IDP Upgrades and Downgrades: Week 4 - Footballguys

Takes a look at which IDPs are moving up or down in value this week.

This article attempts to immediately highlight 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 that tries to explain why the stat lines may be misleading. It’s difficult 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. If you have any questions about specific players or situations, feel free to email me or reach out via twitter.

Email: rudnicki@footballguys.com
Twitter: @a_rudnicki

N.Y. JETS @ CLEVELAND

Upgrades:

CB Terrance Mitchell, CLE (4 solos, 1 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
The Browns rebuilt their secondary this offseason and the drafting of Denzel Ward 4th overall got most of the attention, but Mitchell has been a pleasant surprise. He started 9 games for the Chiefs last year but didn’t really stand out. Through 3 games this year, however, he’s been credited with 15 solo stops plus an interception and 2 forced fumbles. Given that Ward has shutdown potential, it’s reasonable to expect that Mitchell will continue to be heavily targeted despite playing across from a rookie corner.

No Change:

S Doug Middleton, NYJ (10 solos, 1 asst, 1 PD)
Middleton has been filling in at free safety for the injured Marcus Maye, who could be very close to returning. Therefore, it’s probably best not to get too excited about Middleton even though he posted 10 solo tackles in this game.

Downgrades:

CB Buster Skrine, NYJ (1 solo, 1 asst, .5 sack, 1 QH)
Skrine has been a productive corner during most of his career and had a strong start to the season with 13 solos in the first two games. He was looking good again this week after he picked up a half sack early on as the Jets have been using him more often as a blitzer, but he only lasted 15 snaps before leaving with a knee injury. Parry Nickerson saw 42 snaps (55%) in relief.

NEW ORLEANS @ ATLANTA

Upgrades:

S Damontae Kazee, ATL (8 solos, 2 asst)
Kazee took over for the injured Keanu Neal at strong safety but was ejected for a late hit after just 14 snaps last week. He was on the field for 73 snaps (92%) this week and had a very productive day against a Saints offense that generated 39 completions. Kazee is a former college corner who has excellent ball skills but didn’t quite have the speed to stick at corner as a pro.

CB Brian Poole, ATL (10 solos, 1 PD)
Poole is the type of corner that gives up plenty of receptions but makes the tackle soon afterward. He doesn’t make many big plays (in coverage) which keeps quarterbacks throwing in his direction but that also leads to above-average tackle numbers. Through 3 games this season, he is already up to 22 solo tackles and added a pair of sacks, making him a strong CB1 option.

Downgrades:

CB Marshon Lattimore, NO (2 solos)
Last year’s defensive rookie of the year is off to a slow start. He hasn’t exactly been playing lockdown defense this year, but his tackle numbers are down as well from what was expected of him. Despite some favorable matchups against Mike Evans in week 1 and Julio Jones in week 3, he’s only been credited with 8 solo tackles and 1 pass defensed on the year.

S Kurt Coleman, NO (1 solo, 1 asst)
Coleman was expected to take over as the team’s new strong safety when he was signed this offseason but Vonn Bell is quietly emerging as the preferred option. Coleman saw just 32% of the defensive snaps this week, which was down from 56% in week 1 and 37% in week 2. Similarly, Bell has seen a steady rise from 45% to 65% to 79%.

S Ricardo Allen, ATL (5 solos, 2 asst)
Allen suffered a torn Achilles in overtime this week which will end his season. He was one of the more productive free safeties in the league and considered the leader of the defense that helped keep everybody aligned on the field. Should be a tough loss for a unit that is already missing several of their best players and could force them to bring in some outside help.

DENVER @ BALTIMORE

Upgrades:

LB Kenny Young, BAL (8 solos, 2 asst, 1 TFL)
The rookie linebacker once again had a standout performance this week as he led all players in tackles with 10. His speed is very apparent and allows him to chase down the ball even if he’s sometimes a little slow to read what is happening. Given a full week to prepare without C.J. Mosley in the lineup, it’s interesting that Young saw 44 snaps (65%) compared to 36 (53%) for Patrick Onwuasor (who finished with just 2 tackles but had a huge 4th quarter interception). The Ravens made heavy use of their depth this week as 8 different linebackers saw more than 10 snaps on defense.

Downgrades:

LB Brandon Marshall, DEN (1 solo, 1 asst)
Josey Jewell got the start in place of Marshall this week as the latter tried to play through a knee injury. Marshall still got on the field for 33 snaps (46%) but he was not very effective and only finished with a couple of tackles while Jewell was credited with 6 tackles on 38 snaps with 2 more coming on special teams.

