By: Gary VanDyke II @hbogart27
FFD260 IDP: Reviewing the 2nd & 3rd Year LBs
Back in late August 2017, I started a two-part article on a number of second and third-year linebackers heading into the 2017 season. I chose them because at the time they showed potential by draft status or by the position they were currently in with their teams as starters or potential starters, from a fantasy point of view.
My intention then was to focus whether we as IDP owners should consider them a “hold” or “move on” from them in 2018. We should always strive to fill our IDP lineups with the best potential fantasy points producers, and I started the article off with my “take” on that subject.
In the real world of football, a player’s second and third year can be crucial in his development as a player. The same can be said for fantasy owners who may own the player on their rosters. No matter how we acquired them it is time to decide whether they are to become trade bait or a core player for our rosters. As we all strive to load up with top-notch players to win our leagues we have to be able to determine the player’s values and whether we should combine them for upgrades in order to win now. Depth is always obtainable in most standard size leagues off the waiver wire or by trade when it comes to IDP players. So to bolster the defensive side of your roster can be critical in gaining an edge over your league mates. An edge that can be overlooked by many.
A strategy I personally like to use and doubt this is groundbreaking here is to take lower “tiered” but good players and combine them with top-tiered players. When it is possible to locate a complete stud player on a roster that is struggling or may need more “across the board” good players I will not hesitate to throw two, three and even four good player (or picks) his way to get my target. The odds are this has been the case I used to get the good players to begin with so why not keep flipping until I acquire the most productive players I can. At each IDP position, you have to set for a lineup should always have no less than ½ the amount filled in with these studs. And by “studs” I mean top 10 type players in their respective positions.
In most cases, the rest of your lineup and depth can be filled in with players off the waiver wire or trade that can come within a small margin of the production of the players you may have traded to get the studs for. We see it every year that players develop into usable weekly plays that can be picked up for next to nothing as the season progresses. There is no reason I can think of not to plan on this happening to support my studs and get thru the season. Be active and keep track and you’ll find what you need.
Don’t let rankings fool you into holding on forever onto players when you consult them either. In a lot of cases a player’s “name” has them ranked higher than the actual productions they turn out. Always cross check statistics for consistency. Don’t get me wrong, owning a star player’s name on your roster is always pretty, but pretty doesn’t win you championships in the end. Also, don’t let what you may have paid or what pick you used to select a player keep you from dealing them. It means nothing if you’re not going for the win each year with him on your roster. If you can’t swallow some pride to win now then this isn’t the strategy for you.
On to our topic…Let’s look at a few second and third-year players that it is either time for them to become those top notch guys or at least time for them to take a step up on their way to becoming top notch. Because if they don’t or haven’t in their important second or third year it may be time to consider them just another good player and that they are expendable for upgrades going forward.
With this out of the way I’ll go through and “take” on the linebackers in the order I wrote about them. Eventually ending on the linebackers at the very end of the series I believe they should be traded up for if that is the case. This is going to be a process and warrant a few articles, I suspect.
There is a wide range of how leagues score IDP. I’ll be using the NFL.com stats to make my assessments.
MIN LB Eric Kendricks: Will be in his 4th season in 2018
My first “take”: “A highly touted linebacker in the 2015 class Kendricks has been a very serviceable player to use in lineups. He has had respectable numbers but never has reached elite status. Now in his third year, it is time for him to put it all together or he should become expendable to use to upgrade. If not this year the odds are he will never be more than what he has been.”
Now:Kendricks is such an enigma to me, he manages to hover around the upper LB2 tier or into the lower LB1 tier. After fifteen contest he is managed to rank eleventh in linebackers with 109 combined. Now don’t get me wrong, that is not something to be disappointed in. But in his third season, it’s with 65 solo and 44 assisted. I don’t think this is a matter of Kendricks not being talented enough to ever hit top tier as a player, but a result of the talent around him on the field. The object of my review is to figure out if he’ll ever hit that top six or seven ranking. I just don’t think it’ll happen as long as he is a Viking. I’m not going to suggest anyone run out and trade Kendricks or not draft him to anchor your lineup, but I will say if I owned him I would at the least try and entice an owner with a “Bobby Wagner” type into a trade by adding an expendable piece I may own. If something reasonable wasn’t to be worked out in trade I wouldn’t be upset to keep him on my roster as an LB2, but would hopefully manage to have him settle in as my LB3. Of course, this means I would have two better options ahead of him. As in drafting and where I’d select him I would have to say I could think of a number of players I’d pick ahead of him. He may end up around my fourth or fifth IDP selection range in a standard size league. Going into 2018 I believe we have seen his ceiling for IDP purposes.
PHI LB Jordan Hicks: Will be in his 4th season in 2018
My first “take”: “A nice surprise for fantasy owners when he became relevant and a starter. Production hasn’t been tiptop as of yet and nowhere close to consistent enough on weekly basis. His number has been fluffed by interceptions and passes defended. Those are great when it’s a bonus but as for relying on them weekly leads to let downs. We need to see the tackles go up. Those are the core of any top-notch IDP. Last season was a prime season for him to really make the leap into top-notch fantasy play but his play on the field was better than his statistics for fantasy. If it isn’t this year it’s time to move on.”
