As you’re reading this, I’d like you to know that the NFL season begins in 7 days! I’ve never been so excited and anxious for the football season to start. It feels like it’s been ages since we last saw professional football on television. Probably because we’re so used to seeing the preseason games during this time of the year. Some teams have been hit hard by injuries, and some others by opt-outs. Let’s look at one of my last 2020 IDP breakout candidates!
Ja’Whaun Bentley‘s 2019 Statistics: 25 Solo, 14 Ast, 2 TFL, and 1 PD.
Last season, the New England Patriots had one of the best defenses in the league! When you look at them now, their defense is missing many key players. It almost looks like an entirely new squad to be honest. Only a few “recognizable” names remain. Ja’Whaun Bentley is one of the players returning for 2020. It looks like Bentley is slated to become one of the main contributors for the Patriots defense. Bentley played for Purdue in college. Going against some legit Big 10 competition certainly seemed to help his transition into the NFL. He was drafted in 2018; the Patriots selected him with the 6th pick of the 5th round. Bentley will likely be the one calling plays for the New England defense.
The Patriots lost some important linebackers during the off-season. Dont’a Hightower decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to the ongoing pandemic. Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts ventured down to Miami to play for their old defensive coordinator. Jamie Collins Sr. left to join Detroit in the NFC North. Bentley definitely has his work cut out for him this year. He’s still quite young, only 24-years old, but he plays for one of the best coaches in the NFL. The coaching staff seems to be content with using Bentley as their signal caller on defense. With his expanded role in 2020, Bentley looks like he could become a viable IDP start. Additionally, this has him primed to become a 2020 IDP breakout candidate!
Bentley is back!
Ja'Whaun Bentley picks up a sack in the #Patriots preseason opener against the Lions.
— Andrew Pogar (@AndrewPogar) August 9, 2019
Last season, Ja’Whaun was struggling to find meaningful snaps behind Hightower and Collins Sr. In 2019, he played about 27% of snaps, if I did my math correctly. He was in on about 288 defensive snaps, so when you look at his outlook for the 2020 season, his snap count is almost certain to double, maybe even triple. We’ve got to hope his body is ready to take on that much of an increase. He’s going to shoulder the responsibility of leading the “new look” Patriots defense. Luckily, Bentley can still lean on the veterans he learned from. He stays in contact with Hightower for advice on how to help lead the defense and the linebacker room.
Hightower was on the field for about 80% of the defensive snaps. With Bentley looking like he’s going to be the guy to replace that position, we can at least expect him to be on the field for a similar share. Maybe a little less, maybe even more? Bentley will be probably joined on the inside with former Jets linebacker, Brandon Copeland. The outside guys will most likely be second-year player, Chase Winovich, and rookie Josh Uche. Despite a few mainstays, the Patriots defense is relatively young. Which could be a good thing for them. I believe the team will have no issue at all looking towards Bentley to be the guy that tells them what to do. He says he is ready to step up and play his role for the team, and I dig that!
"Boiler Up, baby!"
— Andrew Pogar (@AndrewPogar) August 17, 2018
With little news coming out of most of the training camps around the country, it’s not easy to tell what many teams have planned for 2020. As for Ja’Whaun Bentley, we can almost be certain he will play a key role in the New England defense. Mainly because there really isn’t anyone except him. That’s not to take away from his talent, he’s starting in the NFL for a reason. He’s been a vocal leader in camp according to a few reports. He’s going relatively undrafted in most leagues. Although, he is ranked 349th in the September combined consensus rankings on IDPGuys. Probably because most aren’t aware of the situation he finds himself in. Patriots players aren’t great for IDP, but Bentley is a 2020 IDP breakout candidate!
Check out my past articles! Keep your eyes peeled as I can continue my IDP Breakout Candidate series! Please follow me on twitter, @ZmagsIDP is the tag! Always enjoy chatting about all types of fantasy football with the twitterverse! With COVID still wearing us all down, we should all consider wearing a mask to keep ourselves and our families safe! Please subscribe to idpguys.org and dynastyfootballdigest.com for all your fantasy needs! Live Long and Prosper!