A rookie defender made his debut. Others rookie defensive players cemented their positions. And others flashed their potential of week 3.
Hopefully, you took some of the advice from last weeks Rookie Round-Up. Hopefully, you picked up some of the rookies we talked about before they had repeated their performance from last week or had a breakout performance this week. If not, there are still some under the radar rookies still out there. Heed my advice this week and reap the rewards the following weeks.
Week 3 Rookie Performances
I will have to admit, I did not know how Warner would fare with the return of fellow linebacker Reuben Foster. Due to a stellar first two weeks, Warner was given the nod at starting middle linebacker over Foster. Foster started at weakside linebacker. Warner did not disappoint.
He finished with a team-leading 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, and a pass defended. This gives him three double-digit tackle performance to start his career. It also means the presence of Foster does not have any bearing on Warner’s performances.
I highly doubt Warner is available at this juncture. But if you roster him, he is an every week starter. Enjoy!
After an 18 tackle performance in week 2, Leonard somehow outdid himself in week 3. Though he only accumulated a measly 13 tackles, Leonard produced two sacks and a monstrous five tackles for loss. O, and he added a pass defended for good measure. Though it has only been three games, Leonard looks to be one of the better young linebackers in the NFL. Like Warner, Leonard is likely not available. He also should be started every week.
Young was one of the guys I told you to pick-up in the wake of the CJ Mosely injury. I hope you listened. Young led the Ravens in tackles with 10, eight solo tackles, and one tackle for loss. Mosley was a game-time decision in week 3, which bodes well for his return in week 4.
What does this mean for Young? I do not know. I personally think he deserves to start next to Mosley and over Onwuasor. But I am not John Harbaugh. Regardless, Young is a guy you should at the very least be stashing as he has shown he can be a three-down linebacker. Find out more here.
Davenport has been progressively more impactful every week of the young 2018 season. Against the Falcons, Davenport recorded his first sack. While that was his only tackle of the game, it was a big tackle. Davenport is not worth rostering at this point. Watch him to see if he continues his progression.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 23, 2018
Oluokun started at weakside linebacker for the Falcons. He had the second of his back-to-back four-tackle game against the Saints. Nothing much to really note on his performance. Fellow linebacker Duke Riley had a big game with 12 tackles to lead the Falcons. Riley will likely resume his starting duties at weakside linebacker when Deion Jones comes back from IR if he continues these types of performances.
Keep an eye out, however, as Riley has had issues with missed tackles in the past and Oluokun could step in if the issue crops up again.
The Raiders struggled to get pressure on the quarterback once again. And once again, Arden Key was a bright spot for the defensive line. While not stuffing the stat sheet with only two tackles, Key does manage to get pressure and hit the quarterback. While he does not have a sack yet, much like Davenport, Key’s time is coming. Watch from afar.
With starting safety Reshad Jones out, Fitzpatrick took the reigns, making his first NFL start. Fitzpatrick finished the Dolphins game against the Oakland Raiders with 10 tackles. Fitzpatrick has been very good this year with 19 total tackles. He has also done extremely well in coverage, though he was somewhat abused by Raiders wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Fitzpatrick should be stashed on IDP rosters.
Minkah Fitzpatrick is already an elite player. pic.twitter.com/qKmntnIKlR
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) September 16, 2018
A newbie to this list, Dolphins strongside linebacker Baker had a great game against the Raiders. Baker has been the Dolphins starting strongside linebacker since training camp. Against the Raiders, Baker finished with nine tackles, seven solo. Over the first three games of his career, Baker has accumulated 18 tackles.
If Baker continues these types of performance, he may be worth a roster spot. Watch him and pounce if he does it again.
Just another ho-hum game from Edmunds against the Minnesota Vikings. Edmunds finished with his first double-digit tackle game to lead the Bills in tackles, again. He added a pass defended to top it off. Nothing really to note here. Edmunds will continue to rack up tackles and be among the league leaders by the end of the season.
Burks made his career debut against the Washington Redskins after missing the first two weeks with a shoulder injury. He did not have a large impact on the game, largely playing special teams and as a substitute. He only made two tackles, including one on his first defensive snap. Burks is a guy to keep an eye on as he fits perfectly next to Blake Martinez.
He may not be worth a stash currently, but he should get more snaps and more chances to make plays in the coming weeks. Watch Burks closely.
Leighton Vander Esch
Vander Esch is another rookie who had the best game of his short career in week 3. Against the Seattle Seahawks, Vander Esche accrued 11 tackles, including one tackle for loss. With starting middle linebacker Sean Lee nursing yet another injury, Vander Esch becomes all the more important. Vander Esche will have a chance to make even more plays with Lee out. If he is not rostered in your league, pick him up NOW!
Lost in the disappoint of the loss was the fact that #Cowboys rookie LB Leighton Vander Esch played well in his given opportunities.
