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The Rookie Draft: Don’t Forget IDPs in the Early Rounds

Let’s face it; it’s not easy being a dynasty owner. We have to make decisions everyday about our team. When it comes to the rookie draft, our picks are crucial to the future of our team. Will a missed pick in the first round ruin our season? Probably not. But let’s consider the alternative when we’re picking in the middle of Round 1 of a 16-team league. Do you want to pick a prospect that’s truly an uncertainty or a prospect that can give you fantasy points right off the bat? An Individual Defensive Player (IDP) prospect may be your choice.

The rookie draft is a fun process that introduces our teams to new and exciting prospects. The first picks in an all-rookie draft may look like this:

1) Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh

2) Montee Ball, RB, Denver

3) Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay

4) Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis

Picks 5-7 – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston; Gio Bernard, RB, Cincinnati; Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota

Who’s the next prospect I can pick that I’d feel good about without feeling that I’m taking a huge gamble? It’s an IDP prospect.

Manti Te’o, LB, San Diego

Te’o should be selected between Picks 7-10 and will be a tackling machine that can give you passes defended, forced fumbles, sacks and an occasional interception. Please put aside the BCS Championship game where he missed tackles and seemed out of sorts after discovering his online girlfriend was fake. Te’o’s 40-time should also be disregarded. A good 40-time doesn’t constitute on field productivity. London Fletcher is an example of this. I’m sure Fletcher’s 40 time is not in the 4.5’s but his productivity helped win many league championships last year.

The fact is Te’o was still worth four fantasy points after the Alabama game despite that number being on the low side. Te’o has been working hard to gain the respect of his new teammates and I expect him to be a three-down linebacker and the No. 1 IDP linebacker.

Here are Round 2 IDP prospects to consider:

Matt Elam, S, Baltimore – Late 1st-early 2nd round.

Kevin Minter, LB, Arizona – Early-to-mid-2nd round – good replacement for the suspended Daryl Washington.

Johnathan Cyprien, S, Jacksonville – Mid-to-late 2nd round.

Eric Reid, S, San Francisco – Late 2nd round.

Kiki Alonso, LB, Buffalo – Early 2nd round – primed for production at inside linebacker.

Tyrann Mathieu, CB/S, Arizona – if he wins a starting position – extra points as a kick returner.

Star Lotulelei, DT/DE, Carolina – Late 2nd round – could be the next Vince Wilfork.

I understand that IDP’s are not the focus of any draft when you can draft the likes of Seattle running back Christine Michael, Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert, Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz and the quarterbacks, but keep these defensive guys in mind when you feel you’re in a drafting bind. They could make the difference in winning that one game that vaults you to the playoffs.

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