Jayon Brown (TEN): Brown is considered "small" for a linebacker, especially in the Titans' defensive scheme, but the team LOVES the guy's ability to get from sideline to sideline and cover in space. Wesley Woodyard is proving to be "just a guy", and while Woodyard did get 50 snaps, Brown got 37. This is a situation to watch. If Woodyard's starts declining and Brown's rises, the writing is most definitely on the wall. Heck, in IDP/dynasty formats, this is the time you should jump.
Myles Jack (JAC): Work with me here. I put Jack on my "watch list" before last week's games had kicked. With Jack moved back to the strong-side, I figured that some dynasty owners may have been willing to part with him. Well, after Paul Posluszny only saw 8 snaps (to Jack's 79) against Houston, it may be harder to pry Jack away now. Especially after Jack ended with 14 tackles (8 solos, 6 assists). It'll be interesting to see the splits against the Titans this week. That said, Jack's price tag may still be on the low side, and the value will only increase.
Ramon Humber (BUF): I won't lie, I initially had Matt Milano on my watch list since Humber is 30 and kind of undersized. But after Humber's 12-solo performance against the Jets, it looks like Milano's value has taken a hit. Not that it was super-high to begin with, but now Humber looks like a decent 1-2 year add. The weakside linebacker spot for the Bills' 4-3 can be productive, as evidenced by Humber's tackle total. Of course, the team goes and adds Jelani Jenkins, which could cloud things a bit. Early reports indicate he was added "just as insurance", but it'll be interesting to see how things play out.
Mike Hull (MIA): Don't have stats to go off, since the Dolphins had to sit Week 1 out as Hurricane Irma shot up Florida. We're interested to see how Hull, who is limited athletically, handles the middle spot for the Dolphins. His ceiling will be lower since he has a couple of playmaking linebackers on each side (Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso), but there will be some opportunities for tackles. If he can get 5-6 solos this week, he'll be worth putting on your watch list.
Reggie Ragland (KCC): Ragland didn't see any snaps against the Patriots, but in his defense, he was just traded to the Chiefs on August 28th. Derrick Johnson is about to turn 35, is coming off a torn Achilles and one would think the team won't want him playing 81 snaps a game. That said, I am always wary of former Crimson Tide players. This a credit to Coach Saban and his staff, but in many cases, ex-Alabammers peak in college. Ragland is at best a 2-down thumper, but there should be an opportunity for Ragland to serve as a stable LB3 at some point. He's worthy of rostering in most IDP/dynasty formats. He's probably still on someone's taxi squad, but perhaps you can get him on the cheap right now.
Korey Toomer (SDC): Here's a guy that'll be rostered already, but if you are weak at linebacker and have assets at other spots to acquire this guy, I can't recommend him enough. Denzel Perryman might be back this year, but if Toomer consistently puts up equivalent (or better) stats, perhaps the team just lets him heal for the entire season. Look at Toomer's stats when either Jatavis Brown or Perryman were out last season. Toomer is a beast. Convince his owner that he's only good for the 2017 season, and you will have yourself a solid LB2 for this season and who knows, maybe they stick with him in 2018 and beyond.
Tyrell Adams (OAK): The middle linebacker spot for the Raiders is still kind of a hazy mess, but Adams did out snap Marquel Lee 41 to 21, ending with 4 solos and 3 assists. This spot can be highly productive so it will be interesting to see if it stays at a 2:1 split or if Adams can pull away. Watch this situation closely.
Nick Kwiatkoski (CHI): He's probably long gone after he filled in admirably for injured Bear linebackers at the tail end of last season, but he once again has a great opportunity with Jerrell Freeman shelved. If you can get him on the cheap or if he happens to be a free agent, jump now. The Bears will want to get a long look at Kwiatkowski as they look to solidify their defense.
Alex Okafor (NOS): The Saints' defense has been a mess for years and they've been searching for someone to take some heat off Cameron Jordan. Okafor is a fairly solid talent that did have 8 sacks in part-time action as an outside 'backer for the Cardinals in 2014. Still only 26, Okafor logged 54 snaps Week 1 and led the line in tackles with 4 solos and 2 assists. If he can get back to his sacking ways, he may be a lower-level DL2 in larger dynasty formats.
Shaq Lawson (BUF): Lawson is probably rostered in most dynasty formats, but he's a guy you can probably get cheap. Jerry Hughes will be the better defensive lineman option for 2017, but he will be 30 come the 2018 season and is owed a boatload of cash. Regardless of Hughes' inclusion on the 2018 roster, Lawson could start producing. Definitely, a name to watch.
Adam Gotsis (DEN): The second year pro logged five solos in the opener against the Chargers and saw the third-highest amount of snaps on the line with Jared Crick unable to play. Five solos from the edge is a stat worthy of praise and puts the guy on my personal watchlist. Minimal upside here but with defensive line usually on the shallow side, you take what you can get.
Dallas defensive ends: We've been waiting for a name to emerge here for a couple years, and at this point, it is no less clear. Demarcus Lawrence led the way with 39 snaps, but 3 other linemen had 20+ snaps and Charles Tapper (11) is probably considered the highest-upside choice. Rod Marinelli does love an edge rusher Lazy Susan type of situation, so this may be more of a frustration than fantasy wonderland.
Tyvon Branch (ARI): This would qualify as a shorter-term add, given Branch's age and the quality of defensive back depth in Arizona. But 10 solos and a pair of pass breakups is something to take note of. Consider, though, with the depth at DB here, that Branch's value will be tied strictly to tackling. If he can put up consistent tackle stats, Branch is a solid LB2 for 2017.
Jalen Mills (PHI): Mills was already slated to be a starter in 2017, even with the trade for Ronald Darby. Mills kept his spot and with Darby producing as a solid "nearly shutdown" corner, Mills is going to get his opportunities, as evidenced by his eight solos, two pass breakups, and an interception in Week 1. He is likely available in smaller IDP/dynasty formats or those that combine S/CB. In larger leagues or those that break the positions up, Mills could be an every-week option.
Eddie Jackson (CHI): I'll be honest, I added Jackson in almost all of my dynasty leagues. The opportunity was ripe and Jackson, despite a pretty serious injury to conclude his college campaign, was a big-time playmaker. Now, I just got finished saying that a lot of ex-Crimson Tide players may have already peaked in college, but I don't think that's the case with Jackson. I think he has LB1 potential. If he's available, get him now. He played all 59 defensive snaps for the Bears this past week and is simply a more dynamic playmaker than current defensive captain Quintin Demps.
D.J. Swearinger Sr / Deshazor Everett (WAS): Swearinger was already a name to watch even with Su'a Cravens set to start in the Redskins' defensive backfield. A big-time hitter, Swearinger has the chops. He was on the field for all but a few snaps (66 in total) last week, tallying five solos. Everett slid in with Cravens dealing with a lack of passion for football and/or injuries. If nothing else, roster a guy named "Deshazor". He did log 67 snaps and 5 assisted stops last week. Both have some big-play potential, so this is a situation to monitor.
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