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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Ryan Dodson

Fantasy football IDP free-agent report: Week 9

Tuesday is the NFL trade deadline, and we’ve already have one spot on the defense open up. Bye weeks resume in Week 9, and the roster crunch will begin to apply pressure as we charge toward the stretch run.

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 George Karlaftis, Kansas City Chiefs

The 2022 first-round pick is coming of age in his second season. He has tied his rookie season total with six sacks in half the games, and he has four sacks in the last three games. Karlaftis had seven tackles, a forced fumble, and 2 1/2 sacks last week against the Denver Broncos.

DE James Smith-Williams, Washington Commanders

The Commanders traded DE Montez Sweat to Chicago and are working to trade DE Chase Young. This will open a spot for Smith-Williams to slide in and start. He had three sacks in 14 games of limited action last year, and is probably an option only in deeper leagues, but he did have three tackles two games ago against the New York Giants.


LB David Mayo, Washington Commanders

The 30-year-old veteran opened eyes with 11 tackles in Week 7. He followed it up with nine tackles against the Philadelphia Eagles last week. Mayo doesn’t have much competition at middle linebacker, though, they could opt to go younger later. For now, he’s a banger of a pickup.

LB Leo Chenal, Kansas City Chiefs

With Nick Bolton on IR, the 2022 third-round pick delivered 10 tackles and a sack in Week 8. He has the Miami Dolphins before a bye week, which means Chenal may be a one-week flier if you don’t have room to roster him through the off-week. However, he’s worth the pickup for the potential.

LB Nakobe Dean, Philadelphia Eagles

Dean was hurt in Week 1 and missed a month with a foot injury. Upon returning, he didn’t do much with four tackles and three tackles. And then Week 8 happened, and Dean had 12 tackles. Weeks like those are probably not going to be the norm, but he is in the middle of a talented defense and is a flex consideration.

Defensive backs

FS Quandre Diggs, Seattle Seahawks

The 31-year-old safety is one that fantasy owners are familiar with as he’s usually on the periphery of a pickup or a one-week play. Three weeks ago, he had eight tackles and fell back to three tackles and a pass defense in Week 7. Diggs delivered nine tackles last week, so expect peaks and valleys.

FS Juan Thornhill, Cleveland Browns

Thornhill, a 27-year-old second-round pick in 2019, has delivered 32 tackles in six games this season. He had seven, five, seven and seven tackles in the last four weeks. There’s nothing glamorous about it, but a seven-tackle player is hard to find on waivers.

CB Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A cornerback pops up in this week’s list, and he’s performing like a safety. He had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery two weeks ago and delivered eight tackles and two pass defenses last week. Dean has a soft part of the schedule coming up with the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, so he may have a nice window here.

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