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IDP ROUNDTABLE: Four Downs – Stretch Run Edition

The 2012 fantasy football season has crested the ridge and is headed towards the postseason. As is always the case in IDP, for every player that’s lived up to his billing there have been two that have surprised, whether in the fashion that brings smiles to fantasy owners’ faces or the kind that sends laptops bouncing down staircases.

With the year more than halfway over the Fantasy Sharks’ IDP gang has gathered around the roundtable once again, as Wally Spurlin, James Elvins, and Gary Davenport take a look both back at the season’s first half and glance ahead towards which IDPs could be leaving the shiniest presents for their fantasy owners come the Holidays.

First Down: Looking back at your IDP drafts from this past summer, what pick most made you look like Karnac the Magnificent, and which one do you wish you could get a mulligan on?

Wally Spurlin: This was a tough one because as much as I’d love to say I had J.J. Watt picked in my preseason top five defensive lineman, I did not, and I believe he ended up like No. 15 in my preseason ranks. The best example of a preseason prediction that I had made that is coming to fruition is that I had been touting St Louis defensive lineman Robert Quinn as a breakout candidate since the end of 2011. Not exactly climbing on the skinny branches with that one but Quinn ascended to the top pass rushing threat for the Rams over Chris Long faster than most had predicted. His seven sacks are good for a fifth place tie among league leaders and he has added a forced fumble and 18 total tackles to his second year resume.

On the other hand, I was way off on Antoine Bethea, defensive back for the Indianapolis Colts this year. I had him top three heading into the season and thought the stars had aligned for a huge year for Bethea. Always a solid producer tackle-wise, averaging just fewer than 100 tackles a year for his career and coming off a season where he put up 139 total stops. The Colts looked to struggle in 2012 and Bethea would be on the field a lot and amass huge numbers. Well, neither of those things has exactly panned out and Bethea is currently outside the Top 50 in defensive back scoring. Swing and a miss!

James Elvins: Jerrell Freeman/Chandler Jones. Both were born of talent, but more importantly both were born of injuries to guys around or directly ahead of them. Often these sorts of late picks don’t work out, but when they do it’s money all the way to the bank. Time will tell which one works out the better, but it’s a lesson in how important it is to keep an eye on the depth chart when drafting.

Mulligan: Take your pick…How many LBs have we lost at last count? Outside of injuries, the homer in me would’ve loved Mario Williams to have played through the previous eight weeks like he just did this past weekend. It’s been brutal to watch the total lack of anything resembling production out of him thus far. If his contract were amortized per sack? Eek. Ugly.

Gary Davenport: I honestly don’t know that there’s one player who I feel like I was way ahead of the curve on. Most of the linebackers that I felt I got good value for in IDP drafts are hurt now, so whoopee for me. An excellent microcosm for my season has been Tennessee Titans strong safety Jordan Babineaux. I hyped him all summer, he lost his starting job, got the job back, and then just when I thought it was safe to plug him in on a weekly basis without hesitation he’s on the outs again in Tennessee. If there’s a lesson here it’s that IDPs are wickedly unpredictable. Either that or I’m a moron. Or both.

If there’s one guy I’m kicking myself over for being so high on it’s linebacker Donald Butler of the San Diego Chargers. We went through the exact same thing last year, where a summer of hype was followed by an autumn of disappointment. The third-year pro got his every-down gig in 2012, but he’s been very inconsistent and matchup-dependent and is a far cry from the high-end LB2, with Top 10 upside, that I talked myself into believing he could be this year.

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