Continuing the IDP Guys way of transparency, @FFStompy goes over his Unsung Heroes of IDP series at linebacker 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. Let’s see how the linebackers did.
Kiko Alonso – Miami Dolphins
Previous to the 2018 season, Alonso had produced back-to-back 115 tackle seasons for the Dolphins. Before two trades, from the Buffalo Bills to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Eagles to the Dolphins, Alonso had amounted a whopping 159 combined tackles.
The Dolphins seemed to have gotten worse in the 2018 offseason after trading star wide receiver Jarvis Landry. This was actually the case. While the Dolphins did score more points per game than in 2017 (19.9 vs. 17.6), they finished with nearly two fewer minutes time of possession and almost 20 yards fewer per game.
I felt Alonso could produce another 100+ tackle season, and he did. Alonso finished with 125 combined tackles. He tacked on a career-high six passes defended, three interceptions, and thee forced fumbles. Again, while it was not elite production, for where you were drafting him, Alonso was very valuable this season.
Avery Williamson – New York Jets
Williamson was my favorite “buy-low” target this offseason. He was coming off of three straight seasons of over 90 tackles, including two 100-plus tackle seasons. In 2017, Williamson produced 92 tackles despite only playing in 60% of the Tennessee Titans defensive snaps. According to the “IDP Tipster’s” P.A.P.S. formula, Williamson found himself in elite company in 2017 when compared to some of the season’s top tacklers, including the guy he would eventually replace in Demario Davis. P.A.P.S., short for playmaking ability per snap, takes into account total tackles along with sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions, etc. per snap played.
Speaking of Davis, he was one of the reasons I felt Williamson was going to take a step forward in 2018. Davis accrued 135 tackles in 2017 for the Jets while playing in 100% of the defensive snaps. And, as you can see above, Williamson was a better playmaker than Davis.
Now, onto Williamson’s 2018 season. He started off relatively slow, only recording seven combined tackles in the first two games. However, Williamson turned it on from week 3 on and ended the season with 120 combined tackles while playing in 99.5% of the defensive snaps. Williamson was also an impact playmaker with a career-high six passes defended, one interception, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three sacks and six tackles for loss. While he did not reach the heights I thought were possible, Williamson also was not a disappointment this season for where he was being drafted.
Brandon Marshall – Denver Broncos
The linebacker, not the wide receiver. Admittedly, there may have been a little bias here as I am a Broncos fan. However, Marshall has proven to be productive in the past. In three of the previous four seasons before 2018, Marshall eclipsed the 100 combined tackle mark. He was also excellent in coverage with 20 passes defended and two interceptions in those four seasons. Going into 2018 yet again as a starter at inside linebacker, I believed Marshall would reach that 100 tackle mark once again.
I was wrong. Marshall battled injuries all season, only playing in 11 games and starting seven. Ultimately, Marshall finished with only 42 tackles. Marshall’s absence allowed his teammate Todd Davis to excel, however. Davis produced career highs in tackles with 114, passes defended with seven, and tackles for loss with six. Unfortunately, for those who drafted him, Marshall was a bust.
Two-of-three of the linebackers I designated as unsung heroes had very productive seasons. The other was derailed by injuries. A good start to my unsung heroes recap. Will the hits keep coming?