Punch Drunk Wonderland

Fantasy IDP: Players on the rise at the midway point of the season

Last week I put my Rest of Season Bold Prediction out there. Now that we’re sitting at the midpoint of the season, it’s time to look at some Rest of Season IDP prospects. The list below are some new names that are surging along with some known commodities that are coming back to relevance.

Chad Greenway (LB, Minnesota Vikings)

Greenway has always been a tackle machine and is fantasy relevant whenever healthy. He’s been out for several weeks due to a fractured hand and ribs, but Week 7 saw a big return performance from Greenway. Ignore the bad coverage at the end of the game, his fantasy numbers were great (15 total tackles and a forced fumble). Going into the second half of the season, he’s going to be a more than worthwhile fantasy IDP if he can stay healthy.

Mychal Kendricks (LB, Philadelphia Eagles)

Kendricks has been out since Week 2 with a calf injury, but he should be returning to action in the next few weeks. When healthy Kendricks is a playmaker and a decent LB play. It will be worth monitoring his health status and schedule for return, but he should come back and have a solid rest of the season.

Curtis Lofton (LB, New Orleans Saints)

Mr. Consistency, Lofton is quietly on his way to his sixth consecutive 100 tackle season. He’s always near the top of fantasy IDP production, but he’s often overlooked. He’s having a great season and has been particularly solid in run defense of late. He had 9 stops (sacks + tackles for loss) in Week 7 alone.

Jelani Jenkins (LB, Miami Dolphins)

Ignore the depth chart in Miami. Jenkins is seeing all of the snaps and is the linebacker to have out of the bunch. He’s shown flashes of greatness in 2014 and should be able to put up some solid numbers going forward this season. He should be a decent low end LB2 down the stretch.

Jamie Collins (LB, New England Patriots)

Along with teammate, Dont’a Hightower, Collins will be stepping into big responsibilities now that Jerod Mayo is out for the season. Of the two, Collins is the more versatile linebacker and he should be a solid LB2 play bordering on LB1 going forward.

Dont’a Hightower (LB, New England Patriots)

See Collins above. Hightower is going to be asked to pick up the slack in the Pats defense and he was off to a great start in Week 7. He piled up 13 tackles and a sack in a big game against the Jets. He and Collins should be solid producers in the second half of the season and look for him to be a consistent top 35 LB.

J.T. Thomas (LB, Jacksonville Jaguars)

Paul Posluszny is going on IR and that means someone has to step up at middle linebacker for the Jags. At this point it looks like J.T. Thomas will get the first crack at the position. In Week 7 he closed out with 7 tackles and his tackle numbers should remain relatively high if he can keep the spot at MLB. The depth chart will be worth watching, and Thomas could be a sneaky IDP pick for the rest of the season.

Anthony Barr (LB, Minnesota Vikings)

The rookie has started to come on of late. He’s had 18 tackles, 3 QB hurries, and 2 tackles for loss in the last two weeks. He’s been good in run defense and is best served rushing the passer. The schedule going forward could be a good one for him as he will be facing some teams with very questionable offensive lines.  At this point he’s only picked up 2 sacks on the season, but look for him to notch 5+ more by season’s end.

Ryan Shazier (LB, Pittsburgh Steelers)

Shazier was rising the IDP ranks before going down with injury in Week 3. In his first two games of 2014 he amassed 17 total tackles and was off to a decent start. It will be worth watching for his return to the field, and he could quickly become a relevant fantasy IDP in the second half of the season.

Christian Kirksey (LB, Cleveland Browns)

Kirksey saw reduced snap count early in the season, but his opportunities have been slowly increasing. He had a solid IDP performance in Week 7 with 9 tackles and a sack. I’m expecting his role to be expanded as the season goes on and he should be a top rookie IDP by season’s end.

Reshad Jones (S, Miami Dolphins)

Jones was suspended the first four games of the 2014 season and then the Dolphins had a week 5 bye. He snuck back onto the IDP landscape in Week 6 and has been solid in his return. Over the last two weeks he’s had 16 tackles and an interception. Jones has been a top DB in the past and should return to form now that he’s back on the field. Look for him to be a solid play going forward.

Tyrann Mathieu (S, Arizona Cardinals)

Mathieu hasn’t hit full stride after coming back from injury, but he’s shown flashes. His snap count is still being limited at this point. Once he’s getting into the mix to full capacity, he will be a beast. His athleticism creates a number of opportunities, and the team will use him in a variety of ways in their schemes to maximize his potential when healthy.

James Ihedigbo (S, Detroit Lions)

Ihedigbo missed the first three games of the season and that put him off of the radar for many fantasy owners. Since his return he’s shown that he’s been working his way into the mix and he could be a nice DB option going forward in 2014. In the last two games he’s had 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. He should be on your DB radar in the second half of the season.

Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Green Bay Packers)

Clinton-Dix has been getting increased snaps and has had increased tackle numbers over the last several weeks. He appears to be emerging as a viable DB option. He’s increased his total tackles each week over the last four and he’s come up with 27 stops which puts him in the top 10 among DBs in the category. He’s going to be an every down safety going forward and he should be able to be a solid producer.




K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...