IDP Tipster’s Futures: Is The Fantasy Community Sleeping On Josey Jewell?

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Gary VanDyke takes a look at Josey Jewell, who could make a play for a starting interior linebacker position in Denver. His stock is rising, and Gary is saying that now is the time to bet on Jewell.


From The Sports Betting Glossary: 

Futures – (Also, Ante Post) Bets placed in advance predicting the outcome of a future event.

This “take” may not be 100% up to the standard in terms of proper article writing. But the original idea of the “IDP Tipster” persona was to get the info we want to know about, on IDP players who are either “sleeping” or “under the radar” to hit before they go mainstream. So please, read the content more than the delivery with me as I follow up on this situation that’s come up.

Fourth-round rookie linebacker Josey Jewell is completely being overlooked by all indications that I have in front of me. According to his current all rookie ADP on myfanatsyleague.com he is likely going undrafted. As you can see by the criteria I’ve selected while researching. In the image, I captured moments ago at the bottom, “ Only 8 Players Met This Search Criteria”. So, undrafted?

Now some people out there may remember before the draft, I didn’t have too kind of words for Jewell after the combine. Based off the same information that likely landed him in the fourth round. This can also help explain this short delay of hitting my radar. There is a beautiful thing that can happen in the real world of football and that translates nicely when these types of “takes” present themselves. I’ve mentioned them before, that would be the situation and opportunity.

Now I’m going to tell you why not only has Jewell caught my eye, but also why I’ll be suggesting him as a linebacker that we should consider not letting go undrafted, and possibly making a trade for him at a discount price now- before the season. If he is on the wire, drop that extra CB or DL or any deep-deep flier and acquire him. I’m making the call, even if only 3.129% of rookies are relevant in their first season, I’m convinced that Jewell will be one of the few in 2018. And likely with better odds over half those linebackers being drafted as we speak.

To start out explaining why, let me say this to start off with; his main competition is MILB Todd Davis, who I just happen to have made a call on for my own personal flagship league in late 2015, for the 2016 season, before becoming a writer. Now I know what you’re going to say, Todd Davis is barely a tier 3 type, and I agree. It’s exactly why after letting his hype momentum build, I traded him at the beginning of 2016 season to cash in a bit higher on his actual value.

Granted in a 32 team league even a Tier 3 linebacker has a bit more value than normal-sized leagues, especially when we can start up to four linebackers. But back on topic, as we go I’ll explain why at his cost Jewell will be a low-end tier 2 at least and versus the current cost will likely be well worth our time. Yes, that is another “call”, I believe his floor is in the tier 2 range.

There is a reason that Todd Davis has only reached the ceiling he has the last couple of seasons, and also a reason he was undrafted. His main flaw is his coverage skills. He has routinely been beaten in coverage and because of this, he is considered a two-down thumper in the NFL. Him being a liability in coverage has had the Broncos removing him on passing downs. Even if this isn’t unusual, it isn’t actually ideal at the NFL level as a MILB in the 3-4 defensive scheme.

When those normally happen they happen with the SLB or even in some cases MLB in the 4-3 scheme. In the 3-4 the Broncos use, you want two inside linebackers who can play every down. As you can see in 2017 they tried to use him as an every-down player at first, hoping he had taken a step in his second year as a starter. That did not last. You may hear others report he is solid in coverage, but the snap counts speak the truth on that matter. His game tape can also clarify this in more detail. Not to mention the “average” PFF grade by clicking on his name.

This also, in turn, has resulted in low playmaking stats in terms of opportunities and coverage abilities to do so. Notice the lack of INTs and such in 2016 and 2017 as a starter?

At the pro-level teams have to have more than just a player making tackles, or games are lost by lack of momentum change. Davis is a great run stopper and a great teammate with all around on the field leadership; but he is not irreplaceable. And his contract the Broncos gave him this year, as a player that could have tested the open market, speaks as well as the snap counts and lack of playmaking.

