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.
PITTSBURGH @ CLEVELAND
DE Chad Thomas, CLE (3 solos, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 1 PD)
Thomas didn’t receive much playing time earlier this year but has seen an uptick the past two weeks with the injury to Olivier Vernon. Over the past two games, he has played just under 80% of the defensive snaps and has collected 5 solos with 2 sacks.
DT Javon Hargrave, PIT (7 solos, 2 asst, 2 TFL)
Not often you see a nose tackle lead his team in tackles for a game but it happened this week with Hargrave and the Steelers. His 9 combined tackles were 4 more than inside linebackers Devin Bush and Vince Williams had in the game. That gives Hargrave 16 tackles (9 solos) with a sack over his last two games combined, which are also the two games that saw him handle his heaviest workload of the year with 56 snaps in each.
LB Joe Schobert, CLE (7 solos, 3 asst, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 2 QH, 2 INT, 4 PD)
Schobert had a game for the ages this week as he piled up 10 tackles with a sack and two interceptions. Although his production had tailed off slightly in the weeks leading up to this game, he showed that he’s still an elite fantasy linebacker and could easily finish as the highest-scoring IDP in the league.
DE Myles Garrett, CLE (1 solo, 3 QH)
Since posting 10 sacks in his first 7 games, Garrett has gone sackless in his last three games and has now been suspended indefinitely for an incident late in the game where he attacked Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. It seems likely his season is over but he will try to appeal the decision this week. Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (1 solo, 1 sack, 2 QH) was also suspended for a game for his actions in the same incident.
HOUSTON @ BALTIMORE
LB Brennan Scarlett, HOU (6 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Scarlett posted 2 sacks in week 9 before the bye and then followed that up with another strong effort this week. All Texans defenders were helped by the Ravens offense generating 57 tackle opportunities in the game with 36 rush attempts, but Scarlett came up with the team’s lone sack of Lamar Jackson. That gives him 3.5 sacks in his last 4 games to go along with 16 solos and 6 assists.
LB Matt Judon, BAL (7 solos, 2 sacks, 3 TFL, 4 QH, 1 FF)
Judon led the way as the Ravens harassed Deshaun Watson all day and piled up 7 sacks. He has been up and down for much of this season but appears to be heating up of late and his playing time has remained high all year long.
LB Patrick Onwuasor, BAL (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QH)
Onwuasor’s numbers this week were up, but they mask a noticeable drop in his playing time. He began the year as a core part of the Ravens defense but has been little more than a part-time player since returning from injury several weeks ago. He was only on the field for 9 defensive snaps (15%) this week while L.J. Fort (48%) and Josh Bynes (39%) saw more extensive playing time, although none are likely playing enough to be reliable fantasy options.