Skip to main content

We now turn the page toward Week 12 and my mantra when it comes to IDP continues to be to chase the points. However, there’s a right and wrong way to chase.

For example, Chiefs DT Chris Jones basically doubled his point total on Sunday with a stellar game against the Cowboys, highlighted by 3.5 sacks. Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy over his last two games doubled his fantasy points with three sacks and an INT return TD. Meanwhile, some of this year’s emerging studs are waning, like Bengals LB Logan Wilson--who has been more miss than hit in the second half of the season. Browns DE Myles Garrett may have 13 sacks, but his underwhelming tackle production has capped his point totals. It’s tempting to chase the players with lightning games—where a huge performance provides a possible game-winning score.

I would prefer to avoid these inconsistent players who do most of their damage in one game or two (like the aforementioned Jones and Van Noy). If you’re going to target a player, make sure he’s a tackle-heavy player who delivers stats every week. I’ll take 10 points every week, instead of the guy who gets almost blanked for a month just to score 30 at random.

My recommendations will be based on what I feel is the ideal IDP format: I would recommend 10 defensive starters (1 DT, 2 DE, 3 LB, 1 CB, 2 S and 1 IDP flex) in addition to your format’s offensive starters. My ideal scoring system is 1.5 points per solo tackle, 1 per assist, 4 per sack, 4 per INT, 1.5 per pass defended, 3 per forced fumble, 1 per fumble recovery, 4 per safety and 6 for defensive touchdowns.


Defensive Linemen

DE Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints

Davenport’s inclusion in my article is now at three weeks in a row. In my Week 11 IDP waiver wire report, I noted he was providing DE1 stats since his return from injury and he continues to climb the charts. On Sunday, he tallied six solos, four assists and 1.5 sacks vs. the Eagles. Over his last three games, Davenport is the top scoring defensive end—no excuse for him to be available right now.

DE Trevis Gipson, Chicago Bears

Fun fact: He isn’t related to teammate Tashaun Gipson; I had always assumed they were brothers. In any case, over the past month Trevis Gipson has seen an uptick to his snaps. He still doesn’t quite meet that 75% threshold I like with my rotational players, but he’s close at 68.5% over his last four games. What I really like here is he’s playing more of an edge role, he’s standing up more. He’s a raw, long, rangy player who mostly played inside in college, so we might be a year away from seeing his full potential. For now, though, he’s playing more with Khalil Mack out and I’m optimistic after a Week 11 game with four solos, one assist, two TFLs and a sack.

DE James Smith-Williams, Washington Football Team

We haven’t seen much here from JSW yet, but defensive ends are becoming more like home-run hitters in baseball. Strikeouts are up, consistency is down. With Chase Young shut down for the year with a torn ACL, we’re looking to the second-year seventh-rounder to see what he can do. It’s not easy to get drafted in the seventh round and stick around in the NFL for long. I see some silver lining in Week 11 with one solo, five assists, one TFL and 0.5 sacks.

DT A’Shawn Robinson, Los Angeles Rams

The increase in playing time due to Sebastian Joseph-Day’s absence has helped push Robinson into low DT1 territory. DE Greg Gaines took over SJD’s spot, but Robinson has seen an increase in snaps. He’s a space eater on running downs and not the type of player to generate pass rush numbers. So if you can live with a heaping handful of tackles every week, he’s your guy. If/when SJD is healthy enough to play and available in your league, add him instead of Robinson.

More DT: Eddie Goldman (CHI), Bryan Mone (SEA), Armon Watts (MIN)

More DE: Dre’Mont Jones (DEN), Zach Allen (ARI), Jaelan Phillips (MIA), Rasheem Green (SEA), Arden Key (SF)


Jayon Brown, Tennessee Titans

Likely scooped up already in most active leagues, Brown is about 50% available despite posting three consecutive great games. Against the Texans in Week 11, he totaled a monster 14 combined tackles (six solos, eight assists). Over these three games, he’s a mid-LB2. Brown provides very little big-play potential, which is his M.O. over his career, but as long as David Long and/or Rashaan Evans are out, Brown will be a productive 100% snapper.

SI Recommends

Quincy Williams, New York Jets

The Jets seem to be throwing everything against the wall in their defensive front, which--along with a Week 7 concussion--has contributed to Williams’s inconsistent playing time. I always love to see double-digit solo tackles and he tallied 10 solos in Week 11, the second time he’s done so this year. Williams likely hit your waiver wire at some point since the Jets’ Week 6 bye. I like him as a LB3, but we need to see more consistent snaps.

