Best IDP Player Ever?
The visions of that fateful 2010 Ohio State versus Wisconsin game still rings in my brain: Ever since I watched his first step up field to get one of his two sacks on the day, against my all-time favorite college team. I’ve seen him play before, but this game keeps coming to mind because of the way he made the offensive tackle look so foolish (1:27 min. mark on the video). It was one of the quickest explosions off the line by a defensive end that I had ever witnessed. I recall thinking, I hope that no one just saw what I did. It’s like seeing or hearing a new band and showing your discovery off to good friends. This was the opposite; I wanted to keep this find to myself. He was destined for IDP gold.
Watt is not corn-fed, but cheese-fed, coming out of the state of Wisconsin. He was born on March 22, 1989 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, to parents Connie and John. He has two brothers – T.J. and Derek, who also played football at the University of Wisconsin. J.J. also played hockey until the age of thirteen, but admittedly held a love for football since the fifth grade. As such, Watt attended Pewaukee High School and was a four-year letterman in football. He also lettered in basketball, baseball and track. However, with his skill set underdeveloped, he was only a two-star recruit coming out of high school. Standing at 6’5” and weighing in at 290 pounds, he clocked in on the forty-yard dash at 4.70. As a result, he was under appreciated by most scouts in the NFL, receiving only a “63” grade by ESPN analysts.
In his first stint as a college football player, Watt received a scholarship offer from Central Michigan University and played there as a tight end, but the production he longed for at the tight end position never came his way. Eventually, the coaching staff suggested that he play offensive tackle, which he was not satisfied with either. Therefore, brimming full of confidence with his abilities and potential, he took the gamble and walked onto the Wisconsin squad as a defensive end. The self-confidence and gamble paid off as he would later go on to becoming the scout team MVP in 2008. Upon his ascension into the starting line-up, he would lead Wisconsin in tackles for loss, quarterback hurries, blocked kicks and forced fumbles in the 2010 season.
Badgering the Stat Book
103 tackles / 36.5 tackles for a loss (144 yards) / 11.5 sacks
As a result of his stellar collegiate production, Watt was well on his way to the NFL… and also onto my fantasy team. I was sweating a hell of a lot on that fantasy draft day in August, because 1) I’m a big mofo and 2) I was about to get my favorite defensive end in round sixteen! (In which I was made fun of at my homer draft and asked, “Who is this J.J. Watt stiff?” A few picks earlier, I snatched a defensive end out of South Florida, Jason Pierre Paul. Even though Watt’s stats were somewhat pedestrian, even I had no idea of the true power and production I was about to receive or that Watt would become possibly the best IDP ever.
NFL, meet JJ Watt
He went on to dominate his position, at the combine, by leading all categories besides the forty-yard dash. In the position drills, he showed off what I had seen years ago. Again, by moving those quick feet and displaying that first step burst. At 290 pounds, he got off the ground measuring a 37” standing vertical. I was blown away at what I had seen and could not wait to get Watt on my team that year. Ultimately, Watt forwent his senior year at Wisconsin and entered the 2011 NFL draft.
As you know by now, he was drafted by the Texans with their first overall pick at number eleven. In the 2011 season, he had a somewhat quiet rookie year by recording 48 solo tackles and 5.5 sacks. Although, during a two game span that year he also went on to record an outstanding 11 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 1 interception returned for a touchdown, 1 pass defended and 4 sacks. I could go on and on about his dominance that we have all come to know and love since his rookie year in 2011. He has received multiple MVP and defensive player of the year awards, but what matters most is what he scores for your fantasy team each week! Right?! Watt is firmly entrenched as my IDP franchise player in my “Homer” league and helped me get to two fantasy bowls, against the same foe, with sweet revenge achieved this past year.
Today, Watt is the prototypical defensive end that I now compare all other prospective defensive ends to. What I saw, in what I’d like to think before a hell of a lot of other people saw, was Watt’s work ethic and his passion to play through the whistle. Most of all, it was that unbelievable first step and explosion up field. A lot of scouts like to talk about a players internal “motor,” well Watt is the king of relentlessness. His “motor” is on high at all times, despite being hampered in the 2015 season with multiple injuries. I will take that over numbers any day when evaluating a future NFL prospect or an up and coming free agent.
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I am VERY thankful and appreciative, from the bottom of my heart, to be a part of the DFF ARMY.
For us old, beat up geezers who can no longer strap on the cleats and helmet anymore, Fantasy Football gives us at least a little of the thrill of solid competition and brotherhood. I don’t know about you all, but I have gone on to the field and have laid down just to smell the fresh cut grass, because it reminds me of when I could play.
The Passion Never Dies.