CINCINNATI @ CAROLINA

Upgrades:

LB Nick Vigil, CIN (9 solos, 3 asst)
Vigil is taking full advantage while Vontaze Burfict serves his 4-game suspension. Through 3 starts, Vigil is the only Bengals defender who has played all 234 snaps and leads the team with 26 solos and 6 assists.

CB Donte Jackson, CAR (7 solos, 2 INT, 2 PD)
The rookie corner warrants another mention this week as he was once again one of the top-scoring IDPs in the league. Despite getting very little practice time while resting a groin injury, he showed up on Sunday and posted his second huge game in a row. He’s now tied for the league lead with 3 interceptions in his first 3 NFL games and also looks very physical with 18 solo tackles.

Downgrades:

DE Wes Horton, CAR (0 tackles)
With Efe Obada getting into the lineup this week with 19 snaps (29%) and posting a sack plus interception, Horton saw a significant reduction in his workload. After seeing 67% and 75% of the defensive snaps in weeks 1 and 2, he saw just 22 snaps (34%) this week and was shut out on the stat sheet.

S Da’Norris Searcy, CAR (DNP)
Searcy was placed on injured reserve with a concussion, which creates an opening for rookie Rashaan Gaulden. He saw 22 snaps this week, which was down slightly from the 27 he saw a week ago. Colin Jones took most of the work at strong safety and finished with 8 tackles on 43 snaps but he’s been a backup for his entire 7-year career and has limited upside so it makes sense the team will try to develop Gaulden for that role.

N.Y. GIANTS @ HOUSTON

Upgrades:

DE J.J. Watt, HOU (4 solos, 4 asst, 3 sacks, 3 TFL, 4 QH, 1 FF)
Took him a couple weeks but it looks like the old J.J. Watt is finally back to form. He dominated the Giants with 8 tackles and 3 sacks and showed that he can still be a dominant force after losing most of the last two years to injury.

DE Kerry Wynn, NYG (5 solos, 1 asst, 1 TFL, 1 PD)
Wynn only saw 20 snaps in each of the first two games but was on the field for 44 snaps (65%) this week, which ranked him 1st among all Giants defensive linemen. He was credited with 6 tackles as well as a forced fumble and pass defense that were instrumental in getting the win for the Giants.

S Curtis Riley, NYG (4 solos, 3 asst)
Riley emerged from a preseason competition to become the starting free safety after spending several years as a reserve in Tennessee. He has been on the field for all but 3 snaps this season and has posted steady numbers. He provides limited upside but could have some value in deeper leagues as we move into the bye weeks.

Downgrades:

DE Connor Barwin, NYG (1 solo, 2 QH)
Barwin may be classified as a linebacker given the Giants switch to a 3-4 front this year, but mostly been invisible on the field. He has played approximately 60% of the defensive snaps through 3 games but has just 1 solo tackle and 1 assist with a pair of pass deflections to show for it. The Giants hope to get Olivier Vernon back from a high ankle sprain soon, which should help boost their pass rush.

LB Whitney Mercilus, HOU (2 asst)
Mercilus has been a streaky player in the past and it looks like he’s going through a bit of a cold spell for now. He averaged a little over 60 snaps per game in the first two weeks of the year before dropping down to 41 this week (66%). The extra rest didn’t help his productivity though as he’s been credited with just 2 solos, 5 assists, and no sacks through 3 games.

TENNESSEE @ JACKSONVILLE

Upgrades:

DE Calais Campbell, JAX (5 solos, 2 sacks, 3 TFL, 2 QH)
Campbell took his game to a new level last year as he set a career-high with 14.5 sacks. There may have been some concern about whether he could replicate that performance but he helped put those fears to rest this week. He came into the game with an eye injury but apparently was not bothered by it as he dominated the Titans with 5 solo tackles and a pair of sacks.

LB Wesley Woodyard, TEN (10 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QH, 1 PD)
1st round pick Rashaan Evans made his debut this week and saw 18 snaps (32%) but it didn’t impact Woodyard in the slightest. He was on the field for all 57 defensive snaps and continues to put up the same type of numbers we saw from him last year. While they have a couple of young linebackers in Evans and Jayon Brown competing for snaps, Woodyard’s role seems secure and likely keeps him in LB1 range.

