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.
SAN FRANCISCO @ ARIZONA
LB Joe Walker, ARI (8 solos, 3 asst, 1 TFL)
Walker has replaced Haason Reddick as the starting inside linebacker in the Cardinals base defense. Walker played 42 snaps (57%) but finished with 10 combined tackles compared to just 2 tackles for Reddick on 33 snaps (45%).
LB Kwon Alexander, SF (0 tackles)
Alexander played 40 snaps (70%) before leaving with an injury that was later diagnosed to be a torn pectoral muscle. This is a season-ending injury and the 49ers don’t have a clear replacement option. The most likely scenario is that Dre Greenlaw (4 solos, 1 sack) will move over from strongside to weakside in base packages, but they will probably use an extra safety and run more dime packages as well. That could provide a boost for Jaquiski Tartt (5 solos, 1 asst).
HOUSTON @ JACKSONVILLE
LB Brennan Scarlett, HOU (2 solos, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 1 FF)
Scarlett has seen a rise in playing time over the past few games and a corresponding increase in production as well. Over his last 3 games, he has averaged just under 40 defensive snaps per game and has collected 10 solos, 4 assists, and 2.5 sacks with a forced fumble in that same span. The Texans need someone to try and fill some of the pass-rush they lost with the injury to J.J. Watt so perhaps Scarlett can rise to the occasion.
CB Gareon Conley, HOU (8 solos, 2 PD)
Conley struggled last week against the Raiders but looked much better this week. He led all players in the game with 8 tackles and also added a pair of pass deflections. The Texans don’t have a lot of healthy players at cornerback and Jonathan Joseph may not have much left at this point, so there’s a clear opportunity for Conley to emerge as their top corner.
LB Austin Calitro, JAX (0 tackles)
A week after seeing 82% of the defensive snaps, Calitro went back to a reserve/special-teams role. Najee Goode (4 solos, 1 asst) returned to the starting role but offers limited upside.