IDP leagues can be won with both 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: 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:
Jake Ryan, GB LB
Jake Ryan made the most of increased snaps this week tallying 10 tackles, six solos, and one sack for a loss. He was a darling of IDP rookie drafts earlier in the season, but has not seen the snap count to be fantasy relevant until this week. He is only seeing about half the defensive snaps. Although, he is still seeing a full slate of special team’s snaps, which can help bolster tackle numbers. Nathan Stupar can attest to the floor special teams snaps can give. Ryan did not start, but our friends at ourlads.com have listed him as a starter. I expect some volatile numbers going forward, but his increased snap count should make him relevant going forward. On the other hand, it will take an injury for him to be a nickel linebacker.
Philip Wheeler, ATL LB
Wheeler massively outplayed the injured Justin Durant at Sam linebacker racking up ten total tackles with eight of them being solos. Wheeler may be the best running stopping linebacker on the Falcons. It is not clear what his role will be if the often injured Durant is available to play. I like Wheeler’s odds to steal the bulk of the Sam-backer snaps. If you are looking for linebacker depth, he may be a solid add in deeper leagues.
Shaq Barrett,DEN LB
Barrett is a player I covered in the Week Six IDP Watch due to his low ownership. Barrett is just fun to watch, with his ‘hair on fire’ play style. Barrett has earned a rotational role, even if all the Bronco linebackers are healthy. Demarcus Ware is most likely out for two or more games and Shane Ray has trouble staying on the field. Barrett is more of a big play league special, but his snap count should be solid over the next two weeks. He is also shaping up to be a reasonable long term play in bigger play leagues since Von Miller is set to be a free agent and Ware will be 34 next season.
Jonathan Anderson, CHI LB
Anderson played more defensive snaps than any other Bears linebacker in week nine. I was not highly impressed with what I saw, but there is potential. Anderson is an athletic rookie linebacker from TCU. SheaMcClellin is due back from his MCL injury very soon, which may force Anderson back to the bench. The good news is that Chicago may be intent in seeing what they have in Anderson since McClellin is a 2016 free agent. The 11 solo tackles in week nine should be enough to perk your interest to stay tuned into the Chicago linebackers.
Jonathan Casillas, NYG LB
The Giants’ linebacker core has been a quagmire all season, outside of Devon Kennard. Casillas was able to rack up six solo tackles with Jon Beason now on the IR and Uani’ Unga being inactive. Casillas should be a predictable tackle machine going forward.
Olivier Vernon, MIA DE
Cameron Wake has torn his ACL, and Vernon needed to step up and play like we all know he is capable. He took a step in the right direction this week with seven total tackles (five solos) and one tackle for a loss. Vernon might be a nice buy low candidate if you need defensive end help for a playoff run. At the bare minimum, it might be time to consider getting him off your bench and into your starting lineup.
Zach Kerr, IND DE
It looks like Kerr will get the first shot for filling in for the injured Henry Anderson. Billy Winn may have more starting experience, but he is not as well rounded as Kerr. He is not just a run stopping 3-4 end, but has shown the ability to effectively rush passer. If you are in a deep league and are in need of defensive end depth, Kerr could be a nice speculative add.
Chris Baker, WAS DE
Swaggy continues to provide a reasonable floor for a five technique defensive end. This week was a standard day at the office with five solos and seven total tackles. Baker does not provide the ceiling of many of the elite 4-3 ends, but you can do worse for a bye week fill in.
Kurt Coleman, CAR S
I also mentioned Coleman in the Week 6 IDP Watch due to his low ownership. He has seen 99.8 percent of the total defensive snaps this year. He also continues to light up the box score with six total tackles, one sack, and two tackles for a loss this week. This illustrates the higher DB ceiling of Coleman. If your league mates are still sleeping on him, his pick-up window is drawing to a close. If Coleman has been chilling on your bench, I would seriously consider rolling him out.He is also looking like a strong long term play ranking in the top20 safeties according to Pro Football Focus.
Damarious Randall, GB CB
Randall has been on a tear the last two weeks, starting in place of the injured Sam Shields. Randall has an interception in both games and is averaging six solo tackles over his last three games. He is also averaging 1.25 passes defended per game this season. Pro Football Focus currently ranks him as the 19th best corner in the league. He is the real deal, and will be hard to take off the field even when Shields comes back. Randall is becoming a great asset in start corner back leagues or corner back premium leagues.
Michael Griffin, TEN S
Griffin started in place of the injured Jason McCourty this week. There is a rumor that McCourty is seeking a second opinion on his injury, which may indicate that he may be out an extended period of time. If that happens, Griffin should continue to get solid tackle numbers, like this week, while playing most of the defensive snaps.
Antwon Blake, PIT CB
Blake is the type of corner to target in leagues that are more tackle heavy for defensive backs. Pro football focus ranks him as the 108th best cornerback this year out of 110 qualifying corners. This abysmal coverage yields a ton of tackle opportunities. I would not count on long term production, but he should provide reasonable numbers if he continues to start. There is some information that he has been wearing cast on his hand this week, so be sure to check the injury report if you are looking to roll him out this week.
Keith Tandy, TB S
In week nine, Tandy filled in for the concussed Bradly McDougald. He made the best of it with seven solo tackles and eight total tackles. Tandy could be a nice safety fill in if McDougald misses week ten as he is expected. There is not much to see here for long term appeal.