No Change:

S Kevin Byard, TEN (1 solo)
Byard had a quiet game with just 1 solo tackle but he was on the field for all 57 defensive snaps. Note the Jaguars offense was only able to generate 43 tackle opportunities in this game and most were close to the line of scrimmage. Apart from the 12-tackle game by Wesley Woodyard, just about every other Titans defender had a pretty quiet day in terms of their tackles. Be patient with Byard, although he likely won’t come close to replicating the 8 interceptions he put up a year ago that helped make him a #1 fantasy safety.

Downgrades:

CB Adoree' Jackson, TEN (1 PD)
As the Titans nickel cornerback, Jackson was on the field almost as much as the starters in the first two weeks of the year. He was headed for a dropoff against the run-heavy Jaguars offense this week anyway but saw his game end early as he left with a concussion after just 23 snaps (40%).

SAN FRANCISCO @ KANSAS CITY

Upgrades:

LB Fred Warner, SF (9 solos, 2 asst, 2 TFL, 1 PD)
Despite the return of Reuben Foster this week, the 49ers decided to keep the rookie Warner at middle linebacker. While the Chiefs did pick up two rush touchdowns this week, the 49ers were able to limit them to just 2.8 yards per carry and Warner has looked reliable enough in coverage to play all 76 snaps.

LB Reuben Foster, SF (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 PD)
The emergence of Warner this year figures to limit the upside for Foster as he now has plenty of competition for tackles. The injury to Jimmy Garoppolo, however, also should mean a lot more tackle opportunities for this defense and that could boost the overall numbers of both players as long as they hold onto their 3-down roles. Malcolm Smith also made a return to the lineup this week but saw just 34 snaps (45%) so it will be interesting to see if they work him in more as he gets healthy.

LB Justin Houston, SF (4 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 FF)
Houston was quiet through the first two weeks of the year but turned up the pressure this week with a pair of sacks and forced fumbles. Obviously, fantasy owners have to expect this type of variability from a 3-4 edge rusher like Houston who can win the week for you when things go well but then will also have a number of games with very limited production to offset them.

No Change:

S Antone Exum, SF (9 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 FF)
Exum had a productive start at strong safety in place of Jaquiski Tartt, who sat out with a shoulder injury. He tried to play through it last week but wasn’t very effective so it’s possible a week of rest will get him back in the lineup and push Exum back to the bench.

Downgrades:

CB Richard Sherman, SF (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 PD)

Sherman saw just 36 snaps (47%) in the game before leaving with a calf injury. He’s expected to miss the next 2 or 3 weeks while recovering, which will likely create an opportunity for Akhello Witherspoon to get back in the lineup after he was benched for Jimmie Ward this week.

OAKLAND @ MIAMI

Upgrades:

DT Clinton McDonald, OAK (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
McDonald was released by the Broncos on September 1st and signed in Oakland after week 1, but he has quickly established himself as a key player on the defensive line. He saw 52 snaps (81%) in week 2 and led all Raiders defensive linemen in snaps this week with 34 (77%). There weren’t many tackle opportunities provided by the Dolphins offense (33) but he still picked up the team’s only sack of the game.

LB Kiko Alonso, MIA (7 solos, 8 asst)
Despite serving as the only 3-down linebacker in Miami for most of 2017, Alonso’s stats were often underwhelming. He’s been one of the most productive linebackers in the league this year, however, and now has 26 solo tackles and 8 assists along with an interception and a pair of forced fumbles.

LB Jerome Baker, MIA (7 solos, 2 asst)
The rookie still ranked 3rd on the team in snaps among linebackers this week but saw a significant increase in workload from the first two games. He was on the field for 46 snaps (61%) as the Raiders nearly doubled the Dolphins in time of possession and offensive plays. Raekwon McMillan continues to struggle in coverage which may create an opening for Baker to take over the nickel snaps in the near future.

No Change:

DT Vincent Taylor, MIA (3 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QH)
Taylor had a huge game with 7 tackles and a sack but he’s still likely no better than 3rd on the depth chart among defensive tackles so this is likely more of an outlier than a trend. He saw an increase in playing time this week (43 snaps, 57%) after Akeem Spence was ejected early on, and a season-ending injury to William Hayes may also create more opportunities for him.

Downgrades:

LB Derrick Johnson, OAK (1 solo)
Johnson saw just 14 snaps (32%) this week as the Raiders gave more time to Marquel Lee (28 snaps, 64%). Lee had an excellent preseason and many speculated it was only a matter of time before he would overtake Johnson so we’ll have to see if this continues next week or if any reports come out regarding an injury to Johnson that might clarify things.

