Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 14

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 14.

Six teams are on a bye in Week 14, which is officially the last week to navigate them, so while it’ll be a hectic week to fill lineup spots, it will also provide a final chance at nabbing IDPs that should remain rostered.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DE Chandler Jones, Las Vegas Raiders

Jones has a flair for the dramatic when it comes to fantasy. He had been mostly silent throughout the season, and the 32-year-old turned back the clock with a six tackle, three-sack performance last week. Jones has a history of monstrous performances. He had a six-tackle, five-sack Week 1 last year. Was this one last hurrah or the beginning of a late-season renaissance?

DT Michael Hoecht, Los Angeles Rams

No one is replacing Aaron Donald, but Hoecht ran with the opportunity the last two weeks. He had six tackles two weeks ago and his first two sacks of the season last week. The former Ivy Leaguer will get an extended look, and he’s worthy of being plucked from waivers in deeper formats.

Linebackers

LB Chad Muma, Jacksonville Jaguars

An ankle injury was the only thing that could slow Muma down last week. Keep an eye on his availability this week due to that. Muma had 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks last week before the injury. He had six and nine tackles in the two previous games, and he’s a priority pickup if he’s good to go.

LB Josh Uche, New England Patriots

Uche is the epitome of a hot-and-cold player. He has sacks in four-straight games, and in two of those he had a total of three tackles. He had 13 tackles combined in the other two. So temper your expectations a bit, but he seems like the kind of player Bill Belichick depends on down the stretch.

Defensive Backs

S Jordan Whitehead, New York Jets

Whitehead has been an unspectacular player in fantasy this season, but he broke out with 11 tackles last week. Whitehead has at least four tackles in 11 of 12 games this year, which is a solid floor to take a chance on even if the 10-tackle games aren’t a mainstay.

CB Damarri Mathis, Denver Broncos

The fourth-round rookie has been tested often of late, and he has piled up the tackles. He has 20 tackles over the last three games, and he figures to have the chance at a lot more against the Kansas City Chiefs this week. Consider him as a one-week play with the potential for more.

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Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 13

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 13.

We hope everyone enjoyed the holiday, and we’re back to normal in Week 13 with more bye weeks to cover. With the fantasy playoffs approaching, the time is now.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DE Yannick Ngakoue, Indianapolis Colts

The former Pro Bowler has been off the fantasy radar for a couple of years, but he has consistently reached the quarterback. In fact, he has at least a half-sack in six straight games. He’s coming off four tackles and two sacks Monday night, but he will likely just be a one-week pickup. Ngakoue has the Dallas Cowboys this week before a Week 14 bye.

EDGE Preston Smith, Green Bay Packers

Smith officially is an outside linebacker, but he has EDGE utility in leagues that allow for positional versatility. Smith, too, has a Week 14 bye to navigate, but you can’t ignore what he has done the last two weeks. He combined for 11 tackles and two sacks during those two matchups. Speaking of matchups, he has a good one against the Chicago Bears this week.

Linebackers

LB Ernest Jones, Los Angeles Rams

After a dismal three-tackle performance in Week 11, Jones rebounded with 11 tackles last week. It was his second 10-tackle performance in three games. He doesn’t offer anything but tackles, which suppresses his allure and has him floating on waivers. If he is this 10-tackle performer, he has to be owned more.

LB James Houston, Detroit Lions

Houston is this week’s Lions breakout performer. He was elevated from the practice squad before Thursday’s game and tallied two sacks in just four snaps. He also recovered a fumble. There’s a chance he’s just lightning in a bottle, but there is an opportunity for him to seize with Charles Harris now on IR.

Defensive Backs

CB Cam Taylor-Britt, Cincinnati Bengals

The second-round pick from Nebraska has been busy the last two weeks. He racked up 12 tackles in Week 11 and eight stops with a forced fumble last week. He’ll face the Chiefs in Week 13, which should keep him busy as well.

