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.
The goal is to largely avoid stellar IDP players since many of those individuals are already heavily in the eyes of IDP owners. Instead, here are some key trends based on week eight performances:
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- Marcell Dareus, DT returned in week eight against the Patriots, played 61% of snaps and finished with four tackles and a sack. He’s still wrestling with a groin injury, but he proved he’s still a prime defensive tackle option.
- With Michael Bennett, DE/DT out with a knee injury, Frank Clark, DE played 81% of snaps amassing three tackles, three assists and a sack. He now has five and a half sacks on the year and a sack in four of six games. He is a top defensive end option while Bennett is out.
- With Thomas Davis, LB healthy again, Shaq Thompson only played six snaps. While many thought the recent Davis injury would pave the way for Thompson, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Thompson is still only a long-term play. Edited to add additional context: Thompson was injured in the early second quarter which accounts for the low snap count overall, but this comment references the first quarter snap allocation. Thompson still only played six snaps in the first quarter (and a few plays into the second quarter) or about 30-35% of snaps compared to Davis’s 100%.
- Demario Davis, LB only played 68% of snaps last week. He finished with two tackles and four assists. It was the first time all year he didn’t play more than 95% of snaps. It’s concerning, considering his struggles in coverage and the addition of Jamie Collins (see below).
- With Rashad Johnson, SS out, rookie Kevin Byard played 89% of team’s snaps finishing with four tackles and an assist in his first career start. He continues to get opportunities and the Johnson injury opens the door for potentially more. The potential is there. He’s getting more comfortable, so a production should come. He’s a viable long-term safety option.
- Danielle Hunter, DE is still only playing less than 50% of snaps. He’s a risky weekly option and should only be a matchup play until Brian Robison concedes snaps.
News to Follow
- In a surprise move, the Patriots traded Jamie Collins, LB to the Browns for a compensatory third round pick.
- Sheldon Rankins, DT is expected to return this week after beginning the year on injured reserve. As discussed last week, the impact to Nick Fairley, who’s played quite well, is unclear. It may take a week or two to get a true idea as to how Rankins will fit in.
- Jatavis Brown, LB is expected to miss a week or two with a knee injury and Denzel Perryman, LB is expected to miss at least one week with a hamstring injury. That leaves Korey Toomer as a very viable short-term play. Also keep an eye on rookie Josh Perry who should see meaningful snaps with both starters out. Kyle Emmanuel is expected to see time inside, but expect Toomer to see the lion’s share and Perry to get an opportunity first.
- Barry Church, SS is expected to miss four to six weeks. With the Cowboys missing their in-the-box safety, there are tackle opportunities for grabs. JJ Wilcox is likely to assume Church’s role. Wilbox is worth a pick up in deeper leagues because of the tackle potential.
- Dannell Ellerbe, LB returned in week eight and played 33% of snaps finishing with five tackles. He was very active, as usual, on a per snap basis. He didn’t cut into Craig Robertson’s snaps in week eight like some expected. Instead, it was Nathan Stupar who shared snaps at weakside linebacker. It’s something to keep an eye on since Ellerbe could be productive, if he can stay healthy.
The Jamie Collins, LB trade leaves as lot of uncertainty with his value. The knee jerk reaction is he’ll play inside linebacker, but comments from the coaching staff suggest they’re undecided. He could either player 3-4 outside linebacker or inside linebacker. If he plays outside exclusively, he’s value is in the trash. However, if he plays inside, it could be good news. The Browns are atrocious. Teams should be grinding the clock quite often, which should mean a high number of tackle opportunities. We’ll need to see how he’s used this week to determine the impact on Demario Davis and Christian Kirksey. Most are concerned about the impact to Collins considering he was considered a blue chip IDP linebacker. If I were to guess, it’s that he’ll split time inside and outside, which isn’t the ideal result.
On the flip in New England, Elandon Roberts is the biggest beneficiary. At the very least, he’ll play middle linebacker in base packages. Three down snaps are unlikely to be immediate, but the long-term potential is there. Roberts even received public support from both Dont’a Hightower and Bill Belichick this past week, so it’s clear the organization is comfortable with Roberts. I don’t see this impacting Hightower all that much despite the fact that he’s likely to see an increase in responsibility with the loss of Collins’ versatility.
- Adrian Clayborn, DE has six tackles and three sacks over the last two weeks. A phenomenal stretch, but don’t forget he only had a half of a sack and ten tackles through the first six weeks of the year. Clayborn greatly benefited from week Green Bay and San Diego offensive lines the past two weeks, so it remains to be seen whether he can sustain this level of play long-term. While he notched another sack against Tampa Bay, Tampa also struggles to keep their quarterback clean. Cautious optimism is needed, but Clayborn is showing signs of life and is worth stashing in deeper leagues. At worst, he’s proving to be a worthy matchup play.
- Daniel Sorensen, S played 71% of snaps and finished with seven tackles and a forced fumble. It was the second week he played close to the line of scrimmage in a linebacker role. As mentioned last week, he’s a sneaky safety option if he continues to see these type of snaps.
- After a slow start, Khalil Mack, DE has four sacks, 14 solo tackles and five assists over the last four weeks. He’s easily the top defensive end option through the end of 2016 and arguably the top defensive end over JJ Watt for dynasty purposes.
- As a rookie, he’s still improving on a weekly basis, but Karl Joseph, SS is already flashing signs of top five dynasty potential. He’s physicality is unmatched and he should continue to amass tackles. The same could be said of Keanu Neal.
- Bobby Wagner, LB has two straight weeks with double-digit solo tackles. The solid performances are a bit misleading, though. Two weeks ago was the overtime game against the Cardinals, which inflated his tackle opportunities. Last week was against a high volume Saints’ offense (approximately mid-60’s in tackle opportunities, which is well above average). He’s likely to come back down to earth and regress against the Bills to a level seen earlier in the year.
- Demarcus Lawrence, DE returned from suspension in week five and has yet to notch a sack. He played his highest snaps share last week (53%), but he only tallied a tackle and an assist. He’s battled back and shoulder injuries since returning, but he’s playing through them. Be patient, he went through a sack stretch last year where he accumulated seven sacks in eight weeks. Something similar is possible in 2016. It may be a good time to try and acquire Lawrence at a discount.
- After a solid start to the season, Devin Taylor, DE only has three tackles over the last two games. However, those two games were also against two of the better teams in sacks allowed: Houston (13th best) and Washington (second). He’ll face Minnesota this week and should bounce back with the potential to notch a sack.
Deeper Targets to Watch/Add
- Kavon Frazier, SS may see some run with Barry Church out. JJ Wilcox will get the first crack as his replacement, but Frazier should also see snaps. It’s possible he ceases the opportunity if Wilcox proves inadequate.
- Trey Flowers, DE only played 30% of snaps, but finished with four tackles, an assist and two sacks. He’s a worthy long-term stash with potential.
- Anthony Brown, CB will see increased time outside with Morris Claiborne out for the next four to six weeks. When provided snaps thus far, he’s produced, so Brown is worth a stash in deeper corner-required leagues.