Only two teams on byes this coming week, but holy moly, get ready to lose a whole boatload of players when Week 9 rolls around with four teams not playing, and then comes the motherload in Week 10 with a full six squads out of action. Prepare to stock up and fill your cupboards before the coming famine.

Bye Weeks coming up: Current Week Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys; Week 9 Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints; Week 10 Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington

Elevator Going Up

Linebackers

Anthony Hitchens KC

Hitchens was spectacular while playing less than half the snaps on defense, racking up a pair of sacks, forcing a fumble (FF), collecting five solo tackles, with two of those resulting in a loss of yards (TFL). He also tacked on a QB hit/hurry (QH) to fill out his stat sheet. Look for similar or better results as he becomes a full-time LB in Week 8, although the opposing offense is stingy regarding allowing points to opposing linebackers, the Packers being ranked 28th overall in the NFL.

Dante Fowler , Jr. LAR

Fowler put up seven total tackles (TT) against the Falcons in Week 7 (six solo, three TFL). He also put up three sacks in the game, deflected a pass (PD), forced a fumble and hurried the QB three times. Note that Fowler qualifies at DE in ESPN, but only at LB in Yahoo, making his value that much greater in ESPN leagues. Having a linebacker to insert at the DE slot is awfully tempting for IDP owners. Taking on the Bengals this coming week prior to the Rams’ bye week vacation is a nice matchup.

Lorenzo Alexander BUF

Alexander benefitted from the injury suffered by fellow Bill LB Matt Milano , playing nearly every snap on defense. He had ten TT (five solo), and also added a QH and PD to improve his value in big play leagues. Keep an eye on late week announcements about Milano’s status, but note that he is not on the Injury List at publication time.

L.J. Fort BAL

Fort is another IDP that benefitted from a teammate’s injury, this time a player who is listed in the Injury Report below, namely Patrick Onwuasor . He had a sack and six TT (five solos, two TFLs), plus a QH against the host Seahawks in Week 7. Baltimore is on bye this week, making Fort a potential stash for the upcoming heavy bye-week period.

Nathan Gerry PHI

Gerry became an every-down LB with the release of Zach Brown by the Eagles, and he responded with a double-digit tackle effort: 11 TT with seven of those being of the solo variety. The Week 8 opponent for the visiting Philly squad, the Bills, are ranked 4th in terms of allowing fantasy production to opposing LBs, so things are looking up for Gerry in the short term.

Blake Cashman NYJ

The Jets’ rookie LB should continue to see extended playing time (PT) with Neville Hewitt being listed as questionable with a neck issue for Week 8 against the Jaguars. He collected eight TT in the prior week’s game against the Patriots (six solo). He has value in tackle-oriented leagues.

Defensive Linemen

DeMarcus Walker DE DEN

Walker has collected three sacks over the past two games, together with nine TTs (six solo) over the same period. Those are not overwhelming numbers, but certainly steady production for a DE.

Jeffery Simmons DT TEN

His matchup in Week 8 could not be better, as the Bucs are allowing the top production in fantasy to opposing DTs through Week 7. Coming off an ACL injury, he collected four solo tackles (two TFL) and a sack on just 21 snaps on defense in his first NFL game. If you believe in the first-round pick of the Titans, now would be a great time to grab him for your IDP roster.

Defensive Backs

Taylor Rapp S LAR

Rapp will be seeing an uptick in PT with the injury that is sidelining John Johnson III (shoulder), probably taking on an every-down role going forward. He racked up six TT (five solo) in just under half the defensive snaps against the Falcons in Week 7, and it is entirely possible that those numbers will improve with more tackle opportunities on tap against the visiting Bengals this coming contest.

Roderic Teamer S LAC

In Tennessee, the Charger’s starting strong safety put up a six solo tackle effort (one TFL) and also contributed with some big plays, posting an INT and PD against the Titans. Granted, that was his first interception of the season, but the tackle production has been steady since he took on the starting role in Week 3.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson S NO

Playing nearly every snap on defense in Week 7 (91% of defensive snaps), he filled in for P.J. Williams who was out with an injury, and collected seven solo tackles (two TFL). He also had a QH and two PDs, adding to his big-play production.

Devin McCourty S NE

McCourty leads the league with five INTs on the season, collecting the fifth against the host Jets in Week 7. Taking on the Browns and Baker Mayfield , who is the NFL-leading QB in terms of INT allowed, that lead seems likely to remain in place.

