While much of the country and the world is at a standstill, the NFL has provided many of us with some much-needed sports entertainment.
Free agency began earlier this week with a frenzy of activity all over the league. Guys like DeAndre Hopkins and David Johnson were swapped in trades and free agents chose their new destinations. Teams like the Las Vegas Raiders bulked up their linebacker room, while teams like the Dallas Cowboys watched as some key defensive players signed on with other teams. It has truly been a crazy week of moves for the NFL and I’m going to breakdown my favorite IDP moves.
1. Cory Littleton, ILB, signs with Raiders for 3 years, $36 million.
Cory Littleton, many of us IDP fanatics know the name, has decided to take his talents to the Las Vegas Raiders. First of all, I think this is a brilliant signing by the Raiders. They had recently released Tahir Whitehead and needed to replenish their linebacker room. Littleton provides some much-needed stability for the inside linebacker position. In 2019, he had 78 solo tackles and 56 tackle assists. He put up plenty of IDP points for whoever’s team he was on. He’s not necessarily a sack artist but he’s sure to get you those tackle points.
It’s always hard guessing if a player will continue to produce after moving on to another team. In Littleton’s case, I don’t think it will be much of a problem. He’s been a stud for the Rams for a couple of seasons now and should be able to produce for the Raiders. He’s a tackle hog and is full of plenty of tackling fuel. In my opinion, his value should stay the same at an LB 1 but it could take a minor hit due to this next signing we’re going to talk about.
2. Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, signs with Raiders for 3 years, $21 million.
This guy right here may need a small introduction if you’re new to the IDP landscape. Kwiatkoski is also 26-years old and has played for the Chicago Bears since he was drafted in the fourth round of 2016. He has spent the past couple of seasons playing behind Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith. He played a couple of games while Smith dealt with some life stuff early on in the season and made some noise week 4. Tragedy struck Trevathan with an elbow injury in week 10 and that is when Kwiatkoski fully took on the starting job for the Bears.
He put up 56 solo tackles and had 20 tackle assists during the 2019 season. Just saying, the guy basically played half the season, if not less, and put up better numbers than some full-time guys. That says a lot about the type of player he is and how much he puts out onto the field. I think his value rises slightly because he will most likely be playing every game this year barring any injuries or setbacks starting wise. He has LB 2 value with LB 1 upside. Kwiatkoski and Littleton in the middle of the Raiders defense will pose problems for their opponents when the season gets underway.
3. DeForest Buckner, DT, traded to the Indianapolis Colts for their first-round pick and Arik Armstead re-signs with the San Francisco.
Almost every NFL offseason has one or two of those big-name players being traded that nobody expects to be moved for some draft value, this is exactly that. Although the San Francisco 49ers did resign teammate Arik Armstead, they knew they wouldn’t be able to keep Buckner in the future as well. This gives them a chance to get a young and talented player with the No. 13 pick in Round 1. This particular transaction is a win-win for both teams.
The Colts desperately needed a leader and impact performer along with the interior of that defensive line. Buckner gives them exactly that. Last season, he had 34 solo tackles, 28 tackle assists, 9 tackle for losses and 7.5 sacks. All while sharing a line with the likes of Nick Bosa and the previously named Arik Armstead. The 49ers had a trove of talented players across their defensive line and moved a big piece but I’m sure Lynch has a plan. As for the Colts, they gain an important piece to solidify their already strong defense.
When it comes to fantasy IDP impact, this affects multiple players on multiple teams. Buckner is sure to continue his dominant play and put up fine numbers for that DL(or DT) spot on a week to week basis. I honestly believe his value even rises a bit now that he won’t be sniped by other players right before getting a sack. This also goes for guys like Armstead and Bosa, their fantasy value rises as well. This move is sure to spark some conversation throughout the NFL communities.
Joe Schobert, ILB, signs a 5-year deal with Jacksonville Jaguars for $53.75 million with $22.5 million guaranteed.
Well, I will be straight up with you guys, Schobert was one of my favorite linebackers in the league to watch this past season. It felt like he was making big plays more often than not. It seems like the Jaguars saw what I saw and decided to pay old Joe Schmo’. Schobert had 89 solo tackles, 44 tackle assists, 7 tackle for losses and 2 sacks. He also had a whopping 4 interceptions on the season. Joe’s got some hands and he proved it. I’m a little surprised Cleveland let him walk, but business is business in the NFL these days.
Young talent moves in and old talent moves out. Can you name me a Jacksonville linebacker other than Myles Jack or Donald Payne? The only other guy I can really think of is Quincy Williams, and he has not been what was expected. Schobert will shine on the Jaguars and his IDP value should stay the same. He’s great for an LB 2 spot and also has that LB 1 upside. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become a leader in the locker room and on the field for this young team. He also has the potential to wear the green dot and be the one calling the plays in the huddle.
Jacksonville Jaguars trade defensive linemen Calais Campbell to the Ravens for a 2020 fifth-round pick.
Calais Campbell was also extended by Baltimore through the 2020 season. He’ll now make a guaranteed $20 million over the next two seasons. Okay, the elephant in the room, so the guy has been around for a while yeah? I can still bet he’s rostered in any viable IDP league. The only time I wouldn’t start him would be if he was on a bye week or the defensive line on my team was stacked, so I could start players based on matchups. I think his presence alone will open doors for the Ravens defense.
Calais was drafted in 2008. He’s basically been a constant contributor since then. In his last season in Jacksonville, he had 37 solo tackles, 19 tackle assists, 10 tackle for losses and 6.5 sacks. His sack numbers did spike the previous two years before that. I think a change of scenery will do him some good. I also believe at this point in his career he will be taking some snaps off more often. So, in the end, I do believe his IDP value takes a slight hit. He may not be a DL 1 anymore, but he can certainly slide in at the second defense line spot if you have that in your league.
What’s your favorite free agency move so far?
I like to close my articles with a question. Life is full of them, so why not give my readers one more thing to think about? Obviously free agency isn’t over yet. The new league year has just begun and there’s still plenty of hype to be excited for. As a Bears fan, my offseason has been slightly disappointing. I do believe the QB position needed to be addressed but I don’t know how I feel about my team picking up a contract like that. I am excited about the competition it’s bound to create. I do wish the would’ve addressed the offensive line though, but I’m not a GM.
Yes, there are many other notable signings that I didn’t cover. Like Blake Martinez signing with the Giants, or Karl Joseph to a safety hungry Browns team. Young talents like Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah are off to new destinations to make a name for themselves, hopefully as starters. With everything sports-related being a guessing game right now, it’s hard knowing when the season will begin. I hope everyone stays safe and we can all work together to defeat this virus that’s gripped the world.
Please follow me on twitter @MagleyZach for more IDP and fantasy chat. I’d love to hear what you think about my article and it’s always fun to talk football with people. Also everyone, please be safe out there and be smart. Listen to the experts and quarantine yourself as much as possible for a while. Keep your family in mind. Live long and prosper y’all! Give idpguys.org and dynastyfootballdigest.com a look while you’re home relaxing.