Thank goodness the bye weeks are now in the rear view mirror of the 2017 fantasy football season. There is a corresponding uptick in the number of IDP to consider adding to your roster, especially in the linebacker ranks. Let us get to the profiles of defensive players you may want to target off the wire or as free agents. As ever, remember that the Waiver Wire Target section shows those players discussed in the first three sections that have low ownership for your shopping convenience.

Elevator Going Up


Vince Williams PIT

Patrick Onwuasor BAL

Reggie Ragland KC

Calvin Munson NYG

Karlos Dansby ARI

James Burgess CLE

Williams has found his groove as the starting inside linebacker for the Steelers, with the second most tackles and sacks on the team heading into Week 12. He had a stellar Week 11 against the visiting Titans, with seven total tackles (six solo) and two of those being for a loss of yards (TFL). He also added a sack and three quarterback hits/hurries (QH). If you are looking to replace a linebacker on your roster, he is likely available on the wire with his low ownership percentages on the various platforms.

Onwuasor is coming off a 10 total tackle week (eight solo) against the Packers, and he also recovered a fumble in Week 11. He is a good LB in tackle-oriented leagues, but do not expect much in the way of big plays.

Ragland is similar toOnweasor in that he has more value in leagues that value tackles. He had nine total tackles (eight solo, one TFL) in Week 11 playing along side Derrick Johnson. He certainly has performed better since leaving Buffalo via a trade, and the KC defensive scheme makes him worth a look, but only if your league devalues big plays.

Munson is likely a short term add, and his playing time is highly dependent on the status of injured B.J. Goodson. He did have 13 combined tackles in Week 11 (eight solo), so if he gets the snaps, he is worthy of consideration, albeit in tackle-oriented leagues.

Dansby is a three-down LB, always a desired commodity in IDP leagues. Since the Week 8 bye, he has accumulated 23 total tackles (16 solo) and does have the ability to make the big play as well, with a sack, an interception (INT) and two passes defensed (PD) in Week 9, but pick him up for the tackle production.

Burgess will see more time on the field with Jamie Collins out for the season. He capitalized on the increased playing time with a 16 total tackle output in Week 11, with a sack added in as the cherry on top of the sundae. Do not expect double digit tackles every week, but do expect steady tackle numbers.

IDP to consider that have been previously profiled: Tahir Whitehead DET (Week5), Matt Judon BAL (Week 7)

Defensive Linemen

Derek Wolfe DE DEN

Derek Barnett DE PHI

Gerald McCoy DT TB

Davon Godchaux DT MIA

Malik Jackson DT JAX

Wolfe had a sack and five solo tackles against the Bengals in Week 11 (three TFL) as well as pair of QH. Cincinnati was not generous with the tackle opportunities, so Wolfe grabbing five solos is a good sign.

Barnett has been adapting to life as a NFL rookie, and burst out in Week 11with two sacks and forced fumble to go with three tackles, all solo. He is not a full-time player at this point, but in dynasty or keeper leagues he is worth targeting.

McCoy leads off the DTs this week, where we feature three. He picked up another sack last week, giving him three in his last two contests. He also had seven total tackles (three solo, one TFL) and three QH against the Dolphins. He is coming on and now would be a great time to consider him in leagues that require a DT, or in deeper DL leagues.

Godchaux is another rookie who is a part time player but putting up good results. He is arguably outplaying Ndamukong Suh recently, with 18 total tackles (13 solo) over his past four games. He is coming off a five total tackle game against the Bucs with one TFL.

Jackson is a big-play DT, with two sacks and a forced fumble in his last three games. The tackle numbers are not exceptional, although for a DT he is consistent with 14 combined tackles over his last five games.

IDP to consider that have been previously profiled: Yannick Ngakoue DE JAX (Week 5), Willie Henry DE/DT BAL (Week 6), Leger Douzable DT SF (Week 9)

Defensive Backs

Budda Baker S ARI

John Johnson III S LAR

Johnathan Cyprien S TEN

Eric Reid S SF

Darqueze Dennard CB CIN

Baker should have been profiled last week before he broke out with a 12 combined tackle effort (10 solo, one TFL), to complement his sack, QH, PD, fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. He is still under owned in most leagues and with Tyvon Branch out, he is a perfect candidate to add going forward, and potentially to keep into 2018.

Johnson is a safety to grab if your league values tackles, as he is coming off an eight solo tackle effort against the Vikings in Week 11. He has accumulated 15 solo tackles and four assists in his last three games, so the Week 11 effort is not a fluke.

Cyprien looks as though his hamstring problem that kept him on the sidelines for six weeks has been solved. He played 67 snaps in Week 11, with 10 total tackles (six solo). Assuming his health holds up, he is an excellent pickup in tackle-oriented leagues going forward.

Reid is now locked in at safety, aborting the plan to shift him to LB. He responded in Week 10 with an eight total tackle effort (seven solo), and is now coming off a bye week to face the Seahawks who are in the middle of the pack when it comes to allowing points to opposing safeties. He then has a couple of tasty matchups against the Bears and Texans, so now would be a great time to add him to your roster.

Dennard is our lone CB this week. He had a good eight solo tackle effort against the Broncos, with a PD thrown in for good measure. His next three opponents (Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Chicago are all in the top half of teams allowing points to opposing CBs, with the Browns topping the list for his Week 12 action.

IDP to consider that have been previously profiled: Jordan Poyer S BUF (Week 3), Adoree Jackson CB TEN (Week 6)

Escalator Going Down


Anthony Barr MIN

Barr has been in a slump of late, with just eight tackles over his past three games, although at least those were solo tackles. Still, that kind of production is not what you want from a starting LB, so bench or drop him for one of the guys profiled above.

