We’re officially past the point when players can choose to opt-out of the 2020 season due to COVID. There’s still a chance we will see players get moved to the COVID list if they test positive or break team/league protocols. Which is why it will be vital for you IDP maniacs to keep an eye on the waiver wire for spots you may need to fill. Luckily, you have us at IDP Guys to help you out. I will name two of the most relevant IDP players that decided opting out was best for them. Then, I will give you possible replacements based off ADP and depth chart players.
Dont’a Hightower, LB, New England Patriots
The Patriots were probably hit the hardest by the opt-outs. Hightower’s tackle numbers aren’t very impressive, but he does have the ability to create big plays. Especially as part of one of the league’s top defenses last season. Hightower’s current ADP is 300. Which has him going off the board around the 25th round. Another guy being taken around the same ADP is Thomas Davis. Thomas Davis is a strong option to give you the beloved tackle points that we know can carry us week to week. He could possibly lead Washington in tackles in 2020. Rookie linebacker Josh Uche, teammate of Hightower, is a guy I like to possibly replace Hightower’s production in New England.
Rumors always swirl about how the Patriots rarely use their rookies during their first season. Fortunately, New England doesn’t have much of a choice this season. They have a lot of spots they need to fill. Another guy you could look at whose ADP is about the same, is Logan Wilson. He’s a rookie linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals. In my opinion, he could be the most consistent tackler they have in their linebacker room. Micah Kiser, of the Los Angeles Rams, is also going around the same time as Hightower. I have Kiser pegged as a possible IDP breakout candidate in 2020. Whoever you choose as a replacement, just do your homework!
C.J. Mosley, LB, New York Jets
Quite possibly the biggest defensive name to opt-out was C.J. Mosley. Quite a few IDP enthusiasts were excited about his return to the Jets in 2020. He only appeared in two games last season, so, he honestly hasn’t done much while in New York, but, in 2017 and 2018, he was a player you could rely on. Mosley played in 31 games those two seasons, only missing one game in 2018. C.J.’s shoes will not be easy to fill. He’s currently being drafted 137th overall. That has him being taken between the 11th and 12th rounds, depending on league size. One player whose ADP is close to Mosley’s is, Jayon Brown. The Tennessee Titans’ fanbase fawns over this guy. He had over 100 tackles in 2019. Brown is actually a guy you could use in the future as well on your IDP squad.
The Jets have an assortment of linebackers that could also fill the missing spot on your team. My favorite of them, Avery Williamson, had a heck of a 2018 season. He totaled about 120 tackles that year, appearing in 16 games. He could very well end up being an LB2 or 3 for your fantasy team. Another guy I’d like to tell you about, is Neville Hewitt. In 12 games last season, Hewitt totaled about 72 tackles. He also showed the ability to get after the quarterback and play in coverage decently. That brings us to Blake Cashman. He was a rookie last season, but he has some potential. He appeared in 7 games and logged 40 tackles. Last, but not least, is James Burgess. He played in 10 games and racked up about 80 tackles. Grab them if they’re available.
Other Notable Players to Opt-Out:
Mosley and Hightower are probably the most IDP relevant players that decided to sit out the 2020 season. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t more guys you should know about. Although he isn’t very fantasy relevant, safety Patrick Chung of the Patriots also decided to opt-out. He’s certainly not the same player he used to be. Chung was still an important part of the New England defense. I’m not even entirely sure if we will see him play in the NFL again. There are two players on the Patriots that I like to replace him. Adrian Phillips signed with New England through free-agency. He is the most likely to start. Also, rookie Kyle Dugger will likely see the field more often now. He was one of my favorite draft prospects in 2020.
Some IDP leagues require you to start defensive tackles. There is a player who will likely be missed on your IDP fantasy teams. First up is Eddie Goldman. He plays the zero-technique for the Bears quite well. This could mean more snaps for Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, and Roy Robertson-Harris along that defensive line. Veteran John Jenkins is most likely to replace Goldman in the starting role. Michael Pierce, of the Minnesota Vikings, also decided to opt-out. He wasn’t exactly expected IDP relevant this season. But, he was meant to fill the role of Linval Joseph. The Vikings have a few options but Shamar Stephen looks to be their choice at starter.