Fantasy: IDP Studs, Sleepers and Busts

| August 21, 2011

TJ WardFantasy draft season is in full swing and training camp battles are shedding light on starting line-ups across the NFL. As we learn which linebackers are taking nickel snaps and what rookies are breaking into the 1s, I’ve gathered the collective opinions of the PFF IDP Fantasy staff to help you know who to target and who to avoid.

On a positional basis the IDP team has voted for their top player in a traditional, tackle-heavy scoring format, their top player in the PFF IDP scoring system, as well as a sleeper and a bust/overdrafted player.

Defensive Tackle

Tackle-heavy #1 PFF System #1 Sleeper Bust/Overdrafted
Ross Miles Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh Antonio Garay Albert Haynesworth
JeffRatcliffe Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh Tyson Alualu Albert Haynesworth
Kevin Greenstein Vince Wilfork Ndamukong Suh Tyson Alualu Sedrick Ellis
Justin Curry Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh Henry Melton Tommy Kelly
Mike Daneshgar Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh Ahtyba Rubin Vince Wilfork
Tony Farnham Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh Albert Haynesworth Nick Fairley
Eric Yeomans Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh Marvin Austin Albert Haynesworth

There’s a clear #1 selection here and it’s no surprise. After an exceptional rookie season, Ndamukong Suh has quickly established himself as a terror on the inside of the line and should push double-digit sacks in 2011. Even in leagues that do not separate DTs and DEs, Suh holds significant value. The other notable name on the list is Albert Haynesworth. Having being signed by the Patriots, Bill Belichick’s ability to reignite the careers of trouble stars has many excited. Haynesworth gets three mentions for being over-drafted by Miles, Ratcliffe and Yeomans, but Farnham believes he holds enough upside to be a potential DT1.  Vince Wilfork splits opinion being Greenstein’s tackle-heavy #1, but also Daneshgar’s potential bust.

Defensive End

Tackle-heavy #1 PFF System #1 Sleeper Bust/Overdrafted
Ross Miles Trent Cole Justin Tuck Jason Pierre-Paul Dwight Freeney
Jeff Ratcliffe Trent Cole Trent Cole Derrick Morgan Ray Edwards
Kevin Greenstein Trent Cole Trent Cole Cameron Jordan Osi Umenyiora
Justin Curry Trent Cole Justin Tuck Cliff Avril Robert Quinn
Mike Daneshgar Justin Tuck Trent Cole Adrian Clayborn Ray Edwards
Tony Farnham Trent Cole Jared Allen Elvis Dumervil Charles Johnson
Eric Yeomans Jared Allen Jared Allen Kroy Biermann Osi Umenyiora

Trent Cole was an IDP stud before the retooling of the Philadelphia defense, but the signings of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should help with coverage sacks, whilst Jason Babin as his bookend will also attract attention. As a result Cole is the #1 DE to target by consensus opinion. Justin Tuck is also seen a premier pass-rushing option, especially in systems that reward big-plays. When it comes to sleepers and busts, the picture is not so clear. Rookie Adrian Clayborn gets Daneshgar’s stamp of approval, while Curry worries about the hype surrounding Robert Quinn in Spagnuolo’s blitz heavy system. One thing that is clear is that there is momentum for change on the Giants D-Line opposite Tuck, with Jason Pierre-Paul being selected as Miles’ sleeper, and Osi Umenyiora getting two mentions for being overdrafted (Greenstein and Yeomans). Despite Ray Edwards departure from Minnesota, Jared Allen is Yeomans’ #1 DE this year, but Edwards himself gets named twice in the bust list (Ratcliffe and Daneshgar).

Linebackers

Tackle-heavy #1 PFF System #1 Sleeper Bust/Overdrafted
Ross Miles Patrick Willis Patrick Willis Donald Butler Jerod Mayo
Jeff Ratcliffe Patrick Willis Patrick Willis Daryl Washington Jerod Mayo
Kevin Greenstein Patrick Willis Patrick Willis Rolando McClain Brian Cushing
Justin Curry David Hawthorne Patrick Willis D’Qwell Jackson Stephen Tulloch
Mike Daneshgar Patrick Willis Patrick Willis D’Qwell Jackson Clay Matthews
Tony Farnham Lawrence Timmons Lawrence Timmons David Hawthorne Mario Williams
Eric Yeomans Patrick Willis Patrick Willis Navorro Bowman Clay Matthews

