IDP Rundown: Notes on Shamarko Thomas, Will Hill, Shea McClellan
Camp news is coming fast and furious so I’ll highlight some important movements as they relate to value creation or destruction in IDP.
Matt Elam was a post-hype all-star, but unfortunately for his fantasy owners, any chance of an ROI is postponed as he undergoes surgery for a biceps tear. Elam was competing with Will Hill for the starting strong safety job, and now it appears all but certain to go to Hill. The Ravens defense is a work in progress and has yet to fill the void at strong safety when Bernard Pollard left via free agency. Hill makes for an ideal redraft target for several reasons.
According to Pro Football Focus, Hill’s been a plus player against the run and the pass so there are no red flags there. When he’s started, he’s played a high percentage snaps.
In dynasty formats, I like Hill’s versatility. He’s started a majority of his snaps at free safety, which would allow him to have more pathways to stay on the field and score points.
Hill is also very cheap with no ADP at myfantasyleague.com. IDP is still a niche corner of the fantasy world, so it’s important to keep an eye on the few free resources your league members might use. I look at ESPN and FantasyPros for reference. ESPN doesn’t mention him, and FantasyPros has him 68th in their consensus DB rankings (52nd safety). He’s essentially free.
In the “Who will replace Troy Polamalu?” sweepstakes, Thomas was set to slide into that position. Unfortunately, he’s been battling a shoulder injury. Robert Golden played with the first team at strong safety in his absence after the Steelers felt compelled to extend Golden following OTA’s. Overall I’m not comfortable projecting who will stick at this position and won’t be investing here in redraft.
There’s good news in that we have better clarity on who will start at ILB for Vic Fangio.
Had a chance to talk to #Bears DC Vic Fangio a little bit. He said Shea McClellin and Christian Jones currently have the lead at ILB.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 7, 2015
As we discovered in IDP Scheme Changes, Fangio has consistently produced 100-plus solo tackle players at ILB dating back to his time as Houston’s defensive coordinator. He actually had two inside linebackers record more than 100 solo tackles each in 2003. I realize Navarro Bowman is an elite talent, but the system is so important in IDP. Instead of paying attention to the San Francisco linebackers, the value is in Chicago. You can draft your offense in the precious early rounds and scoop up value at LB later.
Shea McClellan is currently unranked on ESPN and FantasyPros and has no ADP at MFL. Christian Jones is ranked as the LB56 in the consensus rankings at FantasyPros, is unranked by ESPN, and has an ADP of LB59 at MFL. Both are pretty much free and have Top 10 ceilings if they can hold on to Fangio’s current level of confidence.
As James Todd mentioned, someone could see more snaps due to Vontaze Burfict’s rehabilitation time from micro fracture surgery. Dr. Budoff’s piece explaining the rehab expectations for Jadeveon Clowney could apply in this case. This past week it was revealed that the team is preparing as though Burfict has a shot to be ready by Week 1. AJ Hawk seems like the best bet as a hedge at WLB in case he can’t go, but Week 1 is a dud for the Bengals in IDP as they draw Oakland on the road. I wouldn’t grab Hawk for just the one week. Paul Dawson could play a role if he continues to progress, but he’s more likely to be worked in later in the season if needed.