There are numerous options that have demonstrated improved performance, significant enough to be worth of rostering in place of those defensive players that are underperforming on your rosters, or that have been injured and are unavailable heading into Week 6 and beyond. Fortunately for those of you playing in IDP leagues, most are readily available on your league’s wire, as well.

Bye Weeks coming up: Week 6: Detroit and New Orleans; Week 7: Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle; Week 8: Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee


Elevator Going Up


Jamie Collins , Sr. CLE

Collins benefitted from a substantial uptick in playing time this past week and rewarded his owners with 12 total tackles (TT), eight of those being of the solo variety, and one for a loss of yards (TFL). He also posted a sack against the visiting Ravens and a QB hit (QH). So long as he is seeing time on the field for a majority of the defensive snaps, he is worth adding to your LB rotation.

T.J. Watt PIT

L.J. Fort  PIT

Watt and Fort have developed into bright spots on a disappointing defensive squad to open up 2018. Facing the Falcons undoubtedly helped pad their stat lines, with Watt posting eight TT (six solo, three TFL) along with a trio of sacks and QH each and a forced fumble (FF). Fort was no slouch, either, with six solo tackles (one TFL), a sack and three QH, while also recovering a fumble (FR). The matchup against the Bengals in Week 6 is not as inviting as the past week against the stumbling Atlanta offense, but both LBs are worth rostering presently.

Jaylon Smith DAL

With the Jags on the schedule, this is a fine week to insert the league-dependent available Smith into your lineups (only 20% owned in Yahoo, 58.8% in ESPN leagues). He is coming off a 12 TT effort (six solo, three TFL) with also a sack, a pair of QH and a pass deflection (PD). Week 7 against Washington does not look so promising, though, so this is more a one-week recommendation, especially with a bye week coming in Week 8.

Avery Williamson NYJ

The Jets have a pair of mid-level offenses on deck as far as allowing points to opposing linebackers with the Colts and Vikings coming to visit. He has been averaging double-digit tackles over the past three games, picking up nine TT in Week 5 (seven solo). In a tackle-oriented IDP league, he has significant value.

Kyle Van Noy NE

As generally happens, the Patriot defense is picking up the pace as the season progresses. Van Noy has been playing the majority of defensive snaps over the past few weeks, and while he is not much in a big-play league set-up, he is a consistent tackle producer who does not have a bye week absence until Week 11, and thus is a good bench stash to cover for injury or bye weeks.

Haason Reddick ARI

Reddick was on the field for all 98 (!) defensive snaps in Week 5 when the Cards beat the 49ers in San Fran. Since he participated in just 30 of the defensive snaps in the prior four weeks, there is no guarantee he has arrived as a full-time LB in Arizona. If he is going to see more action at LB, though, look for more of the eight TT effort (all eight solos) in the future. He also collected a pair of PD, forced a fumble and collected his second sack on the road in Week 5.

Defensive Linemen

Jerry Hughes DE BUF

Hughes has truly stepped up his game, with 17 solo tackles to his credit this season so far. He had four solos (one TFL) against the Titans in Week 5, with a sack and a FF to pep up his fantasy point totals. This is a top-10 DL playing at a high level and should be a wire target for most IDP players.

DaQuan Jones DE TEN

On the other side of the field in Week 5, Jones also provided big fantasy production with six solo tackles (nine TT, three TFL). He has value in tackle-heavy leagues, but has yet to provide a big play this season.

Emmanuel Ogbah DE CLE

He is playing the majority of defensive snaps for the Browns, and that makes him a potentially valuable DL for fantasy use. He collected five TT (one solo) against the visiting Ravens, together with a QH and a PD in Week 5.

Leonard Williams DE NYJ

Three sacks in the past two weeks, with two against the Broncos in Week 5, along with five TT (two solo, two TFL) and three QH. He is being productive on the field, and has three decent matchups coming in the next three games with the Colts, Vikings and Bears on tap.

Ndamukong Suh DT LAR

Suh is playing 90% of the snaps on defense for the Rams, and now has racked up a sack in each of the past three games he has played. He had seven TT against the Seahawks in Week 5 (three solo, one TFL) and also picked up a QH. In a DT-mandatory league, or even in a DL league, he is worth snagging off the wire.

Linval Joseph DT MIN

Joseph had a productive Week 5: five TT (four solo, one TFL), one sack, a QH and a FR for a defensive TD. Note, though, that his snap count was significantly reduced to just over 50% after being on the field for 90% of the defensive plays the prior three weeks, but with this kind of production, he is extraordinarily useful week in, week out.

