Week 2 is in the books, it was a great week for many offensive players and some defensive players really stepped out. I will review some of the players whose stock rose in Week 1, a few that fell, and will focus on players that aren’t as widely known. Everyone knows the superhuman effort that Khalil Mack displayed in Green Bay - 3 total tackles with a sack and an interception returned for a touchdown which gave him one of the higher IDP scores of the week. Here are some other players that will be getting more buzz going forward and need to be added to your team.
Highest Rising Stock of the Week
T.J. Watt, LB, Steelers
The younger Watt brother put on a display that would have made big brother proud - 11 tackles (8 solo) and 4 sacks. Depending on your point format, that likely was a game-winning score. Watt was in on 95% of the defensive snaps and was disruptive on nearly every one. The whole linebacker corps stood out - I will point out the others below - but Watt is a superstar in the making. The tackle numbers stood out for me, as 8 was his previous high with his average per game only being 3.5 in 2017. If he is not owned, Watt should be your top pickup.
Nick Vigil, LB, Bengals
Vigil may be more of a short-term buy, starting in place of suspended Vontaze Burfict. I could see the Bengals finding a way to get him on the field and Burfict is always a wild card to play as well. Vigil wrapped up 11 tackles, all solo, and was effective playing all defensive snaps versus the Colts.
Fred Warner, LB, 49ers
Warner stepped in for injured Malcolm Smith and may have wrestled the job away from him. Warner tallied 12 stops (11 solo) and showed promising range and intelligence. The buzz around Warner had died down but it’s back; it will be hard for the 49ers to keep him off the field. Warner may also be a better short-term buy initially but he will be a starter for good before too long.
Jon Bostic, LB, Steelers
The Steelers seemed to have questions at linebacker at the end of camp but Bostic - along with Watt and Vince Williams - seems to have answered them. Bostic was on the field for 66% of defensive snaps and had 9 tackles (4 solo) and added a sack. Bostic will likely play around the same percentage going forward: while not a three-down linebacker, he should produce tackles and a sack occasionally as well.
Josh Bynes, LB, Cardinals
I have been on record as saying I thought Hasaan Reddick would be the man alongside Deone Bucannon, but the Cards rolled out Bynes for 90% of the defensive snaps and he responded with 11 tackles (8 solo). Bynes looked good and won’t relinquish the role, so add Bynes and start him with confidence.
Darron Lee, LB, Jets
Lee played like he had fire in his shorts against the Detroit Lions Monday night as he racked up 7 tackles (6 solo) and also intercepted Matthew Stafford twice. Lee was everywhere the ball went and it seemed like he had 15 tackles - his range was impressive. Lee is most likely drafted but if not, grab him and get him in your lineup.
Cory Littleton, LB, Rams
If you follow me or some other pundits, you added Littleton before last week and his stock even rose more. Littleton harassed the Raiders for 13 tackles (11 solo) and also contributed an interception. He was targeted a lot in pass coverage, as he was covering Jared Cook, which contributed to his tackle total. Littleton showed great range and was good in coverage. He might see a slight downtick when Mark Barron returns as well.
Kentrell Brice, S, Packers
Brice grabbed the strong safety role over Josh Jones and responded by gathering in 9 tackles (8 solo) and a sack. Brice looked sharp and had great instincts, he may still be available and should be grabbed immediately.
Jessie Bates, S, Bengals
Bates raked in 8 solo tackles versus the Colts and played 100% of the Bengals defensive snaps. Bates was drafted for his ball-hawking skills, so interceptions will come, and that with the tackles makes him a good pickup. He looked sharp and should step into a secondary which has missed playmakers the past few seasons.
Damontae Kazee, S, Falcons
Kazee comes on this list because of the loss of my DB1, Keanu Neal. Kazee will get the first shot to step in and play safety, as during the Eagles game Kazee ended up playing 48% of defensive snaps and contributed 3 solo tackles. Obviously, I don’t see him mirroring Neal’s production but if you need defensive back help he can provide you with some depth.
Denzel Ward, CB, Browns
Ward drew the task of covering Antonio Brown and he played admirably. Ward was draped on Brown and targeted, as Brown did have 9 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown but hey, it’s Antonio Brown. Ward limited his Brown’s YAC, notching 6 tackles total and also had 2 interceptions. Ward had an impressive day and has a bright future; he will contribute to your IDP squad.
John Johnson III, S, Rams
Johnson is easily my favorite defensive player that is up and coming. Johnson had an interception this week along with 9 tackles (6 solo). Johnson is one of the players that you can always find on the field; he is absolutely everywhere and makes plays like few others. This will be the last chance to buy him low.
BONUS: Duke Riley, LB, Falcons
It was announced Wednesday that stud linebacker Deion Jones is on the injured reserve and the next man up is Riley. His ceiling is not like Jones’ but he fits the mold of a prototypical linebacker. Riley produced 93 tackles as a senior at LSU in 2016 and will get the opportunity to play more with Jones out.
Josh Jones, S, Packers
Jones was a player I was high on going into the offseason after notching 82 tackles as a rookie in 2017. The numbers masked the fact that he was often overmatched in the NFL game and the Packers replaced him in the starting lineup. Jones will still see the field some and as a replacement if needed, but at this moment he’s a stash at best.
Jarrad Davis, LB, Lions
Another player a lot of people were high on coming into the NFL, Davis has not yet put up elite numbers but has produced - he posted 96 combined tackles in 2017. The new coaching staff in the Motor City hasn’t embraced him fully, Davis will still be a solid LB2/3 type but the jump into the elite stratosphere appears to be grounded
Karl Joseph, S, Raiders
Joseph had 78 tackles in 15 games started in 2017 but saw the field for only 7 snaps in Week 1. The buzz around Raiders camp is that he is available for trade and he appears on his way out. Joseph is typically a DB1 in most rankings but something is amiss; do Raiders see something we haven’t? It’s hard to read this coaching staff but I am fading Joseph hard for the time being.
Sean Lee, LB, Cowboys
This one is the heaviest one for me to write, I don’t believe Lee’s days as an LB1 are over but they are numbered. Jaylon Smith is getting closer to being full strength and is a phenomenal linebacker. The Cowboys also drafted Leighton Vander Esch this year - the future linebackers are on their roster. Lee is injured frequently but when he is on the field he still is an elite producer. Move him before it’s too late for your IDP squad.
All snap count statistics are retrieved from Pro Football Reference
Follow me on Twitter and continue to check Dynasty Happy Hour for your fantasy football needs!
My tiers rankings, updated often - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JqFgrw2BlE2GKbjT2vfHKg_OwmWUE7O7Q2Gky2TLGfE/edit?usp=sharing