IDP Start/Sit: Week 3

Updated: September 24th 2022

Welcome to week 3! Another fun week of fantasy football, but more fun if you are living that IDP fantasy life! One more week of data, a week to help establish real/true trends, and more film to interpret for our next set of decisions. As always, a reminder of what this article is here for,is to help you identify those truly start-worthy players who might be more on the fringe of the 2nd or 3rd or even 4th tier of their IDP position groups (based on FantasyPros weekly rankings) but have the right situation to be a start-able asset for each given week (or maybe more!). The layout of this series will focus on DL, LB, and DB position groups, however, I will try to get some nuggets in there for those “True Position” leagues that get down with DT and CB requirements. Additionally, where I can find the long-term value, we will also call that out to help you with some of that season-long planning.

As a quick refresher too, here were week two’s recommendations and how the “advice” went. Happy with my all sits, the Titans defense disappointed for me this week. Expected greater work from the key players in that front 7.
DL:
Start: Jeffery Simmons (1 PD)


Sit: Khalil Mack (.5 sack, 1 solo, 1 assist)


LB:

Start: David Long Jr. (1 solo, 1 assist)

Sit (Sell): Kamu Grugier-Hill (3 solo, 2 assist)

 

DB:
Start: Kyler Gordon (3 solos, 3 assist, 1 PD)

Sit: Jevon Holland (2 solos, 8 return yards)

 

START: Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs, DL33

The new look Kansas City Chiefs are looking strong at 2-0 and a large part of this is thanks to the play of their defense as well. And at the core of the front 7 is Chris Jones, delivering strong performances for his team and for IDP fantasy. As such, he is a strong value start at DL33 from Fantasy Pros IDP week 3 rankings. He is checking those preliminary boxes for us in utilization (70%+ snap count through 2 weeks) and showing a top-end PFF pass-rush grade of 90+ as well.

What does this mean for week 3’s matchup? The Chiefs travel to Indianapolis and they struggled against a decent unit last week in the Jaguars and the Colts defense has looked weak so far this year and the Chiefs offense could turn this into a negative game script very quickly. Which means this front 7 can really pin its ears back and get after a very immobile Matt Ryan. Pair this with a Colts offensive line that has been bottom half of the league so far this year with Jones’ 17% pressure rate, we have a very strong path for Jones to continue adding pressure and likely converting a sack or two!

Jones is an easy DL2 this week and a must start in DT required leagues.

SIT: Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints, DL23

Marcus Davenport came on strong at the end of 2021 and was really starting to get people to believe in his 1st round draft capital and what he could be for the Saints as a premier edge rusher as Cameron Jordan is reaching the end of his career. However, his start to this season has been rather pedestrian, at best. Davenport has had slightly above average snap counts at around 60% of his snaps but he has delivered little excitement in the pass-rush department with a 6% pressure rate! He would need to be converting almost every pressure at that rate to be delivering consistent IDP value.

With a rough start, week 3 brings in the Carolina Panthers and some would say this would be the salve to what ails Davenport. However, I am predicting a shift in the Panthers focus and getting CMC more involved as he has shown the ability to be involved and gain further confidence in his ability to stay on the field. Along with the fact that many believe Matt Rhule is playing for his job at this point, and CMC sounds like a better bet than Baker Mayfield, in one man’s humble opinion. And if this is the case, Davenport has struggled to deliver in the run game as well this year, leading to just an overall disappointing IDP week.

START: Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers, LB23

Fred Warner has been an IDP stalwart for the last 4 seasons since coming into the league. Now, after two slow weeks to start his 2022 campaign, consensus ranks has him at LB23 this week! The 49ers have run a crazy low number of plays on defense at 53.5 per game over the last two weeks. Those are numbers that just aren’t realistic to last over the entirety of the season. On a 17 game pace, that would leave him almost 100 snaps lower than some of his 16 game seasons in terms of total snaps played. He has had some below average tackle efficiency which can be expected to happen at times, so some positive regression there, with increased overall snaps means stronger numbers are very likely in the future for Warner.

The Broncos have average around 65 snaps per game as an offense as well, so this should be a return to the norm for the 49ers defense and Warner is an asset who has proven year in and year out that he can deliver, just look at this IDP resume:

  • 79+ solo tackles every year
  • 115+ total tackles every year
  • 22+ TFLs over the last 4 years
  • 12 combined FF/FR over the last 4 years

All this to say, if anyone is out on Warner, buy the dip and ride the wave of success that should follow shortly after.

SIT: Jerome Baker, Miami Dolphins, LB27

Jerome Baker is getting full 100% snap count which is not always easy to find with any LB, so if he is getting that kind of usage, why would we want to be looking at sitting him them? Alignment. Week 1 he spent about 17% of his snaps on the defensive line rushing the passer and in week 2, that jumped way up to 53%. This utilization is a scary trend for Baker and if it continues or stays anywhere near that 50%. This has already shown up in his first two weeks performance with 7 total tackles between both and also only delivered 1 total pressure with all these pass rush attempts. This is a very-low 6% pressure rate and he hasn’t converted anything into further IDP production either.

