IDP leagues can be won with some pre-emptive in-season pickups or trading for players who are on the rise, but whom the masses have not picked up on. Each week, we’ll detail a handful of IDP players or trends essential for dynasty players to monitor.
Often, things like quarterback hurries, quarterback knockdowns or snap counts don’t appear in the box scores – these are key indicators of potential value changes that may be forthcoming as they show a particular player is getting after the quarterback and a string of sacks may be on the horizon or a linebacker may be coming off of the field more than originally expected.
Instead of the typical weekly update, we’ll provide some noteworthy updates on several rookies now that we’re through a quarter of the NFL season:
Jordan Hicks, ILB PHI
The Eagles linebackers were once viewed a crowded group with a blocked path for Hicks. However, with Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks banged up early in 2015, Hicks has surprised with a healthy volume of snaps (97%) in relief over the last two weeks. Over that period, he has 12 tackles, four assists, two fumble recoveries and an interception. He’s also played sub-packages in favor of DeMeco Ryans, so while Alonso and Kendricks are scheduled to return in the near-term, Hicks will be in the rotation. If anything, this may not bode well for Alonso and Ryans.
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Kwon Alexander, MLB TB
From the beginning of training camp through week four, one of the biggest IDP storylines is the ascension of Alexander. He quickly snatched the starting middle linebacker spot from the underachieving Bruce Carter and is playing every down alongside mentor Lavonte David who reportedly spent significant time teaching Alexander the intricacies of his position. It’s paid off thus far.
Benardrick McKinney, ILB HOU
McKinney’s snap count continues to increase each week. He’s gone from playing nine percent of the team’s snaps in week two to 60 percent this past week. He also started the last two weeks. While he’s spending limited time on the field in passing situations, McKinney owners should be encouraged about his playing time over the past two weeks. I still have doubts about his ability to play a sub-package role, but it’s encouraging nonetheless.
Stephone Anthony, MLB NO
After a slow statistical start, Anthony stepped up against the Cowboys finishing with five tackles, an assist and a sack. He continues to play every down and remains one of the top IDP options in this class as evidenced by this week’s performance. He and Hau’oli Kikaha look to be young cornerstones to a defense in the process of a rebuild.
Hau’oli Kikaha, SLB NO
As alluded to above, Kikaha’s rookie season has been extremely impressive. He’s played 85% of the team’s snaps amassing 16 tackles, 10 assists, two forced fumbles and three sacks through four weeks. He should be rostered in moderately deep leagues. He’s currently a leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year, but the biggest concern from an IDP perspective is his role as a 4-3 strongside linebacker. His tackle numbers are not likely to be sustained at this position.
Arik Armstead, DE SF
Armstead has three tackles and a sack on the year playing 21% of the team’s snaps. Most knew he was a raw talent who would take time to see regular snaps, but with the 49ers continued struggles, Armstead is someone who could see increased snaps as the year progresses. The one positive nugget from his play thus far is he’s averaging two quarterback hurries over the last three weeks. It’s always a good sign to see this from a young pass-rusher.
Eric Kendricks, WLB MIN
Early in the season, Kendricks is a sub-package player with Anthony Barr as the only every down player in Minnesota. Specifically, he’s seeing time in sub-packages, but has only played 68% , 53% and 57% of snaps over the last three weeks. Chad Greenway is clearly being phased out, so the every down role should come, but he’s only a sub-package player right now.
Paul Dawson, MLB CIN
Dawson is a victim of Marvin Lewis who has an affinity for a mediocre Rey Maualuga. It’s a huge disappointment to only see Dawson with six snaps after four weeks, but if you drafted him, you can’t cut bait yet. The opportunity is there in Cincinnati for production. He’ll eventually get his snaps. The low volume of snaps makes him a solid trade target.
Marcus Peters, CB KC
Peters was targeted frequently through the first four weeks accumulating seven passes defended, 15 tackles and two interceptions. Teams are starting to shy away from the rookie targeting him only nine times over the last two weeks, though. While that may appear discouraging, with Sean Smith back on the opposite side, expect Peters to continue to be tested as teams shy away from Smith. Peters will remain a perfect rookie corner streaming option dependent on the matchup through the end of the year.
Landon Collins, SS NYG
Collins is playing virtually every snap, but he hasn’t yet been the elite option many expected. He wasn’t known as a top coverage safety coming into the league and it’s shown early in 2015 as he’s struggled in coverage thus far. His coverage struggles may be slightly overstated, though, as two of the four weeks were against elite passing offenses in the Cowboys and Falcons. Nevertheless, the struggles are something to monitor.
Denzel Perryman, ILB SD
He’s only played 13 snaps through four weeks as Donald Butler is still holding onto his snaps. Long-term, though, Perryman remains the favorite IDP option as exhibited in his play in limited action week four against the Browns. This is a good time leverage the low snap numbers and acquire Perryman cheap.
Henry Anderson, DE IND
Anderson is proving to be a poor man’s Justin Smith. He’s been a nice surprise after being undervalued in rookie drafts this past summer. He’s playing roughly 80% of the team’s snaps on the year and excelling both defending the run and rushing the passer. This early season surge is unlikely to be an anomaly considering his motor and high-effort style.
Adrian Amos, SS CHI
After an impressive preseason, Amos has carried the play into the regular season as one of the Bear’s starting safeties. He isn’t lighting up the box score with 14 tackles and three assists on the year, but Amos is making an impression on head coach John Fox, who singled out Amos as a player who’s improving each week. Known as a player with a high football IQ, Amos is a deeper safety target with the expectation for maturation through the end of the season.
Leonard Williams, DE NYJ
With Sheldon Richardson out due to suspension, Williams failed to capitalize and make the impact many hoped. With Richardson back at practice this week, Williams will immediately face added competition for snaps. While his impact wasn’t what you’d expect from a player many termed as the ‘Best Player in the Draft,’ the pressure he put on the quarterback with 12 quarterback hurries and six hits over the first four weeks is noteworthy. He’s still a top rookie defensive end with elite potential, but his IDP production will be limited by the Jets’ 3-4 scheme and the return of Richardson.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE NYG
Odighizuwa appears to have passed the underachieving Damontre Moore on the depth chart. It’s about time considering Moore’s struggles and inability to take advantage of Jason Pierre-Paul’s issues.
Damien Wilson, WLB NYG
With Sean Lee out with a concussion, Wilson saw increased snaps and finished the night with five tackles, four assists and a half of a sack. If you watched Sunday night’s game, he was often around the ball making plays, which is exactly what you want to see from a young linebacker. Unfortunately for Wilson, Rolando McClain is back from suspension this week. Even so, Wilson should have done enough to earn continued playing time making him a deep option to stash.