We’re just over halfway through the 2017 regular season in the NFL. The IDP team reviewed the 2017 rookie class: what they’ve done this season so far and what we can expect going forward. @DFF_JohnIDP and @seahawksdan8 will continue with the LB rookies from the 1st 3 rounds of the draft and other IDP relevant rookies. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here: IDP Rookie Mid-Season Review Part 1 DL Edition.
LB, Haason Reddick, Arizona Cardinals, 1st Round Pick, 13th Overall
Reddick was a highly drafted rookie in most leagues. Working as an ILB most of camp and early in the year for an injured Deone Bucannon, he was learning on the fly. Once Bucannon came back he took over for an injured Markus Golden at OLB. He is putting in the work and learning how to get pressure on QBs in the NFL. At the time of this write up he only has 9 pressures and no sacks; I like him a lot as an ILB and that’s where he will strike fantasy gold. Playing OLB he will be more relevant in leagues that require OLB stars or in big play scoring formats. He is a stash-and-see for me more for the 2018 season.
LB, Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions, 1st Round Pick, 21st Overall
Davis is my number 3 rookie LB entering our fantasy drafts. Overall he’s been a steady performer [other than the Pittsburg game]. Being injured Weeks 3 and 4 hurt him overall in his points, but he has shown the ability to attack and get into backfields and cover. This is why people drafted him high. If he stays healthy he will be a key contributor for the next few years.
LB, T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1st Round Pick, 30th Overall
Talk about an IMPACT player! Getting to the QB has become a family tradition. If you play in big play formats, Watt has made some noise this season. One of the top-ranked IDP rookies so far, and he has not shown any signs of slowing down. Expect him to be a good starting option in all formats.
LB Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers, 1st Round Pick, 31 Overall
It’s been an injury-riddled start for Foster. In the two games he has played, he did manage to deliver in run support. Jarring hits went viral. Unfortunately, he has not been on the field. I am in the minority, but for me, I am selling. I am not a believer he will be one of the top producers in this class. This is a gut-check call for me.
LB, Tyus Bowser, Baltimore Ravens, 2nd Round Pick, 47th Overall
I really wanted to see Bowser flourish with the Ravens. Loved him in college and wanted to see him bring it into the NFL. I am not giving up on him at this point. In Games against the Cleveland and Miami, he got to the QB and showed what he is capable of. If given the snaps he would blow up and be a good contributor weekly. Hold him and wait for the Ravens to get him playing more often.
LB, Ryan Anderson, Washington Redskins, 2nd Round Pick, 49th Overall
Anderson has been a backup to Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith this season. He’s managed 2 tackles (both against the Raiders in Week 3). We probably won’t see much from Anderson unless Kerrigan or Smith suffer an injury. He’s worth a stash in big-play leagues where sacks rack up points.
LB, Raekwon McMillan, Miami Dolphins, 2nd Round Pick, 54th Overall
What a tragic loss from the get-go. A knee injury has knocked him out for the year. McMillan looked to be taking on a lead role that would be very rewarding in IDP. Stash and hold and see how he comes back. I would be okay trying to acquire him on the low side.
LB, Zach Cunningham, Houston Texans, 2nd Round Pick, 57th Overall
My top-rated rookie LB! So much potential with him. A true “do it all” player. With speed and athletic ability, he has been dropping back into coverage a lot which has hurt his fantasy points. Do not be fooled by just looking at the numbers. My vision was that he would be standing atop the rankings for this class of LBs in five years, and I still believe this to be the case.
LB, Duke Riley, Atlanta Falcons, 3rd Round Pick, 75th Overall
LB, Alex Anzalone, New Orleans Saints, 3rd Round Pick, 76th Overall
LB, Tim Williams, Baltimore Ravens, 3rd Round Pick, 78th Overall
LB/DE, Tarell Basham, Indianapolis Colts – 3rd Round Pick, 80th Overall
Basham has been playing about 10 snaps a game for the Colts. He has a sack, 2 solos and an assist. Basham is an announcer’s dream for a big play, but the OLB/DE is another guy probably not worth your fantasy time.
LB, Kendell Beckwith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3rd Round Pick, 107th Overall
Beckwith is capable of jumping into any role in this defense. He showed that if any LB was injured, he would be good to jump right in and deliver. Playing the middle and strong side very well this year, he has been atop the rookie tackles this season as a result. Granted, the majority of his tackles came from playing MLB while Kwon was out, he is so talented it will not take him long to keep piling up the stats. He is a player I want on my team long-term.
LB, Vince Biegel, Green Bay Packers, 4th Round Pick, 108 Overall
LB/DE, Carl Lawson, Cincinnati Bengals – 4th Round Pick, 116th Overall
Besides Myles Garrett, Carl Lawson has been the most impressive rookie pass rusher. He even leads Garrett and T.J. Watt by a half of a sack for the rookie lead. The Bengals always seem to have a good pass rush, and playing in a rotation with Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson has been good for Lawson. Besides the 4.5 sacks, Lawson has 5 solo tackles and 2 assists. I wouldn’t start him in standard IDP leagues very often yet, but in big-play leagues and leagues where sacks can get bonus points, he can score you some nice weeks. He’s a good value currently and looks like he can get to the QB.
LB, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Detroit Lions, 4th Round Pick, 124th Overall
JRM is coming off his best game with 4 solos and 1 assist against the Steelers. In the preseason when Tahir Whitehead went down with an injury, Reeves-Maybin was a popular add. But, Whitehead was fine for Week 1 and has been playing well this season. JRM is seeing about 30% of snaps, so he should grow into a role in the defense and possibly start in 2018. He’s a stash for now.
LB, Blair Brown, Jacksonville Jaguars, 5th Round Pick, 148th Overall
Brown was a popular sleeper pick in drafts, but has not done much this season with only 2 tackles. Patience with rookies is important because Myles Jack would have been considered a disappointment last season, and this season he’s considered an LB1/2. Once Posluszny finishes up his career (his IDP value is already washed-up), we can possibly see what Brown can do for you.
LB, Matt Milano, Buffalo Bills, 5th Round Pick, 163rd Overall
Matt Milano came out of nowhere in Week 7 with a interception and 4 solo tackles and was a hot waiver pick up in Week 8. On the season he has 12 tackles, 7 assists, 1 INT, and a FF that he returned for a TD. Milano filled in for Ramon Humber while he was out to injury, but was back in the lineup Thursday night against the Jets. Considering Humber came out of nowhere, Milano could be a nice stash in case of injury or maybe a promotion in 2018.
LB, Marquel Lee, Oakland Raiders, 5th Round Pick, 168th Overall
LB, Ukeme Eligwe, Kansas City Chiefs, 5th Round, 183rd Overall
LB, Jordan Evans, Cincinnati Bengals – 6th Round Pick, 193rd Overall
The Oklahoma product landed in a decent spot, especially since Rey Maualuga finally moved on. Kevin Minter recently went out with an injury and Vincent Rey has never been anything special. Evans would be merely a stash at this point, but the Bengals may want to see what he can do later this season. He has 1 tackle this season and 1 assist.
LB, Tanner Vallejo, Buffalo Bills – 6th Round Pick, 195th Overall
The new regime in Buffalo made a lot of changes on the defensive side of the ball in the off-season, so taking a gamble on a middle linebacker prospect on the Bills isn’t the worst idea. He hasn’t gotten many opportunities but has 2 assists on the year. Teams with taxi squads can stash away Vallejo and hope he gets an opportunity. It seems like Buffalo linebackers always have good tackle numbers.
That does it for the linebackers. Check back tomorrow for the DBs.