Todd Davis signed a 3 year, $15,000,000 contract with the Denver Broncos, including a $3,000,000 signing bonus, $6,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $5,000,000. In 2018, Davis will earn a base salary of $3,000,000 and a signing bonus of $3,000,000, while carrying a cap hit of $4,000,000 and a dead cap value of $6,000,000.

Trust me when I tell you that is nowhere near top dollar starter cash by a team “wanting” to secure a starting linebacker after a few years of him being with the team. That is a team friendly signing. And perhaps a generous one considering he reportedly fielded a few offers as a free agent. It is solid for an undrafted free agent originally, but more of a respected veteran “Thank you” amount of money.

Now let’s have a quick look at the combine numbers between Davis and Jewell, or as in Davis’s case his pro-day numbers. Davis did not get an invite to the combine in 2014. I’d like to also mention as we do, it was reported but not confirmed that Jewell had a poor combine testing. Was unexpected and possibly just having a bad day. This is unconfirmed, but something to keep in mind as we go forward.

Davis first:

Now Jewel, noting the slightly better 40-yard dash at the pro-day.

Comparable enough to not dismiss.

Josey Jewell reportedly thrives in coverage and has natural football instincts putting him where he needs to be before he had to be there. I apparently picked the one single report on the young man saying he lacked both when I mentioned earlier I was not impressed.  I am not saying he is more talented than the top options from this rookie class now either.

Remember, situation and opportunity can be just as important as anything when it comes to finding these types of players. And because of the rush here to make “take” on my call, I will not “fluff” all of what I’ve researched. I will simply refer to his NFL.com combine report for you to review, it mirrors anything I could add. Keep in mind the whole prospect grade and “take” on those have been wrong before, many times. There are always rookies overlooked or undervalued as the process happens. In this case, Jewell landing in Denver changed his outlook.

My final “take”: Todd Davis is a replaceable talent that the Broncos would surely like to replace if they have a viable player to turn to. Jewell falling to them in the fourth round was exactly how they needed it to play out. The OTA and minicamp reports are all glowing in his play on the field as well as his character and football knowledge. If we happen to not see him as the starter by week one I would be shocked.

If this may be the case or he experiences some sort of “rookie blues’ that I mention from time to time, he’ll be in the starting lineup by midseason and follow thru for his rookie fans that were pulling for him before the draft. It’s just a matter of Davis faltering again in coverage. His situation is right and it is opening the opportunity to win the starting position later this summer. He’ll then showcase those instincts and coverage skills as a physical run stopper to remain on the field on every down.

Which then opens his floor up as a Tier 2 linebacker for our IDP purposes with a ceiling likely hitting the upper tier 2 in time. If we are needing to start upward to four linebackers we should view him as an LB4 for now. He is beyond a flier and no longer a sleeper, he is a real prospect for us to get rostered. 

Comparing the ADP on MyFantasyleague.com above, here is what mine would now look like if I was setting the tone.

  1. Edmunds
  2. Smith
  3. Evans
  4. Leonard
  5. Jewell
  6. Vander
  7. – 10. I’ll wait it out and see what else I see before I go inserting Warner or any OLBs at this point.

Thank you as always for reading and feel free to find me on Twitter @HBogart27 for any follow-up questions or anything IDP. Take a look at my first article in this Tipster series on Cleat Geeks.


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It is all about the IDP and to bring those interested the tools and content to win now. If you ever need a "follow-up" on anything I've written or would like to ask a general question feel free to contact me on Twitter @HBogart27. I'll also reply by email at gmtvandyke@gmail.com if in the title the words "IDP Tipster" are included. As always thank you for supporting my IDP fetish by reading my articles. Additional: News Desk Correspondent for FantasyPros @nfl_alerts Experience: give or take 20 yrs Proudest Accomplishment As IDP Guy: Developing "one of a kind and original" in-season "Easy Charts" for IDP start/sit advice by using multiple resources and trade secrets to win now. Go Buckeyes!

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