LB Raekwon McMillan, MIA (2 solos, 2 asst)
Through 3 games, McMillan is certainly not lighting up the box scores as many would have expected. He’s been close to an every-down player for Miami with 88%, 100%, and 78% of the snaps but has just 8 solo tackles and 5 assists to show for it. After missing his rookie year, it certainly looks like he may not be quite ready for the three-down role they gave to him as he’s clearly struggled in pass coverage.

BUFFALO @ MINNESOTA

Upgrades:

LB Matt Milano, BUF (4 solos, 4 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 INT, 2 PD, 1 FR)
One of the attributes that made Milano an appealing fantasy option his year was his knack for making big plays. He demonstrated that as a rookie on several occasions and it was clearly apparent on Sunday as he filled up the stat sheet against the Vikings. In addition to posting 8 tackles in the game, Milano added a sack, an interception, and a fumble recovery to help spark one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. He also looked excellent in coverage and proved he should be a full-time player despite giving up some snaps to the veteran Ramon Humber at times.

Downgrades:

DE Everson Griffen, MIN (DNP)
Griffen was on the injury report previously with a toe injury and then was declared out this week with a knee injury, so he’s clearly banged up at the moment. Further confusing matters is the fact he wasn’t on the field for the game and the team said he was absent to deal with a “personal matter”. Stephen Weatherly started in his place and saw 51 snaps (76%) while tying for the team lead in tackles and adding his first sack of the year.

INDIANAPOLIS @ PHILADELPHIA

Upgrades:

DE Kemoko Turay, IND (2 solos, 1 asst, 1.5 sacks, 2 QH)
The rookie didn’t see much of a change in his workload from last week but he contributed to a 5-sack game against Carton Wentz. The Colts are getting solid play from Jabaal Sheard and Margus Hunt but Turay has a clear opportunity to contribute as a pass-rush specialist.

DE Derek Barnett, PHI (3 solos, 2 asst, 1.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH)
Barnett stood out for his production this week as he registered 1.5 sacks and 5 tackles on the day, but the Eagles are still using a rotation at defensive end that limits the upside for each player. Barnett led all Eagles defensive ends in snaps this week with 38 but Michael Bennett (35), Chris Long (36), and Brandon Graham (34) all saw nearly identical workloads so it may be tough to count on any of these players from week to week.

LB Anthony Walker, IND (7 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Walker has been outshined by rookie Darius Leonard (9 solos, 4 asst, 2 sacks) but he went from seeing just 38 snaps (51%) last week to 73 snaps (89%) this week and responded with a 9-tackle game that also included an interception. If he can remain a full-time linebacker alongside Leonard, there should be enough opportunities available to make him a viable starter in most weeks.

S Clayton Geathers, IND (10 solos, 1 asst, 1 PD)
Geathers has played every snap for the Colts so far this year and he’s proving to be very effective behind that questionable front seven. Through three games, he’s been credited with 21 solo tackles and 9 assists and should remain a productive starter as long as he’s healthy. The play of Malik Hooker in the deep secondary also allows him to spend plenty of time in the box.

Downgrades:

LB Nigel Bradham, PHI (2 solos)
After sitting out a 1-game suspension, Bradham has not returned to the full-time role he has had in the past. He played 81% of the snaps in week 2 and saw just 69% of the snaps this week as he left the game temporarily, but he remains part of the nickel package while Jordan Hicks is the only linebacker when they go to a dime defense.

GREEN BAY @ WASHINGTON

Upgrades:

DT Kenny Clark, GB (6 solos, 3 asst, 1 PD)
We got a glimpse of what Clark could do late last season when he posted 5 sacks over a 4-game stretch. The former 1st round pick appears ready to join the ranks of the elite now as he picked up a sack last week and then tied with Blake Martinez for the team lead in tackles this week including a game-high 6 solo stops.

DE Jonathan Allen, WAS (3 solos, 2 asst, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH)
Allen was a first-round pick out of Alabama last year who missed most of his rookie year to a Lisfranc injury. He’s been working his way back into form and finally arrived this week with a pair of sacks. He was on the field for a remarkable 65 snaps (94%) in this game, which is a great sign for his fantasy value moving forward.

Downgrades:

DE Mike Daniels, GB (0 tackles)
DE Muhammad Wilkerson, GB (1 asst)
Both starting Packers defensive ends had quiet outings this week. The Washington offense did generate 35 rush attempts but many made their way into the second level. Daniels finished the game with 0 tackles despite playing 49 snaps (80%) while Wilkerson was limited to a single assist before leaving the game early with an injury. Reports on Monday indicated the ankle injury he suffered was serious and would bring an end to his season.

