Some rookies had their breakout games in week 6. Others emerged after toiling in the background. And still, others threw up duds.
The Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker had his breakout game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oluokun led the Falcons with 10 tackles, seven solo. More importantly, Oluokun out-snapped fellow linebacker Duke Riley, who was previously ahead of him on the depth chart. Oluokun saw 40 snaps to Riley’s 28. Oluokun has seen his snap share increase every week since the start of the season. This may signal a shift in the Falcons depth chart for the rest of the season.
If it is the case that Oluokun has overtaken Riley in snap share and will see the field more often, Oluokun is a sneaky add. Oluokun has progressively made more and more plays throughout the season. If he continues to see more snaps and make plays, he is worth a roster spot in IDP leagues. Find out more about Oluokun here.
Making his debut on this list, the Buccaneers rookie safety has been productive over his last three games. Like Oluokun, Whitehead has seen his snap share increase every week. In week 6, Whitehead played in 100% of the Buccaneers defensive snaps in the first start of his career. Against the Falcons, Whitehead made six tackles, four solo. Over his last three games played, Whitehead has accumulated 16 tackles.
With starting safety Chris Conte on IR, Whitehead has taken over the starting safety role. He may be worth a roster spot if he is going to continue to see most of the Buccaneers defensive snaps. Especially because the Buccaneers have a poor defense and there will be plenty of opportunity for Whitehead make plays.
Edmunds got his fourth straight start for the Pittsburgh Steelers due to fellow safety Morgan Burnett‘s injury. While he had a mini-breakout over the past two games with 14 tackles, Edmunds had a disappointing performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. With only three tackles, he hurt all of those who started him, including me.
Week 6 likely was just a hiccup for the rookie. As long as he plays in 100% of the defensive snaps, Edmunds is startable in IDP.
I do not know how Bates is just now making his debut on this list. I must have been asleep at the wheel. Bates has quietly given Los Angeles Chargers rookie safety Derwin James as the best rookie safety in the league. Bates has 41 tackles on the season, including nine against the Steelers in week 6. He also has two interceptions and two passes defended. Bates is entrenched as the starting free safety for the Bengals.
Bates should be rostered and started in every IDP league. If he is still available in your league, pick him up now.
Speaking of James, another game, another stuffed stat sheet in week 6. The Chargers rookie safety has looked like a contender for defensive rookie of the year thus far. While he did not rack up the tackles with only five, James added half of a sack, half of a tackle for loss, and another quarterback hit against the Cleveland Browns. James has been able to do everything on defense. 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, one interception, and six passes defended.
enquanto isso, apreciem Derwin James e seu pass-rush move
(pobre, Carlos Hyde) pic.twitter.com/gYE8b54kCB
— Bolts Brasil (@BoltsBrasil) October 15, 2018
James should already be rostered in all leagues. He also should be started in all leagues. Sit back and enjoy watching this young man play.
Ward had an OK game for fantasy purpose in week six against the Chargers. He only accounted for three tackles, but that is going to happen to cornerbacks some weeks. In the real world, Ward had a spectacular game. He was asked to shadow Keenan Allen, covering him on 67% of the snaps and only allow Allen to catch 1-of-3 targets for 17 yards.
Unfortunately, that is the life of the cornerback. If you demonstrate that you can lock down receivers, you are not thrown at nearly as often. This is not a good thing for IDP. Ward has still shown he is a valuable cornerback in IDP and should be rostered in all leagues that split the defensive backs into safeties and cornerbacks.
Key had the best game of his young career in week 6 against the Seattle Seahawks. One of his many quarterback pressure got home against the Seahawks, resulting in the first sack of Key’s career. Key also added four tackles, another tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits.
Key only has 13 tackles on the season and, despite his numerous quarterback pressures and hits, only one sack on the season. He is only rosterable in dynasty leagues currently. If Key continues to progress and can accumulate tackles and sacks, he will be a worthwhile pickup in season-long leagues. Find out more about Key here.
The Raiders rookie defensive tackle did not have a good day IDP-wise. But, much like James, the stats do not tell the whole story. Hurst only accounted for only one tackle and a pass defended. PFF still graded him as the second best defensive player for the Raiders against the Seahawks.
Derwin James and Leighton Vander Esch are both making strong cases for being the Defensive Rookie of the Year so far.https://t.co/smt5u2mVwA
— PFF (@PFF) October 15, 2018
Hurst has had an OK season to date. He has accumulated 12 tackles, two sacks, and three passes defended. Hurst has also been one of the highest graded rookie defenders by PFF. While this does not help you in IDP, it is a possible sign of things to come. Hurst was one of the better defenders in the 2018 draft and should be a dominant force in the league. While not useful in season-long leagues, Hurst should be rostered in dynasty leagues.
Smith finally had the game everyone was waiting for out of the first-round pick. The Chicago Bears rookie linebacker led all defenders in the game against the Miami Dolphins with 13 tackles. After sitting out most of training camp, this may be a sign that Smith is getting used to the speed of the NFL finally.
Smith has 31 tackles, one sack, and one pass defended on the season. He is likely owned in most leagues, but if he is not pick up him. This might be the turn of the tide in his season and Smith could be a top-tier linebacker for the remainder of the season.
Baker has 36 tackles and two sacks on the season. He is still worthwhile on your roster as he played the second most snaps among the Dolphins linebackers. This game was likely just a small hiccup for the rookie and he will be startable most weeks. Find out more about Baker here.
The Dolphins rookie safety also threw up a dud. Unfortunately, with starting safety Reshad Jones back from injury, Fitzpatrick is no longer getting 100% of the defensive snaps. Against the Bears, Fitzpatrick played in 80% of the snaps. In those snaps, he only accounted for three tackles.
