Cleat Geeks

Broncos Battle Chiefs

 

It feels like an eternity since the Broncos locked up their third win of the season in Arizona, a 45-10 thrashing last Thursday night. They were able to enjoy a comfortable weekend and coach Vance Joseph was able to avoid any awkward questions.Image result for chad kelly broncos

Well, until Tuesday morning anyway. It wouldn’t be the Broncos if it was smooth sailing between games. Instead, the players held their annual Halloween Party Monday night, backup quarterback Chad Kelly went off the rails and was arrested. Wednesday morning, the Broncos cut ties with Kelly. Now there are rumors Paxton Lynch might be re-signed. Ah, the Broncos, turning victory into defeat (at least in terms of PR). That’s a perfect metaphor for this 2018 season so far.

And these distractions certainly aren’t helping what looked to be a win followed by a mini bye before their second meeting with the red hot Chiefs, this time in Kansas City. When they first met in Denver on October 1, a herculean effort to contain Patrick Mahomes led to the Broncos boasting a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter. That, instead, turned into a 27-23 loss.

But the Broncos seemed to find themselves on both offense and defense in Arizona, forcing five turnovers and seeing both Von Miller and Bradley Chubb come to life in the pass rush. If they can carry that into Kansas City, and wreak havoc on the Chiefs’ offense, they might have a chance.

That 27 points on October 1 remains the Chiefs’ low water mark for the season, too. At this point, the Broncos are looking for any reasons for optimism, as a win would not only move them to .500 on the season but pull them within two games of the Chiefs in the AFC West, while a loss would all but end their division chances at three games back having been swept by Kansas City.

Health is also an issue Denver will monitor closely. As of mid-week, linebacker Shane Ray, safety Darian Stewart, offensive lineman Jared Veldheer, rookie WR DaeSean Hamilton and rookie RB Royce Freeman were all still dealing with injuries and not practicing, which could leave Denver short-handed on Sunday.

Fantasy Impact:

Case Keenum has some new found job security thanks to Wednesdays move with Kelly. He has had some decent games, and with bye weeks you might be feeling desperate. I’m still not starting him. But in the passing game, Emmanuel Sanders does everything (including running and throwing for TDs) and is a WR2. Demaryius Thomas is a Flex, especially against a middling KC defense, and Courtland Sutton is a boom-or-bust deep league Flex. If he gets a TD, you’re golden. If not, it could be a shallow return.

Phillip Lindsay has been a star, and is an RB2. He’s got incredible upside in this matchup, especially if Freeman sits or is limited. I wouldn’t start the Broncos D/ST, but in IDP I feel like Miller and Chubb are hitting their stride and could provide nice sack numbers. Freeman is a stay away, even if he suits up, thanks to a gimpy ankle and his lack of production this season.

Broncos Blast Cardinals

 

“I wouldn’t say it’s a must win, but we’re going to kick their ass, though.” -Von Miller

Von Miller is the Broncos’ best player. He’s an incredible talent and the heart that drives the engine on defense. That’s why he was the Super Bowl 50 MVP. But Broncos fans are used to him letting his play do the talking. That changed on Tuesday. In a press conference, following the team’s fourth loss and second straight game allowing more than 200 yards to a single rusher, Miller showed some fire. He offered a bold proclamation about Thursday’s tilt with the Cardinals.

And Thursday night his team backed it up. The Broncos came out with fire and more like the team that fans thought they’d see when the season began. The Cardinals (1-6), with dysfunction on offense and defense and a rookie quarterback still out of his depths, aren’t the class of the NFL. But a 45-10 win does plenty to boost confidence of Broncos nation and help embattled head coach Vance Joseph breathe a little easier, this weekend at least.

It’s been a season of record-setting, so it makes sense that the Broncos set marks again Thursday night. Todd Davis and Chris Harris, Jr., each had INTs returned for touchdowns. It’s the first time the Broncos have had two INT returns for touchdown in a game since 1989.

Offensively, Emmanuel Sanders continued his incredible season with two more touchdowns. The first was on an end around where he took the ball, rolled out and connected with Courtland Sutton on a 28-yard touchdown pass. He later caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum. With the passing TD, Sanders became the first Broncos’ receiver to score a touchdown rushing, receiving and passing in a season.

But everything began with Miller, and the game ended with Miller, who was a one-man wrecking crew. He hit Josh Rosen five times, sacked him twice, forced two fumbles and recovered one himself. He personally delivered on his promise to play better, and is starting to look like the defensive player of the year candidate that fans know and love. And his partner in crime, rookie Bradley Chubb, continues to shine, too. Chubb added two sacks of his own Thursday, with the team accounting for six. In short, Denver’s defense scored two touchdowns, grabbed five turnovers and kept Rosen under near constant pressure.

And about those rushing woes, David Johnson recorded 39 yards rushing on 14 carries, and the Cardinals amassed just 69 yards rushing on 21 carries as a team.

It was a big night, offensively and defensively, and now the Broncos have 10 days to prepare and show it wasn’t a one-time thing as they battle the red hot Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead on October 28.

News and Notes:

  • Phillip Lindsay continues to look like one of the best among a group of fantastic Broncos’ rookies. He rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, starting with a 22 yards scamper on his first carry and adding a 28-yard TD run.
  • Sanders threw that touchdown to Sutton, but also caught six balls of his own for 102 yards and a touchdown. He’s looking like one of the best receivers in the NFL in 2018.
  • Brandon McManus made his lone field goal attempt Thursday, a 41-yard kick. He also made all six of his extra points. Quietly, McManus has been one of the best Broncos this season, a perfect 11-for-11 on field goals and 18-for-18 on extra points.

