2020 Fantasy Football: IDP Players to Watch Part 1

by Bob Van Duser
2020 Fantasy Football2020 Fantasy Football: IDP Players to Watch Part 1

Every NFL off-season lends itself to a bevy of turnover and players to watch on the defensive side of the ball. It's easy to get excited about the big names reaching deals with new teams and getting the bag. However, it's just as easy to miss players and opportunities in the shuffle of everything. But don't worry, I'm here to give you some Fantasy Football IDP Players to Watch!

Consider it like the game your crazy uncle might have played with you at family events. There are three cups: one of the cups has an item of value under it, and if you can track it successfully through the shuffle and pick the right cup you win the game and the item! The same can be said for following off-season moves in Fantasy.

The way to find diamonds in the rough in the off-season is to key in on talent and opportunity. Find great players who find themselves in new starting roles. Players to watch are ones that find themselves in new homes with great opportunities and can either continue on as being great players for your Fantasy Team or establish themselves as breakouts that strengthen your lineup.

In this series, I'll be looking at the players to watch this season after all the free agency moves and the 2020 NFL Draft. The series will feature players who have become IDP mainstays that find themselves in new homes, players that find themselves in new starting roles or in a position of opportunity, as well as players who are locked and loaded to make a comeback.

Check out where all these players stack up in my 2020 Fantasy Football IDP Rankings here.

Players to Watch 2020 Fantasy Football IDP (Part 1)

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Same Ol' Faces In New Places

Jamal Adams, DB, Seattle Seahawks

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Jamal Adams was acquired in a blockbuster deal between the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets. The Jets sent Jamal Adams and a 2022 4th round pick to Seattle in exchange for Safety Bradley McDougald, a 2021 1st and 3rd round pick, as well as a 2022 1st. Adams, as the emerging superstar that he is, should absolutely draw this kind of deal.

Adams will play a huge role for this team right away. In a division with tight end George Kittle, the Seahawks found their answer to the YAC monster.

Though covering tight ends will be one of his duties, it certainly isn't the only one. Adams is a do-it-all safety that can line up anywhere on the field. He fills holes left long ago by Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

Adams will join another elite player in the IDP realm in LB Bobby Wagner. I can't wait to watch two of the most cerebral players on defense in action together. The impact they'll have can't be understated and honestly can't be put into words. #lazyanalysis

Joe Schobert, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Formerly of the Cleveland Browns, my man Joe Schobert out of Wisconsin got the bag this off-season, agreeing to terms on a five-year, $53.75 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Set to start at middle linebacker this season, Schobert is one of the smartest players at his position. It shows in his play recognition and pass coverage.

This guy commands a defense like none other. When you hear commentators mention the term "quarterback of the defense," Schobert is the type of guy they're referring to. This defense has lacked leadership ever since Telvin Smith retired. They tried to fill the gap with Myles Jack and let's just say he's more of a Robin than a Batman.

Schobert will be a cornerstone for this defense for the next five years without question. I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish in the top five at his position this season and become a mainstay there.

Christian Kirksey, LB, Green Bay Packers

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Another former Cleveland Brown, Christian Kirksey finds himself in Lambeau after signing a two-year contract worth $16 million. Kirksey has battled injuries over the past couple of seasons, but prior to that, he was an absolute stud in Fantasy and on the football field.

Coming off an injury, the Packers made a slam dunk signing Kirksey for cheap to offset Blake Martinez's departure. Personally, I believe Kirksey to be an upgrade at the position. His athleticism and ability to make plays on the ball have always made him an IDP asset while healthy.

Kirksey is reunited with Mike Pettine, Defensive Coordinator of the Green Bay Packers, and slated to start at inside linebacker this season. On a team that struggled against the run more than anything last year, Kirksey will slot in and immediately fill the hole left by Martinez. With familiarity thriving in Pettine's system there should be little to no learning curve for Kirksey.

The Packers went 13-3 in 2019. Their big weakness was defending the run, ranking in the bottom half of the league. Ultimately their lack of run defense cost them the NFC Championship Game last year, and Kirksey looks to be the solution.

There's definitely a chance Kirksey regains a lot of what he lost prior to his injuries. The opportunity is there as well as the talent. Ultimately it all comes down to him being back to full health. He's stated that he feels back to 100% and sees big things in 2020. However, what player wouldn't hype themselves up?

As a Packer fan with no bias, he's an easy add to my list of players to watch.

Cory Littleton, LB, Las Vegas Raiders

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One of the bigger free-agent signings of the off-season brought Cory Littleton to Sin City. A three-year, $36 million deal was enough to bring aboard the top free-agent LB. The length and cost of the deal surprised me as I thought he could've landed more money and a longer deal.

After being undrafted in 2016, my guess is that there's skepticism revolving around Littleton's success. They want to see if he is the product of a Wade Phillips coached defense or if he truly is an All-Pro linebacker in the NFL. I see this deal as somewhat of a "prove it" contract, albeit an expensive one. Littleton is young enough that if the Raiders like what they see they can extend him, or Littleton can seek out a larger contract elsewhere at the conclusion of his current deal.

Anyone in IDP leagues knows how valuable he's been, as he has been a top-five LB most weeks over the last two seasons. Given a situation similar to Schobert, Littleton should be pieced in as a cornerstone of the Raiders defense.

He looks to continue his tenure as a top-five LB. A large part of me feels he'll have no problem doing so. Another part feels like he may struggle in a different system. I still have him ranked as my LB5, but he's a guy I've avoided more often than not in my leagues.

Deforest Buckner, DL, Indianapolis Colts

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Deforest Buckner of the Indianapolis Colts was acquired via trade with the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2020 1st round pick.

Buckner brings a new element to the defensive line of the Colts, which was a weak point for this team last season. He was a force in 2019 while racking up 61 total tackles and 7.5 sacks. Along with Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, Buckner really propelled the 49ers defense to the top.

Buckner looks to add destructiveness to the Colts defensive line along with a revitalized Justin Houston. A player like Buckner in the middle will make it harder for guards to shift over to double team Houston.

Unfortunately, like many defensive tackles, I think the addition of Buckner will have more real-life impact than fantasy. Granted, the fact Buckner helps out in the run game consistently gives him a good floor. For me, the sneaky player to watch here is Justin Houston.


Check out where all these players stack up in my 2020 Fantasy Football IDP Rankings here.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice, including all 32 Fantasy Football Team Previews to get you prepared for the 2020 season

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2 comments

2020 Fantasy Football: IDP Players to Watch Part 2 - Fantasy Six Pack August 28, 2020 - 6:31 am

[…] to Part 2 of the “Fantasy Football: IDP Players To Watch” series. In Part 1 we went over some familiar players who are in new situations that may favor them. Here we’ll […]

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2020 Fantasy Football: IDP Players to Watch Part 3 - Fantasy Six Pack September 1, 2020 - 7:00 am

[…] back for Part 3 of my “2020 Fantasy Football: IDP Players to Watch” series. In Part 1 we looked at some familiar faces in new places. Part 2 focused on players who have opportunity knocking in new starting roles. Now finally in Part […]

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