Before the season, I ranked Lavonte David as my #1 LB (over Luke Kuechly) with the logic that he had no internal competition from other LBs on Tampa Bay. While David has had an up-and-down season, he’s still a weekly LB1 on the season. But the big surprise out of Tampa has been rookie Kwon Alexander, who is currently neck-and-neck with David for the season. As a fourth round pick, Alexander was supposed to split snaps with free agent Bruce Carter, but after a stellar preseason he straight up beat him out for the job. I’ve mentioned Alexander in this space before, but after Sunday’s game with 11 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble that he recovered, he’s a household name in the IDP world. I would imagine he’s owned in most, if not all, leagues, but I would still target him if possible, especially in dynasty leagues.

Here’s a look around the rest of the IDP world after Week 8:


Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

Khalil Mack – Since preseason, there has been a lot of eyes on Mack’s position eligibility. As a rookie, he was almost exclusively a Strong-Side LB, but this year he’s had his hand on the ground the majority of the time. Some sites were slow to adapt, but now both ESPN and Yahoo list Mack as a DL and LB. His performance hasn’t been very consistent  thus far, and he only has 4 sacks, but given the relative lack of talent at the DL position this year, Mack is a must-own. He’s already had his bye, and Oakland is about to start a five week stretch where they should be competitive, including three against top 10 matchups for DEs.

Derrick Shelby – After finally getting healthy and starting to play like the DL1 he was drafted as, Cameron Wake tore his achilles and is out for the year. Given the nature of the injury, and his somewhat advanced age, I would try to get rid of Wake for anything I could get in dynasty formats. His replacement is likely going to be Shelby, as Dion Jordan is suspended, and Miami has nothing resembling depth on defense. I’m not recommending adding Shelby at this point, but he’s a name to watch moving forward, as he’s had some success as a pass rusher in limited opportunities.

Vontaze Burfict – The much anticipated return of 2013’s LB1 overall is finally here, as Burfict made his season debut on Sunday. After missing almost an entire season with a variety of injuries, some rust was to be expected, and honestly Burfict played better than expected, putting up 5 tackles. This situation will definitely be one to monitor over the coming weeks, because Cincy’s LB position always puts up stats. My guess at this point is that Vincent Rey will continue to get nearly 100% of the snaps, and Burfict will emerge alongside him as a three-down LB. But with the pupu platter of Emmanuel Lamur, A.J. Hawk and Rey Maualuga still around, it could be that none of them are worth starting.

Morgan Burnett – Staying with the same theme, Burnett returned to the lineup on Sunday as well, after missing 5 of the first 6 games. His stat line wasn’t anything special, but he also appeared to be healthy, which is more than he’s shown in almost two years. After a subpar matchup this week against Carolina, Burnett gets to face two top 10 teams for Safeties in Weeks 10 and 11, so if he’s available, I would absolutely pick him up for at least the next three weeks to see if he can return to his DB1 form.

Reggie Nelson – With bye weeks and injuries wreaking havoc on the entire league, it’s not a bad idea to play matchups in the short term, especially if your team is sitting around .500. Nelson got off to a rough start this year, but has put up solid numbers in three of his last four games. He faces Cleveland on Thursday this week, and should be good bet for DB1-2 numbers, especially with Johnny under center.

 

 

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  1. Teddy Heater says:
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    Kevin,
    Great write up as usual. Couple quick questions. I’m currently 4th overall in RCL IDP (mostly because of your great insight as J-Foh wrangled me into IDP for my first time). I have a tough matchup this week as I’m playing the #3 overall.
    1. If Prince comes back Sunday do you think he’s a top 15 play or am I better off rolling with Ward v Indy or J Mccourty v NO?
    2. I stashed Burfict last week, but I already have Rey, Shazier an Anthony so I dropped him good move or do you think I should scoop him back up?
    3. Is JPP an upgrade to Suh moving forward? I lost Wake so I’m “drowning” at DL position.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Teddy Heater:

      I would stand pat at DB. Prince is great, but your options are solid already and I’m not sold on Prince getting 100% of the snaps this week.

