Week 6 provides sparse help at linebacker, but plenty of options at defensive line and in the secondary if you need help getting through bye weeks and injuries. As noted below, there are another four teams not playing this week, and no player from those teams is profiled below, although if you have the bench space, picking up a player like Frank Clark DE SEA could render benefits going forward.

Bye Weeks coming up: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle

Elevator Going Up


Mark Barron LAR

Zach Cunningham HOU

Danny Trevathan CHI

Mason Foster WAS

After his Week 5 effort where he racked up 15 total tackles (12 solo) Barron is looking like a plug-and-play LB. He also had a tackle for loss of yards (TFL) and a quarterback hit/hurry (QH) against the Seahawks. Just realize that he landed on the injury report with a knee issue this week.

Cunningham has not yet won an every-down job in Houston yet, but he has been productive filling in for the suspended Brian Cushing. Against the Chiefs, he snagged nine total tackles (four solo) as well as forcing a fumble. He gets to face the Browns in Week 6, the team that averages the most fantasy points allowed to opposing linebackers.

Trevathan's one game suspension has been served, and he immediately becomes the top LB on the Chicago roster. Playing on the inside limits his big play potential, but the tackle numbers will continue to mount for him, so long as he does not do anything stupid on the field, such as a helmet-to-helmet tackle. He has a great matchup against the Ravens in Week 6.

Foster is coming off a bye week, which should have allowed his banged-up shoulder time to further heal. He is racking up tackles at a pace of just over seven per game this season, and while he does throw in the occasional big play (one pass defended (PD) and an interception (INT) through three games in 2017), you want him more in a tackle-heavy scoring league.

Defensive Linemen

Elvis Dumervil DE SF

Jurrell Casey DE TEN

Melvin Ingram DE LAC

Andre Branch DE MIA

Myles Garrett DE CLE

Kawann Short DT CAR

Willie Henry DT BAL

Dumervil is a player that can provide big plays, although his snap counts are limited which hurts his tackle numbers. He picked up another 1.5 sacks against the Colts in Week 5, giving him 3.5 over the past two contests. He is unlikely to match the 17 sack seasons he put up in 2009 and 2014, especially with the team limiting his time on the field.

Casey has collected a sack in each of the past two games, admittedly giving him two sacks on the season. He appears to be putting his game into a higher gear, and is worth considering if you play in a balanced scoring league, as he is good for a handful of tackles each week. Plus, he has favorable matchups in the next two weeks, with the Titans facing Indy and Cleveland prior to his Week 8 bye.

Ingram is likely owned in your league(s), but if for some odd reason he has been overlooked, it is suggested you pick him up immediately. He has 7.5 sacks on the season, which nearly matches his total from last season (eight). He also forced a fumble which he recovered at the end of the game against the Giants. With both big-play potential and steady tackling numbers, he is a top-10 DE in any IDP format. Note that he also has dual eligibility at both LB and DL in both Yahoo and ESPN formats.

Branch will not give you huge tackle numbers, but he does have three sacks so far in 2017, and is coming off a two-sack effort against the Titans this past week. He is seeing 40 or so snaps over the first five weeks of the season, although he has only played in four games after signing as a free agent.

Garrett saw limited action in his first start, and the rookie picked up a pair of sacks despite being limited to just 19 snaps on defense. He also collected a pair of tackles, both solo. His playing time should pick up as a result of his showing in Week 5.

Short was quite the force against the Lions in Carolina's Week 5 road victory, with three solo tackles (two TFL), a couple of sacks, a forced fumble and 2 QH. He now has three sacks in the past two weeks, and has a favorable matchup against the Eagles at home coming up in Week 6.

Henry is taking advantage of Brandon Williams' injury, collecting five total tackles (three solo, one TFL) in Week 5. He also added a pair of PDs and one QH on the road in Oakland. Be prepared, though, as his next four matchups (Chicago, Minnesota, Miami and Tennessee) are not exactly favorable.

