Every off-season the NFL goes through an overhaul of new head coaches, which leads to new coordinators, which leads to new offensive and defensive schemes. On offense, it doesn’t have a significant impact on players. However, on the IDP side of things, it’s a completely different story. Switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 or vice versa is a huge transformation for a team. And one that more than likely can’t be completed in one off-season. Stud DEs become pass rushing OLBs. And 3-4 OLBs become 4-3 DEs. Personally, I don’t prefer the 3-4 OLB pass rushing specialist on my fantasy team. They’re too boom or bust. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule (e.g. DeMarcus Ware). From a DE stand point though, there are very few elite sack artists in the NFL. In IDP leagues, that’s the guy that can catapult you to another level. If you can nail a sleeper down on the d-line, you have struck gold my friend.
This past weekend MyFantasyLeague.com updated their IDP Positions. Let’s take a look at some key players who have switched spots since last season, or earlier this season for rookies (in alphabetical order of teams).
Courtney Upshaw from LB to DE - This tells me that the Ravens plan on grooming Upshaw to immediately step into the void left from Terrell Suggs’ torn Achilles. Worst case scenario, he’ll share snaps with Pernell McPhee to start the season.
Paul Kruger from DE to LB - This takes one guy out of the rotation for Suggs’ spot. Kruger should fill the void left by Jarrett Johnson. Not a huge IDP hot spot.
Mario Williams from OLB to DE - Welcome home “Super” Mario. This is music to IDPers everywhere. Playing pretty well in Houston’s 3-4 last year, Williams goes back to where he belongs, as a 4-3 DE and right back to a bona fide DE1 in IDP leagues.
Nick Perry from DE to OLB - For the first time in Matthews short career, he will have a true threat opposite him on the field. There are even rumblings that Perry will play Matthews’ normal LOLB spot and Matthews will move to the ROLB spot. It definitely won’t hurt Matthews value and it should actually help Perry’s. Good luck NFC North!
Whitney Mercilus from DE to OLB - Making the move Mario Williams did last year, Mercilus will play opposite Brooks Reed in Houston’s 3-4. Mercilus is one of the pass rushing specialists I mentioned earlier. He’s raw, but he probably won’t be asked to do much other than pin his ears back and attack. Sort of like Aldon Smith for the Niner last season.
Robert Mathis and Jerry Hughes from DE to OLB - The good thing about this is Dwight Freeney will be playing Terrell Suggs' “Joker” spot and keep his DE eligibility in IDP leagues. The bad news is Mathis will be playing with his hand up in a 3-4 for the first time. I don’t like the odds of him being as successful a LB as he was a DE. This actually helps Hughes. He has 3-4 experience from his TCU days. He’s still not a guy you would draft, but he’s a player to monitor.
Cameron Wake from OLB to DE - This is one I’m super excited about. Wake should be a MONSTER DE. He was a terror as a 3-4 OLB, but he should be at the very worst a DE2+. He’s the kind of guy that you reach for a round too early because he could be this year’s Jason Babin.
Melvin Ingram from DE to OLB - San Diego hopes they have found the pass rusher they’ve lacked since the lights went out on Shawn Merriman years ago. This rookie will be on the field a ton. He has the chance to put up very strong sack totals but his tackle production may suffer.
Bruce Irvin from LB to DE - Everyone’s favorite 1st round pick will be playing as a 4-3 DE. I think this is the best place for him as an IDP asset. I wouldn’t be all that excited about him as an OLB but I will definitely gamble on him as a DE where I don’t need tackles to justify his spot.
Kamerion Wimbley from OLB to DE - Another one of my hot sleeper DEs for this year. I love Wimbley on the DL in Tennessee. In that division, he has the chance to dominate weaker LTs and he should easily hit double digit sacks.
If you have any questions for Eric, feel free to email him at EricOlinger@IDPGuru.com or on Twitter @OlingerIDPGuru. Also, feel free to post any questions or comments for Eric in the comments section of this post.
Last Updated: May 14,2012 Related Posts: