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. I'm also going to try and group edge rushers together with the understanding that classification as a defensive end or linebacker will depend on your league setup/host. If you have any questions about specific players or situations, please email me or reach out via Twitter.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN/EDGE RUSHERS
DT Quinnen Williams, NYJ (4 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH, 1 FF, 1 BK on 67% of snaps)
Williams has been very good in the past, but he could be on the verge of a huge season for a surprising Jets team. He was dominant against the Packers this week and now has at least a partial sack in 5 straight games.
DT Derrick Brown, CAR (3 solos, 4 asst, .5 sack, 2 QH on 78% of snaps)
Things are not going well for the Panthers this year, but Brown has been one of the few bright spots. He was a top-10 pick in 2020, and he saw a season-high 78% workload this week following the coaching change. He picked up seven tackles with a partial sack this week but also has six passes defensed on the year.
DL Justin Madubuike, BAL (3 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH on 69% of snaps)
After being shut out last week, Madubuike bounced back with a strong effort against the Giants this week. His 45 snaps this week were a season-high, and he is emerging as a core piece of the Ravens defensive line, playing opposite Calais Campbell.
DL Marquise Copeland, LAR (2 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack, 1 QH on 55% of snaps)
It looks like Copeland took over for Greg Gaines this week, and he was productive with six tackles and a sack on 24 snaps. Gaines saw his playing time drop to just 27% of the snaps this week, which is surprising considering he has averaged over 90% of the snaps in prior weeks.
DE Charles Omenihu, SF (2 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH on 71% of snaps)
With Nick Bosa sitting out this week, Omenihu replaced him in the lineup and once again saw a heavy workload. The 49ers defense did not have a good day against Marcus Mariota, but Omenihu recorded a sack for the third game in a row.
DE Efe Obada, WAS (2 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 3 QH, 1 PD on 36% of snaps)
Obada has been a valuable pass-rush specialist the past two years in Carolina, and he’s getting a chance for regular playing time in Washington this year. He’s played at least 30% of the snaps in all six games and has three sacks in his last four games. Chase Young still doesn’t have a clear timeline for returning, but Obada is playing well enough to remain in the rotation.
EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, NYG (3 solos, 1 sack, 1 FF on 83% of snaps)
The rookie was one of the most impressive pass rushers in the draft this year, but he had a slow start after suffering a sprained MCL in the preseason. After sitting out the first two games of the year, he has seen his playing time ramp up to 80+% the past two games and came up with a huge strip-sack late in the game this week to seal the win.
EDGE Markus Golden, ARI (4 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QH on 81% of snaps)
Golden has not been very effective this year, but perhaps this week will help him get back on track. He played a season-high 55 snaps and finished second on the team in tackles with eight stops while also adding his first sack of the season.
EDGE Za'Darius Smith, MIN (3 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 4 QH on 77% of snaps)
Smith is proving to be a very good signing after he was cut loose by the Packers this offseason. He’s averaging nearly 75% of the snaps and has been remarkably consistent with at least a partial sack in 5 of 6 games played.
EDGE Danielle Hunter, MIN (5 solos, 1 asst, 2 TFL, 3 QH on 82% of snaps)
Hunter may no longer be the same dominant player he was earlier in his career, but he’s starting to make an impact. He now has back-to-back games with six tackles plus a sack and is still in the prime of his career at just 28 years old.
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