L.A. CHARGERS @ L.A. RAMS

Upgrades:

DT Ndamukong Suh, LAR (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 1 PD, 1 FR)
Like many of the Rams, Suh has gotten off to a slow start this year because the offense has been dominant and the defense has not seen many snaps. He broke out this week with a sack and fumble recovery, however, and should remain in consideration among the elite defensive tackles due to his heavy workload. Suh has been on the field for 86% of the defensive snaps for the Rams so far, and the injuries to both starting corners may keep the defense on the field more in the coming weeks.

No Change:

DT Brandon Mebane, LAC (6 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 PD, 1 FF)
It’s not often you see a nose tackle put up a stat line like this, but Mebane came up with the Chargers only sack of the day and their first forced fumble of the season. The Chargers pass rush hasn’t been the same without Joey Bosa, but Mebane did his best to pick up some of the slack. Given Mebane’s history, however, this is most likely a fluke so don’t expect a repeat performance.

Downgrades:

DE Aaron Donald, LAR (1 solo, 1 asst)
Donald is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year but he’s yet to show any of the dominant performances we’ve come to expect from him in 2018. At some point, he should get back to normal but it certainly seems like the long training camp holdout may be limiting him even though it didn’t seem to slow down Khalil Mack at all. Through 3 games, Donald has yet to record a sack and has just 3 solo tackles (and 4 assists) to his name.

CB Aqib Talib, LAR (2 solos, 1 FF)
CB Marcus Peters, LAR (0 tackles)
Talib and Peters both left the game early this week with injuries. Peters only lasted 15 snaps (29%) before leaving with a calf strain that’s expected to keep him out for 2 to 4 weeks. Talib lasted 35 snaps (67%) before suffering a high ankle sprain that will keep him out at least a month. Losing both star cornerbacks in the same game is a tough blow for one of the league’s best defenses. That creates an opening for Sam Shields, who led all Rams cornerbacks in snaps this week with 37 (71%) and finished with 4 tackles and a pass defensed.

CHICAGO @ ARIZONA

Upgrades:

DE Akiem Hicks, CHI (3 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 3 QH, 1 FF)
Hicks may be one of the most underrated defensive players in the league, but he has been very productive the past two years on some bad Chicago teams. Now he’s getting a chance to show what he can do with some better players around him. With Khalil Mack drawing most of the attention, that should continue to create more opportunities for Hicks who picked up his second sack and forced-fumble of the year this week.

S Tre Boston, ARI (5 solos, 2 asst, 1 INT, 2 PD)
Boston was very productive for the Chargers last year after spending the early years of his career with the Panthers. He’s now playing just about every snap for the Cardinals as they use three safeties in their base package. Boston typically lines up deeper than the Antoine Bethea and Budda Baker but the weakness at inside linebacker is leaving plenty of opportunities for all three safeties to be viable fantasy options.

No Change:

DE Markus Golden, ARI (no tackles)
Golden made his season debut this week but was only on the field for 12 snaps. He’s been out for nearly a full year at this point so the team will likely take things slow with him. Keep him in mind if you need help at defensive end though as he posted 12.5 sacks in 2016 and should see more playing time as he gets healthier.

Downgrades:

CB Prince Amukamara, CHI (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 TFL, 1 PD)
Amukamara left the game early with a hamstring injury and is considered day-to-day. He was on the field for 25 snaps (50%) and was replaced in the lineup by rookie Kevin Toliver. The Cardinals went after Toliver but he held up reasonably well.

DALLAS @ SEATTLE

Upgrade:

LB Leighton Vander Esche, DAL (9 solos, 2 asst, 1 TFL)
In what should come as a surprise to nobody, Sean Lee suffered an injury this week. He was forced to leave the game early with a hamstring injury that could keep him out for a couple weeks. That creates a huge opportunity for the rookie to show what he can do. He was very productive this week with 11 tackles on just 33 defensive snaps (48%) but it certainly helped that the Seahawks had 39 rushing attempts in the game for an average of 2.9 yards per carry.

LB Mychal Kendricks, SEA (6 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QH)
Kendricks has posted 2 sacks in two games since joining the Seahawks after the season began. He has been a nice addition but don’t overreact since he only saw 38 snaps (62%) this week and could see a bigger drop if K.J. Wright returns.

