There is plenty to like on the positive side this week, and fortunately little to concern yourself over with regard to the downward trending defensive player situation this week. Injuries, as ever, are a constant nuisance.

As I have stated before, if I highlight a player here in one week (or the past couple of weeks), it is not likely he will find his name in my post again. I do like to answer IDP queries, and feel free to send me your questions if you need a bit of advice – even with regard to those players I am not highlighting this particular week. My contact information is at the bottom of the article.

Elevator Going Up


Koa Misi MIA

Daryl Smith BAL

Michael Wilhoite SF

Shaquil Barrett DEN

Avery Williamson TEN

K.J. Wright SEA

James Laurinaitis STL

I expect Koa Misi to return from the bye week with a vengenance. He has been putting up excellent solo tackle numbers, and despite the rest of the underwhelming Miami defense around him, is a LB2 you can snap up off the wire. Daryl Smith is a guy you want on your team if your league values tackles, as he has put up 25 (17 solo) over the past two games. Add to this the fact that he is playing in San Francisco where the hometown official scorer loves to award solo tackles, and you understand why he should be on your radar. Speaking of benefiting from home scoring, Michael Wilhoite has the same number of tackles as Smith over Weeks 4 and 5. I am not as sold on him as I am on Smith going forward, but as a fill-in during bye weeks he is valuable.

Shaquil Barrett will be the player to fill in while DeMarcus Ware sits out Week 6, probably. He is coming off a four tackle/one sack effort in limited playing time last week, and in a full-time role should provide sneaky value, as he is virtually unowned. Avery Williamson had nine total tackles in Week 5 (seven solos) and a sack. He was a draft day darling for loads of IDP players, but his limited production to open the season resulted in his ownership levels dropping drastically. Now would be a fine time to snag him, although you do have to worry about the lack of snaps the Titans' defense is seeing this season. K.J. Wright will benefit with Bobby Wagner likely out this week, although his production so far has been solid, if not spectacular. He is someone to take a gamble on, especially with Seattle playing at home and in front of the friendly home stat crew who tend to hand out assists like Halloween candy. James Laurinatitis is another who will benefit from a fellow defensive player’s injury, in this case Alec Ogletree. He did have eight total tackles, to go with a couple of big plays (INT, PD) last week, and you should look for similar production going forward from him. He is on a bye this week, so look for him to be dropped and available for a waiver claim come Week 7.

Defensive Linemen

Allen Bailey DE KC

Michael Bennett DE SEA

Malik Jackson DT DEN

Jay Ratliff DT CHI

Allen Bailey is severely under-owned, and now would be the time to strike. He is coming off a week that saw him force a fumble, grab a sack and record seven tackles. Michael Bennett is now playing nearly every snap, and his numbers reflect his presence on the field. He had six tackles with a forced fumble and a sack in Week 5, and is on pace for something approaching 50 solo tackles in 2015. It hurts in leagues that require a DT presence in the lineup that he moved to DE, but not so much that he could not be thought of now as a DE1.

Malik Jackson, a fine addition to a team needing a DT, is providing solid value even as a DL. He has recorded at minimum a half sack the past four weeks (three sacks total) and is playing on a superb, aggressive defense, which only boosts his value. Because he is a DT, his ownership percentage makes him a perfect waiver wire pickup now. Jay Ratliff came on strong after missing the first four games due to his suspension and ankle injury. Four solos and one assist with a quarterback hurry against KC in Week 5, along with his DT designation, make him a fine addition to a team that plays in a DT-mandatory week, and the Bears do get to face the struggling Lions in Week 6.

Defensive Backs

Rashad Johnson S ARI

Eric Berry S KC

Will Hill S BAL

Walter Thurmond S PHI

Jason McCourty CB TEN

Adam Jones CB CIN

Greg Toler CB IND

Josh Norman CB CAR

Rashad Johnson looked strong against the Lions and has been impressive the last four games, with 20 tackles over that span. He also offers big-play opportunity, and is available in over 90 percent of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. Eric Berry is another under-owned player, and as his playing time has increased, so has his production. His is a great story coming back from Hodgkin's lymphoma, but his increased production makes him a great fantasy pickup. Will Hill is another player with ownership issues, although not for those of you looking for a DB. He offers both big play opportunity and solid tackle numbers. Walter Thurmond looked fantastic in Week 5, deflecting two passes and grabbing one interception. He also added four solo tackles to his stat line. Maybe not a prototypical safety due to his size (he was moved from cornerback), he makes up for it with solid tackling skills and good cover ability.

