. Since the week 7 bye, however, he’s gone cold and has just 4 solos and 3 assists over a 3-game stretch. That time frame also coincides with the emergence of Rudy Ford as the team’s nickel back, who has been very active over the last 3 games.
CLEVELAND @ NEW ENGLAND
S Kyle Dugger, NE (7 solos, 1 asst, 1 INT)
After a 1-week aberration that saw him post 2 tackles against the Panthers last week, the breakout for Dugger continues. While 2 of his solo tackles came on special teams, he still led all Patriots defenders with 8 stops while also adding his third interception in the last 5 games.
DE Jadeveon Clowney, CLE (2 solos)
Clowney has always been a very frustrating fantasy option since his production rarely matches up to his talent level. Earlier this year he started to emerge as a quality starter with 3.5 sacks over a 4-game stretch. Since then, however, he’s posted just 5 solos with no sacks over the last 3 games and is likely playing through an injury or two.
BUFFALO @ NY JETS
CB TreDavious White, BUF (3 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
White has been one of the better fantasy cornerbacks in the league and is a former All-Pro, but he probably found his way to waiver wires earlier this year. Through the first 6 games, his tackle numbers were down due to how well the Bills defense has been playing and he also had 0 interceptions or even passes defensed. Over the past 3 weeks though, he’s picked things up with an interception, a partial sack, and 4 passes defensed to go along with 13 combined tackles.
DE John Franklin-Myers, NYJ (1 asst)
Franklin-Myers has been a pleasant surprise for the Jets this year and had a great start with 3 sacks in the first 4 games. While his playing time has remained consistently at or above 60%, his production has fallen off considerably. Over his last 5 games combined, he has been credited with just 8 combined tackles with 1 sack.
DETROIT @ PITTSBURGH
DE Cameron Heyward, PIT (3 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH)
Since posting just 1 sack over the first 5 games, Heyward has been one of the most productive defensive ends in the league. With a pair of sacks this week, he’s now collected 3.5 sacks plus an interception in his last 4 games along with 20 combined tackles. Even though the game was extra long and ended in a tie, he also played a remarkable 94% of the snaps to set a new season-high.
DE Trey Flowers, DET (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 FR)
Flowers briefly left the game with an injury this week but was able to return and recovered a fumble late in overtime. Apart from that play, he was once again not very productive and finished with just 2 tackles on 54 snaps. Over his last four games combined, he has 0 sacks and has been credited with just 4 solos and 6 assists.
NEW ORLEANS @ TENNESSEE
LB Jayon Brown, TEN (8 solos, 2 asst)
David Long sat out the game with a hamstring injury, which created an opportunity for Brown to play a three-down role again. He played 100% of the snaps for the first time all season and finished with double-digits in tackles. Monty Rice (7 solos, 3 asst) also added 10 tackles on a lighter workload (69%) but could be pushed back to the bench when Long is healthy.
LB Kwon Alexander, NO (3 solos, 2 asst, 1 TFL, 1 PD)
Alexander had a reasonably productive game but the bigger concern is with regard to his playing time. After playing 78% of the snaps a week ago, he only played 57% this week while Pete Werner saw an increase to 42% as the two appeared to split snaps at weakside linebacker.
TAMPA BAY @ WASHINGTON
LB Devin White, TB (13 solos, 5 asst, 2 sacks, 3 TFL, 3 QH)
White has been good this year but hasn’t been nearly as productive as he was a year ago, primarily due to a lack of big plays. He had 10 combined tackles in each of the last two games before the bye and then blew up with a monster game this week that saw him pile up 18 tackles with his first two sacks of the year.
DE Chase Young, WAS (1 solo)
The frustrating year for Young will come to an early end as he suffered a torn ACL this week. He finishes 2021 with just 1.5 sacks in 9 games played and will try to bounce back next year. With Montez Sweat also on IR, Washington’s great depth has been quickly depleted and they will now rely on Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams. Jonathan Allen and DaRon Payne could also see more blocking attention as a result.
CAROLINA @ ARIZONA
LB Shaq Thompson, CAR (4 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 2 PD)
Since returning from IR a few weeks ago, Thompson has looked like an LB1 candidate. He has 18 solo tackles, 8 assists, plus a sack, interception, and 3 passes defensed. He’s been in the league since 2015 but finally appears to be reaching his potential.
DE Brian Burns, CAR (1 QH)
Burns came into the game with a questionable tag but was deemed healthy enough to play. While he played close to a normal workload at 70% of the defensive snaps, he didn’t play up to his normal level and wasn’t able to make much of an impact despite the Panthers playing most of the game with a big lead.
MINNESOTA @ LA CHARGERS
CB Camryn Bynum, MIN (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 PD)
Bynum got another start at safety this week as Harrison Smith remained out due to Covid protocols. The rookie fourth-round pick was credited with 12 tackles and an interception last week and then added 6 tackles plus a sack this week. While he may not stay in the starting lineup, he has likely earned a bigger role going forward after playing just 9 snaps before last week’s start.
LB Drue Tranquill, LAC (DNP)
Tranquill went on the Covid reserve list last week and was held out of this week’s game as a result. Perhaps a bigger concern for his value, however, is the fact that former first-round pick Kenneth Murray returned to the lineup. Playing for the first time since injuring his ankle in week 3, Murray added 4 tackles while playing 75% of the snaps, but Derwin James and Kyzir White were credited with 12 tackles each.
PHILADELPHIA @ DENVER
LB Davion Taylor, PHI (6 solos, 1 asst, 2 FF)
Taylor has played 70+% of the defensive snaps in the past two weeks and has shown steady production with 6 solos in each game while adding a pair of forced fumbles this week. T.J. Edwards has emerged as the full-time linebacker for now but Taylor is a 23-year old with long-term upside.
LB Baron Browning, DEN (1 asst)
Browning had played nearly every snap over the past two games and was in the starting lineup again this week. Unfortunately, he came into the game with a back injury that was likely aggravated and limited him to just 16 snaps (25%). Kenny Young (3 solos, 2 asst) filled in as a full-time player but the Broncos have an upcoming bye week to get healthy.
SEATTLE @ GREEN BAY
S Jamal Adams, SEA (7 solos, 4 asst, 2 QH, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Even though Seattle was shut out, it’s hard to blame the defense as they helped keep the game close until the fourth quarter. Adams stood out with perhaps his best game of the year as he filled up the stat sheet with 11 tackles, 2 quarterback hits, and his first interception as a Seahawk. Things haven’t gone as expected for Adams this year but he’s still a #1 safety in the fantasy playoffs.
CB Kevin King, GB (1 solo, 1 INT, 1 PD)
King was in the starting lineup this week and came up with a key interception in the end zone, but the most concerning development was his workload. He split time with Rasul Douglas and wound up playing just 33% of the snaps while Eric Stokes and Chandon Sullivan played all but 1 snap.
KANSAS CITY @ LAS VEGAS
CB Nate Hobbs, LV (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 FF)
There wasn’t a lot to get excited about from an IDP perspective in this game but the rookie corner saw his playing time jump to 91% of the snaps. He has graded out very well while handling slot corner duties and has shown a knack for making plays with a sack last week and then a forced fumble this week.
DT Chris Jones, KC (1 QH, 2 PD)
Jones missed two games earlier this year and didn’t look like himself while playing through a wrist injury. He’s appeared to play better of late though and has been generating more pressure while moving around the defensive line. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really translated into much help in the scores as he has 2 tackles and 2 pass deflections over the past two games as the Chiefs defense has started to play better.