Kwon Alexander is Criminally Undervalued
Now that a good amount of ADP and rankings data is coming in there are some conclusions that I’ve drawn based on my projections at each position.
One that stood out to me was the difference in my Kwon Alexander projection versus the field. I had spent a great deal of time on the Buccaneers defensive projections as I follow that team a little more than most. But I ran them through the blender a second time and want to share with our subscribers my eye-opening findings.
Last year I loved Kwon Alexander as one of my top five breakouts from the rookie class as he was flying under the radar. He started game one in Danny Lansanah‘s old position and put on a show for his fantasy owners. He also proved to be one heck of a redraft player until he was suspended for the last four games of the season for using PEDs. In that time period I believe we received plenty of data to believe that Alexander is at least capable of being a LB1 with elite upside. However, judging by his ADP there are some doubters.
Currently Alexander has no ADP on MFL with a total of 20 linebackers appearing in the draft results beyond July 15th(so at best he’s 21st there) while Lavonte David is the second overall linebacker off the board. Fantasy Pros ranks him as their 19th linebacker while ranking Lavonte David second. In a recent 32-team best ball redraft league Alexander went as the 23rd overall linebacker.
Let’s compare the twelve week statistics which are IDP relevant for both David and Alexander.
There was hardly any difference between these two last year. In fact, if you take Alexander’s average fantasy score and expand that over the remainder of the season he would have finished as the seventh ranked linebacker overall in a tackle heavy format.
One differentiating area I did find that came out in Alexander’s favor is that Alexander had the same amount of LB1 games as David, but in four fewer games played.
IDP GAME SPLITS APP
Let’s review how Lavonte David performed while Kwon Alexander was suspended.
We don’t have an IDP splits app here at RotoViz but this is what it would look like if we did.1 The difference between a 76 solo tackle and 112 solo tackle season is what stands out to me. I’m not saying this will happen again but I think this adds some fuel to the argument that Alexander is good enough to take opportunities for tackles from Lavonte David in the future as it has occurred during a 12 game period.
HISTORIC ROOKIE SEASON
To put Kwon Alexander’s rookie season in context, consider that only three other linebackers since 1995 have recorded more than 59 solo tackles in a single season at age 21. That list includes Luke Kuechly, Ray Lewis and Rolando McClain.
In David’s previous season he averaged over seven solo tackles per game but he only averaged 4.75 with Alexander on the field last year. In setting my solo tackle projection I decided it was best to follow the logic I use in other projections and give more value to the historic data that David has on his resume given he’s still quite young and accomplished. I projected David closer to his 2013 solo tackles per game average than 2015. I thought about 6.5 solos per game was reasonable for David but he certainly has the ceiling to deliver more than 7.0 per game.
I gave Kwon his 4.9 solos per game which was last year’s baseline and that has the potential for an increase with some efficiency gains on his part. Alexander fills a box score in many areas including passes defended so that really boosts his projections depending on the scoring system. The worst case with Alexander would be if he becomes a boom/bust linebacker due to tackle efficiency issues not being improved.
This projection keeps Alexander easily in the LB1 range and actually has him fifth overall in my projections. Far better than his ADP and draft rankings which are around 20th among all linebackers in most places.
BUT PFF SAYS ALEXANDER SUCKS
Alexander missed 27 tackles last season which is the primary contributing factor for this analysis. Pro Football Focus did an extensive piece on Alexander’s shortcomings last season which is worth the read. He could either improve or continue to be inconsistent and be out of position at critical times. He is one of the youngest linebackers in the league and yet he’s still starting so he’s certainly got a lot to learn. I found this bit of information interesting in terms of his perceived and actual importance to his defense.
Followed by this
I agree with Jenna Laine.
Is Daryl Smith a Threat?
It’s worth noting that reliable former Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith has signed on with Tampa Bay as a free agent. Smith is turning 34 years old and was brought in for his veteran presence. He can no longer perform three-down duties and I don’t factor him into my projections of Alexander and Davis.
Is the PED Suspension a Red Flag?
Alexander said his suspension stems from an energy drink that he’s been drinking since high school but admits that he should have asked someone on the team if the drink was allowable under NFL rules. I’m not sure whether I buy that or not, but that’s all we have to go on right now.
Alexander still has a lot to learn about his position but should at least be considered a strong bet to finish as a LB1 and can currently be drafted as if he’s a borderline LB2. That is the kind of bargain you should look for when you’re drafting IDP this season.
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- Please fantasy gods, give me an IDP splits app. (back)