As we enter the final weeks before the fantasy playoffs, these rookies are surging and should be rostered.
As I mentioned last week, the Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker should be started in all formats. Oluokun led all defenders in the Falcons week 11 game versus the Cowboys in tackles. He also seems to have overtaken fellow linebacker Duke Riley as the starting weakside linebacker when starting middle linebacker Deion Jones returns. Oluokun has out-snapped Riley in each of the last five games by a wide margin.
As I mentioned, Jones has been activated from the IR and could play against the New Orleans Saints in week 12. If Jones does play, be aware that this can affect Oluokun’s snap share. However, the Falcons have been playing a lot of three safety packages in Jones’ absence. Oluokun played safety in college and is athletic enough to hang with running backs and tight ends in coverage. Oluokun is still startable in most IDP formats, just temper your expectations.
Moore was my favorite, under-the-radar rookie linebacker coming into the season. The Indianapolis Colts rookie linebacker was one of the first players I wrote about for the Rookie Watch series. Unfortunately, Moore’s rookie season has not gone as well as I, and probably he had hoped. Moore was waived by the Colts after week 3 and signed to the practice squad. He was then promoted to the active roster before week 10.
Moore makes the list not for his performances, but as a wait and see. Since being promoted, Moore has been given a 19% and 27% snap share in weeks 10 and 11 respectively. In week 11, Moore only had 2 tackles. However, if he continues to see more and more snaps, you may want to rester him. Moore is extremely talented and could become a good linebacker in this league.
With starting safety Jordan Evans out, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie safety Jordan Whitehead saw the most snaps at safety on the team. He put those snaps to good use, accumulating eight total tackles and one tackle for loss. While not the most prolific tackler at the position, Whitehead has three or more tackles in every game except week 1.
Evans is dealing with a toe injury as was still in a boot as of Monday. Regardless, Whitehead is still the starting free safety for the Buccaneers and is startable in most formats. While he does not have a high floor, Whitehead will still give you four or more tackles in every game. He also has a ceiling of eight tackles. Again, while not prolific, Whitehead is still productive.
The Houston Texans rookie safety has gone under the radar with the Los Angeles Chargers Derwin James and Cincinnati Bengals Jessie Bates hogging the spotlight. Reid has had a very productive season with 52 tackles, three interceptions, and seven passes defended. In the previous two weeks before week 11, Reid had 19 combined tackles. While he only accounted for three in week 11, Reid did reward fantasy football players with an interception for a touchdown.
Week 11 was Reid’s lowest tackle total since week 1. He made up for it in pass defense with two passes defended and a pick-six. Reid has a relatively high floor because he is active in pass defense. Playing in 90% or more of the Texans defensive snaps since week 5, Reid should be started with confidence every week.
Edmunds has been the model of consistency this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie safety has recorded four tackles in each of the last four games. In the last 7, he has recorded between three and seven tackles. While not elite production, Edmunds has still been productive as a rookie.
Edmunds is not in the same tier as the safeties above. While he may become a good safety, he has struggled at times this season. Regardless, he will get you tackles. If you are desperate for safety help, Edmunds will give you production. He should be rostered in most leagues and can be a good spot start.
It has been a while since the Baltimore Ravens rookie linebacker has made the list. Young was one of my favorite rookie linebackers. When starting inside linebacker CJ Mosley went down with a knee injury, Young stepped in and played great. After Mosley returned, however, Young took a step back. Over the last two games, Young has accumulated 10 tackles. In week 11, he led the Ravens in tackles with six.
Young is extremely talented. When given the opportunity, he has flourished. However, Young has only seen 42% or less of the Ravens defensive snaps since week three. Unfortunately, Young cannot be relied on this season unless there is an injury. He should, however, be rostered in dynasty leagues.
Be sure to continue to follow this column and get a jump on up and coming rookies that can help you win your leagues.