It is upon us, a six-team bye week. Time to scramble and attempt to fill those empty roster slots in this important point in the fantasy season. There are a number of linebackers profiled below that can provide assistance, although the selections in the DL and DB areas are much less bountiful.

Bye Weeks coming up: Current Week Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington; Week 11 Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans; Week 12 Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings

Elevator Going Up

Linebackers

Joe Walker ARI

With Haason Reddick underperforming, Walker steps in as the starting inside LB for the Cards. He put up 10 total tackles (TT), eight solos, against the 49ers in Week 9, one of those for a loss of yardage (TFL).

Brennan Scarlett HOU

Taking on Jacksonville, he collected two sacks, and with J.J. Watt on the IR, the Texans will be needing someone to put pressure on the opposing QB. He was productive overall in Week 9, also post two solo tackles (one TFL), two QB hits/hurries (QH) and forcing a fumble (FF). 

Harold Landry TEN

The Titan’s lead outside LB had 8 TT against the host Panthers (two solo, two TFL) and added in a sack, QH, INT and pass deflection (PD). He is seeing nearly every snap on defense, and should continue to post helpful fantasy stat lines going forward.

Brandon Copeland NYJ

In the loss to the host Dolphins, Copeland was a bright point with nine TT (eight solo, two TFL). He also was credited with a sack and a QH, helping add to his value in big play leagues. He gets a great matchup against the most generous team in the NFL in terms of allowing fantasy production to opposing linebackers, the Giants, in Week 10.

Bud Dupree PIT

Dupree has edge rushing skills, as demonstrated by the pair of sacks he had in Week 9 against the visiting Colts. He had three solo tackles as well (two TFL), forced and recovered a fumble (FF and FR respectively) and was credited with three QH on top of those numbers.

Devin White TB

White put up double-digit tackle numbers while on the road in Seattle last week (six solo, six assists) but also contributed big-play stats, too: half a sack, two QH and a pair of FF. Note that those 12 tackles came against an offense that only attempted 22 rushes all game.

Mack Wilson CLE

The Brown’s rookie LB is starting to pick up attention, as a nearly every-down defensive presence. In Week 9, he collected a sack, a QH and PD to go along with his five solo tackles (two TFL). Joe Schobert is the star in Cleveland, but Wilson is producing like a future LB1.

Preston Smith GB

Smith was featured in this space back in Week 4, and after a two game stretch without a sack, he righted the ship with a sack against the Chargers in Week 9, along with a QH and seven TT (five solos, one TFL). He is still available in most leagues, and well worth adding short term at least prior to the Packers’ bye in Week 11, as he has a great matchup against the Panthers this week. 

Patrick Onawuasor BAL

Another low-percentage owned LB who is coming off a big week: 8 TT (six solo, one TFL), a sack, a QH and a FF. Those impressive stats come while playing less than 50% of the defensive snaps, although his snap count should increase as the Ravens ease him back into action.

Sean Lee DAL

Leighton Vander Esch sits out, and Lee returns to a prominent role on defense for the Cowboys. Monday night saw him put up a dozen TT (nine solo). Keep an eye on Vander Esch’s status (he is listed as questionable as of publication) and if he sits again, snap up Lee as a replacement plug-in.

Dre Greenlaw SF

Kwon Alexander has landed on the IR, and Greenlaw is now an every-down weakside LB for the 49ers, playing next to Fred Warner . He picked up a sack against the Cardinals in Week 9 together with four tackles, and that makes him a potential six-team bye week fill-in.

Defensive Linemen

Melvin Ingram DE LAC

Ingram had missed three games with injury, but snagged 1.5 sacks and a pair of QH in Week 9’s win against the Packers. He only posted three TT (two solo), replicating his tackle production from the previous week when he returned from his injury. He does not have great matchups on the schedule, but he and Joey Bosa can get after the QB on a regular basis.

Defensive Backs

Minkah Fitzpatrick S PIT

The Steeler safety was featured here in this series of articles way back in Week 4, but he continues to produce and deserves another mention. He is owned in approximately one third of Yahoo and ESPN leagues, but if he is still a free agent in your league, that may not be the case long as he comes off a full Week 9 stat line: seven TT (four solo), an INT, a PD and a bonus TD.

Erik Harris S OAK

Harris was an every-down defensive back against the visiting Lions, despite being limited in practice during the week, and collected double digit tackles (nine solos, two assists, one TFL). He also had a PD to his credit in Week 9.

Josh Norman CB WAS

If you play in a CB-mandatory league, then look to add the veteran Norman to your roster. He is a tackle-producing DB, with seven TT (six solo) in Week 9, where he also produced a FF and a pair of PD against the host Bills.

Escalator Going Down

Linebackers

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

Defensive Linemen

Ezekiel Ansah DE SEA

The Seattle D is just not as productive as it once was, including Mr. Ansah. He has a mere five TT over the past four games played, and no sacks in the stretch, either. He has forced a fumble and recovered a pair of fumbles over the past three contests, but with just a single tackle in Weeks 8 and 9 each, he is certainly not worth starting or even holding on your bench, should you have that luxury.

