This week’s article is chock full of the usual information provided every week, including the handy cheat sheet of waiver wire targets and exploitable matchups. Plenty of rising IDP are profiled for your consideration, but not too many defensive players trending downward, aside from those on the injury report.

Bye Weeks coming up: This Week: Carolina, Washington; Next Week (Week 5): Chicago, Tampa Bay; Week 6: Detroit, New Orleans

Elevator Going Up


Fred Warner & Justin Houston SF

This week’s profiles lead off with a pair of teammates on the 49er squad in Warner and Houston. The rookie Warner played all the team’s snaps against the host Chiefs in Week 3, despite the return of Reuben Foster to action, and collected 11 total tackles (TT) with nine of those being of the solo variety and two for loss of yards (TFL). He also tossed in a pass deflection (PD) for good measure. Houston was active as well, with five TT (four solo, two TFL) and a pair of sacks and two forced fumbles. Houston’s production will not always be this dynamic, but he is an edge rusher who will be valuable in big play leagues.

Anthony Walker IND

Walker saw a huge uptick in snaps this past week, which led to an improved stat line: nine TT (seven solo), an INT and a PD. Assuming he remains close to an every down LB, he is a low ownership percentage player to snag off the wire.

Leighton Vander Esch e DAL

The rookie in Dallas now gets a chance to shine with Sean Lee on the sidelines with yet another injury. He collected double digit tackles in Week 3 (nine solo, two assists) with one of those being a TFL. He is now going to see significant playing time for the Cowboys, and has decent matchups in the coming weeks against the Lions, Texans and Jags, at least in terms of points allowed to opposing LBs through the first three weeks of play.

Eli Harold DET

The Lions pass rush corps were depleted by the absence of both Ezekiel Ansah and Kerry Hyder , Jr., but the Patriots would not realize that with Harold tearing all over the gridiron on Sunday night. He picked up a pair of sacks and a couple of QB hits (QH) to go with his three solo tackles (two TFL). The Lions now look smart in picking him up last August, with three sacks in limited action to date (just 46 snaps on the season).

Wesley Woodyard TEN

Woodyard put up 12 TT in Week 3 against the Jaguars (10 solo, two TFL). He also stuffed the stat sheet with a sack, a QH and a PD. He is playing as an every down LB1 and should not be available for much longer on your waiver wire.

Defensive Linemen

Kerry Wynn DE NYG

Wynn benefited from an increased snap count this past week, playing in 65% of the plays on defense. With the increased action, he was able to put up six TT (five solo, one TFL), together with a forced fumble (FF) and a PD. He was the top defensive end for the Giants with his increase in playing time.

Derek Barnett DE PHI

Barnett had a big week as the Eagles hosted the Colts in Week 3, collecting 1.5 sacks along with his five TT (three solo, one TFL) and pair of QH. Unfortunately, the team is employing a steady rotation of options at DE, which limits any one player’s snaps, and will lead to a guessing game as to which among Barnett, Michael Bennett , Chris Long and Brandon Graham will shine each week.

Jonathan Allen DE WAS

Allen missed much of last season due to a Lisfranc injury, but the second-year player is now healthy, and playing nearly every snap on defense. He collected a couple of sacks in Week 3 against the Packers, as well as a trio of QH, to go along with his five TT (three solo, two TFL). Grab him now before your competition figures out that he is back in action.

Akiem Hicks DE CHI

Hicks’ value as a DE has been buried while he played for bad Chicago teams the past couple of seasons, but he now has better talent surrounding him in the Windy City, notably Khalil Mack who will draw attention away from Hicks. He had four TT in Week 3 (three solo) with a sack, a FF and three QH, making him a steal to target on the wire.

Kenny Clark DT GB

Clark nearly reached double digit tackles in Week 3 (six solo, three assists) and was also credited with a PD against the host Redskins. He had a sack in Week 2 and now has 16 TT on the season. He carries tremendous value in DT-mandatory leagues, but with those tackle numbers, is also valuable generally as DL in tackle-heavy IDP formats.

Defensive Backs

Clayton Geathers S IND

Geathers was credited with double digit tackles on the road in Philly (10 solo, one assist), which made him a standout DB for fantasy purposes. He also collected a PD against the Eagles. He has 30 TT this season through the first three weeks, and is thus a valuable asset in tackle-oriented IDP leagues.

Tre Boston S ARI

Boston is playing significant snaps on defense for the Cards, after having productive seasons previously with the Panthers and Chargers. He had seven TT against the Bears (five solo) and tossed in a pair of PD and an INT to pad his defensive stat line in Week 3. You may want to stash him on your bench, as his Week 4 opponent (Seattle) is playing stingy against opposing safeties, but in Week 5 things look more promising against the 49ers in San Francisco.

Terrance Mitchell CB CLE

Mitchell has already collected 15 solo tackles through the first three weeks of the season, picking up four this past week against the visiting Jets as part of his five TT in Week 3. He also was credited with an INT and a PD, making him a valuable asset in CB-mandatory leagues, although with his tackle production, he is useful in as a DB in any league.

Brian Poole CB ATL

Poole is being targeted by opposing offenses, but that simply means he can provide excellent tackle numbers as a corner in IDP leagues. He also has collected two sacks this season so far, making him worth rostering in any format.

