This week, there are some pretty decent pickups in the second and third level of your defense (linebacker and defensive back), but it’s pretty thin at defensive end and defensive tackle. Much like real-life NFL teams, those guys are the hardest to find, and the waiver wire is pretty thin up front this week.
Shelby Harris, DE DEN
His numbers aren’t eye-popping (you should have gathered this from the intro paragraph), but Harris is a downright decent pickup this week because he’s been flying all over the field, if not the stat book.
One stat a lot of IDP experts watch closely is quarterback hurries. The logic is you want to find the player who is almost getting to the quarterback, because more often than not, those will translate into actual sacks later. I have a second statistic I like to watch for defensive linemen too which is not nearly as utilized: passes defensed. A lineman who has a lot of passes knocked down is indicative of someone who is giving the maximum effort. Even on the plays the lineman realizes he’s not going to get a sack, the situational awareness to get your arms up and block a pass and the little bit of extra effort it takes is valuable to me.
Harris has three PDs in his last three games, including two this past week against the 49ers. During the same time, he’s had four solo tackles, four assists, 1.5 sacks and an interception. That’s a player who is giving max effort, and this time of year, that’s the best you can hope for.