Five IDPs I Can’t Quit

Jason King

We all as humans have our bad habits and addictions that we just can’t kick. I’m a four-cups-of-coffee-a-day guy, no matter what. Our fantasy habits are no different; we have these same vices for certain players.

On the IDP side, for example, I could not let go of my love for Gerald Hodges until he was released by the Saints, his fourth NFL team. He was my favorite IDP sleeper coming out of the 2013 NFL Draft, and you could not convince me that Hodges was not the second coming of his Penn State linebacker brethren, NaVorro Bowman.

So maybe it’s a player who I got wrong in my personal evaluation or a waiver wire add who produced for me for a short period of time, thereby winning my forever affection, it’s hard to stop wasting roster spots on certain players.

Here are five current IDPs that, in spite of the evidence working against them, I just can’t quit!

If you share my addiction for any of these IDPs, let’s help each other move on. The comments section shall be our IDP community support circle. Pull up a chair, tell us your name and your IDP addiction!

Taven Bryan, DT JAC

It seems unfathomable to give up on Bryan just as he enters his third season. As with any first-round pick (the Jaguars selected Bryan 29th overall in 2018), he’s going to continue to get opportunities to prove himself.

Bryan flashed at times during an uneven rookie season, which of course led many to believe he was primed for a breakout 2019. It didn’t happen. He only managed 33 total tackles (five for loss) and two sacks. He was a DT1 in weeks three and 17 (when most leagues are done) and dreadful outside of that.

Playing 3-technique, Bryan certainly has the athleticism but seemingly not the size to get the better of NFL left guards, and all too often gets swallowed up and only makes plays on missed assignments or in chase situations. It’s no wonder he has a hard time getting off blocks with those T-Rex-like 32 3/4-inch arms.

On the interior defensive line, Marcell Dareus and Akeem Spence are gone, but Rodney Gunter, Timmy Jernigan and third-round draft pick Davon Hamilton are coming on board to complement Abry Jones and Bryan. The additions are meant to shore up a run defense that surrendered 139.3 yards per game on the ground in 2019, so Bryan could actually see his snaps decrease from his 45.6 percent rate last season.

Everyone in this article has something that keeps me hanging on, of course, and with Bryan, it is this quote from Calais Campbell: “He’s the best rookie I have had in my career, which is a big statement. Some guys might get upset about that. He really has done everything that we have asked of him. He has done it with a smile on his face, and he is just a good guy to be around.”

That was two years ago, and I need to get over it, but I’ve always had a soft spot for a player with a great work ethic. In leagues that require a defensive tackle starter, he’s a cheap backup who still offers some hope as a playmaker if he can add strength and weight to complete without losing athleticism.

Rasheem Green, DE SEA

I’m trying to convince myself to kick Green to the curb in deep leagues that force me to make cuts before the season starts. It’s not that I don’t like the player. A highly recruited prep star, Green came out of Southern California after his junior year. Draftniks agreed that as a prospect he needed physical development and additional moves in his pass rush repertoire.

Opportunity exists in the post-Frank Clark era in Seattle, but for now Green is stuck in a rotation that includes veteran Bruce Irvin, underrated addition Benson Mayowa, 2019 first-round disappointment LJ Collier, and 2020 draft picks Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson.

Green is just a pass rush specialist, and is unlikely to ever be anything more, but even in that role, he can still be productive for fantasy. And while he led the team in sacks in 2019, he did it with a whopping total of four. He’s too young (23 years old) to totally lose sight of, and he’s not worthy of a roster spot right now, but how can you not watch him take down Kyler Murray on this play and not still be excited about Green’s upside?

 

Deatrich Wise, DE NE

Wise was supposed to be the guy who stepped up in the production department following the departure of Trey Flowers to Detroit during the 2019 off-season. A versatile wrecking ball at Arkansas, Wise put his 35 5/8” arms and 10 1/2” hands to good use in the SEC, stacking and shedding blockers in order to tackle incoming ball carriers, and getting under the pads of tackles to create push en route to the quarterback.

His first two seasons in New England were solid, and he emerged in 2018 as the Patriots’ second-best disruptor off the edge with 16 hits on the quarterback (according to Pro Football Reference) and 4.5 sacks. Foot and ankle injuries slowed his development entering 2019, and he was overtaken by John Simon and rookie Chase Winovich.

Normally there would be no reason to hang on to a player in a freefall, but I can’t get the college disruption out of my head, and beat writer roster projections from the off-season had Wise as a potential cut. A fresh start may be just what the doctor ordered.

Kyzir White, LB LAC

This one really should be an easy decision. Drue Tranquill showed a lot of promise during his rookie season and has a chance at a three-down role at weakside linebacker, and the Chargers committed to Oklahoma middle linebacker Kenneth Murray this off-season with the number 23 overall pick. Entering training camp, White looked to back up Tranquill, with Nick Vigil manning the strong side ‘backer spot.

Early training camp reports, however, have White in the starting SAM spot instead of Vigil, and manning the middle on the second-team defense as well. White, a third-year converted safety from West Virginia, played SAM after disappointing at MIKE early last season – despite productive fantasy numbers in the first couple of weeks.

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley famously employs a linebacker rotation and a quick hook, so White could find himself back in favor at any time in the season. And if he does, he’ll likely be productive. He’s hard to let go of in deeper leagues for that reason alone, even if he only has starting value for a few weeks.

Tony Jefferson, S FA

As of this writing, Jefferson doesn’t even have an NFL home, and I still can’t cut him in my deeper leagues! While he was productive his first three years in Arizona, Jefferson really broke out in his contract year (2016) with fantasy S1 numbers – 96 total tackles (13 for loss), five passes defended and two sacks.

The Oklahoma product was durable – Jefferson only missed one game during his first four seasons – and was the top free-agent safety on the market entering the 2017 off-season. I had such high hopes for him when he signed on to be Baltimore’s starting strong safety. I grabbed him everywhere I didn’t already have him.

It was a mistake. His first year as a Raven was wildly disappointing from a production standpoint, and he was no better than a backup fantasy safety. He was only producing at a DB3 level in 2018 before a week 12 ankle injury cost him a couple of games and hampered him for the rest of the season. A short-lived 2019 season saw him tear the ACL and MCL in his left knee in week five, and Baltimore cut him in February.

Still, there’s hope a team needing safety help will call, and he could produce if he’s used as a full-time box safety. Jefferson started running again in March, and he’s just 28 years old. I keep telling myself there’s a chance the high character veteran will slide into a good tackle situation once training camp injuries pile up.

Josh Jones, S JAC

Here’s a bonus sixth player, and it’s a lie because I have quit him despite my irrational allegiance to former N.C. State players. Jones is now backing up Ronnie Harrison in Jacksonville, but he’s worth keeping an eye on for the simple fact that Harrison can’t seem to stay healthy for a full season and already had to enter the concussion protocol during training camp this year.

I was sorely disappointed when the Packers selected Jones in 2017, one spot ahead of my Steelers. Pittsburgh was in need of a strong safety – Kevin Colbert and Co. reached for Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 draft – and to my chagrin, Pittsburgh ended up with JuJu Smith-Schuster (a wide receiver? Really?) instead at pick 62. I was also not happy with the selection of James Conner at the tail end of the third round, and these are two great examples of why I’m relegated to writing about fantasy football from my mom’s basement rather than working for an NFL team.

jason king