With the NFL combine having come and gone, this year’s draft hopefuls are turning their attention to upcoming Pro Days. Yes, mock draft season is in full swing and experts will be dissecting each prospect from every conceivable angle.
There will be countless hours spent pouring over analyses of just how well a certain player would fit into this team or that team’s system. Then there will be countless more hours spent arguing just why that certain prospect will not fit that certain team’s system.
This is the time of year that Individual Defensive Player (IDP) Dynasty League owners live for and those arguments are what add to the fun. Getting the jump on leaguemates by landing that perfect fit for a defense can be the difference between keeping a streak of playoff appearances going and hitting the dreaded rebuilding trail.
Patience, they say, is a virtue. Just who ‘they’ are is up for debate but not the virtue part as far as I can tell. In IDP dynasty formats that saying is very often put to the test as the old “win now” philosophy rears its ugly head.
Chasing last week’s stat line has led to the release of many a fantasy star in waiting as once again instant gratification wins out over patience. Standing pat and trusting the logic employed when we drafted a rookie can often take more energy and focus than roaming the waiver wire.
As the conversations regarding this year’s prospects rage on, I’ve decided to take a look back at some of last year’s rookies and just where their fantasy value lies moving forward.
We’ll attempt to keep it to two or three players per article for the sake of brevity and hopefully clarity as well. Let’s get this train out of the station!
Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE, San Francisco
No player drafted in 2013 epitomizes the patience aspect of IDP dynasty fantasy football better than Carradine, a second-round selection at defensive end. A close second would be his teammate running back,
, on the offensive side of the ball.
The 49ers selected both players knowing full well that there would be little, and more than likely no production provided by either player last season. Hopefully dynasty owners did the same thing where Carradine was concerned.
Before tearing his ACL in November 2012 during his senior year at Florida State, Carradine was having an outstanding season. He’d put up 11 sacks and a forced fumble while also racking up 13 tackles for loss in 11 games. Had he not blown out his knee, Carradine would certainly have been a first-round selection in last April’s draft.
Despite being activated off of the reserve/NFL list last October, there was never a realistic chance that he was going to hit the field. The 49ers are being very careful with their 6-foot-4, 276-pound defensive end of the future and it will pay fantasy dividends down the line.
Current starting defensive ends
and Ray McDonald are each signed through the 2015 season and will be 35 and 30, respectively, come September of this year. Carradine is being positioned perfectly to ascend into a starting role and being given the leeway to get his knee completely healthy.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh revealed during his press conference at the NFL Combine that Carradine had undergone another procedure to remove “a mass of scar tissue” from his knee. While it has not been made clear when this procedure was done, Carradine himself stated in January that he is “fully recovered.”
A fully recovered Carradine added into the mix of an already dominant defense is a scary thought for opposing offenses. He has shown the ability to set the edge against the run and amassed 118 total tackles in two seasons at Florida State with 21 of those being for a loss.
Where his real strength lies is getting after the quarterback and that is more than likely going to be his 2014 role. Carradine plays with a non-stop motor combining natural strength and athleticism to get off the snap quickly, creating havoc in the backfield.
Look for a situational pass-rushing role for Carradine early in the season as he works himself back into to actual game shape. He will also benefit from playing alongside sack master, outside linebacker
Look no further than the numbers that Smith himself put up in such a role as a rookie back in 2011 to see how San Francisco can utilize such a threat. Smith finished with 14 sacks while playing only 506 defensive snaps in his first season.
The outlook for Carradine from a dynasty perspective is a bright one even though a bit layered. After a redshirt rookie campaign he is definitely going to have an impact in 2014 but it will be mainly in big play scoring formats.
The plethora of pass rushing options the 49ers possess will make for matchup nightmares, and Carradine will have plenty of singled up opportunities to get after the quarterback. What he may not have for at least another season is the consistent snaps to allow for productive tackle numbers.
Feel good about holding tight with Carradine while considering him a DL4 in big play scoring formats who could be started in a pinch and produce. In standard scoring leagues, have the patience for one more season to wait for what I would say could be solid DL2 production with DL1 upside beginning in 2015. Yes, I like the kid that much.