The NFL Season is just around the corner! Here is a preview of things to look out for as we approach the 2018 Regular Season!
As we all get ready for preseason kickoff, “Hard Knocks”, fantasy drafts and the hall of fame inductions, it is a good time to preview the 2018 season. Here are some of the storylines (IDP and otherwise) I’m looking forward to this season. Let’s dive into a few of them and lay out some more hot takes. Just a heads up I don’t do offensive players so any takes on individuals will be all IDP related.
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this year’s defensive rookie class and see who wins DPOY. My money is on Tremaine Edmunds in Buffalo. He is in a great position to put up huge numbers in the MLB slot. That 4-3 defense that should be on the field a ton this year. (Editor’s Note: Roquan Smith wins if he ever reports to camp!)
Derwin James, Bradley Chubb, Roquan Smith and Rashaan Evans also have a pretty decent shot at DPOY. However, historically, the middle linebacker slot in the Bills defense has put up north of 100 combined tackles every season since 2001. Edmunds is far too talented to screw that up.
With all the moves the Browns made in the offseason, they HAVE to be better than 0-16. Tyrod Taylor, Carlos Hyde, Jarvis Landry along with their drafting of Nick Chubb and Baker Mayfield adds a ton of talent to their offense. With the return of a healthy Myles Garret on defense, Cleveland becomes a legit threat in the AFC North. I could see them winning six or more games this year and cannot wait for “Hard Knocks” to start to get a look at them.
The Next Wagner
I really think this year or next is the year Deion Jones takes over as the consensus No. 1 IDP LB. He has improved incrementally year to year as his knowledge base broadens. I think he definitely ends up in a dead sprint with Wagner this year and pulls ahead in 2019.
CJ Mosley, Kwon Alexander, Christian Kirksey and Myles Jack are also guys 26 and younger that have room still to grow. With the monster numbers they put up year after year, I think they’ll be in the conversation for the next “Wagner” or “Kuechly” as well. Really looking forward to seeing how all those guys do this season. I am especially excited about Myles Jack assuming he ends up the MLB for the Jags.
Will Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerrick McKinnon live up to the hype? IS Jimmy G the best looking QB in the league? Did he go out on a date with the star of “Big Butts 4”? Maybe, yes and definitely yes. Personally, I’m looking forward to Jaquiski Tartt more than any of the offensive shenanigans. He was well on his way to a monster season as the strong safety before a season-ending injury last year around week 9. I have a bunch of shares of Tartt and hope he can stay healthy so he can prove me right. Regardless, the 49ers should be a fun team to watch this year.
Passing The DB Torch
Reshad Jones has been incredible for several years now and is always in the discussion for best IDP safety. However, Jones is 30 years old and entering his 9th season in the NFL. On top of that, Miami drafted Mincah Fitzpatrick laying the groundwork for their next great safety as Jones starts to fade out. This year, I’m certainly interested in seeing if Landon Collins or Keanu Neal can dethrone Jones and take over as the consensus No. 1 safety for IDP. Also pumped to see where Derwin James lines up for the Chargers and what sort of impact he has his rookie year.
This team was one win away from the Super Bowl last year with Case “Freaking” Keenum at quarterback. They upgraded quite a bit in that department with the acquisition of Kirk Cousins in the offseason. Add in a healthy Dalvin Cook plus Diggs, Thielen and company and you’ve got a scary-talented offense. Minnesota’s defense has been good for quite some time and didn’t lose any super important parts either. This team is ridiculous on paper. I’m very much looking forward to watching them this year.
How will all of these under the radar guys or filers do this year? Between Avery Williamson, Josh Bynes, Jon Bostic, Antonio Morrison, Raekwon McMillan, Matt Milano, Anthony Hitchens and many others you have differing levels of IDP flyers this season. Some of them are cannot miss and some are hail marys. And that’s just linebackers.
Here at idpguys.org and on Twitter, our writers and analysts have been pumping out flyers for 2018 since last season. I am very interested to see how they all do. You can find most of mine in my articles 2018 Take Tracker Part 1 and Part 2. Gary has his laid out in his Narrative Dossiers. All can be found on this site.
Having so many flyers on defense allows you to go a little deeper offensively and still feel safe that you can put together a solid IDP defense afterward. Our collective butts and reputations are on the line with these takes, so seeing how it all goes down is high on my list for things I’m interested in this year.
Many people have already started measuring the Bills offense for their caskets before the first snap of preseason. With either a rookie QB, Nathan Peterman or AJ McCarron at the helm and looming trouble for LeSean McCoy in the form of accusations of abuse amongst other things (all not good), the Bills offense looks to be a dumpster fire even before the season starts.
Last year that lack of offensive firepower allowed the Bills to produce the most individual IDP studs of any one team in the NFL. With this year’s defensive snap forecast looking as good if not better than 2017, the sky is the limit for IDP production out of Buffalo this season. Cannot wait to see how Edmunds, Milano, Poyer, Hyde, White and others do in 2018.
If you’re a regular listener to the IDP Guys podcast you would know that me and Nate ( @natecheat ) usually go about our IDP drafts one way while Gary ( @HBogart27 ) and Sean ( @Lanny1925 ) have a different strategy. Now while each draft is unique and you can never lock yourself into a single method ahead of time, I generally prefer to draft my specialist IDP positions first (DE, DT, CB) over linebackers and safeties because there are so many of them.
You can usually find some pretty productive linebackers or safeties through waivers during the season. Whether it is via injury, suspension or act of God, you can usually find linebackers and safeties during the season. The league leaders in combined tackles last season were definitely not drafted or drafted high before the year started, but they ended up with their stats due to in-season circumstances. Besides the yearly heavy hitters (Wagner, Jones, Kuechly, etc), there are always fliers and guys that come out of nowhere that end up with great numbers throughout the season.
Gary is a fan of going after linebacker first in most leagues simply because they are the biggest point scorers usually. It can be said that if you screw up your linebackers in IDP you have no shot at winning and I back that up 100%. So while I play it a bit riskier and put off LB and S until later, Gary makes sure to land the big fish in both those positions and guarantees himself huge point totals from those slots. There are variations of these strategies but most of the IDP world is divided on which of these is best. I’ll definitely be paying attention to my drafts this season and see how each strategy plays out.
These are just a few of the many storylines I’ll be following this season. Definitely let us know what you’re looking forward to seeing this season on our Twitter page ( @idpguys ). Football is just around the corner, it’s about damned time.