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.
- Dre Greenlaw LB (SF): 3 solos, 5 assists, 1 interception, 1 pass defended, 96% defensive snaps
- Brandon Copeland LB (NYJ): 3 solos, 4 assists, 100% defensive snaps
- Wesley Woodyard LB (TEN): 4 solos, 2 assists, 77% defensive snaps
- Leonard Williams DE (NYG): 1 solo, 2 assists, 4 QB hits, 66% defensive snaps
- Jabaal Sheard DE (IND): 2 solos, 1 assist, 1 sack, 71% defensive snaps
- Chris Jones DL (KC): 4 solos, 3 assists, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 85% defensive snaps
- Tavon Wilson S (DET): 5 solos, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 pass defended, 98% defensive snaps
- Erik Harris S (OAK): 1 solo, 1 assist, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 100% defensive snaps
- Jaylen Watkins S (LAC): 2 solos, 2 assists, 100% defensive snaps
Week 11 Linebackers
Nick Kwiatkoski LB (CHI):
We highlighted Kwiatkoski earlier this season when Roquan Smith was expected to be away from the team. Unfortunately, Smith came back in short order and Kwiatkoski did not get his chance. This time it is Danny Trevathan who suffered an elbow injury and it expected to miss some time. The Bears take on a struggling Rams team on Sunday Night Football and there should be plenty of tackles to go around. Look for Kwiatkoski to come in as an LB2 this week and have value going forward if Trevathan is out longer.
Drue Tranquill LB (LAC):
In a surprise move by the Chargers, Denzel Perryman was active but did not play last Thursday. Tranquill was given the starting role and put forth a 14-tackle effort on 100% defensive snaps played. The Chargers can be hard to predict, and we cannot discount a healthy Perryman. Tranquill played too well last week to not get another shot this week. He may not play 100% of defensive snaps again, but he has double-digit tackle upside coming into this week against the Chiefs.
Jerome Baker LB (MIA):
There can be a wealth of IDP gold on very bad teams and those players have started to separate themselves. Baker was viewed as a sleeper coming into the season but performed as well as the rest of the defense through the first 7 weeks. He has since turned it on and should continue to have a lot of opportunities on the field on one of the worst teams in football. Miami is taking on a Buffalo team that just lost to Cleveland and has no idea what it wants to do on offense. Look for Baker to put up solid LB2 numbers this week.
Week 11 Defensive Linemen
Jaleel Johnson DT (MIN):
The Vikings took a blow to their defensive line when Linval Joseph went down with an injury. Johnson ended up playing 61% of defensive snaps against Dallas and set a season-high in solo tackles. This defensive line is too good to roll over after losing a single player and Johnson will have the benefit of the Broncos double-teaming both defensive ends. Look for Johnson to get home on his first full sack of the season and set season-high numbers across the board.
Derek Wolfe DE (DEN):
There has not been a lot going right for Denver this season, but Wolfe continues to fly under the radar on a very solid defense. He has turned it on lately with 5 sacks in his last 4 games before the team’s Bye week and will take on a Vikings offense that has been inconsistent so far this season. Minnesota attacks the outside with Dalvin Cook and if Wolfe can shed a few blocks he is in line for a solid tackling performance this week.
Clelin Ferrell DE (OAK):
Football is an exercise in patience and that is exactly what it has taken with Ferrell. He was a high draft pick that has not paid off immediately, but he finally exploded on Thursday Night with 8 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a pass knocked down. He is a great play for the next 2 weeks with matchups against the lowly Bengals and Jets and has an opportunity to make a big statement. Look for Ferrell to rack up quite a few sacks over the next 2 weeks.
Week 11 Defensive Backs
Khari Willis SS (IND):
Sometimes it is just a numbers game. Willis appears to have taken over the starting role for the Colts after playing 91% of defensive snaps compared to just 9% for Clayton Geathers. He put up 7 solos and an assist with those numbers and should maintain that average if his playing time continues in that direction. The Colts are coming off a bad loss and need to make a statement this week against Jacksonville at home. Willis will face Nick Foles as he tries to shake off the rust and should see plenty of rushing attempts to try and make tackles on.
D.J. Swearinger Sr SS (OAK):
The Raiders lost Karl Joseph to the IR and signed Swearinger. He should be an immediate plug and play for that defense that has little experience in the secondary. The Raiders have played very well lately and want to continue that momentum. He will have 2 great matchups against the Bengals and Jets the next 2 weeks to get himself acquainted with the defense. It may be a little risky to play him this week, but Oakland is desperate and Swearinger is their best option.
Nik Needham CB (MIA):
Sometimes we have to roll the dice if we want to win. If you have to roster a corner or are just looking for something wildly different, Needham has played very well the past few weeks. The Dolphins have now won 2 games and the defense is playing very well. Needham has 15 tackles, 3 passes defended, a sack, and an interception in those wins and has played 100% of defensive snaps. He draws a tough matchup against Buffalo but then has plus matchups against the Eagles and Browns. If you want something different, roll the dice on Needham.