Teams are beginning to settle in to their rotations on defense, and we are beginning to see the three-down/every down IDPs begin show up on the stat sheet. Of course, there are the defensive players that are beginning to pick up steam as the early season progresses, whether due to ineffectiveness by the former starter or injury opportunity. One constant in the IDP world is that things constantly change, so continue to peruse the wire and free agent market to upgrade your rosters weekly.

Elevator Going Up


Tae Crowder NYG

Crowder is the first of three LBs that is operating as an every down starter for this team. In that role against the visiting Falcons, he picked up 11 total tackles (TT), with four of those being of the solo variety. He also contributed a pass deflection/defense (PD) while on the field, ticking the big play box, too. So long as he is on the field for all the defensive snaps, he will be a value to your IDP squad.

Jordan Hicks ARI

Despite early concerns that Hicks was destined to for a backup role on the Cardinal defense heading into 2021, he has emerged as the defensive signal caller for the Arizona defense and only missed two snaps on the season. He is coming off a 12 TT (seven solo) effort where he was also able to force a fumble (FF), pick up a PD and be credited with a sack. Tackles and big play production make for a free agent pickup immediately.

Quincy Williams NYJ

Not to be confused with his brother, Quinnen, this Williams has stepped into an every down role (so long as Jarrad Davis is sidelined, at least). He had six TT (five solo) with two of those wrap-ups being for a loss of yards (TFL). He also had a FF in the contest in Denver at Mile High Stadium last Sunday.

Defensive Linemen

Darrell Taylor DE SEA

Taylor sat out all of 2020, and started out in a limited role this season, but has been increasing his PT (playing time) as the season progresses. He picked up five TT in Week 3 (four solo) to go along with a sack and a FF, to bring out the big play value. 

Al-Quadin Muhammad DE IND

Muhammad is seeing more time on the field with rookie Kwity Paye sidelined with a hamstring issue, and he collected seven TT against the host Titans (five solo). He gets a nice matchup this coming week with the Dolphins featuring backup QB Jacoby Brisset and a weak pass-protection scheme on the offensive line.

Jeffrey Simmons DT TEN

Simmons has a tremendous matchup in store, with the Titans heading to the Meadowlands to face Zach Wilson and the Jets. He could certainly add to the 1.5 sacks he has on the season against the Jets team that has allowed a NFL-leading 15 sacks to date.

Defensive Backs

Chuck Clark S BAL

Clark feasted on the Lions in Week 3, racking up 12 TT (nine solo, one TFL) with a sack and a QB hit/hurry (QH) to make his big play side of the ledger look attractive, too. He now heads to Denver to face the Broncos who have been the most generous offense to opposing safeties in terms of fantasy point production through three games.

Andrew Wingard S JAX

Wingard has seemed to step past rookie Andre Cisco last week, playing 100% of the snaps on defense for the Jags. He snagged seven TT (four solo) with that increased PT, and it is a near certainty that the struggling Jacksonville team will see plenty of tackle opportunities while the defense occupies the gridiron week in, week out.

Harrison Smith S MIN

Prior to this season, it was the lack of tackle production that kept Smith’s IDP fantasy value depressed. Through three contests this season, he already has collected 23 TT (19 solo). Against the visiting Seahawks, he had eight TT (six solo) and a PD. Cleveland, the next opponent, is in the top half of the teams as far as points allowed to opposing safeties.

Julian Blackmon S IND

The second-year defensive back led his team with 11 TT against the Titans in Week 3. Be advised, however, that he outpaced his production in the first two games by two tackles, so the increased production is not necessarily guaranteed to continue apace.

Tyson Campbell CB JAX

Our lone cornerback this week, Campbell gets the uptick after the Jaguars traded C.J. Henderson to Carolina, opening the door for the rookie to see additional PT. As with any rookie CB, look for him to see plenty of attention from opposing offenses as they test his skillset. He is coming off an eight TT effort (six solo) and should continue to see plenty of tackle potential going forward.


Escalator Going Down


Alec Ogletree CHI

While playing significant snaps, he has been contributing pedestrian stats. Now with Danny Trevathan eligible to be activated in Week 4, his value is almost certain to take a further hit.

Jamie Collins Sr. DET

Collins has worn out his welcome in Detroit, as the Lions seek out a trading partner for the LB. He was DNP in Week 3, and could see more of the same until he finds a new uniform to don.

Defensive Linemen

Yannick Ngakoue DE LV

Despite playing 73% of the defensive snaps this past contest, he only put up an assisted tackle and a QH on the stat sheet. Those sorts of numbers are of no use to fantasy owners and he can be discarded for a more reliable DL.

Defensive Backs

None to speak of, save for those in the injury report below.


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 Raven, but certainly you will do well if you own a top LB on the Bucs or Pats (nice bonus that those two play one another this week), or a DL on Dallas that you can plug in this week, for the most part.

