Nothing is worse in Dynasty leagues than having a player who was a bona fide stud one year fall on his face the next. You get your hopes up and consider him a core player, a sure fire every week starter, then without warning or explanation he hits a slump so nasty that you want to drive to their city and beat them with a dead car battery. Having said that…
Will the real Lawrence Timmons please stand up?
In 2010, Timmons finished the year ranked as the LB7 in IDP leagues. He was machine of destruction. Through the first seven games he had racked up 56 solo tackles, 18 assists and three sacks. Nobody started off hotter! Then, something happened. Through the next six games he totaled just 20 solos, 17 assists, and zero sacks. He wasn’t hurt, there was no position change, and it wasn’t bad match-ups. It was like there was an imposter in his uniform. Timmons finished the year strong with 20 solos, seven assists, and a sack the final three weeks so everything was forgiven.
Fast forward to 2011 where all the “experts” had Timmons locked in as an elite tier, can’t miss, top five linebacker. There was very little reason to believe Timmons wasn’t going to build on his 2010 numbers. He was “The Man” in Pittsburgh – the next great Steelers linebacker following in the footsteps of all-time greats. Week one rolls around and he blows the stat sheet up against the Ravens with ten solos and two assists. Everything seemed on track as the LB1 we drafted was panning out. The next week, five solos and three assists – an average game, nothing to worry about. Week three versus the Colts was a snooze fest. It was three and out after three and out, so the stat sheet was not kind to the IDP players. One solo, two assists was all Timmons could tally. Just a bad match up, nothing to worry about, right?
From weeks five through eight, things got real interesting for Timmons’ owners. James Harrison, Pro Bowl outside linebacker, went down with an injury and Timmons was shifted into his spot. During those four games he TOTALED seven solos and five assists, including a week six goose egg. Everyone held their heads up though, Harrison was coming back in week nine and the Steelers were gonna get their uber-stud back on track. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Timmons slid back to his inside linebacker spot and continued his disappearing act. Only one more time in the 2011 season did he break double digit total tackles, which was in week 16.
Let’s look at his overall numbers from the past two seasons.
|Season||Tackles||Tackles for Loss||Assists||Fum Recovered||Fumbles Forced||INTs||Sacks||Passes Defensed|
As you can see, his numbers were down across the board. His total tackles dropped by 30% – that’s an insane amount. For playing four games as an outside linebacker, his big play numbers dipping in every category is also alarming. Simply put, he was invisible in almost every aspect of the game.
The thing that confuses me the most is the fact the Steelers drafted Jason Worilds as the heir apparent to James Harrison, but when Harrison went down, Worilds was left on the bench for an out-of-position Timmons. Furthermore, the Steelers have Stevenson Sylvester and Sean Spence on the roster learning the inside linebacker positions. That makes me wonder if the Steelers view their best option as Timmons and LaMarr Woodley as the future outside linebackers and Sylvester and Spence as the inside linebackers.
Timmons’ versatility makes him a great NFL player and a risky IDP investment. In Dynasty leagues, the investment is already made and his value is at an all-time low. So, there is no value in trying to move him now. He is just 26 years old, so there is plenty of time for him to bounce back. Maybe 2011 was shot simply because he couldn’t get into a groove switching back and forth between linebacker spots. It’s possible the lost off-season due to the lockout affected him negatively as well. Maybe 2010 was the reality and 2011 was the fluke?
Fantasy Football is a “what have you done for me lately?” business and Timmons will either be a phenomenal value in 2012 or continue to be an enigma. I would be too nervous trusting him as my LB1 in Dynasty start ups. In a 12 team league, I consider him a low-end LB2 and would honestly be more comfortable having him as my LB3 with upside. In a perfect world, I would group him with a top seven linebacker and an aging London Fletcher/Ray Lewis type to protect myself, just in case the 2010 season was the fluke.
All I can ask is will the real Lawrence Timmons please stand up?
Check out our Dynasty LB rankings here. You can follow me on Twitter @OlingerIDPGuru