It is always time to consider shaking up your IDP roster, as defensive players continue to rise and fall as the 2021 season cruises along. Players that you spent relatively early picks on may be done for the season by now, or have been relegated to the coach’s doghouse, but whatever the problem with those once treasured assets, now is a fine time to tweak the roster. Thus, this week’s menu of appealing free agent/waiver wire options profiled below.

Bye Weeks coming up: Week 10-Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New York Giants; Week 11-Denver, Los Angeles Rams; Week 12-Arizona, Kansas City

Elevator Going Up


Jayon Brown TEN

Brown was on the IR for the prior four weeks before he collected seven total tackles (TT) in Sunday’s victory over the Rams. All seven of those stops were of the solo variety. With sufficient speed to provide coverage defense, look for him to resume a full-time role on the Titan defense going forward.

Zach Cunningham HOU

The opening mentioned the coach’s doghouse, and that was exactly where Cunningham had been ensconced until Week 9, when he put up an eight TT effort (two solos) against the host Dolphins. He also contributed a QB hit/hurry (QH). He played every snap that the defense was on the field last Sunday, and should have regained a starting position for the Texans.

Markus Golden ARI (DE only for ESPN leagues)

Over his last four contests, the Cardinals have received the bounty of seven sacks from their linebacker. He had a big Week 9 effort, with five TT (three solo), three of those stops resulting in negative yardage (TFL). He tacked on three QH against the host 49ers, along with his three sacks. Week 10 sees a great matchup with the struggling Panthers coming to the desert.

Defensive Linemen

Dawuane Smoot DE JAX

Smoot has stepped up into a starting DE role opposite Josh Allen, and put up a three solo tackle effort in the surprising Jag victory over the Bills. He also had a sack credited to him along with a forced fumble (FF). 

Marcus Davenport DE NO

Another DE that picked up a sack in Week 9, Davenport has a couple of great matchups lined up on the schedule over the next two weeks, as well. He was credited with six TT (three solo) and padded his big play resume with a FF against the Falcons also.

Emmanuel Ogbah DE MIA

The Dolphin DL saw the sacks grabbed by previous two DEs, and upped their total production by another half sack, nailing the Texan QB for 2.5 sacks. He also had four TT (two solo, two TFL) and added some coverage production with a pass defense/deflection (PD). Not to skip past the trio of QH, which made him a big-play and tackle-oriented value. Two out of his next three matchups are top-10 in terms of fantasy points allowed to DEs, and the middle contest is not exactly bottom of the barrel when the ‘fins head to the Meadowlands to take on the Jets.

Arik Armstead DE SF

Armstead stepped into double digit tackle land, with 10 TT against the visiting Cardinals last week (two solo, one TFL). He also was honored with a sack on the stat sheet, and a QH. So long as Nick Bosa keeps drawing the attention across the field from him, he should put up helpful fantasy numbers for his owners, if fantasy managers act to put the little owned (less than 2% owned in both Yahoo and ESPN leagues currently) on their rosters.

Jeffery Simmons DE TEN

He may have been questionable prior to the game, but it was not looking that way once the ball was snapped. He sacked the Ram QB three times Sunday evening, while also collecting six TT (three solo, three TFL). Four QH tallied against host Los Angeles made him a value in big play league formats. His matchup potential trends upwards over the next three weeks leading into the Titans’ Week 13 bye.

Linval Joseph DT LAC

Joseph is the sole DT on the list this week, and he deserves this honor after collecting a whopping nine TT against the Eagles in Week 9 (eight solo). He is on pace to set a solo tackle best this season (realizing that there is an extra game this season), and in a DT-mandatory league format, he is a low-owned option to pick up.

Defensive Backs

Sharrod Neasman S NYJ

The Achilles injury suffered by Marcus Maye opens a starting slot for Neasman in the Jets’ secondary. This is not a recommendation to pick up an undiscovered superior talent, but rather recognition that the Jet defense will see plenty of time on the field, and the secondary is nothing to crow about so its members will be tested by offensive coordinators repeatedly. That is a potentially valuable situation for accumulating IDP stats.

