Every year at training camp we get barraged by tweets and articles telling us how great everyone looks. Guys are “flying around,” people feel “one-hundred times better” than last year, so on and so forth. This article is an attempt to cut through the mud and give readers one defensive player I am HIGH on coming into 2018, as well as one I am LOW on regardless of the hype. Enjoy!
HIGH – Roquan Smith is exactly what the Bears needed coming into the 2018 season. The former Georgia Bulldog is an alpha dog ready to take over in the middle in Chicago for years. He’s got the talent, measurables, and instincts to be a pro-bowler every year. He’ll likely start out slow due to his holdout, but I see LB1 IDP production from Smith by midseason.
LOW – Adrian Amos has had three years of consistent, roughly average returns for IDP owners. The 2015 fifth round selection had a stretch of eight straight 6+ tackle games in the middle of 2017, which made him a solid option in most IDP formats. Unfortunately, due to improved talent in front of him (see above), and Eddie Jackson’s improvement, I don’t see Amos making the same IDP impact he made in 2017.
HIGH – A’Shawn Robinson is a 23-year-old beast of a man. Standing 6’4” and 322 pounds, the guy owns the three-technique in Detroit. The Lions DT put up 53 total tackles last year while earning plus marks from Pro Football Focus. I expect nothing less than stellar play and production from Robinson for the next 3-5 years.
LOW – Darius Slay – Slay is an incredible player and IDP asset, but his 2017 was insane. To put it in perspective, Slay QUADRUPLED his career-high interception total with eight last year. Also, the former Mississippi State standout defended 26 passes last year…. which matched the 26 passes he defended over his TWO PREVIOUS FULL SEASONS. I’m not saying Slay won’t put up solid numbers, but if another owner is willing to pay you for 2017 production, sell Slay and watch as the Lions CB regresses to the mean in 2018.
Green Bay Packers
HIGH – Josh Jones put together a solid rookie season coming out of North Carolina State last year. The 2nd round pick gobbled up 71 total tackles, two sacks, and an interception in his 735 snaps played in 2017. Now, Morgan Barnett is gone, Jones is the starting strong safety in Green Bay, and I expect Jones to garner at least 1000 snaps. If that happens, the 2nd round pick will easily be in contention for DB, tier one IDP results.
LOW – Blake Martinez blew up in his second season in the NFL, leading the league with 144 combined tackles while manning the top ILB spot the Green Bay. The 2016, 4th round pick will undoubtedly play a key factor in the Packers defense, but a few key factors may reduce his role. First, Aaron Rodgers is back, which will certainly force opponents to play more aggressively on offense, and pass much more than they had to in 2017. Second, the Packers selected Oren Burks in the Draft and traded for Antonio Morrison in the offseason, both of which should see solid snap counts. Third, Green Bay hired Mike Pettine as their new defensive coordinator, which could change Martinez’s role in 2018. All in all, there is just too much change happening for Martinez to light up the stat categories like he did last year.
HIGH – Ben Gedeon is a fairly unknown NFL starter, playing weak-side linebacker for the Vikings. The 2nd year Michigan man gets overshadowed by all the stars in Minnesota but will have an opportunity to put up solid numbers for the Vikings. As a two-down run stopper, his ceiling is fairly low, but his cost to own is basically zero, so in a pinch due to byes or injuries, one could easily use Gedeon for a week or two in 2018.
LOW – Xavier Rhodes has almost gotten too good at his job to be an IDP asset. The former 1st round pick out of Florida State allowed a passer rating of only 76.4 and ranked #9 in fantasy points allowed per target last year (according to playerprofile.com). Rhodes coverage ability forces opposing quarterbacks to look elsewhere on pass plays, which limits his upside in the IDP world. If you’re required to start cornerbacks, I’d stay away from Rhodes, as there will be plenty of other more targeted players available on a weekly basis.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out all of the Dynasty Football content we offer at Dynasty Football Factory and let me know what you think on Twitter @FF_EvilEmpire! Now go forth and build an empire.
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