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.
- Benardrick McKinney LB (HOU): 5 assists, 89% defensive snaps
- Lorenzo Alexander LB (BUF): 1 assist, 42% defensive snaps
- Todd Davis LB (DEN): 6 solos, 81% defensive snaps (left early with knee injury)
- Jabaal Sheard DE (IND): 4 solos, 75% defensive snaps
- Dante Fowler Jr DE (LAR): 3 solos, 1 assist, 1.5 sacks, 84% defensive snaps
- Jeffery Simmons DT (TEN): 1 solo, 2 assists, 41% defensive snaps
- Marquise Blair S (SEA): 9 solos, 2 assists, 1 forced fumble, 86% defensive snaps
- Terrell Edmunds S (PIT): 3 solos, 1 assist, 100% defensive snaps
- Ken Crawley CB (NO): 0% defensive snaps
And now, let's look at some Week 9 sleepers.
Matt Milano LB (BUF):
After missing week 7 and then being limited in practice all week, Milano suited up and had a great game with 13 total tackles last week against Philadelphia. We recommended grabbing his backup last week, and it backfired when Milano played 100% of defensive snaps. Buffalo takes on a Washington offense that has been all over the board and will be tough to predict with Dwayne Haskins starting. Milano is a starter this week and for the rest of the season.
Blake Cashman LB (NYJ):
We talked about Cashman earlier this year when he was the last linebacker standing for the Jets and that looks to have happened again. C.J. Mosley will miss more time and Neville Hewitt is battling his own set of injuries and that leaves Cashman in the middle. He played 97% of defensive snaps last week and should be thrust into an every-down role again this week. Cashman is in line for a great week against the struggling Miami offense and has the potential for a double-digit tackle week.
Jon Bostic LB (WAS):
The Redskins defense has not been a good one so far this year, but Bostic has settled in nicely after the team moved on from Mason Foster and lost Reuben Foster for the season due to injury. He has been productive the last 3 weeks and even put up a sack. Bostic has a plus matchup this week against a Buffalo team that is committed to running the ball. Look for another solid week of production from Bostic as we head into the home stretch before the fantasy playoffs.
Matthew Ioannidis DE (WAS):
Similar to Bostic mentioned above, Ioannidis is a good defender on a bad defense. He has averaged 77% of defensive snaps so far this season and is in the middle of his most productive season yet. Ioannidis was constantly in the face of Kirk Cousins last week and will be taking on a Bills offensive line that has allowed 10.5 sacks to opposing defensive linemen.
Michael Bennett DE (DAL):
It is rare that a trade from the Patriots to another team is in the best interest of the player, but Bennett finds himself in a much better position going forward. He will share a rotation with Robert Quinn and Demarcus Lawrence and should see very few double teams when he does play. Bennett was a failed experiment in New England but has the chance to regain some value and put up good numbers in this Dallas defense. It may be a slow start this week, but it will be a much better end of the year for Bennett.
Charles Omenihu DE (HOU):
It is impossible to fill the shoes of J.J Watt but someone needs to try and do it in Houston. Omenihu has seen very little playing time so far this season and has still managed 2 sacks. He has a single game with more than 50% of defensive snaps played but he should see a big increase this week against Jacksonville. He may not blow anyone away in the tackle department, but he has a great chance at getting a sack this week.
Roderic Teamer S (LAC):
It has been a rough year for the Chargers so far and their defensive backfield has been decimated by injury. Teamer has gotten the chance to play after injuries to Derwin James and Adrian Phillips. Teamer has performed well so far this season and even had 8 solos and a sack last week against Chicago. Green Bay loves to air out the ball and Teamer should be in line for another solid day in the tackle department.
Morgan Burnett S (CLE):
There is not a lot going right for Cleveland right now. Damarious Randall was inactive due to injury and Burnett slid in and had his most productive week of the season with 6 solos and 2 assists. If Randall is out again this week, look for Burnett to put up solid numbers out of the strong safety spot.
Deandre Baker CB (NYG):
The Cowboys have allowed the most tackles to opposing corners so far this season and that makes Baker an appealing option for leagues that require a corner. He has had 15 solos and an assist in his last 3 games and could easily project out to 7 or 8 tackles again this week. If you need a corner this week, look towards the Giants in a plus matchup against the Cowboys.