Post-Draft IDP Winners & Losers: NFC
In the second installment of this series, we turn our attention to the NFC to look at the IDPs who've had their stock negatively and positively impacted in recent months.
May and June are the perfect months to reflect on the landscape of the NFL, especially after the flurry of moves that take place during free agency and the NFL Draft. After looking at the AFC in the first part of this series, we now turn our attention to the NFC to examine the post-draft winners and losers for IDP.
Winner: Azeez Ojulari
New York’s pass rush in 2021 was anemic to say the least, especially at EDGE. Outside of Ojulari, it was Lorenzo Carter and… no one else. Enter Kayvon Thibodeaux, one of the most prolific pass rushers in college the past couple of years.
The interior pressure is for sure there with Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, and you would assume adding Thibodeaux to the mix will lower the 20.9% double team rate that Ojulari faced on pass-rushing snaps in 2021. Combine that with a realistic bump in snap percentage and pass-rush win rate in his second season, and double-digit sacks are in the realm of possibility for Ojulari.
Loser: Krys Barnes
Barnes’ upside came from the hope that Green Bay might move to a few more two-linebacker sets, and that in the event of injury to De’Vondre Campbell (or if he left in free agency), then Barnes would be the next man up. Well, Campbell got re-upped in the offseason, and then the Packers risked Aaron Rodgers’ wrath by drafting a Campbell facsimile in the first round in Quay Walker. If Barnes was the LB2 before the draft, it doesn’t matter now. That role now belongs to Walker.
Winner: Xavier McKinney
Playing time was never an issue for Mckinney once he recovered from injury in 2020. What has been the issue is the fact that he played 71% of his snaps in a deep safety role last season. However, Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan and enter Kayvon Thibodeaux to increase the pass-rushing chops. Before last year, the other presumed starting safety, Julian Love, was predominantly a deep safety himself, meaning the path to those sweet spot snaps is right there for Mckinney. He was a top 15 safety last season, so top 6-8 is well within reach if he gets that role and stays healthy.
Loser: T.J Edwards
Edwards was a waiver wire darling to close out last season—he locked the starting role down from Week 9 onward and never looked back, and played well while doing it. So why is he a loser? Because even with that play, the Eagles’ front office still saw fit to go out and sign Kyzir White in free agency, and then draft top prospect Nakobe Dean in the 3rd round. Edwards was very good last year, but managers would have been hoping his situation cleared up in 2022, not got more muddied.
Winner: Kamren Curl
The argument of talent vs. opportunity rages strong in all aspects of fantasy and IDP is no different. We’ve seen the talent with Curl for the past two years, but this year should be the year we see the opportunity click. In 2021, Curl was used all over the place, including playing 33% of his snaps deep. By comparison, Landon Collins played deep on only 19% of his snaps last season. Collins is gone (currently still unsigned) and the Commanders didn’t draft Kyle Hamilton like half the experts thought they might. Curl graded very well in both run defense and tackling, so it’s not a stretch to imagine he earns that hybrid box safety/linebacker role, which is a cheat code for IDP.
Loser: Ernest Jones
Bobby is upset we’re slamming the brakes on the Ernest Jones hype train, but there’s an important caveat here: Wagner doesn’t have a proper out in his contract until the end of 2024, but the Rams have shown us they’re not afraid to eat dead money (hello, Jared Goff’s dead cap hit). Does Wagner have two elite years left? We’ll see. Jones was a solid fantasy producer late in the season, but he was only competing against Troy Reeder for snaps. Now, he’s competing against one of the top 3 linebackers to play in the last decade. That’s a definite “arrow down” situation.
Winner: Zaven Collins
This is pure projection, with a little bit of analysis and a lot of hope. Collins was the invisible man last season after everyone thought he was going to light the league on fire as one of Steve Keim’s “two tall trees” in the middle. Instead, we got Jordan Hicks… a lot of Jordan Hicks. But, rejoice as Hicks is now gone, and in his place? Nick Vigil! Based on the prospect he was coming out, Collins should easily hold off Vigil for the starting role, and if we follow the Isaiah Simmons model (34% as a rookie, 92% in Year 2), Collins should be in line for a huge jump in snaps in 2022.
Loser: Charles Harris
Harris started off last year with a bang and then proceeded to have a six-game stretch without double-digit points. He also would have left an awful taste in his managers’ mouths at the end of the year, averaging 23.65 PPG across Weeks 13-15 and then putting up 3.88 PPG during the fantasy semis and finals. He also didn’t have a lot of competition for snaps. That is about to change. Enter arguably the best player in the draft in Aidan Hutchinson at the #2 overall pick, Josh Paschal in the second round, and Romeo Okwara returning from injury. Harris had nine games last season with 80% or more of snaps. Don’t be surprised if that comes in at zero this season.
Winner: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka
If you drafted Tryon-Shoyinka in your rookie drafts last year, chances are you weren’t expecting him to be a starter: not for Tampa Bay, nor your own fantasy team. He was a taxi squad darling. However, he did show flashes of what we wanted in games that JPP missed, like Week 4 vs. the Patriots, when he exploded for 27.8 points on 85% of snaps. JPP hasn’t re-signed with the Bucs as of this point, and even if he did, I imagine it would be as depth only at this point in his career. Tryon-Shoyinka is uber-athletic and is in a prime position to capitalize on a whole lot of opportunity.
Loser: Camryn Bynum
Can we all please stand and pour one out for #BynumSZN? Believing in Bynum was always a bit of a projection based on a three-game sample during 2021 in which he played brilliantly. But the Vikings obviously thought the 2021 fourth-rounder wasn’t everything they wanted, as they drafted Georgia wrecking ball Lewis Cine in the first round. Bynum will still have a role, just not the one we’d hoped for him… yet.
Winner: Yetur Gross-Matos
“Yeets” has been a favorite around these parts since his drafting, and this is the year we expect the breakout to happen. EDGE is typically a slow-burn position, with these guys usually taking a few years to fully break out (with exceptions, of course). Haason Reddick has moved on to greener pastures, leaving the starting role opposite Burns primed for the taking. We’re not telling you Yeets is about to become a top 5 dynasty asset, but he should make the leap from taxi squad/bottom of the bench guy to someone you’d be more than comfortable plugging in on a weekly basis.
Losers: Mykal Walker/Deion Jones/Rashaan Evans
The Falcons went linebacker in the 2nd round with Troy Anderson, and that was after they signed Nick Kwiatkowski in free agency. This LB room is going to be an absolute mess—one that is only further complicated by Deion Jones’ shoulder injury. We fully expect Jones to be off this roster soon, but of the remaining guys, who knows the right pick for 2022. (For dynasty, it’s Anderson.) This is an “avoid” situation for us.
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