5 IDP Breakouts for 2023
Jake Kohlhagen shares 5 early candidates who could exceed expectations next season.
Let’s start this article by answering an important question: What is a breakout?
Establishing this definition will be vital to understanding my choices. A “breakout” is someone whose current value is lower than the estimated value I anticipate them to reach or achieve in the upcoming season(s). The variables leading to this can be vast, but it is all about exceeding those expectations.
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With that established, let’s jump into my selections!
Azeez Ojulari, New York Giants, EDGE
Ojulari’s current value is around a low-end DL2. I believe he can move into the DL10-15 range this season and beyond. He dealt with injuries in 2022, so our sample size is reduced, but what he did gives us hope. In 252 total snaps, he produced 20 pressures and 5 sacks. He saw consistent usage from Weeks 13-16 and really shined in that stretch, with 16 of his 20 pressures and his 5 sacks. He also posted a very strong 15.7% pass-rush pressure rate. His season rate was 12.9% which is still a great number. He’s shown talent plus the talent of those around him in that Giants front could lead to a level of production matching what we saw from Philadelphia in 2022.
Leonard Floyd, Los Angeles Rams, EDGE
Floyd’s current value is a high-end DL5. I believe he can get into the DL30 range in 2022. Floyd stepped up with a strong second half of the season (Weeks 10-17), a time without Aaron Donald for a good chunk. He was 5th in the NFL in pressures with 34 and had a 13.4% pass-rush pressure rate. Donald seems likely to be back, and based on Floyd’s contract, he should be back in LA as well. Floyd also saw an enticing 58.5 snaps/game and averaged 9.9 points/game during this span. Usage, production, and the consistent ability to be in the backfield—sign me up for Floyd in 2023.
Christian Harris, Houston Texans, LB
Harris’ current value is a low-end LB2, but I believe he can achieve the LB15 range. New hire Demeco Ryans is a great defensive coach who has shown a penchant for developing a scheme around his talent. Compare that to Lovie Smith, who tried to fit players into his scheme. The Texans have a lot of work to do on their roster and likely won’t reinvest heavily in LB, so Harris should get a chance to be a lead, full-time LB. He has a long way to go to maintain a role like that beyond 2023 with his poor PFF performance from 2022. However, the Texans defense won’t likely take a huge jump, which can lead to increased IDP volume if they end up playing more snaps.
Micah McFadden, New York Giants, LB
McFadden’s current value is a low-end LB5, but I see him in the high-end LB3 range. The Giants have an ambiguous LB room with McFadden and Darrian Beavers being the only presumable starting options on the roster at this time. Even with draft and free agency, there is still a chance that McFadden takes over the room. He showed strong pass-rushing upside his senior year at Indiana with an astounding 25.9% pass-rush pressure rate, and with Giants DC Wink Martindale as one of the most blitz-happy coordinators in the NFL, McFadden should find a spot in this defense in Year 2 for multiple reasons. Like Harris, McFadden struggled in his first year with some poor PFF grades, so his value tenure as a valuable LB might be limited to 2023.
Trent McDuffie, Kansas City Chiefs, CB
McDuffie was selected as the 224th overall IDP in a recent best ball draft I did. In most leagues, this would be a very late-round pick (or even undrafted). Trent has some serious potential that make could him an every-week start for IDP. What is this based on? Look at the slot position for the Chiefs this year. L’Jarius Sneed delivered with some stellar usage and was an IDP MVP in 2022. And in the later part of the season (Week 16 through the Super Bowl), McDuffie was the one taking these valuable snaps in the slot for the Chiefs. If this carries into the 2023 season, McDuffie could be a steal, much like Sneed was last year. He’s a low-risk, high-value dart throw.
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