The Detroit Lions will begin the 2018 season without their star Defensive End, Ezekiel Ansah. After failing to reach a long-term deal, Ansah was designated with the Franchise tag, which would earn him $17.14 million for the season. He underwent knee surgery, earlier this spring and with no timetable for a return, has now landed on the dreaded PUP list. Ansah led the team last season in sacks, with twelve, after having a down 2016. This situation should be monitored closely to see how he progresses and when to expect his likely return. If this lingers on, then it’s potentially a big blow for new Head Coach Matt Patricia and the Lions. For now, he will be listed as week to week.
With this news spiraling across news feeds, now is the time to mention one of my IDP sleeper candidates and favorite comeback players, Kerry Hyder. In 2016 Hyder’s 2nd year, he burst onto the scene with five sacks in the first four games and finished with eight total, for the season. He played all along the d-line but was designated as a defensive tackle on myfantasyleague.com, which gave him an even better value, compared to if he was listed as a defensive end.
After that breakout season, big things were expected from Kerry in 2017 but, he suffered a torn Achilles and missed the entire season. Now that he’s fully healthy and an afterthought in most fantasy owners minds, this is the prime opportunity to snatch him up. You may be thinking, how good can he be without Ansah playing as his bookend mate? Well to answer that, let’s once again look at 2016. That year, was Hyder’s breakout season and he did it while Ansah had the worst one of his career. Not only that, Hyder was moved back and forth from the end position to the interior all season long. That’s the kind of versatility and production you look for.
I’m not worried about how Hyder will perform if Ansah doesn’t return soon or perform well, as I’ve already seen Hyder’s performance, in that situation. Hyder is a great sleeper candidate and holds a lot of value in deep leagues. Plus when you factor in that he can be picked up off waivers in most leagues, then it’s easy to take a flyer on him.
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