Fantasy Reaction: Nick Roach Signs With Oakland
Roach enters his seventh season and was an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern in 2007. Roach didn’t make too much of a splash in his rookie season, appearing in just three games. Between 2008 and 2011, he started 45 games, and 2009 was his best season from an IDP standpoint.
Roach has been manning Chicago’s strong side, which has caused him to fly low on the IDP radar. In 2009, he compiled 75 tackles in just 631 defensive snaps, leading to a solid 11.9 percent tackle frequency. His deficiencies in coverage kept him off the field in passing situations, but he was efficient in getting to the quarterback, accumulating 13 total QB Pressures (two sacks) in just 53 pass rush snaps.
Between 2010 and 2011, Roach was completely off the IDP radar. In 2010, he appeared in just 131 defensive snaps in a situational role as an outside linebacker. He earned the starting gig in 2011, but as a two-down player he notched just 38 tackles. In 2012, Roach started all but two games, but he still played in less than 70 percent of Chicago’s total snaps, making him a risky IDP option on a weekly basis.
So heading into the 2013 season what, all of the sudden, makes him dependable?
It remains to be seen if he’ll be a three-down linebacker, but if Oakland is bringing him in to play MIKE, they likely view him as an every-down player. The Raiders have already lost Philip Wheeler, so they need the bodies on defense. If you look at Roach’s last six games (Weeks 12-17), he notched at least five or more tackles, including three games of eight or more, leading to a tackle frequency of 12.3 percent (43 total tackles). In that span, he was the starting middle linebacker and played the every-down role the last four weeks replacing the injured Brian Urlacher, so he has shown the ability to play nickel snaps.
Now, I’m not advocating spending a high pick on Roach in your draft. But, he’s someone you’ll be able to get late once all of the big name linebackers are off the board. You’ll be able to draft a possible three-down linebacker as depth for your IDP squad and start him as a match-up play. If he can play his way into the every-down role, he has a chance at appearing in 900 snaps, which would bode well for his tackle numbers.
Mike Woellert is a Senior Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy. Follow Mike on Twitter @PFF_MWoellert