Written by Brian Filler Follow on Twitter: @Brian_Filler
In Dynasty leagues, we assume the role of a general manager eyeing success for out franchise. As fantasy players the goal is obviously to immediate success but Dynasty leagues also require an eye for the future. Grabbing consistent contributors in late rounds is one of the key ways teams (real & fantasy) create success for themselves year in and year out. On defense the elite veterans are obvious names that will often be selected too early to be deemed “values”, but this should discourage the IDP fans. There are a host of up and coming defensive standouts in the NFL that will be overlooked in IDP drafts. Here we will explore three players entering their second year in the NFL who represent tremendous value in keeper and dynasty IDP formats.
Janoris Jenkins was a tremendous prospect in college but a checkered off-field history forced into the second round of the 2012 NFL draft. This ended up being incredible value for the Rams as Jenkins had one of the best seasons for all NFL rookie defenders. Jenkins finished the season with 73 tackles, 4 interceptions (3 returned for touchdowns), and 1 forced fumble.
The numbers speak for themselves here as Jenkins was nothing short of dominant as a rookie and there is no sign of him slowing down in year two. Jenkins is an aggressive ball hawk who will continue to put up interception numbers. Yes, this aggressive style makes Jenkins more prone to giving up big plays, but that does not affect us in the fantasy world.
Fantasy players willing to take a gamble on Jenkins will be rewarded for years to come as this young standout will deliver reliable numbers in tackles and big points in a few weeks with some interceptions returned for touchdowns. Do not be afraid to make Jenkins your starting defensive back in IDP leagues, as this youngster is quickly becoming a corner to fear in the NFL.
If the numbers speak for themselves with Jenkins I’m at a loss for words with Bobby Wagner. The rookie out of Utah State was selected in the middle of the second round by Seattle and became the immediate starter on an imposing defense. After just one season, Wagner compiled 140 tackles, 2 sacks and 3 interceptions.
Wagner is the centerpiece of a dominant Seattle defense and there is no reason to expect his tackle totals to decline. Wagner was an overlooked prospect in college but gained significant traction after being named MVP of the 2012 Senior Bowl. While middle linebackers can be a dime a dozen for NFL organizations, they can be serious point generators in IDP leagues.
Bobby Wagner’s arrow is pointing nowhere but up at this point and he appears to be a ten-year starter in the making. With triple digit tackle numbers, Wagner can be relied on in IDP leagues similar to stars such as D’Qwell Jackson and Patrick Willis. The bonus with Wagner is that he is still being overlooked in most leagues. Make sure to save a bench slot or late round pick for Bobby Wagner and forget about your LB slot for the next decade.
Defensive end is the most difficult defensive position to forecast (for fantasy purposes) once you move beyond the established players. Elite players like DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen can be relied on every year, but the list quickly becomes a coin flip between seasons. Chandler Jones has the unique blend of size, talent, and situation to emerge as a perennial threat in IDP leagues.
The Patriots traded up in the first round to select Jones last season and watched as he flashed rare talent, at times. After an inconsistent rookie season, Jones finished with 45 tackles, 6 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. While New England’s varied defensive fronts make stats difficult to predict; Jones has elite level size and talent to become one of the league’s consistent sack leaders.
Jones is not a finished product just yet but do not be surprised to see his sack total jump into double digits this season. Chandler Jones is the Aldon Smith for Bill Belichick’s defense and represents incredible value at this point in fantasy leagues. Take a flyer on Chandler Jones in your IDP fantasy leagues and stash him on your bench, if you have the room. Jones is a stock that is waiting to explode and you will want to cash in on this player when the sacks start piling up.
Creating a perennial contender in fantasy leagues requires the same knowledge and discipline used by NFL front offices. Players must be able to balance immediate moves alongside values plays for long term success. Each of these players is significantly undervalued in fantasy IDP leagues and is young enough to deliver continued returns. Use a late round draft pick on any of these players and help anchor your IDP league for years to come.