Now for week 3, we see the Dolphins take on the Buffalo Bills and this is not the team a pass rushing LB is going to right their ship. Baker might correct course here soon, but this week is not the one to do. With only 3 sacks allowed in the first two games, that is a big ask for Baker to be the one to come up with it with previous lack of success.

START: Terrell Edmunds, Pittsburgh Steelers, DB34

Terrell Edmunds is easily overshadowed by the other safety in Pittsburgh in Minkah Fitzpatrick. Minkah is out there breaking all logic in how deep safeties have historically produced IDP with crazy tackle numbers giving safe weekly floors with high-level play-making that delivers week winning performances. While all this is happening, Edmunds is quietly delivering success while getting the ideal utilization for a safety. He has gotten 100% of the defensive snaps while also playing 58% of his snaps inside the sweet spot!!!

With a tough divisional matchup in the Cleveland Browns which have been low-scoring games, and you have seen Cleveland continue to rely on their running game. With that consideration, these sweet spot snaps will become even more valuable. Edmunds is a strong DB2 this week and might be a candidate to watch for season-long  value as well.

SIT: Jonathan Owners, Houston Texans, DB26

Jonathan Owners has been a pleasant surprise to start this season. However, I am guessing most people have not played him much this season unless in a super deep league. He has put up an astounding 25 tackles through the first two games as well as a pass defensed. This is super impressive and why wouldn’t we want this in our lineup?!? Because he has played a ludicrous 81 snaps per game so far this year! OK, well, the Texans defense stinks, right? So they will keep getting more snaps, right? Enter the Chicago Bears. They have thrown 28 passes through 2 games this year and run the 2nd least amount of plays in 97 total plays.

Something has to give in this situation, and Jonathan Owens has played solidly with PFF grades around 63 for the season, but if I had to pick a side, I would lean away from the lack of previous production from Owens and the inflated opportunities about to come crashing back down this week against the Bears.

More Analysis by Jake

IDP Start/Sit: Week 2

Updated: September 16th 2022

It is week 2 of the NFL season! We now have a full game of “real” NFL football and data points to analyze and help guide our decision-making, but before we jump into this, a friendly reminder of what I am trying to do here. This article aims to help you identify those truly start-worthy players who might be more on the fringe of the 2nd or 3rd or even 4th tier of their IDP position groups (based on FantasyPros weekly rankings) but have the right situation to be a startable asset for each given week (or maybe more!). The layout of this series will focus on DL, LB, and DB position groups, however, I will try to get some nuggets in there for those “True Position” leagues that get down with DT and CB requirements. Additionally, where I can find the long-term value, we will also call that out to help you with some of that season-long planning.

As a quick refresher too, here were last week’s recommendations:
DL: Start Danielle Hunter. Sit Sam Hubbard
LB: Start Isaiah Simmons. Sit Anthony Walker Jr.
DB: Start Kyler Gordon. Sit (Fade) Jeremey Chinn

START: Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee Titans, DL27

Jeffery Simmons had a standout first week, and generally speaking, you don’t want to chase box scores. However, Simmons supports his outcomes with some strong analytics. There are things that we have talked about needing from your defensive linemen to support the most likely successful outcomes for IDP assets. He meets the most basic foundation with a strong snap count at 87% (52 snaps in week 1) and along with that, strong pass-rush metrics that indicate continued success. His 2 sacks, 6 tackles, and a forced fumble were a strong week 1, but his strong performance should just be the beginning. He posted a pass rush grade of 90+ (via PFF) and an elite 21.4% pass rush win rate!

These indicators show us that he should continue to be a successful IDP contributor. Simmons as a DL27 this week is a crime and should be a candidate for trade target to pursue long-term if you don’t already have him on your roster. Tennessee’s offense looks like a shell of last year’s team, they will lean into this defense and Simmons looks to be the leader of it. Buy in now!

SIT: Khalil Mack, Los Angeles Chargers, DL18

The ‘Mack Attack’ is back! Khalil Mack looked like prime Mack and me having him in the ‘Sit’ category probably has you wondering, what the heck am I talking about? Mack posted strong snap counts, a solid pass-rush win rate at 14.2%, and a very good PFF pash-rush grade of 79. So let’s cut to the point. These numbers came from the matchup with a bottom-third-rated offensive line in the Las Vegas Raiders. What I believe I saw was over-inflated production due to that favorable matchup. Mack is a solid contributor and in a much stronger defense than he has played with for the last few years in Chicago, and as such his production week-to-week will fluctuate more significantly. Chasing his high-weeks in managed lineups will be tricky, but a game against Kansas City and an offense with Mahomes that will find a way to slow down this pass rush with a Chiefs offensive line that now boosts itself as one of its strengths.

