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.
Tyson Alualu DE (PIT): Alualu has not been explosive or made any noise on the stat sheet this season, but he has recorded two sacks in his last 2 games heading into the Bye week and will take on a Colts offensive line that has been porous at best. Alualu is a sneaky under the radar pick with high sack potential this week. The Colts will most likely be playing from behind this week and the Steeler defense will be able to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback.
Tyrone Crawford DT (DAL): Crawford has been an enigma this season but has the potential to put up big numbers playing across from Demarcus Lawrence. Until being shut out last week against the Chiefs, Crawford had recorded a sack in 4 out of his last 5 games. Pair his recent success at getting to the quarterback and an Atlanta team that loves to throw the ball and Crawford has a chance to make a statement this week. All of the attention has gone to Lawrence for the Cowboys front 7, but Crawford will have a chance to make his name known this week against the Falcons.
Danielle Hunter DE (MIN): Minnesota has one of the best defenses in the NFL this season and it seems like players from every position are putting up solid numbers. Hunter has been overshadowed by the success of Everson Griffin, but with all that success on the other side, Hunter should get more opportunities. Teams are dedicating running backs to chip Griffin and this should give Hunter a clear path to the quarterback. The Redskins will be running out 4 backups and a rookie this week for their offensive line. Any and all Vikings’ starters are viable options this week but look for Hunter to have the most opportunity to get after the quarterback.
De’Vondre Campbell LB (ATL): Campbell makes the list this week more due to the matchup than his performance this season. With 5 solos and 7 assists in his past 2 games, Campbell has not looked like a starting linebacker in the NFL. However, he will be facing a Dallas team that loves to run the ball and should have ample opportunity to rack up the tackles. Campbell has never been known for his blitzing ability and only has 2 sacks on the season. If your league values tackles, look for Campbell to have a great game due to the high volume of opportunity this week.
Leonard Floyd LB (CHI): Floyd has been a consistent contributor all season long, only recording less than 5 points twice this season. He will also be taking on a Packers offense that has struggled since losing Aaron Rodgers and has a patchwork offensive line trying to open holes for a poor running game. This could be a perfect storm for Floyd to repeat his performance against the Vikings from week 5 (6 solos, 2 sacks). Floyd does not have a single game with double-digit tackles this season, but he should have a chance to make an impact this week against the Packers.
Anthony Barr LB (MIN): Barr has been an underrated linebacker all season. There is a good chance he is already gone in your league with more serious owners, but he sits at 6% ownership in Yahoo right now. Barr is playing on one of the best defenses in the NFL and is taking on a Redskin’s offensive line held together by duct tape. The Vikings are coming off a Bye and about to take on the tough part of their schedule. Barr has a chance to establish himself as a premier LB in the NFL the second half of this season.
Keanu Neal S (ATL): Neal has come up big for the Falcons all season long and has never recorded fewer than 5 total tackles in any game this season and had his best game last week against Carolina with 6 solos, 2 assists, and a forced fumble and recovery. Neal is hardly a new name but is still owned in less than 45% of Yahoo leagues. He also has the benefit of facing a Dallas team that loves to run the ball as most of Neal’s value comes from tackles. He still does not have an interception on the season, but Neal is a great play against Dallas this week.
Darqueze Dennard CB (CIN): Dennard has had a very up and down season but has shown he can contribute all over the field. He has not recorded a sack since having back to back games with one in weeks 3 and 4. Dennard’s value does not come from blitzing but his ability to step up in the run game and make tackles. The Titans really do not have an identity on offense but have rushed the ball more than passed recently. If your leagues requires you to fill a corner spot, Dennard is a great option against the Titans.
Johnathan Cyprien S (TEN): Cyprien has finally returned from his hamstring injury and should give the Titans a valuable run stopper at safety. Da’Norris Searcy had filled in while Cyprien was out and the tackle void was felt by the Titan’s defense. Cyprien may be a downgrade in coverage but his ability to play the box and stop the run gives him instant value. He laid a dud last week with 1 solo and 1 assist but has not had an extra week to get back to game speed. Look for Cyprien to have a high tackle total and play a big role in the Titan’s defense against the Bengals.
Vinny Curry DE (PHI): 2 solos and a sack accounted for Curry’s third-best point total of the season.
Henry Anderson DE (IND): 3 solos before leaving the game with a laryngeal fracture and ending his season.
Alex Okafor DE (NO): 3 solos, 3 assists, and half a sack accounted for his fourth-highest point total of the season.
Hayes Pullard LB (LAC): Bye Week
Joe Schobert: LB (CLE): Bye week
Darron Lee LB (NYJ): 5 solos, 3 assists, and a sack. Lee was the best linebacker pick from last week.
Kevin Byard S (TEN): 4 solos, 3 passes defended, and 2 interceptions. Byard was the best play from last week.
Kurt Coleman S (CAR): 5 solos and 5 assists
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