Chase Young, DE, Washington
Young might seem like too big a name to include here. But he hit Sunday with just 2 sacks over his previous 9 games and coming off 5 straight weeks of 2 solos or fewer. The rookie had a big one against San Francisco, though: 6 tackles, sack, 2 QB hits, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble return for a TD and 2 pass deflections. Next comes a Seattle offense that had allowed 5+ sacks to 3 of 5 opponents before Sunday’s win over the Jets.
Kenny Clark, DT, Packers
Clark cracked 80% playing time Sunday for the 1st time since Week 10 and just the 3rd time all season. That helped him deliver his 1st sack in 3 weeks. Clark has 4 QB hits over the past 4 games, though, and now faces a Panthers offense weak at both guard spots. RG John Miller has allowed 18 total pressures for the season; 10 of those have come in just the past 4 games, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF grades LG Chris Reed 67th among 91 qualifying guards in pass-blocking.
Avery Williamson, LB, Steelers
Robert Spillane went down in the 3rd quarter of last Monday's loss to Washington. Williamson finished that game with a team-leading 9 tackles (6 solo) on just 53% playing time. With Spillane on IR, Williamson jumped to 89% playing time in Sunday night's loss at Buffalo. More importantly, he racked up 11 tackles (9 solo) and his 1st QB hit of the year. Williamson has 8+ tackles in each of the 7 games this season in which he has played at least half of the defensive snaps.
Haason Reddick, OLB, Cardinals
You get 5 sacks (and 3 forced fumbles) in a game and weren’t universally owned, then you’re probably going to make it into this section. Reddick preceded Sunday’s blowup against the Giants with 5 straight games of no sacks or QB hits. But he follows it with a Week 15 home date against the highly sackable Eagles. Jalen Hurts didn’t take a single sack in Sunday’s win over the Saints, but Philly entered the contest with the league’s most sacks allowed. Reddick will be worth betting on there in non-tackle-heavy leagues.
Jerome Baker, LB, Dolphins
Baker took advantage of Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts missing Sunday’s game to rack up 8 tackles and 2.5 sacks against the Chiefs. Next Sunday brings a matchup with New England’s unimaginative, run-heavy offense, which should help keep Baker on the field. Playing time has been the biggest issue for his fantasy production.
Antoine Winfield, S, Buccaneers
Winfield entered Week 14 outside the top 30 fantasy DBs but delivered a big stat line in the win over Minnesota: 12 tackles (11 solo), 1 sack, 1 forced fumble. Next comes a trip to Atlanta, to face a Falcons offense that has been a top-10 scoring matchup for DBs this season. The current paths of the 2 teams points to the Falcons likely chasing the Bucs in this matchup, which should only motivate more passing volume -- and, thus, opportunities for the rookie safety.