The Hive – 2008 Preseason special edition
Welcome back IDP leaguers! The Hive is here and ready to give you what you need to dominate your IDP league in 2008! This week we will be looking at some bounce back and falloff candidates for this season, as well as some sleepers and shots in the dark!
Defensive Line bounce back candidates:
Julius Peppers – the man was more name than game last season, finishing as the #26 defensive end. Reports out of
indicate he is playing like a man possessed, and he will be playing for what could be the last massive payday of his career. I expect Peppers to get back into top 5 DE territory, so don’t be scared off by his 2007 stats when the rest of your league leaves him there for you late.
Derrick Burgess – Burgess is a high risk/high reward kind of guy, and will be dirt cheap in most leagues. He was on and off with injury issues in 2007, and the result was a finish as the #35 ranked DE. Things working in Burgess’ favor: the improved play of Kelly and Sands in the middle this preseason, the Raiders haven’t given him a new contract yet, the improvements in what could be the best secondary in football will lead to more coverage sacks, and he gets a lot of games against putrid offensive line talent. Sounds like a winner.
Jevon Kearse – Kearse hasn’t been fantasy relevant in years, so he should be cheaper than cheap. I think the move back to
is just what he needs, as playing next to Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch makes Kearse a forgotten man and the possibility of him seeing double teams is almost non existent with those two animals playing next to him. His health is an obvious concern, but you will be hard pressed to find similarly priced upside at this position.
Linebacker bounce back candidates:
Keith Bulluck – Bulluck made the comment last season that the Titans defense was so good in 07 that he didn’t feel like he needed to do everything like he did in the past. This resulted in the biggest bust of all the preseason top 5 LB’s last year. He should be a value this season, and with questions that linger about the LB’s around Bulluck and the DB’s behind him, I think he will have to do a lot more this season than he did in 07, which should result in IDP numbers more closely resembling his 2006 campaign.
Bart Scott – I was burned by “Hot Sauce” last season, but I believe in the player, and I believe strongly that the Ravens putrid offense will allow the D to get even more time on the field than in 2007. Scott will improve, and this is another guy likely to be discounted by the average IDP’er who watched him suck in 2007.
Donnie Edwards – The old man is back in the middle for the Chiefs, whose defensive unit may spend more time on the field than any other team in football this season. I expect Edwards to shine for the IDP leaguers willing to look past his #29 LB ranking last season.
– Hawk looks to benefit from a less productive offense. His #40 ranking last season burned many owners who drafted him expecting top 10, or even top 5 production. If the Packers offense struggles out of the gate, as many believe they will, Hawk should benefit. As a bonus he should be a lot cheaper this season and I see LB 1.5-2 upside here.
Rocky McIntosh – McIntosh’s owners were riding high for the 1st 10 weeks of the 2007 season. From then on, Rocky fell off, ending the season with a knee injury that some in Washington were concerned could be career threatening. Reports indicate that he should be ready for the regular season, and if he is I would take him as an LB 4 or 5 with LB 2 upside.
Defensive Back bounce back candidates:
Kerry Rhodes – a #34 DB ranking for
last season was truly uncharacteristic. Word from the Jets camp (when they aren’t drooling over their new QB like a fat man drools while watching Food Network) is that Rhodes will see a lot more time in the box this season, which should give us the 2006 Kerry Rhodes as opposed to the lame, inconsistent 2007 Kerry Rhodes. Fingers crossed.
Troy Polamalu – Polamalu has been much maligned in previous editions of the Hive, and for good reason. His on the field production rarely lived up to the hype, and he missed a total of 8 games in the last 2 seasons. I think his injury history and talent combine will finally lower his ADP which creates a fantastic low risk high reward pick in a lot of IDP leagues this season. Of course if you are in a league where Urlacher goes before Willis and Ryans (AKA: newb IDP league) he may go early on name recognition alone, but in a lot of IDP leagues I think you can get him as your 2nd or 3rd DB this season.
Antoine Winfield – Winfield ended 2007 as the #60 overall DB, which should be viewed by all as an injury related aberration. The tackling machine is healthy, and is ready to reassume his position as a top 5-10 DB.
Gibril Wilson –
finished as the #26 rated DB in 2007, but his move to from the Super Bowl Champs to the lowly Raiders means a lot more time on the field and a big bump in his numbers. Problem is everyone else is already pimping Gibril, so you may not get as much value as you will with the 3 I listed above.
Now lets look at some top performers from 2007 that I expect to crap the bed in 2008!
