Continuing the IDP Guys way of transparency, @FFStompy goes over his Unsung Heroes of IDP series to look at how each player did in the 2018 season
The IDP Guys writers have made a commitment to transparency so you, as the reader, can hold us accountable for the information we espouse. We all want to own our bad takes as well as our good and want you to understand our process so you can trust us moving forward. The “IDP Tipster” (@Hbogart27) has already written two transparency articles (1) (2).
With that in mind, the purpose of this article is to go over my Unsung Heroes of IDP series. Before the 2018 season, I took a look at players who were going under the radar despite solid production. While these were not takes, I felt that you could grab those guys late and have success. Here is how the linebackers did. Let’s look at the safeties.
Johnathan Cyprien – Tennessee Titans
Prior to signing with the Titans in 2017, Cyprien was a star for the Jacksonville Jaguars. To start his career, he broke 100 tackles in four straight seasons, including 126 in 2016. While he was not great in pass defense, Cyprien was phenomenal against the run and playing in the box.
In Johnathan Cyprien, the Tennessee Titans added our highest graded safety against the run from the 2016 season. pic.twitter.com/NW8iWa7Zh3— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 18, 2017
Unfortunately, Cyprien has had health issues with the Titans. In 2017, Cyprien only played in 10 games for the Titans with a hamstring issue, only accounting for 57 tackles. Cyprien’s health issues continued into 2018 when he tore his ACL during training camp. Thus, he was not useful in fantasy football in 2018.
Tony Jefferson – Baltimore Ravens
Prior to 2018, Jefferson had put up four consistently productive seasons. In each of those seasons, he racked up 74 or more tackles. The trend continued in 2018. In only 14 games, Jefferson accumulated 74 tackles. He also added sicks tackles for loss, six passes defended, and one interception, forced fumble, and fumble recovery. Like most of the guys that were named in the Unsung Heroes series, Jefferson did not hit elite numbers, nor was he going to. But for the price of a late round draft pick or even a waiver wire pickup, Jefferson did fantastic in 2018.
Justin Simmons – Denver Broncos
My Broncos bias continues. But seriously, I do not write about these guys because they are on the team I root for. Simmons took a step forward from his rookie to his sophomore season. In 2017, Simmons produced 63 tackles, four tackles for loss, five passes defended, and two interceptions in only 13 games. There was no reason to think he could not take that next step, especially if he was healthy.
Iron men: Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins, Broncos S Justin Simmons and Jaguars LB Myles Jack were the only defensive players to play 100% of their team’s snaps in 2018.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 31, 2018
And boy was he healthy. Simmons was one of three players on the defensive side of the ball to play in 100% of the defensive snaps in the NFL. And thus he ended up with the best season of his young career. Simmons accounted for 97 combined tackles, which ranked tied for ninth in the league among safeties. He also had a career-high three interceptions along with four passes defended. With the issues that the Broncos had in the secondary, Simmons was given plenty of chances to make plays, and he made them. Yet another IDP who was able to put up some pretty stellar numbers for being drafted in later rounds.
Two of my unsung heroes at safety gave you decent production this season, which is all we can ask for from late round guys or waiver wire pickups. Unfortunately, one was lost for the season due to injury. So far I have four out of five (I am not counting Cyprien) of my unsung heroes as good calls. Will the hits keep coming?