Things are getting sorted out in defensive circles and some IDP performers are really stepping up and should be in your lineups. Injuries have hit the defensive player front hard this year and we have lost some top performers. This is the time to capitalize on this and position your IDP squad for a playoff push and then hopefully, the playoffs.
Below are some players that may be available and may also be able to be acquired fairly inexpensively due to their situations. Please feel free to send me questions on Twitter and for defensive unit recommendations, please check out this article.
Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Cleveland Browns
Ogunjobi is an absolutely dominating young defensive tackle with a bright future. He tallied 8 tackles (4 solos) against the Jets and really sets the tone for the pass rushers on the edge as well as the entire defense. Ogunjobi is so much fun to watch, he draws so much attention in the middle despite lining up next to Myles Garrett. He draws a good matchup this week against Oakland and a line of 8 tackles and a sack is what I predict for him in Week 4
Margus Hunt, DT, Indianapolis Colts
Hunt has been a big surprise in the Circle City after mostly being ineffective in his first five seasons. He is a freakish athlete with a physical profile similar to J.J. Watt and is absolutely beasting out in the first three weeks. Hunt has 10 tackles and 3 sacks through the first three games and draws a matchup with Houston in Week 4. I expect another handful of tackles and a sack while chasing Deshaun Watson all day.
Kenny Clark, DT, Green Bay Packers
Clark is showing he can be a dominating interior lineman is his third full season, harassing the Redskins in Week 3 for 9 tackles (6 solos) and his game is still improving. Clark next draws the Buffalo Bills, they are essentially starting 5 blocks of Swiss cheese on the offensive line at this point, and Clark is a good bet for a sack and 6-8 tackles as well. Clark will be a strong Week 4 start.
Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers
Week 3 brought about the return of Malcolm Smith and Reuben Foster, it didn’t matter – Warner still manned the interior for the 49ers and notched another 11 tackles (9 solos) and looks to not be relinquishing the role anytime soon. The Chargers are up in Week 4 and Warner will have a great week tackling and chasing down the duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, I expect another double-digit tackle week.
Kenny Young, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Young was phenomenal in Week 3, corralling in 10 tackles (8 solos) versus the Broncos despite only being on the field for 64.7% of the defensive snaps. That number is going to continue to increase, even after the return of C.J. Mosley. Young is lightning quick to diagnose plays and is often the first player at the point of attack for defense, his instincts are good and will get better. The Ravens travel to Pittsburgh in Week 4, I expect a high tackle count for Young as he looks to stimy James Conner as well as Vance McDonald and JuJu Smith Schuster over the middle.
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Vander Esch played less than 50% of snaps in Week 3 but still filled the box score with 11 tackles (9 solos) in that short time. I did extensive film study on Vander Esch before the draft, he’s an impressive young player and the heir apparent in Dallas – apparently sooner rather than later at this clip. The Cowboys host the Lions next and Kerryon Johnson, who is also fresh off a breakout game. Vander Esch should have another good stat line in Week 4.
Antone Exum, S, San Francisco 49ers
Exum is the man if Jaquiski Tartt misses another game and needs to be in your lineup if you need secondary help. Exum had 9 solo tackles and a sack in Week 3 versus the Chiefs and a similarly high flying attack with the Chargers is up next. Monitor the situation and if it looks like Tartt is a no-go, Exum is the man and needs to be started.
Demontae Kazee, S, Atlanta Falcons
Kazee was the first man up when Keanu Neal went down – that is what most thought. Instead, Ricardo Allen slid in to play strong safety but he then suffered a season-ending injury in Week 3. Kazee played 91.1% of defensive snaps against the Saints and contributed 10 tackles (8 solos). Kazee is now the undeniable starter and will likely produce good numbers for the rest of the season and is likely available on your waiver wire.
Jordan Whitehead, S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Whitehead will step into the strong safety role for at least the next six weeks and Chris Conte got stiff-armed into another dimension in Week 3. Whitehead stepped in and notched 4 tackles after Conte’s exit, and should have a strong performance against the Bears in Week 4. Whitehead is a strong pickup if you need defensive back help.