Unsurprisingly Patrick Willis is the majority selection to be the top LB for the coming season. Only Farnham disagrees and names Lawrence Timmons as the heir apparent, although Curry believes David Hawthorne will be a threat in tackle heavy scoring systems. Miles names Donald Butler as his sleeper with the sophomore looking ready to assume the role of an every-down linebacker in San Diego. Daryl Washington is Ratcliffe’s selection on the same grounds. Moving to play ILB in Cleveland gets D’Qwell Jackson two mentions as a sleeper from Curry and Daneshgar. Looking at the overdrafted players Jerod Mayo is nominated by Miles and Ratcliffe after news the Patriots will be running more 4-3 in 2011, moving Mayo to WLB. Mayo will still have plenty of opportunities, but he’s no longer the top 5 lock he has been drafted as. The switch to the 3-4 by Wade Phillips has landed Mario Williams and Brian Cushing on the bust list, as is regression favorite Stephen Tulloch after such high snap numbers for the Titans last year.

Cornerbacks

Tackle-heavy #1 PFF System #1 Sleeper Bust/Overdrafted
Ross Miles Terrell Thomas Charles Woodson Joe Haden DeAngelo Hall
Jeff Ratcliffe Courtland Finnegan Charles Woodson Bradley Fletcher DeAngelo Hall
Kevin Greenstein Terrell Thomas Terrell Thomas Jimmy Smith DeAngelo Hall
Justin Curry Patrick Peterson Charles Woodson Brent Grimes DeAngelo Hall
Mike Daneshgar Joe Haden Joe Haden Patrick Peterson Terrell Thomas
Tony Farnham Antoine Winfield Charles Woodson Brent Grimes Terrell Thomas
Eric Yeomans Terrell Thomas Charles Woodson Aqib Talib DeAngelo Hall

It’s clear that in big-play systems that Charles Woodson is the CB to own, but the picture is not so clear in tackle-heavy systems. Terrell Thomas gets several mentions as a potential #1 CB, but also finds himself listed as a potential fantasy bust by Daneshgar and Farnham. Daneshgar is high on Joe Haden to break out as a fantasy stud this year after his 6 interceptions as a rookie, while Miles has him as a sleeper candidate. DeAngelo Hall is the clear choice as the most overdrafted cornerback, possibly because he is unlikely to repeat his 4 pick one game performance in 2011. The sleeper picks highlight rookies Jimmy Smith and Patrick Peterson (Curry’s tackle-heavy #1) as players to target, while perennially under-rated Brent Grimes could well break out if he can turn some of his passes defensed into interceptions.

Safeties

Tackle-heavy #1 PFF System #1 Sleeper Bust/Overdrafted
Ross Miles TJ Ward Eric Berry Kam Chancellor Pat Chung
Jeff Ratcliffe TJ Ward Eric Berry Courtney Greene Michael Griffin
Kevin Greenstein TJ Ward Eric Berry Ed Reed Bernard Pollard
Justin Curry Tyvon Branch George Wilson Louis Delmas Michael Huff
Mike Daneshgar TJ Ward Eric Berry Jaiquawn Jarrett Troy Polamalu
Tony Farnham TJ Ward Eric Weddle Jairus Byrd Michael Griffin
Eric Yeomans Tyvon Branch Eric Berry Tanard Jackson Bernard Pollard

The picture seems relatively clear at safety, target TJ Ward in tackle heavy formats, and Eric Berry in those that favor big plays. Tyvon Branch gets an honorable mention as selection of both Curry and Yeomans in tackle-heavy leagues. The sleepers selections throw up seven different choices, which highlights the difficulty of evaluating defensive backs for fantasy purposes. Miles elected Kam Chancellor, who has assumed the starting SS role in Seattle, but notes it was a narrow selection over George Wilson (who was Curry’s #1 in the PFF scoring system) who has the same duties for the Browns. Tanard Jackson gets Yeomans nomination as despite his suspension issues, Jackson has DB2 potential if on the field. Michael Griffin (Titans regression) and Bernard Pollard (age) both received two votes as fantasy busts.

Questions and comments are always welcome via Twitter – @PFF_RossMiles.

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