IDP Report Card: Week Ten

Mo Brewington

Many owners struggle to differentiate between IDP prospects once the well known targets are off the board. They get caught in the trap of checking the waiver wire for the past week’s top scorers and wind up adding a player whose performance in the previous game was an outlier, not a sign of sustainable future success. The result of this “dart-throwing” approach is often disappointment with the new player’s performance and even worse, losing games for our fantasy teams.

DLF’s IDP Report Card will aid owners who wish to see beyond the box score and focus on trends rather than events. Understanding when to avoid a pickup because the player’s perceived value is based more on circumstance than skill will help you improve your scoring efficiency and stack up wins. So, with a special thanks to Dan Meylor, proprietor of DLF’s Rookie Report Card, here is the IDP version.

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Player Evaluation #1

Trey Flowers, DE NE

Last Sunday night, Bill Belichick sat defensive end Jabaal Sheard on the bench and gave Trey Flowers his first NFL start. Sheard had started the previous eight games, producing just 3.5 sacks and 15 tackles. He jumped out of the gates with two solid games in weeks one and three, then began a gradual slide, finally bottoming out around week six, with two assisted tackles and a half sack. Since then, Sheard’s snap count has been inconsistent, and his output has been non-existent. In weeks seven through ten, (which includes a week nine bye,) Sheard posted just two tackles in 108 snaps. He managed to get on the field for 16 plays against the Seahawks, but was manhandled. Eleven of those snaps came on Seattle’s first two touchdown drives. Sheard played just five snaps in the second half.

In week 11, the Patriots will hop a flight to San Francisco to take on the Niners, but Coach Belichick didn’t buy Jabal a ticket. He’ll stay in Foxboro and watch the game on the RedZone, like you and I. For a veteran like Sheard, to get sat as the result of a coach’s decision spells trouble. At this point, IDP owners of Sheard can release him and use the roster spot to find an up-and-comer. It’s possible the embarrassment of being left off the team flight, and replaced in the line-up ignites a fire under Sheard, but if you need production now to lock-up a playoff spot, you may not have the time to wait and find out.

Trey Flowers has picked up the slack for the Pats. In week eight, he played 21 snaps off the bench, stacking up four tackles, one assist, two tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks. Making nine impact plays in 21 snaps impressed his coaches enough to give him the starting job in week ten. Flowers didn’t disappoint, posting three tackles, two TFLs, and another pair of sacks. He was on the field for 61 of the Patriots 70 defensive plays.

In his second season out of Arkansas, Flowers is finally making good on the impressive training camp he posted as a rookie, in 2015. That campaign was wiped out after knee and shoulder injuries put him on IR. He played just four regular season snaps last year. This season, there was some uncertainty about his role with the team, but he fought his way into a starting gig, and may not relinquish it. Belichick will exile a player quicker than any coach in history. We hear Tom Brady talk about the possibility of losing his job all the time, and we write it off as nonsense. Little did we know, Bill walks around that locker room singing “Irreplaceable” in his best Beyonce voice every Tuesday morning. If the coach has convinced “TB12” that he’s only a handful of bad plays from getting “Bledsoe’d”, perhaps Sheard should have heeded the warning.

Flowers’ remaining schedule is ripe with games against subpar QBs. Over the final seven weeks, he’ll face the 49ers, Jets, Rams, Ravens, Broncos, Jets, and Dolphins. It should surprise no one if this kid winds up with double digit sacks when it’s all said and done.

Player Evaluation #1

Trey Flowers                                                          Student Grade (Instructor’s Notes)


Player Evaluation #2

Tony Lippett, CB MIA

With the 156th pick in the 2015 draft, the Dolphins selected Tony Lippett, a wide receiver out of Michigan State. Lippett started five games at cornerback in 2011, and saw spot duty at the position throughout his collegiate career. Once in Miami, it was decided early on that Lippett would be playing cornerback fulltime. He was a special teamer until the end of 2015, when he finally got on the field in the secondary. Entering 2016, he would battle newcomers, Byron Maxwell, and rookie Xavien Howard for time at corner.

Lippett remained in his special teams role until week four, when he was inserted into the starting line-up for the struggling Maxwell. He has started all six games since. Lippett’s special teams duties have been pared back as he’s played nearly every snap for the ‘Phins’ defense since week four. Lippett has two noteworthy IDP performances to date, a eight tackle day against the Titans in week five, and last week’s showing against Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

Lippett intercepted Rivers twice and made seven tackles on the afternoon. His skills as a former wide receiver make him an above average threat in defense of the pass. As he gains experience, he could become a vital member of the Miami secondary, especially in light of the disappointing effort put forth by Maxwell this season.

The seven games left on the Dolphins’ schedule will see Lippett face some shaky quarterbacks, and possibly make a few more INTs, starting with week 11, and the NFL debut of the Rams’ Jared Goff. The ‘Phins will then face the 49ers, Ravens, Cardinals, Jets, and Bills between weeks 12 and 16. It’s easy to see how he could wind up padding those stats by the time this season comes to a close.

Typically, the best place to find defensive back help in IDP is at the safety position, where players are more likely to spend time in the box defending the run and have the opportunity to play while facing the quarterback, as opposed to cornerbacks, who typically have their backs to the action. In league’s that require owners to start an actual cornerback, however, finding a player who consistently puts forth worthwhile numbers can be a challenge. Tony Lippett’s intriguing skill set makes him a good candidate for your watch list, with a strong possibility of future IDP success.

Player Evaluation #2

Tony Lippett                                                              Student Grade (Instructor’s Notes)



mo brewington
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