Escalator Going Down


Whitney Mercilus HOU

Mercilus has started the season ice cold, with just seven TT to date despite high snap counts on defense. He collected just two assists in Week 3, and is not worth a roster spot until he heats up.

Defensive Linemen

Mike Daniels DE GB

Daniels was shut out in Week 3 on the stat sheet, and only has 4 TT on the season. Despite the sack he collected in Week 1, he has been a huge disappointment both in real life and fantasy and should be dropped immediately.

Defensive Backs

Kurt Coleman S NO

Coleman is taking a backseat to Vonn Bell in the Big Easy as the preferred option at strong safety. He played in less than a third of the defensive snaps this past contest, and only had two TT (one solo) to show for his limited playing time. Unless and until he sees more snaps on defense, he is not worth having in your starting lineup.

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 Seahawks, but certainly you will do well if you own a top DE on the Colts, Saints or Ravens that you can plug in this week, for the most part.


Arizona v Seattle

Oakland v Cleveland

Defensive Ends

Indianapolis v Houston

New Orleans @ New York Giants

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

Defensive Tackles

Jacksonville v New York Jets

Minnesota @ LA Rams

Cincinnati @ Atlanta


Tampa Bay @ Chicago

Green Bay v Buffalo

Pittsburgh v Baltimore

Los Angeles Chargers v San Francisco


New York Giants v New Orleans

Indianapolis v Houston

Tennessee v Philadelphia

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 will be here every week, however, as there is no need to waste your time searching for players that are heavily owned (although that is not the case this week). 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.


Fred Warner SF

Justin Houston SF

Anthony Walker IND

Leighton Vander Esch e DAL

Eli Harold DET

Wesley Woodyard TEN

Defensive Linesmen

Kerry Wynn DE NYG

Derek Barnett DE PHI

Jonathan Allen DE WAS

Akiem Hicks DE CHI

Kenny Clark DT GB

Defensive Backs

Clayton Geathers S IND

Tre Boston S ARI

Terrance Mitchell CB CLE

Brian Poole CB ATL

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.


C.J. Mosley BAL knee

Preston Brown CIN ankle

Christian Kirk sey CLE shoulder

James Burgess CLE knee-ACL

Sean Lee DAL hamstring

Nick Perry GB concussion

Dylan Cole HOU wrist

Ben Niemann KC hamstring

Mark Barron LAR ankle

Dominique Easley LAR knee

Manti Te’o NO knee

Olivier Vernon NYG ankle

Josh Martin NYJ concussion

K.J. Wright SEA knee

Jermaine Grace SEA undisclosed

Kamalei Correa TEN back

Defensive Linemen


Takkarist McKinley ATL groin

Derrick Shelby ATL groin

Shaq Lawson BUF hamstring

Trent Murphy BUF ankle

CIN knee

Emmanuel Ogbah CLE ankleDatone Jones DAL knee

Ezekiel Ansah DET shoulder

Muhammad Wilkerson GB ankle

Denico Autry IND ankle

Joey Bosa LAC foot

William Hayes MIA knee-ACL

Andre Branch MIA knee

Everson Griffen MIN personal

Trey Flowers NE concussion


Olsen Pierre ARI toe

Willie Henry BAL abdomen

Fyan Glasgow CIN knee-ACL

Maliek Collins DAL knee

Hassan Ridgeway IND calf

Theler Davison NO foot

Justin Ellis OAK foot

Vita Vea TB calf

Beau Allen TB foot

Defensive Backs


Rudy Ford ARI ankle

Ricardo Allen ATL Achilles

Justin Bethel ATL knee

Phillip Gaines BUF elbow

Da’Norris Searcy CAR concussion

DeAndre Houston-Carson CHI forearm

Marcus Cooper CHI hamstring

Prince Amukamara CHI hamstring

Dymonte Thomas DEN abdomen

Adam Jones DEN hamstring

Tramaine Brock DEN groin

Josh Jones GB ankle

Kayvon Webster HOU Achilles

Aaron Colvin HOU chest

D.J. Hayden JAX toe

Eric Berry KC heel

Aqib Talib LAR ankle

Reshad Jones MIA shoulder

Anthony Harris MIN hamstring

Marcus Sherels MIN ribs

Eric Rowe NE groin

Patrick Chung NE concussion

Patrick Robinson NO ankle

Marcus Maye NYJ foot

Karl Joseph OAK hamstring

Rodney McLeod PHI knee

Morgan Burnett PIT groin

 Marcus Williams TB hamstring

Chris Conte TB knee

Kendrick Lewis TEN foot

Troy Apke WAS hamstring


Maurice Canady BAL thigh

Kevin King GB groin

Quincy Wilson IND concussion

Marcus Peters LAR calf

Rae Waynes MIN ankle

Eli Apple NYG groin

Antonio Hamilton NYG groin

Buster Skrine NYJ knee

Nick Nelson OAK hamstring

Mike Hilton PIT elbow

JaquiskiTartt SF shoulder

Richard Sherman SF calf

Adrian Colbert SF hip

Tarvarius Moore SF wrist

Adoree’ Jackson TEN concussion


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 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.