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.
- Matt Milano LB (BUF): 3 solos, 4 assists, 1 tackle for loss, 100% defensive snaps
- Blake Cashman LB (NYJ): 4 solos, 2 assists, 97ensive snaps (placed on IR torn pectoral muscle)
- Jon Bostic LB (WAS): 3 solos, 1 assist, 100% defensive snaps
- Matthew Ioannidis DE (WAS): 4 solos, 1 sack, 73% defensive snaps
- Michael Bennett DE (DAL): 3 solos, 1 sack
- Charles Omenihu DE (HOU): 1 assist, 58% defensive snaps
- Roderic Teamer S (LAC): DNP, ruled out with a groin injury
- Morgan Burnett S (CLE): 3 solos, 1 assist, 100% defensive snaps
- Deandre Baker CB (NYG): 4 solos, 1 assist, 1 pass defended
Now, let's take a look at Week 10's sleeper candidates.
Dre Greenlaw LB (SF):
The San Francisco defense took a big hit when Kwon Alexander went down with a torn pectoral muscle and is expected to miss the rest of the season. He took over in the second half of last week and tallied 4 tackles and a sack from the weak side position. Greenlaw should have plenty of opportunities to chase Chris Carson around the field this week and could provide nice value this week and going forward.
Brandon Copeland LB (NYJ):
The Jets are having terrible luck at the linebacker position. After recommending Blake Cashman, who was filling in for the injured Neville Hewitt, who was filling in for C.J. Mosley, we are now stuck with Copeland. He put up good numbers last week and should see plenty of playing time on the field with the Jets being one of the league’s worst teams. He will have a tough time chasing down Saquon Barkley this week but there are plenty of opportunities to make him a borderline LB3 this week.
Wesley Woodyard LB (TEN):
The injuries just keep coming in the late stages of the season after we saw Jayon Brown go down last week against the Panthers. Woodyard filled in with 8 total tackles in about a half’s worth of work and should warrant LB3 status again this week. The Chiefs are not a great matchup for inside linebackers, but they did show more of a commitment to running the ball last week against the Vikings and may try and ease Patrick Mahomes II back into action this week.
Leonard Williams DE (NYG):
In a surprising move, the Jets traded Williams to the Giants last week and the teams square off this week in their all New York rivalry game. Williams has not been great this year, but he will be taking on his former team and have something to prove. The Jets have also given up the second-most sacks in the league and Williams has seen a high volume of snaps all season. He will want to make a statement to the team that moved on from him and what better week to do it than when playing that former team.
Jabaal Sheard DE (IND):
We brought up Sheard a few weeks ago and he had a nice game, but this week he has one of the best possible matchups for a defensive end against the Miami Dolphins. He had a down week against the Steelers last week and many people may have moved off of him again. The Dolphins have allowed the most quarterback hits and the third-most sacks in the league this season. Look for Sheard to get after the quarterback and come down with at least 1 sack.
Chris Jones DL (KC):
The Chiefs have struggled up front with injuries to Alex Okafor and Frank Clark. They got a boost with Jones returning to the lineup and it paid off right away with 3 tackles, a sack, and 2 quarterback hits. He has a positive matchup this week and a good chance to get home on another sack. There is not much else going to the Chiefs on the defensive line and that should leave plenty of opportunity for Jones.
Tavon Wilson S (DET):
Tracy Walker was inactive due to injury and Quandre Diggs was traded to the Seahawks and that gave Wilson a season-high in defensive snaps. He put up a 6 solo and 1 assist line against the Raiders who have been stingy to opposing safeties and this week he takes on a Chicago offense who rank in the top 4 of allowing fantasy points to opposing safeties. Wilson is a must-play if Walker is ruled out again this week.
Erik Harris S (OAK):
It took the Raiders a while to realize what they had in Harris, but they finally seem to have elevated him to the starting role. Last week he put up a season-high 11 total tackles and was credited with a tackle for a loss. He has an interception returned for a touchdown this season and an ability to sniff out the ball in the air. The Packers allowed 19 total tackles to opposing safeties last week and Harris should be a great bet this week to get in on that action.
Jaylen Watkins S (LAC):
It was a big swing and a miss for Roderic Teamer last week and the groin injury makes it look like he is going to miss week 10 as well. Watkins played 99% of defensive snaps last week and came away with 4 solo tackles. Those numbers are not great, but he was facing a difficult matchup against Green Bay. This week he takes on a Raiders team that has allowed an average of 14 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues to opposing safeties. Watch the practice report and start Watkins with confidence if Teamer is inactive again this week.