IDP Nation is spreading. These days, a good percentage of fantasy football leagues have added defensive players. We’ve all seen it- a token IDP in year one, then to three players (DL/LB/DB), and now a lot of leagues go with the 2-2-2 format. In essence, watching the game from both sides of the line greatly enhances the FF experience. Most importantly, and to the essence of this article is that, regardless of scoring format IDP players have worth and should be drafted appropriately. The players you see profiled are players whose current ADP could be a bargain this season http://www03.myfantasyleague.com/2018/adp?COUNT=32&POS=LB&ROOKIES=0&INJURED=0&CUTOFF=5&FRANCHISES=-1&IS_PPR=-1&IS_KEEPER=0&IS_MOCK=0&TIME=
There are three main scoring models with IDP’s. Probably the most typical is TACKLE BASED. I’ve seen as much as 1.5 points and 1 point for an assist. In this model the norm is PPT (point per tackle). Inside linebackers and safeties dominate these rankings.
The other main model is BIG PLAY BASED. Guys that intercept passes and sack QB’s are more sought after. Defensive ends / pass rushing OLB’s and ballhawk CB’s head this class.
The third and best model is the HYBRID system that rewards all the above and sprinkles in exciting plays like PD (passes defensed) and forced fumbles to name a couple. Linebackers and defensive backs would tend to have an edge over defensive linemen in many cases.
Aaron Donald, Rams (ADP 145/ 12th rounder)– Entering his fifth year and only 27 years old. Despite being often double teamed, Donald racked up 39 sacks, 9 passes defensed, and 9 forced fumbles. The only hiccup, at the moment, is that he’s holding out for the mega-bundle. He’ll get it.
The move to END will not deter this guy’s path to Canton. Real simple- regardless of what the flock is doing, pick your core offense players that would “start” with the exception of Kicker and possibly TE and QB and take the plunge no later than Round 9. Easily in the running for your first IDP taken.
J.J Watt, Texans (ADP 117/ 10th rounder)– beleaguered by health problems still regarded as the best overall defensive lineman on the planet. If you have the guts to discard the fact that he played ONLY 8 nondescript games in the past two years this could be the TIPPING POINT TALENT that wins you a title. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/W/WattJ.00.htm . Figuring that after the long layoff and with the hype that Houston, in spite of last year’s record have some pieces in place for a decent season this is one of the few TRIPLE CROWN recommendations. Classic go- big- or -go- home ploy, promote him to the 7th or 8th round ; but only if you have a bundle of Guru-like picks for later rounds.
Ziggy Ansah, Lions (ADP 254/ 21 rounder)- Entering his sixth year, at 29 has plenty left. Interesting story aside- born in Africa and starred at BYU this is 6’5″ and 275 pounds of pass rushing fury. Like most of the best sackmasters the Zigster’s best value is in BIG PLAY.
Markus Golden, Cardinals (ADP not listed)-all the cheat sheets adore this guy so you’ll have to take a leap of faith (16th round??) to get him. The stat sheet is quite ugly- three seasons and among them, one decent season. Actually, an INTRIGUING 2016 SEASON when despite starting only three games racked up 12 1/2 sacks and 41 solos and then came the injury that led to last year’s calamity. I’ve seen the Golden Man listed at DE and LB- obvious call is that if you have the choice, make him your #2 DE with a bullet. If he’s a LB still worth an 18-20 round LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE SELECTION. Favor him as BIG PLAY but don’t forget about him in the others.
Demario Davis, Saints (ADP 215/ 17th rounder)- storybook situation of a solid player finally getting a chance at the playoffs. The Saints defense went from woeful to respectable last year. Besides being one of a handful that in a common year racks up 100 tackles/assists, he get some sacks and is indestructible (so far). Not talking a radical jump to to the depth at LB but 12th or 13th round LOCK IT IN. A bonafide stud in all formats.
Preston Brown, Bengals (ADP 233/ 19th rounder)- in four seasons for the Bills never had less than 100 total tackles. Like Demario Davis, a member of the exclusive IRON MAN CLUB (never missed a game). This is the perfect whotheheckisthisguy kind of pick to grab at his ADP and perform way better. Obviously in TACKLE BASED and Hybrid formats.
