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. 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
DE Maxx Crosby, LV (5 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH, 1 FF on 100% of snaps)
Despite this looking like a lost season for the Raiders, Crosby is proving to be the elite pass rusher we knew he was. While he hasn’t yet topped the career-best 10 sacks he set as a rookie in 2019, he has always been effective at generating pressure and is now converting those into sacks with 9 sacks in 10 games played. He also has 42 solo tackles with 21 assists while handling an impressive workload each week. He has played more than 90% of the snaps each week and has averaged 63 snaps/game.
DE Trey Hendrickson, CIN (4 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 4 QH, 1 PD on 70% of snaps)
Hendrickson appeared to regress early this season after posting elite sack numbers the past two seasons. Things seem to have turned around for him of late though as he picked up 2 sacks this week and now has 3.5 over his last 4 games. His tackle numbers remain low, but he can provide huge games when he’s at his best.
DE Dorance Armstrong, DAL (3 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH, 1 FR on 53% of snaps)
Some fantasy managers may have given up on Armstrong since he had made very little impact over the past month, but he can still pick up sacks in bunches. With 2 more this week, he now has 7 in 10 games played while averaging a little over 50% of the snap count each week.
DE Carl Granderson, NO (3 solos, 4 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH on 77% of snaps)
Granderson handled a heavy workload this week due to the absence of normal starters Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. The Saints have struggled to get to the quarterback this year but he’s been effective with 13 tackles and 2 sacks over the past two games.
DE Montez Sweat, WAS (3 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH on 57% of snaps)
Sweat has not always played up to his potential this year, but he took advantage of a favorable matchup this week. He now has 6 sacks over his last 7 games played and Washington is hoping to get Chase Young back in the lineup this week, which should make things even easier for Sweat.
DE Yannick Ngakoue, IND (2 solos, 1 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 QH, 1 FF on 85% of snaps)
Ngakoue has always been the type of player whose fantasy value relies almost entirely on sacks and that has continued this year in Indianapolis. His production has likely flown under the radar but he has been consistent with at least a partial sack in 5 straight games and 7 of his last 9.
DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, HOU (2 solos, 5 asst, 1 TFL, 1 QH on 53% of snaps)
The Texans continue to struggle, but they are likely trying to find some players who can be part of their core group going forward. Okoronkwo has started to emerge over the past two weeks as a key contributor with 8 solos and 6 assists but he’s yet to register a sack on the season so his upside may be limited.
EDGE T.J. Watt, PIT (2 solos, 4 asst, .5 sack, 1 QH, 1 INT, 2 PD on 82% of snaps)
Watt had a quiet return to the lineup last week with just 4 tackles on 37 snaps, but he looked more like himself this week. He played 54 snaps and came up with 6 tackles, a half sack, plus his second interception of the year in just 3 games played.
EDGE Leonard Floyd, LAR (3 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH on 89% of snaps)
The Rams don’t have much left to play for this year, but Floyd is not letting that slow him down. Despite a very slow start that saw him register 0 sacks in his first 6 games, he now has 5 in his last 4 games and once again looks like an impact pass rusher.
DT Chris Jones, KC (5 solos, 2 sacks, 3 TFL, 4 QH on 88% of snaps)
Jones had a breakout season with 15 sacks back in 2018 but has not been able to repeat that performance in any year. It looks like this may be the year for him to approach those numbers again, as he has been on fire of late. He picked up two more sacks this week to give him nine on the year and seven over his last five games.
DT Greg Gaines, LAR (2 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH on 91% of snaps)
Gaines sat out last week’s game with an elbow injury but was able to handle 90+% of the snaps for the 5th time this year and the first time since week 5. He picked up two sacks and now has 3 over his prior 3 games played, which is nice to see from a nose tackle.
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