This is the time of year where IDP value is hard to gauge due to end of season performances, free agency, and the draft muddling things. I was recently coaxed into a deep IDP start up, which made me sit down and reevaluate many IDP assets. One of my strategies for this draft was to invest as little as possible into safety while still being competitive in year one. I took this strategy because of the level of safety talent in the upcoming draft and the propensity for some new starters to fall out of free agency. Below I’ll cover some potential risers, under valued players, sleepers, and deep sleepers based on this recent draft. It should be noted that this draft was comprised of mostly IDP sharks and IDP analysts, so you may able to get better values in leagues with less experience.
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Adrian Amos, S CHI DB26
I get it, the Chicago press and fans don’t love Amos, but the truth is that he played the best of any safety in Chicago this season. I would not invest more than this DB26 price, due to the quagmire with Deon Bush, Harold Jones-Quartey, and DeAndre Houston-Carson. On the other hand, Amos was the best hitter of this group and bringing in a true free safety may allow Amos to focus on playing strong safety. There is risk with this pick, but there is a chance Amos could be top 12 safety next year.
Shawn Williams, S CIN DB28
What if I told you that you could have a 25 year old starting strong safety with job stability outside the first 24 DBs? That is exactly what we have with Shawn Williams. His job stability comes from the fact he played very well last year and there is little risk of him being kicked over to free safety due to solid center-fielder George Iloka. I expect Williams to have an ADP well above DB20 by summer.
Kevin Byard, S TEN DB29
Byard had a very nice rookie season, logging 60 total tackles and working up to a full compliment of snaps by week eight. He has a starting safety job on lock with Rashad Johnson and Daimon Stafford most likely leaving in free agency. The bad news is that he is listed as a free safety instead of a strong safety. On the other hand Dick Labeau is at the defensive helm in 2017 and tends to run cover 2 shells on top of his patented 3-4 fire zone blitzes This means there shouldn’t be a huge discrepancy between the tackle opportunities of the free and strong roles. Byard does not have a crazy high ceiling, but youthful 80 tackle floors are not coming much cheaper currently.
Micah Hyde, S GBP DB42
All Hyde did this year was his best Morgan Burnett impression and blew up the box score every time Burnett was not on the field. Hyde held down big nickel/dime slot corner position when not filling in for Burnett. Hyde is free agent this year and would be a safety upgrade for a lot of teams. I love this dice roll at the DB42 price point.
Da’Norris Searcy, S TEN DB47
See my comments on Kevin Byard above for the rundown on Tennessee. Many in the IDP community expected more from Searcy this last year. Searcy battled with injuries which limited his snap count. I have been Searcy truther ever since Eric Breeze convinced me a few years ago in a dynasty duel article. Dick LaBeau will also run cover 1 shells if he has a pro bowl center fielder. If Byard can provide that roll, Searcy could see more time in the box. Searcy may not have the youth Byard has, but he does have a higher production ceiling this coming season.
Isa Abdul-Quddus, S MIA DB50
Abudl-Quddus forms a killer combo with Reshad Jones when they are both healthy. He also holds down good numbers for a free safety while Jones is on the field. The best part is that he tends to slide over to strong safety when Jones misses time. If you are trying to go cheap at safety this 27 year old has a nice floor and an elite ceiling when filling for Jones.
Darian Stewart, S DEN DB54
Stewart just signed a pretty big four year deal so he should be a starter for at least three or four years. Playing free safety in this scheme does not provide a huge ceiling but he is a consistent producer. Furthermore the Denver pass rush always seems to force some bad decisions that a free safety can take advantage of. TJ Ward is a free agent in 2018 and is 30 years old now. My crystal ball seems to indicate that Stewart will slide over to strong safety in 2018 and Justin Simmons will take over free safety. I’ll take a starter this year and the TJ Ward replacement next year for DB54.
Jahleel Addae, S SDC DB55
Addae only played in eight games due to a freak collarbone accident. He averaged over six total tackles and graded out as a top 12 safety at pro football focus during his eight games this year. Addae is a 2017 free agent and feels like a solid gamble to snag a starting strong safety job in free agency.
Keith Tandy, S TBB DB58
Tandy averaged 10 total tackles per game during the last four games of the season. This is due to him stealing the job away from Chris Conte, who is a 2017 free agent. If you take Conte’s season but replace the last four games with Tandy’s you end up with a player that outperformed Bradley McDougald (DB25). Tandy is only one year older than McDougald and being drafted 33 defensive backs later.
Maurice Alexander, S LAR DB59
If you listened to the short lived weekly IDP Dynasty Playbook this season, you would have heard me gushing about Mo Alexander. Alexander averaged five total tackles a game for the last six games of the season. This would to equate to 80 tackles on the year. TJ McDonald is a 2017 free agent and may have a suspension as well. It is possible Alexander could slide over to strong safety. This means Alexander should provide a reasonable floor next year and could have a solid ceiling if he switches to strong safety.
The young Cleveland safeties are coming at solid discount because it is hard to know who will start between Jordan Poyer, Derrick Kindred, and Ed Reynolds. There is a chance that two out of the three could start due to Ibraheim Campbell under performing. All of them are reasonable stashes although I would prioritize them in the following order: Kindred, Poyer, then Reynolds. If you play in 60+ roster spots, it may be possible to hoard all three.
Harlan Miller, S/CB ARI DB60+
We are digging very deep now and these guys should be on watch lists in most leagues unless you play in 65+ roster spots and start at least four DBs. This fourth round pick underwhelmed in athletic testing especially with only six reps on the bench. The Cardinals were forced to play him at safety the last two games of the season due to injuries. Miller played lights out in both games although it didn’t really show up in the box score. As crazy as it sounds, Miller may be the reason Arizona allows DJ Swearinger or Tony Jefferson walk in the free agency. Miller has put on a noticeable amount of muscle since his college days and is a great tackler. Few leagues are deep enough to roster Miller, but he should be on your short list if Swearinger or Jefferson don’t re-sign with the Cardinals.
Dashazor Everett, S WAS DB60+
Everett did not get much playing time this year, but he looked good in the limited action that he did get. Everett is an athletic corner/safety hybrid that may be getting his shot in 2017. The Washington safety depth chart is wide open due to Donte Whitner and Duke Ihenacho both being free agents. Everett is a long shot, but someone to keep an eye on.