Offseason IDP Rankings: The Linebackers (April 16, 2014)

Seattle Seahawks vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Bobby WagnerWe are still early in the 2014 NFL offseason. The draft hasn’t even happened yet. That said, there’s no harm in doing very early offseason IDP rankings.  Today I’m looking at linebacker rankings for the 2014 season. While rookie linebackers have been going off the board in our Getting Defensive IDP Mock Drafts, I will not be including rookies in the rankings yet since the NFL Draft has yet to occur. Below you will find my rankings and write-ups on the Top 10. The fantasy points listed in the rankings from 2013 and 2012 are based on the PDW IDP Scoring System. The Average Draft Position Value (ADPV) listed for each player is a value based on data collected in the ongoing mock drafts.

Lavonte David

Lavonte David (TBB, LB) – ADPV: 1.023

David was the number one overall scorer in 2013 based on this scoring system with 328.5 fantasy points. That put him at the top by a fairly significant margin as he was 25 points above the next IDP (Karlos Dansby with 303.0). In each of his first two seasons he has been in the top 6 fantasy scorers, and has been among the league leaders in tackles. I predict David to have to have another dominant season, and at this point is the top linebacker in my rankings.

vontaze-burfict-2013-01

Vontaze Burfict (CIN, LB) – ADPV: 1.041

Burfict came into his own and rose to the top of the IDP charts in 2013. He was the #4 fantasy scorer overall. In his first two NFL seasons he has compiled 298 total tackles, and he lead the league in 2013 with 171 tackles. Vontaze is now entering his third NFL season and is very much in his prime. I expect him to continue to be a tackle machine and have a huge 2014 season.

Panthers Buccaneers Football

Luke Kuechly (CAR, LB) – ADPV: 1.034

Kuechly was a top selection in 2013 fantasy IDP leagues, but got off to a slow start in terms of fantasy production. He finished the season ranked as the #7 fantasy scorer using this system. He’s posted 156+ tackles in each of his first two NFL seasons, and there’s no reason to think the trend won’t continue. Kuechly remains an elite fantasy linebacker, and he should remain among the top IDP options in 2014.

Bobby Wagner

Bobby Wagner (SEA, LB) – ADPV: 1.085

The Super Bowl champ finished the 2013 season ranked #31 among IDPs in this scoring system. He had a fine season, but owners were likely looking for numbers closer to those from 2012 in which he ranked 11th. That said, after missing out two games to injury he was one of only five players to tally 80+ tackles in the final eight weeks of the season and he’s put up a total of 120 or more total tackles in each of his first two NFL seasons. You can’t complain about those numbers. He’ll continue to be a solid elite IDP prospect and if he stays healthy he should be at or near the top of the ranks in 2014.

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30 Years of Running Backs as Receivers

RB Roger Craig led the league in receptions in 1985 with 92.
RB Roger Craig led the league in receptions in 1985 with 92.

In recent years there has been a great deal of talk about the evolution of the NFL running back. There is the perception that backs are used more as receivers today than in the past, and a common opinion is that in this “passing NFL” a back has to be a good receiver out of the backfield if he wants to be among the top producing running backs. Also, there is a perception that “bell cow” backs are fading away to running back committees and more situational usage for players at the position. For the most part these perceptions are reality, but the concept of running backs as receivers is not as new to the game as some may think.

I started off with the intent of writing about the “New NFL Running Back” with a focus on reception trends for backs and how they’ve trended up in recent years. Unfortunately, the numbers proved me wrong. Sure, there was a bit of a lull between 2004 and 2010, but for the most part running backs have been part of the passing game with consistency over the last 30 years.

In 2013 there were 13 running backs with 50 or more receptions and 5 with 70 or more. In comparison to the previous nine seasons those look like a significant increase. However, if we continue going back in time we find that 2013 wasn’t so rare. In the last 30 NFL seasons there have been 9 seasons in which there were 10 or more running backs with 50+ receptions and 7 seasons with at least 4 running backs grabbing 70+ receptions (See the table below).

