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.
Last Week’s Picks:
- LB T.J. Edwards (PHI vs DEN) 5 solos, 2 assists, 1 pass defended, 93% defensive snaps
- LB Josh Bynes (BAL vs MIA) 4 solos, 1 tackle for loss, 2 QB hits, 1 sack, 1 pass defended, 74% defensive snaps
- LB Myles Jack (JAX vs IND) 4 solos, 1 QB hit, 100% defensive snaps
- DT Jeffery Simmons (TEN vs NO) 4 solos, 2 tackles for loss, 1 pass defended, 2 QB hits, 2 sacks, 85% defensive snaps
- DE Yannick Ngakoue (LV vs KC) 74% defensive snaps
- DE Marcus Davenport (NO vs TEN) 3 solos, 2 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits, 2 sacks, 77% defensive snaps
- S Ashtyn Davis (NYJ vs BUF) 4 solos, 1 assist, 1 forced fumble, 95% defensive snaps
- S Jayron Kearse (DAL vs ATL) 1 solo, 5 assists, 1 pass defended, 72% defensive snaps
- S Kamren Curl (WFT vs TB) 4 solos, 4 assists, 1 pass defended, 92% defensive snaps
This Week’s Linebackers
LB Kyle Van Noy (NE vs ATL)
The opportunity for Van Noy is going to increase in this defense with Jamie Collins Sr now on injured reserve. His snap share did not go up in week 10, but his opportunities did. Van Noy left with 5 solos, a tackle for loss, a QB hit, a sack, and a forced fumble last week against the Browns. He is a great Bye week or injury filler with plus matchups against the Falcons this week and the Titans next week. Add Van Noy where needed and reap the solid LB3 numbers he is going to put up.
LB Kyzir White (LAC vs PIT)
Even with the return of Kenneth Murray, White saw his snap percentage go up last week. He finished with 12 total tackles and a tackle for loss in a great matchup against the run-heavy Vikings. This week he will take on a Pittsburgh offense that seems to only have Najee Harris. Look for another solid week of production and stream White as an LB2 option while the Chargers are giving him starter-level snaps.
LB Alex Anzalone (DET vs CLE)
Anzalone is looking to be a solid pickup for the next few weeks based on matchups and not just a single-week play. With run-heavy teams in Cleveland, Minnesota, and Chicago over the next three weeks, he is going to have the opportunity to put up solid numbers. The passing game for all of these teams also falls on the conservative side and should lead to even more opportunity for Anzalone in the middle. Fire him up as an LB2 option for the next few weeks in plus matchups.
This Week’s Defensive Linemen
DE Odafe Oweh (BAL vs CHI)
The rookie is producing in this Ravens’ defense right now. He is coming off a game with 4 total tackles, a sack, and 2 tackles for loss against Miami and is putting pressure on the quarterback at a high rate. With 29 total pressures, his sack numbers are only going to climb as he starts to finish plays. Last week may have been a letdown for the team but Oweh is playing well and has a great matchup against Chicago this week to add to his totals.
DL Alex Highsmith (PIT vs LAC)
It was a very ugly game last week against Detroit, but Highsmith started to finally produce this season. He is coming off an 11 total tackle game and has started to rack up the QB hits. It would be nice to see more big plays, but the high tackle ceiling makes him more than a solid addition right now. He should see positive results again this week against a banged-up Chargers’ offensive line. View Highsmith as a high-end LB3 this week with LB2 upside and use him where needed.
DE Dorance Armstrong (DAL vs KC)
The Chiefs’ offense looked to be back on track last week, but the opportunity for Armstrong is too good to pass up. With both Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence on the IR, Armstrong had his largest snap share and most productive game against Atlanta last week. With Gregory slated to miss at least three games, there should be plenty of opportunity going forward. The Chiefs may have played well Sunday Night, but their struggles from earlier this season are not just going to go away. Look for Armstrong to be causing pressure in the backfield this week and put up another solid performance.
This Week’s Defensive Backs
S Jalen Thompson (ARZ vs SEA)
Thompson is not going to blow you away with a monster stat line, but he has been consistent all season. He is coming off his best game with 9 total tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception, and a pass defended. This week he will take on a struggling Seattle offense that has leaned on running the ball with Russell Wilson out or ineffective like last week. The Cardinals go on their Bye the following week making Thompson a single-week play.
S Jevon Holland (MIA vs NYJ)
The rookie safety has really developed since becoming the starter in week 5. He is coming off a big performance in week 10 with 5 total tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss to go with 2 passes defended. He has the ability to produce in just about every stat category and has a great matchup against the Jets this week. Holland is putting up numbers that will have him in the DB1 conversation by the end of the year. He is a great play with a solid matchup this week against the struggling Jets.
S Godwin Igwebuike (DET vs CLE)
It may be a week too late, and your league may have adjusted, but Igwebuike served as both safety and emergency running back last week with all of the injuries to the Lions’ backfield. He ripped off an impressive long touchdown run and contributed on special teams. The week 11 role is not set in stone yet and that makes him a great stash-and-see option heading into the game against Cleveland. Stash him on your bench if you can and monitor the situation all week.