Fantasy breakouts and busts for IDP leagues
Every fantasy football season brings with it a handful of must-have and must-avoid players, who if you have them on your roster can make or break your season. That’s no different when it comes to individual defensive players. Here are our top busts and breakouts for those of you in IDP leagues.
Defensive Lineman: Breakouts
Jabaal Sheard, New England Patriots: Going back as far as his rookie season in 2011, Sheard has long been a player who has teased IDP potential. In his first of two seasons in Cleveland, Sheard averaged 53.5 total tackles and 7.5 sacks (four hits and 34 hurries) before coaching and scheme changes left him on the outside and reduced him to a rotational role as 3-4 outside linebacker rather than a pure hand-in-the dirt edge-threat. At the end of the 2014 season his contract was not renewed by the Browns, and Sheard signed in New England, although again in a situational role. Sheard shined for the Patriots, notching up eight sacks (five hits and 51 hurries) and 37 total tackles in just 13 games, while also recording a PFF grade that ranked seventh at the position. The departure of Chandler Jones to Arizona in the offseason opens a spot in the starting front four for Sheard, and although the Patriots have also signed veteran DE Chris Long, it’s Sheard’s job to lose. Double-digit sacks is not implausible, and playing a 16-game season, Sheard should also post over 50 total tackles, which puts him firmly into the DL2 tier, with the upside for potentially more production too.