Defensive Line falloff candidates:
Adewale Ogunleye – I doubt many predicted this guy would be a top 5 DE last season, so don’t be the guy who drafts guys like this a year late. The Bears will rotate their DE’s even more this season, and Ogunleye will not repeat his top 5 numbers in 2008.
Darryl Tapp – Tapp will be, or possibly has already become, the victim of Laurence Jackson’s ridiculous camp and preseason. The Hawks will not be able to keep Jackson on the bench, and in their 2nd preseason game Tapp was playing in the 3rd and 4th quarters, while Jackson ran with the 1’s and 2’s.
is also going to start the 3rd preseason game, a designation often given to the regular season starter. At a minimum I expect a rotation here, which could negate both players for IDP purposes.
Jared Allen – don’t go crazy here guys, I am not telling you to avoid Jared Allen. Just don’t be surprised if he isnt the #1 DL again in 2008. Top 5, possibly, top 10 for sure, but it is a tough feat to repeat as the #1 guy at the position, especially when you go from an extremely poor defense to a very good defense. Just losing the 4 games against my Raiders could result in 6 less sacks this season. I love Allen as a player, but you will probably have to overpay to get him on your team this season, and its all about value.
Linebacker falloff candidates:
D.J. Williams – objective #1 for me with my IDP dynasty league team was to move Williams to the highest bidder before it became official that he was moving back to weak side LB in the
accomplished, and IDP’ers need to recognize that he will not be a top 5 LB again in 2008. According to Broncos insiders he will play MLB in “some situations” but for the most part he will play the much less productive WILL position. Top 20? Sure, but not top 5-10.
Lenon – much like Eric Barton in
last season, Lenon will start the season knowing he is just keeping the starting slot warm for a more talented rookie. I expect Jordan Dizon, much like David Harris did for the Jets last year, to take over by midseason or so and ruin Lenon’s short lived IDP relevancy.
Greenway – the move to SAM, while it might make football sense, is going to kill Greenway’s IDP numbers. You have been warned.
David Thornton – I expect Thornton to fall off and Bulluck to reclaim the title of the most productive IDP LB on that team. Much like Ogunleye at DE, I think
’s 2007 #16 LB ranking was a complete fluke.
Stephen Cooper – Cooper will miss the 1st month of the season after failing a drug test, so either Anthony Waters or Brandon Siler will replace him until then (more on that later). If he is there late and you are already stacked at LB he could be a nice pick, as I believe if Waters/Siler goes nuts it will be Wilhelm that loses snaps upon Cooper’s return and not Cooper. But considering how many IDP newbs draft off last years rankings many of you may not be in leagues where you can get a good value on this guy. Regardless missing at least ¼ of the season means Cooper wont reproduce his 2007 top 25 rank.
Defensive Back falloff candidates:
Jermaine Phillips – While he has been a steady IDP performer, Phillips’ on field shortcomings are a thorn in Jon Gruden’s side. Sabby Piscatelli, from all reports out of Bucs camp, seems ready to take Phillips’ job, unless Jermaine suddenly figured out how to not get beat over the top. I’d say if Piscatelli isnt starting to begin the season, he will be at some point in 08.
Michael Huff – regardless of the Raiders D spending a lot of time on the field in 2008, Huff will suffer in most leagues with his move to the less tackle heavy free safety position to accommodate Gibril Wilson.
Marcus Trufant – I think Trufant will suffer from what I call “Asomugha Syndrome”. Basically everyone knows how damn good he is now, and I think a lot less teams will have the stones to throw at him. Basically his IDP numbers will fall off because he is just too good.
Sammy Knight – Knight surprised many with the season he put together in
in 2007. Keep in mind that he has moved to the Giants, who spent their 1st round pick on a talented youngster who plays the same position. Knight will be more of a mentor than an IDP star this season.
Let’s move on to some sleepers and some shots in the dark. Sleepers are guys you will be able to get as your 2nd 3rd or 4th option at an IDP position and have a good chance to outperform their draft position. Shots in the dark are guys that should really only be drafted in deep IDP only leagues and IDP dynasty leagues, as they will be on your wire to start the season in the average IDP league.
DL sleeper candidates:
Tamba Hali – Hali has not been great in his 1st 2 seasons, but the departure of Jared Allen means Hali gets to move back to his college position, and word out of KC camp is that he is playing like a man possessed. He will be available as your 2nd or 3rd DL, and I think he has DL 1 upside.
Dewayne White – This season I expect White to live up to some of the hype he had going into 2007. He finished just outside the top 25 DL’s last season, and I think he has top 15 upside.
Justin Tuck – taking over for the retired Michael Strahan will be a big boost for the talented Tuck, who was able to manage a top 20 DL ranking even with ol gap tooth still starting. He has top 5-10 upside if he stays healthy, but he will also be more expensive than the 2 I’ve already listed.
