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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. Still, I will try to give everyone an early look at players moving up or down in value among IDP circles. It isn't easy to give waiver advice for IDPs since there is 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 with the understanding that classification as a defensive end or linebacker will often 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 Kayvon Thibodeaux, NYG (6 solos, 3 asst, 3 sacks, 3 TFL, 3 QH, 1 FF on 97% of snaps)
Thibodeaux was taken 5th overall last year but went behind Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson in a strong class for pass rushers. Despite playing on one of the league’s worst teams, he’s been able to generate consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He has 8.5 sacks on the year - all of which have come in his last six games - and should be climbing on dynasty rankings. The one knock against him is that he doesn’t offer much production against the run yet, but that is pretty typical for young players at the position.
DE George Karlaftis, KC (4 solos, 3 asst, 2.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 3 QH, 1 FF on 73% of snaps)
Here is another 1st-round pick from a year ago who is starting to play up to his potential. Karlaftis has been a key part of a resurgent Chiefs defense and now has four sacks over his last three games.
DE Jaelan Phillips, MIA (7 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH on 85% of snaps)
Phillips has been sidelined frequently this year due to injuries, but he has been highly productive when healthy enough to play a full workload. In the three games he has played more than two-thirds of the defensive snaps, he has 18 solo tackles, 8 assists, and 2.5 sacks.
DE Jonathan Greenard, HOU (3 solos, 3 asst, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 4 QH on 66% of snaps)
The addition of Will Anderson Jr. drew a lot of attention in Houston and should pay off eventually, but Greenard is stealing some of his thunder. With a huge 2.5 sack game this week, he now has six through seven games, and five of them have come in his last four starts.
DE Harold Landry III, TEN (5 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH on 69% of snaps)
Things haven’t quite gone according to plan for Landry this year, but he remains the best pass rusher on the Titans roster. Perhaps it took him some time to put last year’s ACL injury behind him, but he’s collected 10 solo tackles and 3 sacks over his last two games combined.
DE Boye Mafe, SEA (3 solos, 5 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 4 QH, 1 FR on 74% of snaps)
Seattle made some aggressive moves to upgrade their pass rush with the additions of Frank Clark and Leonard Williams. Mafe has an active five-game sack streak right now, however, and seems likely to remain a core piece of their rotation up front.
DE Preston Smith, GB (2 solos, 3 asst, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 4 QH, 1 FF, 1 PD on 65% of snaps)
After going sackless for his first four games of the year, Smith has turned things around. He now has a three-game sack streak, and his favorable matchups over the next two weeks should keep it going.
DE Jermaine Johnson, NYJ (3 solos, 3 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 4 QH on 73% of snaps)
Although it came against one of the weakest lines in the league, it was encouraging to see Johnson take advantage with a pair of sacks. He’s yet another of last year’s 1st-round picks starting to emerge as the best pass rusher on his team.
DE Baron Browning, DEN (4 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH, 1 FF on 59% of snaps)
Browning started the year on the PUP list after undergoing surgery on his knee in June. He had a quiet debut last week against the Packers but ramped up to a heavier workload this week and helped make things very difficult for the Chiefs in a surprisingly easy win. Adding him to the rotation with Jonathan Cooper and Nik Bonitto should make this group even better.
DE Keion White, NE (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 TFL on 81% of snaps)
Only four Patriots defenders played more snaps than the rookie this week. While this didn’t show up in the box score, it’s worth noting since he almost doubled Deatrich Wise Jr's snap count.
DE Clelin Ferrell, SF (5 asst, .5 sack, 2 QH, 1 FF on 59% of snaps)
There may not be much here to get excited about, but the former 4th overall pick is playing almost 40 snaps/game for the 49ers. Although he was clearly a bust for the Raiders, he’s found a home on one of the league’s best defenses and playing much more than Drake Jackson and Randy Gregory.
DT Jeffery Simmons, TEN (6 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH, 1 FF on 79% of snaps)
The production for Simmons has been somewhat underwhelming for much of this year since he’s one of the most dominant interior defenders in the league. With a huge game against the Falcons this weekend, along with signs of life from the offense, he could be right back on track. With five sacks through seven games played, he’s on pace to shatter his career-high of 8.5 sacks from 2021.
DT Dante Stills, ARI (3 solos, 2 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH on 49% of snaps)
Stills is a rookie sixth-round pick who has been making some plays for the Cardinals defense. He’s averaging a little over 30 snaps/game and has 16 combined tackles and 2.5 sacks over his last four games.
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