S John Johnson, Cleveland Browns

We highlighted Johnson earlier in the season, and he tailed off. He has picked it back up the last two weeks with 10 tackles and six tackles. He won’t offer much more outside of the tackles, but he has the Houston Texans this week, and they’re a great matchup for DBs.

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Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 12

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 12.

We push forward into Week 12. It’s a strange week where no team has a bye, so you could see significant waiver movement to stash offensive players. That’s where we’ll feast on the IDPs that should be owned hitting waivers.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DE Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions

The No. 2 overall pick has been feast or famine in fantasy, but man he has feasted the last two weeks. He had eight tackles and a sack in Week 10 and three tackles, a fumble recovery, a pick and a pass defense in Week 11. If you can live with the streakiness, there’s a place for him on your roster.

DE Zach Sieler, Miami Dolphins

With the injury to Emmanuel Ogbah, in what was a bust of a season for him as well, Sieler has provided a spark. Sieler has four tackles in each of the last four games. He has also pitched in a sack and a forced fumble during that stretch. There’s enough meat on the bone there with the tackle count to scoop up.

Linebackers

LB Dylan Cole, Tennessee Titans

With Zach Cunningham on IR, Cole has stepped into his spot inside. Cole has five tackles in three straight games and four of five. He picked up his first sack two weeks ago as well. The ceiling isn’t real high on him, but that can be said about most linebackers you’re sifting through on waivers at this stage.

LB Tyrel Dodson, Buffalo Bills

No relation to yours truly here, so I swear there’s no nepotism taking place! Dodson has filled in admirably for Tremaine Edmunds, who is viewed as unlikely to play on Thanksgiving because of a groin injury. Dodson stepped up last week with 13 tackles, and you can’t have that sitting on waivers for an opponent to have – even if it’s just for a one-week play.

Defensive Backs

S Xavier Woods, Carolina Panthers

Woods cashed in during the offseason after a breakout 108-tackle season last year. He had two 10-tackle games to open the season, and you really didn’t hear much about him since then. He has continued to produce, though, as he’s on pace for 103 tackles. Woods has at least five tackles in four straight games. He won’t offer too much beyond tackles, but that’s a good baseline floor to have for depth late in the season.

CB Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams

He’s arguably the best corner in football, but he hasn’t really been much of a fantasy performer. That has changed of late as teams don’t fear him as much with the dearth of injuries on the roster. Ramsey has at least six tackles in four straight games. He’ll also pitch in pass defenses and the threat of a pick-six. That’s value for the buck from a corner.

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Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 11

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 11.

Welcome to Week 11, where it’s officially the stretch run. Your league’s trade deadline may have already passed, which makes nailing these IDP waiver moves imperative. Four more teams are on a bye this week, which leaves eight teams left to navigate.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DE Jerry Hughes, Houston Texans

The 34-year-old has drank from the fountain of youth with eight sacks thus far, which is his third-highest total of his career and best since 2014. Hughes has at least four tackles in two straight games and sacks in three straight. He’s a rock-solid option to grab as depth and use in good matchups.

DE DeMarcus Walker, Tennessee Titans

Largely thanks to injuries, Walker has thrust himself into a deeper-league spotlight with a sack in three straight games. He has just 14 tackles on the season and 3.5 sacks on the year, so he won’t be a pickup to suit every league’s tastes. Walker hasn’t played more than 55 percent of the snaps in any game this year, which came last weekend. However, with sacks in three straight games and the Packers and Bengals upcoming – two teams that allow sacks, the near future continues to look bright.

Linebackers

LB Jack Sanborn, Chicago Bears

Two weeks ago, he had two tackles on the year. The last two weeks, he delivered seven tackles and 12 tackles and two sacks, respectively. Sanborn has a bigger role, and the rookie is here to stay. Pick him up universally.

