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 Krys Barnes (GB):
Not often do we look at a guy who is going on a Bye week, but this is an interesting situation. Last week we suggested Ty Summers, who ended up with a solid game and did take over the play-calling during the game. However, it was Barnes who started out as the primary play-caller on defense. Barnes played 38 snaps last week before exiting with a neck stinger. That injury should the situation during the Bye week and if they come out favoring Barnes then he will be the guy to go with in Week 6.
LB Tyrel Dodson (BUF):
COVID issues and Bye weeks are starting to pop up all over the league and we have to look hard for guys to fill in. Dodson stepped up last week when Matt Milano went down with a pectoral injury. The Buffalo defense has not looked as great as they have in the past, but there are plenty of opportunities. Dodson out-snapped A.J. Klein and should be in line for the start if Milano is unable to go. They are taking on a Titans squad who is going to pound the ball and there should be a lot of opportunity for tackles in the middle of the field for the linebackers.
LB Kwon Alexander (SF):
Injuries, injuries, injuries everywhere for the San Francisco 49ers. Dre Greenlaw is dealing with a quad injury and is not threatening to take away snaps right now. Alexander had a very solid 9 total tackle performance while playing 98% of defensive snaps last week and has a fun matchup against Miami this week. He laid an egg in Week 3 against the Giants with a single tackle but he has played 87% or more of total defensive snaps so far this season. With that amount of volume, the tackles will follow. Feel confident rolling Alexander out there this week and being rewarded with great tackle numbers.
DT Tyson Alualu (PIT):
It has been a slow start for Alualu, especially with many other stars on this defense. After an unexpected Bye week, the Steelers take on the Philadelphia Eagles this week and their battered offensive line. Rolling with Alualu is a reach for the big play. There will be a lot of opportunities for sacks and tackles in this game. He is only playing roughly 46% of defensive snaps this season but that may be all it takes to come up with a sack or fumble recovery this week. Roll the dice if you a super thin at defensive line or need a big play in a defensive tackle required league.
DT Michael Brockers (LAR):
Keeping up the theme of chasing the big play with defensive tackles, Brockers is in just as good a position as Alualu is this week. He has the benefit of Aaron Donald taking up most of the defensive attention on the line and the Washington Football team has been very friendly to opposing defensive linemen. You are not going to find many tackles here, but if your league rewards big plays, Brockers has a great shot this week to get home on a sack.
DT Raekwon Davis (MIA):
This one may seem like a huge stretch based on the performance we have seen from Davis so far this year. He has a whopping 2 solos, and no QB hits as a defensive lineman. However, the Dolphins are trusting him more each week and we have seen his snap count increase. He is taking on a San Francisco defense that loves to run the football and is dealing with several injuries across the team. If there was ever a week to break out it would be this one. Look for Davis to have his best game as a pro and build on what could be a very productive rookie season.
S Deionte Thompson (ARI):
We recommended rolling with Chris Banjo earlier this season and then he went and got hurt. Now it is Deionte Thompson’s turn. He had 4 solos, 5 assists, and a pass defended while filling in for Banjo and has a great matchup against the Jets this week. If Thompson performs, he may force Banjo to the bench, and this could turn in to a season-long play. This week he takes on a very bad Jets team and could be in line for a big day.
S Juston Burris (CAR):
Burris is the snap count leader for the Carolina safety group so far this season, playing a combined 99% of defensive snaps through 4 weeks. He had a very quiet start to the season but has been very productive the past last weeks. With 14 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a pass defended in the past week he has averaged more than 10 points per game. He has Tre Boston and Jeremy Chinn to contend with, but Carolina likes having all 3 on the field at the same time. Look for Burris to build on his solid start against the Falcons this week.
S Andrew Wingard (JAX):
He has been a consistent performer so far this year averaging just over 8 fantasy points per game. He was undrafted coming into 2019 and left the Mountain West in a tie for the most tackles all time. The Jaguars take on the Texans this week in what could very well be a shootout. Wingard should get plenty of opportunity on the back end of the defense with Deshaun Watson slinging the ball all over the place. He has a safe floor this week and can be had for cheap.
- LB Kenneth Murray (LAC): 6 tackles, 4 assists, 97% defensive snaps
- LB K.J. Wright (SEA): 6 solos, 2 assists, 3 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 96% defensive snaps
- LB Ty Summers (GB): 6 solos, 1 assist, 74% defensive snaps
- DE Jonathan Allen (WAS): 1 solo, 2 assists, 79% defensive snaps
- DE Kerry Hyder Jr (SF): 3 solos, 1 assist, 1 QB hit, .5 sack, 76% defensive snaps
- DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (MIN): 1 solo, 1 QB hit, 68% defensive snaps
- S Taylor Rapp (LAR): 7 solos, 1 assist, 100% defensive snaps
- CB Mike Hilton (PIT): DNP game PPD
- S Kareem Jackson (DEN): 5 solos, 1 assist, 100% defensive snaps