START: David Long, Tennessee Titans, LB16

David Long is shaping up to be a top 12-15 LB for the remainder of the season. Long showed flashes last season and now he is getting the chance to be the lead guy in Tennessee and it is paying off. He saw the field for 100% of the snaps (60 total in week 1) and he was able to be efficient with the snaps he was given. 8 tackles on 60 snaps equates to a tackle efficiency of 13.3%. This is slightly above average for LBs as it tends to float around 12% which is positive for his season-long productivity. He also had 3 missed tackles in week 1, both concerning as that is a bit high, but also exciting because there are more opportunities to rack up the production. This makes Long a great weekly starter in its own rights, but now combine that with the upside he showed in pass-rush, 5 pressures.

For this week he should see the tackle floor increase, as well as Josh Allen, has consistently funneled targets into the middle of the field in week 1 and we can see those right into the heart of David Long and his efforts making him a top 10 play this week.

SIT (SELL): Kamu Grugier-Hill, Houston Texans, LB4

Kamu Grugier-Hill absolutely balled out for IDP in week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts with an absurd 18 tackles (14 solo! and 4 assisted) along with a pass defensed. He is played as a true 3-down LB with 100% snaps of a ridiculous 92 SNAPS! This was also an, in my opinion, an unsustainable 19.5% tackle efficiency. He is still a very viable LB to play week in and week out, however, the LB4 ranking of Grugier-Hill for week 2 feels like a strong over-correction. 92 snaps is close to a 50% more than what you would expect in an average NFL game for defensive snaps, so paired with reduced snap and unsustainable tackle efficiency, now is the time to sell this belief that he is a top 5 IDP LB, especially in dynasty.

He was also in a very positive matchup against the Colts who focused heavily on the utilization of Jonathan Taylor which was very friendly to the Texans Cover 2 defense and Matt Ryan’s passing attack that focused on shorter to intermediate targets. With a matchup in week 2 against the Broncos, I believe we will see Russell Wilson actually begin to attack downfield versus the dump-off game we saw on Monday.

And the cherry on-top, Kamu is racking up IDP stats, however, his PFF grade leaves a ton to be desired (37.4 overall, ouch!) which for a Texans team that doesn’t seem to be likely competing for a playoff spot would have every reason to pull an underperformer and give a 3rd round rookie LB a chance to prove themself at some point this season too (Christian Harris anyone?). Along with the face that Grugier-Hill is in the final year of his contract too.

All this to say, sell high!

START: Jaquan Brisker, Chicago Bears, DB29

If you haven’t guess the theme here for people we want to have, let’s start with the full-time player for Brisker at 100% of the 68 snaps for the Chicago Bears. But for the secondary, we need those snaps and we need the ideal alignment which is in that “sweet spot” (21 box, 4 slot, 5 DL) for a total of 30 snaps there, for a very strong 44% there.

Now, this didn’t equate to top-tier IDP success with 4 solo tackles, 1 TFL, FR, but he showed to be around the ball consistently. Now looking forward to week 2, the Green Bay Packers will refocus on their run game with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to control the game, coach La Fleur has stated as much. But with more opportunities in the run game, will come more opportunities for people playing at or near the line of scrimmage to make more plays… enter, Brisker! Game script leans heavily towards Brisker getting these chances, making him a clear DB2 for this week.

SIT: Jevon Holland, Miami Dolphins, DB22

Jevon Holland had a standout rookie year and respectable week 1 for the Dolphins against the Patriots. He was only able to deliver 3 tackles but had the rest of his day propped up by an interception which is a bet I am not willing to place week in and week out. Holland saw the full complement of snaps, 100% of the 57 snaps which is a great baseline to IDP relevance. However, Holland took 45 of those 57 at deep safety which are some of the least valuable IDP aligned snap we can get.

Week 2 Miami has the Ravens coming to town and their pass-to-rush ratio is close to 50% and that was with a depleted and inefficient backfield. If they can find any support with more talent in their backfield from J.K. Dobbins or the recently acquired Kenyan Drake gets more comfortable with the team, you should see even more plays at or around the line of scrimmage in this game, devaluing those deep snaps for IDP. Holland is a talented football player and play-maker, but for IDP, he is someone we might want to find a better DB2 option.

More Analysis by Jake

IDP Sit/Start: Week 1

Updated: September 16th 2022

Welcome to my IDP Sit/Start Article for the 2022 NFL season. This article aims to help you identify those truly start-worthy players who might be more on the fringe of the 2nd or 3rd or even 4th tier of the position groups (based on FantasyPros weekly rankings) but have the right situation to be a startable asset for each given week. The layout of this series will focus on DL, LB, and DB position groups, however, I will try to get some nuggets in there for those “True Position” leagues that get down with DT and CB requirements! Additionally, where I can find the long-term value, we will also call that out to help you with some of that season-long planning.

