IDP Corner: 2018 Draft Landings

Below you will find players I think have landed in great or good spots to stand out in fantasy for IDP. This is not a list of the most talented or skilled, these are the players who will be earning points.

Defensive Linemen:

Great landing spots:
I don’t feel that there are any linemen that were talented enough or lucky enough to land in a comfortable landing spot to justify anything being defined as a “great landing spot” this year. By in large linemen take a year or two to develop as it is, so I expect this will be my opinion most years.

Good landing spots:
Harold Landry, TEN: Drafted as a Defensive End, he’ll likely split time between OLB and DE this year with a heavy lean on the LB side of things, which will likely continue for the next couple of years before moving to DE after he finishes growing. Jurrell Casey is young enough to hold the DE spot down a little longer, while Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are starting to show signs of age at the OLB spots. It’s easy to see that Landry will platoon in for everyone to start the season and then he will either take over for anyone who gets injured or for anyone who has fallen behind a step or two.

Da’Ron Payne, WAS: For leagues that start DT specific slots Payne is much more interesting than for DL slot leagues. It looks like he’ll be starting out the gate which makes him one of the more valuable DL rookies. Payne will certainly see plenty of reps, given that Ziggy Hood fractured his elbow at the end of last season, which is a long road to return on when fighting in the trenches. I wasn’t hot on him in the pre-draft buildup but Payne makes the cut because of the tremendous opportunity that’s in front of him.

Keep an Eye on:
Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis, IND: Landry and Payne are draftable in 4 and 5 round dynasty rookie drafts, while Turay and Lewis are more outside shots. Turay was higher on my pre-draft lists than Lewis, both make it here due to the instability of the Indy defense at this time, Jabaal Sheard is in front of both of them, but his play last year wasn’t deafeningly convincing. While any of these three could move to or spend time at S/WLB I feel those spots will stay primarily with other players.

Linebackers:

Great landing spots:
Tremaine Edmunds, BUF: The whole legion of Matt Milano truthers may have all simultaneously flipped tables within their reach when Buffalo drafted Edmunds. He’ll be flanked by Ramon Humber and Lorenzo Alexander who won’t be dragging their feet but the Bills have been able to support multiple IDP viable LBs for a while now. Expect Edmunds to be the first or second LB drafted, and it will totally be justified.

Rashaan Evans, TEN: If Edmunds is not the first rookie LB drafted then Evans should be. Wonderfully talented at worst Evans will end up in a three-man rotation with Wesley Woodyard, and Jayon Brown. Given Woodyard’s age and recent production and Brown’s need to grow still, Evans should see the most snaps, if not close to 100% of them with the other two splitting the remainder.

Darius Leonard, IND: Leonard has a strong chance to be the day one starter at WLB for the Colts, assuming he wants to play in the league and has a shred of motivation, there’s no reason he won’t be the starter. Given this is the notorious Indy defense, as long as Leonard stays on the field he’ll be plenty productive. Not many people are targeting Leonard right now, so he should be available to grab late in rookie drafts, he is also the biggest risk of these 3 rookie LBs.

Good landing spots:
Roquan Smith, CHI: It could be argued that Smith landed in a great spot, but there are enough talented players at other positions on this defense to limit his ability to get as many tackles compared to if he landed on a lesser defense. Given the hype of how Oakland was going to make Smith the center of their defense going into the draft you can expect Smith will have a high price tag in dynasty drafts, feel free to pay the price if you wish, he is that talented. In most drafts, he’ll likely be in the first linebacker drafted.

Leighton Vander Esch, DAL: You can expect Vander Esch to be the starting MLB in Dallas by week 5 if not earlier. Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee will catch more snaps through the first half of the season, but with Sean Lee’s lengthy injury history and knack for multi-week in-season injuries, Vander Esch has a great shot of seeing the field early and often.

Micah Kiser and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LAR: Landing on a talented up and coming defense, if Kiser can hurdle Ramik Wilson or Cory Littleton he’ll be starting by mid-season. Both Wilson and Littleton have shown decent flashes of talent when given the opportunity but have also not gained any solid footing from their play. Okoronkwo on the other hand has the opportunity to play at the only real question mark position on the Rams defense (OLB). Samson Ebukam will likely start the season getting the most snaps after that the only others in Okoronkwo’s way would be linemen playing off the line. They most likely will get drafted super late or not even at all.

Keep an Eye Out:
Fred Warner, SF: With the status of Reuben Foster for the start of the NFL season up in the air there’s a high chance that Warner could be getting full-time snaps by the middle of the season. Few people are looking at Warner right now so you can get him late late in your rookie drafts, I wouldn’t wait to try to pick him up off of free agency.

Defensive Backs:

Great landing spots:
Jaire Alexander and Joshua Jackson, GB: After Tramon Williams, the Packers cornerbacks thinned out quickly before drafting Alexander and Jackson. Additionally the Pack like running the “slot corner” position in a good majority of their defensive packages, then the departure of Morgan Burnett mixed with the size and ability of Alexander and Jackson both should see plenty of early season playing time and with that plenty of snaps. Alexander should go off your draft boards earlier than Jackson maybe even the third defensive back off the board potentially, while Jackson had decent pre-draft chatter, being drafted to the same team as Alexander has muted plenty of talk around him, and can be grabbed a few rounds later.

Good landing spots:
Minkah Fitzpatrick, MIA: Drafted to a team that really didn’t need another Safety, plenty of people have cooled on Fitzpatrick. Miami, however (much like Green Bay), has adopted slot corner play and Fitzpatrick can play that right out the gate. His name got big enough before the draft for someone to take Fitzpatrick as one of the first defensive backs in dynasty rookie drafts, let them pay that price and get equal value out of another player.

Mike Hughes, MIN: A similar case of a good defensive back being drafted to a team with a solid secondary (like Fitzpatrick), the difference is that many fewer people are banging the drum for Hughes. Even better is that Hughes will likely be playing slot corner this season in Minnesota. Now the best part, you can likely draft him in the 4th or 5th round of your dynasty rookie draft.

Derwin James, LAC: Likely the first defensive back to get picked in rookie dynasty drafts and it will be with good reason as James will most likely be the starting Free Safety for the Chargers this season. James can lineup anywhere on the field, but will not be asked to leave his Safety spot because of the talents of a decent defense around him. Strong Safeties are my preference in IDP, so I’m cautious on the high price tag to get James, given he’ll primarily be getting coverage tackles.

That wraps up the great/good landing spots for IDP Rookies of 2018! There are plenty of other players I hope to see emerge, but the odds are not currently in their favor. Stay on the lookout for our upcoming top 10 IDP players at each position as we progress through the preseason.

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