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.
OAKLAND @ SAN FRANCISCO
DE Cassius Marsh, SF (3 solos, 1 asst, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH)
Marsh has been in the league since 2014 but his career-high is just 3 sacks. He almost matched that number on Thursday night against the Raiders. The 49ers have been using a rotational approach on the defensive line but Marsh gets similar playing time as more heralded players like Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas. This group will get another chance to pad their stats next week against the Giants.
DE Arden Key, OAK (0 tackles)
Even though Bruce Irvin saw a huge drop in playing time the past two games, and was eventually released, Key also saw a drop in his numbers. He had been playing 70+% of the snaps prior to the Week 7 bye, but over the past two games, the rookie has been on the field for just 47% and 38% of defensive snaps. So, it appears his role is being reduced to more of a pass-rush specialist as the Raiders seek to improve their run defense.
LB Marquel Lee, OAK (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 TFL)
Tough to figure out what the Raiders are doing in a lot of areas, but Marquel Lee has seen a clear drop in playing time after the release of Derrick Johnson. This week, Lee only saw 31 snaps (56%) and last week he was at 55%. With that type of usage, he’s not a reliable fantasy option.
PITTSBURGH @ BALTIMORE
LB Matt Judon, BAL (5 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 3 QH, 1 PD)
Judon emerged as a key edge defender for the Ravens last year but he got off to a slow start in 2018 with just 4 solo tackles, 2 assists, and a half sack in his first four games. Since then, however, his production has picked up considerably. Over his last 5 games, Judon has been credited with 16 solo tackles, 7 assists, 2 sacks, and 2 passes defended.
DE Cameron Heyward, PIT (1 asst, 2 QH)
While his playing time has remained consistent at nearly 80% of snaps every week, Heyward has seen a clear drop in his production. Over the last three games, he has been credited with just two assisted tackles. Despite posting 12 sacks in 15 games a year ago, he’s only put up 2.5 in 8 games this year.
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