Editor’s note: Everyone here at DLF would like to congratulate Steve, who recently welcomed a new addition to the Wyremski family. Congratulations, Steve!
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.
Here are some players to keep an eye on based on recent performances:
Benardrick McKinney, ILB HOU
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Against the Bengals this past week, McKinney played 62% of the team’s snaps and finished with six tackles and three assists. Despite missing two games due to injury, he’s seeing enough playing time in various situations. The last six weeks will be an ideal evaluation period to assess whether he’s a likely candidate for an every down role in 2016. He should have plenty of tackle opportunities with JJ Watt commanding attention on one side and Whitney Mercilus / Jadeveon Clowney on the other. My question with McKinney was always about his ability to play every down, but he played adequately in certain passing situations this past week, so his usage the rest of the season is key.
Jonathan Anderson, ILB CHI
With Shea McClellin out in week nine, Anderson started alongside Christian Jones and was surprisingly productive with 11 tackles and an assist. With McClellin back in the lineup in week ten, there were questions about how Anderson’s playing time would be impacted. His snaps were scaled back from week nine, but he outsnapped Jones, playing approximately 60% of the team’s snaps compared to 50% for Jones. A positive sign for Anderson.
I expected Jones to breakout under the new defensive regime, but while he’s been solid, he hasn’t been stellar thus far. With McClellin performing at a perceived high level, Jones may be the odd man out here. Anderson is a great stash candidate.
Mario Edwards, DE OAK
Since Justin Tuck ended his season in mid-October with a torn pectoral, Edwards has started every game and maintained a high snap volume. Over the last four weeks, he’s averaging four tackles with his best game coming in week ten with eight tackles, three assists, a sack and four quarterback pressures. He’s utilizing his power and speed to excel both in defending the run and rushing the passer. Edwards is an ideal long-term option showing strong promise due to immediate unexpected opportunity.
DJ Hayden, CB OAK
Hayden left week ten with an injured ankle, but he’s put together stellar IDP games over the last few weeks. Now that he’s healthy and the Raiders are playing more competitive football, their defensive backs are seeing more tackle opportunities. In the three games prior to week ten, Hayden averaged eight tackles and an assist. The unfortunate aspect is he’s not playing terribly well, so it’s possible his starting spot with the Raiders is at risk. As long as he’s starting, he’s a perfect match up play for the remainder of the season with a number of juicy matchups to come. If he’s benched or can’t stay healthy, I’d look at David Amerson in deeper leagues as he’s played well in recent weeks.
Jonathan Casillas, LB NYG
Over the last two weeks, Casillas has played more than 80% of the team’s snaps. Over this time, he’s averaging six and a half tackles. With Jon Beason out for the season, it appears Casillas has been the biggest beneficiary. If this snap share continues at this level, Casillas could be a great option down the stretch. Many expected him to be a great dynasty option years ago, but he never panned out. Maybe 2015 is his breakout year.
Gregory returned from injury in week seven and his snap share is climbing steadily on a weekly basis. Since returning, he only has one tackle and one assist (week ten), however, it’s clear he’ll continue to see his fair share of snaps from the recent increase. On the flip side, the underperforming Lawrence, who muffed a prime opportunity early this season with Gregory injured and Greg Hardy suspended, has picked up his play as of late. In two of the last three games, he posted DE1 numbers in most IDP formats with a total of nine tackles, three assists and a sack over the three game period. There is clearly a log-jam for snaps in Dallas at defensive end, but the long-term IDP potential is there with each of these players. If his owner is frustrated with the inconsistency, I’d look to acquire Lawrence.
Jude Adjei-Barimah, CB TB
The undrafted rookie drew the start last week, as well as the week prior and played virtually every snap as the Buccaneers cleansed their defensive back depth chart. Former starters Johnthan Banks and Tim Jennings are playing a reserve role and on the street, respectively. Over the last two weeks, Adjei-Barimah has ten tackles and two assists. With the expectation he’ll continue to start, expect plenty of tackle opportunities for the young unproven corner. He should be tested frequently over the next four weeks, with the Buccaneers playing pass-heavy teams each week. He’s worth an add for short-term purposes.
Carlos Dunlap, DE CIN
The Texans did a good job of shutting out Dunlap on Monday night, but he’s in the midst of a breakout year. He’s not garnering a significant amount of IDP attention, but he’s already matched his career high sack number of eight and a half sacks. The 26 year-old remains a top IDP dynasty defensive end and should finish within the top five defensive ends on the year in his first double-digit sack season as a pro. There’s no reason to be concerned about his goose egg from week ten.
Whitney Mercilus, OLB HOU
In big play leagues, Mercilus is a must start right now. In the absence of Jadeveon Clowney, he’s all over the field racking up tackles and killing the quarterback. His value takes a hit when Clowney returns, though, which could be this weekend. Just don’t start him against the Jets who allow the fewest sacks thus far in 2015. Even once Clowney returns, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mercilus relinquish the starting spot in the near term.
Deeper Dynasty Watches:
Ibraheim Campbell, SS CLE
With Donte Whitner out with a concussion in week nine, Campbell started and produced before leaving with an injury. Campbell possesses promise as evidenced by his production in limited action in weeks eight and nine where he accumulated a total of seven tackles on approximately 90 total snaps. He remains a long-term stash option with starter potential.
Michael Mauti, ILB NO
In relief of Danell Ellerbe and David Hawthorne, Mauti has ten tackles and two assists on approximately 65% of the team’s snaps over the last two weeks. He’s worth a speculative add and spot start should these two be out for an extended period. Keep an eye on this situation.
Derek Wolfe, DE DEN
Wolfe put together a strong rookie year in 2012, but hasn’t returned to that level of play following some significant injuries and other issues. In his final year of his contract in 2015, Wolfe appears poised to prove his worth. At only 25, he could be a player who sees a nice bump in value with a new off-season location.
David Irving, DT DAL
The 6’8” rookie is making the most of his snaps in recent weeks averaging two tackles over the last three games. He was known as a raw player who needed time to develop, but the measurables and potential are there. With Tyrone Crawford the only notable player on a long-term contract on the inside of the Cowboys’ defensive line, Irving makes an intriguing option in much deeper leagues.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB SEA
This is another reminder to keep KPL on your radar late this season and into next year with Bruce Irvin a certainty to move on in free agency. KPL is a favorite of Pete Carroll’s and has performed when presented with the opportunity (i.e., week six).