S Earl Thomas, SEA (6 solos, 1 asst, 2 INT, 2 PD)
Thomas is still unhappy with his contract and apparently had several unexcused missed practices last week but the team still decided to start him. He responded with a pair of interceptions to demonstrate his value, whether it’s to Seattle or perhaps Dallas who has been connected to him in trade rumors. Either way, Thomas is one of the league’s elite playmakers and has been very productive despite all the practice time he’s missed of late.

Downgrade:

LB Sean Lee, DAL (5 solos, 6 asst, .5 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Lee was on his way to a huge game with 11 combined tackles and half a sack before he aggravated a hamstring injury and had to leave the game. He lasted just 36 snaps (52%) after seeing only 41 snaps (60%) a week ago and the injury will reportedly keep him out for a couple weeks. That should give more opportunity to rookie Leighton Vander Esche while Joe Thomas and Damien Wilson could also be in line for an increased workload.

NEW ENGLAND @ DETROIT

Upgrades:

DE Deatrich Wise Jr, NE (3 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
The Patriots spent much of the game this week in a non-traditional 3-4 front but it certainly didn’t seem to work out that well for them as the Lions controlled things with their running game. Despite the absence of Trey Flowers, Wise actually saw a reduction in playing time down to 31 snaps (42%) from 54 (76%) a week ago. However, he has now put together his two best games of the year in weeks when he saw less than half the snaps so it certainly appears that he doesn’t need a heavy workload to be effective rushing the passer. He was also playing through a finger injury that forced his hand to be taped up.

LB Eli Harold, DET (3 solos, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QH)
The Lions pass rush was missing two of their best players in Ezekiel Ansah and Kerry Hyder Jr Jr this week, but that apparently just created an opening for Harold to burst through. The Lions traded for Harold in late-August and he’s already paying dividends with 3 sacks over the last two games on just 46 total snaps.

Downgrades:

DE Ezekiel Ansah, DET (DNP)
Ansah rarely seemed to be fully healthy a year ago but still somehow managed to post 12 sacks in 14 games after recording 6 in weeks 16 and 17. The hope was that his injury problems were behind him to start this year but he suffered a shoulder injury in the season opener and hasn’t been back since. He’s playing on a 1-year, $17MM contract, which may wind up being one of the worst deals in the league if he can’t get back on the field soon.

Summary

Upgrades:

DE J.J. Watt, HOU
DE Calais Campbell, JAX
DE Akiem Hicks, CHI
DE Derek Barnett, PHI
DE Jonathan Allen, WAS
DE Deatrich Wise Jr, NE
DE Kemoko Turay, IND
DE Kerry Wynn, NYG
DT Kenny Clark, GB
DT Ndamukong Suh, LAR
DT Clinton McDonald, OAK

LB Wesley Woodyard, TEN
LB Fred Warner, SF
LB Reuben Foster, SF
LB Nick Vigil, CIN
LB Anthony Walker, IND
LB Matt Milano, BUF
LB Leighton Vander Esche, DAL
LB Kenny Young, BAL
LB Kiko Alonso, MIA
LB Jerome Baker, MIA
LB Justin Houston, SF
LB Mychal Kendricks, SEA
LB Eli Harold, DET
S Clayton Geathers, IND
S Damontae Kazee, ATL
S Tre Boston, ARI
S Earl Thomas, SEA
S Curtis Riley, NYG
CB Donte Jackson, CAR
CB Brian Poole, ATL
CB Terrance Mitchell, CLE

Downgrades:

DE Mike Daniels, GB
DE Muhammad Wilkerson, GB
DE Wes Horton, CAR
DE Connor Barwin, NYG
DE Ezekiel Ansah, DET
DE Aaron Donald, LAR
DE Everson Griffen, MIN
LB Derrick Johnson, OAK
LB Brandon Marshall, DEN
LB Raekwon McMillan, MIA
LB Sean Lee, DAL
LB Whitney Mercilus, HOU
LB Nigel Bradham, PHI
S Da’Norris Searcy, CAR
S Ricardo Allen, ATL
S Kurt Coleman, NO
CB Aqib Talib, LAR
CB Marcus Peters, LAR
CB Richard Sherman, SF
CB Buster Skrine, NYJ
CB Adoree' Jackson, TEN
CB Prince Amukamara, CHI
CB Marshon Lattimore, NO

No Change:

DE Markus Golden, ARI
DT Vincent Taylor, MIA
DT Brandon Mebane, LAC
S Doug Middleton, NYJ
S Antone Exum, SF
S Kevin Byard, TEN