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IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football: Target these Five Underrated IDPs

We pick out five IDP’s you should consider targeting before the season begins.

Dre Greenlaw

There is an assumption within the fantasy football community that good fantasy players must be good NFL players. Conversely, there’s a belief that players who don’t score well in fantasy must be poor NFL players.

It’s wrong, and it bothers me. It has implications for fantasy, especially in dynasty formats and those incorporating an IDP element.

USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

The NFL is an impatient business. Poor NFL players may keep a sizeable role for a season or two, maybe even the entirety of their current contract. In time, poor play will usually catch up with sub-par performers, and their roles will be reduced or removed altogether. I’ve had some success in selling these players at – or close to – peak value.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, good NFL players may perform poorly in fantasy simply because of a lack of opportunity. They might be in a committee; perhaps the scheme or role they’re currently in doesn’t allow them to produce big numbers. Sometimes those situations change, and I’ve had some success buying these players when their value is relatively low.

If you take the long-term view in dynasty or intend to play the new All-22 format, you will be more interested in good players, not simply those that accrue impressive counting stats because of favorable, changeable, short-term situations.

Most players don’t fall squarely into one category or another. It’s a sliding scale. But there are examples of players with a sizeable gulf between their actual and perceived ability. That’s where this article comes in.

THIS ARTICLE

This is the second of a two-part series. The first article was a list of five guys I believe are overrated. In this article, I’m giving you five players I think are underrated. For each of the five players mentioned in each article, I’ll provide justification, reasons, excuses, etc. I’ll probably ramble; It’s what I do. Bear with me.

Let’s get into it.

UNDERRATED FIVE

Dre Greenlaw, LB SFO

Greenlaw missed a massive chunk of the 2021 season. His absence is the only logical explanation for why he seems to have been forgotten. In DLF’s July mock draft, the 49ers linebacker was the LB41 with an ADP of 345. There is no justification why he should rank behind Kamu Grugier-Hill (LB33, ADP 278), Kenneth Murray (LB34, ADP 283), and Zach Cunningham (LB38, ADP 315).

Azeez Al-Shaair was a productive fill-in for Greenlaw last year. The UDFA earned 111 tackles in 13 games (829 snaps), ‘earning’ a tackle efficiency of 13.1% to rank 39th out of 127 linebackers who played a minimum of 100 snaps. However, Greenlaw was favored when healthy, appearing to reprise his role towards the end of the season despite not being fully fit.

The 49ers utilize two linebackers at a higher rate than most of the NFL, as demonstrated below. Al-Shaair is not the player Greenlaw is in coverage and is not even close to Warner’s level in that department, so it’s a good bet that Greenlaw will see the field at least as often as Al-Shaair did, health permitting:

Al-Shaair signed a one-year deal to remain with the team through the 2022 season. However, I believe it will be the 25-year-old Greenlaw who remains the top choice to retain what has historically been a productive role alongside Fred Warner in the heart of the 49ers’ defense.

David Onyemata, DT NOS

Onyemata missed the first six games while serving a suspension. Despite this, he easily earned the most snaps among the Saints’ interior defensive linemen, finishing the season only 64 snaps behind Shy Tuttle, who appeared in all 17 games.

The 29-year-old Onyemata was quietly effective upon his return. He ranked eighth among all defensive tackles in pressures over the last 11 games of the campaign, placing the Nigerian-born player ahead of big names such as Cameron Heyward, Jeffrey Simmons, and DeForest Buckner.

His performance was no fluke; in 2020, Onyemata ranked 13th in pressures and seventh in sacks among DTs league-wide despite missing time.

In DLF’s July mocks, Onyemata was the DT22, with an ADP of 383. He’s being drafted behind players such as Sebastian Joseph-Day, Derrick Brown, and D.J. Reader, all of whom have a far inferior pressure rate. He’s being taken only eight picks ahead of Jerry Tillery, who is a terrible DT option in IDP.

The outlook is bright for the 29-year-old. The team added Kentavius Street in free agency and Drake Jackson via the draft, but they are likely depth pieces. Neither will steal many snaps. Onyemata should have plenty of opportunities to succeed.