Inside Linebackers

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver

Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams

Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota

San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle 

Indianapolis Colts @ Miami

Outside Linebackers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England 

Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers

Washington Football Team @ Atlanta

New England Patriots vs Tampa Bay

Defensive Ends

Green Bay Packers vs Pittsburgh

Carolina Panthers @ Dallas

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver

Defensive Tackles

Carolina Panthers @ Dallas

Atlanta Falcons vs Washington

New York Giants @ New Orleans

New Orleans vs New York Giants


Denver Broncos vs Baltimore

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver

Atlanta Falcons vs Washington


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati

Buffalo Bills vs Houston

New England Patriots vs Tampa 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. As with last week,  all the players commented on are here; in future installments, however, that will not be the case 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.


Tae Crowder NYG

Jordan Hicks ARI

Quincy Williams NYJ

Defensive Linemen

Darrell Taylor DE SEA

Al-Quadin Muhammad DE IND

Jeffrey Simmons Dt TEN

Defensive Backs

Chuck Clark S BAL

Andrew Wingard S JAX

Harrison Smith S MIN

Julian Blackmon S IND

Tyson Campbell CB JAX


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.


Dennis Gardeck ARI knee IR

Daelin Hayes BAL ankle IR

Jaylon Ferguson BAL illness IR-COVID

L.J. Fort BAL knee-ACL IR

Joel Iyiegbuniwe CHI hamstring

Danny Trevathan knee IR

Sione Takitaki CLE hamstring

Anthony Walker CLE hamstring IR

Jacob Phillips CLE biceps

Montrel Meander CLE Achilles

Keanu Neal DAL illness IR-COVID

Francis Bernard DAL hamstring IR

Jonas Griffith DEN hamstring IR

Bradley Chubb DEN ankle IR

Josey Jewell DEN pectoral IR

Natrez Patrick DEN leg IR

Trey Flowers DET shoulder

Shaun Dion Hamilton DET undisclosed IR

Krys Barner GB concussion

Za’Darious Smith GB back IR

Randy Bamsey GB leg IR

Kamu Grugier-Hill HOU knee

Kevin Pierre-Louis HOU hamstring IR

Jordan Glasgow IND concussion IR

Dylan Moses JAX knee

Willie Gay Jr. KC toe IR

Darron Lee LV undisclosed 

Nicholas Morrow LV ankle IR

Javin White LV knee IR

Justin Hollins LAR pectoral IR

Obo Okoronkwo LAR shoulder IR

Anthony Barr MIN knee

Josh Uche NE back

Ja’Whuan Bentley NE undisclosed

Anfernee Jennings NE undisclosed IR

Cameron McGrone NE knee-ACL

Terez Hall NE undisclosed PUP

Raekwon McMillan NE knee =ACL IR

Quentin Poling NO undisclosed

Chase Hansen NO groin IR

Kwon Alexander NO elbow IR

Blake Martinez NYG knee-ACL

Cam Brown NYG hamstring IR

Elerson G. Smith NYG hamstring IR

T.J. Brunson NYG knee-ACL IR

Blake Cashman NYJ hamstring IR

Jarrad Davis NYJ ankle IR

Davion Taylor PHI calf

T.J. Watt PIT groin

Alex Highsmith PIT groin

Dre Greenlaw SF groin IR

Ben Burr-Kirven SEA knee-ACL IR

Jason Pierre-Paul TB shoulder

Cam Gill TB undisclosed IR

Rashad Weaver TEN ankle IR

Derick Roberson TEN knee IR

B.J. Bello TEN ankle IR

Defensive Linemen 


Marlon Davidson ATL ankle

Derek Wolfe BAL back

Bryan Cox BUF Achilles IR

Yetur Gross-Matos CAR ankle

Austin Larkin CAR groin

Khalid Kareem CIN undisclosed IR

Joseph Ossai CIN knee-Meniscus IR

Wyatt Hubert CIN pectoral

Carlos Watkins DAL knee

Dorance Armstrong DAL ankle

Bradlee Anae DAL undisclosed IR-COVID

Demarcus Lawrence DAL foot IR

Da’Shawn Hand DET groin IR

Joel Heath DET knee-ACL IR

Kwity Paye IND hamstring

Dayo Odeyingbo IND Achilles

Roy Robertson-Harris JAX ankle

Frank Clark KC hamstring 

Malik Herring KC knee=ACL

Janarius Robinson MIN lower body IR

Marcus Davenport NO shoulder IR

Kyle Phillips NJY ankle PUP

Vinny Curry NYJ illness

Carl Lawson NYJ Achilles IR

Brandon Graham PHI Achilles IR

Calvin Taylor PIT undisclosed

Tyson Alualu PIT ankle IR

Stephon Tuitt PIT undisclosed IR

Jordan Willis SF suspension (out until Week 8)