Linebacker sleeper candidates:
Thomas Davis – I’ve been a big fan of Davis’ going back to his days at Georgia, and with his move from SAM to WILL in 2008 I think he will finally live up to the expectations I had for him on draft day. Much like DJ Williams last year, moving from the horribly unproductive SAM position gives
the freedom to display his speed and make plays. Doesn’t hurt that he has a stud next to him in Jon Beason either. I think
has top 15 LB upside this season, you heard it here 1st.
Barrett Ruud – Ruud’s late season turd fest is going to result in tremendous value for the 2008 IDP’er. He finished at a top 20 LB, but he was top 5 for a good portion of the season. Grab him as your LB2 and reap the rewards.
Justin Durant – The Jags cant keep this kid on the bench, and with the ole’ defense Daryl Smith has exhibited this preseason, I think Durant is a lock to start this year. I expect Ernie Sims-like production out of Durant.
Stewart Bradley – Looks to be the man in the middle for the Eagles this season, and will be a tremendous value on draft day. Don’t hesitate to snag him as an LB 3 or 4, you can thank me later.
Dhani Jones – Dear God. I am actually recommending Dhani “bow tie” Jones in my column. Wash me, for I am unclean. Facts are facts though, Jones will start on a bad defense with a stud rookie LB next to him at WILL. Sounds exactly like Paris Lenon 2007, and I expect similar production, all at a dirt cheap price.
Defensive Back sleeper candidates:
Bernard Pollard – Though many think rookie DaJuan Morgan was picked to take over for Pollard at some point, most Chiefs insiders believe that Morgan will instead take Jarrad Page’s job either sometime in 2008 or in 2009, when Page is a free agent. Pollard will continue his headhunting ways for the Chiefs, who again I believe will be on the field a ton in 2008. Pollard’s ADP does not indicate his top 10 ranking at the safety position in 2007, and you can take advantage of that on draft day.
Deangelo Hall – with Asomugha on the other side of him you can expect Hall to see a ton of passes his way in 2008. Hall could reach top 10 DB status in leagues that have heavy scoring on big plays, and at worst he will easily outplay his ADP this year.
Eric Weddle – The playmaking Caucasian DB will take a starting role in the stout Chargers defense. His ability on the ball, combined with some inexperienced (to say the least) QB’s in the division makes Weddle a fine DB to grab late.
Madieu Williams – Williams is looking at possibly missing the 1st 1-3 weeks of the regular season with a neck injury, which makes him a DB to keep your eye on at the end of your draft. He’s a top 20 DB when healthy, and I think Tyrell Johnson (a fine dynasty prospect that we will discuss more next week) is too raw to do enough to keep Williams on the sideline upon his return.
Defensive Line shots in the dark-
Jay Richardson – could make a name for himself this season in
. He will not be a high sack producer, but the
product reminds many in the Bay Area of former Niner and current Buc Marques Douglas in the way he defends the run. His tackling ability could make him fantasy relevant. Doesn’t hurt that all he has behind him is career underachiever Kalimba Edwards.
Ikaika Alama-Francis – this beast has been very productive in camp and looks to carve his place in the
2 defense that is run in
. Alama-Francis, like a more talented version of
, wont wow you with his sack totals, but his ability to stuff the run at the DE position could make him an IDP factor in tackle heavy leagues.
Linebacker shots in the dark-
has had a great camp, and is far less injury prone than Waters.
, but I think Crowder is soft, and I also think Parcells prefers big LB’s. Hence his trade for Ayodele this offseason. I believe Ayodele will outperform Crowder this year, and after the 1st 3 weeks of the season I don’t think he will be on many wires.
Defensive Back shots in the dark-
Sabby Piscatelli – two things I know, Piscatelli is a talent, and the only player that Gruden has hated more than Jermaine Phillips but still left in the starting lineup over his coaching career is Jerry Porter. Phillips is beaten like former Raider Elvis “Toast” Patterson on almost every deep ball he sees, and that just wont work in a defensive scheme where the CB’s turn the WR’s over to the safeties as much as they do in the
2. Tanard Jackson and Piscatelli in the starting lineup will allow Gruden to keep what hair he has left, and most people have forgotten the
product after he hit the IR last season.
Fabian Washington – Samari Rolle is garbage, and people still don’t throw much at ol’ Chris McCallister. I think Washington (who is having a great preseason) will start before long, and he will put up IDP friendly numbers once he does.
Well that about wraps it up for this week. Check back next Monday for my IDP rookie impact special! See you then!