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The dust is beginning to settle as we head into week four. Other than some impact injuries creating questions, we now have a fairly good idea of what is going on with most defenses. Here is the rundown of what I am seeing.
Jordan Hicks has been playing full-time since week one. The numbers finally caught up in week three, when he finished 7-5-1 with a forced fumble and a pass breakup. The Rams have not been a particularly great matchup but Hicks should be a solid start until/unless something changes here. We know the Cardinals were looking to trade him after the draft. Maybe the Giants will have some interest after losing Blake Martinez.
Isaiah Simmons is not getting every down opportunity but is seeing more than 80% of the action. His tackle totals could be a little inconsistent but the big play potential is enough to make Simmons a solid every week play.
There is a thin line between patience and stupidity when it comes to holding onto an underachieving player like J.J. Watt. If your luck runs like mine, he will blow up as soon as you decide to move on. That said, three weak outings in a row are enough for me to pull the trigger. I am moving on, so if you are going to sit on him one more week, you might want to start him.
The Falcons changed some things up in week three, fielding three safeties on nearly 70% of the plays. T.J. Green played nine snaps in week one and twenty in game two. Against the Giants, he played every snap opposite Erik Harris while Duron Harmon continued to see a decline in playing time. Green managed a rock-solid six tackles, two assists, and a pass breakup. It is too early to tell if this is the start of a trend or just a one-week splash. On the other hand, Green played well and what had been a shaky defense, held the Giants to 14 points. At the very least, Green is a guy to keep an eye on this week.
Donte Fowler may have found a home. It would be nice to see more in the tackle columns, but he has a sack and a forced fumble in each of the last two games. His stock is on the rise.
Marlon Davidson left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and did not return.
Chuck Clark racked up big numbers against Detroit, but it was the perfect storm so don’t get too excited. He had three tackles, two assists and three passes defended over the first two games before blowing up for 9-3-1 in week three. The Ravens had some injuries and COVID issues that likely contributed to the explosion but there is nothing to suggest Clark is going to continue to be highly productive.
If anyone was still holding out hope for Malik Harrison, this should be the last straw. Harrison played 17 snaps against Detroit, Chris Board logged 21, and Josh Bynes was activated from the practice squad to play 14.
DeShon Elliot left Sunday’s game with a Quadriceps injury. He was replaced by Brandon Stephens
Micah Hyde is not turning in eye-catching tackle totals but he has at least five combined stops and has been a major factor in the big play columns so far. With a sack, an interception, and three pass breakups, he has double-digit points in all three games to date. He is worthy of a roster spot and possibly even a third starter in most leagues starting three defensive backs.
After being on the field for less than 70% of the snaps in Buffalo’s week two blowout of the Dolphins, Tremaine Edmunds was back to full participation against Washington and put up his first decent totals of the season at 6-1. That is good news, but this week’s matchup with the Texans is not a great one.
It may not be a great matchup for the linebackers, but I like Greg Russeau in this one. He landed a pair of sacks in week two, has consistently gotten pressure on the passer, and Houston allowed four sacks to the Panthers last week.
Jaycee Horn suffered a broken foot versus the Texans and could miss the rest of the year. Rashaan Melvin was the immediate replacement but the team traded for C.J. Henderson on Monday. Henderson had been in the Jaguars’ doghouse and was inactive for week three, presumably due to an illness. He should be good to go for week four and could be in the Panthers lineup despite the short time with the team.
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