AdviceIDP

IDP Projections: AFC North

This year I’m publishing all my IDP projections here at Rotoviz. In this edition I’m highlighting some of the scheme, personnel and coaching adjustments or other useful information I used when projecting the AFC South. I’ll share any actionable information, such as buy-low players, fades, targets and generally anything which could create informational advantages for our subscribers during drafts in dynasty and redraft leagues. 

MY PROCESS

At Rotoviz we proudly host the one and only Projection Machine, and it’s one of my favorite tools on the site.  For the past two seasons I’ve been actively projecting all 32 teams offenses, and during the season I project two NFL divisions for all 16 games. Through that work I’ve developed a process that I use to evaluate players and project their statistics. I thought I would take that work to IDP last season and projected each team.

This season I’m going to share some of my thoughts that can help IDP players in their off-season preparations for redraft, or can help them in dynasty drafts and orphan team overhauls. Maybe some readers will use these projections as a baseline to form their own.

My first step was to review some publicly accessible defensive position depth charts and compare to my own. I like using Ourlads and Rotoworld. In addition, it’s important to review the coaching and defensive scheme changes. I used a balanced scoring system that awards 1.5 points per solo tackle, 0.75 for each assist, 1 point for passes defended, 3 points per sack, 3 points for forced fumbles, 4 points for an interception. I’ve included the pressure rate metric from Football Outsiders, as it helps to track defensive pass rush progress and incorporates hurries in addition to sacks. Also included is QB sacks allowed, which was helpful for projecting sacks and I thought these would be useful to include for IDP and non-IDP folks for tracking defensive progress.

A couple of things stand out from this division for IDP purposes. Most notably Cleveland shifts to a 4-3 defense under Gregg Williams.

TM 2016 16 HC 16 DC 2015 QB Sacks Allowed 2015 Pressure Rate 2017 17 HC 17 DC 2016 QB Sacks Allowed 2016 Pressure Rate
CIN 4-3 Marvin Lewis Paul Guenther 32 26.6% 4-3 Marvin Lewis Paul Guenther 41 30.8%
CLE 3-4 Hue Jackson Ray Horton 53 23.6% 4-3 Hue Jackson Gregg Williams 66 23.7%
BAL 3-4 John Harbaugh Dean Pees 24 23.9% 3-4 John Harbaugh Dean Pees 33 26.1%
PIT 3-4 Mike Tomlin Keith Butler 33 24.2% 3-4 Mike Tomlin Keith Butler 21 24.7%

DEFENSIVE LINE

NAME TM POS AGE SOLO AST SK PD INT FF Total
Carlos Dunlap CIN DE 28 34 20 8 2 0 2 100
Stephon Tuitt PIT DE 24 38 15 6 0 0 0 86
Emmanuel Ogbah CLE DE 23 29 24 8 0 0 0 86
Cameron Heyward PIT DE 28 35 18 6 1 0 0 85
Danny Shelton CLE DT 23 34 28 3 0 0 0 81
Michael Johnson CIN DE 30 30 13 4 2 0 1 73
Geno Atkins CIN DT 29 24 11 8 0 0 0 68
Myles Garrett CLE DE 21 25 21 5 0 0 0 68
Brandon Williams BAL DT 28 34 16 1 0 0 0 66
Desmond Bryant CIN DT 31 22 17 2 0 0 0 52
Javon Hargrave PIT DT 24 20 10 2 0 0 0 44
Andrew Billings CIN DT 22 16 8 1 0 0 0 33
Brent Urban BAL DE 26 10 5 1 0 0 0 22
Chris Wormley BAL DT 23 8 5 1 0 0 0 19

SOME THOUGHTS

Danny Shelton and Desmond Bryant should be key beneficiaries of the scheme change in Cleveland. Shelton is a good breakout candidate at defensive tackle as he had a promising rookie season. Many will forget about Desmond Bryant, as he missed all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle. Last year in Los Angeles, both of Gregg Williams’ defensive tackles performed well for IDP purposes, and the Browns look like a good spot for affordable production from the defensive tackle position.

BUY EMMANUEL OGBAH 

Emmanuel Ogbah had a promising rookie season at defensive end for the Browns. When you consider his 53 total tackles and 5.5 sacks were all achieved in a 3-4 defense, you have to be excited for his upside as Gregg Williams installs his 4-3 scheme in Cleveland. Ogbah was an outside LB for half the season and an end for the other half. His numbers are as impressive, and positive reports from OTAs indicate that he’s got a command of his role as a defensive end in the new defense. In my review of pre-season drafts and rankings, Ogbah has stood out in terms of my projection versus the industry. MFL had him listed as an LB last season, and that might have him being looked over this season. Myles Garrett will have an opportunity to be a major force along the line, and whether he has early success or not doesn’t affect my projection of Ogbah. Ogbah represents some great value this year.