LB Kaden Elliss, New Orleans Saints

Another guy that has emerged over the last two weeks is the 27-year-old Elliss. He has sacks in two straight weeks, and he had seven tackles and a forced fumble to go with it last week. Injuries all over the Saints’ roster has given Elliss plenty of job security, and he’s a flex candidate in mid-sized leagues.

Defensive Backs

S Rodney McLeod, Indianapolis Colts

The 32-year-old has been a consistent contributor in recent weeks for tackles and nothing else. Over the last three weeks, he has nine, six and seven tackles, respectively. So if you’re looking for depth and want a safe option with a low ceiling and solid baseline, he’s your guy.

CB Sauce Gardner, New York Jets

The No. 4 overall pick in 2022 has emerged and leads the league with 13 pass defenses. He also has 21 tackles over the last three weeks. He’s fresh off of a bye week and has the Patriots and Bears over the next couple of weeks. Gardner probably won’t be a stalwart in your lineup, but he’s definitely a worthwhile depth add and matchup play.

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Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 10

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 10.

We’ve reached double digits in the 2022 NFL season, and four AFC teams will be on a bye this week. After this week, about half of the league will be clear of its bye, which makes it tougher each week to grab IDPs that should not be dropped. The diamonds in the rough emerging will be even more important.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DT Vita Vea, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 347-pound tackle has never been much of a fantasy commodity, but he has made a statement over the last three weeks. Vea has 12 tackles and four sacks over the stretch, which has put him among the top scorers at the position. This could just be an aberration, but he’s a Pro Bowl-caliber player worth the add.

DT Javon Hargrave, Philadelphia Eagles

Hargrave is another tackle performing at a high level, though fantasy players looking to add him must take heed. He has 15 tackles and five sacks over the last two games. The 29-year-old had just 11 tackles and one sack the previous six games. Pick him up as depth, but he’ll probably be one of the first ones dropped should you need the spot.

Linebackers

LB Krys Barnes, Green Bay Packers

Barnes missed the first seven games of the season due to an ankle injury, and he delivered eight tackles in his first game in Week 9. The Packers defense is a mess with injuries, and Barnes will be a cog in the second layer. The third-year pro had 80 tackles in each of his first two seasons and should be a steady piece.

LB Justin Houston, Baltimore Ravens

He’s on a bye this week, but what he has done the last three weeks can’t be ignored. Houston has a sack in all five games he has played, and he has at least two sacks in three games in a row. Houston records only about three tackles a game, though, so he’s very one-dimensional. That one dimension has been on full display of late, though.

Defensive Backs

S Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills

The former sixth-rounder is still a bit of an unknown and available in far too many leagues after amassing 22 tackles over the last two weeks. Hamlin has at least seven tackles over the last four weeks, and he notched his first full sack of the season last week.

S Kerby Joseph, Detroit Lions

He suffered a concussion in Week 9, so take that into consideration when scouring the wire. The third-round rookie had a breakout performance with 10 tackles, two INTs and three pass defenses. He has at least five tackles in three straight games. Monitor his status throughout the week, and consider picking him up if he’s fit to play.

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Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 9

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 9.

The 2022 NFL season keep chugging along, and we’re past the league’s trade deadline into Week 9. There are still moves you can make that can make a difference in your season. We’re here to help guide you in the right direction.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DT Derrick Brown, Carolina Panthers

The 2020 No. 7 overall pick gave pretty marginal results over his first two seasons, but he has begun to break out. Over the last four games, he has 28 tackles and a sack in what could be the beginning of his prime seasons. DE Brian Burns is staying put, and that can only mean good things for Brown moving forward.

DE Travon Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars

The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft really didn’t have high expectations in fantasy because he was viewed by many as more of a project. That project has been getting extra credit lately as he has five tackles in four of the last five games. He also picked up 1.5 sacks over the last two games after being shut out since Week 1. He should be owned more often than he is because of his tackling ability.