Broncos Drop Fourth Straight

 

There was a moment near the end of the first half, with the Broncos trailing 13-3 and just a few seconds left, when the crowd let out a roar. Chad Kelly, backup quarterback, stepped on the field. All he did was kneel down to take the game to the locker room, and it was only because starter Case Keenum was being evaluated for a concussion. But on a cold, snowy Sunday in Denver, it was a sign of hope to fans desperate to see a spark.

The Broncos showed some spark in the second half. Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and Courtland Sutton all had 40-plus yard receptions. Bradley Chubb, the No. 5 overall pick in April, had three sacks, and Von Miller added 1.5 sacks. And the Broncos hung tough, closing the lead to 23-20 with just under 1:30 left in the game. But in the end it wasn’t enough. The Rams moved to 6-0, and the Broncos dropped to 2-4, losers of four straight games.

And for a team that was once 2-0, and had entered the team with playoff hopes, there are more questions than answers. And not much time to get things fixed before their next contest, a Thursday night game in Arizona.

It was a game of highs and lows, as has been the case for much of the season for Denver. The offense kept it close, and Keenum tossed two touchdowns and threw for more than 300 yards. But he also threw an interception for the sixth straight game, and neither rookie Royce Freeman nor rookie Phillip Lindsay was able to do much on the ground.

On defense, the Broncos held the high-scoring Rams to 23 points, and recorded five sacks. Jared Goff was held without a touchdown pass, and to barely 200 yards. But the Broncos allowed a 200 yard rusher for the second week in a row, as Todd Gurley went for a career high 208 yards and two touchdowns.

Now the Broncos have a short week to lick their wounds, both physically and metaphorically, before trying to halt their skid in Arizona.

News and Notes:

  • Emmanuel Sanders needed three receptions to record his 500th career catch heading into Sunday, and he got it. He finished with seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown.
  • The Broncos played the hottest home game in team history on September 16, and less than a month later Sunday’s game was the coldest home game in October since 1969. It’s been a wild weather season for the Broncos and the season is only six weeks old.
  • The Broncos’ rushing attack cooled Sunday, as Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay combined for just 40 rushing yards on 13 carries. Lindsay did add 48 yards on six receptions to salvage his fantasy day.

A New Way To Draft Fantasy Football

I proudly want to introduce every experienced and new fantasy football player to a completely new, easy and fun way to conquer your draft each and every season! DOMINATION is an understatement.

This new drafting system as I the creator refer to it as, simply looks at each and every NFL offense. Every coaching staff. Every player.

I have used this system while developing the little tweaks and gears along the way. I have been HIGHLY successful. In my three seasons of official fantasy football play. I have amassed a record of 100-41 70.9 win % (Yes I keep count, who doesn’t?) 5 championship games with 3 wins. Also I average about 3 leagues a year.

Using my system I win 71% of the time. On any format. Any scoring system. PPR or Standard. League size and scoring bonuses don’t even matter. They don’t affect this system. It’s proven to work 100% of the time. With that being said you also have to actually draft your team (no auto drafts fellas) and you have to be a good manager. Meaning it’s a must that you use the waivers and adjust during the season accordingly.

So with all of that being said here is my 3 year proven to work system in all of its glory….

You have COGS such as Zeke, Gurley, ODB, Brown. PLAYMAKERS such as Freeman, Diggs, Mixon, and Baldwin. TOSS UPS are basically players such as Sanu, Hyde, Blount, Tyrell Williams

Basically I’ve created my own tiers based upon this system. I use it when drafting. I scout offenses, look at schemes, coaches and styles of play, so on and so forth.

COGS- A player that has supplanted himself as the main weapon on his team without any competition or doubt of said player losing his starting role.
PLAYMAKERS- A player that can produce like a COG. But has some competition for his job and or a talented handcuff who takes touches or looks away from said player. Or an aging veteran coming out of his COG role.
TOSS UPS- Players that are usually drafted mid-late rounds. Simply have no idea what said players will produce. ADPs will be too high or too low or similar ADPs with other such like players we always gamble on.
I’m Dylan “D1” Broady you can follow me on Twitter @BroadyDylan
My Facebook page will be up soon. D1 Fantasy! I’ll keep all of you updated. Much love and appreciation.

All Hail the King

Before anyone gets carried away, this is an NFL article and will have nothing to do with “The King”, Lebron James. Instead we will talk about another King. DESMOND KING, DB, Los Angeles Chargers.

 

With the news coming Friday that Chargers’ starting CB Jason Verrett suffered a torn Achilles during a conditioning test, the Chargers go to the “next man up” mentality, something they are familiar with already this season, losing Hunter Henry on the first day of OTAs, but also in the case of Verrett, as injuries have limited him to just five games in the past two seasons.

Although it will likely be Trevor Williams that directly fills the void left by Verrett, I believe Desmond King will be the one that benefits the most.

King, a consensus All-American and the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner out of Iowa, is an agile, versatile defensive back with the ability to play both safety and corner, as well as being a contributor on special teams. With the loss of Verrett to injury and the loss of safety Tre Boston to the Cardinals, the 22 year-old King should be able build on his fantastic rookie season in which he recorded 76 combined tackles, 4 sacks, and a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown off Dak Prescott.

The Chargers’ team is set up for King to be successful. Their offense will be explosive and high-scoring, meaning other teams will need to put the ball in the air often to keep up. The duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa will create major issues for quarterbacks and force them to make risky throws and get the ball out quickly. Assuming King plays the slot corner role, this plays right into his hands, perhaps literally. As the popularity and use of three receiver sets and go-to slot receivers increases, so too should King’s production, on top of what he’s able to do in run support (13 stops in 2017, 3rd among CB).

Casey Heyward will continue to lock down the opposing team’s top receiver, and first round pick Derwin James should be a day one starter at strong safety. With Williams and FS Adrian Phillips rounding out the secondary and depth provided by veteran SS Jahleel Addae, the Chargers will still be able to put a solid base defense on the field, as well as a variety of looks using sub packages, possibly even the “nitro” look coined by the Packers.

Depending on your IDP scoring, King can be a pretty valuable asset at CB/DB. With his ability to register tackles, sacks, interceptions, passes defended, and the occasional kick return, King should have a fairly stable floor and high ceiling. With conservative metrics and only a year to go off of, I still have him projected for 72 combined tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 interceptions.

 

The IDP Geek Huddle: Justin Reid / Bradley Chubb / Ronnie Harrison

Reminder: My approach to this series on “Top 10 Rookie’s Off The Board” is based on the potential odds they produce year one in the NFL. Not necessarily the amount produced.

Complete rankings in order are at the conclusion of the article.

Houston Texans Justin Reid

The “Brain” Take: Reid is a high-end speed versus size ratio player with “at length” college experience that the Houston Texans were “gifted” when he was still sitting there in the third round as their first pick of the draft came up in the third round. He is aggressive, versatile, and an instinctive player that has the “package” of football traits that any team would have benefited from. A “tackler” with coverage skills that has the speed to get the job done while adding a “pop” when called for with his physical mentality. He can be a bit overly aggressive at times, but his football intelligence outweighs any flaws we could possibly list.

The “Gut” Take: The safety position hasn’t been a position that the Texans have properly address for quite some time. They have been plugging in and playing sub-par talent while just trying to get by. The one incumbent starter left from last season is a former 2014 draft pick Andre Hal, who was actually a cornerback and switched to free safety by the Texans out of desperation a couple seasons ago. All other attempts in any form over the past few seasons have been complete misses in terms of finding a long-term solution. Hal did just sign an extension in late August 2017 for 3 years at $5 million a year and he has been solid, but that is the extent of it. Enter the “Honey Badger” signing, we should wonder if everyone bought into or buys into the idea a smaller safety like Tyrann Mathieu could last at playing strong safety as reported when he was first signed this off-season. And adding in his injury history that has already taken a toll on his playmaking abilities, should we actually have thought they would throw him up near the line of scrimmage at strong safety and deeper into harm’s way? The Texans were likely going to draft or address the size issue of Hal ( also smaller) and Mathieu one way or the other. Enter Reid, they completely may have made the bargain pick of the draft as far as the Texans are concerned. A huge “need” and the perfect player with some size falling in the draft to where they needed it most. Don’t be mistaken with Reid’s fall to the third round, it was likely a result of teams selecting positions of “needs” over best player available. Reid is an upper tier strong safety in this class of rookies. The Texans starting safeties in week one should be Mathieu at his natural free safety spot and Reid manning the strong safety if the Texans have any intention of actually improving the defense. Hal should still have a role as the third safety in three safety sets and possibly covering the slot. Additionally, at this moment we do not know exactly how the inside linebackers will perform in 2018. That situation is a bit suspect also and when Reid is the starting strong safety it might lead to a solid rookie campaign. If the Texans decide to risk Mathieu as their strong safety to start the season just wait it out. Reid will be a contributor sooner than later if things stay as they are on the Texans depth chart and no free agent is brought in. And even if that would happen, odds are still high Reid produces in one form or another in 2018. 

 

Denver Broncos Bradley Chubb

The “Brain” Take: A relentless and polarizing athletic “Big Man” with football running through his veins. He has shown all the traits of a player that opposing teams will likely have to “scheme” towards as he progresses through his career. Chubb could have simply gone as the first defensive player in the draft if a team ahead of the Denver Broncos were in need of a defensive end-outside linebacker over the position they may have addressed. As a 21-year-old rookie who benefited and raised his draft stock by returning for his senior season, he’ll still have room to “grow” in physical stature as well as mentally over his first few seasons in the NFL. With the drive to be the best he can be, he will likely flourish to an upper level under the tutelage of fellow Denver Bronco star outside linebacker Von Miller. A more natural defensive end per college position he played his overall adjustment to a stand up outside linebacker will be a seamless transition with his natural abilities and instincts. A good candidate to win the Rookie Defensive Player MVP with a bright future as a Pro-Bowler.

The “Gut” Take: Chubb may have likely been more of a relevant player long term for our IDP purposes if he had been drafted to a team that he would have played in a 4 – 3 scheme as a defensive end or even possible in a 3 – 4 scheme base. But this article is about the potential for production by IDP rookies in 2018, so he makes the list despite not being designated favorably. As it is he will produce as long as there are no rookie “blues” of injuries in his transition to an outside linebacker. He is slated to be a starter from day one across from an outside linebacker that’ll demand more scheming by opposing offensive lines in Von Miller, for now. This relationship between Chubb and Miller will benefit each of them on the field as well. It is hard to suggest him as a designated linebacker for our starting lineups due to his position as an outside linebacker, which can be explained why HERE. But he is certainly due to produce one way or the other with some extra “upside” as a designated edge rusher with the potential to record the sacks that some fantasy football leagues may require. And we certainly shouldn’t disregard his potential at all of becoming the next best OLB either. Which could creep him up into a tier 2 linebacker range for our IDP lineups. This is highly unlikely his rookie season. But as many snaps this young man should play in 2018 he’ll produce enough to have made this list. If your league happens to make sacks scoring a more prime stat then he is well worth the gamble in 2018.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Ronnie Harrison