Defensive Backs

Tavon Wilson S DET

Darian Thompson S NYG

Tashaun Gipson S JAX

Justin Evans S TB

Jason McCourty CB CLE

Dontae Johnson CB SF

Adoree' Jackson CB TEN

Patrick Robinson CB PHI

Jalen Ramsey CB JAX

Wilson has become an every-down safety for Detroit, and is coming off an impressive 10 total tackle effort in Week 5 (nine solo, three TFL). His Week 6 promises to be a test, though, as the Lions head to New Orleans and take on the Drew Brees led offense of the Saints.

Thompson will be looked to shore up the Giants' secondary with Landon Collins landing on the injury list (see below). He played 75 snaps in Week 4, grabbing 11 total tackles (eight solo), a QH, an INT and two PDs. The Week 6 opponent, Denver, will pose a difficult test for the second-year player.

Gipson is seeing plenty of playing time, and was on the field for all but one snap on defense in Week 5. He collected two INT and two PD against the Steelers last week, to accompany his five solo tackles and one assist. Week 6's opponent, the Rams, is not a terrible matchup, either.

Evans received his first start of the season against the Patriots in Week 5, and acquitted himself well, with nine total tackles (eight solo). He also picked off a pass and had two PDs in the contest. Taking on the Cardinals in Week 6 looks promising, as Arizona is allowing the fifth most points to opposing safeties through Week 5.

McCourty has always been a good tackler, but can also give his fantasy owner big plays, too. He already has a pair of INT this season, as well as seven PD, to go with his 23 total tackles (19 solo) and pair of forced fumbles. He is playing as expected, like a CB1.

Johnson is seeing plenty of action on the field, as San Francisco struggles on defense in 2017, which is leading to great tackle numbers for the 25-year old corner. He is not much use in terms of offering big plays (he has just one INT over three full seasons, and has not picked off a pass this year), but he has the height at 6'2" and bulk (200 lb.) and has collected 17 total tackles (15 solo) over the past two games. He should be targeted plenty when he heads to Washington for the game in Week 6.

Rookie cornerbacks, such as Jackson, are typically excellent sources of IDP production, as opposing offenses will test them until they can prove their skills in the secondary. As a starting CB, he will see plenty of snaps and that makes for useful fantasy production. In Week 5, he was limited to just two tackles, both solo and a PD. He also sees snaps on special teams as the Titans' No. 1 kick and punt returner, which is useful if your league settings provide for return yard scoring.

Robinson has played in all five contests for the Titans this season, serving as the nickle corner. He has seven PD on the season so far, to go with his 20 total tackles (18 solo). His snap count is not exactly stable, but he did play 46 snaps on defense in Week 5, and gets to play against the Panthers in Week 6, who are in the middle of the pack as far as allowing fantasy points to opposing corners.

Ramsey is rounding out to be an elite shutdown corner, with two INT and nine PD over the first five games of 2017. He was on the field for all 79 defensive snaps in Week 5. While the Rams are not a great opponent in terms of allowing cornerbacks to put up fantasy numbers, his production has been steady. He did collect seven tackles against the Steelers last week, but that is not to be expected every week.

Escalator Going Down


No players of note this week, except for those listed on the injury report below.

Defensive Linemen

Carlos Dunlap DE CIN

Dunlap is coming off a horrific Week 5 effort against Buffalo, where he managed to collect just one assist. He has just one sack through five games, and only 12 total tackles. Until he starts to perform up to expectations, he should be benched, but it is tough to cut him just yet, as he was likely drafted as a top-10 DL.

Defensive Backs

As with the linebackers above, no outstanding players to insert here this week, save for those who are on the injury report.

Matchups to Exploit

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


Houston vs Cleveland

Chicago @ Baltimore

New York Giants @ Denver

New York Jets vs New England

Defensive Ends

Cleveland @ Houston

Tampa Bay @ Arizona

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City

Philadelphia @ Carolina

Defensive Tackles

Tampa Bay @ Arizona

Cleveland @ Houston

New Orleans vs Detroit

Tennessee vs Indianapolis


Atlanta vs Miami

Baltimore vs Chicago

Philadelphia @ Carolina


Houston vs Cleveland

Denver vs New York Giants

Tampa Bay @ Arizona

Waiver Wire Targets

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.


