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Now that we're past the Fourth of July, fantasy draft season is really going to start ramping up. Before you know it, leagues that conduct slow drafts will be getting underway. Live drafts will follow hot and heavy soon after that.
Go-time is almost here.
With draft day getting closer and closer, the time has come for intrepid IDP managers to begin preparing for the big day. After all, odds are you'll get exactly as much out of a draft as you put into it. Go into the draft without doing any research, and you're trying to win a game of "501" blindfolded.
It's possible, but not likely.
However, do some legwork, and you'll enter your IDP draft confident in your ability to spot values, avoid busts and target the right late-round lottery tickets. Confident in your ability to build a winning roster.
The point of the IDP Six-Pack is to aid you in that endeavor.
As concepts go, the IDP Six-Pack isn't a complicated one. Over the next few weeks here at Footballguys, I'll be highlighting six value plays, six potential busts, and six lottery tickets.
Hey, I like deep-dives, advanced analytics, and in-depth strategy pieces as much as the next dude. But IDP managers sometimes need a list of players to target or steer clear from.
Simple can be good. And as my family will readily tell you, I'm all about simple.
DE Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints
Over 11 seasons in the NFL, Jordan has built a compelling argument for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame—Jordan has tallied 107 career sacks. In six of those 11 seasons, Jordan has hit double-digits in sacks, including four of the past five years. Seven of Jordan's NFL seasons culminated in a Pro Bowl trip.
But if you really want to know how good Jordan is, the best person to ask is Jordan himself.
“You cannot say I’m not an elite run-stopper," Jordan said, via Megan Feringa of the London Daily Mirror. I’m probably the best defensive end to hold the edge in the league. I just so happen to work really, really hard to make myself a solid pass rusher, which, I would say, year in and year out in the last five, six, seven, or eight years, I’m at least in the top 10, normally somewhere in that top five,” he says. “I’m the best of both worlds.”
Last year, Jordan amassed 59 total tackles (the fourth time in five years that he hit the 50-stop mark) on his way to a top-five fantasy finish in many scoring systems—his third such finish in the past five seasons. Yet whether it's due to Jordan's age (33) or some other factor, he's regularly coming off boards significantly later than his DL7 aggregate ranking here at Footballguys.
Jordan is an excellent target for fantasy managers who bang away at linebacker with their first two or three IDP picks. The potential for another top-five finish is absolutely there, but it comes with an asking price just inside (or in some cases outside) the top-10 defensive linemen.
DE Jonathan Greenard, Houston Texans
Good news wasn't easy to come by in Houston in 2021. But the season wasn't a total loss. Defensively, the brightest of the few bright spots was probably the play of young edge-rusher Jonathan Greenard.
Despite playing in just 12 games in 2021, Greenard led the Texans with eight sacks, chipping in 33 total tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. As Cole Thompson reported for Texans Daily, Houston head coach Lovie Smith said that he believes Greenard was only just getting started.
“He will take another big step this year,” Smith said.
As a rookie in 2020, Greenard was essentially a non-factor—he managed just 19 tackles and a single sack in 265 snaps as a 3-4 rush linebacker. But when Smith took over as the team's defensive coordinator last year, he moved Greenard to defensive end, and the light bulb came on.
Putting his 35-inch arms to good use, the 6-foot-3 and 263-pound Greenard showed a surprisingly effective array of pass-rush moves last season. His eight sacks, six hurries, and 12 quarterback hits weren't a fluke. Greenard beat opposing linemen consistently.
Durability is a legitimate concern with Greenard, who sat out OTAs while recovering from offseason foot surgery. He was on the field for just over 400 snaps last year, which needs to go up in 2022.
But it isn't that often that a player who is available in low-end fantasy DL2 territory has demonstrated a legit top-10 per-game upside. Greenard did just that a season ago.
ILB Cole Holcomb, Washington Commanders
This has been an eventful offseason for Holcomb—after spending last season on the weak side, the fourth-year veteran is making a move to MIKE linebacker full-time in 2022. As the soon-to-be 26-year-old told Julie Donaldson of the team's website, it's a role he relishes—and one he thinks will be easier than making play-calls from the outside.
“I feel like I’m going to take control of this defense and take charge of the Mike spot,” Holcomb said. “I’ve been wanting it for a while, and I like that responsibility to take control and get everybody lined up, make the adjustments we need to make. I feel like it helps me being able to call at the Mike spot. We tried it initially — I was calling the defense from the outside. It was kind of hard to relay a call to the other side of the defense if I’m playing on the outside. So I think it helps a lot in terms of our communication and getting on the same page.”
The entire Washington defense disappointed in 2021, but Holcomb didn't have a bad year statistically—142 total tackles (83 solos), a pair of interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown), and top-10 fantasy production in some IDP scoring systems.
However, despite that fantasy production last season, Holcomb's lack of name recognition has been getting him overlooked in many drafts. Even if Jamin Davis can rebound from his rookie disappearing act, there's no reason to think that Holcomb doesn't have a clear path to the sort of opportunities that could produce another LB1 finish.
Notoriety doesn't win IDP Leagues. Stats do.
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