Every week this preseason, I’m going to be looking at the top fantasy performances by defensive players by position, as well as looking at a handful of other performances that stood out to me. I’ll be looking at and reporting on any interesting developments, injuries, or position battle changes that occur, leading up to the glorious start of the regular season. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Because I’m limited by what statistics I’m able to find on the internet, and I don’t have time to watch every snap of every game, TFL were not counted in the scoring.
Other Performances of Note
Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns
With Terrance Mitchell as his main competition for the starting job across the field from Denzel Ward, it’s reasonably likely that Greedy, the rookie corner from LSU, is running with the starters come Week 1. In his preseason debut against the Redskins, he snagged a second-quarter interception off of fellow rookie Dwayne Haskins. He also tackled Semaje Perine for a loss in the game, rounding off a great first taste of NFL game action.
Kenny Young, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Competing with Patrick Onwuasor for C.J. Mosley‘s old job, Young has a tough battle ahead to be an every snap kind of guy for fantasy owners. His performance on Friday helps though, racking up six tackles to pace the Ravens. The second-year LB out of UCLA has more than enough talent to win this battle, even if said battle leaks into the regular season. I was a bit too bullish on him in my initial LB rankings, but I remain faithful in his abilities.
Dre Greenlaw, LB, San Francisco 49ers
With Kwon Alexander‘s spotty record of health, it’s not at all far fetched to picture Dre Greenlaw having plenty of time to be fantasy relevant this season. The fifth-rounder out of Arkansas followed in Young’s example with six tackles, including one for loss. He also made a mark on special teams, and overall looked much better than his fifth-round pedigree would indicate. He’ll be one to keep an eye on throughout the rest of preseason.
Sharif Finch, EDGE, Tennessee Titans
Entering his second season after tearing up the AAC at Temple, Sharif Finch got rave reviews from Pro Football Focus in his rookie season, earning an 85.6 grade in his 206 snaps. It’s crazy to think he was undrafted, especially after watching him pressure the Eagles like a man possessed in Week 1. The game only amounted to a single tackle for loss, though he was a near-constant presence all up in the quarterbacks’ grill. If he can work his way into a starting defensive end job across from Cameron Wake he could be a really interesting fantasy option, though he’ll have to contend with five-year veteran Brent Urban.
Ed Oliver, DT, Buffalo Bills
This one is cheating a bit because technically speaking, a game where you put up no actual counting stats probably doesn’t count as a performance of note. Still, Oliver looked very good in the limited snaps he got to play against First-Team All-Pro Quenton Nelson, arguably the best OG in football. If he can do it against Nelson, he can do it against anyone. I might just be letting my excitement get the better of me, but I’m incredibly amped to see what Oliver does with more snaps in Week 2.
Damontae Kazee, CB, Atlanta Falcons
Fantasy owners from last year know all about Kazee, who picked off seven passes as the Falcons secondary was devastated by injuries. Now moving to corner for the Falcons, and fighting for a starting job there, Kazee couldn’t have looked much better against the Dolphins. He allowed just a single catch that went for three yards, adding another tackle for two on just 24 snaps. His ball-hawking ability could make him intriguing once again this season, especially if your league separates safety and cornerback into two positions.
Hope you guys enjoyed this and found it useful. The weekly preseason reviews will likely be a bit chunkier in the coming weeks as we see more player start to play in them, and as we see more major news that could impact fantasy come the regular season. If you have any questions, complaints, or just want to chat, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, @Quack2Back. Ciao!
(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)