This article attempts to highlight players whose production was significantly better or worse than normally expected. 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. 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 and trade decisions. If you have any questions on specific players or situations, feel free to email me or reach out via twitter.
TENNESSEE @ JACKSONVILLE
LB Brian Orakpo, TEN (2 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 PD)
While the Titans have had a disappointing season on most fronts, Orakpo was a key free agent signing. After posting just 1 sack in his first 4 games, he has played like one of the best pass rushers in the league with 6 sacks in his last 6 games.
CB Aaron Colvin, JAX (7 solos, 1 sack, 2 PD)
Colvin operates primarily out of the slot for the Jaguars, which helps him in two key ways. First, it allows him to be around the ball more than a typical outside corner would be so he gets more tackle opportunities (has 42 solos in 10 games). Second, he lines up closer to the QB and is getting plenty of blitz opportunities as seen by the 4 sacks he’s picked up in the last 7 games.
LB Zach Brown, TEN (2 solos, 1 INT, 1 PD)
Brown salvaged his week with a late interception, but note that he only played 14 snaps (23%) in the game. That’s two weeks in a row when he posted decent numbers despite seeing limited playing time, but it’s likely not sustainable.
LB Derrick Morgan, TEN (0 tackles)
Morgan was listed as probable on the injury report with a shoulder injury, but it appears he wasn’t fully healthy this week. He didn’t start the game and only saw 17 snaps (28%) while David Bass started and played most of the game in his spot. It’s now been 6 games since Morgan’s last sack and he’s still stuck on 4.5 on the year, which he posted in the first 4 games.
INDIANAPOLIS @ ATLANTA
LB D’Qwell Jackson, IND (6 solos, 1 asst, 1 sack, 1 FR, 1 INT, 1 PD, 1 TD)
Jackson bounced back from a down game against the Broncos in week 9 before the bye. He had a gift pass thrown right to him that he returned for a touchdown, but also added 7 tackles with a sack and fumble recovery.
S Clayton Geathers, IND (7 solos, 2 asst)
The rookie made his first career start this week and held up well while finishing tied for the team lead with 7 solo tackles. Previously, Colt Anderson had filled in for Mike Adams but he only saw 2 snaps this week. Geathers could be the strong safety of the future in Indianapolis which has generally been a productive position.
ST LOUIS @ BALTIMORE
DT Aaron Donald, STL (4 solos, 6 asst, 1 sack)
Donald posted his second dominant game in a row, but it was once again not enough as the Rams lost. Over the past two weeks, Donald has posted numbers that some defensive lines would be happy with as a group. He has 7 solos, 10 assists, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. After a cold spell earlier this year, it looks like he is back on track and likely to finish as the #1 fantasy DT.
S Rodney McLeod, STL (6 solos, 2 asst, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 PD)
McLeod doesn’t get much attention in St Louis given the surrounding talent, but he has been putting up impressive numbers of late. Over his last 3 games, McLeod has 18 solo tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and an interception. With some potent passing attacks coming up on the schedule, he should be able to keep it going too.
LB Daryl Smith, BAL (1 solo, 1 asst)
The Ravens defense only had 42 tackle opportunities in this game, but there were 29 rush attempts. Smith was on the field for 51 snaps (84%) but was only credited with 2 combined tackles. Meanwhile, his ILB counterpart C.J. Mosley exploded for 12 tackles in the game. Smith missed practice time last week for what were called non-injury reasons, but he’s been very productive all year so this may just be a bad game.
WASHINGTON @ CAROLINA
DE Kony Ealy, CAR (1 solo, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 PD)
Ealy is not contributing much against the run, but he picked up a sack this week to bring his streak to 4 games. He also has 3 forced fumbles in that span so he’s producing big plays after a disappointing start to the year that saw him go 6 straight games without even a partial sack.
CB Bashaud Breeland, WAS (8 solos, 3 asst)
DeAngelo Hall has barely played the past two weeks (just 24 snaps combined), and the coaches should be in no rush to put him out there over Breeland anyway. He has been a strong fantasy starting option in 5 of the past 6 weeks, with the only miss coming in a game that he was injured in. That type of consistency is rare from the cornerback position.
DE Jared Allen, CAR (1 solo, 1 asst)
The Panthers traded for Allen to try and provide a spark to their sagging pass rush, but he’s gone sackless in 3 straight. His playing time also seems to be trending slightly downward, and he’s not making much of an impact against the run with just 3 solos and 2 assists in the last 3 games.