Fitzpatrick is another guy that is worth being rostered. He stilled played 80% of the snaps and has demonstrated he is a playmaker. While he may not get near the same number of chances to make those plays, he will still have startable weeks.
Coming back from an ankle injury, Indianapolis Colts rookie linebacker Leonard was the same player he was before the injury. Leonard accounted for nine tackles in the Colts week 6 game versus the New York Jets.
Leonard had been arguably the best defensive player in the league, let alone defensive rookie. He has the most tackles in the league despite missing a game. Leonard also has four sacks, two forced fumbles, and two passes defended. Leonard is another guy who will be unavailable in your IDP leagues. If you have him, kudos to you.
Another ho-hum day for the Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker. Edmunds has yet to have less than six tackles in every game this season, including his nine-tackle game against the Houston Texans in week 6. Edmunds has played every defensive snap this season as well.
Edmunds has been extremely productive as a rookie. He has 47 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, 2 fumbles, and five passes defended. While he has not been nearly as flashy or prolific as Leonard or San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, Edmunds has been steady. He has also been one of the top rookie defenders.
Another player who is rostered everywhere, sit back and enjoy.
After recording his first interception in week 5, Houston Texans rookie safety Reid did not have nearly as good of a game in week 6. While serviceable, Reid only had four tackles. The big takeaway from this game is that Reid played in 100% of the defensive snaps. This is likely going to be true for the foreseeable future as the Texans secondary is beat up.
With Reid playing 100% of the defensive snaps, he will have plenty of opportunities to make plays. Reid should be rostered in most if not all leagues and will be a great bye week starter.
Chubb had the game we have all been waiting for from the rookie outside linebacker. Chubb sacked Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff three times in week 6. He had five total tackles in the game. This was the game that the Broncos drafted Chubb for.
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) October 15, 2018
On the season, Chubb has 17 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and one pass defended. These would be decent numbers for a defensive end. Unfortunately, Chubb is an outside linebacker. So, while this game was huge for IDP players, it is hard to expect games like this. And because tackles are king in most IDP leagues, middle and inside linebackers are much more valuable.
Unless your league emphasizes sacks, Chubb just is not a valuable IDP piece and probably should not be rostered.
Broncos rookie linebacker Josey Jewell has been relegated to a backup role. Playing only 27% of the defensive snaps, Jewell had three tackles. Unless there is an injury or the Broncos defensive coaches make a change, which they need to, Jewell is not worth a roster spot except for in deep dynasty leagues.
Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Vander Esch has quickly become one of the best young linebackers in the league. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6, Vander Esch accounted for 11 tackles, seven solo, and one pass defended. Since taking over in week two as a starter, Vander Esch has not logged less than six tackles, reaching double-digits in 3-of-five games. Vander Esch has 51 tackles on the season.
Probably Leighton Vander Esch's best play of the game. pic.twitter.com/1WZtT3kVox
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 15, 2018
Vander Esch has been a monster since taking over as a starter. He will likely continue to be as he was also a monster in college. Vander Esch should be rostered in all IDP leagues and started every week until further notice.
Like many on this list, Tennessee Titans rookie linebacker Evans had the best game of his career to date. Against the Baltimore Ravens, Evans amounted seven tackles and one tackle for loss. In starting linebacker Wesley Woodyard‘s absence, Evans has played 74% or more of the defensive snaps the last three games. That will likely change when Woodyard returns.
As Evans has played more and learned the inside linebacker position, he has been more productive in every game. The question is, will this continue when Woodyard is back. Evans will likely see his snap share drop in that case. However, he is still worth a roster spot in all leagues.
A week after recording his first sack, Titans rookie outside linebacker had a relatively quiet game in week 6. Landry only accounted for one tackle and added a pass defended against the Ravens. Unfortunately, that is the life of an edge rusher. You can have great games one week and absolute stinkers the next. As good of a pass rusher as he is, Landry is even less valuable because he plays outside linebacker. Landry should only be rostered in sack-heavy leagues.
Ravens linebacker Young had a good game despite playing only 15 defensive snaps Young had three tackles and one sack against the Titans. Young has 27 tackles and 2.5 tackles on the season. However, since CJ Mosley’s return from a knee injury, Young only has five tackles in two games. He also has played in 40% or less of the Ravens defensive snaps.
Young is extremely talented and he demonstrated his talent in Mosley’s absence. However, with Mosley back, Young just does not see the field enough to be worth a roster spot in all but deep dynasty leagues. Young has a chance to take over the starting role next to Mosley, just not right now.
At the very least, Green Bay Packers linebacker Burks is consistent. For the third game in a row, Burks accounted for four tackles in week 6 against the San Francisco 49ers. While not elite, nor even good, those are serviceable numbers for Burks. Since making his debut in week 3, Burks has accumulated 14 tackles on the season.
The most positive news from the game is that Burks played his most defensive snaps of the season. Burks has seen his snap count increase in every game this season. Burks is the perfect compliment to Blake Martinez and the Packers would be best served to give Burks as many snaps as possible. Keep an eye out as Burks is on the verge of a breakout and is worth a stash in deeper leagues.
The 49ers rookie linebacker threw up his second straight dud in week 6. Warner only accounted for four tackles against the Packers. This following a three-tackle effort in week 5. Previous to these two down games, Warner produced double-digit tackles in the first four games of the season.
Warner has 50 tackles on the season. He has shown the ability to do well against the run and the pass and thus has played 100% of the 49ers defensive snaps. Despite the past two weeks, Warner will continue to have the opportunity to produce playing 100% of the snaps. Warner is likely owned in all leagues and should be started every week.