Buccaneers rookie DT Calijah Kancey might be on the rise.
He got off to a predictably slow start, thanks to an early-August calf injury. He made it back in time for the season opener but then aggravated the injury and missed three more contests.
Kancey jumped back into a starting role upon his return, though, and has increased his snap share the past two weeks. Here’s the full five-week run since the bye:
Kancey has QB hits in five of his six appearances this season, including 1 within the mere 11 snaps he played in the opener.
He has 6 QB hits over the past five games and racked up 5 tackles for loss over just the past two weeks.
If you play in a DT-required league that rewards tackles for loss, Kancey probably belongs in your lineup going forward.
No remaining opponent ranks higher than 13th in adjusted sack rate. Kancey’s best pass-rushing matchups look like Carolina (25th) in Week 13 and Atlanta (26th) the following week.
He was a first-round NFL pick, so it’s not a bold stance to say Kancey presents plenty of long-term upside. But his strong playing time already is especially noteworthy because he hit the league extraordinarily small for a DT:
That’s second-percentile height among Combine DTs all time; fourth-percentile weight.
Oh yeah … along with rare speed and burst.
Kancey’s a buy.
Edge B.J. Ojulari made us take notice with a 2-sack, 8-tackle breakthrough against the Falcons last week. But it’s a little early to get excited.
Ojulari played 52% of Arizona’s defensive snaps in that one, a solid amount that could keep him useful going forward. But it was the first time this year he played more than 38%. The rookie also entered Week 10 with just 12 total tackles and 1 QB hit for the season.
So for now, chalk the production primarily up to a nice matchup. Atlanta sports the league’s seventh-highest adjusted sack rate.
This week finds a Houston offense that ranks 10th-best in that category. If we can get the continued increase in playing time plus positive performance from Ojulari, he might be startable for a Week 13 meeting with the Jets.
For dynasty purposes, I remain unexcited about Ojulari long term. The second-round pick should be fine. But he measured just 6’2, 248 pounds at the Scouting Combine and posted just OK college production: 12.5 sacks over his final two seasons, with 0.9 QB hits per game.
If you’re annoyed because you left LB Kaden Elliss on your bench and missed his big Week 10 stat line, try not to kick yourself too much.
His sack upside relative to the position was a key reason I had him ranked aggressively vs. the market heading into the season. But last week presented just his second sack of the year.
Elliss hasn’t been good in that area. He got a season-high 12 pass-rushing chances in Week 9, according to Pro Football Focus – primarily against a QB (Josh Dobbs) who had been with his team for five days. Elliss delivered 0 QB hits and just 2 total pressures there.
Last week found him rushing the QB eight times, his third-largest total of the year in that category. He matched his season high with 3 pressures.
Elliss has logged 34% of his total pass-rushing chances over the past two games and delivered 64.3% of his pressures over the past four contests.
If the opportunities stay up on the other side of this week’s bye, he could get more helpful the rest of the way.
Week 12 holds a just-OK matchup with the Saints. High-ceiling spots remain against the Jets (Week 13), Panthers (Week 15), and Bears (Week 17).
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah played a season-high 81% of the snaps in Sunday’s win over the Ravens.
In hindsight, that’s not surprising. I failed to remember that Cleveland has liked the speedy LB as a Lamar Jackson spy over the past few matchups.
JOK turned that elevated playing time into 7 tackles (4 solo), a half-sack, 2 tackles for loss, and a pass breakup. But that game followed three straight of less than 60% snap share.
Owusu-Koramoah played 79% of Cleveland’s snaps in the Week 4 meeting with Baltimore. He matched that share the following week against San Francisco, but LB Anthony Walker left that game early.
Walker led JOK in playing time in the three games since and trailed him by just 4 total snaps Sunday.
Jerry Jones said this week that LB Leighton Vander Esch will miss the rest of the season with his neck injury. That should mean Damone Clark as the lead LB the rest of the way. We’ll see about what else it means.
S/LB Markquese Bell had been working second at the position but saw his playing time dip last week – seemingly by more than just the effect of the blowout win pulling starters. Dallas also elevated LB Rashaan Evans from the practice squad this week.
For now, just play Clark. We’ll see about the others.
DT Sheldon Rankins had a huge game in the win over Cincinnati, including 3 sacks and 4 QB hits.
That marked his return from a two-game knee injury. It also tripled his season total for QB hits.
Rankins does have 2 tackles for loss in two straight outings. And all 5 this season have come over his past three contests. But Rankins has reached 10 in a season just once since hitting the league in 2016. Six of his seven seasons have included 4 sacks or fewer.
So this is probably more spike than a guy we should pick up and use going forward.
The three-game suspension for LB Denzel Perryman got reduced by a game on appeal. That means he’ll miss this week against Arizona and next week against Jacksonville, then return for a Week 13 meeting with the Broncos.
Perryman will probably be the best bet to lead Houston LBs in playing time at that point. But this corps has been so variable that we shouldn’t feel too sure about it.
For Week 11, Christian Harris and Blake Cashman lead Texans LBs in our rankings.
Edge Charles Omenihu has been quietly productive in his three weeks back following a six-game suspension under the league’s personal-conduct policy.
His snap shares have gone 51%, 54%, 73% since his return. And Omenihu has 4 QB hits, with at least 1 in each game.
This week’s matchup with Philly presents a decent spot overall. The Eagles rank just 19th in adjusted sack rate allowed. Omenihu does line up primarily on RT Lane Johnson’s side, though.
The Raiders and Packers look more favorable the following two weeks.
LB Divine Deablo returned from a two-game ankle injury for Sunday night’s win over the Jets. But he played just 67% of the defensive snaps. Deablo’s only game with less was the Week 7 contest he left with the injury.
Through the first six games, the LB hit 84% or more five times. His tackle counts (7 total, 4 solo) fell in line with his overall numbers, and Deablo defensed a pass for the second time this season. But his playing time will need to rebound for the LB to be usable in most IDP formats.
Jordan Hicks’ IR stint is putting the green dot on the helmet of rookie LB Ivan Pace Jr. That means he’ll be calling the plays in the defensive huddle. And that means he’ll be on the field near full time.
Pace played a season-high 84% of the snaps last week, when Hicks went down. He also collected just 5 tackles (3 solo).
Pace opened the year with 8 total tackles each of the first two weeks, when he played his previous two highest snap shares (68% and 79%). His playing time fell from there, to the point that he played 31% or less in four straight outings before last week.
Will Pace turn his playing-time rebound into worthwhile fantasy production? We can’t really say until we see. But he has moved up the Week 11 LB rankings some.
This trash pile of a team has shot past Washington as the sack matchup.
Sam Howell has taken just 7 total sacks over his past three games. The Giants, meanwhile, have allowed 17 over the same span. They’ve allowed 4+ sacks in four straight games and held just one opponent all year to fewer than three.
Here are some players who could come out of nowhere for sack production before the Giants’ Week 13 bye:
CB Paulson Adebo has been terrifically productive in coverage since returning from injury. He has defensed 2+ passes in five of six games, including each of the past 4.
He gets the third-best remaining schedule for DB scoring by our adjusted fantasy points allowed.
Jared and Matt talk through some of the top offensive storylines of NFL Week 11 in this video.