The IDP Roundtable Series
This summer, the Footballguys staff will discuss various topics to help you in your IDP leagues.
The IDP Rookies Series
When evaluating rookies, do you place more value on talent, college production, or the scheme/situation he will be going into? Is your evaluation the same for redraft and for dynasty?
Let me start by saying I’m married and want to stay that way. This is important to my answer because it directly affects how I approach rookies. If I were to watch college football with the same intensity I do with the NFL, I would be single again in short order. Since I don’t get to watch much football on Saturdays, my evaluation of rookies begins in earnest shortly before the draft. At that point, I cram like a college freshman the night before exams, until I feel comfortable that I’m caught up.
It’s easy when all three aspects align. Unfortunately, that is a fairly rare event. Being familiar with team needs, scheme concepts, and IDP scoring trends for each team is probably my biggest asset. Once I get up to speed on a player’s skill set, I have confidence in my ability to project how he will fit with his team. Thus I always start by targeting players drafted into the best/most productive situations. In my 30 years of IDP experience, I’ve seen a lot more situations where great circumstance has made quality starters out of average players, than great players overcoming bad situations to be quality IDP starters.
College production is an important factor as well, though it is not always the best measuring stick. If a player has weak numbers in college, there has to be a good reason for it or something else to make me believe in him. Like most in the scouting community, I will give more weight to a player that put up impressive numbers against top-level competition but there are always those hidden gems that I find by taking a closer look at someone that put up great numbers in a lesser conference.
Talent is something that factors much more heavily in dynasty formats. For redraft managers, it doesn’t matter how talented a player is if his lack of experience keeps him off the field or limits him to a part-time role. It feels like we are increasingly seeing that happen. Logan Wilson, Isaiah Simmons, Jamin Davis, Zaven Collins, Grant Delpit, Nick Bolton, and Jordyn Brooks are all good examples of talented rookie prospects that didn’t play enough to be IDP factors in year one, but exploded or are likely to in their second seasons. The cream will rise to the top if you have time to wait for it.
When it comes to redraft, the first thing I look at is the incoming situation. If I am drafting a rookie in a redraft league, I want to find the linebacker who is landing in the best spot for potential volume. After that, I look at college production, as it is usually a decent indicator that will roll over, especially if landing in a volume role.
In Dynasty it is thoroughly different. Landing spot is still probably the first thing I look at, like I said volume is key. After that, though, I go to the tape. In college, some prospects' inefficiencies are covered up by pure athleticism. The talent in college is lower than in the NFL and you can win with pure athleticism. That does not work in the NFL. When I watch film, I want to see those guys with elite athleticism, matched with high-level technical abilities and skill-sets. For example, Zaven Collins and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Both landed in slightly crowded situations, though I still have them ranked high in dynasty. They showed elite athleticism in college though they matched it with tools that show talent at every phase of the game. College production can be misleading, search for the athleticism that is matched with technical tools.
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