Let’s get to it now that you know what I am trying to do!

START: Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings, DL19

Danielle Hunter has that injury-prone label hanging over his head after back-to-back years of lost seasons (pectoral muscle in 2021, neck in 2020). This is scaring people off from what I strongly believe Danielle Hunter to be, and that is at tier 1 DL for IDP fantasy football. He meets the prerequisites of having pass rush win rates and pressures per game at elite levels when on the field. Secondly, throughout his career he has consistently seen around 80% of the defensive snaps each game and season and nothing has shown us that they are planning to bring that number down. Combine those points with the fact that Hunter is finally paired with another strong pass-rushing partner in offseason signing, Za’Darius Smith, Hunter has a path for success that should make him an every-week starter with top 8 DL upside for the entire season.

SIT: Sam Hubbard, Cincinnati Bengals, DL16

Sam Hubbard had a career year last season, in terms of sacks with 9 (tied career best), tackles at 62 (tied 2nd best), TFLs at 12 (career high), and QB hits with 17 (career high). These are strong numbers for where Hubbard was drafted last year and his perceived value. However, he did this on his highest snap total ever as well. His overall efficiency saw a drop but he delivered on volume. I am sure this is confusing at first because you are asking yourself, “Doesn’t Jake always say to chase volume for IDP?” And you would be right in every case. Volume is the first key to success for an IDP fantasy asset. The problem is, that volume came in what seemed more of a necessity than a desire. Hubbard and Hendrickson saw the vast majority of snaps as Joseph Ossai went down early last season. Ossai was an early round 3 pick (69th overall) and in the preseason, the Bengals were clearly showing signs of him being a key contributor. Once he went down, the Bengals didn’t have the talent or depth to replace that and just rode Hubbard and Hendrickson. With a full season to recover and prepare, Ossai will see an increased role which means a reduced snap count for Hubbard and Hendrickson. This means if you are looking for that high-end DL2 value, you are hoping he improves efficiency which is the less likely outcome.

START: Isaiah Simmons, Arizona Cardinals, LB26

Isaiah Simmons has had an interesting path to his current situation as it exists today. He was a top 10 draft pick (8th overall, 2020) but found himself on the wrong end of the snap counts (376, 34%) and given praise coming into the season and the increased utilization in other spots on the field, Simmons is looking like the key piece of this defense that he was (presumably) drafted to be. He spent time working with the safeties this offseason and he was recently named the defensive play-caller (given the green dot) for week 1. This aligns with his increased usage last season (1,005 and 94%) and the departure of other key defensive pieces in Jordan Hicks and Chandler Jones.

Right, wrong, or indifferent on how we got to this point, but we are here, and that place is “Success-town”, population Isaiah Simmons. I am sure there are plenty of people who held on tight to Simmons and always had the belief. Others though were most likely scared off from the low utilization, the lack of responsibility given, and even offseason talks that Jalen Thompson (Cardinals’ safety) would be the defensive play-caller this year. To those people I say, now is the time to get Simmons into your starting lineups! His talent, utilization, and opportunities are going to meet in a perfect storm, giving you a top end LB play this week and probably most of this season.

SIT: Anthony Walker Jr., Cleveland Browns, LB27

Going back-to-back in the FantasyPros rankings after Simmons is Anthony Walker Jr., and even though it is only one spot behind him, I would move Anthony Walker even further down that list. The primary reason for this? He is not even the best LB on his team… he might not even be in the top 2 for some people, and that is the case for me. I have him behind Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Jacob Phillips as LB3. This LB room ambiguity was not well-known in Cleveland due to other conversations in Cleveland (starting QB anyone?). There has been a some waffling on the green dot wearer for week 1 and for the season.

With so many things in the way of Walker succeeding and NFL defenses running almost no 3 LB sets to try and “guarantee” that Walker gets the snaps needed to be relevant, I am not rolling the dice on Walker of all people in that LB room. For me, it is JOK or pass. And I would rather pursue other 3-down LBs on other teams that give a better upside overall.

START: Kyler Gordon, Chicago Bears, Unranked

I am getting super deep on this one, but am a big believer in the slot role in Matt Eberflus led defenses. Kenny Moore has shown with the physical toolsets, the right coaching, and the opportunity a cornerback can be relevant. With Matt Eberflus taking over in Chicago, Kyler’s high draft capital and strong RAS, and him taking the lead on the slot role, all things are pointing up for Kyler Gordon!

