Welcome fellow IDP fantasy owners to volume 8 of my newest weekly article. For those of you just reading this for the first time, each week I am going to recap the top performances of a handful of rookies. We will look at how they did the past week, what it means going forward and, most importantly, the impact in the fantasy world. I hope this will help your fantasy rosters. Let’s jump right into this week’s write up.
S, Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals This rising rookie star, has made his way onto this list frequently the last few weeks and this week he’s the headliner. Bates had a stellar performance in week eight versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He recorded six tackles, three pass breakups, one interception, which he returned for his first career touchdown.
Late in the third quarter, Bates would be the recipient of one four interceptions for Winston on the day. He stepped in front of the errant throw and returned it twenty-one yards for the score. Bates has quickly become one the best rookies in the NFL and is as consistent a play in IDP fantasy as you can find. While all the big names are gaining all the attention, Bates is putting together quite a season. His totals for the season are now fifty-nine total tackles, thirty-one solo’s, five pass deflections and three interceptions, along with today’s touchdown. He should be owned and started in all IDP league formats. He’s also a great dynasty league own. I suggest acquiring him now before his stock goes up.
CB, Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers One of two star rookie corners for the Packers, Alexander returned to action this week, after missing the last three, with a groin injury. He picked up right where he left off before the injury, to the delight of fantasy owners.
In a shootout versus the high powered offense of the Rams, he would record seven tackles and five pass breakups. In the five games that he’s played in this season, this marks the third time he had seven or more tackles. That’s very high tackle count for a corner, but exactly what we want in fantasy. The opportunities should continue to be there each week. On the season, he has done a little of everything, to the totals of twenty-seven tackles, six pass breakups, one interception, and half a sack. If you’re required to start corners, in your league, then get Alexander on your rosters and in your lineups.
S, Justin Reid, Houston Texans To start the season Reid was in a backup role, but over the last three weeks, he’s started each game and played 100% of the defensive snaps for the Texans. The increase in playing time has resulted in an increase in his output. This week against the Miami Dolphins, he set a career-best with nine total tackles and two pass breakups.
He has shown that he can be a consistent and reliable fantasy play. He has recorded five or more tackles, in five of the eight games played so far. His current totals for the season are thirty-nine total tackles, thirty-one solo’s, two interceptions and five pass breakups. While he’s not a must-start fantasy play just yet, he is worth owning, especially in dynasty leagues.
CB, Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns Ward is putting together one heck of a season so far and he has made a habit of being opportunistic around the ball. Every time there is a turnover or big play, he seems to be there making a play. This week was no different, as he would have a tackle for a loss, a fumble recovery, and a pass breakup, to go with the seven tackles against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Its that kind of play that makes him such a potentially great play each week. He just has a nose for the ball and that is always a huge plus in fantasy.
It’s not just a one week here or there thing with him either, he is consistently making plays each week. On the season he has thirty-eight tackles, three for a loss, three interceptions, nine pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and one recovery. As you can see, he can fill up the box score. He’s a must own on position specific leagues and a great dynasty addition. With how he’s played so far, I would even consider him in standard IDP leagues.
LB, Breeland Speaks, Kansas City Chiefs This will be Speaks first time making the weekly rookie recap, with more to come in the future. My initial analysis on Speaks is that he would be miscast as a linebacker instead of his natural position of defensive end. Clearly, Kansas City has worked long and hard on getting Speaks ready. He did get off to a slow start to the season. But over the last three weeks, he’s shown the potential to be a really good pass-rushing linebacker.
I am still concerned with him being a liability in pass coverage, but that’s not what the Chiefs or fantasy owners expect and want from him. He only had five total tackles through the first five games of the season and he was playing limited reps. However, he has gone from playing roughly 41% of the snaps through those five weeks to playing over 95% in the last three. That snap increase has produced positive results.
In that stretch, he has recorded twelve tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and one recovery. He’s showing the potential to be a solid pass rush specialist and if you play in sack-heavy scoring leagues, then he would be worth rostering or a solid bye week fill in. He’s not going to wow you with high tackle numbers, but that’s not what you expect to get from him. Should be owned in all dynasty and deep roster leagues.
Thanks for reading my article and if enjoyed it, you can read more of my articles at dynastyfootballfactory.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at Hollywood@DFF_DWIN, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub I’m user KingTitan1. You can also tune in each week and listen to the IDP EdgeCrushers podcast that I co-host. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers.