IDP Rookies 2019
“People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.” A great quote from Andrew Smith that accurately describes how most Fantasy owners feel about IDP (Individual Defensive Player) Leagues. However, after a few seasons of some IDP under my belt, I feel confident enough to share my experience with the league format and provide analysis on the upcoming rookie class.
Whether it’s a dynasty league that uses IDP or a seasonal redraft/keeper league where your league is considering adding IDP, you’ll want to target a few of these impact rookies. Not necessarily only ones to target later in your drafts, but ones to keep tabs on as the season progresses. For scoring settings, I will be referencing FantasyData.com where they have all the scores from IDP players dating back to 2002. Time to make like a linebacker and break it down!
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- Dynasty Rookie Rankings
Linebacker | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In the top 12 of IDP scoring last season, six of those players were off-the-ball linebackers. Hence, why White being the first linebacker drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft is extremely relevant. He is going to be inserted into a three-down role from day one. Besides the fact that White will be on the field allowing for a high ceiling of tackles, the overall Buccaneers have a weaker defensive line projecting for more ball carriers to reach White at the second level. This parallels what happened last year with rookie linebacker Darius Leonard from Indianapolis. The Colts defensive line was nothing special last year and that is what the Buccaneers project to also be. Currently, the Buccaneers defensive line is composed of Vita Vea, Carl Nassib, Williams Gholston, and Noah Spence. Jason Pierre-Paul is going to miss time because of his neck fracture, and Gerald McCoy could be traded. White could easily be a top-12 IDP in 2019. Especially when you consider that he is great in pass coverage as well. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), “No linebacker in college football had a higher grade in coverage than White’s grade last season.” It’s also extremely note-worthy that two Tampa Bay linebackers last season averaged top-13 average points per game. Kwon Alexander (9.6) who White is replacing and Lavonte David (10.5).
Linebacker | Pittsburgh Steelers
Again for a lot of the same reasons why White could make an impact, the same goes for Devin Bush. The Steelers traded up to get him in the 2019 NFL Draft as they were in desperate need of speed at linebacker after being unsuccessful in finding Ryan Shazier’s successor. Outside of T.J. Watt who finished eighth overall in 2018 of all defensive players, the Steelers next highest scoring player was Vince Williams who ranked outside the top 75. Bush fills the void here and should provide immediate impact with his combination of opportunity and skillset.
Defensive Tackle | Buffalo Bills
Oliver was seen as one of the most dynamic and disruptive defensive players in the 2019 draft class. Oliver will be inserted into the Bills defense right away as a three-down player taking over the snaps from Kyle Williams. All of the current defensive linemen on the Bills have been irrelevant in IDP creating a great opportunity for Oliver to be the main beneficiary at defensive tackle. We’ve seen how much of a monster Aaron Donald has been in the NFL, and Oliver is the closest comparison up to this point. Donald scored the second most points in IDP last season. According to Matt Manocherian, Oliver’s best fit is best suited for a 3-technique in an under front within a one-gapping system. The 3 technique is a defensive lineman who typically lines up on the outside shoulder of a guard. The Bills under Leslie Frazier run a 4-3 defense making Oliver a great fit there.
Safety | Oakland Raiders
For defensive backs, you are looking for safeties that are given the opportunities to play up in the box and make tackles, in addition to having skills to create turnovers. That is why Abram is the best fit for an IDP target. He absolutely excels in the run game because of how aggressive he is. Last season he was second in the FBS in tackles at the safety position and fourth in pressure rate according to Sports Info Solutions. The Raiders current roster also severely lacks top-end talent among the linebacker position (Brandon Marshall, Marquel Lee, Vontaze Burfict) creating great potential for Abram to make more plays in the Raider defense. The highest scoring IDP from last season on Oakland was linebacker Tahir Whitehead who ranked 42nd overall and 24th out of linebackers.
Defensive End | San Franciso 49ers
Of the top 25 IDP scorers from last season, six were identified as defensive ends. The number one pass-rusher of the 2019 NFL Draft Class is Bosa, but the only cause for concern is that the 49ers defensive line is filled with potential talent. From Dee Ford who ranked 14th overall in scoring last season to former first-round pick defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead; there’s a chance statistically Bosa could get somewhat lost in the shuffle. However, considering he was the second overall pick and that fact that his pro comparison is his brother Joey Bosa if Nick Bosa stays healthy he will be at worst a top-five fantasy defensive end. In 2017, Joey Bosa’s one season when healthy for 16 games he finished as the number five overall defensive end.
Defensive End | Jacksonville Jaguars
The 10th highest scoring player in the NCAA last season in IDP leagues, Allen might edge out Bosa from a fantasy perspective. The Jaguars already have lost a large portion of tackles in their defense with the loss of Telvin Smith who was the 13th overall in IDP leagues last season. He recorded 100 solo tackles. With his loss, other Jaguars players will have to step up which will include Allen even though he plays a different position. Allen has upside here on top of his pass-rushing ability because on certain plays when he doesn’t rush the passer he can play the flat and man up with receivers. Allen had 213 tackles at the college level over his three seasons at Kentucky, whereas Bosa had just 78.
Defensive Tackle | New York Jets
There’s a reason why the Jets took this guy number three overall. Last year at Alabama according to Sports Info Solutions, Williams led defensive tackles in cumulative pressures, tackle share percentage, and pressure percentage. He also graded out as the highest college interior defender ever by Pro Football Focus. With the ability to influence both the passing game and the run game Williams needs to be a target in IDP leagues. Williams was the second-highest fantasy scoring defensive linemen in the NCAA in 2018, but he led the league in solo tackles (42), and tackles for loss (18).
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