Germaine Pratt (CIN): With Preston Brown gone, Pratt’s snap counts should continue to be high. Pratt is rangy and has shown a nose for the football in his work with the Bengals thus far. Nick Vigil can’t make all the tackles for this team and there should be plenty to go around over the next few years. He seems like a high-floor type of player moving forward.
Dre Greenlaw (SFO): Unfortunately for Greenlaw, Kwon Alexander should be back and healthy in 2020, and Fred Warner is a good Robin to Alexander’s Batman. That being said, the remaining schedule for the Niners defense is juicy, and Greenlaw could reap the benefits over the next six outings. Greenlaw’s last two outings (96% and 97% snap counts) have been fruitful, both tackle-wise and filling out other spots in the box score. Definitely a plug-and-play LB2 moving forward and looks like he’ll be a solid handcuff to either Alexander or Warner for 2020 and beyond.
A.J. Johnson (DEN): It’s fairly obvious that Johnson has supplanted Josey Jewell for the Broncos defense. He’s been a tackle machine and has also chipped in with other stats to boot. The undrafted second-year pro out of Tennessee has nice size and pairs well with Todd Davis, who seems to just log tackles and nothing else. This is good news for Johnson who seems better adept at the big plays.
Danny Shelton (DT – NEP): Shelton had his breakout game last week, logging six solos, a forced fumble, and a sack. Once looked at as a possible cornerstone player for the Browns, he’s really coming into his own in the middle of the Patriots defense. He still has plenty of good years ahead of him, so those of you in leagues that start defensive tackles should definitely have Shelton rostered, if not in your weekly starting lineup.
Shelby Harris (DT – DEN): Another defensive tackle that had a breakout, Harris was absolutely unstoppable against the Vikings last week. What I like about Harris is that he’s shown that he is adept at batting passes down (six thus far on the season). His tackle numbers are modest, but in defensive tackle leagues, you can certainly do worse. The Broncos desperately need playmakers on the front end of their defense.
Nathan Shepard (DE – NYJ): Shepard was suspended for PEDs for the first six games of the season but has come on fairly strong the past two outings (a sack in each). He’s a little old for a second-year pro, but in larger leagues, he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Marcus Williams (S – NOS): Williams isn’t going to rack up a ton of tackles (probably three or four total per game), but his big-play ability is undeniable, especially in the Saints’ scheme. He has 4 picks and 12 pass breakups on the season. He’s a perfect complement to Vonn Bell and will continue to make the most of his opportunities. By the way, he has 8 solos, 2 picks and 6 pass breakups in his last two contests, and his remaining schedule looks tasty.
Nik Needham (CB – MIA): There’s no denying that the undrafted rookie out of UTEP is making the most of his opportunity. He has 17 solos, a forced fumble, a pick and 5 passes defensed in the last three games, where he’s averaged 17.5 points in traditional IDP scoring. There’s no reason to think he won’t continue to get snaps moving forward, and even into 2020. A great add/plug-and-play in cornerback-start leagues, and could even be workable in leagues that combine the defensive backfield positions.
Daniel Sorensen (S – KCC): Based on snap counts, the Chiefs have been running a good number of three-safety sets. Sorensen probably has the least upside of the trio (including Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill) but could have the highest floor if the snap counts remain consistent. His snap count has seen a decent rise over the past month and his last two games have net 11 solos and 6 helpers. The Chiefs are on bye this week but Sorensen could provide quality depth for the remainder of the season.