The “Brain” Take: Another one of those NFL ready Alabama products that happened to hurt his stock with a poor Pro Day 40 yard dash of 4.63 seconds and not running at the combine. On tape, he does show great makeup speed if caught out of position as a positive. His on-field coverage lacks a bit but doesn’t stand out as a concerning flaw. His aggressive approach to the game makes him relevant in any case. Pre-draft (Gurus) Scouts seemed to either love him or discard him as an overhyped rookie, but he has the ability to put himself in place to make the play with a “pop” to his tackling. He may not be as “polished” as player as desired, but with strong indications that his work ethic is at a high level it seems he has always managed to get things done at a high level. Any college athlete with his resume and able to commit to graduating a year early should not be dismissed as easily as some may have especially just over his 40 yard dash time. A 4.63 time is not actually slow per say, it just isn’t up to par this day and age with the prototype desired as a safety. If he was to add 25 lbs to his frame in muscle and mass he would have fit nicely as a linebacker prospect and the 4.63 wouldn’t have been as critical. He has character and the football intelligence to succeed in the NFL. There have been plenty of “fast” players drafted lacking those traits that have failed at the NFL level. Lucky for the Jaguars not all teams see it this way apparently.

Cleatgeeks.com has teamed with an IDP podcast that we believe our fans will find both entertaining and insightful. It is called the IDP Guys Podcast and you can listen to their work while you continue to read more sports stories here @cleatgeeks.

The “Gut” Take: Slotting Harrison in the 10th spot on the list for rookies to potentially produce in 2018 is a bit risky for our IDP purposes. The Jaguars had to be excited to see a talented player like Harrison sitting on the board at pick 93 and certainly couldn’t pass up on the best player available at the time. With free safety Tashaun Gipson and strong safety Barry Church already on the roster as the starting tandem it is unlikely in 2018 Harrison can be seen as straight out winning a starting role by week one of the season. Both Church and Gibson are playing at a high level that Harrison, no matter how good, won’t likely match and be able to unset them. But all is not lost for his chances to get on the field as a solid contributor in 2018. Harrison is one of those players that teams normally will find a way to get on the field one way or the other while playing their best players on the roster. It is a known and proven formula for winning to do so. Harrison is a natural fit as a strong safety to be utilized closer to the line of scrimmage. Hence a situation where we should see more three-safety packages out of the Jaguars if they do follow the best player on the field way of thinking. Blair Brown has recently been named or vying for the strongside linebacker position and is likely only going to be a two-down player. In passing situations, the three safety set that a lot of the NFL teams are implementing in recent years isn’t out of the question in getting Harrison on the field. His suggested potential as a low tier #2 DB in 2018 hinges on the health of an aging Barry Church or possible injury to any main defensive starter to be honest here. It is interesting that the Jaguars have a potential out after 2018 with Churches contract that would save them around $13 million the following two seasons if they were to release or trade him. So Harrison’s future and dynasty value here at the 10 spot shouldn’t be all that disappointing if he doesn’t produce as we would like to see for our IDP purposes in 2018. If he had landed on any other roster with less talented safeties we would have seen his name towards the top five on this list most likely. His potential is there for 2018 with upside, but there just has to be a couple things happen to make it become relevant at a higher level.

 

At the conclusion: So here are the final three of my top ten rookies to target for the potential to produce in 2018. The odds at this time it is not exactly a big secret to some that this list is what it is. But I do hope that it is helpful to those who may find the series of articles useful in some way. I do want to make a statement in case someone is wondering, I do know that there are a couple cornerbacks we may see produce at a decent level over a few of these listed players. Opposing quarterbacks will target them in their rookie season on purpose to see if a rookie mistake will be made if they are starters. But how I’m approaching this ranking is with a dynasty outlook as well. And I never suggest cornerback unless they are forced per league to be inserted in our lineups. Something I expressed in an article that hopefully, you may have explored in the Chubb portion of this article where it says “which can be explained more HERE.”. If I was to suggest a rookie cornerback it would likely be the Browns first overall pick Denzel Ward in case your wondering. In addition after Brady Chubb was selected by the Denver Broncos which will insert him as an outside linebacker we lost a likely defensive lineman to produce at a level that would warrant mentioning here in this series of articles. Again, if I was to suggest one I would likely have slotted in the Saints Rookie Marcus Davenport in the top fifteen if the list included cornerbacks and defensive lineman. The Saints traded up for him in the draft and all indications are he’ll be a week one starter. But let it be known it can be a tough position as a rookie to stand out and make a major impact no matter the draft status.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Five Year Rookie Success Rate

 

My suggested order for rookie IDPs off the board for potential production in 2018.  

  1. Tremaine Edmunds
  2. Roquan Smith
  3. Rashaan Evans
  4. Derwin James
  5. Minkah Fitzpatrick
  6. Darius Leonard
  7. Leighton Vander Esch
  8. Justin Reid
  9. Bradley Chubb
  10. Ronnie Harrison

Missed any of the ten? Check them all out and more HERE.

Thank you as always for reading and please feel free to locate me on Twitter for everything IDP @HBogart27.

This will be the final article Gary will write for @cleatgeeks. In parting he was professional, and therefore we wish him the very best in his future endevours and thank him for his content and his professionalism.

 

The IDP Geek Huddle: The “IDP Tipster” 6/10/18

“IDP TIPSTER”


The introduction to what should be an ongoing series as the off-season events unfold in the NFL is short and sweet. We are here to cover those under the radar “sleeper” or “flier” IDP players who may have something to offer us in 2018 and perhaps beyond. And any additional info that may be relevant for a winning edge. Remember that all bets are not locks and nothing is ever full proof, but when it comes to filling in the tail end of our rosters for IDP value we want to get a jump on the situations at hand as early as possible. Who knows maybe even jump on the info to bail on a few players at times. We will cover per case on each player at what level the situation is to the best of our knowledge. While keeping in mind we can not advise that a player already inserted with any worth on a roster be replaced at the early stages of these tips. So take heed how you approach this info. I’ll try to define things as the way they are, but don’t expect as deep of  “takes” as you might see normally in my other articles. The object here is to just get the player on our radars as they develop and then act accordingly.

Eagles Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill

FLIER APPROACHING SLEEPER: Eagles 2nd year LB Kamu Grugier-Hill is turning heads while running with the 1st team defense at mainly the Weakside LineBacker. To note, LB Nathan Gerry has also seen time with the starting unit as well. With Hicks and Graham nursing back from injuries the 2 youngsters have been getting those reps in OTAs and auditioning for the vacated weakside LB role that Kendricks had held. Fast fact on who may have an edge, Grugier-Hill was the player the Patriots tried to sneak onto the practice squad in 2016 and the Eagles snatched him up and never let him off the active roster. While Nathan Gerry was drafted by the Eagles the 6th in 2017, cut, sent to the practice squad and, finally, called back up to play special teams. Which LB should we think might have held more value? Don’t “take” this wrong, Gerry is firmly still on the radar as a flier, but per OTA reports Grugier-Hill has been the one making the plays and catching the attention of the coaches. Now we know that in a perfect world that the WLB spot for the Eagles isn’t normally a full-time position when Hicks isn’t hurt over the last couple of years. Something that helped keep Kendricks borderline relevant in that time span. But without going really deep here, Hicks has a hard time staying healthy, and some indications are that it could have been Grugier-Hill that would have prompted the Eagles to release Kendricks as well. And just because the Eagles haven’t been using the WLB full time with Kendricks, it doesn’t mean that they may not have wanted to. The weakside is a relevant LB on 99% of the 4 – 3 defensive schemed defenses in the NFL. And there is no reason to think that the Eagles DC Jim Schwartz, a former head coach who is famous for his type of 4-3 “wide” defense, doesn’t want his WLB to actually be on the field more. In five years in Detriot and one year in Buffalo, his WLBs were on the field as every-down players. There is some “upside” here with KGH if he wins the role. KGH is likely going undrafted in full redrafts and on the waiver wire in standard size leagues, do you have a hole to fill? possibly a “flier” 3 – 4 outside linebacker to drop? How about too many cornerbacks? According to KGH’s NFL.com combine report, there is a reason old Bill in New England took him as a compensatory pick late in the third round in 2016.

Bonus Flier: Keep tabs on Nathan Gerry as well. Again, Jordan Hicks has a hard time staying healthy. And when the pads come on all bets are off. It isn’t far-fetched we end up seeing both KGH and Gerry come into play. And Joe Walker is also in the wings recovering from his own injury and not entered the picture as of yet.

 

Chiefs Rookie Armani Watts

FLIER: We are going to list Chiefs 4th round safety Armani Watts as a flier with momentum. The Chiefs recently released Ron Parker and they weren’t too happy overall with Eric Berry’s replacement Daniel Sorenson by the end of the season as a full-time starter. Sorenson may have been IDP gold for us but for the Chiefs, his PFF grade of 40.7 (Poor) reflects his play on the field. All indications are they were surprised that Watts fell to the 4th round with Brett Veach himself saying:

“We didn’t anticipate Armani Watts falling that low” … “This guy’s a really good player and we had some big grades on this guy.”

Eric Berry will return from injury and will likely secure the free safety position for the Chiefs to try and keep the superstar away from the line of scrimmage and out of harm’s way more. And they are certainly not betting on Sorenson to make some great leap in his playing heading into his 5th season. So Watts has little to moderate competition to win the strong safety role if he can step up. From what is being stated they want him to succeed just as much as they know they need him to. He actually had positive grades with “upside” to become an instant starter or even an in-season starter option when it’s a matter of time Sorenson does falter. He does have some work to do to gain the Chiefs trust, but we need him firmly on our radar as his situation has “upside” as a potential IDP play. According to the current Rookie Draft ADP info on MyFantasyLeague.com (that I like to play on personally), he is going undrafted in standard size leagues. And is likely sitting on the waiver wire as you read this. As a Flier, he has one step heading to be a sleeper sooner than later.

Tipster: If there is an owner in your league(s) that may believe that Raiders Khalil Mack being switched back to a designated defensive end from last years outside linebacker, take advantage if possible. As an OLB he was basically a Tier 3 / Low Tier 2 in 2017. When designated as a defensive end he has always been Tier 1 DL player and normally an upper Tier 1 DL play every week.
Keep in mind that these articles may not always be “crisp” as we go, the object will be to get the info out ASAP and sometimes the formalities may be lacking. Especially when “in-season.”
know there are only two players and one I have been hinting on for a week or two on Twitter. It is early yet and if the players I tip-off to were always so easy to find we wouldn’t be gaining an edge to win by covering them. I do have another couple players coming out soon, so stay tuned as I gather up my info so I can “Tipster” on them with confidence.
Here is to hoping that something here gives you the winning edge. Please feel free to follow and contact me @HBogart27 on Twitter or email me at gmtvandyke@gmail.com titled “IDP Tipster.”  I would be happy to follow up on this and every article I write or just anything IDP. Thank you for reading.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Minkah Fitzpatrick / Darius Leonard / Leighton Vander Esch

Miami Dolphins Minkah Fitzpatrick

The “Brain” Take: Fitzpatrick is a highly aggressive and top-notch talent who will change the landscape of the Miami Dolphins deep secondary. With a high football I.Q. (Wonderlic score: 30), speed, versatility, and just as competitive as they come, the Dolphins may have found a challenger in the deep field to limit the Patriots more than they have ever been able to in the last 20 years. We simply do not have to bolster his “take” in this section any more than this. He is a complete package with a grand college career via the powerhouse of Alabama who produces ready-made NFL caliber IDP players. By all accounts, this rookie has just as good or better odds of living up to any rookie hype bestowed him in the 2018 draft process.

