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IDP Rookie Review: Week 12

We break down the NFL’s defensive rookies. How did they perform in week 12?

Jeremy Chinn

From a football perspective, this may have been the most 2020 week ever: a week that started with two Thursday games and ending six days later after multiple delays with the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game, and included back-to-back fumble returns for touchdowns by the same player – an NFL first. Just like the NFL season, the weekly IDP rookie review rolls on.

As with each week in this article, I’m keeping watch on a number of IDP rookies to provide a look at playing time and progression. At season’s end, my plan is to provide positional rankings and write-ups to give you a good feel for who you can build around, who you can keep rostered, and who you can let go.

As always, let me know in the comments section if you want more information on anyone covered or not covered. I truly welcome the feedback and discussion.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Derrick Brown, DT CAR

53 of 73 (73%) snaps; one solo tackle, one assist; two quarterback hits

Yetur Gross-Matos, DE CAR

41 of 73 (56%) snaps; two assists

Bravvion Roy, DT CAR

32 of 73 (44%) snaps; two solo tackles, one assist; one sack; one tackle for loss; two quarterback hits

Although he has yet to record a sack, Brown is starting to get to the quarterback each game, with six hits on the quarterback over the past four weeks. The Panthers are desperate to get any sort of consistent pass rush help to complement Brian Burns, so Brown’s improvement in that area of his game is a welcome sight. He’s been good as a rookie; Carolina really needs him to be a difference-maker.

Speaking of help for Burns, Gross-Matos has shown a few flashes but simply hasn’t been all that effective. Roy, meanwhile, has been a pleasant surprise for a sixth-round pick but fits more as a rotational nose tackle. He was credited with a sack, but only because he was the first to reach Kirk Cousins after the Vikings’ left guard stepped on Cousins’ foot during his drop-back, causing the quarterback to trip and fall down.

Raekwon Davis, DT MIA

33 of 55 (60%) snaps; two solo tackles, three assists; half a sack; one quarterback hit

Davis has quietly been a DT2 since the Dolphins’ week seven bye, racking up ten solo tackles and a dozen assists over the five-game stretch. He got into the sack column this week, splitting an early fourth-quarter takedown of Sam Darnold with Kyle Van Noy. Davis has certainly benefited from the absence of Davon Godchaux, who left week five’s game with a season-ending biceps injury, and Davis may just keep his starting role next season, as Godchaux is an unrestricted free agent.

AJ Epenesa, DE BUF

31 of 83 (37%) snaps; two solo tackles; one tackle for loss; one quarterback hit

Buffalo clearly made it a point to get Epenesa more involved coming out of its bye week. Veteran Trent Murphy was a healthy scratch, and Epenesa logged his most snaps of the season. The Chargers left him unaccounted for on back-to-back plays mid-way through the second quarter and Epenesa produced on both, first wrapping up running back Troymaine Pope for a one-yard loss, then hitting Justin Herbert on an incomplete pass attempt. Watch for Epenesa to continue to get more work for the Bills defense, which is rounding into one of the NFL’s best, especially against teams that run pass-heavy offenses.

Javon Kinlaw, DT SF

21 of 62 (34%) snaps; two assists; one interception; one pass defensed; one touchdown

He didn’t miss a game because it happened during San Francisco’s bye week, but Kinlaw had a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and I’m assuming it played into his reduced role. Despite playing his lowest number of snaps and lowest snap share of the season, Kinlaw had a DT1 day thanks to his interception return for a touchdown. It came on the second play of the third quarter, as second-year defensive end Kevin Givens hit Jared Goff as he was throwing. The pass went straight to Kinlaw, who rumbled 27 yards to paydirt before heading to the bench for an oxygen mask.

Chase Young, DE WAS

51 of 59 (86%) snaps; two solo tackles; one sack; two tackles for loss; one quarterback hit

Young had a nice week despite recording just two tackles, and finally got a sack that didn’t involve a quarterback scrambling outside of the pocket. Just before halftime, Young bull-rushed backup left tackle Brandon Knight and nailed Andy Dalton from his blindside. On his other tackle, he showcased quick lateral movement to slide along the backside of the defensive line from the edge in and through the “A” gap to tackle Ezekiel Elliott for a loss of a yard.