Shaq Green-Thompson, LB CAR

Thompson is another guy on the list who missed time last season, and like Greenlaw, his reputation appears to have taken a dent. In Thompson’s case, he missed three games, and then it took a few games before he assumed his full-time role.

The veteran linebacker is being taken as the LB 20, and his ADP is 200. That’s not as egregious as some other examples here, but consider that C.J. Mosley (LB15, ADP 173) and David Long (LB19, ADP 193) are both going earlier than the Panthers’ player. Thompson is the superior player to Mosley and is two years younger, and Long is not a lock to remain the Rams’ starter.

It’s possible that fantasy managers are being scared off a little by the situation involving Thompson’s contract; the Panthers have some decisions to make with his $24 million cap number in 2023. Neither that nor the presence of fourth-round rookie Brandon Jones scares me off.

The number of full-time linebackers in the NFL reduces each year; don’t pass up on getting a guy who is guaranteed a full-time role.

Preston Smith, EDGE GBP

Smith is 29 years old. That can be a little off-putting in dynasty formats. However, he’s the EDGE51 in DLF’s July mock drafts, and many of the guys taken ahead of him are the same age or older.

The Packers’ star started 2021 at a pedestrian pace. His performance over the first half of the season was similar to that of his sub-par 2020 campaign. Midway through the season, his 62-pressure, 15-sack 2019 season seemed a distant memory. Many of us lost confidence that he could bounce back, even in the absence of Za’Darius Smith, who was lost to an injury in week one.

Our worries were misplaced. Preston Smith was a different player from week ten onwards, registering 47 pressures and seven sacks in eight games. Maxx Crosby was the only edge rusher with more pressure over that period. Smith ended the season with a career-high 63 pressures. Smith’s 2021 PFF pass-rush grade was the best of his career.

Za’Darius Smith left in free agency to join the Packers’ division rivals, the Vikings, opening the door for Preston Smith to play plenty of snaps in 2022.

Given these facts, why do we believe 50 other edge rushers are more valuable? It beats me.

Brandon Jones, S DAL

I don’t take exception to Jones’ ranking as the S22. My problem is that there shouldn’t be such a massive gulf in ADP between Jones and a bunch of other safeties. More on that later.

Jones spent 43% of his snaps in a box role, ranking 10th in that category among all NFL safeties. His tackle efficiency of 10.81% ranked well above the league average for the position:

The 24-year-old split time with Eric Rowe behind Jevon Holland. Jones was clearly behind Rowe earlier in the year, playing only 90 snaps to Rowe’s 217. From week five onwards, Jones never played fewer than 63% snaps in a game, and more importantly, he matched or surpassed Rowe’s snaps each week. That trend gives me confidence that the Dolphins view Jones as the superior player.

Back to the matter of ADP. Jones’ ADP is 342. Minkah Fitzpatrick had an unsustainably high tackle rate for a deep safety and is being taken 11 rounds earlier. 11 rounds! Current holdout, Jessie Bates, who played just 16% of his snaps in the box, and who barely managed to surpass the league average in tackle efficiency at the safety position, is being taken four rounds earlier. Daxton Hill was drafted 31st overall and has made a fast start in camp, raising more question marks about Bates’ future.

The situation is inexplicable, beyond drafting based on name recognition. As fantasy managers, we can do better.

 

IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football: Target these Five Underrated IDPs
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antennaeric
1 month ago

Brandon jones is the safety for MIA, not DAL. I’m sure it’s just a typo. No biggie.

Seth Woodard
1 month ago

Carolina drafted Brandon Smith LB in the fourth, not Brandon Jones

Nic Wyse
1 month ago

David Long is on the Titans, not the Rams. Strike 3 lol

Nic Wyse
Reply to  Jason Abbey
1 month ago

Just wait until I tell you about the Lamar Jackson who plays CB! Lol no worries. Thanks again for the article

1 month ago

I love the photo that accompanies this article. That look of joy on Jimmie Ward’s face; quite the opposite for whoever that is with the Rams.

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