As the season progresses it is hard to find those diamonds in the rough or that guy that no one has heard of. This week we are going to examine the plethora of injuries across the league and who the most likely successor is to that starting job as well as highlight some prime matchups as well as surprising performers to this point. This article will also highlight a few long-term and speculative players that could see their value rise over the course of the season.
Myles Garrett DE (CLE): The hype may just be real with number one overall pick Myles Garrett. After sustaining an ankle injury and missing the first four games of the season, Garrett made his debut with a bang last week. Myles recorded a sack on the first snap of his NFL career and added another later in the game. Needless to say, this came against a very poor New York Jets defense, but it is also hard to argue with those results. Garrett added two solo tackles in the game and was on a limited snap count for his first career game. The Browns do not have a lot to celebrate on the defensive side of the ball but Garrett may provide that spark that they need. If Garrett is still available in your league he is a great stash option and should be owned in any dynasty formats.
David Irving DT (DAL): The Cowboys may be on a Bye this week, but Irving is a guy you want to stash on your bench. Upon returning from his PED suspension, Irving recorded 3 solos, 2 assists, and 2 sacks. With Demarcus Lawrence on the outside (8.5 sacks) the Cowboys have a two-headed pass rushing monster that opposing lines will have to try and cover. It is rare to find a defensive lineman who can get after the quarterback the way Irving does. Despite the suspension, the Cowboys plan to give him a heavy workload from the get-go and there should be several opportunities for tackles and sacks.
Christian Covington DE (HOU): The Houston Texans have been decimated by injury on the defensive side of the ball. Between the Brian Cushing suspension and not injuries to both Whitney Mercilus and JJ Watt there is just not a lot to celebrate on that defense. There is no clear favorite to take over the starting spot for JJ Watt even with Carlos Watkins listed directly behind him on the depth chart. Covington is the only other defensive end not named Jadeveon Clowney to produce anything for the Texans. This will be a revolving door situation in Houston until someone establishes themselves. The first man up will be Covington and we may revisit this again after the Bye week to see who plays the majority of the snaps.
Blake Martinez LB (GB): Blake Martinez has produced to the tune of 37 tackles in 5 games and has only played 80% of his team’s snaps. This is a number that should continue to grow as the season wears on. Martinez also has a very intriguing matchup against a Vikings team that does not use many multiple receiver sets and that should keep him on the field. Martinez has been very productive on a per snap basis and could be considered an LB3 with the right matchup. If you are having issues with Byes or injury, Martinez would be a good plug and play this week.
Hayes Pullard LB (LAC): Pullard is a guy who has thrived in his current situation, but has a limited ceiling for the rest of the season. With 7 solos and an assist last week and another 7 solos 3 assist performance earlier in the season, Pullard has shown an ability to produce on the field when he is given snaps. Pullard has been limited to a two-down backer alongside Jatavis Brown and has still managed to be productive. If you are in desperate need of a linebacker, Pullard is worth a look before Denzel Perryman returns from injury the second half of the season.
Danny Trevathan LB (CHI): Trevathan has been an interesting player all season as he is just returning from a one-game suspension for his malicious hit and has been out snapped by Jerrell Freeman. However, there is not a lot of competition for tackles on the Chicago defense and Trevathan should slide right back into his starting role for the rest of the season. In the two games leading up to his suspension, Trevathan had 14 solos and 9 assists. These numbers would put him in serious LB2 consideration and would be well worth the add if he is available.
Adrian Amos S (CHI): This is another situation where a guy is finally getting the chance to play and paying a dividend. Amos amassed 8 solos last week against Minnesota and 7 solos and an assist the week before against Green Bay. These numbers are not earth shattering but they do show a high tackle potential for Amos. The Bears take on a Ravens team that has committed to running the ball with Javorius Allen and should give Amos plenty of opportunities to creep up to the line and make plays. Amos strong suit comes from his ability to tackle and not in his pass coverage skills. If you are in a tackle heavy league, Amos could pay off this week against a Bears team that will try and run the ball.
Tavon Wilson S (DET): Wilson burst onto the scene last week with 9 solos and an assist against a Carolina team that committed to throwing the ball early and often. The Lions will take on a New Orleans team that has shown no commitment to the run and recently traded Adrian Peterson. Playing opposite of Glover Quinn, Wilson should see the ball thrown his way several times this week. While his ball-hawking abilities are not very refined, he should have ample opportunity to make tackles as Brees will avoid Darius Slay and Glover Quinn. Wilson is a solid play this week due to sheer volume and opportunity for tackles.
Karl Joseph S (OAK): Joseph has quietly put together a very good season for the Raiders so far to the tune of 27 solos, 9 assists, a sack, and a forced fumble and recovery. Most attention is given to Khalil Mack but Joseph is fighting for every opportunity and trying to establish himself. Aside from his week 3 performance against the Redskins, Joseph does not come with a high average for tackles each week, but the Raiders have shown they are willing to send him on a few blitzes a game to get after the quarterback. With a very weak crop of safeties left, Joseph could be a solid stash to see if his run continues.