The “Gut” Take: The only thing limiting his IDP production is the fact he’ll be playing as the free safety on the same field as super-stud strong safety Reshad Jones. According to current OTA reports he has already shown that he has stepped up and by all means will live up to his billing. He has Pro-Bowl abilities with the heart and football pedigree to become a long-term IDP asset. If not for the fact he is going to be playing as the free safety instead as the strong safety we would have likely seen him listed in our top three for potential production in 2018. It won’t be tough for him to top the ceiling of potentially combined tackles suggested of 60, but additionally, something tells me that we will see a high level of playmaking ability stats like interceptions and such in 2018. If we are lucky and with as versatile as he is, they’ll give him some time rotating with Jones up close to the line of scrimmage in some packages giving him the opportunity to pad his tackle stats while giving the 30-year-old Jones a break here and there. Jones was just signed through 2021 in a huge payday, so unless they trade or release him at some point, Fitzpatrick’s dynasty production could be capped from what it actually could be for a few seasons. On any other team and in any other situation we may have seen him as a top-tier option in all of IDP overall real soon. Dare we say the next Neal and Collins clone? His football I.Q. and heart combined with his physical traits just may push him into that tier.

 

(Note: Tier Separation Here Between 1 thru 5 and 6 thru 10 At Odds of Succeeding In 2018)

 

Indianapolis Colts Darius Leonard

The “Brain” Take: Leonard is a high motor linebacker with outstanding technique who has extended starting experience at the college level. He is a product of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference out of South Carolina State that may find the level of competition in the NFL is something he’ll need to adjust to. Leonard did earn high marks overall in the draft assessments indicating his transition to the pros in time is likely. The draft status of being the Colts second pick and selected 36th overall should guarantee he is thrown into the “fire” and receive every opportunity to earn a role with the starting defensive unit.

The “Gut” Take: As of now and with OTAs underway I found it a little harder to insert him as the fifth rookie IDP off the board for potential production for stats in 2018, where I originally was inserting him. Currently, he is not participating in OTAs with an undisclosed injury dropping him to the sixth spot. There are no pending reports of surgery at this time of submitting this article so we still have to consider his situation as a positive one as of now. Other than his draft status by the Colts it’s simply boiling down to the lack of real competition he’ll face to earn a starting role with the current Colts depth chart. He’ll need to work on his aggression level and gain more strength and power to play with the big boys, but this should not hamper his outlook in 2018. Fellow inside linebacker Antonio Morrison was with the starting unit in 2017 but lacks the speed for coverage and earned a poor grade of 35.8 by ProFootballFocus.com. Reports currently have him practicing as the strongside linebacker in OTAs with the stating unit as the Colt’s switch from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 base in 2018. If this sticks he is likely to be slated for a 2 down role. Last years fifth round selection Anthony Walker is currently running as the middle linebacker with the first unit in OTAs. Walker earned a below average grade of 62.7 by PFF in his limited action of 115 snaps on defense in 2017. And newly signed Najee Goode who has been in the league for seven years and never earned a starting role is currently occupying Leonard’s likely position at weakside linebacker while he sits out. Goode, who played a whopping 200 snaps (sarcasm) with the Eagles last season, also earned a poor grade of 57.7 with PFF in 2017. There are a couple other rookies and veteran depth players, but on paper at a glance and current OTA reports, Goode, Walker, and Morrison seem to be the cream of the crop. If this undisclosed injury isn’t serious and Leonard can get on the field by the time summer camp starts the sky’s the limit for him to earn snaps with the starting unit. We may have a production by default situation or he may be the savior of the linebacker core, but either way, his potential situation for stacking the stat box has him firmly in our sights for 2018. The Colts could likely sign an upper free agent linebacker at this point and not affect Leonards potential if healthy.

 

Dallas Cowboys Leighton Vander Esch

The “Brain” Take: A very talented young man with one season as a full-time starter in 2017 at Boise State that dominated in the Mountain West Conference. He reportedly had the highest SPARQ score with a 96th-percentile among the (off the ball) inside linebacker class. He shows good coverage skills and sideline to sideline speed while being a sure tackler. Physically gifted with room to grow, he will likely blossom over the next few seasons as he fills out his frame.

The “Gut” Take: There are a couple reasons that Vander slides down on my off the board list for production in 2018. And out of all the “takes” so far I believe this will be my most unpopular take. But we have minor red flags that prohibit suggesting he is taken off the board over anyone list before him. First, we will start with what feels obvious. Even if he was selected at 19th overall and Dallas had an opening for a 3rd starting linebacker it does not mean his situation is as cut and dry as it looks. The Cowboys have Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, the latter spent his 2nd season in the league getting his legs back underneath him after missing his rookie season with a terrible ACL and MCL injury he endured in college. As of right now, Lee is not going anywhere and Smith still has his upside with one rebuild season in the NFL under his belt. Reports currently are that Smith is 100% at this time. The Cowboys did insert three safety sets more often in 2017 taking a linebacker off the field on passing downs. And indications are that it’ll likely be the case in 2018 as a lot of NFL teams follow the trend. Even with all those positives in the “Brain” take Vander is at a disadvantage at the pro level at the moment and among his fellow linebackers as a one-year starter from a non-powerhouse conference. He did have sideline to sideline speed and great coverage skills last year in college, but leading into my second red flag is the level of competition he faced in during the 2017 season. Let’s take a look at the Boise State 2017 schedule.