Benson Mayowa SEA neck

Kerry Hyder SEA concussion

Matthew Ioannidis WAS knee

Jalen Jelks WAS undisclosed IR


Xavier Williams Ari undisclosed

Jordan Phillips ARI undisclosed IR

Jack Crawford ARI undisclosed IR

Deadrin Senat ATL undisclosed IR

Xavier Kelly BAL Achilles IR

Eddie Goldman CHI knee

Neville Gallimore DAL elbow IR

Trysten Hill DAL knee-ACL PUP

Kevin Strong DET concussion IR

Tyler Lancaster GB illness IR-COVID

Vincent Taylor HOU ankle IR

Rob Windsor IND hip IR

Gerald McCoy LV knee IR

Justin Jones LAC calf

Raekwon Davis MIA knee IR

Jaylen Twyman MIN pelvis 

Byron Cowart NE undisclosed PUP

Jalen Dalton NO triceps IR

David Onyemata NO suspension (out until Week 8)

Fletcher Cox PHI lower body

Carlos Davis PIT knee

Kevin Givens SF ankle IR

Maurice Hurst SF ankle IR

Marcus Webb SEA undisclosed IR

Sam Renner TB undisclosed

Trevon Coley TEN foot IR 

Defensive Backs


Charles Washington ARI hamstring IR

Kendall Sheffield ATL undisclosed IR

DeShon Elliott BAL quadriceps 

Khalil Dorsey BAL undisclosed IR

Jordan Poyer BIF ankle

Myles Hartsfield CAR wrist IR

Tashaun Gipson CHI hamstring 

Jessie Bates CIN neck

Ricardo Allen CIN hand IR

Donovan Wilson DAL groin

Essang Bassey DEN knee-ACL PUP

Duke Dawson DEN knee-ACL/MCL PUP

Justin Reid HOU knee

A.J. Moore HOU undisclosed IR

T.J. Carrie IND undisclosed IR

Khari Willis IND groin

Rashad Fenton KC concussion

Dallin Leavitt LV concussion

Roderic Teamer LV shoulder

Trevon Moehrig LV ankle

Keisean Nixon LV leg IR

Dayan Ghanwoloku LAR undisclosed

Joshuah Bledsoe NE wrist

Keion Crossen NYG elbow

Nate Ebner NYG quadriceps

Joshua Kalu NYG pectoral IR

Sharrod Neasman NYJ hamstring IR

Ashtyn Davis NYJ undisclosed IR

Lamarcus Joyner NYJ triceps IR

Rodney McLeod PHI knee

K’Von Wallace PHI shoulder-AC joint IR

Nathan Meadors PHI hamstring

K’Waun Williams SF calf

Jason Verrett SF knee-ACL IR

Tarvarius Moore SF Achilles PUP

Marquise Blair SEA knee

Nigel Warrior SEA knee IR

Jamel Dean TB knee

Curtis Riley TB Achilles IR

Maurice Smith TEN undisclosed

Brady Breeze TEN ankle IR

Amani Hooker TEN foot IR

Darrick Forrest WAS hamstring IR


A.J. Terrell ATL concussion

Chris Westry BAL knee-Meniscus IR

Marcus Peters BAL knee-ACL IR

Iman Marshall BAL knee IR

Juston Burris CAR groin IR

Jaycee Horn CAR foot IR

C.J. Henderson CAR groin

Troy Pride CAR knee-ACL IR

Chidobe Awuzie CIN Groin

Greg Newsome II CLE calf

Kelvin Joseph DAL groin IR

Reggie Robinson II DAL toe IR

Rondald Darby DEN hamstring IR

Michael Ojemudia DEN hamstring IR

Ifeatu Melifonwu DET thigh IR

Jeff Okudah DET Achilles IR

Kevin King GB illness

Will Redmond GB toe IR

Terrance Mitchell HOU concussion

Rock Ya-Sin IND ankle

Chavarius Ward KC quadriceps

Chris Harris LAC shoulder

Ryan Smith LAC undisclosed IR

Harrison Hand MIN hamstring 

Stephon Gilmore NE quadriceps PUP

Keith Washington NO wrist

Ken Crawley NO hamstring IR

Brian Poole NO undisclosed IR

Logan Ryan hamstring NYG

Aaron Robinson NYG abdomen PUP

Quincy Wilson NYG ankle IR

Zane Lewis NYJ knee-MCL IR

Josiah Scott PHI hamstring IR

DeMarkus Acy PIT knee-ACL

Josh Norman SF chest

Davontae Harris SF hamstring IR

Tre Brown SEA knee IR

Sean Murphy-Bunting TB elbow IR

Caleb Farley TEN shoulder

Kevin Peterson TEN undisclosed 

Greg Mabin TEN undisclosed

Benjamin St-Juste WAS concussion

Greg Stroman WAS undisclosed 

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.