There is still hope, as we deal with yet another week of byes, that making the right moves to fill open slots will propel our fantasy football teams into the promised land of playoff potential, and the opportunity to bring home that league championship. To adequately prepare, it is important to take a close look at your current squad and make certain your IDPs give you the best conceivable chance to rack up the weekly winning point totals. To that end, let’s scour the waiver wire/free agent market for rising defensive players, such as those profiled below, all of which are available in a majority of leagues. You might also want to see if any falling value IDPs are littering your roster, as we discuss some of those below, as well.

Bye Weeks coming up: Week 10 - Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles; Week 11- Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints; Week 12- NONE! (but get ready for the second six-team bye in Week 13)


Fantasy Football IDP Risers - Elevator Going Up


Ja'Whaun Bentley, New England Patriots

Despite dealing with a hamstring issue, Bentley racked up the fantasy value in Week 9, with 13 total takedowns (TT), two of which were for a loss of yards (TFL). He also was credited with a sack, a pass deflection (PD), and a QB hit/hurry (QH). Whew! Way to fill up the stat sheet and provide both big play and tackle-oriented league usefulness. He has a great matchup lined up in Week 10 with coming for a visit, too.

Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints

Davis also had double-digit tackles last week (eight solo, one TFL). As with the Patriot LB above, he was busy on the big-play front, as well, with a QH, a sack, and a forced fumble (FF) on the plus side of his ledger. He also has a decent matchup heading to the Vikings’ stadium in Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.

Nate Landman, Atlanta Falcons

Since he stepped in as a starter for Troy Andersen, he has been seeing significant playing time (PT) and has developed into a steady, consistent force for the Falcons when Atlanta is active on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. He had 10 TT in Week 9 (five solo, two TFL), and continuing a theme, he also contributed on the big-play side of things, with a sack, a QH, and a PD against the visiting Vikings. 

Damone Clark, Dallas Cowboys

Clark breaks the trend of big-play LBs, but he did rack up 11 TT in Week 9 (eight solo, one TFL). He was on the field for 92% of the defensive snaps and on the schedule are the division rival Giants.

Defensive Linemen

Boye Mafe, DE Seattle Seahawks

Mafe has become a reliable pass rushing DE, having recorded a sack now in six consecutive contests. His Week 9 stat sheet was not lacking on either the tackle front with six TT (five solo), or the big play side of things, having collected an FF, a fumble recovery (FR), and one of those aforementioned half-dozen sacks. He has a superb matchup at home against the Washington Commanders on tap.

Tuli Tuipulotu, DE Los Angeles Chargers

The rookie is showing off his edge rushing skills alongside veteran teammates Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, with four sacks on the season, including the two he snagged in Week 9. He now has the Lions coming for a visit, a fine matchup to continue to pressure if not sack the QB. Because of his better-known teammates mentioned above, you should have a clear path to add him to your roster.

Tyree Wilson, DE Las Vegas Raiders 

Wilson has seen his snap count begin to grow as he settles in during his rookie campaign. He now has 1.5 sacks over his last three games, and this week’s opponent has given up the most fantasy points to opposing DEs through the first nine weeks of the season.

David Onyemata, DT Atlanta Falcons

The Falcon DT is coming off a strong performance against the Viking offense in Week 9, racking up 10 TT (five solo) while also collecting a strip sack (sack and FF). He is seeing significant PT, leading the defensive line in the snap count, and has 17 TT and two sacks to his credit over the past three weeks of action. This week’s opponent, Arizona, is a decent matchup before he takes a week off on a bye.

Kentavius Street, DT Atlanta Falcons

Coming over from the Eagles where he was a mere backup option, Street has stepped in to fill the loss of Grady Jarrett in a big way. He played 63% of the snaps on defense this past contest, notching five TT (two solo, one TFL) while also snapping up a FR. If you do not snap up Onyemata for your DT-mandator leagues, consider adding Street to your squad. 

Calijah Kancey, DT Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kancey was limited by a calf injury to begin the season, but has been used extensively since Week 6, and has collected a pair of sacks over the last four contests. Sack production from a DT is a gift, despite his limited tackle production. 

Defensive Backs

Tre’Von Moehrig, S Las Vegas Raiders

A safety that produces both big-play value and racks up significant tackle numbers should lead off the rising defensive back discussion. He had a sack and a QH in Week 9, while being on the field for 100% of the defensive snaps. He also accumulated five TT, all solo with one TFL among those takedowns. This week’s opponent is just a so-so matchup, but then comes the Dolphins and the Chiefs, much better sources for safety production this season.

Markquese Bell, S Dallas Cowboys (LB only in ESPN leagues)

Bell has been converted to a linebacker by the Cowboys, and has seen an uptick in snap count over the past two weeks. He has also picked up 14 TT (11 solo) over the past two weeks, making him an asset in tackle-oriented leagues, especially on Yahoo where you can slot in another LB without having to use a designated LB roster slot.