Kyler Gordon to me is a player that will see the valuable snaps on the field as he was announced as the starter in the slot position and has taken most of his snaps there in the last two preseason games. The presumed microcosm of all of this, his first snap from the slot starting in preseason week 2, Eberflus blitze Gordon from the slot. In my opinion, that is just the beginning for him. With him taking the bulk (if not all) of his snaps so close to the ball and line of scrimmage, he has what we look for in DBs even but moreso for those leagues that require CBs. Also, historically rookie cornerbacks tend to see a strong number of targets against them that keep the floor and value safe for Kyler as well. He is basically free at this point and I am picking up all the shares of Kyler everywhere I can.

SIT (Fade or Trade): Jeremy Chinn, Carolina Panthers, DB5

So this is tough one to treat as a true “sit”. If you spent the required draft capital to require Chinn, it may be hard to actual have Chinn on your bench come week 1 this season. However, let’s just look at what we can probably more realistically do with Chinn, and that is trade him for a “tier down” at DB and maybe something more in another player or draft capital. But why would you get rid of someone from your roster that is a consensus top 5 DB (redraft and dynasty)?

It breaks down to two key components and one consideration. The first being the fact that Chinn has thrived almost exclusively on his ability to rack up tackles while taking the bulk of his snaps in the “Sweet Spot” (Box, Slot, DL) and his production comes heavily from his tackle production. He has not show big-play tendencies from his first two seasons combined:

  • 2 sacks
  • 2 interceptions
  • 3 fumbles (2 forced, 1 recovered)
  • 10 passes defensed
  • 8 TFLs
  • 10 QB hits

And this preseason he has taken 8 snaps in the “Sweet Spot” and 23 at free safety with new teammate, Xavier Woods, taking the bulk of those valuable snaps while they were both on the field. Knowing the usage looking like this and his past success heavily predicated on tackles (which are more easily achieved from the “Sweet Spot”), getting out on Jeremy Chinn now would be the best chance to maximize his value before it starts to potentially shift. Is this to say that if Chinn’s positional play shifts to a deep safety role he can’t produce? No, we have seen others do this; Justin Simmons and Minkah Fitzpatrick are great examples, but also tend to be the outliers. Chinn is good, but his value might be at his highest it will ever be right now, so now is the time to sell!

More Analysis by Jake

Auction Strategies from Jake

Updated: August 8th 2022

Welcome to my off-season series, but today we are going to take a step away from the focus on IDP and take a more macro approach to one of the core tenants of Reality Sports Online’s fantasy platform. This is the Free Agency period (auction draft w/ contracts). For those who have completed one (or multiple) you understand how exciting and satisfying of an experience it is. However, I want to help you not just have a blast (which you will!) but go over some thought exercises to help you find the highest level of success for you and your teams.

When finding success, it breaks down to pre-draft preparation and draft mental preparedness. Before you even step into the Free Agency room, there is a handful of things we should break down:

  • Know your league and its settings, I can’t stress this one enough and I know I have said it multiple times prior to this as well (yes, it is that important)
    • Starters, bench, extensions, the franchise tag
  • Know where you want to go with your roster but also know (or estimate) where your league mates want to go with their roster
  • Build your free agency pool of players into tiers, and throw ADP out the window! (Not entirely, it has some value, but it shouldn’t be your guiding light)
  • Understand NFL players’ contract situations and age cliffs for positions

Alright, once we have covered all these things about how to prepare for the draft, we can jump into what we want or need to do while we are in the middle of the draft:

  • Pay attention to your tiers and who is left in them
  • Watch what positions your league-mates are bidding heavily on
  • Know your limits for players and positions and be aggressive pursuing them
  • There is most certainly a mental aspect to this, be ready

Time to dig into these thoughts a little bit more!

KNOW YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS
This is straightforward, but make sure you consider scoring for each individual position. Once you understand the scoring potential of that position, it will allow you to know its replaceability. This is most apparent and easily understood when you look at a Super-Flex style league versus a 1-QB league. The ability to replace the position is much more difficult now because everyone is trying to roster 2-3 QBs minimum. This idea is the same across all your positions and roster.

Make sure you know what your contract offerings look like! I have missed out on using a 4-year contract before… it sucks! Same for extensions and franchise tags, knowing you have these in your back pocket means you can possibly keep that critical piece of your roster or that unsuspecting breakout. As much as you don’t like to count on the unknown, you will most likely have a piece on your roster that outperforms expectations, and knowing you have the means to control is key to building the rest of your roster.

KNOW YOUR ROSTER, AND YOUR LEAGUE MATES’

You need to understand the expectations of your roster going into the draft. I am sure it is safe to assume you made the best moves leading into the draft, but now is the time to make your big moves. And to make sure you make the best possible moves; know who will be available for your free agency. You do get a finalized few of the available free agents 72 hours prior to the start of your RSO auction draft. But you can start taking a look at that ahead of time to prepare better. Developing this list of available players will help you in your preparation for these players. Whether that is listening for these players on your favorite podcasts or following your top analysts on Twitter. Additionally, you want to try and highlight the positions that your fellow GM’s might target. It is obviously only a best estimate but having a grasp of where you think your opponents will go gives you a gauge on how aggressive you might need to be.

