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A Fond Farewell: Former IDP Studs that No Longer Matter

So that was quite a Super Bowl, eh? How badly do the Broncos wish that the snowstorm, which rolled in AFTER the game, had arrived 24 hours earlier? A postponement would have been better than that debacle.

Oh, well. There had been quite a streak of competitive and exciting Super Bowls so a blowout stinker was bound to show up sooner or later. Heading into such a juicy matchup not many people were predicting that this would be the one. At least not in Seattle’s favor, that is.

It’s another reason we all love this sport. You just never know.

So, while Broncos players and fans try to forget what transpired in New York last week it is time to officially put the 2013 season to bed.

On the bright side there will be regular season football again in only seven months! What can I say? I’m a ‘glass half-full’ kind of guy.

In saying goodbye to the 2013 season it is also time to bid a fond farewell to a handful of former IDP fantasy standouts that no longer warrant serious consideration come fantasy draft day.

The name that kicks off this look at former IDP lineup lynchpins is one that is hard to say goodbye to for lovers of the format. Washington Redskins inside linebacker
London Fletcher

has been the model of consistency for 15 years.

The numbers that he’s amassed while playing for the St Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and the Redskins since entering the league in 1998 are staggering. He has over 2,050 total tackles in regular season games with 1,398 of those being solo stops. Add in the 39.5 sacks, 23 interceptions as well as 20 forced fumbles and you have a player that was fantasy gold.

Even more impressive for the undrafted free agent out of John Carroll College is that he never missed a game during his 16-year career. That my friend is the epitome of the consistency I mentioned earlier. For the past few off-seasons there have been rumblings that Fletcher was nearing the end of his illustrious career and then he’d go out and put up triple digit stops, yet again. He did it for the 14th time in 2013 finishing with 110 total tackles and as the 45th ranked linebacker in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP scoring.

It appears that the time has indeed come for “Old Man River” to finally ride off into the sunset. After playing the least amount of snaps (983) that he’s played since the 931 he hit the field for in 2008 and putting up his second lowest tackle total (he put up less than 30 in his rookie season back in 1998) of his career that the curtain is indeed closing.

Fletcher himself has stated that he is “99 percent certain” that he was retiring at the end of the 2013 season. What makes up the one percent chance of a return for the soon to be 39-year-old? Fletcher said, “It would have to be maybe a team that has six games left, a playoff contender. It won’t be for a 16-game season.” I believe that is known as the ‘Roger Clemens package’ and doubt that any team will make that call in 2014.

I do realize that for the sake of brevity it would have been much simpler to just say he’s retiring so don’t draft him in 2014. Anyone who has read even one of my articles knows that brevity and myself do not waltz hand-in-hand.

There is also the fact that when you embrace IDP football as much as many others and myself do that when a player like
London Fletcher

retires you do not just show him the door. You show him the love.

Speaking of being shown the door. Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is a prime candidate for release if he doesn’t work with the Pittsburgh Steelers on adjusting (read; take huge pay cut) the $8 million dollars he’s due in 2014. There was a time when Woodley and
James Harrison

were one of the most productive pass rushing duos off the edge for fantasy purposes.

Fast-forward to the 2013 season and Harrison was a non-entity in Cincinnati while Woodley has managed to register only nine sacks over the past two seasons. More worrisome is that Woodley has missed 14 games from 2011-2013 and there have been whispers about a lack of conditioning.

Woodley will only be 30 years old in November but it feels like it’s an ‘old’ 30. Nagging injuries have sapped a lot of the explosiveness he once flashed off the edge and he hasn’t hit double digit sacks since 2009.

With youngsters
Jarvis Jones

Jason Worilds

(I fully expect the Steelers to resign him) stepping into larger roles on the defense, Woodley has reached the end of his IDP relevance.

Once a dominant fantasy force among defensive linemen Chicago Bears defensive end
Julius Peppers

has finished with double-digit sacks eight times over his twelve seasons in the league. Along the way he’s also averaged 46 total tackles per season while adding nine interceptions and 39 forced fumbles in 186 regular season games.

I guess I tipped my hand when I started this examination with ‘Once,’ eh? This is simply a case of that was then and this is now. Peppers posted his lowest sack total since 2008 last season garnering a mere 7.5 sacks while playing 865 snaps. He graded out as the 36th worst 4-3 defensive end according to Pro Football Focus.

More to the point is that there were long stretches last season where Peppers was invisible. Using the Fantasy Sharks Default IDP scoring format there were 10 weeks where Peppers scored five points or less in 2013.

Peppers is 34 years old and due a $13.9 base salary in 2014 and will count $18.183 against the salary cap. While I’ve never claimed to be an NFL general manager, nor have I played one on television, I can plainly see where this train is headed.

Peppers will have to take a drastic pay cut to remain with the Bears or be given his walking papers outright. Neither scenario points to a fantasy rebound as Peppers himself admitted last November that, “You reach a point where your body won’t always do what your mind tells it to.” He added, “Sometimes you get up and come to practice and the body just isn’t going to do it that day.”

Say no more Julius (I’m guessing your agent would echo that thought). Whether Peppers stays in Chicago or some team decides to take a one-year flyer on him IDP owners are best advised to stay away.

About Fantasy Sharks began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.