Jonathan Owens, S Green Bay Packers

With Darnell Savage on IR, Owens inherited the starting free safety role in Green Bay. He led the team in tackles in Week 9, with eight TT (five solo). He also contributed a FF on his sack in the first quarter of the game against the visiting Rams and had a QH as well in the contest. 

Tavierre Thomas, CB Houston Texans

The slot corner had missed four games due to a broken hand earlier but has busted out the past two contests, picking up 17 TT (10 solo) and had a TFL mixed in among the nine TT he collected against the Buccaneers in Week 9. None of his upcoming matchups are what would be considered superb, but his tackling skills are worth considering depending on your league’s scoring system.

Nate Hobbs, CB Las Vegas Raiders

Hobbs is another tackling presence in the defensive backfield, coming off a seven TT effort in Week 9 (three solo). He has also been contributing on the big-play side of the ledger of late, with a sack, an INT, and PD over the past two games. Note that he was limited in Wednesday’s practice due to an ankle issue.

Fantasy Football IDP Fallers - Escalator Going Down


Anthony Walker, Jr. Cleveland Browns

Walker has been providing intermittent big-play production this season, and limited tackles-just 34 TT over eight games (17 solo). He may be a starter for the Browns, but he should not be starting on your roster.

Defensive Linemen

Von Miller, DE Buffalo Bills

Miller is a well-recognized name in the IDP realm, but he has not been a valued asset this season. He has but one assist over the past five games. He has been dealing with a knee issue, and that makes him a target to cut right now.

Joe Tryon-Shovinka, DE Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Despite playing significant snaps on defense for the Bucs, he is not providing much of anything for his fantasy owners. He has not produced a big play since Week 6, and has been credited with just three TT over the past two games.

Daron Payne, DT Washington Commanders

With the Commanders trading away two of their top IDPs, it will be interesting to see how things shake out for the Washington defense going forward. In recent history, Payne has had back-to-back two TT efforts (one solo). He is seeing plenty of PT, but the production is lacking.

Jonathan Allen, DT Washington Commanders

While Payne’s four TT seems meager, the two TT that Allen has put up over that same two-game stretch makes Payne look almost rosterable…almost being the key term. There is plenty of PT for the two DTs profiled here, but the lack of fantasy-relevant stats makes them droppable immediately.

Defensive Backs

Ryan Neal, S Tampa Bay Buccaneers

His PT was severely diminished in the last game the Bucs played against the host Texans, leading to speculation that he has lost his starting job. If his PT continues to be mired in the part-time player realm, he is no longer anything close to a fantasy asset.

Dax Hill, S Cincinnati Bengals

Hill came out of the blocks hot for the Bengals, but since the bye in Week 7, he has contributed little, with just seven TT to his credit, and no big-play production save for a single PD. He could be suffering a bit of a slump, but this is not the time for you to ride it out with him.

Marlon Humphrey, CB Baltimore Ravens

Averaging just over two tackles per contest since coming back from an injury that kept him on the sidelines through the first four games of the season, Humphrey is no longer that top-tier DB you had come to rely upon in recent seasons. The numbers he is producing are easily exceeded by other available options on the wire, more than likely.

Matchups To Exploit


Jacksonville Jaguars vs San Francisco 

Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland

Indianapolis Colts vs New England

Denver Broncos vs Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore

Defensive Ends

New York Jets vs Las Vegas

New York Giants vs Dallas

Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore

Washington Commanders vs Seattle

Atlanta Falcons vs Arizona

Defensive Tackles

Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore

Washington Commanders vs Seattle

Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants

Indianapolis Colts vs New England

San Francisco 49ers vs Jacksonville


Minnesota Vikings vs New Orleans

Detroit Lions vs Los Angeles Chargers

Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers vs Jacksonville

Arizona Cardinals vs Atlanta


New York Giants vs Dallas

Los Angeles Chargers vs Detroit

New England Patriots vs Indianapolis

Carolina Panthers vs Chicago

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.


Ja’Whaun Bentley, New England Patriots

Damario Davis, New Orleans Saints

Nate Landman, Atlanta Falcons

Damone Clark, Dallas Cowboys

Defensive Linemen

Boye Mafe, DE Seattle Seahawks

Tuli Tuipulotu, DE Los Angeles Chargers

Tyree Wilson, DE Las Vegas Raiders 

David Onyemata, DT Atlanta Falcons

Kentavius Street, DT Atlanta Falcons

Calijah Kancey, DT Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Defensive Backs

Tre’Von Moehrig, S Las Vegas Raiders

Markquese Bell, S Dallas Cowboys

Jonathan Owens, S Green Bay Packers

Tavierre Thomas, CB Houston Texans

Nate Hobbs, CB Las Vegas Raiders

Week 10 IDP Injuries - Ouch (My Aching Roster)


