As we kick off the 2021 season, we take a quick look at a few linebackers, defensive linemen, and defensive backs who are either good grab-and-stash types or those that you should target in trades. Hope you enjoy the article and it opens your eyes to some of the gems that can be found on your leagues' waiver wires!
Nick Vigil (MIN): Eric Wilson is gone, and for the time being Anthony Barr is shelved, too. Even with Barr back, there are some tackles to be had for the Vikings’ defense. Vigil has shown that he can make tackles in volume, and he’s just 28 so if you’re looking for a high-floor LB3 in deeper leagues, Vigil is a good addition.
Justin Hollins (LAR): The 25-year old from Oregon had a breakout performance against the Bears last week, and there will be opportunities for him moving forward. He may not get two sacks per game, but the fact he had six solos and two helpers is promising.
DelShawn Phillips (NYJ): The undrafted third-year pro from Illinois had a whopping nine assisted tackles on Sunday, an indication he may be around the ball quite a bit, especially if he’s getting 89% of the snaps as he did against the Panthers. Aside from C.J. Mosely, there’s not much competition at linebacker for the Jets, so Phillips is a nice speculative add that could turn into something.
Larry Ogunjobi (DT – CIN): Ogunjobi may only be available in smaller leagues, but if he is, and you are in a league that starts defensive tackles, he’s a must-have. He will be a force in the middle for the Bengal defense. It looks like he’s trimmed down and added some speed since last year. He’s a good play this week against the Bears and has a string of solid matchups coming up too. Always been a fan of his, and the move south to Cincy won’t hurt his value.
Whitney Mercilus (DE – HOU): Since he’s 31, this add suggestion is for those that have competitive teams that need to add some beef to their defensive lines. Now that he’s designated a defensive end, Mercilus will have more value, especially in big-play leagues. The Texan defense could be spending a lot of time on the field in upcoming contests, so expect the tackles to rise a bit and the chance for a sack will always be there.
Alim McNeill (DT – DET): Deeper dive here. There really isn’t much competition on the inside of the Lion line, and expect this defense to spend a lot of time on the field. McNeill logged 51% of the snaps Sunday, tallying two solos and two assists. Those in leagues that start defensive tackles should focus their radar on the rookie from North Carolina State.
Anthony Averett (CB – BAL): With a rash of injuries in the Raven secondary (along with pretty much everywhere else), Averett started opposite Marlon Humphrey on MNF against the Raiders. Humphrey is regarded as an elite shutdown corner, so Averett will naturally see many opportunities. He made the most of it against the Raiders, logging five solos and an assist and came up with a big interception. Those in cornerback-start leagues can look to Averett right away as a plug-and-play starter.
Darious Williams (CB – LAR): Similar to Averett, Williams benefits from playing across from a shutdown corner. As such, Williams will see opportunities as teams try to keep up with the high-powered Rams offense. Williams had five solos, two helpers, and a pass breakup against the anemic Bears offense. Those numbers could easily swell against a better offense.
Duron Harmon (S – ATL): Harmon has been a steady performer for nearly a decade, and is going to log some regular snaps for the Falcons as Richie Grant develops. May only be a short-term add, and may only be for a team that needs depth to play right now. High-floor type of add in a pinch.