Jememy Chinn S CAR

Chinn is coming off an 11 TT game (five solo, two TFL) and with a good set of cornerbacks on the Panther secondary, the safeties in the middle of the field should see plenty of action on a weekly basis. The tackle production should continue for Chinn and his owners.

Cameron Dantzler CB MIN

When injuries take place, another player receives an opportunity. Here, the hamstring injury to Patrick Peterson has created a chance for Dantzler to show his skills off, and he posted a 10 TT effort against the host Ravens last week, all solos. He has three mid-level matchups on tap, although be advised he has been limited in practice with a nagging ankle issue, so keep an eye on pre-game active/not active reports.

Escalator Going Down


Nick Bolton KC

The Chief defense has been a mess this season, and the rookie’s snap count was reduced dramatically last contest. None of the linebacking crew is seeing every down action, as a rotation at the position seems to be the scheme presently. That effectively ruins any great value for the KC linebackers in fantasy production.

Defensive Linemen

None to write about, except for those DLs listed in the Injury Report for this week below.

Defensive Backs

Trevon Diggs CB DAL

Diggs stat line has been below disappointing the past two weeks, and despite playing 71 snaps on defense against the Broncos, he only collected two TT (one solo) and a PD. He has been dealing with a nagging ankle sprain, which could explain the limited effectiveness but his fantasy owners want points, not justifications for poor results.

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 Jets, but certainly you will do well if you own a top LB, DL or CB on the Cardinals, a starting DT on either the Saints or Titans, or perhaps a top DB on the Browns that you can plug in this week, for the most part.

Inside Linebackers

San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams

Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets

Outside Linebackers

Las Vegas Raiders vs Kansas City

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay

Defensive Ends

Philadelphia Eagles @ Denver

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Detroit

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona

Baltimore Ravens @ Miami

Defensive Tackles

New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee

Tennessee Titans vs New Orleans

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona


Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta

Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco

New England Patriots vs Cleveland

Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas


New England Patriots vs Cleveland

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets

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, although Jeremy Chinn is owned in 44% of Yahoo leagues and 46% of ESPN leagues. Happy claiming for your weekly matchups.


Jayon Brown TEN

Zach Cunningham HOU

Markus Golden ARI (DE only on the ESPN platform)

Defensive Linemen

Dawuane Smoot DE JAX

Marcus Davenport DE NO

Emmanuel Ogbah DE MIA

Arik Armstead DE SF

Jeffery Simmons DE TEN

Linval Joseph DT LAC

Defensive Backs

Sharrod Neasman S NYJ

Jememy Chinn S CAR (44% ownership on Yahoo, 46% on ESPN)

Cameron Dantzler CB MIN


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.


