3-4 OLB

Buy
Matt Judon, Baltimore Ravens – This small school edge-crusher provided a nice jolt of energy for the Ravens as a rotational player. With Elvis Dumervil and Terrell “T-Sizzle” Suggs both well north of 30 Judon has the opportunity to see a continued snap growth. He recorded himself four sacks on just a 30% snap share as a rookie. He also showed a nice propensity for being around the ball with a 9% tackle percentage. His career could go one of two ways in our opinion. Firstly the Alex Okafor path, in 2014 Okafor posted eight sacks and 34 tackles, boy were we excite. Then in 2015 he got just two sacks and 31 tackles. Flash ahead to 2016 were he found 3.5 sacks but just 11 tackles. Secondly the Markus Golden path, in 2015 Golden recorded four sacks and 30 tackles. Then in 2016 took a big leap 12.5 sacks and 51 tackles. We see the Golden path as an achievable goal for Judon.

Sell
Trent Murphy, Washington Redskins – Sacks have a complexional effective on the game but they are hard to predict. Also they are usually not IDP sexy. In the case of a guy like Murphy who found recorded eight sacks in 2016 after just six total in his first two NFL seasons. If he carried that DE designation instead of the LB one we might be a little more positive. Yet, with a new defensive coaching staff coming in and cap hit of under 400,000 dollars Murphy’s future is very murky. Why would Washington cut a young player after he recorded a career high in sacks you ask? The answer is easy, this defense needs a complete overall. Murphy is seemingly playing out of position as he was down lineman in college but asking him to change back now would surely stunt his growth and his current peaking value. There is just too much uncertainty with that ‘Skins defense combined with the 2016 production Murphy accomplished to not try and pull the trigger on a deal.

Hold
Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs – Ford is in a similar situation to Judon as he is basically waiting for Tamba Hali to retire. Ford like Murphy took a nice step forward in his third year in the league. The big difference is that KC has a very successful pass rushing scheme. Also Ford will be paired with Justin Houston who when healthy is a nightmare causing issue for anyone who attempts to block him. Sure Murphy has Ryan Kerrigan but again the unknown in Washington is trumped by the more plausible future production in KC. No one attempting to trade for Ford at the present will be willing to give up a little extra. Our crystal ball suggests you hold onto Ford while his value continues to rise. His 10 sacks this season is an easy goal for Ford to achieve annually. His tackle numbers should surpass 50 with more snaps from here on out.


4-3 OLB

Buy
Mark Barron, Los Angeles Rams – This is purely speculative but with Wade Phillips coming in maybe Barron shifts inside. Of course he will still coverage responsibilities over Alec Ogletree. But, he should be able to freelance more and perhaps provide more frequent up-the-middle pressure. Since he has 100 plus tackles in each of the last two seasons his value is not likely to jump. Maybe his owners are worried that he will not fit into the Phillips scheme as an OLB. That uncertainty might drive his price below where he should be. Take advantage of the down time and offer the Barron owner a younger comparable OLB and he might bite.

Sell
DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions – In just one of his eight NFL seasons was Levy considered an elite IDP LB. That was in 2014, Levy has appeared in seven of the Lions 33 games since. He is also currently (breakout the party hats) healthy! We have seen him dropped this season in some pretty reputable leagues. If you took a flyer on him now is the best time to cash in on that value. He has contract security in Detroit through 2019 and he could bounce back and have another special year in 2017. However, again he is healthy and that means is value is as well. Whatever he does in the next calendar hear just know his value is unlikely to see any kind of spike. Contenders will pay future prospects or picks to load up on veterans. Levy will be too enticing to pass up.

Hold
Mychal Kendricks, Philadelphia Eagles – The Jim Schwartz scheme in Philly is very compelling to us moving forward. We saw flashes of brilliance earlier in 2016. Remember this was a 3-4 team prior to Schwartz bringing his 4-3 base to town. Many guys were playing different or new positions. Kendricks was one of those players. His poor output of just 20 tackles and eight assists were a reflection of a new scheme and trying to take a figure out who works where. He is locked up with the Eagles through 2019. So Philly really needs him to prosper with the current scheme. They cannot really afford to cut him until 2018 when his cap hit is at its lowest (1.6 million). In 2016 the 26 year old Kendricks played in just 27% of the snaps which is alarming. Yet, when you consider the league as a whole plays in subpackage over 60% of the time it makes better sense. We understand things were not great for Kendricks in 2016. The positives that Kendricks brings to 2017 are a relatively healthy career, a dangerous mix of youth and experience and a sense of self-worth within the Eagles defense. Far too often dynasty owners give up on veterans after one bad season. Take for example Tahir Whitehead who regressed from nearly 100 tackle in 2014 down to around 50 in 2016. His few but patient owners were rewarded with 130 tackles in 2016. Kendricks may never achieve that high of number but he is still must hold to see the future the brings. #tootalentedtocut