Defensive Backs

Devin McCourty S NE

Patrick Chung S NE

As noted above, the Patriot defense has cranked it up of late. Both these safeties put up huge tackle numbers against Andrew Luck in Week 5 with McCourty snagging 14 TT (11 solo) and Chung chipping in with another 11 TT (just three solo, though). Chung also was credited with half a sack and one QH, PD and INT. McCourty for his part had a FF and FR with a PD. Expect the Patriot opponents to continue to throw the ball plenty, which will lead to continued big production for the secondary.

Tony Jefferson S BAL

Jefferson has been putting up excellent tackle numbers this season, averaging five solos per game in 2018. He collected 9 TT (eight solo, one TFL) against the host Browns in Week 5. He has value in tackle-oriented leagues going forward, although he does toss in the occasional big play, too.

Marcus Maye S NYJ

Maye is coming off a big game against the Broncos: eight TT (six solo), one INT, one PD, a FF and half a sack. He has a great matchup in Week 6, against the Colts, who have yielded the most points to opposing safeties this season through the first five weeks.

Justin Reid S HOU

The Texans’ rookie defensive back saw plenty of action in Week 5, playing 90% of the defensive snaps against the Cowboys. He put up six TT (five solo) and also contributed a PD and an INT at home against Dallas. With Houston employing a three safety base defense, he should continue to see significant playing time going forward.

Tedric Thompson S SEA

Thompson saw his first start in Week 5 with Earl Thomas on IR, and he contributed with seven TT (six solo), a PD and an INT. The Raiders are not a prime matchup, but not a terrible one, either. He does have a bye in Week 7, so be prepared to replace him in your lineup after this week’s action if you decide to give him a shot.

Daryl Worley CB OAK

Worley was busy in his first week off of suspension, playing 77% of the defensive snaps despite not getting the start at CB for the Raiders. He put up eight TT (seven solo, one TFL) and looks to be the starter heading into Week 6.


Escalator Going Down


De’Vondre Campbell ATL

You would expect big tackle numbers when the opponent runs the ball at you 29 times, as the Steelers did in Week 5, but Campbell managed just three TT (one solo) in the last game. Atlanta’s defense is a mess, and it is suggested that you simply avoid using their IDPs for the present.

Deone Bucannon ARI

It seems as though Bucannon has lost his place in the Cardinal defense to Haason Reddick . In addition, there are rumors that he is on the trade block, so his value could return if he moves into the proper situation on another NFL defensive squad. For now, though, if his playing time is reduced as it was in Week 5, he is a non-entity for IDP purposes.

Defensive Linemen

Robert Quinn DE MIA

Quinn should be putting up nice numbers, with the injuries the Dolphins have suffered among their pass rushing corps. Alas, he has just nine solo tackles this season, with one sack, and despite the pedigree, he has been a huge disappointment.

Mike Daniels DE GB

Daniels’ production has suffered with the new defensive scheme that has been implemented in Green Bay this season. He has just five solo tackles on the season, and a single sack, despite seeing significant playing time.

Arden Kay DE OAK

Kay has not been able to fill the gaping hole left on the Raider defense after the trade of Khalil Mack to the Bears. The rookie is seeing plenty of defensive playing time, but is not producing much and is best left to the free agent ranks unless and until he steps up his game.

Defensive Backs

Ryan Lewis CB BUF

Lewis was the starter at CB this past week but only played in 30% of the defensive snaps. He managed just two solo tackles with that limited action, and things are not looking bright for his future in IDP circles.


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 Browns, but certainly you will do well if you own a top Safety on the Jets or Rams, or a DE1 or DE2 on the Colts or Bucs that you can plug in this week, for the most part.


Los Angeles Chargers @ Cleveland

Houston Texans vs Buffalo

Oakland Raiders vs Seattle

Defensive Ends

Indianapolis Colts @ New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta

Buffalo Bills @ Houston

Tennessee Titans vs Baltimore

Defensive Tackles

Buffalo Bills @ Houston

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Dallas

Carolina Panthers @ Washington


New York Jets vs Indianapolis

Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco

Los Angeles Rams @ Denver


San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay

Buffalo Bills @ Houston

New York Giants vs 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 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.