LINEBACKERS

NAME TM POS AGE SOLO AST SK PD INT FF Total
Vontaze Burfict CIN LB 26 90 40 2 6 0 0 177
Ryan Shazier PIT LB 24 81 42 3 5 0 2 175
Christian Kirksey CLE LB 24 85 45 2 4 0 0 171
Jamie Collins CLE LB 27 80 35 3 3 0 1 162
CJ Mosley BAL LB 24 75 40 0 8 0 1 155
Kamalei Correa BAL LB 23 70 26 0 3 0 0 128
Kevin Minter CIN LB 26 55 35 0 6 0 0 115
Vince Williams PIT LB 27 50 22 0 3 0 0 95
Nick Vigil CIN LB 23 42 26 0 5 0 0 88
Terrell Suggs BAL LB 34 30 10 10 0 0 0 83
James Harrison PIT LB 39 32 14 5 0 0 1 78
Tank Carder CLE LB 28 34 17 1 0 0 0 67
Bud Dupree PIT LB 24 30 10 4 0 0 0 65
TJ Watt PIT LB 21 21 8 4 1 0 0 51
Tyler Matekavich PIT LB 24 20 12 0 0 0 0 39
Za’Darius Smith BAL LB 24 16 12 1 2 0 0 38
Tyus Bowser BAL LB 22 15 5 2 0 0 0 32

SOME THOUGHTS

There are a few newcomers atop the depth chart which we should be aware of in this division. Those are Ravens inside LB Kamalei Correa, Steelers inside LB Vince Williams and Bengals LB Kevin Minter. This division also features many elite LB. Christian Kirksey stood out to me when I compared my projections to the field. Kirksey’s range of outcomes look promising to finish as a top-five IDP scorer at the LB position, but you can draft him most places as roughly the 10th LB off the board.

TARGET KAMALEI CORREA

The Ravens inside LB positions have been gold mines for IDP scoring, which makes for a great opportunity. At the moment, Kamalei Correa is set to take over Zach Orr’s vacant role. It was once thought that Patrick Onwuasur might compete for that spot, but there’s been little said about him by beat writers during OTA’s. Onwuasur did start in place of Orr during Week 17 when Orr was out with an injury. Much of the pre-draft analysis on Correa referred to his positional versatility, and it appears that the Ravens settled on him as an inside LB. From mockdraftable.com:

Measurable Zach Cunningham Kamalei Correa
Height 6′ 3″ 6′ 3″
Weight 234 lbs 243 lbs
Arm Length 34⅜” 31⅝”
Hand Size 9¼” 9⅜”
40 Yard Dash 4.67s 4.69s
Vertical Jump 35″ 33″
Broad Jump 125″ 108″
3-Cone Drill 7.03s 6.78s*
20 Yard Shuttle 4.29s 4.15s*
Bench Press 15 reps 21 reps

Correa was an impressive prospect but was projected as an outside LB or edge rusher due to his athleticism. His athletic measurables profile compares most favorably to Zach Cunningham

Let’s not forget about the pending announcement of Zach Orr’s 2017 destination as he’s suddenly announced he’s coming out of retirement. I have to believe that the Ravens are in the mix for his services, and that would obviously have a massive impact on these projections. For now I feel comfortable that Correa will hang on to the job and do a respectable impression of Zach Orr in the stat column.

DEFENSIVE BACK

NAME TM POS AGE SOLO AST SK PD INT FF Total
Tony Jefferson BAL S 25 65 37 1 6 0 0 134
Eric Weddle BAL S 32 62 33 0 10 0 0 128
Sean Davis PIT S 23 65 20 0 8 0 0 121
Shawn Williams CIN S 26 62 24 0 5 0 0 116
Mike Mitchell PIT S 29 55 20 0 9 0 0 107
Adam Jones CIN CB 33 51 11 0 12 2 0 105
George Illoka CIN S 26 45 25 0 7 2 0 101
Jabrill Peppers CLE S 21 54 19 1 2 0 0 100
Ross Cockrell PIT CB 25 48 16 0 12 0 0 96
Artie Burns PIT CB 21 48 15 0 12 0 0 95
Brandon Carr BAL CB 31 52 6 0 9 0 0 92
Jamar Taylor CLE CB 26 50 14 0 5 0 0 91
Joe Haden CLE CB 28 40 12 0 7 2 0 84
Jimmy Smith BAL CB 28 45 6 0 9 0 0 81
Dre Kirkpatrick CIN CB 27 42 7 0 10 0 0 78
Ed Reynolds CLE S 25 40 13 0 2 0 0 72

FADE ERIC WEDDLE

As I was making my projections for Eric Weddle, I considered he might be a good candidate for positive regression this season after a weak performance in the tackle category. Weddle was actually quite a good real football player last season as evidenced by being identified by PFF as the NFL’s 10th-best player during the 2017 season. Once I looked deeper, I found that his tackles were likely a product of the scheme he’s now playing with in Baltimore. Below are the statistics for each defensive back that was the leading tackler for each one of defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ defenses. Statistics were provided by Pro Football Reference.

YR Player Pos G GS Int PD Sk Tkl Ast
2006 Artrell Hawkins FS 14 12 1 3 52 19
2007 James Sanders FS/ss 15 15 2 5 52 19
2008 Brandon Meriweather db/SS 16 11 4 9 2 61 22
2009 Brandon Meriweather* SS 16 16 5 9 53 30
2012 Bernard Pollard SS 13 13 1 6 2 71 27
2013 James Ihedigbo SS 16 16 3 11 63 38
2014 Darian Stewart FS 16 14 1 6 40 16
2015 Will Hill SS 16 14 1 6 1 49 15
2016 Eric Weddle* db/SS 16 16 4 13 1 48 41

Weddle’s production last season was nearly at the peak for a strong safety in a Dean Pees defense. Counting on additional production from Weddle is possible, but you’ll likely not pay adequate draft value for that production. I’m fading Weddle this season. The scheme history also likely caps Tony Jefferson at strong safety.

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By Eric Braun | @FFPlanetX | Archive

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