IDP leagues can be won with some preemptive 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.
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Here are some players to keep an eye on based on recent performances:
Mark Barron, WLB/S STL
In a Deone Bucannon-esqe role as a linebacker, Barron excelled in week seven finishing with 10 tackles and six assists on 100% of the team’s snaps. His production is contingent on the availability of Alec Ogletree who could return from injury in December, but until then Barron looks to be a very strong safety option. Very few safeties will see the tackle opportunities Barron will through the remainder of the season in this role. If he’s available on the wire or able to be acquired as a short-term play, Barron’s a great target especially considering Coach Jeff Fisher’s recent praise. Who knows, if this production continues, he could earn long-term snaps.
Christian Jones, ILB CHI
Jones hasn’t put together the second-year many hoped. He’s been slow to assimilate thus far. According to linebacker coach Glenn Pires, Jones needs to play more physical, take advantage of his size and play faster, but with Shea McClellin out last week, Jones put together his best game of the year. He finished with six tackles, three assists and a pass defended on 100% of the team’s snaps. I blame Jones’ early season struggles on the new scheme and new inside linebacker role and expect to remain patient with hopes for a breakout second half of the season. Last week was a step in the right direction.
Kawaan Short, DT CAR
Short’s last two weeks have been nothing short of dominant as he’s tallied nine tackles, five assists and five sacks. Insane. His pace is ridiculous and is a certainty to regress, but once thought to be the second rate citizen to Star Lotulelei, Short is proving to be the more disruptive player. With the other playmakers in the Panthers’ front seven demanding attention, Short should continue to see favorable blocking schemes and presented with the opportunity to produce. He’s a prime option in defensive tackle required leagues.
Allen Bailey,DE KC
Very quietly, Bailey is having a career year and becoming a viable weekly defensive end option in leagues requiring two starters. Through seven games, he’s accumulated 20 tackles and four and a half sacks. He’s only seven tackles from his career high with more than half of the season remaining, so he’s put together a very solid year to date. With the Chief’s offensive struggles, Bailey should continue to see tackle opportunities through the remainder of the season. Considering his improvement in 2015 and the fact he’s entering his prime, Bailey is an unheralded long-term IDP target.
Damontre Moore, DE NYG
He was inactive against the Cowboys due to a late roughing the passer penalty in week six, but in the two weeks prior, Moore tallied seven tackles and three assists in total. He’s been nothing but horribly inconsistent and took too long to take advantage of Jason Pierre -Paul’s absence struggling to defend the run. That doesn’t bode well for his long-term value, but Moore should continue to see situational pass-rushing opportunities. He’s worth a look in deeper big-play leagues, but it sounds like he’ll have added snap competition with a potentially imminent return of Pierre-Paul. He’s not a player I’d be interested in relying on at this point unless he improves against the run.
Christian Kirksey, ILB CLE
After a slow start with sub-par performances in the first two weeks of the season and a dud in week five, Kirksey averaged five tackles and three assists over the remaining four games. He’s now the Browns’ third leading tackler playing over 80% of the team’s snaps. He isn’t quite the player most hoped he’d be in 2014 rookie drafts, but his recent play warrants a look. Unless he continues to improve, don’t expect stud production, but he could be serviceable, especially in 2015 since he’s a good bet to see a nice volume of snaps through the remainder of the season.
Eric Kendricks, MLB MIN
After playing a situational role early in the year, Kendricks is now seeing close to 100% of the team’s snaps and is producing like a stud linebacker. Over the last two weeks, his snap count is up and he’s averaging eight tackles and a sack and a half. It seems the Vikings were happy with what they saw with Kendricks coming out of the bye to justify bumping his snaps the way they did. It’s a great sign. He should continue to see a high volume of snaps and remains a top IDP option as a rookie with the ability to play every down. His potential is tremendous.
Ramik Wilson, ILB KC
Prior to being inactive in week seven, Wilson played over 70% of the team’s snaps in the prior two weeks. He wasn’t terribly active in the box score in week five against the Bears, but against the Vikings in week six, he accumulated seven tackles and an assist. Owners aren’t consistently enamored with Wilson yet, but with an aging Derrick Johnson and little depth at linebacker, Wilson is a long-term favorite inside.
Jaquiski Tartt, SS SF (Buy)
Antoine Bethea was placed on injured reserve after Thursday’s game leaving Tartt to pick up the snaps at strong safety. He didn’t disappoint finishing with seven tackles and two assists. If Tartt is not already rostered, he’s a prime waiver candidate in moderately deep leagues. If he continues to play well, it could make Bethea a cut candidate next off-season. It’s a situation to monitor.