John Norton ("The Guru") and Gary Davenport ("The Godfather of IDP") are two of the most experienced and knowledgeable IDP analysts in the fantasy football industry. Every week during the 2022 season here at Footballguys, The Guru and the Godfather will come together to answer five of that week's most pressing questions.
Since there's still one more weekend without NFL football before the 2022 season begins, this inaugural edition of The Guru and the Godfather will focus on predictions for the season to come—and on how to value some big IDP names entering the 2022 season banged up.
1. How should IDP managers approach players like Washington Commanders edge-rusher Chase Young, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard, and Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer who already have injury issues entering the 2022 season?
Guru: For players like these, take them case by case and learn as much about their specific injury as possible. For these three players specifically, I see it like this; Poyer is dealing with an elbow injury. I don’t know if anyone has confirmed it, but it feels like a dislocated elbow. Players usually make it back from that type of injury, though they generally take a while to get back to form. Young is recovering from an ACL. The fact that he will not be ready for at least light duty at the start of the season is a red flag. I don’t expect to see the real Chase Young until next year, so I’m avoiding him. Leonard is harder to call. This guy has been a top-five linebacker while playing on a bad ankle for two straight seasons. I’m concerned and not paying full price, but I’m not passing on Leonard altogether.
Godfather: As the Guru said, these are three very different situations. On one end of the spectrum, we have Young. He's already out at least the first month of the season, and there's no telling how long it will take him to regain pre-injury form once he returns. Add in that he only logged 1.5 sacks in nine games in 2021 before he got hurt, and where 2022 is concerned, I'm a hard pass.
At the other end, Poyer has been one of the most consistent defensive backs in IDP over the past five years. Poyer has stated rather emphatically he expects to play Week 1, and his injury has dropped his asking price. I'm willing to sacrifice a Week or two from Poyer to get DB1 numbers at a DB2 price. I'll roll the dice that I can cobble together something in the interim.
In the middle lies Leonard and the most nebulous of calls this year. A healthy Leonard has an upside no other linebacker can match. And to his credit, Leonard has never missed more than three games in a season. But Leonard has also missed at least one game in all four NFL seasons, and last year, he clearly wasn't 100 percent. He's tempting—but don't overpay for that temptation.
2. Who are your picks to be the Most Valuable IDP at each position in 2022? Note that "most valuable" doesn't necessarily mean the highest scoring. It's a matter of the most bang for your IDP buck.
Guru: For the defensive line, I’m going with Chandler Jones. Rumors of this guy’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Maybe it’s because he’s been in IDP purgatory as an edge linebacker for the last few years and everyone has forgotten he was a stud on 4-3 teams earlier in his career. Maybe it is because he’s been banged up for the last couple of years. Whatever the reason, he’s been overlooked for far too long in most drafts.
At the second level, I’ll go with Bobby Okereke. This player finished seventh among linebackers with 92 solo tackles last year and was incredibly consistent from week to week. He was a top-15 linebacker in most formats in 2021, with Shaquille Leonard playing. If Leonard misses time, Okereke can be a top-12 guy and a steal at his current ADP in the mid-20s at the position.
I know that the Godfather and I are both high on Marcus Maye. If you want to catch my thoughts on him, check out our upcoming Plant Your Flag series that will hit tomorrow.
The guy I’m going to call out here is Miami strong safety, Brandon Jones. After working as the third wheel for two seasons, he finally claimed the starting strong safety job. In a virtually even time-share with Eric Rowe last year, Jones played roughly 55% of the snaps (622) and put up 78 combined tackles, 5 sacks, and 4 turnovers. This year he should see over 900 snaps.
Godfather: On the defensive line, I'm going to go with a player I seemingly wind up recommending every season in Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints. Jordan has hit 50 total tackles and/or a dozen sacks in four of the past five seasons, but it seems that he falls farther than he should in IDP drafts every year. If you like to hammer away at linebacker with your early IDP picks, Jordan is a great DL1 target.
At linebacker, I love the Okereke pick--there are a handful of players like him withLB1 upside and an LB2/3 asking price—including Cole Holcomb of the Washington Commanders. Last year, Holcomb surpassed 140 total tackles and was a top-10 IDP option in tackle-heavy scoring systems. But the fourth-year pro is a former fifth-round pick and hardly a household name, and his relative anonymity presents an opportunity for value.
In the secondary, I do indeed like Maye. And Holcomb's teammate Kamren Curl. And several other potential value plays with modest price tags. But I'll go the rookie route here and talk up Jalen Pitre of the Houston Texans. Last year's Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year has worked into a starting role. He's lined up mostly near the line of scrimmage. He plays behind a so-so group of linebackers for a team that was 28th in time of possession in 2021. And he's essentially free in most drafts.
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