Denico Autry DT IND

Coming off a goose egg in terms of tackles produced, and not putting up anything in the way of sacks either over the past six games played, effectively tells you to cut the Colt DT and seek out better DL help, even in DT-mandatory leagues.

Defensive Backs

Tyrann Mathieu S KC

Since posting 10 TT in Week 6 against the Texans, he has totaled just eight TT over the last three contests with no big play production. Not the sort of play you want from the former top DB, and there are far better fantasy producers to seek out on the wire.

Casey Hayward CB LAC

Hayward has become a shutdown corner, which means that opposing offensive coordinators are avoiding him as best they are able. He had exactly zero tackles in Week 9, and the Week 10 opponent, the Raiders, are just middle of the pack in terms of allowing opposing CB production, if they even target his side of the field.

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 Giants, Panthers, Browns, or Falcons but certainly you will do well if you own a top DL on the Chiefs Bay that you can plug in this week, for the most part.

Linebackers

New York Giants @ New York Jets

Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay

Cleveland Browns vs Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans

Defensive Ends

New York Jets vs New York Giants

Tennessee Titans vs Kansas City

Defensive Tackles 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Arizona

Tennessee Titans vs Kansas City

Safeties

San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans

Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis

Chicago Bears vs Detroit

Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota

Cornerbacks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Arizona

Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco

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. Not all the players commented on are here, however, as there is no need to waste your time searching for players that are heavily owned. 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

Joe Walker ARI

Brennan Scarlett HOU

Harold Landry TEN

Brandon Copeland NYJ

Bud Dupree PIT

Devin White TB

Mack Wilson CLE

Preston Smith GB

Patrick Onawuasor BAL

Sean Lee DAL

Dre Greenlaw SF

Defensive Linemen

Melvin Ingram DE LAC

Defensive Backs

Minkah Fitzpatrick S PIT (Owned in 34.5% of ESPN leagues, and 32% of Yahoo leagues)

Erik Harris S OAK

Josh Norman CB WAS

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

Maurice Alexander BUF knee IR

Isaiah Irving CHI quadriceps

Leighton Vander Esch DAL neck

Corey Nelson DEN biceps IR

Quincy Williams JAX hamstring

Denzel Perryman LAC knee

Bryce Hager LAR shoulder

Jordan Jenkins NYJ calf

Neville Hewitt NYJ neck

C.J. Mosley NYJ groin

Blake Cashman NYJ shoulder-labrum IR

Albert McClellan NYJ concussion IR

Nigel Bradham PHI ankle

Ulysses Gilbert PIT back IR

Kwon Alexander SF pectoral IR

Carl Nassib TB groin

Anthony Nelson TB hamstring

Jack Cichy TB elbow IR

Harold Landry TEN shoulder

Defensive Linemen

DE

Zach Allen ARI neck

Olivier Vernon CLE knee

DeMarcus Walker DEN shoulder

Mike Daniels DET foot

Austin Bryant DET pectoral IR

J.J. Watt HOU pectoral IR

Frank Clark KC neck

Alex Okafor KC ankle

Avery Moss MIA ankle

Henry Anderson NYJ shoulder

Josh Mauro OAK groin

Arden Key OAK foot

Jurrell Casey TEN shoulder

DT

Clinton McDonald ARI neck IR

Gerald McCoy CAR knee

Vernon Butler CAR back

Eddie Goldman CHI thigh

Ryan Glasgow CIN knee IR

Daniel Ekuale CLE calf IR

Cortez Broughton LAC illness

Justin Jones LAC shoulder

Brandon Mebane LAC knee

Davon Godchaux MIA shoulder

Christian Wilkins MIA toe

Steve McLendon NYJ neck

Quinton Jefferson SEA oblique

Tim Settle WAS hamstring

Defensive Backs

S

Kurt Coleman BUF hamstring

Eric Reid CAR ankle

Deon Bush CHI illness

Eric Murray CLE knee

Damarious Randall CLE hamstring

Jeff Heath DAL knee

Will Parks DEN hand

Tracy Walker DET knee

Tashaun Gipson HOU back

Malik Hooker IND knee

D.J. Hayden JAX shoulder

Roderic Teamer LAC groin

Nasir Adderley LAC hamstring IR

Walt Aikens MIA hip

Ken Webster MIA ankle

Reshad Jones MIA chest

Patrick Robinson NO hamsring

Kenny Ladler NYG undisclosed

Rontez Miles NYJ neck

Quandre Diggs SEA hamstring

Lano Hill SEA elbow

Tedric Thompson SEA shoulder IR

Deshazor Everett WAS ankle

Montae Nicholson WAS ankle

CB

Desmond Trufant ATL toe

Kevin Johnson BUF knee

James Bradberry CAR groin

Dre Kirkpatrick CIN knee

Bryce Callahan DEN foot

Amani Oruwariye DET knee

Lonnie Johnson HOU concussion

Bradley Roby HOU hamstring

Pierre Desir IND hamstring

Kendall Fuller KC thumb

Xavien Howard MIA knee IR

Aqib Talib MIA ribs IR

Darryl Roberts NYJ calf

Trumaine Johnson NYJ ankle IR

Ahkello Witherspoon SF foot

Carlton Davis TB hip

Chris Milton TEN ankle

Malcolm Butler TEN wrist IR

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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