2019 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

2019 Fantasy Football IDP Preview: Safety Dance

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Welcome to the 2019 Fantasy Football IDP Preview. Our seventh installment of 2019 Fantasy Football Position Previews.

Chaos. Anarchy. Tackles for Loss. Playing IDP, whether it’s pure IDP or paired with offense, requires a strong eye and conviction come draft season.

The 2019 season should be deemed “The Rise of the IDP Safety.” With young players like our poster guy Jessie Bates III performing at a high level despite being a rookie suggests to us that we are entering an age of renaissance for IDP safeties. A safety dance.


Which brings us to our purpose here today. Our 2019 IDP Preview and the success you have in your drafts will be highlighted by how much you know about your leagues. The roster construct and scoring breakdown for IDP players is the holy text that will guide you to a 2019 Fantasy Football trophy.

It’s early. And this is a preview. But July marks the beginning of the research deep dive and mock draft season. And to win in IDP, the intricacies of whether your league is tackle heavy or has prominent point advantages for particular stat categories is information freely available to you right now. Be it from your commish or logging into your site and looking up the scoring breakdown, know your league.

And if you know your league’s breakdown you can maximize the safety dance renaissance while making the right decisions. Decisions such as where the largest point differential between tiers at each position exist. Is your league sack or TFL heavy, meaning elite DLs are pick 1 and possibly 2? Are tackles a heavily weighted stat allowing you to target LBs later like slot WRs in PPR leagues? Or is your league looking for pass defenses and bumping up interception ready ballhawks? Safety Dance?

2019 Fantasy Football IDP Preview

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Who Will Level Up from Good to Great in 2019?

Justin Reid, S, Houston Texans

The 68th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Justin Reid steps into an elite role for the Texans defense in 2019. After grabbing the starting role for good week 6 Reid established himself as young star perusing the secondary alongside the Honey Badger. With Mathieu now in Kansas City and Kareem Jackson in Denver, this is Reid’s secondary.

With plenty of pass-happy offenses on the slate and the high-powered Texans pass game on the other side, Reid is sure to be busy in 2019. The brush of what he learned from Mathieu and Jackson combined with his high level of play as a rookie points to Reid putting up monster numbers.

Reid’s 12-start rookie campaign numbers: 88 combined tackles (70 solo/18 assists), two TFLs, one QB hit, three INTs (1 TD), 10 pass defenses, one FF, and two fumble recoveries. An improvement of any kind on these numbers- which we fully expect given the Texans history of providing us with late round safety gems- means this is the season to grab Reid before he joins the household names ranked above him.

Shaq Thompson, LB, Carolina Panthers

Despite an injury-shortened season, the Panthers’ 2015 first rounder put together career season highs of 79 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. Entering a contract year, the 25-year-old has stated his desire to stay in Carolina for the foreseeable future.

What adds to Thompson’s increasing stat production is his now clearly defined and increased role. Thompson is now a veteran amongst Ron Rivera‘s linebacker corp along with Luke Keuchly. Thomas Davis has departed to the LA Chargers after a memorable real life and fantasy football run.

Ron Rivera knows how to coach up defensives and linebackers. Stating that DB James Bradberry and Thompson were part of a young defensive corp that could “impact [a] team for years to come,” was a solid endorsement. In a make or break year for the talented Thompson, this is the season to get in before the price becomes too high.

Return of the Swack: Post Injury IDPs to Monitor

Malik Hooker, S, Indianapolis Colts

Malik Hooker was having himself a breakout rookie campaign before tearing his ACL and MCL in week 7 of the 2017 season. It’s worth mentioning that he had suffered a groin injury the summer he was drafted that led to minimal offseason participation leading up to his rookie year.

Hooker started the 2018 offseason on the PUP, but worked his way back and was named the starter once again. He was once again hit by the injury bug in 2018 with a hip injury, missing three games across the back end of the season. Then he missed the Colts playoff loss with a foot injury.