Jamie Collins , Sr. CLE

T.J. Watt PIT

L.J. Ford PIT

Kyle Van Noy NE

Haason Reddick ARI

Defensive Linemen

Jerry Hughes DE BUF

DaQuan Jones DE TEN

Emmanuel Ogbah DE CLE

Leonard Williams DE NYJ

Ndamukong Suh DT LAR

Linval Joseph DT MIN

Defensive Backs

Devin McCourty S NE

Patrick Chung S NE

Tony Jefferson S BAL

Marcus Maye S NYJ

Justin Reid S HOU

Tedric Thompson S SEA

Daryl Worley CB OAK


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.


Marcus Golden ARI knee

Tim Williams BAL hamstring

Jared Norris CAR toe

Sam Acho CHI pectoral

James Burgess CLE knee-ACL

Sean Lee DAL hamstring

Joe Thomas DAL foot

Eli Harold DET personal

Nick Perry GB ankle

Brian Peters HOU ankle

Dylan Cole HOU wrist (IR)

Darius Leonard IND ankle

Anthony Walker IND concussion

TanohKpassagnon KC ankle

Justin Houston KC hamstring

Kyzir White LAC knee

Dominique Easley LAR knee

Ja’Whaun Bentley NE arm

Manti Te’o NO knee

Olivier Vernon NYG ankle

Josh Martin NYJ concussion

D.J. Alexander PHI quadriceps

Nate Gerry PHI ankle

Vince Williams PIT hamstring

Reuben Foster SF shoulder

K.J. Wright SEA knee

Wesley Woodyard TEN shoulder

Defensive Linemen


Derrick Shelby ATL groin

Takkarist McKinley ATL undisclosed

Datone Jones DAL hamstring

Ezekiel Ansah DET shoulder

Muhammad Wilkerson GB ankle

Joey Bosa LAC foot

Andre Branch MIA knee

Cameron Wake MIA knee

William Hayes MIA knee-ACL

Tashawn Bower MIN ankle

Everson Griffen MIN personal

Geneo Grissom NE ankle

John Simon NE shoulder

Trey Hendrickson NO

Josh Mauro NYG groin

Derek Barnett PHI shoulder

Rasheem Green SEA ankle


Robert Nkemdiche ARI foot

Grady Jarrett ATL ankle

Ryan Glasgow CIN knee-ACL

David Irving DAL undisclosed

Maliek Collins DAL knee

Hassan Ridgeway IND calf

DenicoAutry IND hamstring

Malcolm Brown NE knee

Haloti Ngata PHI calf

Beau Allen TB foot

Defensive Backs


Justin Bethel ATL knee

Ricardo Allen ATL Achilles

Rafael Bush BUF shoulder

Micah Hyde BUF groin

Marcus Cooper CHI hamstring

Adam Jones DEN hamstring

Tavon Wilson DET back

Jermaine Whitehead GB back

BashaudBreeland GB hamstring

Davon House GB shoulder (IR)

Kayvon Webster HOU quadriceps

Matthias Farley IND hamstring

Clayton Geathers IND neck

D.J. Hayden JAX toe

Tashaun Gipson JAX hamstring

Eric Berry KC heel

Eric Murray KC lower leg

Armani Watts KC groin

Marcus Sherels MIN ribs

Eric Rowe NE groin

Patrick Robinson NO ankle (IR)

Karl Joseph OAK hamstring

Corey Graham PHI hamstring

Rodney McLeod PHI knee-MCL

Morgan Burnett PIT groin

Nat Berhe PIT pectoral

Earl Thomas SEA leg (IR)

Jordan Whitehead TB hamstring

Chris Conte TB knee-PCL

Kenny Vacaro TEN elbow

Troy Apke WAS hamstring


Anthony Averett BAL hamstring

Prince Amukamara CHI hamstring

Terrance Mitchell CLE wrist

ChidobeAwuzie DAL ankle

Jamal Agnew DET knee

Teez Tabor DET groin

Jaire Alexander GB groin

Kevin King GB mouth

Aaron Colvin HOU ankle

Quincy Wilson IND concussion

Kenny Moore IND concussion

Nate Hairston IND ankle

Tre Herndon JAX hamstring

Aqib Talib LAR ankle

Bobby McCain MIA knee

Trae Waynes MIN concussion

Marshon Lattimore NO concussion

Trumaine Johnson NYJ quadriceps

Buster Skrine NYJ concussion

Sidney Jones PHI ankle

Jimmie Ward SF hamstring

Carlton Davis TB groin


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.