The dynasty off-season continues to roll on. While everyone is focused on the upcoming NFL Draft, I will instead help to restructure your roster prior to rookie drafts.
Here, I take a look at some defensive ends or edge IDPs who deserve your attention and are cheap trade targets.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Solomon Thomas, DL SF
We can all agree that Thomas hasn’t lived up to expectations yet after being drafted third overall in 2017. The “bust” label is creeping up on him and he needs to turn it around in 2019. There are a couple of factors in play: he is out of position a lot, and would be better off playing inside with DeForest Buckner.
Thomas has four sacks in his first two seasons – an underwhelming number. He played 644 snaps in 2018 and of them, he played just 118 at DT. One reason why he’s better off inside is that he’s so quick off the ball and setting the edge isn’t really his strength. In 2018, he generated a total of 28 quarterback pressures – another area he has to improve heading into next season.
After all that, I’m optimistic he turns it around in 2019 and finally makes an appearance on IDP radars. I’m not saying he’s going to jump straight to a weekly starter but becoming just a spot starter on any given week is a step forward for Thomas owners. He’s probably sitting on your waivers right now, and is worth a free add. If San Francisco move him to DT full-time, he’s going to get the positional tag switch and could get a small bump in value, something you can profit on.
Markus Golden, DE UFA
Golden is an intriguing FA to keep an eye on this off-season. He had a breakout year in 2016 by recording 12.5 sacks and 51 tackles – his arrow was pointing up. In 2017, his season was cut short as he suffered a knee injury that shelved him until the 2018 regular season. Golden posted 30 tackles, 26 QB pressures and 2.5 sacks in his return in 2018 and it was promising that he played and started in 11 games.
He’s one of the edge rushers flying under the radar as we head into free agency, and he should find a new home early on if Cardinals don’t bring him back. For IDP purposes, it would be great to keep the DE tag but he’s shown he can perform with the LB tag as well (see his 2016 season). Prior to his injury, he averaged about 55 QB pressures in his first two seasons. The sacks showed up in 2016 and as he continues to put pressure on the QB, he is going to reward you with more.
I have been moving to acquire Golden, whether it’s a throw-in in a trade or through waivers. Since there is no edge position in fantasy football, so I view him as a weekly DE2 starter or a wildcard LB3/4 in big-play leagues where OLBs score well. Golden will hit double-digit sacks again and with Julius Peppers out in Carolina, they are a potential suitor. I’d like to see Golden end up there – that way he can keep the DE tag.
Deatrich Wise, DE NE
Wise had an impressive rookie campaign in 2017 with eight sacks, and although he had an up-and-down sophomore season, the arrow is still pointing up for this rising pass rusher. It’s no secret that Trey Flowers may not return as he will be a hot target in free agency and Patriots don’t cough up that type of money. If Flowers is indeed out of the picture, Wise becomes the Patriots’ best pass rusher.
Many of New England’s defensive linemen bring versatility to the table – Wise included. Of the 457 snaps he played in 2018, 96 of those came at DT. He started in six games – including the Super Bowl – and provided 30 QB pressures (72 in his first two seasons combined) to go along with five sacks (13 in career so far).
I would put Wise near the top of the buy-low targets this off-season. His role could expand next season and he could be well on his way to a breakout campaign where he hits double-digit sacks. Wise has the potential to be a top-20 DE in IDP and the time to get him is now.
Stephen Weatherly, DE MIN
This 2016 seventh-round pick is turning into another hidden gem for the Vikings as he flashed his potential in 2018 while filling in for Everson Griffen. Weatherly saw just 92 snaps in his first two seasons as he continued to develop to become a better technician using his length and athleticism.
In 2018, he was just scratching the surface. He started from weeks three-eight filling in for Griffen. In those games, he generated 15 QB pressures (27 total on the season) along with two sacks and 16 tackles (30 on the season). He’s shown he can take on a bigger role and if the Vikings decided to part ways with Griffen this off-season, look out.
In his starts, Weatherly was the DE22 while putting up roughly 13 points per game. That looks pretty good to me for a player coming out of nowhere and flashing potential. With his continued development, I will be looking to acquire Weatherly all off-season because the breakout is in our sights.