With Playoffs in most fantasy leagues a week away, you know if you are in or out already. Here is a list of guys to target as buy-low candidates before the 2020 season.
Has your dynasty IDP squad become the Cincinnati Bengals of the league? At this point of the season if you are out of the playoffs, you should be looking at players you can grab cheap that will make an impact for 2020. Some players should see an up-tick in snaps due to veterans leaving in free agency. Others could be seeing a change of scenery themselves. Either way, here are the top buy-low IDP targets to grab before the 2020 season.
Nick Kwiatkoski – Linebacker Chicago Bears
2019 Stats: 35 tackles (28 solo), five tackles for a loss, two sacks, three passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble.
Nick Kwiatkoski has always flashed great tackle potential when given the opportunity. The difference for 2019 is the fact that he has flashed some good play-making ability as well. He set a career high in passes defended and interceptions while tying his career high in sacks. There are still four games left in the regular season. Danny Trevathan has been battling an elbow injury which has allowed Kwiatkoski extra playing time.
There have been five games in which Kwiatkoski has played at least 57% of the teams snaps. In those games he has totaled 34 tackles, five tackles for a loss, two sacks, three passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble. That is nearly seven tackles per game, in addition to the playmaking stats. Both Kwiatkoski and Trevathan are unrestricted free agents after the 2019 season. The Bears have a choice, and Kwiatkoski is the younger and cheaper choice with promise. Whether the Bears decide to pair him moving forward with Roquan Smith or if he signs elsewhere, Kwiatkoski has a great chance to become a starter.
Shaq Lawson – Defensive End Buffalo Bills
2019 Stats: 25 tackles (16 solo), 10 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and one pass defended.
Finally, Shaq Lawson is living up to his first-round potential. Over his last three games he has nine total tackles, five tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and another seven QB hits. His snap share is still lingering around 55% but that is because he is in a timeshare with Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy.
Jerry Hughes will be 32 years old next season and is having his least productive season since his Sophomore campaign, in which he only started one game. Trent Murphy himself will be 30 years old and while he is more productive than Hughes, Lawson has vastly out-produced both. The Bills should extend Lawson after this season and he will be a starter moving forward.
Emmanuel Ogbah – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker Kansas City Chiefs
2019 Stats: 32 tackles (23 solo), six tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, three passes defended and one forced fumble. (10 games)
Ogbah was on his way to a career year in his lone campaign with the Chiefs. He started the season as a situational pass rusher behind Alex Okafor and Frank Clark but still produced. During his first four games he only played 42.25% of the team’s snaps but earned more playing time after strong showings.
He really turned it on during his final four games, three of which he started. During those games he played an average of 70.75% of the team’s snaps and posted 11 tackles, three for a loss, three sacks, two passes defended and five QB hits. Ogbah is an unrestricted free agent for the 2020 season and should be able to sign on as a starter for another team, or re-sign with the Chiefs to play across from Frank Clark and replace Alex Okafor. He is somebody you may be able to buy-low this year, due to him being on IR.
Telvin Smith – Linebacker Jacksonville Jaguars
2019 Stats: N/A
The buy window for Telvin Smith may be the lowest it will ever get. Not only is there the question mark behind if he will play again but there seems to now be looming issues with the law. Smith was arrested at his house this past Wednesday, though the reasoning behind the arrest has yet to be released. Also within the gated community in which Smith lives, was the shutdown of a marijuana grow house where 261 live plants and over 50 pounds of processed marijuana was removed. Whether the two are linked is yet to be determined but the outlook is grim.
With that said, when Smith is on the field, he is one of the top five linebackers in the entire NFL. He thrives at all level of the field, tackling, pass coverage and blitzing. When Smith is on the field, he flat-out produces. If there is an owner who just wants to rid his team of Smith it may be worth snagging him for real cheap and taking a flyer on. Be aware that this arrest could lead to further NFL suspension and Smith still may never play another NFL snap, but he may be worth it.
Shaun Dion Hamilton – Linebacker Washington Redskins
2019 Stats: 33 tackles (25 solo), three tackles for a loss, one sack, one pass defended, one interception and one forced fumble.
Shaun Dion Hamilton was a player I was really high on going into this season. Jon Bostic was projected to start and be veteran leadership for the team but the other inside linebacker job was up for grabs after the Reuben Foster injury. Most thought that the opportunity was Dion Hamilton’s for the taking. Unfortunately for him that was not the case. Rookie Cole Holecomb beat out Hamilton for the starting gig and has run away with it.
With that in mind, Dion Hamilton still has a chance to claim a starting spot. He has played about 45% of the team’s snaps this season and has played well. Jon Bostic is an unrestricted free agent this upcoming season and Foster suffered an LCL injury as well as a torn ACL. Hamilton could slide in as a starter to begin the season and is probably available on most waiver wires.
Ryan Connelly – Linebacker New York Giants
2019 Stats: 20 tackles (10 solo), two tackles for a loss, one sack, two passes defended and two interceptions.
Ryan Connelly made his presence felt early for the Giants. The Giants have been searching for somebody to fill in at middle linebacker next to Alec Ogletree for a couple of years now. They drafted rookie Ryan Connelly 143rd overall in the 2019 NFL draft and most thought he would take some time on special teams to make an impact. That was not the case as he came in and played 38% of snaps week one to start the next three games. In Connelly’s three starts he produced 18 tackles, one sack and two interceptions. Unfortunately for him, he then tore his ACL, ending his stellar season far too early. Connelly is a guy who should come in and start next to Ogletree to begin the 2020 season. You may be able to grab him cheap now while he is on IR.
Kiko Alonso – Linebacker New Orleans Saints
2019 Stats: 31 tackles (25 solo), three tackles for a loss and one pass defended.
Did I really just say buy low on Kiko Alonso? Yes I did, but hear me out before you print this article out just to light it on fire. Everybody said that Kiko Alonso was done after he was traded from the Dolphins to the Saints. I was on that boat as well, but that ship may be sailing. Alex Anzalone was starting in the middle for the Saints and he went on IR early in the season. The team then rolled out A.J. Klein for extended snaps with little production. Alonso saw extended snaps as well and seemed slightly rejuvenated to the point where he started the last two games.
In weeks 10-12, he averaged over five tackles per game and was well on his way to another productive day in week 13 when he was injured…again. In week 13 he had three tackles with two going for a loss on only 32% of the team’s snaps. Alonso is under contract for 2020 though he does not carry a dead cap hit if he is released. the Saints may be wise to resign him on the cheap though, as A.J. Klein is also an unrestricted free agent and Anzalone carries only a $216,148 dead cap hit if released. Alonso could be a nice addition to a linebacker-needy team or next to Demario Davis.
If you are already out of the playoffs it is time to try to buy some talent. Most of these guys are talented young players who have had their season derailed by injuries or spent most of the season behind aging veterans. Most of these players have a clear path towards relevance and starting jobs next season, while the others are aging but talent may make them worth the add. Kiko Alonso…I am just willing to spend a penny for a possible dollar if he can land in the right spot.