      If you have room for him, I think Burfict is a must-own right now. I wouldnt’ start him over your guys just yet, but he has LB1 potential, which is too good to pass up.

      I’m personally avoiding JPP right now, but his ceiling is higher than Suh’s. If you want the home run pick, it’s JPP, but Suh is safer still until we see JPP on the field.

      • Teddy Heater says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: Awesome, Thanks brotha!!!

  2. Scott says:
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    Long term, do you like Derrick Johnson or Vontaze Burfict?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Scott:

      This season I’m going to say Johnson because we know what we’re getting from him.He’s the safer pick. But beyond this year, I love Burfict if he stays healthy and sees nearly 100% of the snaps, so he has the higher ceiling.

      • Scott says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: Thanks! With Posluzny and now, Alexander, I might not need either, except as a backup, maybe.

  3. Clint says:
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    Will you do a ROS rankings at some point or are you still confident in your preseason picks? Reason I ask is because in my 8 teamer, I have most of your top or #2 guys (Quinn/David/Jones) but they don’t seem to be near the top 8 outside of Jones for my league. I used your favorite scoring system so I’m just curious if you’ve adjusted at all or we should just stay the course.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Clint:

      I don’t do specific ROS rankings, but my weekly rankings also won’t vary too much at the top on a week-by-week basis. Unless there was a significant injury, the preseason ranks usually are what I go back to.

      David is an exception here, as I’ve seen enough of a decline in his stats to take him out of my top tier.

  4. Hella Waits says:
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    Hey again. Great write up as usual. Low and behold someone in my league who is DT needy offered me a trade where he gives me Tyrod Taylor QB/BUF and I give him Ryan Fitzpatrick and Sheldon Richardson. Fitz is my backup to Stafford and Richardson my backup to Atkins. Would you take this deal? My only real concern is BUF remaining schedule is tough whereas the Jets have a QB friendly rest of season. (Just in case I have to bench Stafford at some point). Thanks!

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Hella Waits:

      This is why I love IDP! I’d make the move. Tyrod has a much higher ceiling at QB, and Richardson is a luxury for you at this point. Between Stafford and Taylor, the playoff schedule looks pretty good, so the only way I’d think about holding off is if you think Fitz will be the difference between making the playoffs and missing them. I personally don’t.

  5. Scott says:
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    If Eric Weddle is able to play, would you pick him over Barry Church?

    • Scott says:
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      @Scott: Never mind, I see him now. Wow, did not expect to see him so far down.

      • Kevin Kumpf

        Kevin Kumpf says:
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        @Scott:

        I’m avoiding Weddle this week if possible. He practiced today, but is no guarantee to play, and with a MNF game, relying on him leaves you without a backup plan. If he does play, I expect top 10 production, but the current ranking is a hedge assuming he’s out. Church is the safer option.

  6. J-FOH

    J-FOH says:
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    I’ve used Kwon a few times this year, not last week, but those pass deflections are tops for an LB. I liked him in the pre season when they gave him the job. Are you feeling a trend with some of the elite LB’s. In Carolina, Baltimore, Jacksonville and Tampa we are getting some crazy good years from their teammates. My Samoan football insider was all over me to grab Smith in Oakland a few weeks ago. Loving on him right now.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @J-FOH:

      The biggest trend I’m seeing is that LBs that can play the pass are going to see the field no matter what, not just in third down situations. The evolution of the college game has allowed younger guys like Alexander and Telvin Smith to get snaps right off the bat more so than they would have even five years ago. It also affects guys like Kevin Minter, who fit the mold of a 1990s LB, a lower ceiling.

      • J-FOH

        J-FOH says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: Interesting take about college evolution. I follow the college game more closely than the NFL, or at least I try to, and I agree. A lot of the middle linebackers are getting crazy athletic, it feels like the gap between safety and linebacker is shrinking. Take Shaq Thompson, he played both in college. Myles Jack feels like one of those guys. He can cover receivers so well he may be better off as a safety.

