I personally find it beneficial to be aware of the most important IDP free agents and track were they land in the off-season since it usually makes a big impact on their fantasy value.
Up until they officially sign with a team, drafting a free agent in fantasy leagues is like playing Russian roulette as their value could fluctuate wildly depending on which team they land with during the off-season.
In many ways, playing Fantasy Football is like gambling at US Casinos. There's always a large degree of luck built into the game. However through skill, practice, research, and following a strict set of self-established (but practical) guidelines, one can gain a competitive edge over other opponents and improve their overall chances of winning.
If there are any players you would like to see added to the list. Just leave a comment and I will make sure to add them with some analysis when I get the time.
1. LDE Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions, 24
*Signed by the Lions (1 year @ $2.61 million) - 8/4/11
Avril definitely benefited from being surrounded with talented players such as Kyle Vanden Bosch and Ndamukong Suh. Even though he started the season off at a snail's pace, he finished strong and greatly improved his chances of an off-season resigning. He should be a top 20 defensive lineman come next season.
2. LDE Jason Babin, Tennessee Titans, 30
*Signed by the Eagles (5 year @ $27.5 million) - 7/28/11
"Babs" finally lived up to his 1st round draft status by posting 12.5 sacks this year. He was an integral part of the Titans pass-rushing success and will almost for sure be brought back. It will be interesting to see how the Titans re-shuffle their line when a healthy Derrick Morgan and William Hayes return to the lineup, however.
3. LDE Ray Edwards, Minnesota Vikings, 26
*Signed by the Falcons (5 year @ $30 million) - 8/25/11
After starting the season extremely slow (1.5 sacks in his first 8 games), Edwards turned up the heat and finished the year with a total of 8 sacks. He probably won't be the Vikings main concern this off-season as Minnesota seems to realize that most players they plug in opposite Jared Allen are going to fare well in the position. I don't foresee Edwards being a top 15 lineman on another team and I see his fantasy value taking a pretty decent size hit if he signs elsewhere in the off-season.
4. LDE Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants, 27
*Re-signed by the Giants (2 years @ $8.6 million) - 7/28/11
"Kiwi" is one of the league's most underrated defensive ends. Even if the Giants decide to extend him an offer, he may decline due to the lack of playing time the Giants would be able to give him relative to other teams. I think no matter where he lands, he's a solid option as your 2nd defensive lineman.
5. RDE Charles Johnson, Carolina Panthers, 24
*Re-signed by the Panthers (6 years @ $76 million) - 7/26/11
Johnson did a wonderful job filling the very large vacancy left by Pro Bowl end Julius Peppers. He finished the year with 10.5 sacks (more than Peppers) and played equally as well against the run. The Panthers are in rebuilding mode and Johnson figures to be one their main off-season signing priorities. His fantasy value may take a hit next season as Greg Hardy and Everette Brown gain more and more experience, but they're likely still both a season away and I would still feel comfortable drafting Johnson as a high-end DL2.
6. RDE Stylez White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31
*Signed by the Vikings (1 year @ ?) - 8/22/11
In my eyes, White was a major disappointment this year. He had 6.5 sacks the previous year and with an improved defensive line, I expected those totals to increase. At 31 years old, I doubt the Bucs will bring "Stylez" back and I don't see him making a major impact with any other teams.
7. LDE David Ball, Tennessee Titans, 30
*Re-signed by the Titans (1 year @ $1.35 million) - 8/1/11
Ball had by far his best season as a pro, but the Titans still haven't reached out to him to discuss a new contract and I'm not too sure they seriously will. They have a lot of young talent among their defensive line and Ball is no spring chicken and much of his success was likely attributed to being surrounded with superior talent.
8. LDE Shaun Ellis, New York Jets, 33
*Signed by the Patriots (1 year @ $4 million) - 8/7/11
Ellis has established himself as one of the league's better 3-4 defensive ends (a la Justin Smith). Statistically speaking however, he had one of his least productive seasons in a while and is likely being slowed by age. The Jets have bigger fish to fry this off-season and Ellis will not likely find himself in a Jets uniform come 2011.
9. RDE Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens, 27
*Re-signed by the Ravens (1 year @ $12 million) - 7/30/11
Ngata has become one of the most dominant pass rushers in the NFL and the Ravens have stated that he is their #1 priority as far as off-season signings are concerned. He's a great fit for the Ravens defensive scheme and he should hold his DT1 status moving forward.
10. LDT Richard Seymour, Oakland Raiders, 31
*Re-signed by the Raiders (2 years @ $30 million) - 2/16/11
After some initial hesitation and displeasure about being traded to the Raiders, Seymour settled in and strung together a very solid season for the silver and black. With this being said, he's likely to be rewarded nicely by Al "the Undead" Davis. Seymour's fantasy value is, and always has been, overrated. He's a DT2 at best.
Last Updated: August 29, 2011