Zeke Turner ARI shoulder IR

Kylie Fitts ARI concussion IR

Steven Means ATL knee

Daelin Hayes BAL ankle IR

Malik Harrison BAL calf

L.J. Fort BAL knee-ACL IR

Tremaine Edmunds BUF hamstring

Frankie Luvu CAR knee

Alec Ogletree CHI ankle

Khalil Mack CHI foot

Jeremiah Attaochu CHI pectoral IR

Markus Bailey CIN undisclosed IR-COVID

Akeem Davis-Gaither CIN foot IR

Jordan Evans CIN knee IR

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah CLE ankle IR

Jacob Phillips CLE biceps 

Montrel Meander CLE Achilles IR

Jabril Cox DAL knee-ACL ir

Justin Strnad DEN illness IR-COVID

Malik Reed DEN hip

Bradley Chubb DEN ankle IR

Micah Kiser DEN groin IR

A.J. Johnson DEN pectoral IR

Andre Mintze DEN hamstring IR

Josey Jewell DEN pectoral IR

Natrez Patrick DEN leg IR

Austin Bryant DET shoulder

Roem Okwara DET Achilles IR

Shaun Dion Hamilton DET undisclosed IR

Chauncey Rivers GB knee-ACL IR

Za’Darius Smith GB back IR

Randy Ramsey GB leg IR

Hardy Nickerson HOU concussion

Christian Kirksey HOU thumb IR

Darius Leonard IND ankle

Myles Jack JAX knee

Dylan Moses JAX knee

Nicholas Morrow LV ankle IR

Darron Lee LV undisclosed

Nick Kwiatkoski LV ankle

Kenneth Murray LAC ankle IR

Von Miller LAR ankle

Justin Hollins LAR pectoral IR

Travin Howard LAR hamstring IR

Ryan Connelly MIN illness IR-COVID

Terez Hall NE undisclosed IR

Anfernee Jennings NE undisclosed IR

Harvey Langi NE knee-MCL IR

Cameron McGrone NE knee-ACL IR

Raekwon McMillan NE knee-ACL IR

Quentin Poling NO undisclosed

Lorenzo Carter NYG ankle

Justin Hilliard NYG ankle IR

Carter Coughlin NYG ankle IR

Blake Martinez NYG knee-ACL IR

T.J. Brunson NYG knee-ACL IR

Blake Cashman NYJ groin IR

Jamien Sherwood NYJ Achilles IR

Dre Greenlaw SF groin IR

Ben Burr-Kirven SEA knee-ACL IR

Jason Pierre-Paul TB shoulder

Rashaan Evans TEN ankle 

Derick Roberson TEN knee IR

Rashad Weaver TEN lower leg IR

B.J. Bello TEN ankle IR

Jared Norris WAS shoulder IR

Jon Bostic WAS pectoral IR

Defensive Linemen


J.J. Watt ARI shoulder IR

Jonathan Bullard ATL concussion

Dante Fowler ATL knee IR

Derek Wolfe BAL back IR

Sryan Cox BUF Achilles IR

Austin Larkin CAR groin

Brian Burns CAR ankle

Darryl Johnson CAR hamstring IR

Camerson Sample CIN knee 

Wyatt Hubert CIN pectoral

Joseph Ossai DIN knee-meniscus IR

Takkarist McKinley CLE groin

Demarcus Lawrence DAL foot IR

Joel Heath DET knee-ACL IR

Kingsley Keke GB concussion

Tyquan Lewis IND knee IR

Malik Herring KC knee-ACL

Joshua Kaindoh KC ankle IR

Danielle Hunter MIN pectoral IR

Janarius Robinson MIN lower body IR

Chase Winovich NE hamstring IR

Henry Anderson NE pectoral IR

Carl Granderson NO shoulder

Bryce Huff NYJ back IR

Kyle Phillips NYJ ankle PUP

Vinny Curry NYJ illness

Carl Lawson NYJ Achilles IR

Brandon Graham PHI Achilles IR

Stephon Tuitt PIT undisclosed IR

Calvin Taylor PIT undisclosed

Tyson Alualu PIT ankle IR

Dee Ford SF back IR

Montez Sweat WAS jaw

Jalen Jelks undisclosed IR


Rashard Lawrence ARI calf IR

Jack Crawford ARI undisclosed IR

Brandon Williams BAL shoulder

Xavier Kelly BAL Achilles IR

Justin Zimmer BUF knee 

Daviyon Nixon CAR knee IR

Neville Gallimore DAL elbow IR

Trysten Hill DAL knee-ACL PUP

Brent Urban DAL triceps IR

Mike Purcell DEN thumb

McTelvin Agim DEN knee

Jashon Cornell DET illness

