IDP is becoming a big part of what we do at Razzball, especially in our new RCL IDP leagues. Background knowledge of players to draft can set you apart and become a deciding factor in weekly wins and losses. I’ve already written a general strategy piece about how and when to draft IDP spots. Also the article emphasized recognizing how your league scores your IDP scoring, that is the most important part of all. But, we haven’t really expressed what individual players to target. If your IDP spots aren’t position specific, I’ll give you a few linebacker names that I really like. If your IDP leagues are position specific, we will dive into a few defensive line and defensive back names as well.
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Bobby Wagner – Bobby Wagner is a beast on both the field and on the stat sheet. Wagner led the league last year in combined tackles by a significant amount of 18. Wagner also had the most sacks of any player inside of the top 10 in the league of tackles. He’s a points machine and definitely warrants a bit of a reach into the top 8 or 9 rounds in leagues where you only draft one or two IDP spots. He’s 27 years old, so he’s just getting into the prime of his career. He is also a seasoned vet in a sense, in his first four seasons in the league, he’s never had less than 104 tackles.
Kwon Alexander – Kwon Alexander has the skillset to be an elite option right alongside Bobby Wagner but for a little bit of cheaper price, but not much cheaper. Kwon Alexander led the league in solo tackles (108) by a wide margin of 9. He also finished in the top 15 at his position in tackles for losses which is impressive for his volume tackle role on the Tampa Bay defense. Kwon is a consistent contributor and last season wasn’t a fluke. Despite his four-game suspension in 2015, he finished with 93 combined tackles, putting him on pace for more than 116 if he had played 16 games…. That was his rookie season. His 7 passes defended was the 5th most amongst linebackers with at least 100 tackles.
*Sleeper* Jatavis Brown – Jatavis Brown may end up being the pride of Akron alongside Lebron James when it’s all said and done. Despite only playing 12 games in his first season in the NFL, Jatavis was able to record three 10-tackle games and had 3.5 sacks. Although his combined tackle total only amounted to 79 in those 12 games, one has to believe that the sky is the limit when fully healthy for this 5’11 beast.
*Bust* Sean Lee – Sean Lee is one of the best linebackers in the league when he is healthy. He finished in the top five last season in combined tackles and also had a productive season in 2015. But injuries are always a concern as he has missed 37 games in his 7-year career and has never played a full 16-game season. He is also 31 years old, which while not ancient in linebacker years, it’s not ideal while younger, and more athletic elite players are out there for the taking.
Khalil Mack – You have to be careful about position eligibility here because his position is hybrid, but ESPN and Yahoo both have Khalil Mack as defensive line eligible. Mack had a little bit of regression in 2016 from his 2015 season recording 11 sacks last year (4th among DL eligible) as opposed to 15 in 2015 (2nd among DL eligible). But Mack has finished right near the top with 16 tackles for losses in 2016 and 23 tackles for losses in 2015. Khalil’s combined tackles hang right around in the 70’s which is quite helpful from the defensive line position.
Joey Bosa – Joey Bosa had a hell of a rookie campaign despite only playing 12 games last season. At a 16 game pace, he would have been on target for over 50 tackles and also over 13 sacks. Going into his second year I expect his trajectory to improve, even though it’s already impressive. Last season, he let a couple sacks slip through his hands and I don’t expect that to happen again.
*Sleeper* Noah Spence – The rookie season numbers were not that impressive when you look at them on the surface because he was a rotation player last season behind Gholston and Ayers. Don’t let last year’s numbers fool you, Spence is a monster. He should see way more snaps this season than last, and his 5.5 sack total from 2016 should sky rocket into the double digits. His draft price is cheap, and if you don’t buy into what I’m writing here, you may have a couple weeks into the season to grab him off of the waiver wire because his current price is dirt cheap.
*Bust* J.J. Watt – I don’t totally think he’s a bust by any means. But I don’t think that he will live up to draft day value. In fact, I would rather have his sidekick on the other side of the line, Jadaveon Clowney for a fair amount cheaper. With all of the back issues and wear and tear throughout the past few seasons, I suspect that his best days are behind him. I’m not counting J.J. Watt out because there is nobody out there more motivated to perform, but his ADP of #1 defensive lineman off of the board is too pricey for me while others may close the gap on his impressive pre injury run.
For the most part, you should just stream defensive backs unless you are able to land Keanu Neal, Reshad Jones, or Landon Collins. Defensive back stat lines tend to vary a lot and the unpredictability is not worth an expensive draft price when there is still value on the board. If position eligibility is open for your IDP spots, I’d avoid this position all together.
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