I believe that to properly analyze the 2017 IDPs you need to have an idea of how they’ll ALL perform so you can benchmark and compare them effectively. So I built a model using past performance, efficiency, scheme information and coaching tendencies to predict what will happen in 2017. I’ve applied that to my best estimates for how teams will use players this year which gives a projection and ranking for all IDPs. You can read more about what I did and how here.
Does it feel to anyone else like the championship window has slammed shut in Cincinnati? I don’t think last year was an aberration. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they had another bad season.
Having said that, there are some very intriguing IDPs – although excitement should be tempered slightly because of the Bengals dislike of playing rookies. Hopefully, everyone knows that first-year players are unlikely to see heavy workloads.
Geno Atkins, DE
Atkins has lost a little luster with Aaron Donald being the superstar he is but he’s still clearly a star. I’ve got him as the #9 tackle but I think that’s conservative. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he was a top three or four option.
Key stats: 681 snaps, 25 solo tackles, 12 assists, seven sacks.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Carlos Dunlap, DE
It feels like he’s been around forever but he’s still only 28. Dunlap is a great example of what the Bengals can produce. Their very plodding consistency means that their better players tend to stay good for a long time. I think Dunlap will be the picture of reliability and produce as the #3 end.
Key stats: 900 snaps, 38 solo tackles, 22 assists, nine sacks, seven passes defended.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
I love Kirkpatrick because he provides a lot of what I want in corners. He’s always on the field but he’s not good enough to deter targets. He’s a sure tackler and he gets his hands to the ball fairly frequently. He’s my #5 corner.
Key stats: 878 snaps, 55 solo tackles, 15 assists, one sack, 11 passes defended, one INT.
Vontaze Burfict, LB
At his best, he’s one of the finest linebackers in the NFL. But as everyone knows he’s a knucklehead whose suspensions and personal issues have prevented him getting near his potential for most of his career. Having said that he was very, very good last year and I see him as the #12 linebacker this year.
Key stats: 858 snaps, 79 solo tackles, 52 assists, two sacks, seven passes defended, one INT.
Pacman somehow continues to defy the odds and be a heavy-load corner. Considering he was banned from the NFL and in legal trouble way back in 2009, it’s been a pretty great second act of his career.
He’s not athletic enough to be a great corner these days but the vet-heavy Bengals like him on the field and that’s enough to make him useful. He’s my #23 corner.
Key stats: 1,000 snaps, 45 solo tackles, 12 assists, 14 passes defended, two INTs.
Michael Johnson, DE
A big, bucket load of “meh.” Johnson looked to me like he’d clearly lost a step last season to me but I won’t believe the Bengals use Jordan Willis as a rookie until it actually happens so the opportunity is still there for him to produce. In fact, I expect him to do OK as the opposition run directly at him. I see him as the #27 end in 2017.
Key stats: 853 snaps, 28 solo tackles, 19 assists, four sacks, five passes defended.
Kevin Minter, DE
Minter is another uninspiring veteran in Cincinnati. Quelle surprise. He only signed on a one-year deal but he’s exactly the sort of player they like to be solid and reliable giving Burfict more reign to be the playmaking linebacker. I think Minter will be the #40 ‘backer and be a decent hold but is that really what you want? We play fantasy football for fun – not for players like Kevin Minter.
Key stats: 696 snaps, 62 solo tackles, 33 assists, one sack, six passes defended, one INT.
This pains me a bit as I love Shawn Williams. He’s a classy player with good instincts, nice speed and the ability to make plays in the passing and run game. But the scheme is one of the heavier two-deep ones in the NFL and Williams and George Iloka are used fairly interchangeably which restricts both their ceilings. I see Williams as a hugely reliable option at #27 to be nearly (but not quite) startable for a good fantasy team.
Key stats: 1,061 snaps, 56 solo tackles, 27 assists, one sack, 10 passes defended.
There’s a dichotomy here. The top players (Atkins, Dunlap, Burfict and Kirkpatrick) all have the opportunity for excellent years. But the rest of them are very, very average with very little excitement about them. Add to that the frustration of seeing young talent left on the bench (hello William Jackson, Jordan Evans and Jordan Willis) and Andy Dalton and it’s easy to see how people have been frustrated by this team.
Those are my predictions as of right now. Obviously, things will change as we get a better idea of who will play and how going towards the season. If you disagree with any assertions here feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter (@TomDegenerate) and I’ll be happy to discuss.
Thanks for reading.