Others of note:

  • Ross Blacklock, DT HOU – 18 of 82 (22%) snaps; two assists
  • K’Lavon Chaisson, DE JAX – 22 of 67 (33%) snaps
  • Doug Costin, DT JAX – 43 of 67 (64%) snaps; one solo tackle, one assist
  • Michael Danna, DE KC – 16 of 59 (27%) snaps; three assists; half a sack; one quarterback hit
  • Marlon Davidson, DE ATL – 25 of 63 (40%) snaps; four assists; most snaps since week three
  • Jordan Elliott, DT CLE – 18 of 65 (28%) snaps; two solo tackles
  • Neville Gallimore, DT DAL – 35 of 69 (51%) snaps; one assist
  • DaVon Hamilton, DT JAX – 38 of 67 (57%) snaps; one solo tackle; carted off field with knee injury late in game and headed to injured reserve, however injury is not necessarily a season-ender
  • Bryce Huff, DE NYJ – 19 of 71 (27%) snaps; two solo tackles; one quarterback hit
  • Khalid Kareem, DE CIN – 13 of 81 (16%) snaps; one solo tackle, two assists
  • John Penisini, DT DET – 44 of 56 (79%) snaps; one solo tackle
  • Teair Tart, DT TEN – 26 of 74 (35%) snaps; one solo tackle; one quarterback hit
  • Tershawn Wharton, DT KC – 43 of 59 (73%) snaps; one assist
  • DJ Wonnum, DE MIN – 31 of 65 (48%) snaps; one assist; one quarterback hit; one pass defensed

LINEBACKERS

Jordyn Brooks, LB SEA

21 of 71 (30%) snaps; four solo tackles, one assist; one pass defensed

Brooks has been a steady contributor to a surging Seahawks defense, though he’s really just biding his time until he can assume a larger role – likely next season since KJ Wright is an unrestricted free agent. He was solid as a tackler, but the Eagles went after him a few times through the air. Early in the game, he knocked away a Carson Wentz pass intended for Richard Rodgers. He didn’t fare as well against Dallas Goedert, to whom Brooks gave up a reception toward the end of the third quarter. He was later flagged for interference on a deep pass to Goedert in the fourth quarter.

Alex Highsmith, LB PIT

11 of 54 (20%) snaps; one assist

Highsmith looks to be in line for a major increase in snaps if reports of a torn ACL for Bud Dupree are true. It’s a big blow for Dupree, who is playing on the franchise tag, and a big opportunity for the third-rounder from UNC Charlotte. He has looked good in limited opportunities so far; now he’ll have to grow up fast for the Super Bowl-aspiring Steelers.

Kenneth Murray, LB LAC

59 of 62 (95%) snaps; four solo tackles, one assist

Murray was back to a heavy snap share, in part due to Denzel Perryman’s in-game back injury. Unfortunately, as has been the case this season, the volume has not resulted in usable fantasy production. I have him down for 67 total tackles (36 solos) in 632 snaps on the season, with only two of those tackles going for negative yardage, and no sacks, and no forced fumbles or fumble recoveries.

Murray strikes me as a player whose processing is slowing down his reaction time. Coach Anthony Lynn’s recent comments about Murray having “communication issues” I think jives with an assessment of a player who needs to process offensive formations and motions more quickly in order to be able to play at the speed he’s physically capable of playing at. He’s not a bad trade target (for 2021 and beyond) if you can get him at a nice discount from a frustrated owner.

Patrick Queen, LB BAL

66 of 72 (92%) snaps; five solo tackles, three assists

Queen had solid tackle production, but it could have been a much bigger night, as it looked like he just missed being in the right spot for a couple of interceptions.

Isaiah Simmons, LB ARI

16 of 53 (30%) snaps; three solo tackles, two assists; one sack; one tackle for loss; one quarterback hit

One week following his LB1 breakout, Simmons was back to playing third fiddle behind Jordan Hicks (100 percent of snaps) and De’Vondre Campbell (96 percent). For those who plugged Simmons into lineups, he still had a decent fantasy line. Just know that moving forward, you’re playing with fire if you do have to play him. I’m sure Arizona’s coaching staff has its reasons for how Simmons is being used, but I can’t see it lately. I just want him on the field more since he’s fun to watch and looks like a difference-maker.