Beats the block and makes a nice TFL here. pic.twitter.com/9P6OoXaIcs
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) September 24, 2018
Evans was given the start for the Tennessee Titans at inside linebacker over Will Compton against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Though he did not produce much in terms of statistics with only one tackle, this is a huge step for the rookie. Evans played one special teams snap in his debut in week 2. He is coming off of a hamstring injury and is still getting up to game speed.
Evans should be stashed as it seems he is the starter at inside linebacker next to Wesley Woodyard. Evans will continue to garner more and more snaps over the next few weeks.
Landry has yet to record his first sack in his first two weeks for the Titans. That does not mean he has not had an impact. Though he only had two tackles against the Jaguars, he pressured Jaguars quarterback Landry has had several pressures on the quarterback and a few near sacks over the first two games of his career.
— Titans Film Room (@titansfilmroom) September 23, 2018
Harold Landry and that bend.. pic.twitter.com/COOI2Zebkk
— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) September 17, 2018
Landry was a special talent in college and has demonstrated that talent thus far. As he progresses through his first season, he will begin to rack up sacks and tackles for loss. He might not be worth a roster spot right now, but keep an eye out.
White continues to put up good numbers at weakside linebacker for the Los Angeles Chargers. Against the Los Angeles Rams, White produced the most tackles of his short career with seven, including one for loss. Through his first three games, White has accumulated 17 tackles as well as one interception and two passes defended. Like many of these rookies, they will progress as they acclimate to the speed of the NFL. White should be owned in all IDP leagues.
James has been one of the better safeties in the league for the Chargers so far in his rookie season. Against the Rams, James had the best game of his young career. He compiled nine tackles and intercepted his first career pass. Through his first three games, James has accounted for 19 tackles, two sacks, one interception, and four passes defended.
James is already one of the top safeties in the league and will continue to get better. He should be rostered and started in all leagues.
Imagine passing on Derwin James. pic.twitter.com/pXJ1MfgTWn
— ryan (@StillRyanFive) September 23, 2018
Jewell was given his first start at inside linebacker next to Todd Davis against the Baltimore Ravens. Usual starter Brandon Marshall was nursing an injury all week and only played on sub packages. Jewell played in 53% of the defensive snaps, a big jump from his previous high of 20%. Jewell played well against the Ravens with eight tackles, one tackle for loss, and a pass defended. Jewell will get more and more responsibility as he demonstrates his abilities in coverage as well as to stop the run.
He is still probably not worth a roster spot except in deeper IDP leagues. But keep watching and jump on him if his snap counts continue to increase.
Chubb recorded the first solo sack of his career against the Baltimore Ravens. Chubb now has 1.5 sacks on the season. He also only has eight tackles on the season. While Chubb had elite talent, unfortunately, he plays outside linebacker. Unless he starts putting up Von Miller type numbers, he is not worth much in IDP fantasy leagues.
pass rushing 101 from bradley chubb. it's easier to the get sack off an inside move if you wait until you get to QB depth to break inside.
get upfield without running past the QB, explode through the contact from the LT, kill the QB pic.twitter.com/Cx8Nr0PyE0
— charles mcdonald (lakers 0-0) (@FourVerts) September 24, 2018
Alexander had another monster game for the Packers against the Redskins. Following up his eight-tackle performance last week, Alexander produced seven tackles in week. These are monster tackle numbers for a cornerback. This likely means he is being targeted a lot, which is good for IDP purposes. Alexander absolutely needs to be rostered in leagues with cornerbacks.
Smith had a mediocre game against the Arizona Cardinals. He only put up four tackles and one tackle for loss. He also had a bad missed tackle on a David Johnson run. He is, however, the starting middle linebacker, no question. While he may have some of these games, he will likely have a lot more productive games. He is probably not available in most leagues, but he should be a starting option moving forward.
Ward had a pretty good game from a statistics standpoint against the Jets, more so for IDP. He produced four tackles, one tackle for loss, and a forced fumble and recovery. He also showed great instincts, blowing up a tight end screen for a loss. Ward has 17 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and three passes defended. Overall he has started off his career very nicely.
Ward is really only valuable in IDP leagues that separate cornerbacks and safeties. In those leagues, however, he could be extremely valuable as he is likely to be targeted a lot as a rookie.
Love this play from rookie CB Denzel Ward showing the eye discipline to key & diagnose this TE screen. He zigs when the rest of the defense zags to make this tackle for a loss of 6. pic.twitter.com/Bfyhxs9Gut
— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) September 21, 2018
Edmunds made his first career interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He did not do much else, with only one tackle otherwise.
— NFL France (@FirstDownFR) September 25, 2018
Edmunds has five tackles, one interception, and two passes defended on the season. He is playing as the third safety, which is not overly valuable in IDP leagues. Edmunds is not currently worth being rostered on except for in deeper leagues.