BUILD YOUR TIERS

Now that you know your roster and that of your league mates, let’s build that player pool into tiers. My recommendation is that you have your tiers broken down into what you deem equal levels of performance. So in my main league this off-season, Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, and Christian McCaffery are all available during the free agent auction. For me, these are the top tier, the players who can put together week-changing performances and I would be happy to put them out there as my RB1 week-in and week-out. From there, moved into the next tier of running backs and for me, those were the ones I have a current comfort with them be a starter every week, but they become more consistent floor plays and my roster would need to produce points at other positions. And I worked through this process for all positions of need to build out my tiers.

NFL PLAYER CONTRACTS AND AGE CLIFFS

This one is more subjective but is an exercise I still have found helpful. Knowing an NFL player’s contract situation helps you understand how long you may want to commit to their situation or if you want to roll the dice on a change of scenery. Let’s take a look at two WR’s from Kansas City and assume they are available in your league for free agency. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Juju Smith-Schuster. MVS just signed a 3 year contract in an offense that has stability at QB and head coach. Looking at his specific contract, there seems to be an easy out in year 3 and possibly year 2. He is currently 28 years old and that 1-2 year window takes him right into his age cliff for a mediocre performer such as himself. But perhaps the 1-2 year window in this offense is worth it? (Everything’s always worth it, at the right cost) Juju on the other hand, has a 1-year contract but is going into his age-26 season. He is entering his prime for his WR career and has proven successful before this year. However, where he is beyond this season is a large variable. Again, there is no specific analytical data here to point one way or another, but just a good thought exercise to run through on your player pool as well.

IN-DRAFT STRATEGIES

I mentioned several things in the intro and they all circle around mental awareness and preparedness, and if you took the steps above already, you are more than likely ready to go for the most part. But just as a quick rundown, here they are:

  • If you created your tiers, understand when you are near or at your last person in that tier, especially if you haven’t gotten anyone from it and your roster makeup calls for someone in that tier.
  • Watch your league mates bidding patterns, they will tell more and more about their strategies if you pay attention to it. Are they nominating positions they need or are they nominating throw-aways? If they are putting up players they have no interest in, they may be trying to draw out other teams spent money so they can find value later.
  • Know your financial limits for your tiers and be aggressive in pushing for them. Once these contracts are signed, the only way you are getting these players is through trades and you have limited control there. During free agency in the auction draft, you have much more control.
  • And if you read all of this, you should hopefully have sharpened your mental acuity to succeed in your next and all upcoming RSO free agency auction drafts!

Thanks for the read and best of luck to you in your Reality Sports Online leagues this year! And as always, if you want to reach out for any discussions or comments, you can find me on Twitter @JakeKohlhagen.

More Analysis by Jake

2022 NFL Draft IDP Risers and Fallers

Updated: May 28th 2022

The 2022 NFL draft is in the books. 262 rookies have new homes with NFL teams now. With these landing spots known for the talented IDPs, let’s take a look and look at some of the biggest takeaways from the draft. Biggest risers. Biggest fallers. And some additional key takeaways. It’s draft time!

Since we are going through this stuff to try and win all of our leagues, let’s start with our biggest winners from the NFL draft, one at each level of the IDP.

Lewis Cine, Minnesota Vikings, Safety (Pick 32 overall)

The Minnesota Vikings had Xavier Woods depart in free agency and he was the only player to play 100% of his defense’s snaps. He played over 1,200 total snaps and those are completely up for grabs. The only other real player in that safety room prior to the addition of Lewis Cine was Camryn Bynum. While Bynum is still there and a solid contributor, he fits more into Harrison Smith’s role and is a strong backup and third safety when needed. One of the biggest questions is how Ed Donatell will utilize them and what they see for Lewis Cine.

Cine was a strong presence in the box and near or at the line of scrimmage. His tape shows very clearly that he struggles in coverage, especially man coverage. He has the athleticism and explosiveness to read and react in zone coverage for plays in front of him, but otherwise, this will be his most prominent area of concern. This said, it points us to the fact that Minnesota most likely has a role for him, especially early on, as box safety is his primary role. This role is one of the more valuable IDP positions, especially for the defensive backfield.

Additionally, Minnesota had its pick of quite possibly the best IDP player in this draft in Kyle Hamilton when they were first on the clock with pick #12 in the first round. A safety who has all the tools, to play quite literally, anywhere on the field. They passed on this opportunity and still saw their opportunity at pick #32 in Cine still. All of this is a strong indication that Cine is their guy and he will play!

Quay Walker, Green Bay Packers, Linebacker (Pick 22 overall)

This is may seem super “chalky”, but Quay being the first linebacker taken off the speaks volume about what Green Bay believes about him but even more, is exactly what they told us about why they drafted Quay! They believe their team needs to be subbing less and keep the same defensive packages on the field. And looking at who the talent was behind De’Vondre Campbell last year in Krys Barnes and the lack of depth at the linebacker position for the Packers, Quay should have the clear path to LB2 on the Packers and what could be an upwards of 800+ snaps as a floor. Paired with a strong defensive front, Quay has a chance to be a relevant LB3 with LB2 upside.

Quay was possibly in most people’s top 5 LBs for the incoming rookie class, but he has the upside of being the LB1 or LB2 from this rookie class. And why wouldn’t he with a RAS (relative athletic score) of 9.67 along with a build of traditional run-thumping linebackers of years past? This jump in value is a strong one for Quay and I don’t know that this has truly been reflected in his total value in rookie drafts just yet. Quay is someone who should be a target for you in rookie drafts in terms of providing year 1 value and long-term value as well. If you are looking for a reason to not draft Quay, he doesn’t have a stand-out weakness at this point. He is more than just a safe pick, he is a good pick at this point!

Arnold Ebiketie, Atlanta Falcons, Defensive End (Pick 38 overall)

Ebiketie has a wonderful cross-section of talent and opportunity with his film, production, and landing spot with the Atlanta Falcons. Ebiketie’s college production has shown us that he can win and produce as a pass-rusher (90.5 PFF pass-rushing grade) but he holds up in run defense too (78.3 PFF run-defense grade) which is ideal for an Atlanta Falcons defense that is pretty much depleted of talent along their defensive front, Ebiketie should find a way to snaps early and often.

Now, just because Ebiketie may see a large number of snaps in year 1, he still has some work to do to ensure he continues to grow as a well-rounded rusher. He has the ability to win on one move and get to the QB, but he is not effective if he doesn’t win on the first pass-rush move so there is still a good amount he can do to continue to grow as an NFL defender. These things said, he should have a clear path to high-volume snaps right away, worth the upside for what he can be long-term as well. He has moved up into the 4-5 range of DL in this year’s rookie class.

Now for the unfortunate flip side of the rookie draft, the fallers! Let’s get to it.

Bryan Cook, Kansas City Chiefs, Safety (Pick 62 overall)

Cook was an exciting prospect from his last season at Cincinnati. He was a large part of why the Bearcats had as much success as they did defensively. His sure tackling and ability to move around through different alignments when needed where crucial. While he did shift around, he still took the bulk of his snaps from the deep safety spot (or “free safety” as some people more affectionately call it) which on average, tends to be a lower value position of IDP.

You are probably asking, why does this make him a faller then? Well, for me, it is paired with the uncertainty around what Kansas City has in its safety room. They had Juan Thornhill already, brought in Justin Reid early in free agency, a move that states they are looking to use him a valuable piece of their defense, and now Bryan Cook. Where does everyone end up in a Kansas City Chiefs that has used 3 safeties enough in the past for them to be relevant? Does Thornhill keep his deep safety role? Does Reid take the Matheiu “star” role and move around the defense? Does Cook get that? Are they more rotational? For me, Cook is a great upside swing if your roster composition allows for it, as he might be someone you could wait on to carve out a more full-time role or he might earn day 1. But the uncertainty weighs too much on me and there is better options we stronger chances of success in the same range you would say Cook going.

Chad Muma, Jacksonville Jaguars, Linebacker (Pick 70 overall)

Muma was flipping between LB3 and LB4 for me pre-draft, and man, do I still love the talent and instincts he showcased at Wyoming. I would have been happy with him at LB1 in this rookie class with some of the better landing spots available this off-season as well. However, we saw the literal, worst-case scenario happen for Muma. He landed on a team that JUST paid an average NFL linebacker 25 million dollars over the next two years without a true out on the contract until 2024. Now, with the new defensive coordinator, Mike Caldwell, the Jaguars are going to presumably be running out 2 LBs pretty consistently (based on what they did in Tampa Bay). Except for one little problem, the Jaguars spent late, first-round draft capital on Devin Lloyd too!

All these things point to Muma being relegated to LB3 on the depth chart and waiting for an injury for any consistent or meaningful snaps for IDP purposes. If you have the luxury of sitting on a talent for one, but most likely two years, then this will be a value steal in almost all rookie drafts for you as he is quickly falling behind many other year 1 upside LBs like Troy Anderson and Christian Harris. If you want to take the injury swing and/or stash approach with Muma, you could be sitting on a potential strong LB2 or better in a couple of years.

Travon Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars, Edge (Pick 1 overall)

Walker impressed everyone with his combine and RAS of 9.99 so much that he made his move all the way up to #1 overall in the 2022 NFL draft! While this is a great accomplishment for Walker and his NFL value, this, unfortunately, left him in a situation where he is being slotted in as an OLB on a lot of site platforms, most specifically, for Reality Sports Online. While Travon certainly has the athleticism to make an impact on a real NFL game, the limited value for what Jacksonville has produced for edge pass-rushers (outside of Josh Allen) is inconsistent and limited at best. Couple that with the challenge of being ranked among other LBs that will produce value much more consistently, he presents a very low ceiling given his situation.

