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.
DALLAS @ CHICAGO
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, CHI (4 solos, 1 asst, 1 TFL, 1 QH, 2 PD)
With the season likely over for Roquan Smith, the Bears will once again rely on their excellent depth at inside linebacker. Pierre-Louis replaced Smith in the first quarter on Thursday night and posted 5 tackles with a pair of passes defensed on 46 snaps. He is an experienced backup who has been in the league since 2014 but clearly doesn’t have the fantasy upside of Smith.
S Darian Thompson, DAL (8 solos, 3 asst, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QH)
Thompson has been filling in for the injured Jeff Heath over the past month and has been quite productive. Over his last three starts, he has collected 16 solos, 7 assists, 1.5 sacks, and 2 passes defensed. Thompson is a former third-round pick with starting experience who is getting an excellent opportunity to showcase himself for a bigger role in Dallas or elsewhere.
LB Roquan Smith, CHI (1 solo, 1 asst)
Smith was coming off perhaps his best game as a pro but was forced to leave the game after just 17 snaps (23%), which all came on the first series of the game. He suffered a torn pec and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Nick Kwiatkoski moves into a full-time role and Kevin Pierre-Louis should see a big boost as well.
CAROLINA @ ATLANTA
DE Vic Beasley Jr, ATL (4 solos, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QH, 2 FF)
Beasley isn’t the type of player you can rely on for consistent production each week but games like this are always a possibility. He has done better of late as the Falcons offense has shown some signs of life, and now has 4.5 sacks over his last five games combined.
LB Brian Burns, CAR (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 QH)
The rookie pass rusher looked unstoppable at times early this year as the Panthers defense was piling up sacks in bunches. Since recording 4.5 sacks in his first six games, Burns has only collected one in his last seven games. Since he’s not much of a run defender, he’s not making up for it in the tackle columns either with just five solos and one assist in the same number of games.