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.
First, let's look at last week's offerings.
Kyzir White LB (LAC): 4 solos, 3 assists
It was a quiet game for White as he failed to reach double-digit tackles. He had 4 solos and 3 assists for 7 total tackles. His 8 solos and 1 tackle for loss in Week 1 look to be his ceiling going forward.
Blake Cashman LB (NYJ): 2 solos, 4 assists, .5 sack, 1 pass defended
The overall tackle numbers were not there for Cashman, but he quietly had a good day filling in for C.J Mosley. The Browns offensive line has not been able to protect Baker Mayfield at all this year and he was even able to chip in half a sack. Cashman still has some work to do in order to move up the depth chart. He saw 69 defensive snaps this week, up from 23 in week 1.
Devin Bush LB (PIT): 3 solos, 4 assists, 1 fumble recovery
As he continues to carve out a role for himself in the Steelers defense, Bush had a solid game this week that should earn him more snaps going forward. The 3 solos and 4 assists were not a major accomplishment, but his first fumble recovery with a return of 11 yards was. Bush was knocked out of bounds just before crossing into the end zone and almost added a touchdown to his line. Bush should only see his snap count increase over the course of the season and his numbers get better.
Sam Hubbard DE (CIN): 3 solos, 3 assists, 0 sacks
The Bengals defense was unable to stop anyone for the 49ers this week and Hubbard was unable to build on the 2 sacks he had week 1. Hubbard had 3 solo tackles and 3 assists this week and did not register a QB hit. The defense was on the field a lot, but it was mostly watching San Francisco move the ball downfield at will.
Quinton Jefferson DT (SEA): 1 solo
It was not a great game for Jefferson at all. He registered a single solo tackle and could not build off the 2 sacks and 2 passes he defended in week 1. Jefferson played nearly 79% of snaps at mostly tackle this week and was unable to do anything with the volume.
Matthew Ioannidis DT (WAS): 1 solo, 2 assists
The quiet start to the season continues for Ioannidis. The Cowboys exploited the Redskins secondary and the bulk of Ezekiel Elliot’s runs went up the middle. Ioannidis did not get the projected amount of opportunity and did not reward anyone who had him in their starting lineup this week.
Jordan Whitehead S (TB): 3 solos, 3 assists, 1 pass defended
Six total tackles for Whitehead this week made for a very quiet week. His 7 solo tackles from week 1 projected a much bigger role this week, but things were made difficult by the 26 passes Cam Newton completed with the ground. It is hard to have tackles when the opposing quarterback struggles to complete any passes.
Juan Thornhill S (KC): 3 solos
The story out of Kansas City will always be the offense. Thornhill added 3 solo tackles to his stats for the year and has yet to defend a single pass in the air. Teams will be playing in catchup mode often against the Chiefs and there should be plenty of balls to make plays on for the rest of the season. Hopefully, this proves to be an outlier for Thornhill the rest of the season and he sees his numbers get better.
Marqui Christian S (LAR)
Unfortunately for anyone who rolled the dice on Christian, Eric Weddle cleared concussion protocol and started this week. Christian did not have a single play that registered on the stat sheet and does not appear to be a viable option at all going forward barring a significant injury to Weddle.
Now, let's look at this week's candidates.
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