We are due to suffer through first of two weeks with six teams on bye (the second being Week 11), which means you will be scrambling to plug holes in your lineups and rosters in Week 9 and moving forward. There are a handful of linebackers and safeties to target this coming scoring period, but only a couple of defensive tackles to consider this coming week in the DL category.

Bye Weeks coming up: Current Week: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Philadelphia; Week 10: Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Minnesota; Week 11: Buffalo, Cleveland, Miami, New England, New York Jets, San Francisco.

Elevator Going Up


K.J. Wright SEA

Wright was credited with five solo tackles against Detroit, in his first week back in action this season. The Seahawks have a pair of run-oriented opponents featuring top backs on the upcoming schedule in the form of the Chargers (Melvin Gordon III) and Rams (Todd Gurley ), so there should be plenty more tackles in store for all the Seattle linebackers in the near future.

Dee Ford KC

Ford collected three sacks at home against the Broncos, and now has eight sacks over the first eight games of the season. He was limited to just six games with a back injury last season, but has returned with a vengeance in 2018. His tackle production is inconsistent from week to week, but he is putting up big play results for his owners, having forced two fumbles in Week 8. The Browns are on tap this week, ranked third overall in terms of points allowed to opposing LBs.

Ryan Kerrigan WAS

Kerrigan racked up four total tackles (TT) against the Giants on the road in Week 8, one for a loss of yards (TFL) and two of the solo variety. He also was credited with 1.5 sacks and two QB hits (QH) on the stat sheet. The Falcons are a so-so matchup in Week 9, but Week 10 sees the Buccaneers hosting Washington, which is a tasty opportunity to employ his talents.

Shaq Thompson CAR

Speaking of the Bucs and good matchups for linebackers, guess who comes to play the Panthers in Week 9? Coming off a 13 TT (six solo) effort against the Ravens, he is in line for another productive week in fantasy. As a plus, the Carolina bye week occurred way back in Week 4, so if you add him to your squad, there is no need to concern yourself with a replacement for him over the balance of the season.

Defensive Linemen

Damon Harrison DT DET

The move from the Giants to the Lions appears to agree with “Snacks”, as he collected a sack, a QH and seven solo tackles (two TFL) in his first action wearing the Hawaiian Blue and Silver uniform. The Vikings are on the menu for Week 9, and are ranked sixth among NFL teams in allowing fantasy points to opposing defensive tackles.

Brandon Williams DT BAL

It is a rare week when only DTs are profiled in the rising player section, but both Harrison and the Ravens’ Williams are valuable in DT-mandatory leagues. Williams has managed to pile up at least three tackles in three of his last four contests, although his value in real-life football exceeds his fantasy value generally, as his presence in the Baltimore defensive front line translates to NFL success.

Defensive Backs

D.J. Swearinger , Sr. S WAS

Swearinger has shown an increased nose for the ball this season, picking off two passes in Week 8 while also deflecting three passes (PD). He also added five TT (four solo) to round out his stat line. He is putting up big play production with a sack, two forced fumbles (FF) and a fumble recovery (FR) in the prior two weeks to go with his two INTs against the Giants.

Justin Evans S TB

Evans has contributed consecutive eight tackle efforts, and has been the primary beneficiary of Chris Conte ’s knee injury. His tackle production makes him a valuable asset in leagues that reward wrapping up opposing players as opposed to favoring big-play IDPs.

Adrian Phillips S LAC

Phillips is behind Jahleel Addae on the Charger depth chart at strong safety, but is seeing increased playing time of late, resulting in improved fantasy production. He is being used as a LB/S hybrid in the specialty packages, which is leading to added value for fantasy purposes. He is coming off a bye, but had 15 TT in the three games prior to that.

Eli Apple CB NO

Apple immediately provided fantasy value when inserted into the Saint defensive secondary, racking up nine solo tackles in Week 8 in Minnesota, leading his team in tackles. Not a bad start, eh? He has been a productive CB over the past four weeks, piling up 28 TT (25 solo), and will certainly continue to be tested with the Rams, Bengals, Eagles and Falcons on tap.

Bryce Callahan CB CHI

Callahan had a big week, providing his fantasy owners with four solo tackles (one TFL), a QH, three PD along with a sack in the contest at home against the Jets in Week 8. He plays at Buffalo where the home stat crew is generous with the dispensing of tackle credits in the coming contest.

Escalator Going Down


Darron Lee NYJ

Lee has not seen any decrease in snaps played but his production over the past two weeks has been meager, with just six TT (four solo). Not the kind of stats you want from a starting LB in the NFL or fantasy. He was useful prior to this recent slump, though, so keep a eye on him to see if he rebounds at some point.

Defensive Linemen

Kawann Short DT CAR

Short is not providing any results in terms of sacks, after snagging a pair against the Cowboys in Week 1. He provided just one QH in Week 8 against the Ravens. He does not have a truly favorable matchup through Week 13, either, limiting his potential to help even in DT-mandatory leagues.