One has to keep in mind that none of those schools are what you would call powerhouses at the moment. Could Vander had been a man amongst boys?

For those out there that love Vander, don’t take this wrong. I think dynasty wise he is a great rookie to pick up. But the bottom line is he can’t be suggested any higher than 7th off the board for the potential of production in IDP in 2018. In other words, we need to see he can beat out Smith for an every-down role and then that he can be a solid linebacker for our IDP purposes. That might be tough for a rookie that’s likely slated for a 2 down role with one year as a full-time starter out of the Mountain West Conference. Unless Smith completely falters or gets hurt or Lee goes down, I don’t think we can automatically insert Vander as a full-time player with the skillset at the pro level yet to risk he’ll produce the numbers before anyone above him on this list. As a fantasy owner of his, we should be pleased if he surpassed the suggested potential combine tackle floor of 60. We’ll just leave this fact-based article at the end as to why his odds are what we should be giving him on top of what has been stated. I’d personally rather be 100% wrong here in 2018 over risking the suggestion he’ll dominate and win fantasy IDP owners league championships in 2018. The situation is just not as appealing as his selection at 19th overall could indicate. Unlike the linebackers listed above Vander, he has real competition for playing time, not just his likely starting role.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Five Year Rookie Success Rate

 

 

My suggested order for rookie IDPs off the board for potential production in 2018.  

  1. Tremaine Edmunds
  2. Roquan Smith
  3. Rashaan Evans
  4. Derwin James
  5. Minkah Fitzpatrick
  6. Darius Leonard
  7. Leighton Vander Esch
  8. (soon)
  9. (soon)
  10. (soon)

Missed any of the ten? Check them all out and more HERE.

Thanks as always for reading and please feel free to locate me on Twitter for everything IDP @HBogart27.

 

 

The IDP Geek Huddle: Derwin James

Los Angeles Chargers Derwin James

Drafted: 17th overall

Team Defense: 4-3 Base

State of Team’s Offence: Playoff Caliber 

Rookie Tier: #1

Rookie IDP Draft: Wave #1

All IDP Position Draft: Late Wave #2

Potential 2018 Position Tier: Upper #2

Position Competition Level: NONE

Potential 2018 Combined Tackle Range:60-90

Play Making Ability Potential: High

Dynasty Value: High

 

Why he has the potential to succeed at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Draft Status.
  2. Skillset.
  3. Physical traits.
  4. Defensive Coordinator Ideology.
  5. Mental Approach.

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Why he may not reach his potential at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Lack of experience declaring as a sophomore.
  2. A tendency to absorb tackles rather than attacking.
  3. In coverage can be a “step” slow at times.
  4. Medical red flag with previous ACL injury
  5. Unlikely situation the defensive coordinator does not play to his strengths.

 

The “Brain” Take:

If Derwin James had stayed in college at least one more season he would have been a top-five prospect in the 2019 rookie class and likely picked as one. Everything listed in the “Why he may not reach his potential at the pro level in 2018” should not affect his opportunity he’ll be given to succeed his rookie season. Until he is “coached up” and those listed items are addressed he will rely on his strong physical and mental traits and do well to get by. The ACL injury is a bit of a concern, but no more of a concern than any player playing in the NFL. His supporting cast of fellow defensive backs is at a high level which in turn he’ll receive top-notch information on the field of play as games unfold. Instead of him being relied on and under pressure to perform and turn the secondary around he’ll have the luxury of making rookie mistakes without glaring criticism. Defensive coordinator Gus Brady has a large amount of success over the years in getting the most out of his safeties or in general his defensive backs as a top defensive mind in the NFL. There were two examples of this last season. One, he took fifth-round selection Desmond King and his potential and made him relevant. He also used veteran special teams ace Adrian Phillips in a hybrid role to reduce the impact of the fact that they had linebacker problems with some success. We should expect similar to better results out of the way he uses James in 2018.

The “Gut” Take:

My gut is running side by side with the brain here. As long as James stays healthy he’ll be inserted at the worst as the full time free safety. His best-case scenario would be to see him inserted as the strong safety for our IDP purposes. And that isn’t as far-fetched as one could envision here. Jahleel Addae is an above average strong safety, but not without a couple of issues. One could be seen as his physical stature of 5’ 10” and 195 lbs versus James at 6’ 3” and 211 pounds. Would James have a better mass to play up on the line to shed blocks? Addae has benefited from a weak linebacker core in front of him over the last couple of seasons resulting in racking up combined tackles. But overall the playmaking stats are average overall. In the last three seasons he has only recorded 1.5 sacks, 1 interception that happen to go for a touchdown, and 15 passes defended. Those are nowhere near outstanding stats as a playmaker. Not to mention the amount of injuries he has had. 2017 was his first in three seasons to play a complete schedule. Out of a possible 48 games over three seasons he has managed to be healthy for 37 of them, and that is less “give” than “take” because those include the games he was injured in. This is likely due to his physical stature we mentioned above. Strong safeties are often caught up in the wash near the line with the big guys on the field in harm’s way. Another issue is Addae’s coverage skills, 15 passes defended and 1 interception does not scream top notch either. The point here is that Addae can be outplayed by James if James is up to the task. The strong safety position is much more friendly for those tackle opportunities over the free safety in the deep field. Especially when there are talents at the cornerback position like the Chargers have in Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett (when healthy), Desmond King, and even Trevor Williams (depth player) who don’t let plays get by them as often. We want James at strong safety in 2018 for our best IDP results. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll excel at free safety also, but fingers crossed we at least see him alternating with Addae in certain situations putting James closer to the line of scrimmage. There is also another huge factor that should benefit James in 2018 as a defensive back in IDP land. The Chargers linebacker core is average at best. In my opinion it is actually below average. In 2017 players did not step up as they should have in the 4-3 scheme. And injuries with what talent they did have remained a problem. Could we possibly see James used as a weakside linebacker as defensive back Adrian Phillips was last season? We can only dream that would play out in our favor. With the Chargers not stunning us with selecting a well-known linebacker in the draft or making any current move to add a known stud to the group, this is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Bradly tried to do it with Phillips out of necessity last season, and fortunately, that necessity on paper has not changed much at this time. In the end, we could see James easily top his floor potential combined tackle range if things play out in our favor as fantasy football owners and he lands the strong safety role. If not we may be looking at the lower floor of his potential combined tackles as a free safety with all that talent around him in the secondary. It should not shock us if he reached lower tier 1 however if we are lucky. that tier one, of course, would be among the defensive backs position, to reach an overall IDP tier one would like striking gold outside your back door. Possible? Yes! Likely? No.