Linebackers

LB Za’Darius Smith, Minnesota Vikings

If he’s DE-eligible in your league, even better, but Smith has wreaked havoc the last two weeks with five sacks. Rushing the passer opposite of elite EDGE Danielle Hunter has really served him well as Smith has been the lesser of the two evils in pass-blocking schemes. More importantly, Smith has 11 tackles over the last two weeks after needing five games to acquire his first 11.

LB Sione Takitaki, Cleveland Browns

He’s on a bye this week, so your roster construction will dictate whether you can afford to stash him for a week. Takitaki has had his two best tackling games the last two weeks with eight and 13 on Monday night. He also picked up his first sack Monday night as the 27-year-old looks to be blossoming in his fourth season. He’s more of a deep-league pickup, but keep him on your watch list if you can’t stash him for a week.

Defensive Backs

S Myles Hartsfield, Carolina Panthers

The injury to stud S Jeremy Chinn opened the door for the third-year product out of Ole Miss. Hartsfield has taken it and ran with it with seven or more tackles in three straight weeks. It’s hard to find that kind of consistency on the wire at this point in the season, and he could serve as a one-week play in Week 9 if Chinn isn’t available to play once more.

CB Tyson Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars

The 2021 second-round pick from Georgia quietly had a solid rookie season with 73 tackles and two INTs last year. He has matched the INTs and is on pace to surpass the tackles as he already has 40 on the year. Campbell has racked up five tackles in five straight games. Over the last three, he has 19 tackles, a forced fumble, an INT and four pass defenses. It’s time to take notice on the up-and-comer as the former Bulldog should be busy against the Raiders and Chiefs the next two weeks.

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Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 8

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 8.

Welcome to Week 8. About half of the fantasy season is down, and eight teams are through their bye weeks. This is a pocket you really can thrive in with IDP depth your competition doesn’t have.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DE/LB Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins

The 18th overall pick in 2021 had a breakout-esque game against Pittsburgh last week with eight total tackles and 1.5 sacks. He had 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the season entering the game, primarily playing as a linebacker, so there could be dual eligibility in some leagues that include DEs and outside ‘backers as EDGE. Can this be the game that catapults him to the upside they saw when he was taken that high? He has good matchups with Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland upcoming to find out.

DT Grover Stewart, Indianapolis Colts

We’re not sure what’s in the water in Indy, but their defensive tackles are feasting. Stewart had five tackles and a sack two games ago, and he busted out with 12 tackles in Week 7. He has run-heavy Washington next week to eat up even more tackles in deeper leagues.

Linebackers

LB Isaiah Simmons, Arizona Cardinals

Let’s face it, the 2020 No. 8 overall pick has looked like a bust until recently. He had 12 tackles three weeks ago and returned to irrelevance with two tackles in Week 6. Simmons came back with big game in Week 7 with five tackles and a Pick-6. He can’t be relied upon weekly, but he’s certainly an intriguing flex option in the right matchup.

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys

He’s on a bye next week – so keep that in mind when pondering this one. But Vander Esch has resurfaced as a fantasy option. Gone are the days when his ascension was taking reps away from Jaylon Smith, but he has had seven tackles or more in five of seven games this season. He had a season-high 10 last week. He’ll have the opportunity for a bunch more for the run-focused Chicago Bears in Week 8.

Defensive Backs

S Ryan Neal, Seattle Seahawks

The undrafted product out of Southern Illinois has had an eye-opening two-week window. Over the last two games, he has stuffed the stat sheet with: 14 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, an INT and five pass defenses. Depending on your scoring system, he could be one of the highest-scoring DBs in fantasy. He doesn’t have the track record, but seven tackles in three straight games gives him staying power.

S Geno Stone, Baltimore Ravens

This guy just has a football name where you know not to mess with him. Over the last two weeks, he has delivered 14 tackles, a forced fumble and a recovery. Stone, a former seventh-round pick out of Iowa, is receiving his first real chance to succeed in the league, so he may be more of a watch-list player outside of deep leagues.

