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.
ILB Robert Spillane (PIT vs TEN):
It is the next man up for Pittsburgh after Devin Bush went down with an injury and is done for the season. Spillane should fill the every-down role in the middle of the field and racked up 6 total tackles in the second half last week while filling in for Bush. Tennessee loves to attack the middle of the field, so Spillane should be very busy this weekend.
OLB Dre Greenlaw (SF vs NE):
Another linebacker who is getting his chance to play more with an injury in front of him, Greenlaw will be a very productive player as long as Kwon Alexander is out. Greenlaw had 8 solos last week with Alexander inactive due to a high ankle sprain. He played 100% of defensive snaps and has a great matchup this week against a Patriots team that loves to run the ball. Greenlaw has double-digit tackle upside this week.
LB Tyrell Adams (HOU vs GB):
Adams is coming off his 2nd consecutive start of the season and has seen his defensive snap percentage jump to over 75% per game. In his first start, he came away with 12 total tackles and in his second he got his first sack of the season. Green Bay looked vulnerable in their loss to Tampa Bay last week and Adams is projected to have a big role in the defense going forward.
DE Leonard Williams (NYG vs PHI):
Williams is coming off a 5 tackle, 1 sack performance last week and will be taking on a Philadelphia offensive line that could be without Lane Johnson this week. The Eagles have given up the most fantasy points to opposing defensive ends and will also be without Miles Sanders this week. It could be a top 25 type scoring week for Williams this week as he looks to add to his totals from last week.
DT Grady Jarrett (ATL vs DET):
Jarrett has 22 total tackles so far this season and has been playing well for the Falcons. He has 2.5 sacks to this point, but they came early in the season and have largely been forgotten about. This week he takes on a Detroit offense that has fallen in love with running the ball with a combination of Adrian Peterson and Dandre Swift. This will be a great week to add to his tackle totals and to sneak in a sack if Matthew Stafford holds on the ball a little too long.
DT Sheldon Richardson (CLE vs CIN):
If you are in a league that requires a DT, Richardson is a great play this week against Cincinnati. They are allowing the most fantasy points to interior linemen and have given up above-average tackling numbers as well. Myles Garrett will always get the attention on the outside and that should leave plenty of room up the middle for Richardson. Look for him to add at least his 3rd sack of the season this week against Joe Burrow and Cincinnati’s offensive line.
S Deshazor Everett (WFT vs DAL):
The WFT benched their normal starter Troy Apke last week and Everett stepped into the starting role with 96% of defensive snaps played. He came away with 6 total tackles last week and could be in store for a lot more this week against Dallas. The Cowboys are coming off a disastrous loss last week and do not seem to trust Andy Dalton. Look for Everett to be flying around this week racking up the tackles.
CB Terrance Mitchell (CLE vs CIN):
Like with Richardson mentioned above, this has everything to do with the matchup against the Bengals this week. To his credit, Mitchell has an 11 total tackle performance back in week 4, but overall, the Browns secondary has not been very good. Cincinnati is going to continue to air it out and opposing corners are going to continue to score a lot of points. Look for Mitchell to be one of the more productive Browns this week.
S Kyle Dugger (NE vs SF):
Dugger has seen his participation in the defense jump almost every week so far this season and he continues to return kicks on special teams. He came away with 5 total tackles last week and will be tasked with being the last line of defense against the 49ers big-bodied receivers and tight end this week. New England likes what they have in Dugger and his defensive snaps should continue to increase as the season goes on.
- OLB Andrew Van Ginkel (MIA): 2 solos, 24% defensive snaps. Left early with a concussion
- LB A.J. Johnson (DEN): 5 solos, 4 assists, 1 TFL, 100% defensive snaps
- OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill (MIA): 1 solo, 25% defensive snaps. Left early with a hand injury
- DE Jaylon Ferguson (BAL): 1 solo, 1 assist, 1 TFL, 42% defensive snaps
- DE Dawuane Smoot (JAX): 1 solo, 1 assist, 1 QB hit, 83% defensive snaps
- DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (IND): 1 solo, 53% defensive snaps
- S Marcus Epps (PHI): DNP week 6, out with rib injury
- S Eric Murray (HOU): 4 solos, 1 assist, 100% defensive snaps
- CB Jamel Dean (TB): 1 solo, 1 assist, 1 INT returned 32 yards for a TD, 71% defensive snaps