The IDP Guru's 2011 Bold Predictions

Untitled Document It's important in any fantasy draft to take calculated risks. Playing it safe rarely wins championships. Dominant fantasy owners have firm and often times unpopular beliefs about players. It's crucial that you not only do your research, but that you also stand by your beliefs no matter how much in the minority they may be.

I've listed ten bold predictions below that I think will happen during the 2011 NFL season. Some are more out there than others. I will try and update/add to this list over the next two weeks as more developments on happen on the IDP side of things.

I look forward to your comments.

1. David Hawthorne will be a top 5 fantasy linebacker - This really isn't that big of a stretch when you think about it. He put up 93 solo tackles, 23 assists, 3 sacks, and 3 INTs in the 12 games he started in replace of Lofa Tatupu in 2009. Hawthorne failed to live up to expectations in 2010 as we saw a drastic reduction in his tackle and big play numbers. However, this drop off was mainly due to Hawthorne being moved to the less productive weak side linebacker position and, more importantly, being taken out in nickel packages. With Lofa Tatupu being released, Hawthorne will be the every down middle linebacker for the Seahawks and have very little competition for tackles behind an underrated front four.

2. George Wilson will be a top 10 defensive back - This prediction is predicated solely on opportunity and historical trends. The strong safety position in Buffalo has been fantasy gold. Donte Whitner led all safeties in tackles from this position last year and others including Wilson himself have put up DB1 box score numbers when given the starting role in previous years. For the first time in several seasons, Wilson has the starting SS position to himself and should pick up where Whitner left off last year. Wilson isn't a household name, but he'll likely be one in IDP circles come this time next year.

3. Brian Robison will have 10+ sacks - Double digit sacks for a player who has never started before may seem as a bit of a stretch to some. However, Robinson has put up decent sack totals when you consider the limited amount of snaps he's had during his careers. He doesn't hold up very well against the run and will likely see many of his snaps in passing situations, but he will have the benefit of playing opposite Jared Allen and alongside two strong, veteran defensive tackles which should free him up for many isolated matchups.

4. Andre Carter will have DL2 value in New England - Carter was severely miscast in Washington's 3-4 defensive scheme last season. We saw the same drop in production when the 49ers switched him to outside linebacker back in 2005. He just doesn't have the skillset to play that particular position. New England has been using a lot of 4-3 looks so far in preseason with Carter at defensive end. Depending on his snap count, he could very well emerge back in the large second tier of defensive ends.

5. Jabaal Sheard will lead all rookie DLs in fantasy points scored - Of all rookie defensive linemen, Sheard is most likely to receive 70-75% of his team's snaps. Additionally, the Browns move to a 4-3 defensive scheme should help Sheard's box score numbers. He wasn't the most heralded end coming out of the draft, but for our purposes, he could very well wind up being the most productive rookie fantasy linemen if nothing else than by the relatively high amount of snaps he will receive.

6. Rey Maualuga will be a top 12 fantasy linebacker - There's no doubting Maualuga's talent. But he's done pretty much nothing statistically in his two years in the league. His measly box score numbers can be attributed to being stuck on the strong side as a two down linebacker, however. Now that he is the every down middle linebacker, expect a dramatic increase in fantasy points from Maualuga. He's been playing very well in preseason and is starting to emerge as the leader of the young Cincinnati defense. Come draft day, he won't be on the radar of owners who draft mainly on historical player stats. Take advantage of this fact and snap him up as your LB3 and enjoy LB1 value.

7. Nick Barnett will be a top 10 fantasy linebacker - The Bills signing of Nick Barnett went largely unnoticed during the preseason as this particular move seemed to get lost in the shuffle of all the other preseason activity. Even though Barnett isn't going to drastically improve the Bills defense, his presence in Buffalo is a very important one in fantasy terms. He's taking over a position that has some of the highest amount of tackle opportunity in the league. He's experienced in both 4-3 and 3-4 systems and should have no problem putting up solid LB1 numbers behind two strong defensive tackles.

8. Donald Butler will register more fantasy points than Stephen Tulloch this year - This prediction is a mixture of both my love for Donald Butler and me having serious doubts about Tulloch being an every down linebacker in Detroit. Exactly who the nickel linebackers are in Detroit has yet to be determined, but my gut is telling me Tulloch and Durant take turns rotating in and out of subpackages. This severely hurts Tulloch's value. Butler on the other hand has cemented himself as the every down WILB in San Diego and although he's had a somewhat shaky preseason, he's in a good spot to put up top 30 numbers.

9. Kam Chancellor will be a DB1 in tackle-heavy scoring systems - Kam who? That's how the majority of the public would respond to this statement. At 6'3", 230 pounds Chancellor is basically an extra linebacker that the Seahawks will bring up to the line of scrimmage to help in run support. He's played well in the Seahawks three preseason games and should have no problems racking up DB1 numbers in tackle-heavy leagues behind a suspect group of OLBs.

10. D'Qwell Jackson returns to LB1 status - When healthy, Jackson has put up LB1 type numbers. The problem is that Jackson has rarely been healthy over the last 3 seasons and consequently he's fallen off the map when it comes to the big name fantasy linebackers. I'm obviously assuming Jackson stays healthy this year. His past injuries were not chronic, reoccurring injuries but rather one-off, accidents which gives me some reassurance. Additionally, he seems to be adjusting well to the Browns new 4-3 defensive scheme.

Do you have any bold predictions for this season? If so, state them in the comments section of this article. I'd really like to get the opinions of some of my readers and get a good conversation going concerning this subject.

Thanks for reading!

Last Updated: August 28, 2011

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great article! I got in on Butler but missed the boat on the others. I play with some saavy dudes! My bold prediction is that the FS position in PHI (Coleman and/or Jarrett) will be a top 10 DB this year. Seen it already in preaseason, QBs just don't wanna throw at the Corners!

Admin said...

Very nice, very this site. Check out our league and let me know what you think (email the commissioner button up top) It is the deepest IDP league I have ever seen. Over 5 years running.

Sausage said...

Appreciate the tip on Kam Chancellor, I nabbed him late.

Ryan Sitzmann said...

Nice league. It's one of the more deep IDP leagues I've seen as well.

Icemic said...

@ Admin, I'd argue ours is deeper. We only have 16 teams vs your 20 teams, but we require owners to start 2 DT, 2 DE, 3 LB, 2 CB, and 2 S. This makes us go deeper at certain positions like DT and CB. Plus we have 40 man rosters with unlimited IR and each team is allowed 8 players on their taxi squad. Check it out:

I concur that the Guru's advice has helped me have one of the stronger D's year in and out and I have won 3 out of the last 5 years. Thanks Ryan for all your hard work and expertise!

islecity said...

Great site Guru..Your take on Desmond Bishop last year helped me finally win "One for the Thumb" after 10 years.My bold predictions for 2011 in tackle heavy leagues,I play Scoresheet Sports,are Dwan Edwards/BUF will be a top 10 DL & Courtney Greene/JAX will be in the top 10-15 for DB's.Good luck this season...

Anonymous said...

Awesome site Guru.

Like the predictions with the exception of Robison. Stylez White signing with the Vikes leads me to believe their isnt a ton of confidence in Robison.
IDP for 18 years with a roster of 3-4 or 4-3 and 2CB 2S.
Once you go IDP, you can never go back.

The Smack

Misfit said...

Great to see this since I just minutes ago drafted Brian Robison. :) Good DE3/4 behind Cole and Babin. Might push for my DE2 spot, which would be great.

Misfit said...

Note: Chancellor didn't play well in the 3rd pre-season game. He didn't play AT ALL in the team's 3rd pre-season game.

Ryan Sitzmann said...

He didn't play in the third preseason game due to a slight injury issue. Nothing serious. Chancellor will be good to go for Week 1 and remains a top sleeper pick.

El burro said...

Guru - solid stuff across the board. Appreciate your takes and insight; your a must read for me and been a long time reader. Thanks for the hard work...

Question - I play in a 14 team PPR / IDP non-keeper league with 23 man rosters, so it's deep and extremely competitive. Start 6 IDP positions are (2 lb, 1 db, 1 dl, 2 d flex) and it's a more tackle heavy league.

Tackle -1pt
Assist - 1/2 pt
Sacks -3 pt
Int - 3 pt

Current Roster:
Posluszny - lb
Hawthorne - lb
Chung - db
Mathis - dl
Bishop - d flex
Levy - d flex

Like to carry 2 bench guys with upside, so which of these guys do you like most based on the heavy tackle format: Geno Hayes, mason foster, pat angerer, Donald butler, Kirk Morrison


Ryan Sitzmann said...

@El burro
I like Butler and Hayes. They are both every down linebackers in good situations.

el burro said...

Thx, do you like Hayes or Butler more than Levy?

Also, any sneaky LB/DL types that you'd start at DL?
Neither Suggs or Dumervill have eligibility in yahoo yet...

aldon smith or Matt Roth?

Anonymous said...

This is my second year doing idp and i love it.

Laurinitis (keeper)
Timmons (keeper)

Eric Berry
Kam Chancellor
Roman Harper

Trent Cole
RAy Edwards

Daryl Washington

Is this not a splendid D? Its an O and D league but it seems to me like my D will kill it. Thoughts? Am i right


Ryan Sitzmann said...

@el burro
I like Hayes and Butler more than Levy right now. I don't really want any part of the Lions linebacking crew until we find out who is playing in the subpackages.

Kiwanuka is still listed as a DL in Yahoo. Nice value there.

I would go with Roth over Smith.

Ryan Sitzmann said...

Yes, quite solid indeed :)

Bibi said...

Where is Takeo Spikes in the SD LB mix?



Ryan Sitzmann said...

He's the every down SILB, but he's old and he's gonna struggle to put up the same numbers he did last year. I think of him as a LB5.

Newbie said...

I have DL Suh and Avril... Should I drop them because they only got me 2.5 points total yesterday!

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