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Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 7

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 7.

The first week of byes is down, and four more contending teams are off in Week 7. Through six games, rosters have had a chance to settle. You know who you can count on and who’s on the bubble. As always, keep an eye out for worthwhile players who may have been released during last week’s byes.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DT DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts

The two-time Pro Bowler had a solid start to the season with at least four tackles in each of his five games. He really made a statement the last two games, though, with 13 tackles and three sacks combined. He’s a 295-pound interior lineman who will have peaks and valleys, but the tackle numbers are promising for him to hold value throughout the year.

DT Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants

The 2019 first-round draft pick has been a solid player, but he has really taken the next step through the first six weeks of the season. He has tied his career high with four sacks – all of which have come in the last three games. He had five tackles in four of the six games and just one tackle in the other two. So he’ll need the sack numbers to continue to have value outside of deeper leagues, but he’s on the rise.

Linebackers

LB Jacob Phillips, Cleveland Browns

The former third-round pick got off to a slow start the first two weeks with just five combined tackles. He has turned it on with seven, seven, 10 and 10 the following four weeks. He has mixed in two sacks as well, and Phillips looks to be a weekly flex candidate in standard leagues that start a DL, LB, DB and flex.

LB Alex Singleton, Denver Broncos

It’s OK to look at Singleton’s Week 6 stat line and blurt out a “Holy” and follow it up with your word of choice. He had 21 tackles, and 19 of them were solos, good for the second-most individual stops in NFL history! Now, LB Josey Jewell was out with a knee injury, but you can’t bench someone who just racked up 21 tackles, can you? Singleton was solid during the first two games without Jewell to open 2022, and the Broncos went right back to the latter, but 21 tackles is tough to ignore in any context. Pick up Singleton and see if you can shop him or just use him at flex until Jewell comes back.

Defensive Backs

SS Rayshawn Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars

The 28-year-old’s season started out quietly with just five tackles combined in the first two weeks. Since then, he has tallied five, six, 12 and eight stops. Each of the last two weeks, seven of them have been solos. He had a career-high 84 tackles in 15 games in 2020, and he’s poised to eclipse that with good health.

S Jaquan Brisker, Chicago Bears

Brisker, a second-round pick in 2022, may have the most upside of the bunch this week. He has had at least five tackles in each of the last five games, but he has sacks in two of the last three games. They’re using him to blitz, which creates opportunities for sacks, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries to go with a solid baseline of tackles. We could be looking at a DB1 or DB2 by season’s end. Don’t miss the boat.

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Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 6

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 6.

We’re one-third of the way into the season, and bye weeks are upon us. By now, you should have a good idea of your roster construction’s strengths and weaknesses. IDPs are one of the first drops you make to cover byes, which means you need to keep your eyes peeled to the waiver wire for players who shouldn’t have been cut.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DE Zach Allen, Arizona Cardinals

The 2019 third-round pick has been stuffing the stat sheet the last three weeks. He had 17 total tackles, two sacks and four pass defenses to be one of the top players at the position over the stretch. He had 48 tackles and four sacks last year, which lends us to believe his tackling numbers have some staying power.

DE Montez Sweat, Washington Commanders

Sweat was a big disappointment through the first four weeks of the season, and a lot of impatient owners let him go. He came alive in Week 5 with six tackles and his first two sacks of the year. Clearly, he has struggled without DE Chase Young on the other side, but the team has been happy with Sweat’s run-stopping ability. Young could be back in a matter of weeks, which means Sweat should be owned universally because of last week’s breakout and the future upside.

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Linebackers

LB David Long, Tennessee Titans

Long is on a bye this week – so keep that in mind. He had his best game of the season in Week 5 with 11 tackles and an interception. Yet, fantasy owners have been slow to the trigger to pick him up off waivers. He has at least seven tackles in four of five games, and this bye week should only make him more available. Grab him and stash him for a week if you can.