DENVER @ CHICAGO
DE Derek Wolfe, DEN (4 solos, 1 sack)
Wolfe is playing a very high percentage of defensive snaps for the Broncos over the past month. While his statistics probably haven’t warranted much attention and he’s lacking in big plays (the sack this week was his first of the year), there is an opportunity for him to have some strong games down the stretch.
S Antrel Rolle, CHI (DNP)
Rolle practiced in full on Friday and was listed as probable on the injury report with an ankle injury, but he somehow tweaked his knee during a walk through on Saturday and was downgraded to questionable. He wound up being inactive for the game and Chris Prosinski started in his place. This marks the second time this year that a Bears player was apparently injured during a Saturday walk through.
OAKLAND @ DETROIT
LB Ben Heeney, OAK (5 solos, 2 asst, 1 sack, 1 PD)
The rookie 5th round pick saw 38 snaps (53%) in the game this week and finished just behind the team leaders with 7 combined tackles. He also added a sack and pass defensed despite limited playing time. Curtis Lofton appears to be losing his grip on the MLB job here, and Heeney could get a chance to take over with more games like this.
LB Curtis Lofton, OAK (1 solo, 1 asst)
The veteran Lofton seemed like a key free agent signing for the Raiders this year, but they don’t trust him enough to play him in passing situations. The lack of a 3-down role has limited his fantasy value for most of the year, but this week he only saw 23 snaps (32%) as the rookie Ben Heeney saw his extensive playing time for the first time all year.
NY JETS @ HOUSTON
DE J.J. Watt, HOU (8 solos, 2 sacks)
Watt didn’t have a ton of success early this year as it seemed offenses had figured out ways to minimize his impact. He posted just 4 sacks in his first 6 games, but has 7.5 in his last 4. In addition to the 2 sacks this week that vaulted him into the league lead, he led all Texans players with 8 tackles (5 for loss) and was credited with 5 QB hits.
DT Damon Harrison, NYJ (9 solos, 3 asst)
Harrison is often underrated due to the 3 1st round pick the Jets usually have playing with him on the defensive line. The young nose tackle is a very good run defender though and has generally been one of the few productive 3-4 nose tackles in the league. The Texans 37 rush attempts were a major contributor, but a 12-tackle game from a nose tackle is certainly worthy of a mention.
CB Darrelle Revis, NYJ (3 solos)
Revis was able to play most of the game this week, but was forced to leave early with a concussion. Early reports didn’t sound all that promising so it seems like he could be in danger of missing next week’s matchup with the Dolphins and possibly more.
DALLAS @ MIAMI
LB Kelvin Sheppard, MIA (11 solos, 4 asst)
With Jelani Jenkins out this week, Sheppard took over a full-time role and responded with an impressive 15-tackle performance. That came on the heels of an 11-tackle game last week, so it certainly looks like he’s making the most of the increased responsibility thus far.
TAMPA BAY @ PHILADELPHIA
DE William Gholston, TB (5 solos, 1 FF)
Gholston is playing well for Tampa lately while averaging about 45 snaps per game. Over his past 3 games, he has 10 solo tackles, 4 assists, a sack, and a forced fumble. While he’s still developing as a pass rusher, there is potential there and he’s still young at just 24 years old.
DT Gerald McCoy, TB (2 solos, 1 asst, 1.5 sacks)
McCoy is one of the best interior pass rushers in the league so it was concerning that he had gone 4 games without a sack. He ended that streak with 1.5 sacks this week and has a shot at hitting double digits for the first time in his career.
LB Lavonte David, TB (6 solos, 2 INT, 2 PD, 1 TD)
David hasn’t been the dominant fantasy LB we’ve been accustomed to, but he seems to be picking things up. Over the past 3 games, he has 17 solo tackles and 12 assists with 2 interceptions and a sack. Now that MLB Kwon Alexander is facing a suspension, that figures to open up even more tackle opportunities for David.
LB Connor Barwin, PHI (6 solos, 2 PD)
Barwin isn’t going to come close to replicating his 14.5 sack season from a year ago, but he’s been playing better in recent weeks. Over his last 3 games, he has been credited with 12 solo tackles, 3 assists, and 1.5 sacks.
LB Kwon Alexander, TB (8 solos, 2 asst)
Alexander was hit with a 4-game suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing substance policy. He’s appealing the suspension, which will allow him to keep playing for now but it’s unclear exactly how long the appeal process will take.
KANSAS CITY @ SAN DIEGO
DE Corey Liuget, SD (5 solos, 1 sack)
Liuget returned to the lineup this week after sitting out the prior two games with a foot injury. He played 70% of the snaps and picked up a sack to give him basically 3 in his last 4 games since he only played 2 snaps in week 8.
