In this piece, I will be going over a few players, who are overlooked or underrated, in a lot of leagues. Of course, it depends on your scoring position specifics, but there is a number of players that don’t get the praise they deserve. Let’s look at the position that gets the least amount of attention in IDP leagues, which is the defensive tackle position. If you play in leagues that require you start defensive tackles, then you know how hard it is to find production and consistent production is even harder. Let’s take a look at some of these players and then you need to check your waivers to see if they’re available.
Darius Philon, Los Angeles Chargers #93
While the Chargers have veterans Corey Luiget and Brandon Mebane ahead of him as starters, Philon is a much younger and talented option. Luiget is out for the first four games of the season due to a suspension for PED’s and aging Mebane (33) is in the final year of his contract. This is the perfect opening for Philon to stake his claim as the starter. Philon showed he has those capabilities last season when he recorded thirty-one tackles and four and a half sacks, in mostly a backup role. He did make four starts for the Chargers last season should get to start the first four games this year in place of Luiget. This is also the final year of Philon’s rookie deal, so he will be looking to parlay a productive season into a good payday.
Akeem Spence, Miami Dolphins #93
With Ndamukong Suh on the team to lead the way, this is a position that needs someone to step up and fill that void. The Dolphins have youngsters Davon Godchaux and Jordan Phillips as the likely starters, but it’s veteran Akeem Spence who could be the sneaky good play. The Dolphins traded a conditional seventh-round pick, to the Detroit Lions for him, which means they don’t have a lot invested. Even though Spence likely is a backup, he does provide the best pass rush from the interior. That’s the biggest weakness now after Suh’s departure. Spence’s ability to get a rush from inside could be key to him getting a bigger role. If he can give the Dolphins the forty tackles and three sacks he got last season, then they would have gotten a good return. Keep an eye on him during the preseason and see how he does.
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Jihad Ward, Dallas Cowboys #51
Ward was shipped out of Oakland, and he will look to get back on track in Dallas. He has been running with the first team defense, in place of starter David Irving. Irving was suspended for four games, for the second time, for PED use. With Maliek Collins out with a broken foot, Ward has a prime opportunity in front of him. After a decent rookie year statistically, his second season was a huge disappointment. Sometimes a change of scenery can be huge for a players career, and Ward has that here in Dallas. Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli should get the best out of him and get him back on track. Ward is worth owning, even with Irving and Collins coming back, as he will get plenty of reps.
Nazair Jones, Seattle Seahawks #92
The Seahawks starters at defensive tackle appear to be Jarran Reed and Tom Johnson. They signed Johnson (33) to a one year deal in free agency to replace Sheldon Richardson. While those two are the potential starters, it’s Nazier Jones who is the one to watch. He is one of the few defensive tackles, who can impact the game in a variety of ways. Last year as a rookie playing in a limited role he recorded nineteen tackles, two sacks, one interception, a forced fumble and three pass deflections. That shows me his awareness, athletic ability and that he understands how to impact the game, even when his initial moves aren’t working.