Alex Anzalone, Detroit Lions

Like Jayon Brown, Anzalone is a dependably lukewarm tackle producer. He’s provided a combined seven or more tackles in four of his last five games. He’s one of the least productive 100% snap ILBs in football, which is why his availability doesn’t eclipse 50%. I list him here because 100% snap players are worth their weight in gold. A promising upstart, like you might find below in my deeper LB section doesn’t have job security. Part of the Anzalone appeal is you plug him in and forget it. With young guys, you end up tracking injury news, watching snap counts, reading up on practice reports and press conferences, it’s all a bit tedious. Meanwhile, boring Anzalone is going to play the full game and chip in a half dozen tackles. Book it.


Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears

Well, remember my speech earlier about avoiding lightning players who score all their points in one game? Yeah, there are caveats. Some leagues do prominently feature big-play scoring over tackle-centric scoring. To his credit, Quinn does have 10 sacks, 3.5 of which came in Week 11 vs. the Ravens. If he’s a DE in your league, bonus and he’s probably already owned. If he’s a LB in your league, he’s not much more than a flex to me. It is nice to see him finding his groove again after a missing-in-action 2020.

More LB: Kyle Van Noy (NE), Kamu Grugier-Hill (HOU), Malik Reed (DEN), Ernest Jones (LAR), Damien Wilson (JAC)

More LB (availability)*: David Long (TEN), T.J. Edwards (PHI), Kyzir White (LAC), Anthony Walker (CLE), Zach Cunningham (HOU)

Deeper LB: Tyus Bowser (BAL), Preston Smith (GB), Alex Highsmith (PIT), Germaine Pratt (CIN), Monty Rice (TEN)

* Still too widely available in spite of great production

Defensive Backs

S Eric Murray, Houston Texans

Lonnie Johnson, who began 2021 as a safety, has been moved to cornerback. This has opened up playing time for Murray in his last two games. In those two, Murray has 11 solos, eight assists, two PDs and a pick. Now that Murray is the team’s starting strong safety, I think he should be close to 100% rostered ASAP.

S Eddie Jackson, Chicago Bears

DeAndre Houston-Carson has filled in well for Jackson recently and Tashaun Gipson back in Week 7, but I think his role will dry up once Jackson returns in Week 12. Jackson returned to practice earlier in the week yet was declared inactive for Week 11. He hasn’t had a particularly great year and failed to meet his high S2 expectations. That said, the Bears’ front-seven isn’t playing very well and Roquan Smith can’t get all the tackles, can he? I’m hoping he’s been dealing with nagging injuries all year—hence the so-so performances—and just needed a couple weeks to get right.

S Khari Willis & George Odum, Indianapolis Colts

So we’ve got a tricky situation: Willis is eligible to return from IR. The Colts have had a revolving door at safety. They brought back Jahleel Addae and have used a mix of Andrew Sendejo, Josh Jones and Odum to fill in for Julian Blackmon and Willis, who are both on IR. Odum is known as a special teams ace and Sendejo is an adequate fill-in. For now, Odum is a bit of a defensive liability, which can mean big points as offenses try to pick on him. He flipped the script on Bills QB Josh Allen and snagged an interception on Sunday. Odum is a high S3 on a defense that seems to be trending up. Once Willis returns from his calf injury, he’s the player you should be adding—I just don’t know if it’ll be in Week 12.

CB A.J. Terrell, Atlanta Falcons

For a team with very little going its way, Terrell has been one of their best players on defense. He’s been a low CB2 and high CB3 for most of the season. That places him just outside being rostered in most one-CB formats. I would love to see him more consistently play 100% of snaps, but the Falcons seem to take him off the field randomly. If someone knows why, please let me know. The next step, besides making the Pro Bowl, is I’d like to see more passes defended which can then be converted to interceptions.

More CB: Desmond King (HOU), Brandon Facyson (LV), Rasul Douglas (GB), Amani Oruwariye (DET), Fabian Moreau (ATL)

More S: Jimmie Ward (SF), Ashtyn Davis (NYJ), Adrian Phillips (NE), Tracy Walker (DET), Erik Harris (ATL)

More S (availability)*: Harrison Smith (MIN), Taylor Rapp (LAR), Xavier McKinney (NYG), Jordan Whitehead (TB), Xavier Woods (MIN), Logan Ryan (NYG), Kareem Jackson (DEN)

* Still too widely available in spite of great production

More fantasy coverage: