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.
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (WAS):
It is hard to tell which Washington Football Team we are going to get this weekend, but Pierre-Louis seems to have fought himself into an almost every down role with the defense. He is coming off a monster 10 solo, 5 assists, and a forced fumble game against Arizona and has played 99% and 97% of defensive snaps across his first two games. Washington’s defense is going to be on the field a lot this season and they should see a Cleveland team who is going to try and run the ball almost every play this week. Look for another solid game this week from Pierre-Louis.
LB Troy Dye (MIN):
The Vikings defense has not looked great so far this season and losing Anthony Barr certainly will not help. Eric Wilson is the obvious choice to see the biggest jump, but the Vikings like what they have in Dye and should run him out there this weekend. The Rookie out of Oregon is a deep sleeper this week, but with a few good games, he has value for the rest of the season. He played 21 defensive snaps last week after Barr went down, look for that to more than double this week with a lot of upside against a Titans team that loves to run the ball.
LB Joe Thomas (DAL):
Thomas put up an impressive 12 total tackles in the come from behind win against Atlanta last week. He is filling in for the injured Leighton Vander Esch and should be good for a few more weeks. Jaylon Smith has looked less than impressive beside him and Thomas should have a great chance trying to chase down Chris Carson and the Seahawks this week. He has double-digit tackle potential again this week.
DE K'Lavon Chaisson (JAX):
In what turned out to be a much closer game than most expected against the Titans, Chaisson was able to record his first career sack. He played just 29% of defensive plays last week but managed to rack up a solo, an assist, a sack, a tackle for loss, and a QB hit. That is a solid performance for not being on the field much. He has a great matchup this week against the Dolphins and can do more damage if the Jaguars put him on the field as much as they did in week 1.
DE Stephon Tuitt (PIT):
This pick has everything to do with the matchup this week as Tuitt has largely been quiet to start the season. He managed a sack in week 1, but it has been the rest of the Pittsburgh defense succeeding to this point. Tuitt has still seen 80%+ of defensive snaps and will be going against a Houston offensive line that cannot protect anyone. If you need to chase a cheap sack this week, Tuitt has a great chance to come through.
DE Akiem Hicks (CHI):
We have found another DE with a great matchup this week. Hicks has a sack in each game so far this season and he is taking on a Falcons offensive line that has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing defensive ends. Coming off an injury last season he has largely been forgotten about and could be another great source for a sack this week.
CB Troy Hill (LAR):
Playing opposite of Jalen Ramsey has its perks in the fantasy world. Teams are targeting his side of the field a lot and it finally paid off last week with seven tackles, a pass break up, and an interception. The Bills have been airing the ball out to their receivers at a high clip so far this season, so look for Hill to get a lot of work again this week and plenty of opportunity for more tackles.
S Chris Banjo (ARI):
Coming off his first start of the season, Banjo recorded six solos, three assists, and a pass defended. He has played 94% of 95% of defensive snaps so far this season and should continue to see the field at a high rate. He will be taking on a Detroit team that has coughed up double-digit leads in each of its last two games and will come out throwing the ball. Look for double-digit total tackle potential this week from Banjo as his role in the defense continues to grow.
S Josh Jones (JAX):
A safety that is widely available, has a great matchup this week against the Dolphins, and is coming off a very productive week fits the mold of an IDP sleeper. Jones had 7 total tackles, 97% and then 100% of defensive snaps in the first two games of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to air the ball out again this week and Jones should get the chance to rack up the tackles. Look for the defense to be on the field a lot this year and for Jones to have tackle potential all season long.
- ILB Germaine Pratt (CIN): 1 solo, 1 assist, 74% defensive snaps
- ILB Jon Bostic (WAS): 5 solos, 2 assists, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, 100% defensive snaps
- LB Sione Takitaki (CLE): 3 solos, 2 assists, 45% defensive snaps
- DE Aldon Smith (DAL): 2 solos, 3 assists, 81% defensive snaps
- DE Leonard Williams (NYG): 2 solos, 65% defensive snaps
- DT Jeffery Simmons (TEN): 3 assists, 1 pass defended, 80% defensive snaps
- CB Cameron Dantzler (MIN): DNP ruled out with injury
- S Jeremy Chinn (CAR): 2 solos, 5 assists, 98% defensive snaps
- S Marcus Maye (NYJ): 3 solos, 4 assists, 1 pass defended, 98% defensive snaps