Alec Ogletree, Giants (ADP 145/12th rounder)-
could easily be the best LB the G-Men have seen since the L.T/ Carl Banks day. Now in his 6th year, expect a bundle of points regardless of scoring system. Has the speed to play outside and the balls/motor to patrol the middle. Don’t hesitate to take him in Round 10 as your 1st or 2nd IDP selection. A bonafide stud in all formats.
Jadeveon Clowney, Texans (ADP 215/17th round)- https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/ClowJa00.htm so here we are five years later and the hype (#1 pick of the draft- ALL TIME GREAT POTENTIAL) has heavily outweighed the production. Surely, injuries wrecked the first two years. After moving to linebacker the past two, he’s managed to , A. stay on the field, B. produce decent numbers and C. make two Pro Bowls (who cares?). This year with Watt back, and the prospect of a playoff push, this bodes as CRUNCH TIME ; add to that the fact that this is the last year of his contract and expect NEXT LEVEL STUFF. Nothing crazy but in Round 15- good upside potential. Real brain teaser- this beast can be a Rolls Royce or just another overpriced Camry.
Marcus Peters, Rams (ADP 240/20th round)- another guy sporting a new uniform in 2018. A constant threat to pick off a pass but for some reason only had 9 passes defensed after several years in the 20’s. This is another player in his prime on a playoff contender but with the additional bonus of being able to take it to the house. Great guy to pair with a steady safety that racks up tackles like Donkey Kong. Spring a couple rounds early and fill in later rounds with offensive longshot types. Obvious BIG PLAY target that would also be valid in HYBRID
Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars (ADP 218/18th round)- how can a guy this good be an afterthought pick? Rhetorical question I suppose- since Safeties tend to have more worth (once again DEPENDING ON SCORING SYSTEM). Either way, Ramsey is entering his 3rd season with renowned cover skills (1st team All Pro last year is a VALID ACCOLADE) . Unlike many of his fellow CBs he actually isn’t afraid of contact (107 solos total in two years). Passes defensed numbers are solid (32 in two years) and ,sooner than later, he’ll ramp up the picks to 5-6 with a little luck. If your league requires a corner he’s top 5 easily- if they don’t, still worthy of a roster spot a round or two better than current ADP. Obvious BIG PLAY target who would be valid in HYBRID.
Robert Alford, Falcons (ADP not listed)- the ATL defense no longer is a joke and this guy’s evolution is part of it. Inability to pick off balls is perplexing but tackles and passes defensed he is VERY GOOD. Maybe this will be the year his brick hands turn to glue…you never know. EXCELLENT reserve at end of the shebang. Low rent or not,this guy is has BIG PLAY and HYBRID potential.
Ha-Ha Clinton- Dix, Packers (ADP 260/23rd round)- a lot of leagues don’t even have a 23rd round but if yours does this is YOUR GUY. Four years and 64 regular season games later this Ha Ha is very consistent. Won’t lead league in tackles but will nickle and dime his way to glory with a decent amount of passes defensed, and a few interceptions and sacks. Cool name- and a cool value pick. Regardless of format a top 24 DB.
Tyrann Mathieu, Texans (ADP 244/20th round)- the Honey Badger is in his sixth year and just turned 26 years old. There is however a lot of drama, and hit & miss with this player. Last year was calm- he even played all 16 games. Stats were good (66 tackle and two picks) but not great. In fact, he has the every other “good” year thing going, mostly due to health issues. The question is, can this guy revert to 2015 All Pro form? Playing in Houston it’s possible but I’m more inclined to think he’s a great filling-out-my-D choice instead. In spite of the goofy hairdoo bump him up a round or two. A safe pick in any format – this guy attacks anybody with the football.
Sean Davis, Steelers (ADP not listed)- just in his third year this former Maryland Terrapin is a Ronnie Lott(ish) seek and destroy type. He tackles well, can defend the pass decently and deserves to be a top 24 DB in most cases. SPECIAL NOTE: Steeler teamates T.J Watt (LB) , Morgan Burnett (S) and Bud Dupree (DE/LB) all offer reserve round consideration or better this year.
SO LONG FOR NOW
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts live August 9th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #88 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will wrap up our divisional break downs with the NFC West!
My guest this week is Andy Macuga. He is the former Head Football and Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. out in the San Diego area. Andy is also a 6 year veteran of Major League Fantasy Sports leagues and a frequent radio guest.
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@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.