2020 Fantasy Football: IDP Players to Watch Part 3

by Bob Van Duser
2020 Fantasy Football Week 10 IDP Waiver Wire

Welcome 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 3, we're taking a look at players on the comeback train who could look to be values in drafts, players to be acquired for cheap, or players that could be on waiver wires.

If a player disappoints in a season that they're not on your roster it's very easy to disregard them heading into the next season. Take your pick in reasoning between either an injury that didn't impact your team or maybe you didn't see the context of a player's situation because they weren't on your team.

It's very easy to forget about a player if they're not on your team or stuffing stat sheets. Often times we only focus on players that were more exciting as breakouts last year that we're targeting now or incoming rookies, and we totally forget to put context into the situation. Ultimately, it becomes easy to fade a player because they're no longer on our radar.

Here are some players to watch that are looking to make a comeback in 2020 Fantasy Football.

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

2020 Fantasy Football: IDP Players to Watch Part 3

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All Aboard the Comeback Train

Keanu Neal, S, Atlanta Falcons - ECR: S9, 35th Overall

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Keanu Neal looks to return to fantasy stardom after missing essentially all of the last two seasons with an ACL injury and then an Achilles injury. If Neal can bounce back, he'll come at a major value in most leagues.

This defense quite frankly isn't the same without Neal. Head Coach Dan Quinn is barely clinging to his job at this point and needs every player up to snuff for the upcoming season.

Check your waiver wires as he was available in a couple of my leagues. If you can grab him for free, why not? Neal is still ranked pretty high for a player that's missed the last two seasons with lower body/leg injuries. However, if he's healthy he'll likely beat out his ranking and crack the top five at his position this season.

Kwon Alexander, LB, San Francisco 49ers - ECR: LB31, 63rd Overall

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Alexander has had a career surrounded in turmoil. He has missed 18 games in his five NFL seasons due to suspension or injuries. However, one thing is certain: when he's on the field he's been great for Fantasy Football.

Alexander missed the back half of the 2019 season after suffering a pectoral injury in Week 8. He then briefly made an appearance in the 49ers Super Bowl run. Though he didn't stuff any stat columns, it was encouraging to see him make it back on the field before this season.

He's unlikely to be found on any waiver wire. But you may be able to acquire him for cheap from whoever is rostering him. There's a decent chance that if they've had him for more than one season, they're frustrated with him and willing to move on for next to nothing.

Possibly my favorite thing about Kwon is either he's going to be healthy and great again this year or the 49ers will likely cut bait with him and roll with Dre Greenlaw. Greenlaw filled in for Alexander after he was injured last year and did a pretty bang-up job. Either way, a great Fantasy asset will emerge. I encourage you to stash one of these guys if you haven't already.

DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys - ECR: DE11, 66th Overall

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After finishing in the top five in 2017 and top12 in 2018, Lawrence fell all the way out of the top-30 in 2019. Lawrence was a frustration for your fantasy teams to say the least.

Many forget or discredit the fact that Lawrence had shoulder surgery in the offseason that kept him out of the entire preseason program. In the games I watched he just didn't look the same to me and I really believe the shoulder still hampered him well into the season.

The odd thing is that his pass rush grade stayed about the same and his run defense grade actually improved. However, he did take a small dip in his snap totals, perhaps managing the shoulder. Call it bad luck or call it injury, Lawrence is poised to bounce back this season.

Avery Williamson, LB, New York Jets - ECR: LB51, 101st Overall

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Williamson is coming off of a lost season after tearing his ACL in the 2019 preseason. Williamson was set to form a dynamic duo in New York with C.J. Mosley last year but oddly enough they both missed most of the 2019 season.

There's a good chance Williamson was cut by owners at the start of last season. If not then, possibly when there were rumors that he could be a cap casualty for the Jets prior to the 2020 season. However, Mosley has chosen to opt-out of the 2020 season which leaves the door wide open for a stud linebacker to break through.

When we last saw him in 2018, he finished just outside the top 20 at his position. Williamson also looks to be the favorite to lead the linebacker room.

Williamson leaves me with little concern. The only thing that does concern me is injury "hangover". ACL injuries take 9-12 months to recover from on average. As of today, he checks that box. However, there is a mental aspect to the injury as well. Studies suggest it takes players 20-24 months to get over such an injury, as in trusting your body again without hesitation.

If he's practicing (which he is) and if he's starting (he's currently listed as the starter), you need to pick this guy up. Williamson looks to CRUSH his ranking that currently has him outside the top 100.

Reuben Foster, LB, Washington Football Team - ECR: LB71, 163rd Overall

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Another player who has faced a career laced with turmoil, Foster is a polarizing player in this league. He is a great player on the field, but his off-field actions leave a lot to be desired. Foster looks to be part of a major culture change in Washington.

There has been a call for the release of Foster especially since the recent release of RB Derrius Guice. New Head Coach Ron Rivera has been very accepting of players' pasts in his career, understanding that sometimes players need the chance to be better. But going forward actions such as these will not be tolerated.

Rivera sees Foster as someone who could be a great piece to help this defense. He also sees someone who is aiming to better as a person. Rivera will make Foster earn his spot on this team as well as a starting role on this defense. If Foster steps out of line I see Rivera having zero hesitation kicking Foster to the curb.

If all that wasn't enough...

Sadly, these off-field issues are just one facet to Foster's comeback. He tore his ACL and LCL in OTAs (organized team activities) last off-season and missed all of the 2019 season. Not only did he face the injury but he had several complications and setbacks throughout the surgical and rehab processes.

Foster was just recently cleared to participate in full-team drills in early August, leaving him little time to acclimate to the defensive scheme and play calling. Foster will likely get off to a slow start and may take time to come on in the season.

Sometimes it's hard choosing to roster a player this polarizing with his off-field concerns. I'll leave that decision up to you. However, objectively speaking, if Foster can make a true return to what he was as a football player, as well as more importantly improve himself as a human, he might make consideration for NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

A Bonus For the Road

Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Minnesota Vikings

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As a thank you for sticking with me through this series, I'm going to dish my first thoughts on the impact and implications of the trade on the morning of 8/30/2020.

This trade sent Yannick Ngakoue formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick, as well as a conditional fifth-round pick that could end up as high as a third-round pick.

This is a big, big win for the Minnesota defense. Pairing Ngakoe with Danielle Hunter makes this pass rush that much more fierce and will in turn help out this pass defense whose cornerbacks are, let's just say, less than proven.

This does provide a hit to some folk's offseason darling in DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, who some pegged as a breakout coming into this season.

On the flip side, the trade does open a bevy of opportunity for rookie K'Lavon Chaisson LB/Edge in Jacksonville. It also adds two more draft picks to a 2021 Draft Class of a rebuilding franchise, who could quite possibly be looking to build around the projected 1st Overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft QB Trevor Lawrence currently of the Clemson Tigers.

What have we learned?

My goal throughout this series was to offer some insight into what I look for over the course of the off-season that can lead to finding value in players that may not be being talked about.

At the end of the day, when I'm looking for players to watch I'm looking for opportunity, as well as the talent and athleticism to play the position they're vying for.

Look for players vacating roles, how and if the team filled that role (if it was via the draft or free agency), and if they didn't fill that role look at who's left on the roster that might be looking to step up.

That does it for this series. I want to say THANK YOU to those of you who checked this out and stuck it out with me! I had a blast doing the research and putting out some content that I hope is helpful!

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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