3-4 ILB
Buy
Darron Lee, New York Jets – Maybe this seems to simple but some IDP newbies may need verification that inklings are correct. Lee struggled through a few injuries during his rookie season. However his aptitude on the field was very apparent. His 11% tackle percentage on 62% of the snaps were right in line with what most seasoned ILBs record. He is the IDP future of the Jets LB corps and that future is coming to a field near you in 2017. Sometimes you just need to unload some assets for player who is ultra-safe. Lee is that player.

Sell
Nick Kwaitkoski, Chicago Bears – Chances are people will think he is the next great Bears LB. False! The Bears just brought in Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman to stablize a very young nucleas on their defense. They both will be on the field when healthy. What is interesting with Freeman is that he served a four-game PED suspension and his cap hit if cut is only 1 million dollars. Trevathan is the king of major injuries and he has missed 20 games over the last three seasons. These are all very valid selling points that you can use to drive up Kwaitkoski’s price. Yet, we view HC John Fox to have very warm buns throughout the 2017 season. That means veterans will reign supreme. This will be especially true for guys like Freeman & Trevathan who were brought in during the Fox tenure. Kwaitkoski was much better than expected when his number was called. Now teams have a solid book on his game. He will spend the next couple of seasons adjusting with whatever playing he can muster. Trading him to Trevathan or Freeman now might yeild you more than he will ever be worth.

Hold
Korey Toomer, Los Angeles Chargers – The addition of Gus Bradley at DC really makes things murky for the four ILBs that contributed for the Chargers in their 3-4 in 2016. If Bradley employees a 4-3 it makes sense to assume Melvin Ingram will slide down to DE in the base and then Toomer would slide to OLB, leaving Denzel Perryman and/or Jatavis Brown in the middle. Also potentially Brown or Perryman push Kyle Emanuel for snaps at the other OLB spot. Or it is entirely possible the Chargers play with two under 6-foot OLBs that would push both Perryman and Brown to the outside. Toomer would left to compete with Manti T’eo in the middle. Toomer is also a restricted free agent so he could shipped elsewhere if a team is willing to trade a pick for him. Toomer was 2012 5th round pick by the Seattle Seahawks. He never played for Seattle. In the last four seasons Toomer has played for the Rams, Cowboys, Raiders and Chargers. He has appeared in 31 games in that timeframe and 13 of those (eight starts) came with San Diego last year. His path is very similar to the one that Denver ILB Brandon Marshall took to prominence. Both flourished with regular reps. Now Toomer needs to instill the same kind of confidence Marshall did with Wade Phillips in his new DC (Bradley). Toomer is 28 but its not like he has six or seven years of NFL wear and tear on his body. He has to showcase he can be a dependable option for a full 16 game slate. We are not betting against him.


4-3 MLB

Buy
Dont’a Hightower, New England Patriots – Its seems Jamie Collins was delt to pave the way for New England to re-up Hightower. That is a vote of confidence in our book and the path has been cleared. The Pats defense should be Hightower’s to control and call plays next season and beyond. He did not have the greatest season for the perennial contender. So his price will be more reasonable than other true MLBs. He will likely take less to stay in New England and continue to contend. Buy him now to avoid the price hike when he signs that second contract.

Sell
Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers – Head injuries are an awful reality in the sport of football. We have see many very good players fall victim to this career threatening epidemic. It is rare to see a NFL superstar reduced to tears after a big hit but that is exactly the state Kuechly was left in that fateful Thursday night. You will likely have to wait until he is back on the field or some encouraging/accredited news drops about his status to maximize you return. Yet, he still carries a heavy stick in the IDP community. If you wait a little or maybe during your rookie draft in May you might be able to unload him for a haul based on his name alone!

Hold
Eric Kendricks, Minnesota Vikings – When the Vikings drafted Kendricks it was a move for the future. His owners who patiently waited during his rookie for playing time know this all to well. Then, finally during their 2015 bye week Gerald Hodges was traded and Kendricks was able to become a starter. The point is simple if you’ve invested a draft pick in Kendricks and you are offered anything less than a top four Dynasty rookie pick why would trade him. You draft players like this to build your team around he is one of those cornerstone pieces and he is still learning and getting better.