LB Darius Harris, Kansas City Chiefs

Harris exploded with 10 tackles in Week 3, but he followed it up with a goose egg in Week 4, which caused a surge of people hitting the drop button. He had just 15 tackles in two seasons in his career leading up to this year, which made the performance seem fluky. He responded with 10 tackles and his first career sack Monday night. He has to be part of the picture even when Willie Gay Jr. returns from suspension.

Defensive Backs

CB Cameron Dantzler, Minnesota Vikings

Dantzler had the play that iced the game in Week 5 when he stripped the ball away from a Bears receiver. However it’s what he has done in the tackle category that has made fantasy owners take notice. Dantzler has eight tackles in two of the last three games, and he has five or more in four of the five games. He’s at 30 tackles on the year and well on his way to shattering his career-high of 53 last year.

CB Deommodore Lenoir, San Francisco 49ers

It was really unfortunate that CB Emmanuel Moseley had arguably the best game of his career in Week 5 and left the contest with a torn ACL. Lenoir has been ballin’ out the last three weeks, and he only figures to see more action with Moseley lost for the year. Lenoir has 21 tackles, a sack and a pass defense over the stretch and should start being picked up with more playing time in store.

Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 5

Check your waiver wire for these IDP options ahead of Week 5.

It’s the final week before we have to start covering some bye weeks. So it’s the last chance for some players you drafted that might be lagging behind to show something before roster space becomes a crunch.

Each week, we’ll highlight diamonds in the rough or some players that just need to be rostered in more leagues on the defensive side of the ball. Keep in mind your scoring system and roster restraints when heading to the waiver wire to grab these IDPs.

Defensive Linemen

DE Samson Ebukam, San Francisco 49ers

The sixth-year pro has had 4.5 sacks each of the last three years and is close to eclipsing that career high one quarter into the season. He had two sacks in Week 4, and he’s really taking advantage of the extra attention paid opposite of him on a healthy Nick Bosa. Ebukam only has 11 tackles on the year, and he’s a little one-dimensional. Keep that in mind and pursue him in deeper formats.

DT Quinnen Williams, New York Jets  

The former No. 3 overall pick is starting to wreck havoc. He has at least four tackles and a half-sack in three straight games. He has been at 50 tackles and 6-7 sacks each of the last two years, and he projects to soar past those numbers in his fourth season. He should be owned in most leagues.

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Linebackers

LB Tae Crowder, New York Giants

The former seventh-round pick broke out with 130 tackles last year. He went undrafted in a lot of leagues as owners must not have bought into it. Crowder is proving them wrong with 25 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble in four games. He should be owned everywhere.

LB Zaven Collins, Arizona Cardinals

The 16th overall pick played sparingly last season, but he’s getting his time to shine in 2022. He has 27 tackles and a forced fumble through four games. He has clearly moved past 2020 No. 8 overall pick Isaiah Simmons and looks to be a fixture in the middle.

Defensive Backs

FS DeShon Elliott, Detroit Lions

The fourth-year man is in his first season with Detroit, and he has been dependable in the secondary. He has 28 tackles (23 solo) and a fumble recovery thus far. There’s a lot of youth back there, and Elliott figures to be one of the leaders. He’s a solid pickup as depth for his tackling prowess, which should remain steady after Detroit lost Tracy Walker (Achilles) a week ago.

S Malik Hooker, Dallas Cowboys

Hooker has played a ton of snaps the last couple of weeks with Jayron Kearse missing time. Hooker stood out in Week 4 with eight tackles, and he has at least four in three straight games. He has had trouble staying healthy in what could have been a path to stardom in Indy, but he’s carving a role in Dallas that may continue beyond Kearse’s return since Dallas loves to employ the “big nickel” defense that fields three safeties.