Kenny Clark GB back

Vincent Taylor HOU ankle IR

Rob Windsor IND hip IR

Jay Tufele JAX hand IR

Khalen Saunders KC knee

Darius Philon LV ankle 

Gerald McCoy LV knee IR

Sebastian Joseph-Day LAR pectoral IR

Michael Pierce MIN elbow

Jaylen Twyman MIN pelvis

Byron Cowart NE undisclosed PUP

Jalen Dalton NO triceps IR

Carlos Davis PIT knee IR

Maurice Hurst SF calf

Javon Kinlaw SF knee-ACL IR

Marcus Webb SEA undisclosed IR

Sam Renner TB undisclosed

Trevon Coley TEN foot IR

Defensive Backs


James Wiggins ARI knee

Charles Washington ARI hamstring IR

DeShon Elliott BAL pectoral IR

Khalil Dorsey BAL undisclosed IR

Jaquan Johnson BUF hamstring 

Eddie Jackson CHI hamstring

Deon Bush CHI quadriceps IR

Brandon Wilson CIN knee IR

Essang Bassey DEN knee-ACL PUP

Corey Ballentine DET hamstring IR

Terrence Brooks HOU chest IR

T.J. Carrie IND undisclosed IR

Khari Willis IND calf IR

Juliam Blackmon IND Achilles IR

Keisean Nixon LV ankle

Roderic Teamer LV shoulder IR

Alohi Gilman LAC ankle

Dayan Ghanwoloku LAR undisclosed

Elijah Campbell MIA toe

Jason McCourty MIA foot IR

Harrison Smith MIN illness PUP

Jonathan Jones NE shoulder IR

Joshuah Bledsoe NE wrist

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson NO foot

Nate Ebner NYG ankle 

Jabrill Peppers NYG knee-ACL IR

Joshua Kalu NYG pectoral IR

Marcus Maye NYJ Achilles IR

Lamarcus Joyner NYJ triceps IR

Tarvarius Moore SF Achilles PUP

Jimmie Ward SF quadriceps 

Tavon Wilson SF foot

Kai Nacua SF undisclosed

Jaquiski Tartt SF knee IR

Jason Verrett SF knee-ACL IR

Nigel Warrior SEA knee IR

Marquise Blair SEA kneecap

Dee Delaney TB ankle

Curtis Riley TB Achilles IR

Maurice Smith TEN undisclosed


Isaiah Oliver ATL knee IR

Chris Westry BAL knee-meniscus IR

Marcus Peters BAL knee-ACL IR

Iman Marshall BAL knee IR

Taron Johnson BUF concussion

Stantley Thomas-Oliver CAR toe

Rashaan Melvin CAR hand

Juston Burris CAR groin IR

Jaycee Horn CAR foot IR

Troy Pride CAR knee-ACL IR

Chidobe Awuzie CIN undisclosed IR-COVID

Trae Waynes CIN hamstring IR

Greedy Williams CLE shoulder

M.J. Stewart CLE hamstring IR

Maurice Canady DAL concussion IR

Reggie Robinson II DAL toe IR

Michael Ojemudia DEN hamstring IR-COVID

Patrick Surtain II knee

Bryce Callahan DEN knee IR

Ifeatu Melifonwu DET thigh IR

Jeff Okudah DET Achilles IR

Jaire Alexander GB shoulder-AC joint IR

Eric Stokes GB knee

Isaac Yiadom GB undisclosed IR-COVID

Will Redmond GB toe IR

Chris Claybrooks JAX concussion

Damon Arnette LV groin

Trayvon Mullen LV toe IR

Ryan Smith LAC knee-ACL

Asante Samuel Jr. LAC concussion

Michael Davis LAC hamstring

Bashaud Breeland MIN groin

Patrick Peterson MIN hamstring IR

Keith Washington NO wrist 

Ken Crawley NO hamstring IR-COVID

RoDarius Williams NYG knee-ACL IR

Quincy Wilson NYG ankle IR

Zane Lewis NYJ knee-MCL IR

Darius Slay PHI hamstring

DeMarkus Acy knee-ACL IR

D.J. Reed SEA groin

Rashard Robinson TB hamstring

Sean Murphy-Bunting TB elbow IR

Carlton Davis TB quadriceps IR

Kristian Fulton TEN hamstring IR

Greg Mabin TEN ankle

Caleb Farley TEN knee-ACL IR

Greg Stroman WAS undisclosed

Carryl Roberts WAS quadriceps IR

Torry McTyer WAS knee-ACL 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. 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.