IDP Improvements: Moves to Make Before Week 12

Jason Abbey

I believe defensive backs should be streamed in IDP. The position is volatile and deep, and their replacement value is relatively insignificant. With that said, I promised to emphasize the position, and to that end, I’ve included four moves you should consider making at the safety position.

Jordan Battle, S CIN – ADD

Nick Scott, S CIN – DROP

Scott played poorly for the Los Angeles Rams in 2022 and has struggled for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2023. The 28-year-old has looked lost in pass coverage and has missed almost 15% of his tackle opportunities this year.

The Bengals were left short-handed at safety following the departure of Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell. Dax Hill, a 2022 first-round pick, started the year strongly, quickly locking down the deep safety role. Despite his sub-par performances, Scott continued to fend off competition from Battle.

However, the snap share between Battle and Scott was reversed in week 11. The third-round rookie played a season-high 86% of the available defensive snaps, while Scott languished behind with only 17%.

The results were promising for Battle, as he finished with ten solo tackles and two QB hurries, easily surpassing what Scott achieved in the previous ten games.

Geno Stone, S BAL – TRADE AWAY

Stone has produced a meager tackle rate in 2023, failing to surpass four stops in a single game since week three. However, he has retained value as a fantasy starter because of his interception rate, picking off the opposition quarterback in six of his last ten games.

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Geno Stone’s game log courtesy of the DLF player stats page.

It was always risky to start Stone on the basis that his interception rate would continue, and the return of Marcus Williams has exacerbated that concern. Williams missed six games due to injury but stepped back into a full-time role alongside incumbent starter Kyle Hamilton in week ten.

Unfortunately, Mike Macdonald’s scheme has no room for three full-time safeties, and Stone’s snap share has suffered. The youngster’s snap has dropped to 66% in the last two games.

Ji’Ayir Brown, S SF – ADD

The San Francisco 49ers were enamored with Brown in the 2023 draft, sending three picks to move up to 87th overall to select the Penn State product. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks made no secret of his delight in acquiring Brown, saying, “Everyone in the building wanted that guy.”

However, Brown had to wait his turn, playing only 30 snaps in the first ten games as Talanoa Hufanga and veteran Tashaun Gipson Sr. dominated snap share among the 49ers’ safety group.

Unfortunately, Hufanga suffered a season-ending ACL tear in week ten. In his absence, Brown was called upon and seized his opportunity, intercepting Baker Mayfield to help the 49ers to a 27-14 win last weekend.

Brown should retain a sizeable role this year, and with Gipson set to become an undrafted free agent in 2024, it would be no surprise if the rookie cemented a starting spot next season.

Yaya Diaby, EDGE TB – ADD

The Buccaneers need more production from their edge rushers. Shaquil Barrett has had his moments, but he looks far from the dominant pass rusher from years gone by. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka has been a bust, failing to demonstrate the progression many expected from the former first-round pick.

Enter Diaby. The Bucs selected the 24-year-old in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and he was immediately thrust into a rotation behind Barrett and Tryon-Shoyinka.

Diaby failed to make an early impact. However, his last two games have been his most disruptive, providing optimism that he could develop into a viable fantasy contributor.

It’s far too early to make any definitive assessment of Diaby. Still, his opportunity could increase given the lack of production from those currently playing ahead of him.

The young edge rusher debuted as the 32nd-ranked rookie in the DLF Dynasty Rookie IDP Rankings, and he will rise further if he continues to perform well.

SirVocea Dennis, LB TB – ADD

I suggested adding Dennis back in week ten. If you waited, you will be fighting other fantasy managers to acquire him from waivers this week, as his snap share is about to rise steeply following the injury to Lavonte David.

If David misses significant time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may bring in another linebacker to compete. However, as I discussed a few weeks ago, neither Lavonte David nor Devin White are under contract beyond this year, which may mean we see plenty more of Dennis in 2024 and beyond.

The extent to which Dennis is involved in 2024 may be contingent on how he performs in the next few months.

Conclusion

I will reiterate that I advocate trading high-performing defensive backs for players at other positions because safeties and cornerbacks are the least likely positions to repeat as top fantasy options from one year to the next.

Carefully evaluate your scoring system and determine the replacement value of replacing your defensive back(s) with one that is freely available on waivers. You might be surprised at the outcome, especially when you can trade said player with another at a premium position.

jason abbey