With the end of the season in sight, it’s time to think about stashing players for the future. I thought I’d throw together a list of players who have a good chance to increase in value. Some of these are fairly high profile, valuable and owned in most leagues but I’m still expecting an increase in value.
Predicting IDP breakouts is tough because so much of it is due to opportunity and we can’t start to predict free agency or the draft yet. But here are some players who are worth grabbing.
Haason Reddick, LB
He’s been inefficient this year but has definitely shown some promise. He was always a project given he played on the edge in college. Reddick has been average in 2018 but that was still light years ahead of his rookie season. If he has anything like the same progression in the off-season, he’ll be a good player.
Foyesade Oluokon, LB
He’s played more and more this season with Deion Jones out. He’s definitely played like a rookie but also clearly showed more than Duke Riley. He should be the third linebacker at least in 2019 and could challenge De’Vondre Campbell to start next to Jones.
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DeShon Elliot, S
Eric Weddle is due $8.5m in 2018. He’s 34. Tony Jefferson is due over $12m in 2019. It seems unlikely the Ravens will pay $20m plus for them as a pair. Eliott was only a sixth-round draft pick, but he’s a talented player and should be at least battling Chuck Clark for a starting role in 2019.
Tim Williams, OLB
Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith are both out of contract after 2018. Matt Judon has one more season left on his deal. Suggs may well retire given his advanced age. Either way, the Ravens will likely need one of their younger edge rushers to step up and fill a void. Williams was playing pretty well (he is the highest rated edge defender on the team as per PFF) in limited time before his injury and should be given the first chance.
Tremaine Edmunds, LB
He’s posted 61 solos in his 12 games so far, and on pace for 84 – which is LB2 production. He’s struggled at times (allowed 60 catches and has 17 missed tackles) but we need to remember he’s only 20 and on a car crash of a team. Expect a huge improvement for his sophomore season.
Gaulden was drafted in the third round but has only played 102 defensive snaps. He’s clearly not ready. But having said that, Mike Adams and Eric Reid don’t inspire a lot of confidence as long-term solutions. Gaulden should challenge for a job next season.
Roquan Smith, LB
Smith has been excellent after a somewhat slow start. He’s posted very good LB2 numbers and could easily finish as a top 12 option by the end of the season. The good news is that he should get even better in 2019. Although he’s posted good numbers, he has been raw as a player with plenty of room to grow. He could easily ascend to being a top ten LB in 2019. Smith is not cheap at all right now but in a year’s time we’ll be looking back and thinking he could have been a bargain anyway.
Carl Lawson, DE
Before hitting IR, Lawson managed 25 pressures on just 184 pass rush snaps. To put that into context Emmanuel Ogbah has 26 pressures in 653 pass rush snaps. Lawson also managed just one sack from those 25 pressures. Ronald Blair of the 49ers has managed eight sacks from his 24 pressures. Lawson was having a really good start to the year and should come back just as good. He’s a red-hot young talent who will be under the radar.
Genard Avery, OLB
Avery has managed 39 pressures as a rookie. Chandler Jones has managed 39 this year. Avery has rushed the passer 304 times, while Jones has 441 attempts. No one is talking about Avery because Myles Garrett is such a big name but Avery has really helped the defense come together as his emergence has let Jamie Collins play inside. Get him while he’s cheap.
Xavier Woods, S
Woods has very pedestrian tackle numbers because he’s been playing free safety. Jeff Heath (unfathomably) has been the safety more tasked with being in the box. It’s very possible this unit sees some change given Heath is atrocious. He’s literally one of the worst tacklers in the league.
Josey Jewell, LB
I had to put someone here but don’t get too excited! Jewell could easily take Todd Davis’ job next year. He’s been bad as a rookie (especially in coverage) and his lack of athleticism is a worry but Davis is hardly Myles Jack and he’s been productive.
Tracy Walker, S
Walker has played sparingly but very well. He’s been efficient and mostly mistake-free. The Lions have struggled defensively at times given the complexity of the new scheme but there’s huge upside in the safeties. If Walker can step up, he has real potential.
Green Bay Packers
Oren Burks, LB
Burks has done very little indeed this year but that’s not surprising. He had a steep learning curve and given his hybrid nature finding a role was always going to be hard after being injured in camp. None of his talent has gone away though and with the Packers’ coaching search underway, he could be in a whole new job next year.
Nope. There’s nobody here I’m afraid. Everyone with obvious room to grow is already established. J.J. Watt is unbuyable. Jadeveon Clowney is a bigger name than his (admittedly good) play deserves. And for some reason, Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney are IDP favorites. Even rookie Justin Reid is a bit overrated given he’s a natural deep safety in a two-deep scheme.
Kemoko Turay, DE
Turay has 37 total pressures so far. One ahead of perennial sack-artists Mario Addison and Carlos Dunlap. He’s been the most efficient pass rusher in the top 30 edge players – with the possible exception of Cam Wake. Turay is a bit of a limited player – he’s really just an edge rusher. He’s rarely asked to play the run and when he is he’s not very good at it. But he’s got natural bend and is going to be a good player in the NFL.
Yannick Ngakoue, DE
This is a fantastic buy window. The Jaguars were always going to lose efficiency compared to their spectacular 2017 and Ngakoue is a great example. He’s 14th among all edge rushers with 51 pressures (just ahead of Khalil Mack, Frank Clark and Bradley Chubb, but has just seven sacks. Given he’s a one-dimensional player who’s never going to record many tackles, this has led many to believe he’s having a bad season. Take advantage of this where you can.
Kansas City Chiefs
Breeland Speaks, OLB
Justin Houston has been a great Chief but it’s unlikely he returns in 2019. He’s been good in 2018 but a long way from his top-end play and paying a 30-year-old edge rusher $21m just doesn’t make sense. Speaks has been promising as a rookie and offers a truly unique physical challenge to opposing linemen.
To be continued…
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