Logan Wilson, LB CIN

45 of 81 (56%) snaps; one solo tackle, two assists; one tackle for loss

Wilson’s playing time has been stymied as he’s been mostly stuck in a rotation with Germaine Pratt, playing in nickel packages, in addition to working in three-linebacker sets. I like his future three-down potential though, and he continues to make heady plays each week. He did a nice job this week snuffing out a first-quarter track play after Daniel Jones threw a backward pass to Golden Tate. Wilson instantly took off toward Tate and put him on the run; Tate eventually threw the ball away.

Others of note:

  • Tae Crowder, LB NYG – 13 of 19 (27%) snaps; two solo tackles, one assist; returned from hamstring injury to play first snaps since week six
  • Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB CIN – seven of 81 (9%) snaps; one assist; one pass defensed
  • Troy Dye, LB MIN – 20 of 65 (31%) snaps; one solo tackle, two assists
  • Willie Gay, LB KC – one of 59 (2%) snaps; don’t open until 2021
  • Jonathan Greenard, LB HOU – 16 of 82 (20%) snaps; one solo tackle; one pass defensed
  • Kamal Martin, LB GB – nine of 68 (13%) snaps; two solo tackles; one sack; one tackle for loss; not getting enough snaps to consider using in lineups
  • Jacob Phillips, LB CLE – 11 of 65 (17%) snaps; one solo tackle, one assist; similar usage three weeks in a row with no bump despite loss of Sione Takitaki to reserve/COVID-19 list
  • Davion Taylor, LB PHI – special teams snaps only; laid the wood to Seattle returner D.J. Reed during second quarter
  • Josh Uche, LB NE – 16 of 74 (22%) snaps; one quarterback hit

Notable inactives and injuries:

  • Krys Barnes, LB GB – remains on the reserve-COVID-19 list
  • Terrell Lewis, LB LAR – inactive; had swelling in troublesome knee, which had to be drained during week

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Jeremy Chinn, S CAR

73 of 73 snaps; seven solo tackles, six assists; one quarterback hit; one forced fumble; two fumble recoveries; two touchdowns

If you had Chinn in your lineup after two straight disappointing weeks, Christmas came early for you. Not only did he set a new high in solo and total tackles, but he accomplished something you’ve never seen and never will see again: returning two fumbles for touchdowns on back-to-back offensive plays, which Chinn pulled off during the third quarter. The first came on a scoop-and-score after a Zach Kerr hit jarred the ball loose from Cousins, and the second came as Chinn fought through a pile of tacklers to pull the ball away from Dalvin Cook as the Vikings running back was fighting for extra yards.

If you fielded a lineup of Chinn, Joey Bosa, Tyrell Adams, and AJ Klein this week, go ahead and retire because it’s never going to get any better than this.

Kamren Curl, S WAS

59 of 59 snaps; five solo tackles, three assists

Fans of the Football Team had several things to be thankful for last Thursday, and finding Curl in the seventh round should be near the top of the list. Since replacing the injured Landon Collins in week seven, Curl has typically shown the ability to explode to the ball and not miss tackles. He appeared more disciplined with his feet and balance in this game, even though you still see the flailing arms at times as he gets moving in the right direction.

Ashtyn Davis, S NYJ

71 of 71 snaps; two solo tackles, one assist

Bryce Hall, CB NYJ

71 of 71 snaps; five solo tackles, one assist; one pass defensed

Davis was a massive disappointment this week with just three total tackles in 71 snaps, and I’m sure it upset a lot of fantasy owners who put Davis in their lineups after his big week 11. From a dynasty perspective, don’t sweat it. He’s definitely swapped roles with Marcus Maye and is the safety playing closer to the line of scrimmage. With a full-time role, the production will be there more often than not considering all the snaps the Jets defense is playing.

Hall came off injured reserve prior to week nine and has been pressed into full-time duty the past two weeks. He was a fine prospect at Virginia prior to an injury-marred senior season, and he’s a good starter for those looking for one in cornerback-required leagues.

Kyle Dugger, S NE

54 of 74 (73%) snaps; three solo tackles, one assist

He didn’t produce big numbers this week, but it appears Dugger is now a mainstay as a hybrid linebacker/defensive back for New England. He’s playing down in the box a good percentage of the time, so he’s worth S3 consideration with snap shares of 85 percent, 75 percent and 73 percent over the past three weeks. Asked Tuesday about Dugger’s ability to read and react in the run game, Bill Belichick had this to say: “His tackling’s been good, physicality’s been good, and as he gains experience, his recognition and all that is improving rapidly.” I’ll take that as a glowing endorsement.

