IDP leagues can be won with both 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: a string of sacks may be on the horizon, or a linebacker may be coming off of the field more than originally expected.
Here are some players to keep an eye on based on recent performances:
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Mark Barron, WLB/S STL
In his second week as the Rams starting weakside linebacker in relief of Alec Ogletree, Barron was all over the field. As a starting linebacker, he’s averaged 8.5 tackles and 4.5 assists. In Ogletree’s role, he’s a bona fide top linebacker option for the rest of the season. Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams has him playing where he excels – close to the line of scrimmage. There’s some question as to his long-term role with Ogletree ultimately returning next season, but Barron will remain a viable defensive weapon. His price is rising quickly, so it may be too late to acquire him on the ground floor.
Wesley Woodyard, ILB TEN
Over the last four weeks, Woodyard is averaging seven tackles and two assists per game. His snaps aren’t consistently high yet, but his production is. It’s clear defensive Dick LeBeau has figured out how to use him and leverage his strengths. Both Avery Williamson and Zach Brown are still in the snap mix, but Woodyard has established himself as a reliable and cheap short-term IDP option. He’s a perfect stopgap if you’re looking to make a championship run in 2015.
Malcom Brown, DT NE
Brown played a little less than 50% of the team’s snaps on Sunday for the second straight week. He started at defensive tackle and finished with two tackles. It’s not the statistics that are encouraging, it’s the starter designation and recent snap volume. He is improving each week, especially in defending the run, and has the potential to be an IDP stud. In defensive tackle required leagues, he makes a great trade target – see if you can pry away Brown before he breaks out and starts accumulating stats.
Devin Taylor, DE DET
He’s overshadowed by Ziggy Ansah (and his seven sacks in eight games), but Taylor accumulated three tackles, an assist, a sack and a pass defended against the Chiefs this past week. He’s one of the few bright spots for the Lions in 2015 with 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks on the year. He’ll continue to play in the shadow of Ansah’s 2015 breakout, but Taylor is already having his best season as a pro. He’s a fine addition in deeper leagues as a young developing pass rusher with double-digit sack potential.
Danielle Hunter, DE MIN
Another young pass rusher flashing potential as of late, Hunter now has five tackles and 1.5 sacks over the last three games. This past week, he tallied a quarterback hurry, a hit and a sack in 16 pass rushing attempts. He’s drawing holding penalties and showing the ability to create pressure in the pocket so far in limited action. He’s unlikely to be someone to rely on in 2015 as a rookie, but Brian Robison has been nothing more than mediocre and Hunter is showing glimpses of potential. He is a primary a long-term play to monitor in the second half of 2015. He should be added in deeper leagues.
Micah Hyde, S GB
Morgan Burnett returned to the lineup against the Broncos, relegating Hyde to the nickel corner role, but Hyde was still very active in the box score. He finished the game with six tackles and an assist. The beauty with Hyde is he’s versatile enough to play corner or safety, so with the injuries in the Packers’ secondary, he continues to see opportunities. While some of his production over the last three weeks was with Burnett out, Hyde is averaging six tackles per game. He’s proven to be a ballhawk. As a bonus, if your league gives points for return yardage, he has extra value as the Packers’ kick and punt returner. He’s a deeper league option, but very serviceable as a bye week filler or match-up play and should be going forward.
Ricardo Allen, SS ATL
After a surprisingly productive training camp and impressing Dan Quinn throughout the preseason, Allen now has consistent games of production over the last three weeks accumulating a total of 17 tackles and a sack. At only 23 years old and a favorite of Quinn, Allen is a very viable short-term IDP reserve option with long-term starter potential in two safety-required leagues.
Vontaze Burfict, WLB CIN
Burfict was active for the first time in 2015 this past week. He was on a pitch count, only expecting to play roughly 10 snaps, but Rey Maualuga left the game early with an injury pushing Burfict to play 36 snaps. He finished the game with five tackles – an encouraging sign for a player who missed roughly a year of football. If he can stay healthy, he is a top 10 linebacker, but his injury history will keep him outside of the top 10 in most rankings. Expect Burfict to eat into Vincent Rey and Maualuga’s snaps for the rest of the season.
Jaquiski Tartt, SS SF
In his first start since Antoine Bethea was placed on injured reserve, Tartt finished with five tackles, an assist and a forced fumble: this on the heels of a seven tackle and two-assist performance the week before filling in for Bethea. With the 49ers struggles offensively, it looks like Tartt should continue to see plenty of tackle opportunities and be a viable safety option for the rest of the year. Beyond this year, the potential is there for him to be a fixture in this defense for years. He’s an ideal IDP option.