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.
MIAMI @ HOUSTON
DE Cameron Wake, MIA (5 solos, 1 asst)
At 36 years of age, Wake is certainly nearing the end of his career but he may still be able to contribute to your team this year. His snap count this week (33 snaps, 54%) was very similar to what he’s seen all year, but he extremely active against the run which is not something we’ve seen from him very often.
LB Zach Cunningham, HOU (2 solos)
Cunningham came into the game on a hot streak but was forced to leave this week’s game after just 16 snaps (24%). He suffered a knee sprain that appears to be minor and will hopefully not keep him out of next week’s game against the Broncos.
CB Jonathan Joseph, HOU (0 tackles)
Joseph had been very productive over the past month but he lasted just 10 snaps this week before leaving with an ankle injury. He was diagnosed with a sprained MCL as well as a high-ankle sprain and is expected to miss a few weeks, but the Texans do have a bye coming up in week 10.
PHILADELPHIA @ JACKSONVILLE
LB Jordan Hicks, PHI (8 solos, 4 asst, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH)
Hicks has been in the league since 2015, but he’s taken his game to a new level this year. While many probably expected him to regress back to his career norms after a hot start, he’s been able to sustain it through all 8 games of the year without missing a single snap. At this point, he’s clearly a #1 fantasy linebacker who is on pace to finish with 98 solo tackles and 6 sacks, and at 26 years, of age he’s likely just starting to enter the prime of his career.
CB Avonte Maddox, PHI (4 solos, 1 TFL, 1 FF)
Maddox is a rookie 4th round pick who has bounced around between nickel corner and safety due to injuries. Despite never playing the safety position before, he is quickly emerging as a key young playmaker in the Eagles secondary. He’s been a full-time player for four weeks now and is averaging 4 combined tackles per game and had a big forced fumble this week.
DT Malik Jackson, JAX (1 asst, 1 PD)
Jackson’s playing time hasn’t been an issue as he saw 81% of the defensive snaps in the past two weeks, but his production has been disappointing. He bounced back from a slow start last year to post 8 sacks in the middle of a dominant defensive line, but so far this year he has just 1 through 8 games. For a player who has averaged 7 sacks per year over the past three seasons, he’s been one of the bigger disappointments among fantasy defensive tackles this year.
CB Jalen Mills, PHI (1 solo, 2 asst)
Mills has struggled for the Eagles and continues to be one of the most targeted cornerbacks in the league, which has helped him to post 36 solo tackles in the first 7 games. He lasted just 23 snaps (36%) this week, however, before leaving with a foot injury. That created an opening for Rasul Douglas, who saw 42 snaps and could be in line for more work if Mills misses time.
S Barry Church, JAX (0 tackles)
Church was held without a tackle on Sunday despite playing nearly the entire game. He was evaluated for a concussion late in the game so will likely need to clear the concussion protocol during the upcoming bye week. He was also one of four Jaguars players arrested for not paying a large bar tab during their weekend in London. Rough weekend aside, he’s only put together a couple decent starts this year and may not even be worth holding onto if you need roster space.
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