Is the injury bug concerning? Of course. But the 15th overall pick in 2017 is just 23 years of age and entering his third season with his first healthy offseason. A ballhawk before the ACL/MCL tears, Hooker has interceptions in three straight games in 2017. Free Safeties functioning as ball hawks in defenses loaded with talent like the Colts are productive and are solid picks in mid-to-late round of IDP drafts. The tackles may not exceed an average of 4/5 per game, but a finally healthy Hooker’s potential for turnovers and pass defenses make him a player worth reaching for on draft day.

Marcus Davenport, DE, New Orleans Saints

The Saints did what they do in the 2018 NFL draft. They used their draft capital to move up and snag their guy. Swapping the 27th and 147th overall picks and their 2019 first rounder to move up to 14th overall to select Davenport was a strong move. The move was emphasized by the Saints admitting the 6’5 263 pound Davenport was talent that needed molding.

A thumb injury requiring surgery led to June 2018 surgery. Despite missing limited time between the draft and into training camp, Davenport burst out the gates behind starters Cam Heyward and Alex Okafor. Through his first seven games: four sacks, eleven tackles (seven solo tackles/four assists), five TFLs, eight QB hits, two pass defenses, and a forced fumble.

After week seven, Davenport’s turf toe injury came to light and he missed weeks 8-10. Davenport’s stats over the next five weeks: zero sacks, eight combined tackles (four solo/four assists), zero TFLs, two QB hits, zero pass defenses, zero forced fumbles. The injury clearly hampered him and his role. He finished strong in a week 17 throwaway loss against Carolina, with three combined tackles, 0.5 sacks, a TFL, and three QB hits.

January 2019 toe surgery has Davenport locked in and healthy entering his second season. With a meager 502 snaps last season, he was amazingly productive when healthy. Entering departed Alex Okafor’s starting role and his 754 2018 snaps opposite Cam Jordan, Davenport is a defensive lineman worth reaching on this year. He has young Ziggy Ansah potential.

Draft Strategies

Know EVERY aspect of Your Scoring System. Every. Single. Detail.

My first job out of school, I had a terrible boss. But experience truly yields knowledge. And the dude was knowledgeable. He dropped upon me an essential life fact I have never forgotten or failed to put into practice: Details. Never sweat a single detail.

If you are on the web looking for IDP advice, you’ll never find a universal suggestion. Because IDP scoring is intensely more variable than offense. I can confirm, as the bulk of DMs I [happily] receive for advice begin with “my league’s scoring is…”.

Is your league tackle heavy? Then you can decide between linebacker and lineman in-draft with more confidence. Is your league’s scoring heavy on sacks and stuffs? Then you can justify taking the EDGE-OLB earlier than you would in a tackle-heavy league.

 


Know your league, win your league.

Remember to Stare at, Glare at, then Internalize Position Eligibility: LB vs. DL

The Rashan Gary Treatment

Let’s continue on the last point from the previous strategy. Once you know your scoring, lock into your league’s hosting site (Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS, etc.) and confirm where your draft targets positional eligibility is. One of the best examples I can share with you is the curious case of Rashaan Gary.

On ESPN we already knew he would qualify for their “EDGE” position pre-draft. But when the Packers boldly announced his selection on draft day as an OLB, his value began to drop from our perspective in typical scoring leagues. You can find a thumper/two-down linebackers who can rack tackles to give you a solid floor well into the mid-late rounds.

The waiver wire produced many of these players through week 16 championships. Do you need to reach on drafting an EDGE rusher who isn’t racking up at least sack with stuffs and TFLs to boot?

The Dee Ford Dilemma

The opposing example? Let’s do this in interactive style. Google “Dee Ford.” The SEO will yield the top sites: Wikipedia says he’s a defensive end, Pro Football Reference has him as a defensive end, but NFL.com lists him as an OLB.

