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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. 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 Khalil Mack, LAC (8 solos, 2 asst, 6 sacks, 5 TFL, 4 QH, 2 FF, 1 PD on 86% of snaps)
Not exactly sure where this came from, but Mack showed he still has something left to give as he nearly set the single-game sack record with 6 of them against the team that drafted him. The Raiders had only given up 4 sacks in the previous 3 games, but Mack was able to take advantage of a rookie quarterback making his first start.
DE Josh Allen, JAX (3 solos, 3 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH, 1 FF on 76% of snaps)
Allen has been a boom-or-bust player this year with 10 solos and 6 sacks in weeks 1 and 4 combined, but just 1 solo and 2 assists with no sacks in the other two games. There's a high ceiling for him each week but also a very low floor as well.
DE Maxx Crosby, LV (5 solos, 3 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH on 100% of snaps)
Crosby came into the game on Sunday with a questionable tag due to a knee injury that limited him in practice during the week. He still managed to play all 65 snaps in the game somehow, however, and posted a huge stat line with 8 tackles and a pair of sacks to remain among the elites at his position.
DE Greg Rousseau, BUF (3 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH, 1 PD on 57% of snaps)
Rousseau appeared poised for a breakout season following a strong offseason, and he's starting to show why with 3 sacks in his last two games. His game this week was even more impressive, given that Tua Tagovailoa had barely been touched in the first 3 games, yet the Bills sacked him 4 times. The expected return of Von Miller soon from the PUP list should also provide an additional boost.
DE Uchenna Nwosu, SEA (4 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 1 FF on 60% of snaps)
It was a huge night for nearly every member of the Seattle defense as they collected 11 sacks in the game, and 4 different players had multiple sacks. Nwosu has played the most snaps of any edge rusher on the team but had a quiet start to the season before this game. Seattle has a bye next week, but the return of Riq Woolen gives them a much improved secondary, and that should lead to better pass-rush opportunities going forward.
DE Dayo Odeyingbo, IND (5 solos, 2 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 4 QH, 1 FF, 1 PD on 59% of snaps)
The Colts have gotten solid production out of their starting defensive ends, but they lacked depth when Odeyingbo contributed just 3 tackles and no sacks over the first 3 games. The former 2nd-round pick recorded 5 sacks last year in a part-time role and should be able to improve on those numbers now that he's averaging more than 40 snaps per game.
DE Nik Bonitto, DEN (3 solos, 1 asst, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH, 1 FF on 67% of snaps)
DE Jonathon Cooper, DEN (2 solos, 3 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 1 FR, 1 TD on 86% of snaps)
The Broncos may have the worst defense in the league, but they are getting some surprising production out of their edge rushers. Bonitto was a 2nd-round pick last year who has put up 3 strong starts in a row and now has 3.5 sacks with 6 tackles for loss in the past 3 games. Cooper has been even more productive and now has 20 tackles with 3 sacks and a fumble recovery touchdown in his last 3 games.
DE Jonathan Greenard, HOU (4 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 3 TFL, 3 QH on 54% of snaps)
Greenard is playing a starter role in Houston alongside rookie Will Anderson. While he struggled to get much done last year, he did record 8 sacks back in 2021, so he has a track record. After a big game against the Steelers this week, he's now up to 16 tackles (12 solo) and 3 sacks in 4 games.
DE Andrew Van Ginkel, MIA (4 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 3 TFL, 2 QH on 76% of snaps)
With Jaelan Phillips sitting out this week, Van Ginkel saw a heavy workload once again. He's already played 190 snaps on the season and has 19 tackles with 3 sacks. Compare that with Bradley Chubb, who has 14 tackles and 1 sack on 228 snaps.
DE Yetur Gross-Matos, CAR (4 solos, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 2 QH on 69% of snaps)
While Gross-Matos may not be the athletic edge rusher that Brian Burns and Justin Houston are, he's averaging about 60% of the snaps over the past 3 games and now has 2.5 sacks in that span.
DE Dennis Gardeck, ARI (2 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH on 36% of snaps)
Gardeck is on an incredible tear to start this season despite playing fewer than half the snaps in all 4 games. He picked up two sacks in the opener, which seemed likely to be an outlier, and then followed that up with a couple more sacks to give him 4 in 4 games.
DE D.J. Wonnum, MIN (4 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 1 FR, 1 PD, 1 TD)
Wonnum had a huge game against the Panthers this week and clearly warrants an upgrade, but there is some risk that this is a bit of a fluke. He's been mostly ineffective during the first 3 games of the season but then blew up for 6 tackles with a sack and a 51-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that helped turn the game around. Marcus Davenport also played 63% of the snaps this week, which could lead to a drop in playing time for Wonnum going forward.
DT Vita Vea, TB (2 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 1 FF on 68% of snaps)
Vea came into the game this week listed as questionable after logging just a limited practice session on Friday, but he was active and managed to play a normal workload. He remained effective against the run and also picked up 2 more sacks to give him 3.5 on the year, which puts him on track to obliterate his career-high of 6.5 sacks that he set last year.
DT David Onyemata, ATL (2 solos, 5 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH on 67% of snaps)
Onyemata spent the first 7 years of his career as a productive role player for the Saints. He's playing a similar role in Atlanta under defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, who was his coach in New Orleans. After a slow start to the year, he was very active in London this week and was credited with 7 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
DT Devonte Wyatt, GB (3 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QH on 59% of snaps)
The Packers added Wyatt in the first round of last year's draft to boost their defensive line. Despite a quiet rookie campaign, he's making an impact this year with 12 combined tackles and 2.5 sacks through the first 4 games.
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