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 DaRon Payne, WAS (2 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QH on 87% of snaps)
Payne is often overshadowed in Washington by players like Chase Young and Jonathan Allen but he’s now posted sacks in consecutive games. While he’s not known as a pass-rusher, he’s off to a good start and played a remarkable 87% of snaps this week after only reaching that level twice in 2021.
DT Shy Tuttle, NO (2 solos, 7 asst, .5 sack, 1 QH, 1 PD on 61% of snaps)
Tuttle stood out this week as he led the Saints in tackles with 9 stops while also combining with David Onyemata on the team’s only sack of Tom Brady. He also had pass breakup at the line of scrimmage. This is probably not a performance that can be replicated for a 29-year old who has been a part-time player the past few years though.
DL Dre'Mont Jones, DEN (4 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 FF on 84% of snaps)
Jones has shown some flashes in the past of being a viable fantasy option but typically hasn’t been able to sustain the elevated production. He’s averaged nearly 90% of the defensive snaps this year so far though and had a strong game this week with 6 tackles and 2 sacks with a forced fumble.
DE Aidan Hutchinson, DET (5 solos, 1 asst, 3 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH on 81% of snaps)
Hutchinson showed why he was a high draft pick with a breakout performance this week. He didn’t have the elite athletic profile of Travon Walker but is a more polished player who was expected to make a contribution right away. He’s averaging 86% of the snaps through two weeks and may already be considered a top-12 defensive end.
DE Brian Burns, CAR (4 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 4 QH on 77% of snaps)
Burns has been productive and averaged 8 sacks/year over his first three seasons but it has often felt like there was still some untapped potential, particularly with his work against the run. He’s seeing a similar workload to last season but is going to be relied upon more heavily now that Haason Reddick is in Philadelphia. Through two games, Burns has 12 combined tackles and a pair of sacks and has some intriguing breakout potential at just 24 years of age.
DE Rasheem Green, HOU (3 solos, 2 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH on 54% of snaps)
Green made his Texans debut this week after sitting out the opener with an injury. He saw a similar workload to Jerry Hughes and Jonathan Greenard, suggesting that it will be difficult to predict which of them to rely on in any given week.
EDGE Trevis Gipson, CHI (2 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH on 34% of snaps)
Gipson posted seven sacks a year ago and seemed headed for a bigger role following the trade of Khalil Mack this offseason. He’s only averaged 36% of the snaps through two games though, so this type of production is likely not sustainable.
EDGE Boye Mafe, SEA (4 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH on 30% of snaps)
The rookie second-round pick is seeing a limited workload to start out and has been limited in practice by a shoulder injury. He came up with four solos and the team’s only sack in the game, however, and figures to take on a bigger role over time given the lack of talent this team has on the edge.
EDGE Adetokunbo Ogundeji, ATL (2 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack on 46% of snaps)
Lorenzo Carter is serving as the veteran edge rusher in Atlanta this year but he has been underwhelming thus far while playing more than 80% of the defensive snaps. There could be an opportunity for young players like Ogundeji or rookie Arnold Ebiketi (4 tackles on 52% of snaps) to emerge here.
EDGE Preston Smith, GB (4 solos, 3 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH on 90% of snaps)
Smith is a known player whose fantasy value is typically stable from year to year but he warrants a mention this week. Coming with seven tackles and two sacks in a game where the Bears offense only generated 37 tackle opportunities and 11 pass attempts is rather impressive.
LB Devin White, TB (7 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 PD, 1 FF on 100% of snaps)
White has been an elite fantasy option for most of his brief career and it looks like that trend will continue in 2022. Through two games, he’s already been credited with 19 combined tackles and 3 sacks and is a strong contender to finish as the top scoring IDP overall.
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