Elijah Lee (SFO): His big Week 2 was predicated on the Niners having few warm bodies at the linebacker position, but he was a productive player at Kansas State and had some nice measurables going into the 2017 draft. Malcolm Smith is 29 and hasn’t even played in 2018 yet. Fred Warner was an admirable fill-in for Rueben Foster in the middle, so it stands to reason Lee may still have himself a role even with Foster patrolling the middle. Worth a speculative add and hold.
Anthony Walker (IND): Even with Darius Leonard gobbling up tackles left and right last week, Walker managed 4 solos and 4 assists. There are tackles to be had for the Colts’ defense, so it stands to reason that both Leonard and Walker could be weekly scorers. Yes, we had Walker and Skai Moore on this list last week, but after Moore has only contributed 2 solos on the season. He only had 6 defensive snaps to Walker’s 39. It appears Walker is Indy’s middle linebacker. He will continue to be a cheap source of tackles.
Austin Calitro (SEA): With both Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright out, Calitro stepped up last week against the Bears. He logged 100% of the defensive snaps and had the very respectable line of 6 solos, 2 assists, and a pass breakup. Wagner has a groin injury, and while those tend to linger, we’re not certain of the severity. Still, Calitro remains a decent add since Wagner is 28 and a free agent in 2020. Teams that are in full rebuilds or those that just like to add and stash should grab Calitro if cheap enough.
Kamalei Correa (TEN): Correa was a 2nd round pick of the Ravens in 2016 and had some flashes, playing both inside and outside for Baltimore. He never really found his niche there and was traded to the Titans. He looks at home as an outside ‘backer for Tennessee, logging a pair of sacks in his first two games. He won’t ever be a high tackle guy, but for those in big play leagues, we can see adding Correa. He’s just 24 and the Titans desperately needed young playmakers on the outside.
Robert Nkemdiche (DT – ARI): Bookended by Chandler Jones and Benson Mayowa (who had himself a big Week 2 himself), Nkemdiche is poised to have a breakout sooner or later. He only has 5 solos, 3 assists, and a sack through two games, but oozes talent and in leagues that start defensive tackles, could prove to be a useful addition.
Kawann Short (DT – CAR): Likely not available in larger leagues or those that break apart defensive tackles from linemen, Short should be scooped up wherever possible. When he’s not sacking the quarterback (two in Week 1), he’s making tackles (5 solos, 1 assist). He even forced a fumble last week. Guys that stuff the stat sheet should be on rosters. Short is an elite talent that has shown the ability to sack the quarterback. If he can continue to provide tackles, he’d be knocking on the door of DL1 status.
Jerry Hughes (DE – BUF): Hughes may be 30 but has shown that he still has burst (5 solos and a sack last week). He’s back to playing defensive line after being miscast as a linebacker and that could improve his value. If you’re weak at defensive lineman and need a plug-and-play guy that’ll get you 3-4 solos and a possible sack, he’s your guy.
Isaac Rochell (DE – SDC): This is a deeper pull, and may only provide a few weeks worth of value, but with Joey Bosa out, Rochell has drawn the start. Week 1 saw him play 51 of 56 snaps, logging 2 solos and 2 assists. Week 2 ended with him having 5 solos. With Melvin Ingram III causing havoc on the other end, Rochell may just prove to supply some short-term value. The Bolts are almost assuredly going to pay Bosa big bucks but could move on from Ingram in 2021, especially with him being on the wrong side of 30 by that point. 2021 is still a ways off, so only add Rochell if you need him now or have a larger taxi squad.
Shaq Griffin (CB – SEA): Griffin is definitely the “new Richard Sherman” for the Seattle defense. He is either making tackles (6 solos Week 1) or making plays on the ball (2 picks and 3 passes defensed in Week 2). He’s a solid add and weekly play in leagues that start cornerbacks. He should be doing this for a long time; he’s just 24 years old and firmly entrenched as the best corner the Hawks have. He was solid as a rookie, with 50 solos and 15 pass breakups. So this isn’t really a huge surprise.
Shawn Williams (S – CIN): Williams had a serviceable 59 solos and 3 picks in 2016, but really regressed in 2017. He has a nice opportunity here in 2018 and given that he’s 27 years old, probably has 3-4 good years in him. He started the ’18 season off cold but came roaring back with a monster line in Week 2. Games against the Panthers and Falcons the next two weeks should prove his worth.
Doug Middleton (S – NYJ): As long as Marcus Maye is out, Middleton will have some value. Heck, if Maye’s foot injury lingers, Middleton could continue to provide cheap tackles. He has 9 solos and 3 assists in two games. Middleton is just a middling athlete so we don’t expect to see a ton of big plays, but in larger leagues, you could do worse.