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.
LA CHARGERS @ OAKLAND
DE Clelin Ferrell, OAK (5 solos, 3 asst, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QH, 1 PD)
Fellow rookie Maxx Crosby out-snapped Ferrell this week 70 (91%) to 56 (73%), but Ferrell was much more productive. He collected 2.5 sacks (his first since week 1) and also finished 2nd on the team in tackles with 8 while also tipping his 4th pass of the year. You can see the talent he has, but he just needs to become more consistent as is the case with most young players. Crosby has been more consistent but lacks the upside of Ferrell. The Raiders also signed Dion Jordan over the weekend, who just completed a 10-game suspension for PEDs.
LB Drue Tranquill, LAC (6 solos, 8 asst)
The Chargers rookie started the game and wound up playing all 58 defensive snaps. The Chargers have been searching for answers at the linebacker position for some time so perhaps Tranquill can emerge to finally provide some stability at the position. The coaches have been talking him up in recent weeks and seem like they are ready to see what he can do. He made the most of his playing time this week as he was credited with 14 combined tackles while spending most of the time playing alongside Thomas Davis (6 solos, 5 asst) in the team’s nickel packages while Denzel Perryman was active but did not play.
S Karl Joseph, OAK (4 solos, 2 asst, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Joseph played the entire game and came down with a game-clinching interception at the end of it. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious foot injury on the play and was placed on injured reserve, thus ending his season. To replace him, the team signed D.J. Swearinger Sr who was cut by Arizona earlier this year but was quite productive during his time in Washington.
DETROIT @ CHICAGO
DE Trey Flowers, DET (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 2 QH)
Flowers has been putting up solid numbers of late despite playing less than 60% of the defensive snaps over the three previous games combined. He saw a big boost in his workload this week, however, and was on the field for 50 of 57 snaps (88%). That contributed to him posting one of his best stat lines of the year and he now has 4 sacks over his last 3 games with some favorable matchups looming on the schedule.
LB Nick Kwiatkoski, CHI (8 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 INT, 1 PD)
The Bears lost Danny Trevathan early in the game with a gruesome elbow injury but Kwiatkowski was a more than capable fill-in. He collected 9 tackles with a sack on his 65 snaps (78%) while also adding an interception. It doesn’t sound like a short-term injury for Trevathan so Kwiatkoski likely warrants a big upgrade this week, as well as a slight increase for Roquan Smith.
LB Danny Trevathan, CHI (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 QH)
Trevathan has played nearly every snap for the Bears this year but was forced to leave the game early this week. He posted 3 tackles on just 17 snaps (20%) but suffered an elbow injury while bringing down the quarterback. Nick Kwiatkoski (8 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 PD) replaced him and posted huge numbers in relief.