As the season wears on and there is more data to go through it can be hard to find those diamonds in the rough or guys that not everyone else is on yet. Each week we will take a look at guys who are still widely available across leagues, have potential matchup value this week. Or maybe a long-term, guys to stash on your bench and see how the season shakes out. With the myriad of injuries across the NFL, there are young guys getting their chance to make an impact. Each week we will also take a look back at some of the top performers from last week’s list and see if they are worth keeping. We will highlight a list of defensive lineman, linebackers, and defensive backs each week.
Mike Daniels DE (GB): Daniels has been unable to match his outburst from week 1 but has rebounded in the past few weeks. In weeks 10 and 12, Daniels combined for 11 solos, 2 assists, and 2 sacks. He also has a great matchup against a Tampa Bay offense that has struggled in recent weeks to protect its quarterback. Look for Daniels to keep his turn around going this week and finish the season strong for the Packers.
Marcell Dareus DT (JAX): Dareus has been one of the few Jaguars that have not gotten in on the sack party but look for that to change this week against a very porous Indy offensive line. The Jaguars defense has outplayed all expectations, but Dareus has not shared in the same success. That is something that should change this week with a prime matchup. Look for Dareus to fill up the stat sheet this week and have his best game of the season.
Frostee Rucker DT (ARI): Rucker has had a very up and down season but has put up two good games in his past 3. With 4 solos and a sack in week 10 and a 5-solo performance last week, Rucker seems to have finally turned the corner. This week he will take on a Rams offensive line that has looked human as of late and has given up more sacks in the past 3 weeks than they have in any other stretch this season. Rucker is a high-risk play this week but it could pay off if you are thin at defensive line this week.
Bruce Irvin LB (OAK): Irvin has not had the best all-around season for Oakland, but he did manage to record two sacks last week against the Broncos. Irvin almost doubled his sack output in one game and he added 3 solos to go with the 2 sacks. Irvin will have the opportunity to get after Geno Smith this week after the Giants benched Eli Manning and that is a prime matchup. Smith has not played a full season since 2014. Irvin and the rest of the Raiders defense are going to do everything they can to welcome him back to a starting role in the NFL.
A.J. Klien LB (NO): Klein has not been able to reproduce his success from week 1 but has started to turn the corner. With 5 solos and 3 assists last week against the Rams, Klein tied his second-best game of the season. This week he will take on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers with first place in the division on the line. The Panthers have done a much better job protecting Cam in recent weeks, but the amount of running he does still increases the opportunity for tackles. Look for Klien to have a big game at home against the Panthers.
Thomas Davis LB (CAR): Davis falls into the same category as Klien this week, and interestingly, the two are even playing one another. Davis had his best game of the season in week 1 but has played better of late. With a matchup against the newly run oriented Saints, Davis should have ample opportunity to rack up tackles. Drew Brees does not take many sacks and gets the ball out quickly, so there is no value in sacks from Davis this week. Look for Davis to have a big game in the tackle department this week.
Kyle Fuller CB (CHI): Fuller has had a consistent if not unspectacular season so far. The Bears corner does not have an interception or sack on the season but does have 47 solos and 7 assists on the season. He has averaged 4.5 solos per game this season and there is nothing pointing to that not continuing this week against the 49ers. Look for Fuller to keep his consistent streak going with another solid performance this week.
Karl Joseph S (OAK): Joseph makes this list due to the matchup he has this week. He has not had the greatest season to this point but that could quickly change after lining up against Geno Smith this week. Joseph has had flashes of good games this season but has been inconsistent at best. Look for Joseph to get after Smith this week and have one of his best games of the season.
Tre Boston S (LAC): Boston is another guy that has a great matchup this week against Clevland. Boston has 4 interceptions on the season and this would be a prime week for him to make it 5. The Chargers are playing their best football of the season and Boston will benefit from a stout defensive front. Look for Boston to have one of his best games of the season this week against the Browns.
Jabaal Sheard DE (IND): A very disappointing 2 solo performance for Sheard this week. He was unable to get after the quarterback and did not have nearly as many tackle opportunities as thought.
Jurrell Casey DT (TEN): With 1 solo and 1 assist, Casey was unable to take advantage of a weak Indy offensive line.
Stephon Tuitt DE (PIT): To round out a very disappointing defensive line group from last week, Tuitt kept pace with a solo and an assist.
Reuben Foster LB (SF): Foster could not match his 13-solo performance from a few weeks ago but did have a solid 6 solo performance this week.
Jon Bostic LB (IND): Bostic put together a very solid 10 total tackle game. With 5 solos and 5 assists, he had one of the best games from last week's list.
Denzel Perryman LB (LAC): Perryman could not match his hot start from his first game back from injury, but he did ass a 4 solo and 3 assist performance in a Chargers win.
Adoree Jackson CB (TEN): Jackson fell flat with a solo and one assist performance. He was unable to make a play on the ball or create any turnovers.
Deshazor Everett S (WAS): Everett tallied his highest solo tackle performance of the season this week with 5 solos and 2 assists.
Reshad Jones S (MIA): With 10 solos, 3 assists, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, Jones had the best day of anyone from last week's list.
Last week was not the best all-around for our sleeper list and the only real saving grace was the performance put up by Reshad Jones. The defensive line fell flat with 4 solos and 2 assists. The linebacker group fared slightly better with 15 solos and 8 assists. Deshazor Everett had his best game of the season and Reshad Jones added a defensive touchdown. This may not have been the best overall week but there were a few defensive sleeper gems to be played if you needed them.