As the early season cranks up, there are plenty of options to consider adding to your roster in the event early injury has struck your defensive squad, or if you find that an IDP you drafted a few weeks ago is not playing up to expectations. Plenty of early injuries to deal with, as is to be expected with the nature of the game, as set forth further down in the injury report.

Elevator Going Up


Shaquil Barrett TB

Barrett has close to a three-down role now that he is out of Denver and playing for the Bucs, and racked up three solo tackles, all for a loss of yards (TFL) against Carolina in Week 2. He also collected four QB hits/hurries (QH) and a trio of sacks to pad his stat line.

Note that he was limited in practice on Wednesday and is listed as questionable for the Week 3 contest against the Giants. 

Preston Brown CIN

Brown is coming off a tremendous tackle-production game against the visiting 49ers, with 14 total tackles (TT), although 10 of those were only assists, which limits the fantasy value. It is looking like the Bengals will be on defense a whole bunch this season, so the middle linebackers for the Bengals should continue to be useful in tackle-oriented leagues.

Jerome Baker MIA

Miami is shaping up as defense that is also going to be on the field plenty of snaps, and Baker should be the recipient of plenty of tackle opportunities as a result. He is coming off a 12 TT effort against the Patriots (seven solo).

Quincy Williams JAX

The weak-side LB for the Jags is schemed to produce IDP results, and that is where the rookie Williams plays. He recently put up a nine TT effort in Week 2, with six of those tackles of the solo variety.

Defensive Linemen

Benson Mayowa DE OAK

Mayowa has collected 3.5 sacks while playing just 43 snaps on defense for the Raiders in 2019. He forced a fumble (FF) in the contest against KC last week, as well as contributing two QH and three TT (one sol, one TFL), along with 1.5 sacks. The sacks may trail off, although his production may lead to increased playing time, and increased chances to get to opposing QBs.

Trey Hendrickson DE NO

Hendrickson picked up another sack last week, giving him three on the season, and also forced a fumble from the visiting Ram offense. He is not a great source of tackles, having collected just five TT this season, though, so he is much more attractive in big-play leagues to date.

Arik Armstead DE SF

The fifth-year veteran has played the most snaps of any San Francisco DL through two games, and has collected a sack in each contest. This week, he gets to take on a QB making his first start when Pittsburgh comes to visit.

Chase Winovich DE NE

The Patriot rookie gets to face off against a third-string QB in the form of Jet Luke Falk . He is another DL that is not much in terms of a tackle-producer, but is coming off a two-sack effort against another sub-par offense in Miami, so big play potential exists.

Defensive Backs

Tracy Walker S DET

Walker has played every snap on defense for the Lions, and has 19 TT on the season, collecting 10 last week (seven solo, one TFL). The Detroit secondary looks strong out of the gate, and Walker in his second season seems to be coming on with the Detroit D.

Ronnie Harrison S JAX

Harrison will be relied upon to provide run support for the depleted Jaguar linebacking crew, and picked up a sack and eight TT in Week 2 against the Texans (four solo). 

Eddie Jackson S CHI

Jackson is an athletic IDP, and he put up two pass deflections (PD) against the host Broncos last week, as well as racking up 10 TT (six solo). He has the potential to be of value in both tackle-oriented and big play leagues in an IDP secondary.

Justin Simmons S DEN

On the other side of the field in Week 2, Simmons was also busy with a pair of PDs himself, as well as nine TT (eight solo). 

Terrell Edmunds S PIT

Pittsburgh is likely to see more defensive time per game with their starting QB sidelined for the season, which will lead to more opportunity for production by this second-year defensive back. He is building on an 11 TT effort in Week 2, and while he does not look to be a big-play DB, the tackles are what you usually seek in a safety in IDP leagues.

Darnell Savage S GB

The first-round pick has begun the season as an every-down strong safety in Green Bay. The Packers’ linebacking corps are not a strength of the defense, so he should see plenty of tackle opportunities given his time on the field. He collected six solo tackles and a FF against division-rival Minnesota last week.

Note that Savage is on the injury report with a shin issue and is listed on Wednesday as questionable for Week 3 against the Broncos.

Escalator Going Down


None to speak of, except for those linebackers listed below in the injury listing below.

Defensive Linemen

None to write about, save for those in the injury report below.

Defensive Backs

Earl Thomas S BAL

Thomas put up just a single assisted tackle in Week 2, and has a mere 2 TT on the season, despite playing over 100 defensive snaps in two games. That sort of production is the sort that leads to benching in for fantasy purposes, if not an outright drop.

Clayton Geathers S IND

The veteran’s snap count is declining over the first two games this season, and while that is a small sample size, the Colts without their preferred starting QB due to Andrew Luck ’s retirement may see them showcase their young talent, such as fourth round pick Khari Willis. Keep an eye on his stat line and snap count going forward, but with just three TT in Week 2 (two solo), it would be prudent to show him your bench for the present.

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.


Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina

LA Rams @ Cleveland

Defensive Ends

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle

New England Patriots vs New York Jets

Green Bay Packers vs Denver

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay

Defensive Tackles 

Buffalo Bills vs Cincinnati

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee


Indianapolis Colts vs Atlanta

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New York Giants

Washington vs Chicago


LA Rams @ Cleveland

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona

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.


Shaquil Barrett TB

Preston Brown CIN

Jerome Baker MI

Quincy Williams JAX

Defensive Linemen

Benson Mayowa DE OAK

Trey Hendrickson DE NO

Arik Armstead DE SF

Chase Winovich DE NE

Defensive Backs

Tracy Walker S DET

Ronnie Harrison S JAX

Eddie Jackson S CHI

Justin Simmons S DEN

Terrell Edmunds S PIT

Darnell Savage S GB

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.


Jordan Hicks ARI groin

Zeke Turner ARI hand

Christian Kirk sey CLE undisclosed

Adarius Taylor CLE ankle

Luke Gifford DAL ankle

Joe Jones DEN triceps

Jarrad Davis DET ankle

Blake Martinez GB shoulder

Kyler Fackrell GB shoulder

Oren Burks GB pectoral

Darius Leonard IND concussion

D.J. Alexander JAX hamstring

Chase Allen MIA undisclosed

Quentin Poling MIA undisclosed

Anthony Barr MIN groin

Kentrell Brothers MIN wrist

Ben Gedeon MIN groin

Alex Anzalone NO undisclosed (IR)

Kareem Martin NYG knee (IR)

C.J. Mosley NYJ groin

Jordan Jenkins NYJ calf

Vontaze Burfict OAK shoulder

Nate Gerry PHI knee

Kamu Grugier-Hill PHI knee-MCL

Anthony Chickillo PIT foot

Vince Williams PIT hamstring

Davante Bond TB hamstring

Shaquil Barrett TB groin

Carl Nassib TB calf

Devin White TB knee-MCL

Wesley Woodyard TEN quadriceps

Cassanova McKinzy WAS hip

Defensive Linemen


Jonathan Bullard ARI hamstring

Bruce Irvin CAR hamstring

Kerry Wynn CIN concussion

Carl Lawson CIN hamstring

Da’Shawn Hand DET elbow

Kemoko Turay IND neck

Jabaal Sheard IND knee

Trent Harris MIA foot

Jonathan Ledbetter MIA ankle (IR)

Ade Aruna MIN knee

Derek Barnett PHI shoulder

Dee Ford SF quadriceps

Nick Bosa SF ankle

Jonathan Allen WAS knee-MCL


Corey Peters ARI knee

Ra’Shede Hageman ATL undisclosed (IR)

Kawann Short CAR shoulder

Bilal Nichols CHI wrist

Ryan Glasgow CIN thigh

Larry Ogunjobi CLE undisclosed

Tyrone Crawford DAL hip

Antwaun Woods DAL knee

Montravius Dams GB shoulder

Al-Quadin Muhammad IND shoulder

Aaron Donald LAR back

Shamar Stephen MIN knee

Sheldon Rankins NE Achilles

Quinnen Williams NYJ ankle

Corey Liuget OAK knee

Fletcher Cox PHI toe

Timmy Jernigan PHI foot

Quinton Jefferson SEA hip

Poona Ford SEA calf

Beau Allen TB illness

Caleb Brantley WAS ankle (IR)

Defensive Backs


Keanu Neal ATL groin

Brynden Trawick BAL arm

Rashaan Gaulden CAR groin

Morgan Burnett CLE quadriceps

Damarious Randall CLE concussion

Xavier Woods DAL ankle

C.J. Moore DET heel

Raven Greene GB ankle (IR)

Darnell Savage GB shin

A.J. Moore HOU knee

Josh Robinson JAX foot

Cody Brown JAX undisclosed

Adrian Phillips LAC forearm (IR)

Ken Webster MIA illness

Bobby McCain MIA shoulder

Reshad Jones MIA ankle

Jayron Kearse MIN hip

Grant Haley NYG illness

Rontez Miles NYJ hip

Curtis Riley OAK hip

Johnathan Abram OAK shoulder-labrum (IR)

Johnathan Cyprien PHI knee

Rudy Ford PHI hamstring

Sean Davis PIT shoulder-labrum (IR)

Jaquiski Tartt SF toe

Tedric Thompson SEA hamstring

Neiko Thorpe SEA hamstring

Jamel Dean TB ankle


Jimmy Smith BAL knee

Tre’Davious White BUF neck

Taron Johnson BUF hamstring

B.W. Webb CIN arm

Bryce Callahan DEN foot

Pierre Desir IND knee

A.J. Bouye JAX hip

Michael Davis LAC hamstring

Trevor Williams LAC quadriceps (IR)

Mackensie Alexander NIM elbow

Gareon Conley OAK neck

Joe Haden PIT shoulder

Jimmie Ward SF hand

Chris Milton TEN collarbone

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie WAS ankle (IR)

Quinton Dunbar WAS knee

Fabian Moreau WAS ankle

Greg Stroman WAS undisclosed (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 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.