There was some concern with Dugger’s availability for the game – he missed Thursday’s practice with a toe injury – but he was not listed on the final injury report.

Jordan Fuller, S LAR

72 of 72 snaps; one solo tackle, three assists; one interception; one pass defensed

Fuller has been an interception machine with three over the past two weeks, and his penchant to be in the right place at the right time has saved fantasy owners who have started him since the tackle production isn’t good. Much like the two picks of Tom Brady in week 11, Fuller’s interception was more of the “gift” variety, as Aaron Donald deflected a Nick Mullens pass high into the air and Fuller looked up in time to get under it.

Brandon Jones, S MIA

23 of 55 (42%) snaps; two solo tackles, one assist; one sack; one tackle for loss; one quarterback hit

There are a lot of Jones owners in 14- and 16-team dynasty leagues probably wondering if Jones is worth his roster spot, as he’s been nothing but a third safety for the Dolphins this season. I’m not sure I see that changing moving forward, as both Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain are signed through 2022. Jones is more of a Rowe replacement, but Rowe doesn’t carry a big contract and he’s been decent this season.

All that said, it was nice to see Jones with a splash play this week, picking up his first career sack on the Jets’ opening offensive possession. On a third-and-three play from the Jets’ 11-yard line, Jones lined up behind the center and blew through the “A” gap to drop Darnold for a nine-yard loss and help hold New York to a field goal.

Xavier McKinney, S NYG

Five of 49 (10%) snaps

With just five snaps on the day, there’s nothing really to report on McKinney other than he got on the field for his first action of the year after recovering from a broken foot and subsequent surgery in late August. I would not anticipate the draft’s number 36 overall pick being a usable fantasy asset for you this season, but stranger things have happened. I only caught him on one play in the fourth quarter. With the Giants in dime, McKinney was in as a linebacker, playing close to the line of scrimmage and showing blitz. He picked up the running back in coverage, but the ball didn’t come his way.

Antoine Winfield Jr., S TB

78 of 79 (99%) snaps; five solo tackles, two assists

Yes, he’s a deep safety and that’s going to limit his tackle ceiling, but I still like Winfield as a fantasy asset due to his ability to close oh-so quickly on what’s in front of him. That served him well this week and helped him pick up seven total tackles on defense (he added another on special teams).

Others of note:

  • Essang Bassey, CB DEN – 26 of 64 (41%) snaps; one solo tackle, one assist; one interception; one pass defensed
  • Julian Blackmon, S IND – 72 of 72 snaps; one solo tackle, one assist; disappointing production (even for a free safety) given the number of snaps
  • Cameron Dantzler, CB MIN – 49 of 65 (75%) snaps; two solo tackles, two assists; one tackle for loss; one pass defensed
  • Jeff Gladney, CB MIN – 62 of 65 (95%) snaps; four solo tackles, two assists; one tackle for loss
  • Jaylinn Hawkins, S ATL – eight of 63 (13%) snaps; one assist; half a sack; one quarterback hit; played first defensive snaps since week four
  • Darnay Holmes, CB NYG – 35 of 49 (71%) snaps; two solo tackles, one assist; one quarterback hit; one pass defensed
  • Jaylon Johnson, CB CHI – 71 of 71 snaps; one solo tackle, three assists; one tackle for loss; one pass defensed
  • AJ Terrell, CB ATL – 51 of 63 (81%) snaps; three solo tackles, one assist; one tackle for loss; one pass defensed
  • Michael Ojemudia, CB DEN – 25 of 64 (39%) snaps; three solo tackles; one pass defensed
  • Troy Pride, CB CAR – 51 of 73 (70%) snaps; one solo tackle; one pass defensed
  • Josiah Scott, CB JAX – 24 of 67 (36%) snaps; four solo tackles; pressed into action with multiple cornerbacks injured in Jacksonville
  • L’Jarius Sneed, CB KC – 32 of 59 (54%) snaps; two solo tackles, one assist

Notable inactives and injuries:

  • Sam Franklin, S CAR – inactive; still bothered by ankle injury suffered in week ten
  • Jeff Okudah, CB DET – week 11 shoulder injury was apparently bad enough to keep him out this week
IDP Rookie Review: Week 12
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Raymond Phillips
1 year ago

Is crowder worth a stash?

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