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  • Breakout Linebackers for 2022 – Part 2

    Jersey Giveaway
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    I couldn’t keep you all waiting too long! Here’s part two of my breakout linebackers that could lead you to the promised land!


    Let me begin by explaining what I believe a breakout candidate is. To me, a breakout candidate is someone I expect to take a larger leap in their production than we saw last season. It could be a one-year wonder or someone who can fill a roster spot for a decade.

    I fully understand that some of the players listed in this article may have already “broken out,” but that doesn’t mean they can’t outperform any previous season. Use this information as you wish!

    Pete Werner, LB, New Orleans Saints

    IDPGuys Positional Rank: 99

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    Pete Werner has quickly become one of the more polarizing names of the offseason. He ended 2021 with 62 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 QB hit! The Saints spent their 2021 second-round pick on Werner. He now looks to have a starting spot opposite of Demario Davis locked down for the 2022 season!

    Werner didn’t exactly come out of the gate firing on all cylinders, and it took time for the Saints to gain trust in their rookie linebacker. No matter, they quickly found out they made a good choice with their draft pick. Werner proved to become a pivotal player in the annually strong defense in New Orleans. He’s carved out a nice little niche for stopping the run!

    Werner is a player I’m trying to lock up in all FFIDP formats. He’s likely going to be a staple for managers for at least a few seasons in dynasty. You may have to wait at least one more season to start seeing LB1 numbers. However, I think Werner is a weekly LB2 for this season and that could only improve once Demario Davis departs. Go snag an easy target for these breakout linebackers!

    Cody Barton, LB, Seattle Seahawks

    IDPGuys Positional Rank: 95

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    Cody Barton is probably the guy I’m pulling for more than any of this season’s breakout linebackers. Actually, the guy I’m pulling for out of all the candidates. I simply cannot get over the position and volume this guy is set to inherit. We all saw what Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks did last season in Seattle. Can we expect the same output from Barton as well in 2022?

    My answer is yes, and yes again. We know it doesn’t take a pro-bowler to be a big contributor to FFIDP. Brooks put up LB1 numbers last season but didn’t grade the best per Pro Football Focus. Seattle didn’t do anything to address the position this offseason, yet. If Seattle signs someone of note, this could change immediately.

    Barton tallied 37 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 QB hits, and 1 pass defended in 2021. Right now, I’m buying him wherever and however I can get him. I think it’s only a matter of time until managers start getting the hint about what this guy can do for your roster. Barton is an easy LB2 in my mind. Let’s not forget that he could possibly notch an astronomical number of tackles in 2022, LB1 upside!

    David Long, LB, Tennessee Titans

    IDPGuys Positional Rank: 43

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    David Long put FFIDP managers on notice last season. He racked up 75 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits, 6 passes defended, and 2 interceptions last season. Long missed some time due to injury last season. Although, when he was healthy, the Titans trusted him to carry a heavy workload for their defense. Long played about 94% of the defense’s snaps in 2021.

    Now, with a starting spot likely guaranteed from the start of the season, David Long is ready to notch his name in the hall of breakout linebackers. This is the season for him to make a name for himself  —it’s the last year on his rookie contract. Some may already consider him to have “broken out,” but, I believe he’s going to be even better than we saw last season.

    I’m talking triple-digit tackles and impact plays. Long is going to be able to do it all if he stays healthy in 2022. He’s fully capable of weekly LB1 numbers for Tennessee. Even with some stiff competition around him, like Zach Cunningham, Long is a linebacker you can grab later in drafts, and trust you made a good decision in waiting!

    Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Cleveland Browns

    IDPGuys Positional Rank: 40

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    His name is Jeremiah-Owusu Koramoah, but they call him “the Joker” and “JOK”. Owusu-Koromoah had some trouble with injuries during his rookie season, but, he managed to finish 2021 well. He totaled 76 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 4 QB hits, 1.5 sacks, 4 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles. If you watch any of his tape, you can see his ability to be an impact player all over the field.

    JOK is a very balanced player, grading in the top-10 among his fellow rookies against the rush and the pass. We can expect him to take a step forward going into his second season. I think JOK is quite possibly one of the most talented players on the Cleveland defense. That says a lot when he’s in the same formations as Myles Garrett when he steps onto the field.

    FFIDP managers are starting to realize the potential of Owusu-Koramoah. If you’re doing start-ups now, don’t wait too long to shoot your shot for him. I’ve been waiting to address IDP until after the 10th round in most of my drafts, and JOK is a smart player to grab to shore up your linebacker group. I know I sound repetitive with these guys and my high hopes, but he has LB2 written all over him. Big play upside!

     

    Conclusion

    Each season, we have our different opinions on which linebackers will be in the right situation to breakout. It’s never easy to accurately predict who will do what. Projections are basically staring into a crystal ball with no guarantee.

    My process is different than others, and not everyone likes it. I don’t always use data to prove my point, but it works for me and I haven’t let myself down yet! I definitely try to improve every season though. Thank you for taking the time to read part two of my breakout linebackers article! Stay tuned for part one of some of the breakout safeties in the near future!


    Thank you for reading! You can read all my work on my IDP Guys Author Page. Follow me on Twitter at @ZMagsIDP — I always enjoy chatting about all types of fantasy football with the Twitterverse. Please subscribe to IDPGuys.org for all your fantasy football needs, and check out our customizable IDP scoring tool! Also, don’t forget to order the IDP Guys Rookie Magazines — both offense and IDP — for your league drafts. As always, Live Long and Prosper!

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