Ford in the 49ers 4-3 scheme should be listed as a defensive end/lineman. Many have speculated that the Chiefs traded Ford because of their own switch to the 4-3 from 2018’s 3-4 this season under a new DC. Others suggest it was his long-term price tag. But why trade for domestic abuser Frank Clark and pay him $100mil plus then? Especially with their current and past history with these issues (Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill). It looks like scheme and winning was on Andy Reid and staffs minds.

After deep diving into Ford’s background, you’ll find he played in the 4-3 in college. Ford was a fun player in 2018 with a career high in sacks and a brilliant seven forced fumbles. Now that you are potentially getting those numbers at the defensive line instead of the linebacker position, he’s infinitely more valuable.

Check your host’s position eligibility before you make those tough draft day decisions.

How to Prioritize Defensive Lineman

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Unit As A Whole

Consider what surrounds them to delineate between players. The first instinct might suggest that a glut of players and situational subs would lead to less playing time. This would subsequently lead to fewer stats, fewer fantasy points. The truth is pass rushers and turnover mavens need to be well rested across a game and a season. The more talent on the front unit could trump snap count.

Coverage

Take the above and assimilate into Coverage theory, you get a team like the Packers in 2019-20. The additions of OLBs Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith should alter opposing offensive line schemes. The additions of safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos improve arguably the worst unit in football last year, especially after the mid-season trade of Ha-Ha. Who gets to take advantage of the combination of less offensive line focus and back end coverage being increased? I’m bumping DEs Dean Lowry and Mike Daniels along with NT Kenny Clark up in all leagues. They stand to put up heavily improved points and should be targeted mid-late rounds over some names you might love.

Consistency

What year are they in this defensive scheme? Have they had consistency with the staff? The Niners are once again a great example here. Look for beat writer comments about players adjusting to new schemes or positions. A great alternative to consistency: the 49ers Staying with DC Robert Saleh and the 4-3 means a new valuation for offseason acquisition Dee Ford. No longer an OLB, the newly minted DE has exponentially increased his draft value if you believe he’s as talented as his past two seasons suggested.

Opponent(s)

Check inside the division of the players you target, and run through entire schedules too. How are those offensive lines they will be playing? Do they run a lot with the expectation that the runner gets to the second level? Do they run three wide and will your IDP linebacker target be the man to cover the slot in base formations? Does he have the talent in coverage that will keep him on the field in those situations?

Safety Dance: Will 2019 the Year of the Safety?

We’re entering an IDP safety renaissance of sorts. Jamal Adams has great talent all around him this season. Ha-Ha joined his former Bama buddy Eddie Jackson, replacing the aforementioned Adrian Amos who’s teaming up with rookie Darnell Savage in Green Bay. Washington replaced the departed Ha-Ha with former and possibly once again stud Landon Collins. Defensive mastermind Vic Fangio lured Kareem Jackson from the Texans to join emerging IDP Justin Simmons. The JaguarsRonnie Harrison steps into a full-time role from camp on in an absolutely loaded defense.

Safety is deep and this is a passing league. Just like over on the offensive side of the ball, finding and rostering players that provide that separation between elite/consistent and great/productive could define your draft and your season’s ultimate success.

Which brings us back to strategy and scoring. If pass defenses or interceptions are heavy in your leagues, give me a ball hawk. In tackles heavy leagues, we’re looking for players who play in the box. A deep dive into the personnel in front of them allows for you to assess how many running backs and slot receivers will get past front units. Look for the narratives that create potential increased opportunities in real life and fantasy box scores.

Your scoring and your roster breakdown are as important at safety this season as they have been at defensive line for years. There’s enough safeties with opportunity to suggest that hitting on the right one-not just one of the “top” tier- could lead you to fantasy gold.

Don’t just dance recklessly into your fantasy draft this season. Dance Safely. Know your league and mock the scenarios that allow you to get your guys, at your price.


Make sure to visit the F6P Fantasy Football Page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2019 season.

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About Samir Qurashi

Samir Qurashi is from the Bay. He thinks football is a good time. You can get at him with any fantasy football questions on the tweeter: @FSPsamir and by electronica: ssq.FSP@gmail.com. He remains unspooked.

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