Mark Barron LAR

Zach Cunningham HOU

Danny Trevathan CHI

Mason Foster WAS

Defensive Linesmen

Elvis Dumervil DE SF

Jurrell Casey DE TEN

Andre Branch DE MIA

Myles Garrett DE CLE

Kawann Short DT CAR

Willie Henry DT BAL

Defensive Backs

Tavon Wilson S DET

Darian Thompson S NYG

Tashaun Gipson S JAX

Justin Evans S TB

Jason McCourty CB CLE

Dontae Johnson CB SF

Adoree' Jackson CB TEN

Patrick Robinson CB PHI

Jalen Ramsey CB JAX

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.


Vic Beasley ATL hamstring

Ramon Humber BUF thumb

John Timu CHI knee

Nick Kwiatkoski CHI pectoral

Jamie Collins CLE concussion

James Burgess CLE knee

Sean Lee DAL hamstring

Paul Worrilow DET knee (MCL)

Joe Thomas GB ankle

Whitney Mercilus HOU pectoral

Ben Heeney HOU knee

Anthony Walker IND hamstring

Dee Ford KC lower back

Brandon Watts MIL back

Bryan Braman NO undisclosed

Jonathan Casillas NYG neck

Corey Lemonier NYJ foot

Josh Martin NYJ ankle

Marquel Lee OAK ankle

NaVorro Bowman SF neck

Dekoda Watson SF groin

Reuben Foster SF ankle

Lavonte David TB ankle

Kwon Alexander TB hamstring

Martrell Spaight WAS ribs

Defensive Linemen


Robert Nkemdiche ARI calf

Courtney Upshaw ATL ankle

Brandon Williams BAL foot

Carl Davis BAL hamstring

Julius Peppers CAR shoulder

Mario Addison CAR knee

J.J. Watt HOU lower leg (presumably out for the season)

Lerentee McCray JAX knee

Olivier Vernon NYG ankle

Kony Ealy NYJ shoulder

Chris Long PHI foot

Cliff Avril SEA neck

Michael Bennett SEA foot

Ryan Russell TB shoulder


Olsen Pierre ARI ankle

Stephen Paea DAL knee

Haloti Ngata DET elbow

Jordan Phillips MIA ankle

Beau Allen PHI foot

Destiny Vaeao PHI wrist

Defensive Backs


Kurt Coleman CAR knee (MCL)

Demetrious Cox CAR ankle

Chris Prosinski CHI hamstring

Shawn Williams CIN elbow

Derron Smith CIN ankle

Ed Reynolds CLE knee

Morgan Burnett GB hamstring

Kentrell Brice GB ankle

Corey Moore HOU concussion

Jarrod Wilson JAX shoulder

Steven Terrell KC concussion

Lamarcus Joyner LAR hamstring

Jayron Kearse MIN groin

Landon Collins NYG ankle

Eric Reid SF knee

Adrian Colbert SF hamstring

T.J. Ward TB hip

Josh Robinson TB concussion

Keith Tandy TB hip

Johnathan Cyprien TEN hamstring

Su'a Cravens WAS personal

Deshazor Everett WAS hamstring


Jaylen Hill BAL thigh

E.J. Gaines BUF groin

Leonard Johnson BUF hamstring

James Bradberry CAR calf

Daryl Worley CAR ankle

Marcus Cooper CHI back

Adam Jones CIN back

Dre Kirkpatrick CIN shoulder

Nolan Carroll DAL concussion

Chidobe Awuzie DAL hamstring

Kevin King GB concussion

Kevin Johnson HOU knee

Chris Culliver IND undisclosed

Darryl Morris IND undisclosed

Tevin Mitchel IND abdomen

Nate Hairston IND quadriceps

Byron Maxwell MIA hamstring

Eric Rowe NE groin

Sterling Moore NO chest

Darryl Roberts NYJ hamstring

Juston Burris NYJ foot

Gareon Conley OAK shin

David Amerson OAK concussion

Ronald Darby PHI ankle

Jeremy Lane SEA groin

Ahkello Witherspoon SF concussion

Josh Norman WAS ribs

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. If you have any fantasy football questions, especially about IDP leagues, I can be reached at ia@fantasyalarm.com.