I believe that to properly analyze the 2017 IDPs you need to have an idea of how they’ll ALL perform so you can benchmark and compare them effectively. So I built a model using past performance, efficiency, scheme information and coaching tendencies to predict what will happen in 2017. I’ve applied that to my best estimates for how teams will use players this year which gives a projection and ranking for all IDPs. You can read more about what I did and how here.
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Buffalo is generally a good bet as a place to find solid IDPs because of the stat crew. In 2016, the Bills ranked fourth in tackles awarded per opportunity. They’re generally just generous in handing them out, so it really helps over the course of eight home games.
On top of that, the Bills were dead last in 2016 for passing attempts against them. They were a rush-heavy team so the number of plays per game was low and given they were often behind in games their opponents were running the ball to control the clock. None of that is good for generating opportunities. Now that Rex Ryan is gone, I view the Bills as a prime candidate for a bounce back season in terms of providing useful IDPs.
Gerald Hodges, LB
It’s a mystery to me why it took so long for him to sign. Hodges played slightly under 600 snaps in San Francisco last year, but was extremely efficient. He basically got a tackle every seven snaps, which put him above Zach Orr, Christian Kirksey and Paul Posluszny. With the beneficial stat crew in Buffalo I believe he can be a top ten linebacker this season.
Key stats: 1,053 snaps, 81 solo tackles, 47 assists, three sacks, five passes defended, two INTs.
Marcell Dareus, DT
Dareus was only fit enough to play 406 snaps in 2016 but he actually averaged around 51 per week in the games he was active for. He was also pretty efficient for those snaps and finished fourth of all tackles in total tackles per snap. He’s still only 27 and if things break nicely for him he will have a big year. In my model he’s the #14 tackle.
Key stats: 728 snaps, 26 solo tackles, 12 assists, seven sacks, three passes defended.
Jerry Hughes, DE
A move back to a 4-3 base should really help Jerry Hughes, and I’ve got him as the more productive end for Buffalo given he managed double digit sacks the last two seasons he played in a similar scheme (although Shaq Lawson could well take that mantle). Playing underneath Sean McDermott (who will have a strong input into Buffalo’s defensive scheme) will also help, as the coach has a solid history of maximising efficiency from his ends. I’m confident enough to predict that Hughes will finish as a top ten end in 2017.
Key stats: 786 snaps, 36 solo tackles, 22 assists, eight sacks, four passes defended.
Reggie Ragland, LB
After being drafted as the top linebacker off the board in 2016 rookie drafts, Reggie broke dynasty players’ hearts when he tore his ACL in August and missed his rookie season. Since then the Bills have changed head coaches teams, fired the GM, switched scheme and made major personnel changes. It’s safe to say Ragland is a bit of a wildcard. With Gerald Hodges on board, how they fit together will be really interesting. For now I have Ragland as my #32 linebacker.
Key stats: 764 snaps, 63 solo tackles, 33 assists, two sacks, seven passes defended, two INTs.
Micah Hyde, S
Hyde arrived in Buffalo this spring from Green Bay. When he originally arrived there was some uncertainty about his role but McDermott has since clarified by saying “he’s going to start at the safety position, and then we’ll get flexible once he understands the system”. My model sees him projected to be the 23rd-best safety in 2017.
Key stats: 841 snaps, 62 solo tackles, 23 assists, five passes defended, two INTs.
Shaq Lawson, DE
Lawson only managed 237 snaps as a rookie due to injury, and quite frankly did not impress when he was on the field. But as with Jerry Hughes I’m confident Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier can unlock his potential and given the lack of depth at the position he is a potential breakout. I’m currently predicting him to be the #43 end, but there is definitely a strong opportunity for him to beat that ranking if things click.
Key stats: 694 snaps, 20 solo tackles, 14 assists, six sacks, two passes defended.
Tanner Vallejo, LB
A favourite of IDP mastermind Eric Coleman, I had to mention Vallejo. He was only drafted in the sixth round and wasn’t even the first linebacker the Bills chose but there was some buzz about him in IDP circles. However the Hodges signing probably means he’s not worth owning.
Key stats: 321 snaps, 24 solo tackles, 15 assists, one sack, one pass defended.
Ronald Darby and Tre’Davious White, CB
Darby was excellent in IDP terms as a rookie in 2015 then disappointed people last year. This is fairly normal with cornerbacks as their peak years in terms of NFL ability tend to be seasons two-four. I have him ranked as the #45 corner.
White will get some hype as a rookie, but I’m not confident he’ll get the volume to score brilliantly as I think there will be a lot more rotation of corners than under Rex Ryan.
Darby key stats: 784 snaps, 42 solo tackles, 20 assists, one sack, eight passes defended, one INT.
White key stats: 696 snaps, 47 solo tackles, 14 assists, six passes defended, three INTs.
The Bills are set up to be an interesting team. The offense should be bad enough to give the defense a lot of time on the field, and the stat crew is certainly an advantage too. Lack of elite talent is a fairly big issue but a few players could be really useful if things land their way. More importantly I believe a few of those are currently underrated by the IDP community.
Those are my predictions as of right now. Obviously things will change as we get a better idea of who will play and how going towards the season. If you disagree with any assertions here feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter (@TomDegenerate) and I’ll be happy to discuss.
Thanks for reading.
Did you just pick names in a hat and write about them in the order of your pulls?
A little curious as to why you think that?
Who are you thinking is the best IDP target in Buffalo?
Hi. Sorry my projections don’t meet your approval. If you tell me what exactly you disagree with I’d be happy to explain how I’ve come to those conclusions.
Any view on Kyle Williams? He had a great season last year but at 33 and with Dareus coming through he’s not even mentioned here!
I just think he’s too old to be really useful frankly. I expect his 700 snaps to fade down to 500 or so. He’s an old, run-stopper. He’s just pretty unlikely to be a good asset. You can do better.