Jihad Ward, DE/DT Oakland Raiders – Depending on the site you use Ward is either considered a DE or a DT. If he is a DT (like on MFL) you want to buy him now. Oakland can cut underachieving and lackluster Dan Williams at no cost ASAP. Four year vet Stacy McGee is also set to test free agent waters. So before you dismiss Ward getting a 61% snap share again in 2017 (because Mario Edwards Jr. is back) think again. Ward recorded 16 solos 14 assists, one TFL and seven QB hits in his rookie season. He is technically from now listed as Khalil Mack’s backup. Yet, like Mack Oakland likes to move him around their scheme hence the DE/DT designation. Ward will likely slide into one the DT spots as a starter. With guys like Mack, Edwards, Bruce Irvin and potentially Aldon Smith flanking him within the Oakland front seven in 2017. Do not be coy and think there will be nothing left for Ward to produce statistically. In DT required leagues you cannot ask for a better situation.
Jarran Reed, DT Seattle Seahawks – Reed had an injury riddled season. He still had 13 solos, 22 assists, three TFLs (two sacks), three additional QB hits and three pass defensed. Reed did that while seeing 44% of the snaps and he recorded a 7% tackle percentage which was the same percentage Ndamukong Suh recorded for Miami this season on 84% of the snaps. Reed’s main competition for DT production was 31 year/10-year veteran Tony McDaniel who is a free agent this offseason. Nine year vet Ahtyba Rubin is contracted through the 2018 season but he could be cut with just a 1.5 million dollar cap hit after 2017. Reed has a major opportunity to be top 10 scoring DT in the next couple of seasons. His rookie year was average his talent is very real. He is legitimate runner stuffer, perhaps (he could be) the best in Carroll era for Seattle. That will be showcased more as he looks to be a full-time starter in 2017. Also remember just because he was not asked to rush the passer at Alabama, do not think this former 2nd round pick is unable to do so.
Jurrell Casey, DE Tennessee Titans – Casey simply had an off year. Yet he still hovered around the Top 35 DL IDP players. He is essentially a DT playing 3-4 DE depending on his gap assignment on any given play. With Dick LeBeau his as new DC in 2016 we should have seen this coming. His 3-4 scheme is just not IDP friendly unless your name is Cameron Heyward or you are a very athletic LDE. Casey is still riding on the embers of a ten sack season back in 2013. He has just 17 sacks in the three years since. His tackle numbers are also in decline. We are not saying his career is over, his value is momentarily okay but it is unlikely to rise.
Ndamukong Suh, DT Miam Dolphins – It is always fun to cash out on such a huge name. This could send your league mates into a frenzy of puzzlement and despair. “What did he read, they will wonder? No way he is rebuilding, right?” Suh is that once in a decade transcend talent that we all watch with amazement. Yet, he is now 30 years old. His value is taking a slight spike from its already high pedestal due to Suh setting a new career high in tackles. Yet, he just 11 sacks in 32 games with Miami? Selling Suh now will maximize your return and like we mentioned before possibly cause some enteral confusion. Look for a owner who finished in the middle of pack. Maybe they are spouting about how 2017 could be their year. They possibly view themselves as being just a couple players away. Suh can be one of those players for them next season but after that the drop off could hurt worse than taking Breshad Perriman over David Johnson in a rookie draft circa 2015.
Stephon Tuitt, DE Pittsburgh Steelers – You spent a mid 20s pick on this guy in a startup because he seemed galvanized within that Pittsburgh 3-4. His 6.5 sacks and 50 plus tackle sophomore campaign was so encouraging. Pittsburgh appeared destine to have DE tandem (Tuitt and Cameron Heyward) that would frustrate QBs for next handful of years. Then Heyward got injured and missed the final nine games of the season. Ironically, Tuitt recorded all four of sacks after Heyward was lost for the season. Tuitt did suffered an injury (knee) of his own and missed the final two games of the year. He bounced back to play over 85% of the snaps so far during the playoffs. Tuitt is definitely more of a space filler 3-4 DE. That also means he is generally going against right tackles and sometimes right guards. Tuitt will be entering his fourth NFL season which is generally a benchmark season for pass rushers. Pittsburgh is also in desperate need of secondary help. Safety/Nickel back Sean Davis appears to a big step towards solidification. Yet more faster and/or younger bodies are needed. If this issue can be properly address Tuitt could find himself more consistent production.
Aaron Donald, DT Los Angeles Rams – So Donald wasn’t a super human freak this season. He regressed a little in both sack and tackle totals. Can you believe this guy produced a career low eight sacks? What a jerk, right! Or maybe you are the jerk for even considering selling him. In 2014 (his rookie season) his start startup ADP ranged from rounds 14-17. Last summer it was in early 6th round. Sure there is value to be had there but what is your plan at DT afterwards. Donald’s youth and experience level will not net you the moon. Yet, he is a safe and sometimes sexy player to build around. New DC Wade Phillips typically used the 3-4. Donald will likely just move all up and the line and succeed anywhere.