It’s finally that time of year! We all begin to look for possible IDP breakout players to add to our fantasy squads. Most managers are looking to get a leg up on the rest of their competition. Each season we get some players who are looking at chances of increased opportunities on the field. Let’s starting taking a look at players who are 2021 IDP breakout candidates! First up is one of my favorites, Jacob Phillips from the Browns!
Jacob Phillips, LB, Cleveland Browns 2020 Statistics: 15 Solo, 10 Ast, 1 TFL, 1 QBH and 1 PD
The Cleveland Browns didn’t show us much of Jacob Phillips in 2020. Could they have been waiting to show us their secret weapon in 2021? If that was their plan, it was a smart one. Much like what the Kansas City Chiefs did with their rookie linebacker Willie Gay Jr., Cleveland slowly brought Phillips into the reality of what the NFL really is. He saw 169 defensive snaps for the Browns in 2020. Which was 16% of the team’s defensive snaps overall. It’s almost baffling considering how crazy Cleveland’s linebacker situation was last season. Maybe they didn’t quite trust their rookie to get the job done? It also didn’t help that he fought through injuries and was even on the COVID list.
When it comes to 2021 IDP breakout candidates, Phillips is at the top of my list. He’s in prime position to become a stellar linebacker in Cleveland. Phillips was a teammate of Patrick Queen‘s at LSU. The Baltimore Raven’s rookie linebacker had a great rookie season, when it comes to IDP fantasy impact. When you look at their situation at LSU, Phillips was ahead of Queen on the depth chart there. He was also on the field more than Queen in college. Phillips has above average football intelligence. He sees the field well and has the ability to react quickly when he recognizes the play. He’s a reliable tackler, although, he does need to improve his pass coverage. Watch him diagnose the run play here!
Nice play #Browns Jacob Phillips! Rookie LB from LSU – 3rd round pick
Only 38 snaps on defense this year – lots of rotating LB bodies in Cleveland. Hope to see him on the field in some sub packages pic.twitter.com/YqFj0dQMuJ
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 12, 2020
If you watched any Cleveland Browns football last year, you know their linebacker room was a bit of a mess. Quite a few players rotated in and out of starting duty. In my opinion, the most consistent guy they had last season was probably BJ Goodson. But now, Goodson is an unrestricted free agent. He may return to the Browns for the 2021 season if they sign him in free agency. I believe he’ll be playing for another team in 2021. There is also Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki. They are both still on their rookie contracts. One of those two will probably be fighting Jacob Phillips for the bulk of the defensive snaps. Phillips should be able to come out on top by the time the 2021 season starts.
It’s highly likely that Cleveland will ask more of Phillips this season. With free agency and the draft on the horizon, Cleveland has plenty of opportunity to bring in some more bodies. I’d say there’s a high probability more competition is brought in. Free agency is sure to be crazy with the recent salary cap news. The 2021 linebacker draft class is also full of talented players. We could see a total turn around of talent in Cleveland and their linebacker room. I still believe Phillips has the greatest opportunity to get a starting job in 2021. He showed signs in 2020 that he was capable of holding down the job. That puts him in prime position to become a 2021 IDP breakout candidate at the linebacker position.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 3, 2018
Phillips has the ability to give you plenty of those beloved tackle points. He doesn’t always put himself in prime position to make big plays, but as you can see in the video above, it does happen. Phillips does have plenty he still needs to prove in the pros. There are holes in his game which need to be improved. Especially with the likeliness of competition being brought in this offseason. I think if Phillips could be used in the way Devin White was in 2020, we could see a nice pile of IDP points build up on his end. He’s excellent in blitz situations. I see him having LB3 value, with LB2 upside on your fantasy squad. Just a few reasons why Jacob Phillips can be a 2021 IDP breakout candidate!
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