Certainly, Jason McCourty had a less than overwhelming stat line in Week 5 with just one solo tackle, but he was on the field for all of the Titans’ defensive snaps and the Bills only completed 11 passes in Week 5, also reducing his tackle opportunities. He is back from his groin injury, has been, and will continue to be, a solid option at corner, and is likely available on your waiver wire. Adam Jones was on the injury report last week, but came through like a trooper if you held onto him and were able to plop him into your lineup on Sunday. In addition to giving you five total tackles, he also added an interception, a sack, and a pass deflection. If he was dropped in your league, go get him now. Greg Toler jumped back into action with eight tackles in Week 5, all solos. He is a player to grab if you play in a tackle-oriented IDP league. Josh Norman was the NFL Defensive Player of the Month for September, so others are probably taking a closer look at him, although coming off a bye week may hide his value for a bit longer. He has four interceptions and eight pass deflections so far in four games, and while you cannot bank on him continuing to score TDs (he has two on the season), he is a strong consideration at cornerback going forward if you can snag him.

Escalator Going Down


C.J. Mosley BAL

Justin Houston KC

Hau’oli Kikaha NO

C.J. Mosley’s stat line suffered some from the fact that the Browns relied on their passing attack, only rushing the ball 25 times despite the game going into overtime. Still, he has been underwhelming overall, with just 14 total tackles over the past three games, and you can do better. Justin Houston was drafted heavily after rolling up 22 sacks last season, but teams are scheming away from him this season (go figure). He is droppable right now as there are plenty of other better performing options on the wire. Hau'oli Kikaha could not keep up the stellar production he demonstrated early on this season, and while I do not want to give up on a potential big-play producer, I also like consistency from my linebacking corps, and he is not worth the gamble right now. If you want to wait and see how he performs against Atlanta, however, I would not fault your logic.

Defensive Linemen

Rob Ninkovich DE NE

I know you drafted him as a DL1, but that is not what he is providing. He does not seem to be getting after the QB as well this season, which hurts his value. Jabaal Sheard is the guy chasing down the passer, and should be on your roster right now instead of Ninkovich.

Defensive Backs

Earl Thomas S SEA

Da’Norris Searcy S TEN

I had been thinking that Earl Thomas simply missed Kam Chancellor on the defense to help him pick up his game, but he continues to disappoint. His tackle numbers are way down, and while he did grab an INT this past week, he is just not producing like a DB2, let alone a DB1. Da'Norris Searcy only has nine solo tackles as part of his paltry 12 total tackles this season. As a safety, you want more tackle production out of your player, and those totals, should they continue, are not going to get it done. True, Tennessee has been seeing lower than average defensive snaps so far, and that should average out over the balance of the season, but in the meantime, there are better players for your squad.

Ouch (My Aching Roster)

All the injury reports below need to be evaluated at kickoff.  Teams are notoriously sketchy about injury reports, and we often do not know a player's status until just before game time. The list below is intended as a "heads up" as to what is going on early in the week, and should not be considered definitive.


Jon Beason NYG (concussion)

DeAndre Levy DET (hip)

Nick Perry GB (shoulder)

Dont’a Hightower NE (rib)

DeMarcus Ware DEN (back)

Elvis Dumervil BAL (groin)

Alex Okafor ARI (calf)

Bobby Wagner SEA (strained pectoral muscle)

Shea McClellin CHI (knee)

Defensive Linemen

Muhammad Wilkerson DE NYJ (rib)

Chris Long DE StL (hyperextended knee)

Justin Tuck DE OAK (shoulder)

Jadeveon Clowney DE HOU (foot)

Jordan Hill DT SEA (quadriceps)

B.J. Raji DT GB (groin)

Defensive Backs

Chris Conte S TB (ankle)

Chris Clemons S ARI (hamstring)

Aaron Williams S BUF (neck)

Will Davis CB BAL (knee)

Joe Haden CB CLE (concussion)

Tharold Simon CB SEA toe (IR-out for season)

Aqib Talib CB DEN (ankle)

Breshard Breeland CB WAS (shoulder)

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, I can be reached at