 

Personal note: The only reason James was 4th and not higher at this point was based of the potential results by position played. This can be explained more HERE and why. I also need to verify how I approach any excitement on “takes” on rookies. I recently published the following short fact-finding article, please be sure to check it out. Just a simple click on the title will shock most in finding out the odds.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Five Year Rookie Success Rate

 

My suggested order for rookie IDPs off the board for potential production in 2018.  

  1. Tremaine Edmunds
  2. Roquan Smith
  3. Rashaan Evans
  4. Derwin James
  5. (soon)
  6. (soon)
  7. (soon)
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

Missed any of the ten? Check them all out and more HERE.

Thanks as always for reading and please feel free to locate me on Twitter for everything IDP @HBogart27.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Five Year Rookie Success Rate

By The Numbers

 

 

Rookie IDP overall who have managed to reach the top 64 in combined tackles according to NFL.com end of the year statistics in their rookie season. This is an all position and all player available ranking. Tiers may vary, but I choose to use these tiers for a floor with “standard” size leagues of 10 – 14 teams and with 6 – 8 IDPs per starting lineup.

Tier 1 = Ranked 1 – 16  

Tier 2 = Ranked 17 – 32

Tier 3 = Ranked 33 – 48

Tier 4 = Ranked 49 – 64

The Last Five Seasons

2013 IDPs drafted: 51 DL – 25 LB – 52 DB (128)

Tier 1: WLB Kiko Alonso ranked 3rd

Tier 2: WLB Alec Ogletree ranked 25th

Tier 3: S Jonathan Cyprien ranked 40th

Tier 4: N/A

Total: 4 out of 128 (3.12%)

2014 IDPs drafted: 42 DL – 34 LB – 53 DB (129)

Tier 1: ILB C.J. Mosley ranked 7th

Tier 2: W/MLB Preston Brown ranked 23rd

Tier 2: ILB Chris Borland ranked 27th

Tier 3: WLB Telvin Smith ranked 33rd

Tier 4: S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix ranked 51st

Total: 5 out of 129 (3.8%)

2015 IDPs drafted: 43 DL – 36 LB – 46 DB (125)

Tier 1: N/A

Tier 2: MLB Stephone Anthony ranked 20th (tied)

Tier 2: S Landon Collins ranked 20th (tied)

Tier 3: MLB Kwon Alexander ranked 44th

Tier 3: MLB Eric Kendricks ranked 45th

Tier 4: N/A

Total: 4 out of 125 (3.2%)

2016 IDPs drafted: 42 DL – 34 LB – 51 DB (127)

Tier 1: N/A

Tier 2: MLB Deion Jones ranked 25th

Tier 2: S Keanu Neal ranked 26th

Tier 3: N/A

Tier 4: CB Daryl Worley ranked 51st

Tier 4: S Vonn Bell ranked 53rd

Total: 4 out of 127 (3.1%)

2017 IDPs drafted:  42 DL – 32 LB – 56 DB (130)

Tier 1: N/A

Tier 2: MLB Jarrard Davis ranked 28th

Tier 2: I/OLB Zach Cunningham ranked 38th

Tier 3: N/A

Tier 4: S Jamal Adams ranked 61st

Total: 3 out of 130 (3.9%)

Grand Totals For Last Five Seasons.

Total IDP Drafted: 639

Total Rookies Reaching Tier 1 – 4: 20

Grand Total Percentage: 3.129%

3.129%!

Don’t depend on hyped rookies to assist you to win in his first season, no matter the hype!

 

Personal Note: This is why I don’t like ranking rookies in my upper tiers when ranking IDPs. This is also why we should never depend on a rookie for our starting lineups. There are too many factors that can play out from what can be rookies being injury prone to their acclimation to the pro-level of the NFL. You may find that I support or hype a rookie from time to time. Please don’t ever take that as more than me promoting at a “rookie level.” They are great “sleepers” or “fliers” and as long as we approach it this way we will not be disappointed but elated when they do succeed. This is why I personally target second thru fourth-year players, I’ll pay the price after they show us something. And there is nothing better or safer to me personally than a veteran who has displayed his talents for at least a couple seasons. Being Consistent matters, period.

 

*** Disclaimer: This info was calculated by observation, allow a margin of error. I am only human.

 

Thank you again for reading and please feel free to find me on Twitter @HBogart27 for everything IDP.

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