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  • Fantasy IDP Breakout Candidates: Nick Kwiatkoski and Micah Kiser

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    Before every season begins, we often wonder which IDP breakout players we can add to our fantasy rosters to help get our prospective teams to the playoffs. There are studs all around the league looking to make a name for themselves. We will take a short dive into the potential for Nick Kwiatkoski and Micah Kiser to become 2020 fantasy IDP breakout candidates!

    Before you ask, yes, same series but I tweaked the title a bit. You may have heard how some players from the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have tested positive for COVID-19. It still seems likely that the NFL season will be played, but there are still many questions surrounding the whole situation. We could probably expect players who test positive to be out for a few weeks until they are cleared to play again. Regular season football is just a few months away, and we're certain to see some surprises come about.

    Nick Kwiatkoski's 2019 statistics: 50 solo, 18 Ast, 8 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 Int, 1 FF, 4PD and 1 safety

    Honestly, I was not a happy camper when Las Vegas signed my guy Nick. I loved seeing him kick butt for the Bears when Smith was out early in the season, and then again when Trevathan went down for the year. He certainly worked hard and deserves the contract he received though. Kwiatkoski, a West Virginia University alum, was a 4th round pick in 2016 for Chicago. The Bears breed great linebackers. It's part of the atmosphere at Halas Hall. Nick was in the right spot to learn from the veterans on the team as he rose up the depth chart. He was hungry for action, and he answered the call for his team when his time came. Kwiatkoski put the league on notice as an IDP breakout in 2019, and actions speak louder than words.

    While filling in for Smith in week 4 against the Vikings, Kwiatkoski went off for 10 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. He logged 34 defensive snaps in that game. Trevathan suffered a gruesome elbow injury in week 9. After that, Nick made a major fantasy impact. He put his name on the IDP radar after he got his first start week 10 against the Rams. He finished out the season for the Bears along side Smith. In full, he only logged 518 defense snaps in 10 games, starting 8 of those. He put on a show, and the other teams saw what he was capable of. So, when free-agency began, Nick decided to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders for 3 years and $21 million. He looks to help lead the Raiders defense alongside another well known IDP linebacker.

    If you haven't kept up with off-season transacations recently, you wouldn't know that the Raiders also signed Cory Littleton. That's right, THE Cory Littleton, the guy who has been an IDP sweetheart to all of us. Seeing them together on the field would give me the chills. Two quick and dangerously smart linebackers. Kwiatkoski plays with an extremely high motor. He showed he can blitz the passer and blow through blocks. He's a maniac against the run, proved he could diagnose plays and make clutch stops. Kwiatkoski is also above average in coverage, he can keep up in the slot against a wide receiver and slow down opposing tight ends.

    His current ADP is 211, so around round 17, which is an absolute steal. I'd hate for it to happen because I'm a Littleton fan, but Nick's prescence could hurt his value sort of like De'Vondre Campbell did to Deion Jones. Almost like another IDP vampire situation. You can check out an article by the man himself @JoeyTheToothIDP. He goes in depth about how Campbell may have hurt Jones' IDP production last season. Even with Littleton next to him, I can see Kwiatkoski having LB2 value. If you have a chance to grab this IDP breakout candidate when the time is right, make sure to take a chance on this guy.

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    Micah Kiser's 2019 statistics: None.

    Micah Kiser is one of the lesser known linebackers in the league. He has no statistics from 2019 because he spent last season on the sidelines due to a torn pectoral injury he sustained in the preseason. He's a 5th round pick from the 2018 draft. Micah was picked 147th overall by the Los Angeles Rams. He was mainly used on special teams as a rookie. At the beginning of 2019, he was on track to earn a starting role next to Cory Littleton until he was injured. While Kiser was out, Troy Reeder received most of the playing time at inside linebacker. With the beginning of the season closing in on them, the Rams have a job to do to figure out who they will use as their starters at the inside linebacker positions.

    The coaching staff seems to favor Kiser at this moment in time. Which bodes well for him. With two spots open, Kiser has a good chance to earn a starting spot on defense. This gives him the potential to be a three-down player for them. Usually three-down roles coincide with IDP value for linebackers. As long as Micah stays healthy, he can turn his career around in a jiffy. He's still only 25 years old with tons left to prove. With so little to go off of from his NFL career, we have to take a trip back to his college days to explain why he is a breakout candidate. He attended Virginia University, where he certainly left his mark.

    Kiser finished his senior season ranked 5th all-time at Virginia with 411 career tackles. He was also just the second player in ACC history to lead the league in tackles, joining a man we will all miss, Luke Kuechly.  He had a heck of a collegiate career and received some honors by the end of it. Including being named a Walter Camp Second Team All-American and a Butkus award semi-finalist. He has good vision, so he can play inside and outside. He uses his size and strength to shut down the run game. On tape, he is an average pass rusher but did show improvement last preseason. Kiser should still be available at the tail end of your drafts. A player worth grabbing late with his potential to become a IDP breakout candidate!

    Check out my past articles! Please follow me on twitter, @ZmagsIDP is the tag! Always enjoy talking all types of fantasy with the twitterverse! Please subscribe to idpguys.org and dynastyfootballdigest.com for all your fantasy needs! Live Long and Prosper Y'all!

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