Justin Coleman CB DET

Coleman will be seeing increased time on the field with Darius Slay being injured, and that should play into his big-play potential. He forced a fumble against the visiting Vikings, and picked up five TT (four solos).

Logan Ryan CB TEN

Ryan has been extraordinarily productive as both a tackle-maker, averaging slightly better than six tackles per contest. The corner also has 2.5 sacks and nine PD on the season, collecting his second FF in the Week 7 game against the visiting Chargers. He is extremely valuable as a DB generally, but should not be on the wire in any CB-mandatory leagues.

Ken Crawley CB NO

The Saints are hurting at CB, and with the Cardinals and their pass attack coming to the Big Easy in Week 8, expect Crawley to see plenty of opportunity to put up defensive stats. Realize this is a one-week suggestion, with the Saints being on bye in Week 9, but in Week 10 he has another favorable matchup against the Falcons who visit New Orleans then, so keep him on your watch list even if you do not grab him immediately.

Escalator Going Down

Linebackers

Von Miller DEN

Miller is still seeing plenty of snaps on defense, but his production is down significantly this season. He has not had a sack since Week 4, and has contributed just 20 TT through seven contests. There have to be better producers available on the wire until he snaps out of his funk.

Preston Brown CIN

Brown had just two assists in Week 7, and the Bengals are going to continue to decrease his time on the field as the season progresses. If Cincy is moving on from him, you should take the hint and follow suit.

Fred Warner SF

Warner is coming off a two TT effort in Week 7 in the nation’s capital. He does have a great matchup coming up in Week 8 with the Panthers coming to town, so this downturn in production could just be a short-term issue.

Defensive Linemen

None to speak of, except for those listed below in the Injury Report.

Defensive Backs

Save for those set forth below in the Injury Report, not a player to talk about this week.

Matchups to Exploit

Remember, the first team listed is the one to use your IDPs against. Do not go crazy, and play a LB5 against the Colts, but certainly you will do well if you own a top LB on the Raiders, Giants or Green Bay that you can plug in this week, for the most part.

Linebackers

Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco

New York Giants @ Detroit

Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis

Buffalo Bills vs Philadelphia

Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle

Defensive Ends

Tennessee Titans vs Tampa Bay

New York Jets @ Jacksonville

Defensive Tackles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee

Tennessee Titans vs Tampa Bay

Safeties

Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle

Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh

Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Cornerbacks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee

Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh

Cleveland Browns @ New England

Waiver Wire Targets

This section is intended to serve as a shortened cheat sheet listing those waiver wire targets you should be considering if you need to plug a hole in your starting lineup. All these players are spotlighted above, and you can read my comments about them in the "Elevator Going Up" section of this article. This group consists of those that you may have a chance of locating on your league's waiver wire in that they are owned in significantly less than 50% of leagues. Happy claiming for your weekly matchups.

Linebackers

Anthony Hitchens KC

Dante Fowler , Jr. LAR

He is a DE only in ESPN, please note.

Lorenzo Alexander BUF

L.J. Fort BAL

Nathan Gerry PHI

Blake Cashman NYJ

Defensive Linemen

DeMarcus Walker DE DEN

Jeffery Simmons DT TEN

Defensive Backs

Taylor Rapp S LAR

Roderic Teamer S LAC

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson S NO

Devin McCourty S NE

Justin Coleman CB DET

Logan Ryan CB TEN

Ken Crawley CB NO

Ouch (My Aching Roster)

All the injury reports below need evaluation prior to kickoff.  Teams are notoriously sketchy about injury reports, and we often do not know a player's status until just before game time. Consider the list below as a "heads up" as to what is going on early in the week, and should not be considered definitive.