Defensive Linemen

Ndamukong Suh DT MIA

Suh has been overshadowed by the rookie Godchaux playing opposite him recently. It is not as though Suh has become unownable, but there are better producing options out there on the wire. Do not be swayed by prior production or name recognition at DT.

Defensive Backs

Barry Church S JAX

Xavier Rhodes CB MIN

Church was always a dependable option in a not great Dallas defensive secondary, but in Jacksonville he has a great front defense stopping him from the production he saw in Dallas. He is in a great defense, but the secondary will suffer from the great line and linebacker play that limits his chances.

Rhodes has undoubtedly disappointed many that drafted him this past August/September. He is playing plenty of snaps, but teams are avoiding him in the passing game, depleting his value as an IDP option. Much like the situation with any shutdown corner, his opportunities to rack up the points will be lacking.

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 Ravenss, but certainly you will do well if you own a top LB on the Texans, Bengals, Chiefs, Cardinals or Colts that you can plug in this week, for the most part. And do not miss out on the great Pittsburgh @ Green Bay cornerback matchup on both ends this week.


Houston @ Baltimore

Cincinnati v Cleveland

Kansas City v Buffalo

Arizona v Jacksonville

Indianapolis v Tennessee

Defensive Ends

Baltimore v Houston

Oakland v Denver

Tennessee @ Indianapolis

Minnesota v Detroit

Defensive Tackles

New York Giants @ Washington

Jacksonville @ Arizona

Carolina @ New York Jets


Jacksonville @ Arizona

Miami @ New England

Seattle @ San Francisco

New England v Miami

Denver @ Oakland

New York Jets v Carolina


Cincinnati v Cleveland

Oakland v Denver

San Francisco v Seattle

Green Bay v Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh @ Green Bay

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.


Vince Williams PIT

Patrick Onwuasor BAL

Reggie Ragland KC

Calvin Munson NYG

Karlos Dansby ARI

James Burgess CLE

Defensive Linesmen

Derek Wolfe DE DEN

Derek Barnett DE PHI

Gerald McCoy DT TB

Davon Godchaux DT MIA

Malik Jackson DT JAX

Defensive Backs

Budda Baker S ARI

John Johnson III S LAR

Johnathan Cyprien S TEN

Eric Reid S SF

Darqueze Dennard CB CIN

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.


Duke Riley ATLknee (Meniscus)

C.J. Mosley BAL ankle

Leonard Floyd CHI knee (MCL)

Danny Trevathan CHI calf

Vincent Rey CIN hamstring

Kevin Minter CIN elbow

Sean Lee DAL hamstring

Anthony Hitchens DAL groin

Shane Ray DEN ankle

Clay Matthews GB groin

Dylan Cole HOU hamstring

John Simon IND neck

Blair Brown JAX hamstring

Donald Payne JAX hamstring

Tamba Hali KC knee

Dee Ford KC back

Hayes Pullard LAC neck

James Onwualu LAC quadriceps

Brandon Watts MIA back

Stephone Anthony MIA knee

Chase Allen MIA concussion

Bryan Braman NO undisclosed

A.J. Klein NO ankle

Kelvin Sheppard NYG groin

B.J. Goodson NYG ankle

Calvin Munson NYG quadriceps

Corey Lemonier NYJ foot

James Harrison PIT back

Michael Wilhoite SEA calf

Elliot Lee SF knee

Brian Orakpo TEN leg

Zach Brown WAS Achilles

Martrell Spaight WAS ankle

Ryan Anderson WAS knee

Defensive Linemen


Josh Mauro ARI ankle

Ezekiel Ansah DET back

Allen Bailey KC knee (MCL)

Brian Robison MIN back

Alex Okafor NO Achilles

Jason Pierre-Paul NYG knee

Olivier Vernon NYG shoulder

Anthony Johnson NYJ undisclosed

Aaron Lynch SF calf

Solomon Thomas SF knee (MCL)

William Gholston TB neck

Matta Ioannidis WAS hand

Anthony Lanier WAS knee


Corey Peters ARI ankle

Miliek Collins DAL foot

Kenny Clark GB ankle

Corey Liuget LAC toe

Malcolm Brown NE ankle

Corbin Bryant NYGelbow

Damon Harrison NYG ankle

Dalvin Tomlinson NYG ankle

Beau Allen PHI knee

Jarran Reed SEA hamstring

Terrell McClain WAS toe

Defensive Backs


Micah Hyde BUF knee

Chris Brosinski CHI hamstring

Ed Reynolds CLE knee

Derron Smith CLE knee

Morgan Burnett GB groin

Clayton Geathers IND neck

Andrew Sendejo MIN groin

Kenny Vaccaro NO groin

Michael Mitchell PIT ankle

Kam Chancellor SEA neck

Adrian Colbert SF thumb

Kevin Byard TEN shoulder

Su'a Cravens WAS personal

Montae Nicholson WAS concussion


Kyle Fuller CHIU hand

Bryce Callahan CHI knee

Adam Jones CIN concussion

William Jackson CIN  toe

Jamal Agnew DET knee

Kevin King GB shoulder

Kevin Johnson HOU concussion

Chris Culliver IND undisclosed

Darryl Morris IND undisclosed

Kenny Moore IND head

Kayvon Webster LAR concussion

Nickell Robey LAR thigh

Troy Hill LAR hamstring

Eric Rowe NE groin

Marshon Lattimore NO ankle

Morris Claiborne NYJ foot

David Amerson OAK foot

Joe Haden PIT upper leg

Shaq Griffin SEA concussion

Vernon Hargreaves TB hamstring

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