Preston Smith (WAS): Smith’s never been a high-volume tackle guy, but he blends tackles with sacks (eight in both 2017 and 2015), and this season he’s added a couple of passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. That’s the kind of stat sheet stuffing we like to see. He just logged his first sack of the season, and it could be a sign of things to come. He’s worth watching in big-play leagues especially considering he’s only 25.
Jordan Evans (CIN): If you haven’t jumped on Evans, it might be too late. That said, he’s available in my 12-team dynasty. With injuries all over the Bengal linebacking corps, Evans is getting his shot. He’s logging plenty of tackles (13 solos past two games) and adding big play stats (INT, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass defense). He’s got a string of great matchups, so he’s a sure-fire plug-and-play with long-term value.
Tanner Vallejo (CLE): Like Evans, Vallejo is burgeoning due to injuries to starters. He’s not a plus athlete but has shown he can make tackles (10 solos past two games). Cleveland has a bye this week, but if the injuries continue to plague starters, Vallejo is worth grabbing for the stretch run.
Chris Jones (DE – KCC): I keep putting Chief pass rushers on this list, hoping that one breaks through. Breeland Speaks has shown flashes, but with Justin Houston back, his snap counts will dwindle. Jones’ snaps have remained pretty consistent, and he has a six-game sack streak. He’s definitely sack/big play dependent, so buyer beware.
Lawrence Guy (DT – NEP): This is right about the time where Bill Belichick’s guys start playing ball. Guy is getting more than half of the defensive snaps and is making the most of it. He has piled up the assisted tackles, and then bust out with a 5-solo effort last week. After this week’s bye, the schedule gets really nice in terms of potential tackles. A solid add in leagues that start DT independently.
Michael Bennett (DE – PHI): As we all know, the Eagles use a pretty steady rotation with their front four, but with Derek Barnett now shelved, Bennett has seen a bump in snaps. He’s a guy that can get to the quarterback, and is a decent big-play league add. He’s 33 so he may not be a long-term add, but he’s available in most leagues and can help you win now.
Eric Reid (S – CAR): Reid has stepped right in and produced for the Panthers. He has four straight games in double-digit fantasy points and was on his way to a 20+ effort before getting booted for targeting against the Steelers. All of his remaining games should allow him to finish with double-digit fantasy points so he’s a sure-fire add right now. He’s just 26 and could lead Carolina’s secondary for years to come. Keep in mind the Panthers’ linebacking corps is rock solid, so few tackles leak through, but there is enough to keep him busy in the defensive backfield.
Bene Benwikere (CB – ARI): Benwikere benefits from playing opposite a true shut-down corner, and his tackles and other stats reflect that. There are some juicy matchups coming up, and it sounds like Patrick Peterson is staying a Cardinal for now. Given that and the fact that Benwikere is 27 means you could get a good three years out of him in dynasty formats.
T.J. McDonald (S – MIA): Something is going on in south Florida. One-time stalwart Reshad Jones is seeing less playing time and producing way less fantasy-wise. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the future there, but McDonald has been putting up some great stats the past two weeks. Miami’s on bye this week, but if by chance McDonald puts up another 15+ points against the Colts, he’s a must-add facing opponents that allow lots of tackles.