Linebackers

Dennis Gardeck ARI ankle

Jordan Hicks ARI calf

Haason Reddick ARO knee

Zeke Turner ARI hamstring

Pernell McPhee BAL triceps IR

Patrick Onwuasor BAL ankle

Shaq Green-Thompson CAR ankle

Brian Burns CAR wrist

Christian Miller CAR ankle

Willie Harvey CLE shoulder IR

Leighton Vander Esch DAL neck

Dylan Cole HOU hamstring

Leon Jacobs JAX hamstring

Quincy Williams JAX hamstring

D.J. Alexander JAX foot IR

Najee Goode JAX foot

Darron Lee KC illness

Clay Matthews LAR jaw

Bryce Hager LAR shoulder

C.J. Mosley NYJ groin

Neville Hewitt NYJ neck

Albert McClellan NYJ concussion

Nigel Bradham PHI ankle

Anthony Chickillo PIT personal

T.J. Watt PIT abdomen

Mark Barron PIT hamstring

Jack Cichy TB elbow

Rashaan Evans TEN shoulder

Jayon Brown TEN groin

Sharif Finch TEN shoulder

Josh Harvey-Clemons WAS hamstring

Defensive Linemen

DE

Zach Allen ARI neck

Carlos Dunlap CIN knee

Carl Lawson CIN hamstring

Kerry Wynn CIN concussion IR

Dorance Armstrong DAL neck

Robert Quinn DAL ribs

Mike Daniels DET foot

Tyquan Lewis IND ankle

Kemoko Turay IND ankle IR

Frank Clark KC neck

Tanoh Kpassagnon KC illness

Chris Jones KC groin

Damion Square LAC hamstring

Melvin Ingram LAC hamstring

Avery Moss MIA leg

Henry Anderson NYJ shoulder-AC joint

John Franklin-Myers NYJ undisclosed IR

Arden Key OAK kneecap

Stephon Tuitt PIT pectoral IR

Ezekiel Ansah SEA ankle

Jurrell Casey TEN shoulder

DT

Grady Jarrett ATL abdomen

Gerald McCoy CAR knee

Akiem Hicks CHI elbow IR

Tyrone Crawford DAL hip IR

Grover Stewart IND elbow

Carl Davis IND hamstring

Marcell Dareus JAX abdomen

Cortez Broughton LAC illness

Justin Jones LAC shoulder

Brandon Mebane LAC knee

Jalyn Holmes MIN illness

Hassan Ridgeway PHI ankle IR

Timmy Jernigan PHI foot

D.J. Jones SF hamstring

Defensive Backs

S

DeShon Elliott BAL knee

Kurt Coleman BUF hamstring

Natrell Jamerson CAR foot IR

Sherrick McManis CHI concussion

Darqueze Dennard CIN hamstring

Damarious Randall CLE leg

Will Parks DEN thumb

Darnell Savage GB ankle

Tashaun Gipson HOU back

Nasir Adderley LAC hamstring

John Johnson LAR shoulder IR

Reshad Jones MIA chest

Patrick Chung NE chest

J.T. Guy NO ankle

Patrick Robinson NO hamstring

Corey Ballentine NYG concussion

Sam Beal NYG hamstring IR

Lano Hill SEA elbow

Bradley McDougald SEA back

Jordan Whitehead TB arm

Deshazor Everett WAS ankle

Montae Nicholson WAS ankle

CB

Desmond Trufant ATL toe

Maurice Canady BAL hamstring

Jimmy Smith BAL knee-MCL

Kevin Johnson BUF undisclosed

Dre Kirkpatrick CIN knee

Anthony Brown DAL hamstring

Bryce Callahan DEN foot

Amani Oruwariye DET knee

Darius Slay DET hamstring

Johnathan Joseph HOU hamstring

Phillip Gaines HOU ankle IR

Bradley Robey HOU hamstring

Pierre Desir IND hamstring

Kenny Moore IND knee

Kendall Fuller KC thumb

Troy Hill LAR hamstring

Aqib Talib LAR ribs IR

Xavien Howard MIA knee

Eli Apple NO knee

Avonte Maddox PHI concussion

Mike Hilton PIT calf

Steven Nelson PIT groin

Joe Haden PIT groin

Ahkello Witherspoon SF foot

Chris Milton TEN calf

Adoree’ Jackson TEN foot

Josh Norman WAS thigh

As ever, good luck and Godspeed in your fantasy efforts. Make sure to read all of our great articles to help you win your fantasy match ups every week and ultimately bask in championship glory. FANation Chat is now live on the site, to help you work through your fantasy football dilemmas. Or if you have any fantasy football questions, especially about IDP leagues, you can also send a message to ia@fantasyalarm.com for a personal response from the writer of this article. Naturally, the more detail you can send about your league, such as number of teams, platform you play in (Yahoo, ESPN, etc.), scoring and roster system, the better the ability to provide accurate advice.

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