        • Kevin Kumpf

          Kevin Kumpf says:
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          @J-FOH:

          Exactly, and it works the other way too, with guys like Deone Buccanon and Mark Barron essentially playing LB despite being considered a safety. The only downside I can see is that with more hybrid roles on defense, it will likely lead to even more variations on IDP league settings, which makes ranking these guys next to impossible haha.

  7. JohnnyBeGood says:
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    Hey Kevin! Pick 3 out of these 4 for ROS: F Cox, S Tulloch, Daryl Smith, J Cyprien ? Thanks!!

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @JohnnyBeGood:

      I’d take Smith and Tulloch for sure. Between Cox and Cyp, it comes down to league settings. If sacks are 5:1 or more vs. tackles, then Cox, otherwise Cyprien.

  8. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    wow, that my minter for k.robinson went off in just a few hours, EVEN though minter is on bye this week. IDP’s have been much reworked with Long/Trevathan/Minter out, Mcdonald IR’d, and K.Robinson/Gilchrist (1 week S fill in)/T.Crawford/Edwards in. Thanks for help with finding useful players in 20 team in week 9. This league is actually quite active and mostly on top of things too.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow:

      This is one of the more hectic weeks I can remember in terms of byes and injuries so I’m not surprised. Love the Robinson move!

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Kevin Kumpf: this is just great, after trevathan averaging 10.71 pts for season the week i need his roster spot from KC/ARI having byes he goes crazy and gets 29 PTS (2nd best IDP in league this week, since omar bolden got 152 return yards and a TD). Gotta ask, did Marshall get hurt again like last year when Trevathan became useful?

        2. roster is now this:
        LB – David/K.Robinson/Anthony/E.Kendricks
        DE – Campbell/Heyward/M.Edwards
        DT – Donald/T.Crawford
        S – Collins/Bucannon/Gilchrist (1 week bye streamer)
        CB – Parker/Breeland/Hall
        If I’m set to lose right now by about 40 should i readd Trevathan dropping T.Crawford, i can later drop Gilchrist for another DT?

        3. trade offer of D.Goldson + 5th round pick for my Parker + 4th rounder.
        I’ll be keeping enough people to probably not use either a 5th or a 4th rounder to draft a player.
        Collins AVG pts per game (12.88)
        Parker (11.75)
        Bucannon (15.75)
        Goldson (13.43)
        I’m guessing with my CB situation (Hall still injured and old) and age of Goldson this is a clear no.

        • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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          @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: don’t worry about 2, DAL played.

          4. is #3 doable if i can trade collins to NYG getting a.blake back? so i’d have
          goldson/bucannon at S
          breeland/hall/a.blake at CB
          would probably have to move a draft pick to get blake for collins. not sure yet though.

          • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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            @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: after seeing the rankings difference between blake and collins i’ll show their season average scores
            Blake (18.6)
            Collins (12.88)

            • Kevin Kumpf

              Kevin Kumpf says:
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              @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow:

              The Trevathan frustration continues. He played amazing yesterday and could have even had more points if more of his 13(!) assists had been solos. In general I still have him below Marshall simply due to snap counts (I haven’t seen this week’s numbers yet, but Marshall outplayed him 46-31 last week. I’ll probably dive deeper into this situation in this week’s rankings, but I still like your current LBs all more than Trevathan.

              Neither Crawford nor Gilchrist are more than weekly streamers, so Trevathan has more value than they do. I’m fine with dropping Crawford for Trevathan and then adding the best available DT for Gilchrist.

              As for your DB questions, I would stay where you are. Parker with CB-eligibility has so much value, and Collins is a long-term DB1. I would take Collins/Parker over Goldson/Blake any day. Cornerbacks in IDP leagues are fickle by nature, so I don’t consider Blake to be more than a one-year wonder at this point, and that makes Parker even more valuable.

              • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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                @Kevin Kumpf: good to know, i went back and checked the last time (2 weeks ago) that you were able to rank all 4 of them and yep
                collins >goldson (by a decent amount)
                parker > blake (by a decent amount as well)

                so only reason to even think about that deal is to gain a WAS player, but even if i can dump RG set him free for Foles tonight, since i stash 4 IR WAS useless players i’ll still have a base of 9/10th, and 13 total with the stashes anyway.

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