Geno Atkins DT CIN

Atkins has been shut out in the sack department over the past three weeks, and is on a bye in Week 9. This is a fine time to drop him to the waiver wire and find a more productive DL to insert in your lineup going forward.

Defensive Backs

Barry Church S JAX

Church is on bye in Week 9, but of more concern is his arrest in London last Saturday morning in connection with a bar tab dispute. It is entirely possible that the league will hand out some discipline, making him a risk going onward this season. He is on the injury report with a concussion suffered late in the Week 8 contest against the Eagles across the pond, and has been singularly unproductive over the past two contests, providing just two assists over 123 defensive snaps.

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 Bills, but certainly you will do well if you own a top LB on the Bears, Raiders, Chiefs or Chargers that you can plug in this week, for the most part.


Chicago Bears @ Buffalo

Oakland Raiders @ San Francisco

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland

Los Angeles Chargers @ Seattle

Defensive Ends

Oakland Raiders @ San Francisco

Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay

Denver Broncos vs Houston

Defensive Tackles

Denver Broncos vs Houston

Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets


Oakland Raiders @ San Francisco

Houston Texans @ Denver

Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh


Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland

Washington vs Atlanta

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota

New England Patriots vs Green Bay

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.


K.J. Wright SEA

Dee Ford KC

Ryan Kerrigan WAS

Shaq Thompson CAR

Defensive Linemen

Damon Harrison DT DET

Brandon Williams DT BAL

Defensive Backs

D.J. Swearinger , Sr. S WAS

Justin Evans S TB

Adrian Phillips S LAC

Eli Apple CB NO

Bryce Callahan CB CHI

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.


Tremaine Edmunds BUF concussion

CAR hamstring

Khalil Mack CHI ankle

Nick Vigil CIN knee-MCL

Vontaze Burfict CIN hip

Joe Schobert CLE hamstring

Shane Ray DEN ankle

Brandon Marshall DEN knee

Brian Peters HOU ankle

Zach Cunningham HOU knee

Peter Kalambayi HOU concussion

Donald Payne JAX knee-MCL (IR)

Justin Houston KC hamstring

Anthony Hitchens KC ribs

Frank Zombo KC hamstring

Terrance Smith KC knee-ACL (IR)

Trevon Young LAR back

Anthony Barr MIN hamstring

Don’t’a Hightower NE knee

Alec Ogletree NYG hamstring

Kevin Pierre-Louis NYJ foot

Nate Gerry PHI ankle

KamuGrugler-Hill PHI thumb

Reuben Foster SF hamstring

Dekoda Watson SF hamstring

Ryan Anderson WAS knee

Defensive Linemen


Trent Murphy BUF knee

Carl Lawson CIN knee-ACL

Ezekiel Ansah DET shoulder

Jihad Ward IND ankle (IR)

Lerentee McCray JAX hamstring

Joey Bosa LAC foot

Charles Harris MIA calf

Geneo Grissom NE ankle

Marcus Davenport NO toe

Marcus Davenport NO toe

Mitchell Loewen NO neck

Bruce Irvin OAK pectoral

Derek Barnett PHI shoulder (IR)

Rasheem Green SEA ankle

Vinny Curry TB ankle


Vincent Taylor MIA foot (IR)

Vita Vea TB knee

Gerald McCoy TB calf

Defensive Backs


Tre Boston ARI shoulder

Marlon Humphrey BAL thigh

Rasheen Gaulden CAR ankle

Captain Munnerlyn CAR hamstring

C.J. Goodwin DAL forearm (IR)

Darian Stewart DEN neck

Andre Hal HOU shoulder

Shareece Wright HOU shoulder

Malik Hooker IND hip

Mike Mitchell IND calf

D.J. Hayden JAX toe

Tyler Patmon JAX neck

Barry Church JAX concussion

Eric Berry KC heel

Daniel Sorensen KC knee-meniscus

Andrew Sendejo MIN groin

Duke Dawson NE hamstring (IR)

Corey Graham PHI hamstring

Rodney McLeod PHI knee ACL/MCL (IR)

Antone Exum SF concussion

JaquiskiTartt SF shoulder

Bradley McDougald SEA shoulder

Troy Apke hamstring (IR)

Adonis Alexander WAS concussion


Darqueze Dennard CIN collarbone

E.J. Gaines CLE concussion

Bradley Roby DEN ankle

Aaron Colvin HOU ankle

Johnathan Joseph HOU knee-MCL

Quenton Meeks JAX knee-MCL

A.J. Bouye JAX calf

Xavier Rhodes MIN foot

Eric Rowe NE groin (IR)

Trumaine Johnson NYJ quadriceps

Gareon Conley OAK shoulder

Jalen Mills PHI foot

Sidney Jones PHI hamstring

Coty Sensabaugh PIT foot

Richard Sherman SF calf

M.J. Stewart TB foot

Quinton Dunbar WAS 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.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 toia@fantasyalarm.com 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.