2019 was a very good year for IDP breakout players. For 2020 we have some with a new home and new teammates, who will regress?
The first wave of free agency is finished and we have a general idea of most of the team’s depth charts…for now. There are plenty of articles out there that tell you who to target in your drafts as potential breakouts. In this article, I will tell you which fantasy football IDP candidates for regression and should be avoided, or at the least not jumped on so quickly when drafting. Some players have moved in free agency and others picked up new teammates, some did both. Read on and see who is likely to have negative regression for 2020.
Jordan Hicks – Linebacker Arizona Cardinals
2019 Stats: 150 tackles (93 solo), 11 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 6 passes defended, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.
If you drafted Jordan Hicks last season to be your LB2 based on his potential to be a star than you were rewarded for your actions. Hicks always showed great potential playing with the Eagles though seemed to have an issue staying healthy. Last season he finished at least LB3 overall in all scoring formats. The problem is that he had zero running mate in the middle of the field as his best fellow inside linebacker was Joe Walker who had only 65 total tackles.
The Cardinals addressed the position this offseason by signing De’Vondre Campbell after he broke out for the Falcons last season. One huge impact Campbell’s breakout had was on the production hit that Deion Jones took (read more here in my last article). Jones went from a top 5 LB to a pedestrian weekly LB2. If Campbell reaches the same success in 2020 that he had in 2019, Hicks will see the biggest production dip. He is still worth a roster spot but I would not draft him to be my LB1. His current ADP is 96.50 and if you want you can wait for a hole 40 picks later and grab Demario Davis at 137.50. He is aging but finished a top 10 linebacker last season. Hicks is a huge trade high candidate right now and one of the IDP candidates for regression.
Cory Littleton – Linebacker Las Vegas Raiders
2019 Stats: 134 tackles (78 solo), 6 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 9 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 4 fumble recoveries.
Cory Littleton was one of the biggest surprises for the 2018 season. He proved that it was not a fluke by following it up with another stellar season. Littleton has proved that he is one of the top coverage linebackers in the league and is also a terrific blitzer. There is not much that he cannot do. Littleton has a situation much like Jordan Hicks though. Littleton has not had much help at linebacker since he took the starting inside linebacker job. In 2018 he was paired with an aging Mark Barron who is currently unemployed and in 2019 it was a strange combination of linebackers and safeties filling in next to Littleton.
In the offseason, Littleton signed with the new Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders were super thin at the linebacker and did not stop at Littleton. They also signed Nick Kwiatkoski, a budding star who had a breakout of his own after replacing inured linebackers Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan. He averaged 6.5 tackles per game which would translate to over 100 tackles over 16 games. Kwiatkoski could be the tackle eating linebacker that could eat into the production of Littleton.
This leaves him a risky target being drafted as the LB5 overall and one of my IDP candidates for regression. You can draft somebody like young star Devin White at 83.50 and currently the LB13. He proved he can play next to Lavonte David after making 91 tackles in 13 games adding multiple playmaking statistics. Littleton is a trade high target for me as well as you can get a nice return for him.
Jerome Baker – Linebacker Miami Dolphins
2019 Stats – 126 tackles (76 solo), 3 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 4 passes defended, 1 interception and 2 forced fumbles
Jerome Baker was one of my breakout candidates last season and he did just that. He eclipsed 125 tackles and was the best linebacker on the team. The Dolphins made Brian Flores the team’s head coach before last season. He spent 14 years with the Patriots before becoming a head coach himself. The Patriots run a hybrid scheme defense that switches out linebackers on a situational basis. The Dolphins also signed tow former Patriots linebackers in Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy, both who know how to play in that system. Baker still should see the most snaps out of the group but I fully expect his snap count to drop lower than last year.
He is currently drafted at 98 and the overall LB16. That is far too high for somebody to be a possible situational linebacker. You could draft one of the inside linebackers from the Titans, Jayon Brown or Rashaan Evans. Brown is being drafted as the LB23 at 137.75 and came up with 105 tackles and 8 passes defended in 14 games. Rashaan Evans is being drafted as the LB24 at 145.50. Evans had 111 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Both options are close to 50 picks later than Baker.
Calais Campbell – Defensive End Baltimore Ravens
2019 Stats – 56 tackles (37 solo), 10 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown.
Calais Campbell is a long time top-end defensive lineman in the IDP scene. His time spent with Jacksonville has been incredibly successful. That time has come to an end as he was traded to the Ravens. Unfortunately for his IDP production, that means that Campbell is moving to a 3-4 base defensive end as opposed to a 4-3, a much worse position for production. Campbell also saw his worst season in recent memory in 2019. He is entering his 13th season in the league and drop off is inevitable.
He is being drafted right now as the DL12 at 134, far too high for him. You can wait for a full 43 picks, 176.50, and grab the young star, Sam Hubbard. Hubbard is being drafted right now as the DL18 and produced 76 total tackles, 10 for a loss and 8.5 sacks. Hubbard is by far the better value.
Many top-end IDP producers have different situations going into the 2020 season. Some are seeing extra help in the same position while others are facing scheme change. Either way, some serious players are being drafted in the top 15 of their respective positions that are huge IDP candidates for regression. Draft these players at your own risk.
Follow me on Twitter @JoeyTheToothIDP and check out all of my written content at idpguys.org and dynastyfootballdigest.com. Be sure to also pre-order our rookie draft guides from each website. For the IDP rookie guide pre-order click here. For the Dynasty rookie draft guide pre-order click here.