Just like with offensive players there’s nothing that can send a fantasy season off the rails faster than watching helplessly as an early round IDP pick falls flat on his face, whether it’s due to injury, poor performance, or just plain bad luck.
IDPs are a much more volatile group by nature than offensive players, which can sometimes make spotting busts in the making that much more difficult. However, there is always a group of players for whom the warning signs exist if you know where to look, including this six-pack of sack artists and thumpers.
Kyle Vanden Bosch – DE, Detroit Lions
Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch has enjoyed a long and successful career in the National Football League, racking up a pair of top 10 fantasy finishes over his 12 seasons in the league. However, there are a number of reasons to believe that KVB’s days of being a viable IDP starter have come and gone.
Primary among those is the fact that Vanden Bosch is 33 years old and clearly not the player he once was, and with Lawrence Jackson eating into his snaps more and more Vanden Bosch may be hard pressed to crack the top 30 at his position this year.
Kamerion Wimbley – DE, Tennessee Titans
Given that Kamerion Wimbley has tallied 19.5 sacks over the past three seasons while averaging 60 tackles a year it may seem strange to see Kamerion Wimbley’s name listed here, especially given his fantasy DL1 production over that stretch.
However, Wimbley did most of that damage playing as an outside linebacker, but the 29 year-old will now play with his hand down in Nashville. Given the seventh-year veteran’s reliance on speed moves there’s a chance that Wimbley may need an adjustment period of sorts, and that’s the last thing you need from a player ranked among some pundits’ top 10 IDP defensive linemen entering the summer.
James Anderson – OLB, Carolina Panthers
I said many of the same things last year that I’m about to say in regards to Anderson after his big 2010 campaign, and the 28 year-old all but crammed those words down my throat, racking up 145 tackles and finishing among the top 10 at his position for the second consecutive year.
With that said middle linebacker Jon Beason is reportedly on track to be ready for training camp and rookie Luke Kuechly has supplanted the oft-injured Thomas Davis on the weak side. So long as those two players are healthy Anderson will probably be relegated to a two-down role, leaving the seventh-year pro no more than an IDP LB3 should that prove to be the case.
Curtis Lofton, MLB – New Orleans Saints
After topping 110 tackles the past three seasons and posting top 20 IDP finishes each year over that span middle linebacker Curtis Lofton took an NFC South road trip this offseason, leaving the Atlanta Falcons for the division rival New Orleans Saints.
The season-long suspension levied against linebacker Jonathan Vilma for his part in the “bountygate” scandal all but locks Lofton into a three-down role this season. However, the fifth year pro will see far fewer tackle opportunities in New Orleans than he did in Atlanta, and with fellow newcomer David Hawthorne and strong safety Roman Harper competing for those opps Lofton carries not insignificant risk as a fantasy LB2 this season.
Kyle Arrington – CB, New England Patriots
New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington enjoyed a career year and then some in his fourth year in the National Football League, making a career high 88 total tackles in 2011 and tying for the league lead in interceptions while finishing among the top 10 fantasy defensive backs.
On the other hand, fantasy defensive backs are also ridiculously inconsistent, cornerbacks even more so than safeties. Taking that into consideration it’s every bit as likely that Arrington will finish outside the top 30 as inside the top 10, making the selection of Arrington as a weekly starter in “standard” IDP leagues a dicey bet at best and ill-advised at worst.
LaRon Landry – S, New York Jets
As recently as 2010 New York Jets safety LaRon Landry was a dominant IDP presence while on the field, as his 10.6 fantasy points per game in Default IDP Manor Scoring not only led all defensive backs but would have also led all linebackers.
However, Landry went down nine weeks into the 2010 season with an Achilles’ injury, and frankly the sixth-year pro hasn’t been right since. The 27 year-old has eschewed repairing the injury surgically to this point, making his availability a weekly guessing game and leaving Landry an IDP DB2 pick that’s not for the faint of heart.
These are far from the only IDP storylines emerging as we head into summer’s fantasy draft season, and to keep up on all the latest updates from training camps around the league be sure to visit the Fantasy Sharks IDP forum and follow @IDP Manor on Twitter. Also, if you have a question about a particular player feel free to shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to help.