As a fun side note, the discussion around positional designation on RSO has come up in the Twitter-sphere and there are some initial discussions around leagues having the power to shift this on a case-by-case basis, so this could go away (potentially!).

As for Walker’s pure production profile as an NFL edge rusher, he is someone that has showcased the ability to make plays in both the run and passing games, but, not so at a level to expect immediate contributions. In watching Walker’s approach to attacking in the passing game, his assignment (I assumed) was to take a step laterally or a greater focus on edge setting, versus getting upfield. This very likely is a product of the defensive scheme, but the limited amount I saw of him getting upfield and winning early against his blockers worries me about what he can do for IDP production. Walker is someone who might be great for NFL, but limited, at best, for fantasy football.

As always, would love to discuss anyone’s thoughts and you can do so by reaching out to me on Twitter, @jakekohlhagen.

More Analysis by Jake

2021 RSO IDP Defensive Back Review

Updated: April 24th 2022

For our last article in the 2021 IDP review, we are taking a look at the last line of defense on the NFL field, the secondary. Sometimes the least sexy of the IDP positions, but one that can just as easily win you a week (looking at you, week 2 Mike Edwards and your pair of pick-6s) or they can deliver week-to-week value that supports your run to a championship (thank you Logan Ryan and your IDP production of 11+ in all 15 games you played!). You know what the method is here though, let’s take a look at our top performers from the 2021 season and a surface level review how we got there!

To note, this is a combined Defensive Back set of rankings (safeties and cornerbacks together) and not True Position. There are some pretty big distinctions in how you break down each position individually, but we will try and cover it as a group idea more so today. Here is our top 24 from RSO’s 2021 season with IDP123 scoring:

Some quick takeaways from this chart? Cornerbacks don’t represent or make up much of this list (5 of the 24) but Kenny Moore II did manage to be the top-scoring DB. This will align with positioning on the field and how his team utilizes him (we will see a similar story for Jalen Ramsey). Other CBs on this list are ones that posted impressive interception numbers (Diggs, 11, and Jackson,8). This is something that you can look back several years to see the similar type of results and as for big plays, that is generally not a consistent stat for Cornerbacks and IDP purposes. We are better off looking at two things. The first, we have stated multiple times and will always continue to call out. Check out those snap numbers!! Are the playing volumes of snaps? Are they getting 90%? 95%? 100%??? (We see you playing every snap in 2021 Xavier Woods) After finding out who is taking the snaps and getting the opportunities, who has the best opportunity to make the most out of those snaps? As for this one, we just want to simplify this down to, who is closest to the ball and has the best chance to be involved in as many plays as possible.

What does this mean? We want to find what one of the finest IDP minds calls, getting those “Sweet Spot” snaps (thanks @PFF_Macri!) based on their snap alignment. Those sweet spots are Slot, Defensive Line, and Box. As a quick knowledge drop for those uncertain what that means on the field, the slot is the when the line up inside of the outside cornerback. The defensive line is exactly what it sounds like, they get right up in line with the DLs. And the box is when they are lining up like a linebacker in the second level of the defense, behind the DLs. The trick is finding an IDP DB who plays as many snaps in these given alignments. This does not guarantee success for the players, however, it gives them the best chance to succeed! As we look at our top 24 from the previous season, we will see that they consistently play 40% or more (some up into the 60’s, 70’s even) of their snaps in one of these alignments. There are of course always outliers to this but generally, there is some other piece of information that helps us understand.

A quick look at some of these would be Minkah Fitzpatrick at #5 only played 20% of his snaps in the sweet spot and #8 Xavier Woods only played 38% of his snaps in there. Minkah’s supporting cast on his defense in the second level was one of the weakest this last season allowing him to make more plays from the deep safety alignment and he capitalized with a career-best 124 tackles. Minkah has been a solid IDP piece even from the deep safety alignment previously due to his big-play ability, but this year he moved up even more thanks to the strong tackle production. Xavier was a pure volume play, with lower than average tackle efficiency of around 8%, he lead the entire NFL in defensive snaps played and never missed a single play all season for his team. Sometimes the best ability is truly avail-“ability”.

Hopefully, these recaps help you understand why the top performers were able to produce for IDP the way they did at each level, and what to look for as you go forward for either redraft, dynasty, or contract style IDP leagues too. Stay tuned as coming up we will put together some information around the IDP rookies from the NFL draft, the start of season previews, and other articles. I will be participating in a live mock draft as well for the IDP Show after the NFL draft, so make sure to be checking out their content regularly for that and just great IDP news and entertainment as well at TheIDPshow.com.

More Analysis by Jake