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 I think 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’s some players who are worth grabbing.
If you missed part one, click here to check it out.
Los Angeles Chargers
Kyzir White, LB
White was a late-round selection and a college safety but landed in a great spot. He actually started the season and led the Chargers in LB snaps over the first three weeks of the season before getting hurt. He’s the favorite to again win the Telvin Smith role in Gus Bradley’s defense.
Los Angeles Rams
Dante Fowler Jr., OLB
Fowler has been fairly low key after his switch to the Rams. He’s managed two sacks in his five games as a Ram but also 17 pressures, which is a top ten edge rusher number. Wade Phillips is a fantastic pass rush coach and after an off-season in the system, Fowler could be very impressive in 2019.
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Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker, LBs
Kiko Alonso has recorded over 80 solo tackles and 100 combined tackles after 15 weeks. He’s in the top five of all LBs in both stats. But he’s been playing badly. He’s been a sure tackler and certainly has a knack for being around the ball, but he offers no pass rush at all and is very poor in coverage. In fact, the last time he was a good coverage backer was back in his 2013 rookie season. He was never the same after missing the 2014 season with a nasty injury.
He’s due over eight million dollars in 2019 but cutting him would save the Dolphins around five million. With McMillan and Baker looking promising and above all extremely cheap, it would be a surprise if they didn’t move on from Alonso.
Richardson is tenth amongst interior players in total pressure for this season so far. But just 25th in sacks. He’s not the same player as he was in his early years as a Jet but he’s definitely very solid and in a good place to perform. He takes over from Sheldon Rankins as the interior pass rusher to be bought at bargain prices. For those worried about his age, Richardson is still just 28. He won’t turn 29 until November 2019.
New England Patriots
JaWhaun Bentley, LB
Fifth-round rookie Bentley actually opened the season as the Patriot’s middle linebacker with Kyle Van Noy playing mostly on the edge. Van Noy is one of the more underrated players in the league so it’s absolutely possible he continues to play in the middle even with Bentley healthy again but given Bentley is unowned in many leagues, it’s a gamble worth taking.
New Orleans Saints
Marcus Davenport, DE
A reminder: the Saints gave up two first-round picks for Davenport. That happens very rarely for non-quarterbacks. He’s averaged 31 snaps per game as a rookie but we have absolute clarity on the fact the Saints’ coaching staff believe in him strongly. Even as a very raw player from a small school, Davenport has managed 22 total pressures from 209 pass rush attempts and flashed with four sacks. It seems all but certain he’ll have a lot more chances to shine in 2019.
New York Jets
Henry Anderson, DE
Before his three sacks in week 15, Anderson had been having a quiet but effective season. Since then he’s drawn renewed interest. When healthy, Anderson has shown he’s a consistently excellent run stopper who can also generate some pass rush from the inside of the line. He’s out of contract after 2018 and hopefully, he can land in a better spot than the Jets. If he ends up surrounded with a bit more talent, he could be a very good player.
New York Giants
B.J. Hill, DE
As a rookie, Hill has posted 31 solos and 14 assists through 15 games. Those are high DT2 numbers – not even including his five sacks. He’s not a flashy name and he’s not going to stand up against true edge-rushing monsters but he’s a good prospect in combined D-line leagues and in ones where you can get him changed to DT-eligible.
Arden Key, DE
The Raiders’ 2018 has been horrific. Key hasn’t been great (23 pressures and just one sack) but he’s the best of a bad bunch here. His similarity to Noah Spence is extremely worrying but he’s worth a flyer in very deep leagues.
Derek Barnett, DE
Barnett got off to a fairly middling start in 2018 with 17 pressures in his six games but he’s flashed some of that game-breaking talent he showed in a glittering career at Tennessee. With the rest of the Eagles’ edge rotation (Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Michael Bennett) aging fast, the Eagles are expecting Barnett to step up and show he was worth the first round pick invested in him.
Edmunds 47 solos and 21 assists from 849 defensive snaps have been disappointing, especially given he’s played plenty in the box. But it’s very likely he can improve significantly in 2019. The first thing we look for is opportunity and Edmunds has played full-time almost all season long. Given the draft capital invested, this should continue for another year at least. After all, this is a Steelers team that continues to rely on Sean Davis.
NOT Shaquem Griffin, LB
The off-season will likely be filled with people convinced that Griffin needed a year to learn his new position and will be ready to explode now. Let that be someone else’s problem. He’s not been close to viable as a defensive player. And his physique and playing style really doesn’t translate well as a pro. Griffin is an awesome story and a great role model but he’s a special teamer in NFL terms.
San Francisco 49ers
32 solos and ten assists from 437 defensive snaps are very disappointing from a player who had a legitimate shot at an elite IDP season. He’s just been plagued by injuries. In positive terms, his value is mostly shot, and he’ll likely be a free agent in many leagues. Snap him up and hope he can stay healthy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
M.J. Stewart, CB
Stewart has managed 28 solos from just 297 defensive snaps as a rookie. His injury didn’t help but he still has all the attributes of a high-tackling corner if he can stay fit. He was starting as early as week two and Brent Grimes should be gone by 2019. Ryan Smith and Javen Elliot are just journeymen warm bodies and should also pose little threat to Stewart’s playing time.
Rashaan Evans, LB
As a first-round NFL draft pick, Evans had a lot of hype. He’s managed just 31 solo tackles so far after playing just 437 snaps. He will have disappointed many owners. So why should you treat him any differently? Because you know better times are coming.
Wesley Woodyard is still the best LB on this team even at age 32. But he can be cut with no dead cap at all. The Titans will likely keep him around but expect the balance of playing time to change significantly.
Evans is still on the journey of transitioning from a full-time edge rusher early in his time at Alabama to a full-time NFL player. After a tough start, he’s beginning to play really well. Get him now while he’s cheap.
Following on from Rashaan Evans comes his partner in crime at Alabama. Hamilton was in many ways a better prospect than Evans. Certainly, a more orthodox one if not the same athlete. But his stock was destroyed by his serious injuries. His career was in the balance but late in the season, he’s stepped up as a starter in Washington. With Zach Brown unlikely to be back Hamilton has a real shot to start in 2019.
To reiterate – not all of these players are going to be successes. Some will be downright failures. But they all have the chance to increase their value in the next 12 months.
Thanks for reading.
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