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The Chris Johnson Running Back Conundrum

Chris-Johnson-01Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is going to be released by the the team today. This is probably good for him, but it’s certainly surprising how much of a perception/reality conundrum he represents. He’s had plenty of critics, but his numbers don’t necessarily warrant the abuse he’s seen. That 2,000 yard season and the “CJ2K” rhetoric seems to have really created an expectation that does him no favors. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Seasons 6
Games 95
Rush Attempts 1,742
Rush Yds 7,965
Rush TD 50
Rec 272
Rec Yds 2,003
Rec TD 8

 
Johnson has some really impressive stats. In 6 NFL seasons he’s only missed one game (he was rested rather than injured in that game) and he’s averaging 1,327 rushing yards per season. Sure, that’s skewed by the 2,006 yard season in 2009. However, he’s never had less than 1,047 yards in a single season. That average over 6 seasons is better than every running back currently playing in the NFL that isn’t named Adrian Peterson. On top of the rushing consistency, he’s been good for 40+ receptions each year. You would think any team would be happy with this production. So, why the criticism?

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IDP Mock Draft Analysis: ADP top 100 through 5 mocks

Getting Defensive IDP Mock Drafts will be running all through the offseason. Check out the list of mocks running or available, and join if you like

It’s early April and the 2014 NFL Draft hasn’t even taken place yet. It’s definitely too early to be able to get a good picture as to what the Average Draft Position (ADP) landscape is going to look like for IDPs in 2014. That said, I’m just that crazy I guess. We’ve nearly completed five Getting Defensive IDP Mocks at MyFantasyLeague.com and we have enough data to see who the TOP 100 IDPs are at this point based on ADP.

Getting Defensive - Roster SetupThese mock drafts are 19 round snake drafts that involve all defensive players. The draft is approached as a redraft style draft, so there are no necessary dynasty considerations. The lineup and roster setup is to the right. For these mocks the scoring system is the PDW 2014 IDP Scoring System (you can find the specific scoring rules for a mock here). Each mock draft has 12 participating franchises. One of the 12 mocking franchises is an ADP Bot configured to auto-pick based on ADP data gathered thus far in the Getting Defensive IDP Mocks. You can find a link to a full rundown of all data gathered in these mocks below.

Getting Defensive IDP Mock ADP Data

Below is a quick write-up on the top 10 players so far based on ADP, and you can find a full table of ADP rankings at the end. The rankings are based off of an ADP Value (ADPV) determined by adding draft position from each draft (1.02, 2.11, etc.) and dividing by the number of mocks conducted (5 in this case).

Lavonte-David-01Lavonte David (TBB, LB) – ADPV: 1.022

David was the number one overall scorer in 2013 based on this scoring system with 328.5 fantasy points. That put him at the top by a fairly significant margin as he was 25 points above the next IDP (Karlos Dansby with 303.0). In each of his first two seasons he has been in the top 6 fantasy scorers in this format, and has been among the leaders in tackles. Through five mocks he was the first overall selection twice, and was selected 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overall once each.

J.J. Watt (HOU, DE) – ADPV: 1.022

Watt was the number one defensive end in fantasy scoring based on this system in 2013, and he blew the lid off the charts with his 2012 numbers. He was the number 11 overall scorer in 2013. Like David, through five mocks he was the first overall selection twice, and was selected 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overall once each.

Luke Kuechly (CAR, LB) – ADPV: 1.040

Kuechly was a top selection in 2013 fantasy IDP leagues, but got off to a slow start in terms of fantasy production. He finished the season ranked as the #7 fantasy scorer using this system. Kuechly remains an elite fantasy linebacker, and early signs show that mockers still believe him to be among the best IDPs out there.

Vontaze Burfict (CIN, LB) – ADPV: 1.042

Burfict came into his own and rose to the top of the IDP charts in 2013. He was the #4 fantasy scorer overall. Vontaze is now entering his third NFL season and is very much in his prime. Mockers have selected him in the top 6 in every mock thus far, and he has been taken as early as second overall.

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