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IDP Man Crushes

Every year there are players who come out of nowhere and easily out produce their ADP. Whether it be because of scheme change, a new team, or maybe the light just finally flipping on, these guys are vital to every roster. It’s no different on the offensive side of the ball, if you had Jordy Nelson, Victor Cruz, or Jimmy Graham last year, you know what I’m talking about. Those guys easily out produced their mid, late, or undrafted ADPs from last year and now they are easily going inside the first four rounds of all drafts. On the defensive side of the ball, Jason Pierre-Paul, D’Qwell Jackson, and David Hawthorne broke out last year and far exceeded expectations.  I’m going to take a look at some IDP players who I feel have a chance to exceed expectations and breakout this year. I like to call them my “Man Crushes for 2012.”

Cameron Wake, DE MIA

Cameron Wake is a familiar name in IDP circles. He has been one of the league’s most outstanding rush linebackers in his first three years, racking up 28.5 sacks over that span. Now comes a switch to defensive end in the Dolphins new 4-3 defense. As scary as it sounds, defensive end is Wake’s most dominant position. In his two years in the Canadian Football League, Wake totaled 39 sacks from the defensive end position, including 23 in his second season. Miami’s defense has the bodies to make the switch from 3-4 to the 4-3 seamlessly and expecting 10-12 sacks from Wake could still be modest. This defense will be attacking, relentless, and on the field a lot thanks to an unimpressive offensive unit.

Karlos Dansby, MLB MIA

Sticking with the Dolphins theme here, Dansby will most definitely be another beneficiary of the team’s switch to a 4-3. Dansby has never played the MIKE position in a 4-3, he played SAM in Arizona’s 4-3 scheme before moving to Miami and ILB in their 3-4. Reports from camp have been glowing. He’s excited to have big bodies shielding linemen so he can wreak havoc. A legitimate threat for 135+ total tackles, Dansby should have no problem setting career highs in this scheme. Currently being drafted as one of the first LB3s off the board, Dansby has the legitimate potential to end the year inside the top ten linebackers in tackle heavy leagues.

Whitney Mercilus, OLB HOU

Drafted 26th overall in April’s draft, Mercilus couldn’t have hand picked a better situation than being taught by defensive guru Wade Phillips. The only thing standing in the way of a starting gig is Brooks Reed and that’s not an obstacle that will last. Mercilus at worst will fill a similar role to what the 49ers did with 2011 defensive Rookie of the Year Aldon Smith. After leading the nation in sacks as a Junior at Illinois with 16 and also forcing nine fumbles, it won’t take Phillips long to get his new version of Demarcus Ware on the field and attacking the young quarterbacks of the AFC South. I’d be shocked if Mercilus doesn’t approach double digit sacks as a rookie. Obviously guys like this greatly depend on your scoring system. In leagues that don’t reward big plays, he wouldn’t be someone to target.

Chandler Jones, DE NEP

When Bill Belicheck trades up for a defensive player in the first round of the draft, you better pay attention. It doesn’t happen often. Heck, Bill Belicheck NOT trading out of the first round doesn’t happen a whole lot. Chandler Jones is playing the “elephant” defensive end made famous by Willie McGinest in New England’s 4-3 defense. Jones has scheme versatility, able to also play defensive end in a 3-4, and knowing how “the hooded one” likes to disguise formations, I can’t see Jones coming off the field a whole lot as a rookie.

Kelvin Sheppard, MLB BUF

I’ll admit, at times my love for Sheppard gets a little out of hand. After racking up 61 tackles over the last nine games of 2011, he intrigued me. After Dave Wannstedt took over as defensive coordinator and the Bills went on a spending spree like never before seen, I was downright giddy. Wannstedt singled out Sheppard as a “nucleus player” he intends to build his defense around. If Sheppard can work his way into an every down role, the sky is the limit. The problem is, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen barring an injury to Nick Barnett or Bryan Scott. Even as a two down player though, I’m still drinking the Kool-Aid.

Harrison Smith, FS MIN

Harrison Smith’s pro potential reminds me a lot of San Diego’s Eric Weddle. At Notre Dame, Smith was always around the ball. Whether it was playing center field and making interceptions or covering tight ends and laying the wood, Smith shows up on game day. A safety with the ability to tackle playing behind a leaky front seven is a recipe for IDP success – see Reggie Nelson last year. On top of that, six games versus the high flying quarterbacks of the NFC North every year will lead to a ton of opportunity for potential interceptions. Four of those six games are against Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford by the way and they’re no stranger to an interception.

Bobby Wagner, MLB SEA

Last year, I couldn’t scream loud enough for David Hawthorne in Seattle. There is one thing that Pete Carroll does better than anyone else and that’s pay college football players. A close second though is his ability to produce stud linebackers. Hawthorne left town for the Big Easy this off-season and Carroll handpicked his replacement in this year’s NFL Draft. Wagner has already taken over play calling duties from K.J. Wright, who called plays last year. Seattle is building one heck of a defense up in the great Northwest and Wagner should be its leading man for a long time. With Luke Kuechly currently playing the weak side in Carolina, Wagner could lead all rookies in tackles.

Robert Quinn, DE STL

The cat’s out of the bag with Quinn. His name is popping up all over sleeper lists as an expected breakout candidate. In dynasty leagues though, the sky is the limit for the 22 year old in his second season. St. Louis is building a quick aggressive defensive line with bookend Chris Long and rookie newcomer Michael Brockers. When you look around the NFC West, you won’t find many premiere tackles with the ability to stop truly talented rush ends. Quinn registered five sacks as a rookie and it’s not crazy to think he should easily double that this year.

For more on Quinn, check out the interview DLF had with him earlier this off-season.

Perry Riley, ILB WAS

Perry Riley is one of my favorite dynasty linebackers. He’s been the prototypical stash. From week ten and on last season, Riley totaled 67 tackles, two fumble recoveries, and a sack. Double those numbers and you have a rock solid LB2 with upside. Now, I’m only assuming this, but I think London Fletcher is human – a 37 year old human. He HAS to slow down eventually, right? RIGHT? Well, if and when he does, Riley’s numbers will get even better. This is your last chance to get your hands on this guy cheap because at this time next year, he’ll be up in the Daryl Washington, Derrick Johnson, and Sean Lee tier as stud LB1s.

There you have it. These are some IDP players who I have a “man crush” on this year. Who are your “IDP man crushes?” I’d like to hear about them in the comments section.

Follow me on Twitter @OlingerIDPGuru

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Matt Peach
9 years ago

It’s like you looked at half my IDP roster. Lol

Joshua White
9 years ago

Drop David Harris for Kelvin Sheppard? Start 3 LB & my LB are Sean Lee, David Harris, Perry Riley, & Lavonte David. 3:1 sack-to-tackle ratio

Chris Crane
9 years ago

Patrick Willis = fav NFL player, but a Saints fan
Perry Riley = LSU 🙂
Kelvin Sheppard = LSU 🙂
DJ Smith = drafted in all 3 of my leagues prior to Desmond injury
Colin McCarthy = just because I was sneaky when I drafted him in late rounds last season

Da’Norris Searcy = just like UNC products
Bernard Pollard = because of… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23PFEUi1fdA&feature=related
Major Wright = just a name crush

…and any LSU products really

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