Every year there’s a lot of movement in IDP. Players come from nowhere to post great seasons while stars are massive disappointments. Defense is reactive by nature, so volatility is much higher than for offense. On offense, a given coaching staff might easily just keep focusing on the same player from season to season but defensive players are subject to the whims of 16 different oppositions.
Along with that volatility come big changes in player value. It’s human nature that we want to think the best. Players who were good this year will probably be good again next year, right? This article is here to disabuse you of that notion.
IDPs who had excellent years in 2018 often did so on the back of factors unlikely to happen again; they avoided injury, another key player missed time, they converted a high percentage of opportunities. The list is long, but the point is that the players at the top were the ones who benefitted most from the vagaries of chance. Compounding this issue is that we’re all desperate for the guy who just did really well to keep doing it. It would benefit us most if the player stayed at the level, so we convince ourselves it’ll happen.
Let’s look at which treasured assets are likely to fall back for 2019.
DeForest Buckner, SF
Buckner is clearly a really good player, but he managed 12 sacks in 2018. That’s not the sort of thing that happens very often. More specifically, he had a very high sack:pressure ratio. I.e. for all he was causing havoc as a pass rusher (and he was), he got home on a very high percentage of those total pressure plays. This is not a very sticky stat across years so expect a drop in sacks for 2019.