Tyus Bowser, Baltimore Ravens knee NFI-R

Malik Hamm, Baltimore Ravens ankle IR

Baylon Specter, Buffalo Bills hamstring

A.J. Klein, Buffalo Bills back

Terrel Bernard, Buffalo Bills concussion

Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers concussion

Chandler Wooten, Carolina Panthers ankle IR

Luiji Vilain Carolina, Panthers knee IR

Marquis Haynes, Carolina Panthers back IR

Justin Houston, Carolina Panthers hamstring IR

Claudin Cherelus, Carolina Panthers knee IR

Tremaine Edmunds, Chicago Bears knee

Jordan Kunaszyk, Cleveland Browns knee-MCL IR

Leighton Vander, Esch Dallas Cowboys neck IR

Quay Walker, Green Bay Packers groin

Jake Hansen, Houston Texans hand

Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts knee

Divine Deablo, Las Vegas Raiders ankle

Luke Masteson, Las Vegas Raiders concussion

Ernest Jones, Los Angeles Rams knee

Brian Asamoah, Minnesota Vikings ankle

Ty Summers, New Orleans Saints concussion

Chazz Surratt, New York Jets ankle

Nakobe Dean, Philadelphia Eagles foot

Cole Holcomb, Pittsburgh Steelers knee IR

Drake Thomas, Seattle Seahawks knee IR

Derick Hall, Seattle Seahawks shoulder

Drew White, Washington Commanders knee PUP

Defensive Linemen

Carlos Watkins, Arizona Cardinals biceps IR

L.J. Collier, Arizona Cardinals biceps IR

Alex Wright, Cleveland Browns knee 

Dean Lowry, Minnesota Vikings groin

Payton Turner, New Orleans Saints toe IR

Isaiah Foskey, New Orleans Saints quadriceps 

Azeez Ojulari, New York Giants ankle IR

Robert Beal, Jr. San Francisco 49ers hamstring IR

Logan Hall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers groin

Josh Tupou, Cincinnati Bengals shoulder

Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers shoulder

Hassan Ridgeway, Houston Texans Achilles IR

Sheldon Rankins, Houston Texans knee

Daniel Ekuate, New England Patriots biceps IR

Nontravius Adams, Pittsburgh Steelers ankle

Bryan Mone, Seattle Seahawks knee-ACL PUP

Defensive Backs

Bobby Price, Arizona Cardinals undisclosed IR

DeMarcco Hellams, Atlanta Falcons hamstring 

Dee Alford Atlanta, Falcons ankle

Marcus Williams, Baltimore Ravens hamstring

Ar’Darius Washington, Baltimore Ravens chest IR

Micah Hyde, Buffalo Bills arm

Vonn Bell, Carolina Panthers quadriceps

Xavier Woods, Carolina Panthers thigh

Terell Smith, Chicago Bears illness 

Josh Blackwel,l Chicago Bears hamstring IR

Tycen Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals knee IR

Rudy Ford, Green Bay Packers calf

M.J. Stewart, Houston Texans shoulder IR

Jimmie Ward, Houston Texans hamstring 

Tony Brown, Indianapolis Colts concussion

Brandon Facyson, Las Vegas Raiders shin IR

JT Woods, Los Angeles Chargers illness NFI-R

Jason Taylor II, Los Angeles Rams groin IR

Brandon Jones, Miami Dolphins concussion

J.C. Jackson, New England Patriots undisclosed

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers hamstring

Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers concussion

Mike Brown, Tennessee Titans ankle IR

Rock Ya-Sin, Baltimore Ravens illness

Trayvon Mullen, Baltimore Ravens toe NFI-R

Damarion Williams, Baltimore Ravens ankle IR

Christian Benford, Buffalo Bills hamstring 

Kaiir Elam Buffalo Bills, ankle IR

C.J. Henderson, Carolina Panthers concussion

Cameron Mitchell, Cleveland Browns hamstring IR

Greg Newsome II, Cleveland Browns groin

Derek Stingley, Jr., Houston Texans hamstring IR

Julius Brents, Indianapolis Colts quadriceps

Marcus Peters, Las Vegas Raiders knee

Decobie Durant, Los Angeles Rams shoulder

Christian Gonzalez, New England Patriots shoulder-labrum IR

Marcus Jones, New England Patriots shoulder IR

Aaron Robinson, New York Giants knee-ACL/MCL PUP

Adoree’ Jackson, New York Giants concussion

Bradley Roby, Philadelphia Eagles shoulder 

Avonte Maddox, Philadelphia Eagles pectoral IR

Samuel Womack, San Francisco 49ers knee-MCL IR

Sean Murphy-bunting, Tennessee Titans thumb

Roger McCreary, Tennessee Titans 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 matchups every week and ultimately bask in championship glory. 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 a number of teams, the platform you play in (Yahoo, ESPN, etc.), scoring and roster system, the better the ability to provide accurate advice.