LB Manti Te’o , SD (5 solos, 1 sack)
Teo returned to the lineup after missing the previous 4 games with an ankle injury. He played 76% of the snaps, which was tops among all Chargers ILBs and picked up his first sack of the year.
S Eric Berry, KC (8 solos)
Berry looks fully back and is playing like one of the best safeties in the league again. Over his last 4 games, he has helped to stabilize the Chiefs secondary while posting 16 solo tackles and a pair of interceptions.
GREEN BAY @ MINNESOTA
DT Linval Joseph, MIN (9 solos)
The remarkable run of Joseph continues for another week as he led all players in the game this week with 9 solo tackles. That brings his totals up to 21 solo stops, 6 assists, with 1.5 sacks over the past 3 games. It’s not often you see a breakout type season from a 27 year old player, but Joseph is proving to be a defensive anchor for the Vikings right now.
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, GB (8 solos, 1 sack)
Clinton Dix was the only Packer to play every defensive snap this week, and he led his team in tackles for the 2nd week in a row. During the last 2 games, he’s been credited with 17 solo tackles plus a sack and interception. The young safety and former 1st round pick has a chance to become an elite fantasy safety.
S Harrison Smith, MIN (4 solos)
Smith established himself as one of the league’s elite safeties last year when he posted 70 solos, 3 sacks, and 5 interceptions. He is slightly off that pace for solo tackles this year with 40 through 10 games, but has just 1 sack and 1 interception thus far so the big plays have not been there to the same extent. The front 7 has improved for Minnesota and that is likely leaving fewer opportunities for him.
SAN FRANCISCO AT SEATTLE
DE Cliff Avril, SEA (2 solos, 1 asst, 2 sacks)
Avril fell out of favor in Detroit and didn’t seem fully comfortable in Seattle a year ago, but he is back to playing at a very high level. He combines with Michael Bennett to give Seattle perhaps the best DE tandem in the league. With 2 more sacks this week, Avril is up to 6.5 on the year but he’s also dramatically improved his tackle numbers as well with 25 solos and 13 assists through 10 games.
DE Arik Armstead, SF (3 solos, 3 asst)
The rookie 1st rounder saw a spike in playing time this week after starter Glenn Dorsey was injured on his first snap of the game. Armstead had been a little-used pass rush specialist to this point in his career but he figures to take on more responsibility going forward.
DE Michael Bennett, SEA (1 asst)
Bennett was one of the most dominant pass rushers in the league over the first half of the season, but he has gone cold. After posting 6.5 sacks in the first 7 games, he has 0 in the last 3 along with just 2 solos and 4 assists.
CB Kenneth Acker, SF (3 solos, 1 asst)
Acker got the start this week after missing last week’s game with an injury, but he was benched in favor of Marcus Cromartie. Acker has struggled in coverage for most of the season, which helped his fantasy production as teams kept throwing at him.
CINCINNATI @ ARIZONA
LB Vontaze Burfict, CIN (7 solos, 1 asst)
Burfict still isn’t playing a full-time role for the Bengals as he saw just 37 snaps (62%) this week. He showed how productive he can be by leading the team in tackles.
S Deone Bucannon, ARI (8 solos, 1 sack, 1 FR)
Given the tendencies of the Arizona stats crew, we know that Bucannon’s tackle numbers are not inflated. He is a safety playing the role of a linebacker and continues to post big numbers regardless of the matchup or situation. With another big game this week that included his second consecutive game with a sack, he’s averaging 6 solos per game and on pace for nearly 100.
DE Calais Campbell, ARI (1 solo, 2 asst)
Campbell came into this year with a deserved reputation as an elite fantasy DE, but he is struggling. He’s always relied heavily on tackles for his value, but through 10 games he has just 1.5 sacks. Furthermore, if you take away his 10-solo game from week 4, he has just 23 solo tackles in the other 9 games.
DE Carlos Dunlap, CIN (1 solo)
Dunlap is enjoying a breakout season for the Bengals this year with 8.5 sacks through 10 games to put him right up near the league leaders. However, he has shown some signs of cooling off lately with 3 disappointing stat lines in his last 4 games. He had a 2-sack showing against the Browns in week 9, but has just 3 solos and 0 sacks in weeks 8, 10, and 11 combined.
LB Vincent Rey, CIN (2 solos)
The return of Burfict to the lineup has reduced Rey to a nickel LB as he saw just 22 snaps (37%) this week and posted his lowest tackle output of the year.
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