IDP Divisional Preview: AFC North
Alex Caruso of Footballguys helps us figure out the IDP studs, sleepers, breakouts, and busts from the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers.
We enjoyed having Alex Caruso on the show earlier this summer to help us break down the IDPs worth discussing in the AFC North. He brought to light some fun names that fell into one of four buckets: sleeper, breakout, bust, or stud.
In this blog post, Alex walks us through his picks for each team.
Breakout: Kyle Hamilton
What will Kyle Hamilton’s role be as a rookie? That’s one of the biggest IDP questions as we head into the 2022 season. Will he be used like Derwin James, who played 65.1% of his snaps in the sweet spot (box + D-line + slot) in 2021? He certainly has the physical profile to do it at 6’4,” 220 lbs. If the Ravens want to get 3 safeties on the field, they could easily utilize Hamilton in the box at the expense of a linebacker.
Opinions are mixed on Hamilton for IDP purposes this year, but I’m optimistic. It might take until the midpoint of the season, but the dude is too talented and was drafted too high not to see the field consistently. Yes, he has established veterans Marcus Williams and Chuck Clark to contend with, but the linebackers in front of him are nothing to worry about. Patrick Queen is 6’0,” 229 lbs. That’s the path to profitability I see for the talented rookie: tackle opportunities near the LOS.
Breakout: Odafe Oweh
I’m a huge Oweh fan. I see him as the next top-tier edge rusher for the Ravens, following in the footsteps of guys like of Matt Judon, Za’Darius Smith, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, and Peter Boulware. He’s coming off a season where he received 65% of the snaps as a rookie, tallied a team-high 27 pressures, and put up IDP points in a multitude of ways, finishing with 5 sacks and 33 total tackles.
Yes, he’s a bit unproven, but Oweh follows the blueprint of what I want from my IDPs. I don’t play it safe when I’m drafting. I’m swinging for the fences with guys who can win me championships, and Oweh is that type of player. I saw enough flashes in 2021 to believe in him and I believe he’s due for a huge breakout in 2022.
Bust: Sam Hubbard
It’s not that I dislike Sam Hubbard as a player. I just don’t see that much ceiling with him for where he’s being taken. He finished as the DL24 according to Big 3 scoring in 2021, and across the IDP only bestballs I’ve seen ADP from, he’s being drafted as DL26. Do we expect a better season from a player who recorded the same number of tackles in 2021 and 2020 (62 total) but jumped from 2 sacks in 2020 to 7.5 in 2021?
I’m not so sure, especially with a healthy Joseph Ossai in the picture now. And for where he’s being taken, IDP managers are expecting a repeat of that performance. I’m not saying he’s going to sink your entire squad if you take him there, but what I am saying is that he’s unlikely to provide positive ROI going that high in drafts. I’d rather take a swing on higher upside players who are going much later.
Stud: Logan Wison
If you rostered Wilson in 2021, you might be left with a bitter taste in your mouth since he missed Weeks 14-16. For real football, I admired Wilson for battling through a shoulder injury to deliver a stellar performance during the NFL playoffs. He was one of the biggest factors in the Bengals going on that Super Bowl run. So although he might’ve crapped the bed for your fantasy team with his untimely injury, I think the last we saw of Wilson on the field puts him firmly into “stud” territory.
Even in just 13 regular season games, Wilson produced a whopping 100 total tackles, 5 TFLs, 1 QB hit, 1 sack, 4 defended passes, 4 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble. He’ll wear the green dot for the Bengals and has zero competition for tackles. If I’m going DL-DL to start my draft, Wilson is a favorite target of mine in the 3rd round.
Stud: Myles Garrett
Many of Garrett’s stats are eye-popping, but his 93.3 pass-rush grade is most impressive to me. Why? Because it’s such a strong indicator that a player is excelling in their role and will likely continue to do so. It’s a sticky metric year to year. Over the past three seasons, Garrett’s pass-rush grade is higher than any other edge player, putting him in the best position to get sacks on a consistent basis.
Garrett is justifiably going as a Top 3 EDGE with T.J. Watt and Nick Bosa. He’s in the prime of his career at 26 years old. With Brissett set to QB the Browns until Week 13, the Browns defense has a chance to be on the field a lot—great news for Garrett.
Breakout: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
I don’t know how you can watch JOK play and not love the guy. I’m a huge fan. He projects to be an every-down linebacker on a defense that should see a ton of action until Deshaun Watson is back. Will the snaps be to 2021 Seattle levels? We’ll see.
I know a lot of JOK’s detractors point to his missed tackle rate, which was 17.4%. (For context, Daniel Sorensen led the league with a 25% rate.) That’s a fair criticism. I would counter with these two data points: he had a 3.4-yard average depth of tackle versus the run and he had a top 10 run stop percentage (10%) among all LBs. That tells you he’s around the ball making plays. I expect that to continue in 2022.
Stud: Minkah Fitzpatrick
Minkah’s had an interesting journey and is someone I’ve always been excited about. Going from the Dolphins, where he was seen as just “not that guy” (insert drop here), to then being traded to the Steelers and having a full-fledged breakout, all while predominantly playing deep. Even last year, when he played deep 79% of the time, he still produced a top 10 tackle efficiency at 11.65%.
I love Minkah’s talent, so even though I’m slightly on the border of him being a stud or someone who’s still slept on, I come down on the side of him being a stud. He’s uber talented, highly paid, is still young, and has room to grow.
Sleeper: Myles Jack
Pittsburgh is an interesting landing spot for Jack. In 3 of his first 4 seasons in Jacksonville, he racked up triple-digit tackles. This wasn’t unusual for linebackers in the Jaguars’ system, as we saw from Telvin Smith and Joe Schobert in years past. Funny enough, now Jack is coming to replace Schobert, who was traded to Pittsburgh last August. He’ll line up beside Devin Bush, who played poorly in 2021.
Mike Woellert projects Jack as the green dot (i.e. the signal caller for the defense), which makes me nervous. When he’s worn the dot in the past, Jack has been awful both with his play and getting the defense into position. I’d much prefer him flying around and reacting to the play, but even as the signal caller, I like his upside.
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