Now: Unfortunately Hicks was sent to I.R. after an Achilles injury around week six yand it may seem unfair to some IDP owners on what I’m about to state. But Hicks is 100% trade bait for an upgrade if I can find someone willing to take him off my hands. In those first six weeks, he accumulated 19 solo and 9 assists. Out of the six weeks, only two weeks were serviceable for IDP purposes. Throw in the fact he isn’t a run stopping type linebacker which we saw from his first two seasons and his injury-prone tangibles, this player is one I add to a player like Kendricks above and try to get a deal done. Technically he hasn’t managed to show more than LB3 production on the field for IDP owners to rely on. And consistency wins when needing to set an IDP lineup. He is an above average cover linebacker with luck at interceptions and passes defended that just can’t be counted on. In a draft in 2018, he should be considered no more than a depth selection after more key players are picked up. If it’s a dynasty I find that owner with any upper tier linebacker and dangle him like a carrot in front of a mule. I’m not a big “pick” guy for the rookie drafts, but if I can get decent value for him from a trade for a decent pick I’ll take it and run. Let’s not forget something, he became a starter due to injuries ahead of him rookie season
NYG B.J. Goodson: Will be in his 3rd season in 2018
My first “take”: “Personally, he is a “sell” for me right now, as his hyped rumors as this year’s starting MLB for the Giants is peaking. When was the last time a Giants LB was really top notch for fantasy purposes? They have a habit of the MLB being a two-down thumper or a part of a rotation and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. It is the Landon Collins show in New York and other than him or the DLs there is nothing to see here. If you own Goodson going into next offseason the odds are his value won’t be as good as what it is now. If I owned him I’d be willing to risk moving him in an upgrade trade with no problem of doing so.”
Now: I’m disappointed that I still feel the same here. At the beginning of the season, I had high hopes I was wrong. Then he got hurt and the Giants dysfunctional “luck” kicked in how it does every season when it comes to linebackers. If I owned him in a dynasty for the last two seasons I’m not pressing my luck going into 2018. After not being able to take over in his rookie season as a starter for a Giants terrible linebacker corp and then to follow it up with the season he just had, I’m searching for a way to get my value out of him in any dynasty league, ASAP. Even after he did get some of his health back he has been splitting time with an undrafted rookie named Calvin Munson who has actually caught my eye. In my mind, I believe Munson has more upside heading into 2018 than Goodson does. This doesn’t actually bold well for Goodson. I’ll be promoting Munson later on as a deep “flier” for 2018, I’ll continue to promote not wasting a draft pick on Goodson. He just doesn’t seem like he is worth taking the risk on him where I imagine he’ll be drafted in fantasy leagues. At best he has become an undrafted deep waiver wire pick up when it is all said and done.
I actually had CHI Nick Kwiatkoski wedged between the next two linebackers in the first article. It’ll be obvious why I’m skipping him here until the next “review”.
GBP Jake Ryan: Will be in his 4th season in 2018
GBP Blate Martinez: Will be in his 3rd season in 2018
My first “take(s)”:
“Ryan actually was set up nicely going into last year to become relevant. And he started the season off nicely, but an ankle injury in mid-November hampered his play for the rest of the season. The result was an ugly three-way rotation that wouldn’t let us see how to gauge his value. I don’t think he’ll ever hit top notch but would be willing to see how this year plays out. If he can become that good player at the least then maybe in year four he becomes tradable for the upgrade. For right now he is worth the risk and hold. He still has the potential for a weekly play now.”
“Martinez is like Jake Ryan, a very intriguing player to see how it plays out for him in 2017. He also sustained an injury last November shortly after Ryan and also was a part of that ugly three-man rotation on the inside. The potential is there, who is it that claims the top spot for the Packers defense is anyone’s guess. But I’m having a hard time believing it’ll be Martinez. He is another guy if someone has the interest in him I’m willing to sell now if given a good reason to.”
Now: First let me say a couple things. One, I sure hope no one listened to me on Martinez, if you did I apologize. And second I find it ironic that out of all these players mentioned here that he is what I’m calling a complete hold on the upper tier LB1. It goes to show just how “fickle” the game of fantasy football can be.
I think we can clearly see that Martinez is and should be a player dynasty owners should hold onto or target going into 2018. Actually by even offering up combos of the players in the articles that just hadn’t made the cut. He is currently ranked first in total combined tackles with 138, that’s 92 solo and 46 assisted. On the other side of the spectrum we have Ryan, he hasn’t fallen off the map in this situation, but clearly, he is second fiddle to Martinez in Green Bay. In an overall aspect, a low end LB2 to LB3. In short, Martinez should be considered a dynasty hold and top tier pick in drafts for 2018. While Ryan is basically Martinez’s handcuff at the moment and undraftable in 2018 in standard size leagues or maybe a depth waiver wire pickup.
Now for an example of what I’m trying to get across to maximize an IDP lineup at linebacker.
If I was wanting to get better at linebacker I would go as far as trading Kendricks above with really any of the other linebackers mentioned, even if it was a three for one. Here’s what I’ve found over my years in IDP, I can get the top-notch IDP guy and find serviceable replacements in standard size leagues. Even if I have to play the matchups and stream for a little while to start the season. It’s all worth it to get a player that is constantly giving me points every week at that level. The best ideal situation is to end up with a couple of them and maybe score in the draft or by streaming. Of course, this is during the offseason and up until preseason when the heat is on to find those serviceable players to start the season with.
Thanks again for reading, I hope you found some helpful information to gain the edge in your IDP leagues heading into 2018. As always I can be found on twitter at @HBogart27 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org for a follow-up or any questions you may have