As we enter the fantasy playoffs, some teams are looking for help while others are looking for stashes for next season. These rookies can help both.
Who? The New York Giants rookie cornerback has largely flown under the radar in a secondary with household names like Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins and Landon Collins. That may not be true for much longer. Haley has been seeing an upward trend in snap count since debuting in week 7. In week 13, Haley saw his most snaps this season, playing in 92% of the Giants defensive snaps. Haley rewarded the Giants with eight tackles, two for loss against the Chicago Bears. On the season, Halley has accrued 18 tackles, three tackles for loss, and two passes defended in six games.
While he has not been a prolific producer as of yet, the snap count is a good sign. Haley has also been one of the Giants best defenders since making his debut, according to PFF. In week 12, Haley was PFF’s top-graded Giants defender. Haley has become one of the best slot corners in the league over the last several weeks. While he may not produce much the rest of the season, Haley is worth a stash for 2019 in cornerback required leagues.
Rookie Grant Haley had himself an outstanding game against the Eagles. His Week 12 Grade is currently the 4th highest grade for any CB this week with at least 15 snaps played. #GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/pYw4fajf1d
— PFF NY Giants (@PFF_Giants) November 26, 2018
Now time for one of my favorite linebackers. Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Foye Oluokun has made this list over the last several weeks. That is because Oluokun has been terrific over the last several weeks. In the last three weeks, in particular, Oluokun has accumulated 29 tackles. In week 13, Oluokun amounted nine tackles against the Baltimore Ravens. This despite only playing 64% of the defensive snaps due to leaving the game with a knee injury and the return of Deion Jones.
Oluokun seems to have locked up the starting weakside linebacker job for the rest of the season and likely into next season. Linebacker Duke Riley only played in 12% of the defensive snaps despite Oluokun’s early exit. While you cannot expect Jones and Oluokun to combine for 24 tackles in a game regularly, the tandem should still be fantastic playing next to each other in the future. Roster Oluokun now to help you in the playoffs and for the future.
The Denver Broncos rookie linebacker makes this list for his future prospects for than anything. Jewell has been starting at inside linebacker next to Todd Davis since week 8 due to Brandon Marshall’s knee injury. Jewell himself suffered a sprained ankle in week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Thus he was only able to play in eight snaps, accounting for one tackle. On the season, Jewell has 37 tackles, three tackles for loss, and two passes defended. Over the last few weeks, Jewell has been consistent, producing three or more tackles in the Broncos four games previous to week 13.
Jewell was the first player I wrote about in the Rookie Watch series. He has the abilities to be a productive linebacker in the NFL. It seems that the Broncos drafted Jewell to replace Marshall. Marshall’s contract is up after this season. Jewell has the skillset to replace Marshall, being skilled in pass coverage. Jewell is unlikely to make your starting lineup the rest of the season, but he is another linebacker to stash for 2019 when he has a good chance to take over a starting role.
The Tennessee Titans rookie linebacker had the best statistical game of his career in week 13. Against the New York Jets, Evans led the Titans defenders with eight tackles. After starting the season off poorly, Evans has come on in the second half of the season, grading out as one of the best rookie linebackers in the league, according to PFF.
#Titans' Rashaan Evans earned the 2nd-lowest overall grade by a rookie LB in the PFF era (2006-Present) in Weeks 1-6.
In Weeks 7-13, Evans earned the No. 7 overall grade (83.5) and No. 2 run-defense grade (90.4).
Don't call it a comeback. 😏
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) December 3, 2018
Evans’ tackles 13 combined tackles over the past two games is likely unsustainable. He has only eclipsed 50% of the Titans defensive snaps twice in their past six games. Evans will unlikely be useful this season. However, starting linebacker Wesley Woodyard has a zero dead cap hit after the 2019 season and is a free agent after the 2019 season. There is a path to starter snaps over the next couple of seasons. If you have him rostered, keep him. If he is available in your dynasty leagues, pick him up.
One of Gary VanDyke’s “The IDP Tipster” (@Hbogart27) favorite rookies, Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead has quietly been one of the best rookie safeties in the league. There was concern that Whitehead would see a reduction in production with fellow safety Jordan Evan back from injury. That was not the case. Whitehead played the most snaps of the Buccaneers safeties and accounted for seven tackles.
On the season, Whitehead has accumulated 60 tackles. In four of the last five games, Whitehead has seven or more tackles. It also seems that Whitehead has taken over as a starting safety for the Buccaneers. Since week 2, Whitehead has played in 58% or more of the defensive snaps in all but one game. Whitehead is unlikely to be available in most leagues but should be added if he is. He is also startable every week through the end of the season and is a valuable dynasty asset.
Be sure to continue to follow this column and get a jump on up and coming rookies that can help you win now and are valuable dynasty stashes.