It’s only right when you are covering the potential dynasty impact of free agency that you cover the defensive side of the ball as well. IDP leagues are truly a passion of mine and covering them for the dynasty nerds is something I take pride in. While their isn’t as familiar of a set of rules for IDP as there is for most offense only leagues it’s still helpful to gather as much information as possible in the offseason. The clear advantage you have playing IDP is how cheap the players can be acquired for in the offseason, specifically during rookie draft time when your league mates are looking for extra roster spots. For those of you who play IDP here are some potential moving pieces this offseason with projected impact.
- DeMarcus Lawrence – What seems to be the prize piece of free agency Lawrence is coming off a 15 sack season for the Cowboys. Truly think the Cowboys will pull out all stops to keep him in Dallas which is solid for his IDP value. If he moves on look for him to potentially make an impact somewhere else much like Calais Campbell did a year ago when he moved from Arizona to Jacksonville.
- Ziggy Ansah – Ziggy and double digit sack seasons go hand in hand. Lions have a tough decision to make on the 28 year old book end. Ansah recorded 12 sacks in just 14 games last year. Hard to imagine him not being a solid IDP producer as long as he ends up in a 4-3 scheme.
- Adrian Clayborn – Clayborn turned in his best season since his rookie year with Tampa Bay. He found a nice home in Atlanta with their rotation up front registering 9.5 sacks this season. We should all remember 6 of those came in one game against the Cowboys without Tyron Smith. Clayborn is a cheap target to add for bench depth in IDP leagues but I wouldn’t expect this output again in 2018.
- Julius Peppers – Why am I writing about a 37 year old pass rusher? Mostly because he’s one of my favorite players of all time but also the usage and his 11 sacks in 2017 on limited snaps were gold to IDP owners last year. Peppers likely doesn’t play anywhere but Carolina next season but is a perfect rotational player for that defense and is likely a free agent in most of IDP leagues at some point before the season starts.
- Kony Ealy, Sheldon Richardson – 26 and 27 respectively both players were traded in 2017 expecting to make an impact on their new teams which simply didn’t happen. Two sacks combined for both players wasn’t what IDP owners were looking for. Hopefully they land in better situations in free agency and with a full offseason to learn a new scheme become producers again in 2018.
- Preston Brown – 144 tackles last year he’s been a constant in the middle of the Bills defense since he entered the league. His best value remains if he stays in Buffalo with McDermott which I believe is very likely.
- Zach Brown – Brown recorder 127 tackles last year and was a solid LB most of the season. Washington just refuses to pay their LBs so it’s very possible he moves on in free agency. Tackling machine LBs are the most impactful and hardest to acquire in IDP leagues if Brown can be acquired at a discount in the offseason it’s a smart move to make.
- Demario Davis – Davis was the only real producer for the Jets a year ago. Making plays sideline to sideline and racking up 135 tackles. Davis staying put in NY would surely help his value the most but he’s a legit playmaker at LB and should thrive in another 3-4 scheme just as well.
- NaVorro Bowman – Bowman moved on from San Francisco just five games into 2017 and helped the Raiders who were depleted at LB. Bowman is 29 and surely doesn’t fit a 4-3 scheme which Jon Gruden will be bringing to Oakland. Bowman likely has enough left to produce for dynasty owners but investing much into him wouldn’t be recommended ahead of the 2018 season.
- Tahir Whitehead – Plenty of non believers in the IDP community of Whitehead especially once the Lions drafted rookie Jarrad Davis in 2017. Whitehead again proved his doubters wrong another 100+ tackles and a solid LB all season long. The market for Whitehead might not be as lucrative as other LBs ahead of him but him staying in Detroit would keep him as a steady value.
- Avery Williamson, Karlos Dansby, Jon Bostic, Anthony Hitchens – This group of LBs have a pretty good chance of all moving on to new teams. Sneaky IDP production and names to keep an eye on to see what systems they land in in 2018. Outside of Dansby they all likely sign multi-year deals and could be solid additions to your dynasty team.
- Morgan Burnett – 68 tackles last season in just 12 games played in GB. Dom Capers moved on and with Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Josh Jones likely to be starting safeties next year it’s all but guaranteed Burnett plays elsewhere in 2018. Burnett is a great safety for IDP but injuries have always been the issue if healthy he’s a weekly starter and should be valued as that.
- Kenny Vaccaro – Similar to Burnett Vaccaro only played 12 games in 2017 and racked up 60 tackles. Vaccaro plays in the box so much for the Saints he is close to LB value in IDP leagues. Likely the Saints have to tie up a good deal of money in Drew Brees and Vaccaro could be a cap casualty but he’s still very young and should be able to fit in any scheme.
- Tre Boston – Cut from the Panthers before the season Boston landed with Gus Bradley in Los Angeles in a very good Chargers defense. Boston had career highs in tackles and interceptions. Boston is sure to get paid after his breakout season he is a great safety for IDP leagues very undervalued with consistent solid production.
- Eric Reid – Reid has struggled badly with injuries over the last two seasons. Reid was a high upside pick for most dynasty owners and it hasn’t worked out quite that way. In another shortened season Reid still racked up 60+ tackles which is more than enough to be a constant starting DB for everyone’s dynasty team. The 49ers flirted around with the idea of moving Reid to LB last year with their limited depth if he resigns in the Bay Area this is great for his value if that position switch were to happen.
- Adrian Phillips – Another safety that thrived in his first season under Gus Bradley. Phillips only played 12 games total in his first two seasons before playing 14 and 15 in his last two seasons. Phillips recorder 60+ tackles and forced three turnovers while only starting four games. Likely that the Chargers choose between Phillips and Boston to start at safety in 2018 both successful under Bradley would give the advantage of whoever remained in L.A as the higher valued safety going forward.
- Tyvon Branch, Reggie Nelson, T.J Ward and Tavon Wilson – Effective safeties that all likely are on new teams in 2018. Scheme fit and depth chart are all factors in the value of these safeties. Be patient if acquiring these guys before free agency. Likely all of these guys are on dynasty waiver wires heading into the regular season.
This wraps up the 2018 IDP free agency watch. Keep an eye on these moving pieces especially around the rookie draft while others are falling in love with prospects you can add quality depth. The youth movement isn’t nearly as important on the defensive side of the ball in dynasty leagues so don’t be afraid to acquire older players who can still produce at a high level. IDP leagues and scoring are growing more and more every year I look forward to getting more people to adopt IDP leagues as the norm in dynasty. Hope I can help make this transition as easy as possible for those who weren’t familiar with IDP in years past.